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The restoration of 18th century center chimney and fireplaces, etc.

  • 1.  The restoration of 18th century center chimney and fireplaces, etc.

    Posted 01-13-2018 11:59
    Who has experience or knowledge of early cooking hearths that are extant and intact or restored to their former original state? Our subject house, known as the 1762 Akin House, is a modest farmhouse rather than a grand mansion of the period. The entrepreneurial shipbuilder and politician Elihu Akin had wealth and great properties destroyed by the British in September 1778. He and his family sought refuge at his modest farmhouse to live out the rest of his days. The property remained with his descendants until 2003.
    Since 2003, we have been engaged in a historic bricks-and-mortar project, a phased preservation and restoration of a pre-Revolutionary War homestead in Dartmouth, MA, one of the oldest in town. When we saved it to preserve it, the kitchen/gathering room in our 1762 Akin House had a ca. 1830s Greek Revival fireplace, one of three in the house. [Cooking hearths evolved to much smaller fireplaces over time such as the Rumfords.] Sometime in the 20th century, the fireplace opening was covered with board with a gas Humphrey heater piped into the chimney.  

    Right now, we are concentrating our efforts on center chimney work and our three fireplaces. We are bringing back the larger more expansive original cooking hearth hidden for centuries behind the smaller fireplace in the gathering room. This has been a huge undertaking but well worth it. 

    Thanks in advance for weighing in. Photos attached show work in progress. We have thousands of images recording every phase of our restoration work. If applicable, feel free to contact me separately to obtain other photos and additional information. 


    Diane Gilbert
    Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust, Inc.
    Dartmouth, MA