Preservation Spotlight: The Veranda

Andrew Jackson Downing, the great promoter of Gothic Revival style architecture, understood the importance of a veranda when he wrote in his 1842 book, Victorian Cottage Residences, “The veranda is a highly characteristic feature and no dwelling-house can be considered complete without one or more of them… it is a necessary and delightful appendage to a dwelling house, and in fact during a considerable part of the year frequently becomes the lounging apartment of the family.  Hence a broad shady veranda suggests ideas of comfort, and is highly expressive of purpose.” 

The Cottage veranda during Lincoln’s time

 Lincoln, perhaps, received fleeting moments of comfort while sitting on the veranda; a reprieve from the heat, a visit with family, and a game of checkers…  

“When at the Soldiers’ Home one bright moonlight night the president and Tad were playing checkers on the porch.  As the sentinel passed by the president asked him if he ever played checkers and the sentinel said he did and the president said, “Set down your gun and come up let us take a game.”  He did so and said he did his best but was badly beaten.”  –From the Autobiography of Albert Nelson See, member of the Presidential Guard.  

The veranda expanded in 1878

The veranda that Lincoln sat on is long gone. It was expanded in 1878 and appeared that way until 2003 when the National Trust for Historic Preservation removed the entire veranda as a first step in the restoration of the Cottage exterior.

The veranda as it appeared in 2003 prior to the restoration

The removal of the 1878 veranda

In 2004 the restoration began to return the veranda to how it looked during Lincoln’s time.

Reconstruction of the Lincoln era veranda

In 2020 areas of moisture induced deterioration began to appear on the veranda floor boards 

Areas of floorboard deterioration

The decision was made to remove all of the floorboards to better assess the damage to the framing. Work began in January of 2022. Once the floorboards were removed it was revealed that six joists would have to be replaced. 

Deteriorated joists at South East corner

Reproduction of floor joists

After the replacement joists were installed an entire new deck of tongue and groove floorboards was installed.

Installation of Accoya wood floorboards

The veranda was completed in 2022 in time for the Bourbon & Bluegrass Festival, our biggest preservation fundraiser of the year.

Tray Wellington and his band playing on the newly restored veranda in 2022




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