Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Committee Member

Dr. Carter L. Hudgins, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Richard Marks III

Committee Member

Willie Graham

Committee Member

Tom Reinhart

Abstract

As the Revolutionary War came to a close, George Washington sent orders from Pennsylvania to his Mount Vernon farm in Virginia to construct a new horse stable. Completed in 1782, this substantial brick building survives as one of the best representations between the planter-elite like Washington and the multiple roles horses played in the culture of eighteenth-century America. This thesis applies an investigation of surviving stables on the east coast and historical sources to explore the evolution of stable architecture in eighteenth and nineteenth-century America. Stables, like essentially everything else in early American life, represented the materialism, power, wealth, and education of those who ordered their construction. Extant stables at Mount Airy, Shirley, and Sabine Hall in Virginia, Shepherd's Delight in Maryland, Woodlands in Pennsylvania, and the Aiken-Rhett House and others in Charleston, South Carolina illustrate shared patterns of stable construction and plan. These stables and information drawn from newspaper advertisements, insurance records, plats, paintings, sketches, and tax records reveal how design, materials, finish, and joinery employed in the construction of stables evolved in George Washington's world and how they defined the relationships, architectural and spatial, between dwelling and stable. This thesis argues that stable fittings as expressions of wealth reflected a household's aspirations and perceptions of its place in local and regional culture. Conclusions drawn from this research will support the restoration of the interior of Mount Vernon's stable.

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