Voted the Best Place to See by Condé Nast Traveler.


Got a Minute?

Preservation, Trish Smith

As I sit at my desk drinking coffee and reading the first emails of the day, my cell phone lights up with a new text message alert. From Hoyt Roberts, carpenter with Richard Marks Restorations: “Got a minute?”

For the past five months, since RMR began a project to strengthen Drayton Hall’s 18th century mahogany staircase, my phone has been lighting up with these messages. I’ve now come to expect that this typically innocuous phrase will likely be followed by a revelation.

“Got a minute?” We found what looks to be a scythe blade in the wall.

“Got a minute?” The underside of this stair tread features an elaborate chalk drawing that’s been hidden for centuries.

“Got a minute?” We exposed extraordinary original carpentry/hardware/etc. that you’ve never seen before.

These thrilling discoveries are stemming from our primary goal of strengthening Drayton Hall’s 1740s mahogany staircase. To achieve this goal, the staircase was carefully disassembled to expose the framing. Custom steel brackets, straps, and angles are now being inserted to add strength and stability to the existing system, and then the staircase will be reassembled and opened to visitors once again.

Of the hundreds of photos taken to document this project, a significant portion of them feature members of our team peering at some detail in obvious wonder, and such photos capture one of the most captivating things about this site—it is a place of endless discovery. As always, we are so thankful to our supporters who make these discoveries possible. We love to share them with you!

Trish Smith
Curator of Historic Architectural Resources
March 2022