Final Reflections

At this, the end of the Coffeehouse Reconstruction, we wanted to share some closing reflections from a few staff members who were involved in the project:

Kim Ivey
Associate Curator, Textiles & Historic Interiors

The reconstruction and furnishing of the Charlton Coffeehouse has truly been a team effort by the Foundation's archaeologists, architects, engineers, historians, carpenters, tradesmen, conservators, and--more recently--the curatorial staff (to name just some of the folks involved.) The curators' goal was for the furnishings and room arrangements to tell a story and to identify the function of each space. We know that we've been successful if a visitor walking into a room immediately recognizes the activities that took place in that space. It was a pleasure and an honor working with so many talented and skilled coworkers.

Jason Whitehead
Supervisor of Historic Masonry Trades

The Coffeehouse has meant a tremendous amount to the Brickyard. It provides a natural connection for folks who visit the Brickyard to find out how bricks, mortar, and plaster are made to a sight where they can see the finished product in use. At the end of an interpretation I often ask people if they have toured the Coffeehouse yet and many of them have. When I tell them that about 10,000 bricks from the Brickyard were used in its reconstruction they are impressed. When I add the fact that much of the mortar and plaster was also made in the Brickyard out of oyster shells burned on site, folks often leave with a new appreciation for the level of authenticity we put in to projects like this one. I am glad to see it finished and I can't wait to start the next building.

Joshua Muse
Associate Digital Content Specialist

The Coffeehouse Reconstruction has been one of the most interesting projects I've worked on here at Colonial Williamsburg, fascinating and exciting throughout, and I feel lucky to have been here during such an eventful process.

The scope of the project has meant that departments who may not have had that much interaction on a regular basis got the chance to work together closely. Personally, it gave me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of staff members from across the Foundation, from Architecture and Engineering, to Historic Trades, to Maintenance, and Marketing, to name but a few. My fellow staff members have shown themselves to be both both knowledgeable and very helpful, and I gained a notably better appreciation for how the various components of the Foundation fit together.

Perhaps more unexpectedly, the Coffeehouse project also brought me into contact with a great number of people from outside the Foundation. Working on the Coffeehouse webcam and blog gave me the opportunity to interact with many enthusiastic members of the public. Though we had planned an online aspect for the project all along, we were still amazed by the level of interest shown in the webcam and blog updates. Better yet, the Internet gave me the chance to correspond with many fans of the project, whether by e-mail or through the blog, and even meet a number of them in person.

As this may well be the last blog update, I wanted to again thank everyone for all of your interest in the Coffeehouse Reconstruction. Your involvement and enthusiasm has made working on the blog and the webcam deeply enjoyable – I appreciated every single e-mail and blog post, even when it was to let me know that the camera was mysteriously dark, or to ask a question whose answer I didn't know. I especially enjoyed those chances to meet some of you in person.

Ultimately, I'd like to thank you for helping to make the Coffeehouse website such a success. I hope that we have started a precedent for future projects of this kind here at Colonial Williamsburg.

Thanks again, and Happy New Year!
Josh

The finished interior

Coffeehouse Conversations 11 - A Grand Opening

We've posted the final video in our Coffeehouse Conversations series, which is entitled A Grand Opening. This episode shows the events surrounding the Opening Ceremony for Charlton's Coffeehouse, back on November 20th. It features thoughts on the project's history and goals by Forrest E. Mars, Chairman of the Foundation Board of Trustees Richard G. Tilghman, and Foundation President Colin Campbell.

In addition to these words on the Reconstruction, this episode includes footage of other events from the opening, including a performance of the Stamp Act Riot scene, demonstrations of Historic Trades, and an appearance by the Colonial Williamsburg Fife & Drums. Coffeehouse Conversations is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 4 minutes and 5 seconds in length, and requires Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

And remember, if you have missed any of our Coffeehouse Conversations series, you can reach them all from our brief recap here.

Coffeehouse Conversations - A Recap

In honor of the Coffeehouse opening, we wanted to repost links to all of the Coffeehouse Conversations videos. As you may recall, these short videos document a broad-range of parts of the project, and feature many of our staff members who have worked on the project. Many thanks to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures, who produced all of these videos.

All of the videos require Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

Coffeehouse Conversations 10 - A Particular Charm

We've posted the tenth video in our Coffeehouse Conversations series; this episode is entitled A Particular Charm, and features Jim Horn, Vice President for Research and Historical Interpretation.

In this episode, Jim gives a summary of the project and its results. He describes the project's attempts to create as accurate an 18th century Coffeehouse as possible, inside and out. Jim also discusses the role of a Coffeehouse in Colonial society, as well as the role of Charlton's in the environment and experience of Colonial Williamsburg. Coffeehouse Conversations is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 4 minutes and 37 seconds in length, and requires Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

Coffeehouse Conversations 8 - Plaster Works

We've just posted the eighth video in our Coffeehouse Conversations series. This episode is entitled Plaster Works, and it features Conservator of Architecture Matthew Webster; it also shows members of the Historic Masonry Trades Staff, bricklayers from the Maintenance Department, and members of the Conservation team.

