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Peyton Randolph Kitchen Frame Raising

In the space of a few hours in October 1999, the work of a dozen historic trades carpenters became readily evident to anyone passing by the Peyton Randolph House. With the help of 50 - 60 other employees, the walls of the reconstructed kitchen rose into place, crowning the space previously occupied by only a brick foundation, hearth and chimney. The carpenters used a gin pole — an 18th-century crane — to hoist 100 joists on three different levels of the structure into place. Once the frame was standing and the joists were in place, the next major step was roofing the structure and then enclosing it with siding. The kitchen is 2,000 square feet divided into six rooms, five fireplaces, and a wine cellar and is larger that the average house built today.

Photos of the various stages of the frame raising

  • The deck is in place and the gable walls are up.

  • A gin pole is secured to the chimney stack to help with the frame raising.

  • The pulley-blocks multiply the forces exerted by crew on the ground.

  • Instructions are given to volunteers who will help raise the frame.

  • These volunteers are preparing to pull the walls up with ropes.

  • Using pike poles and ropes, the first wall goes up.

  • The crew fits and pegs the joints.

  • Pike poles hold the work steady.

  • The second wall is raised.

  • Several hundred visitors and staff watched the frame raising.

  • One hundred people were needed to raise each wall.

  • Four hundred pegs were used to secure the frame.

  • The floor joists tie the front and back walls together.

  • Lunch time!

  • The rest of the framing will need to be man-handled into position.

  • The first floor joists are hoisted into place and secured.

  • The crew prepares to install the attic joists.

  • Through the efforts of staff and visitors....

  • ...the frame is raised in one day.