Despite recent rainy weather, preservationist Timothy Robinson, with the help of Vienna’s Parks and Recreation Department, has been dismantling Vienna’s Moorefield House for the past two weeks. Among the first steps was to remove the outer, latter shell of the building, to reveal the original structure.
"The framing tells the story," said Robinson, who owns his own restoration firm, James City-based Heartland Restorations. "By identifying the framing, you can understand the evolution of this structure."
Since taking apart the brick exterior, Robinson has made several discoveries. The wood floor on the oldest portion of the building is original and intact. In removing the drywall, he revealed a house frame that suggests the original room was enlarged. Robinson also theorizes that the house may have also been moved from a nearby location. Making the room bigger would have given the original builder Jeremiah Moore, a Baptist preacher and Revolutionary War figure, more space to minister.
"My feeling is Moore was a scavenger of sorts," Robinson said.
The frame, made of oak hardwood, is still intact, and the saw markings of the wood date the frame to the 1790s. Several door hinges also point to a period style known as the federal style.
Robinson has until Sept. 15 to remove the Moorefield House from its current site in Vienna. Whether it will be raised up again depends on an ad-hoc coalition of area preservationists, historians and Baptists seeking to save the structure and turn it into an educational tool.
The next step is for the Town of Vienna to take the debris offsite, while Robinson begins to catalog the original remnants of the building.
"We’ve been working for the past two weeks, even with the bad weather," said Cathy Salgado, Vienna’s Parks and Recreation director. "We’ve actually made some good progress."
--By Joanna Franco