In the video, Matt describes the process of acquiring lime from oyster shells, and then goes on to explain the composition and application of plaster in the Coffeehouse. Coffeehouse Conversations is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 6 minutes and 13 seconds in length, and requires Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

October 26th Update

Here's a list of work both recent and soon-to-occur at the Coffeehouse. This time, we’ve posted even more photos, including a few from earlier in October.

Last two weeks of work

  • Completed hanging doors
  • Continued installing hardware
  • Installed stone steps at porch and cellar kitchen door
  • Continued interior painting
  • Installed two additional shelves in west passage
  • Installed five leaded glass casement windows and four interior shutters in cellar
  • Repaired plaster and then whitewashed porch ceiling
  • Hand scraped floors
  • Completed paving at front porch and repairs to main sidewalk
  • Installed stainless steel shelving in servery
  • Installed dishwasher in servery
  • Closed-in dumbwaiter shaft in cellar
  • Completed fabrication and installed three benches for front porch
  • Fabricated dresser (offsite) for kitchen and installed

Next two weeks of scheduled work

  • Install handrails at front step and ADA ramp
  • Install handrails at interior stair winders
  • Complete hand scraping floors and stair treads
  • Repair plaster and re-whitewash where additional shelves installed at west passage
  • Complete installation of all door locks and hardware
  • Install grab bars and mirror in restroom
  • Complete painting and touchup interior and exterior
  • Install sign post
  • Install audio system and put into operation
  • Fabricate and install pales and gate on east yard fence and apply finish
  • Install post light
  • Install telephones
  • Install carpet and wall paper
  • Begin installing furnishings
  • Replace glass in lanterns with blown glass
  • Remove portion of gravel and install crushed shells on path to cellar doors
  • Remove post and rail fence along west side of path and relocate portions as directed
  • Repair path to Revolutionary City seating area

Photos by Clyde Kestner and Joshua Muse

October 12th Update

Here's a list of work both recent and soon-to-occur at the Coffeehouse. We’ve tried to include more photos this time, to better showcase the recent construction.

Last two weeks of work

  • Continued painting throughout on first and second floors
  • Continued installing doors and hardware
  • Completed final site grading, sod, seed and straw
  • Installed gravel paths from Revolutionary City path to cellar doors
  • Installed the remainder of double hung windows and shutters
  • Installed custom stainless steel servery equipment
  • Installed ceiling tiles in servery
  • Installed lighting fixtures
  • Closed in dumbwaiter shaft at bar
  • Installed plumbing fixtures in servery and restroom
  • Installed east fence posts and rails
  • Removed and reset pavers in main sidewalk in front of building
  • Excavated and poured concrete footers for the sign post, post light and two stone steps
  • Installed pavers for front walk and two stone steps
  • Installed dampers in kitchen fireplace
  • Put plumbing systems into operation
  • Completed conventional smoke detection system in cellar and security system

Next two weeks of scheduled work

  • Complete hanging doors and installing hardware
  • Complete interior painting
  • Install five leaded glass casement windows in cellar
  • Whitewash porch ceiling
  • Complete paving at front porch and repairs to main sidewalk
  • Startup HVAC systems
  • Close-in dumbwaiter shaft in cellar
  • Complete east yard fence and apply “red tar” finish
  • Install sign post
  • Install audio system
  • Cleanup interior
  • Install landscape plantings
  • Complete fabrication of three benches for front porch
  • Fabricate dresser (offsite) for kitchen

Photos by Joshua Muse

Coffeehouse Conversations 7 - Stimulating Brews

We've just posted the seventh video in our Coffeehouse Conversations series. This episode is entitled Stimulating Brews, and it features members of our Historic Foodways department discussing the new environment and beverages of a coffeehouse.

The video includes Frank Clark, Jim Gay, and Robert Brantley, who describe the consumption of coffee, tea, and chocolate in the colonies, including some of their economic and political ramifications. It was produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 2 minutes and 34 seconds in length, and requires Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

September 18th Update

Here's a list of work both recent and soon-to-occur at the Coffeehouse.

Last two weeks of work

  • Completed installing trim and panel walls on second floor
  • Completed plaster in west stair passage, all the second floor rooms and porch ceiling
  • Installed five doors in north room and west passage
  • Began final coat of paint in southeast room
  • Continued making hardware offsite
  • Cellar window sashes shipped to England to install leaded glass
  • Completed work on corner cupboard offsite
  • Began installing hardware for first floor doors, locks, etc...
  • Began work on the post and rails for new east courtyard fence
  • Closed-in of dumbwaiter at bar
  • Installed shelving on south wall of exhibition kitchen
  • Installed pre-painted window sashes in southeast room

Next two weeks of scheduled work

  • Conduct a thorough cleanup inside now that plastering is complete, and continue daily cleanup as necessary
  • Finish painting in SE room
  • Apply whitewash to second floor rooms and west stair passage
  • Begin painting trim on second floor and west stair passage
  • Install window sashes in north room, stair passages and second floor
  • Install doors for second floor rooms
  • Install shutters on front elevation windows
  • Close-in dumbwaiter shaft in cellar
  • Continue making hardware off-site
  • Begin building the dresser for cellar kitchen off-site
  • Complete boxes for cellar kitchen to conceal ducts
  • Complete making posts and rails for east courtyard fence and begin making the pales

Photos by Peter Inker

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