Friday, April 17, 2015

Montpelier Mansion--Interior

The interior tour of Montpelier Mansion starts in the East/South Wing. This room was originally the kitchen but has been turned into a meeting room available for rentals. The fireplace was originally in the center of the room to make cooking easier. The chandelier is a Waterford and modeled after an old pattern.

East/South Wing

New(er) fireplace

Leaving the wing, visitors travel through a hallway (called a "hyphen") to the main house. Naturally the kitchen hall leads to the dining room!

Dining room

Desserts and things

The fireplace

The cupboard

Across the hall is the Lady's Chamber, where Anne Snowden managed the household affairs. In addition to her desk there is a four poster bed on loan from the Baltimore Museum of Art. The wing back chair has a slip cover with a popular (back then) peacock design.

Lady's desk

Four poster bed

Another view of the bed

Wing back chair

Right next to the chair is a small staircase that was used by servants as the back stairs. It was turned into closet space for modern convenience.

Back stairs

The central passageway has the main entrance to the house and is lined with chairs that would be moved to rooms as needed. The area was used for entertaining (extra dining area or dance floor) or a sleeping area in hot weather since it has good cross-ventilation.

Central Passageway

On the other side of the passageway is the Parlor, a sort of family room where the family played games, read books, or played music. During fancy dinners, the ladies would retire here for tea and gossip while the men stayed in the dining room with their cigars and brandy.

The map over the fireplace is noted in an 1831 inventory of the house. It's the 1816 Shelton-Kensett map of the United States.

Parlor fireplace with map


The central passage also leads upstairs to the second floor.

Upper hallway

Detail from the molding

The Bed Chamber is where the back stairs leads and was probably used for guests.

Bed chamber

Children's toys

Top of the stairs!

Across the hall is the Snowden Family Bedroom, which includes original furniture and a photo of a Snowden wedding gown from 1885.

Bed with trundle

Sitting area

Hope chest

Photo of the wedding gown

Family coat of arms

The cool floor pattern

Also upstairs is a Hands-on-Room, where children can dress up and try out various items, including toys, from the 1800s.

A sample desk for kids

L pretends to have a snack

J tries a bit of everything

L tries wooden shoes

Loom (not for trying)

Back downstairs, our tour led through the other hyphen into the Library/North Wing. The brass fox is an ash tray and is almost as cool as the corner chair.

Brass fox

Bicentennial-era chair

The library was originally a store room and plantation offices. It was refurbished in the early 20th century as a library. It contains displays on the history of the area and is also available for rental.



The gold gilt French mantel clock dates from the 1840s.

Mantel clock

The room is lined with a variety of portraits from the family or that the family collected. Sadly, some are slightly obscured by the displays.

A portrait

The house was impressive to us but J's main comment was "it's so small." The houses from the late 1700s and early 1800s in England were much larger and fancier, probably because the people were wealthier and had more resources and artisans. J was not convinced by our arguments. We'll have to take him to Mount Vernon or Monticello to see a grand home from back then!

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