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Excavation

During restoration of the Servants' Hall in 1998, archaeologists were able to explore the ground below the western half of the building. Their excavation uncovered foundations of the earlier Wash House as well as pit filled with artifacts – trash from the people working in the Wash House. They also found the brick foundation of the partition wall which was abandoned during the early construction of the Hall.

Excavations within the Servants’ Hall began with the removal of the 1930s concrete floor and an underlying fill layer of the same period. Several test units were then established within various parts of the Servants’ Hall to answer the research questions posed by the archaeologists about both the Servants' Hall and the earlier Wash House.

A test unit placed to investigate aspects of the Servants' Hall construction revealed an incomplete brick foundation, extending in front of, and perpendicular to, the front door.

Lund Washington’s letters to his cousin George Washington indicate that the façade of the building was originally planned to have two doors, which would have opened into two rooms. Presumably, these two rooms would have been separated by a wooden partition wall; the brick foundation in this test unit appeared to be the underpinning for that partition wall.

Concerned about symmetry with the Kitchen, which has only one door, Lund persuaded Washington to change the floor plan and eliminate one of the doors. Instead, one centrally located door was constructed, and the central partition wall was re-located slightly east, where it stands today. The brick foundation for the aborted partition was left in place, and concealed beneath the floor of the Servants’ Hall where it remains safely located today.

Read a report about the restoration and archaeology of the Servants' Hall