This week, work on the Pavilion restoration shifts to the north. At either end of the Pavilion, north and south, are two small structures facing Lake Champlain, almost like two smaller houses. These were actually once free-standing structures, only joined when the hyphens, or verandas, were added by about 1837. Confusingly for us, Architectural Historians refer to such forward-facing elements as “pavilions,” giving our Pavilion at Ticonderoga three distinct pavilions to the north, south, and in the center.

Standing at one and a half stories high, the north wing of the Pavilion is one of the oldest parts of the structure. Dendrochronology conducted in the research phase of the Pavilion project in 2013 revealed that framing timbers used in its construction were cut down as early as 1695! The ground level is divided into two rooms by a walled staircase. The back room with its private chimney was always a bedroom, and the front room with its exterior door was a small sitting room. It also had a door leading to the rest of the house (seen on the right side of the photograph from 1988) that could be closed, making the north wing into a private living space.

North Pavilion Sitting Room
Looking east from the interior of the North Pavilion in 1988
North Pavilion 1925
Interior of the North Pavilion in1925

These two photographs taken in 1925 and 1988 also showcase the evolution of interior design in the 20th century, including, by the 1960s, some of Sister Parish’s signature combination of multiple prints in complimentary color schemes and curated selection of antiques to draw the eye around the room. The most notable antique in this room is rare and striking upright harp piano made by the New York Company using Kuhns Patent. The piano bears a date, Jan 26 1857, in white hand-lettered script, likely added by the purchaser to commemorate a significant event rather than the date of manufacture.

 

Pavilion work north end
Today’s view of the north pavilion, minus some floor!

When work crews toured the north pavilion the floors were noticeably “bouncy” in one of the rooms. When the flooring was pulled up we discovered that many of the beams had deteriorated due to powder post beetles, excessive moisture, and time. Given the damage barely any of the floor joists can remain, so we will be jacking up sections of the building to install new beams and new flooring, using a crawl space of just a few feet below.

When completed with new floor joists and floorboards the restored rooms of the north pavilion will serve as meeting rooms, breakout rooms, and even wedding support rooms, such as a bride’s dressing room, family waiting room, etc. It may not look like it today, but restoration begins with a solid foundation, something this space will need. Stay tuned for more on the progress of this space and others as the restoration continues!

Stay tuned here and on Fort Ticonderoga’s Facebook page for updates on the restoration of the Pavilion, new discoveries, and more from Fort Ticonderoga every week.