Enon Hall


These journal entries track our progress as we undertake our adventure of restoring this very old home. The main reason for keeping this journal on the web is that we have found that there are very few resources (books or websites) that follow all of the trials and tribulations of restoring an old home...from start to finish.

February 6, 2000

Our visits to Enon Hall have become few and far between lately due to the snowy/icy weather we've been having. We stopped by for a quick visit today and poked around at the asbestos shingles that cover 3/4 of the house. I carefully removed two shingles on the front of the 19th century addition and found just what I wanted to see...original wood clapboards in great shape. All of the information I have been able to find so far (mostly from old house restoration bulletin boards on the web) indicates that asbestos siding does not present the same health hazards as other materials if removed very carefully. There are also no restrictions preventing homeowners from doing this work themselves. Of course, long sleeves, gloves, and a respirator are highly recommended. The key is not to break the shingles as you are removing them and then stack them carefully for disposal in double thick plastic bags. Disposal seems to be the looming question mark, since these restrictions vary state to state and even from locality to locality. If we can get the particulars worked out, this is a project we'd like to start this spring...at least on the front of the house. However, this probably isn't work that we want our son to be around for. Even if we feel confident taking on this job ourselves, I don't want to make that decision for him, and then thirty years later find out we were wrong. Ah, the joys of old home ownership!

As if we didn't have enough on our plate...we purchased an accessory for our new dock this weekend. A 1979 27-foot Tartan sailboat. Actually, we have been in the course of buying the boat since early December, but only wrote the check yesterday. We want to make sure that our visits to Enon Hall are equal parts work and recreation so that we (and William) don't burn out and start thinking of going there as a chore. Looking forward to sailing classes this spring! -- Bill

February 14, 2000

Posted a query to the Old House Journal bulletin board and have recieved several helpful responses so far. -- Bill

Enon Hall - 1985

June 1985

February 16, 2000

Wow! Received 16 photographs today via email (including the one above) from a Hathaway descendant who visited Enon Hall in 1985. The main differences between then and now are in the landscaping. It's amazing how many large trees can come and go in just 15 years. Thanks for all of the pictures Sandy and Bill! -- Bill

Ewing House

No, we haven't finished the restoration...this is The Ewing House in Williamsburg, Virginia.

February 28, 2000

I had a business meeting in Williamsburg on Friday, so Gay and William joined me for the trip and we spent the night. Spent Friday afternoon and Saturday taking pictures and looking for ideas for Enon Hall. Mainly we were interested in ideas for a fence and gate (the newly exposed brick front walk is begging for a picket fence and gate at the end...and we know there used to be one there), cellar trap doors, and front stoop.

On Saturday morning we wandered into a gift shop and found a porcelain model of a house that looked just like Enon Hall! The house was labeled "The Ewing House." We had not seen this house in our travels on Friday, so we started asking around. Nobody had heard of it. In fact several Colonial Williamsburg employees in the Visitors Center told me there was no such house. Finally, a supervisor looked it up in a book and told us where we could find it. We sped there right away and photographed it from all angles. This house is one of the few original (not rebuilt) houses in Williamsburg...so it was great to see a fully restored house of the same vintage and style as Enon Hall.

Stoop, Cellar Trapdoors

The Ewing House was also where we found our favorite front stoop and a good example of an appropriate cellar entrance. We also took photos of picket fences and gates that we liked and purchased a gate weight to complete the look. Also got a close up look at the cement shingles that Colonial Williamsburg uses on all of their houses instead of cedar shakes. Once the shingles have aged and grown a little moss (We wonder if they do something to speed the moss process. Gay says you can use a yogurt concoction to facilitate moss growth.) you really can't tell the difference. I am trying to find a source for these shingles. One of the carpenters said he thought they bought them from Johns Manville, but I don't see this product on their website.

Cement Shingles

Mr. Hayden had told me that they often photographed houses in Williamsburg for ideas. As I was photographing The Ewing House I could almost see them there taking the same pictures and having the same conversations. History repeats itself? -- Bill