Grave House Interior Project Completed

In early February 2017, the Martinez Painting Company finished the three week intensive job of repair, restoring, and painting the inside of our treasured house.

A select group from the Foundation reviewed the original restoration records to insure the job conformed in all details including paint colors. This group daily monitored the work product with Rob G, the foreman who was outstanding in his attention to detail.

First all surfaces were cleaned and all furniture moved and protected. Plastic barriers, HEPA vacuum and other means were used to insure all work areas remained clean and dust free.  All painted surfaces were scanned for lead. Those that tested positive were covered with a lead encapsulating primer.

All plaster walls, ceilings and painted areas were repaired, primed and covered with two coats of paint. Note that the Benjamin-Moore Williamsburg Collection was used with terrific results.  Natural surfaces were stained and some coated with linseed oil to match.

At the conclusion of the work, our group inspected the house and report that the project was very well done and we are extremely pleased.






Holiday Cheer Finale

January 8 of the New Year the directors of the Foundation held a festive party for members of the Deacon John Grave Foundation in appreciation for their support.

_DSC2079 _DSC2088_DSC2081The House was decorated for the holidays and a glowing fire welcomed all. Food, music, and good cheer made a very pleasant evening.  As usual Rick and Jim entertained everyone with ballads and good old folk tunes. Throughout the two hour party members got to meet or renew friendships with the Directors and other members.

A Child’s Colonial Holiday

IMG_0212bilde bilde-9 bilde-3 bilde-1 bilde-2 bilde-16On a December afternoon, the Grave House came alive with a host of your children, parents, and even grandparents celebrating an 18th century holiday.

But best of all, the children decorated gingerbread cookies and cooked them in the hearth beehive oven. They also made old fashioned tree ornaments to take home and sipped hot cocoa and enjoyed cookies.

Afterward the Deacon read holiday stories in front of a  roaring fire.  Later everyone joined together to sing  the tunes of the season, accompanied by guitar music.

Photos by Kelley Fryer Zip 06

2016 Holiday Faire

FullSizeRenderIMG_0195The Grave House was decorated for the holiday season and for four days visitors shopped for gifts. Vendors provided a wide arrangement of items including baked goods, holiday trimmings, jewelry, and special apparel.  Thursday evening was special with cookies, hot cocoa, and wine.


Grave House Goblins

On Oct 29th the Madison Newcomers sponsored their annual Monster March. A huge crowd of young children dressed in Halloween costumes paraded through downtown Madison and ended up at the Grave House barn. They were joined by proud parents, grandparents, and friends. Special treats and healthy snacks including apples, bagels,and yogurt were enjoyed by the children.






Country Day School Annual Visit

This October a large second grade class from Madison’s Country Day School joined us
for a fall visit. This was especially momentous since this education program has
been continuously running at the Grave House for fifteen years. Upon arrival, the
children participated in a morning program which focused on everyday life in colonial
New England. The students toured the Grave House and were provided with examples
of the daily activities and chores of children in the 18th century. Highlights included,
hearth cooking, flax to linen production, locating the “secret staircase, and ending with
time to play colonial games outside on the grounds. We look forward to next year.

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19th Annual Bauer Park Harvest Festival

On a beautiful fall Saturday in October, board members in colonial costume joined in the
fun at the Bauer Park Harvest Festival, sharing with visitors the ins and outs of the 18th
century manufacture of linen. Visitors were educated on how linen was made, from
growing the flax, to drying, harvesting the inner fibers, then finally spinning and
weaving. Eighteenth century tools such as a flax brake, swingling knife and hetchel
were demonstrated and explained.  A little trivia was included as well, such as where the
saying “ girl with the flaxen hair” came from – answer: the “blond” flax threads. In
addition to our demonstration at the festival, children enjoyed a hay maze, pony rides,
hay rides as well as pumpkin painting and making their own fresh pressed apple cider.


Oregon Visit


Grave descendants

A Special Visit From Oregon

On an October 1st afternoon a Seventh Generation Direct Descendant of John the Second and Elizabeth Grave toured the House and grounds.

Marian Graves Lovie and husband, Robert Thomas traveled from Beaverton, Oregon to the 1685 House where that Grandfather was born.

A detailed inspection of the House and narrative of the Grave 300 year ownership was very personal and appreciated.

A Late Summer Evening Serenade


The George Manstan Big Band playing in front of our beautiful barn.


The horn section


A little night music


A closeup of the band


Rick Camp Pres. of the Madison Historical Society, and Terry Roberts, Pres. of the Deacon John Grave Foundation welcome our members


A lovely evening with friends

Members of the Deacon John Grave Fooundation, Madison Historical Society, Garden Club Of Madison and the Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archives enjoyed the big band sounds of the George Mansion Band. The event marks the fourth year of a joint Grave Foundation and Madison Historical Society sponsored mixer. The evening’s highlight was the band’s final song – Moonlight Serenade. As its lovely melody floated over the grounds it inspired a number of couples to dance along.

Exterior and Window Project is Complete

2016Painting_1wThe exterior house and window project is now complete. The job took around six weeks and, without question, conformed to our highest standards. The exterior was gently power washed and some parts lightly sanded. Some clapboards required repair. The entire House was primed and followed by two coats of bark colored stain which was approved in 2001.

2016Painting_5wAll twenty-one windows were painstakingly addressed. Broken panes were replaced with old glass and most were repaired in place and glazed.

The inside sills needed major work. The traditional method is to use linseed oil but it requires redoing every two to three years. It’s been sixteen years since the sills were last addressed and there was some2016Painting_2w wood rot upstairs. Our painting foreman suggested that we coat the sills with a clear flat poly to protect them. Our experts in these areas are Ken and Cathy Schwanfelder and they agreed upon this application. Also six windows had to be removed and restored by an expert. No doubt you saw the plywood covering these windows. Upon return  they were housed in the Barn as it took a week to glaze, prime and paint.

In addition and at no added cost, the contractors restored the front door beautifully, made a new sign for the House and repainted the entire annex.

Take a good look . . . you will be pleased at the result.

The project was underwritten by generous grants from the Erwin Bauer Charitable Trust of Madison, the Howard Gilman Foundation of New York, and The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

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