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The Receipts

Deep in Agecroft’s archives lies a treasure trove of information that expands upon our current understanding of the house, its people, and its rebuilding in Richmond. One of our biggest resources is the collection of checks, statements, invoices, and receipts that have been saved from the rebuilding of the house. The house reconstruction was designed by architect Henry Morse and overseen by engineer Allen J. Saville, of Allen J. Saville, Inc., Engineering and Construction, and their invoices and monthly statements track payroll, materials purchased, and professional services used. There are approximately 800 documents dating from April of 1926 through September of 1928. The wealth of information contained in these documents is immeasurable. We know that Robert McClorry of Slate, Tile & Asbestos Roofing, of Newark, N.J., worked on the roof. James R. Marsh, also from New Jersey, worked on many wrought iron projects around the estate including the bell push plates found in many of the rooms, the wrought iron lanterns that hung outside, the radiator grill covers, and the pillars and entrance gates. We have records of payments made to Alexander W. Weddell who owned the home next door, the Virginia House, for the materials used on the terrace. What seem like mundane documents actually tell the fascinating story of the reconstruction of the house. The documents answer some questions, but create others. One example—why were most of the skilled craftsmen from the NYC/NJ area? Could those in the Richmond area not compare? Was this common amongst wealthy Richmond homebuilders? Or were they recommended by Morse whose architectural practice was based in New York? While we would never ignore our English history, we also need to focus on our Richmond history. Returning to these receipts for the first time in decades is a great starting point for learning more about the house, its materials, and the people involved in its rebuilding. Please keep an eye out in future blog posts about the insights into how Agecroft was painstakingly rebuilt!




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