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Spinning House

During the winter of 2004, Mount Vernon’s Spinning House was restored. It was originally constructed as part of the reorganization of the plantation begun in 1775. In 1799 this building housed the Overseer of the Mansion House Farm in the north and storage and work space for the cloth spinning operation in the south.

A comprehensive engineering assessment was undertaken in order to develop the current restoration plans and photogrammetric images were taken of the interior and exterior of the building. Additionally, the Collections Department has reassessed how the spaces are interpreted and both the overseer’s quarter and the spinning room are newly outfitted with the most accurate furnishings.

As with all of the other outbuildings, over the years, this structure underwent numerous changes. In 1894 the building was converted into quarters for employees, entailing a number of structural changes to accommodate that function. In 1935 the structure was stabilized by rebuilding the north wall of the building, replacing deteriorated wooden sills throughout, and rebuilding portions of the foundation.  A major renovation in 1952 removed additions made over the preceding half-century and intensive physical investigations determined what of the original 18th-century building fabric survived.

In the half-century since the 1952 restoration, the building has suffered from chronic moisture damage. The north cellar room was converted in 1952 into a storage and work space for the Mount Vernon curatorial staff, and was outfitted with a concrete floor and a shower, which in turn entailed the introduction of a “modern” plumbing system. In addition, extensive insect damage was inflicted on the wooden sills and floor framing, which contributed further to the structure’s overall deterioration. The recent restoration removed all incompatible materials and functions, and repaired or replaced deteriorated elements.