Construction continues at Steele Mansion. The front part of the building, the most important portion of the historic restoration, was successfully stabilized during the first year of building. The rear wing, which was the servants’ quarters, had collapsed since its foundation was so poor. We rebuilt on the original footprint. The mansard roof, with all of its decorative components, has been recreated. This fall we installed all of the “historically-correct” windows – 138 of them!
The home had eight white unique dazzling Italian marble fireplaces when it was completed in 1867. As the Steele Mansion stood with no roof for nearly 10 years, the chimneys collapsed. The bricks broke through the floors and shattered the marble fireplace surrounds, with all of the debris landing in the basement. It was if eight different puzzles had been tossed together, with some of the pieces lost in the process. The marble was discolored by the adjacent rotting wood and mold. The marble fragments from the original eight fireplace surrounds have been rescued, sorted and cleaned. One of the fireplace surrounds has been completely rebuilt and installed, with a second fireplace soon to be finished. Overall, we will be able to restore six fireplace surrounds. The cracks and joints are nearly invisible. The marble gleams white again. What a rewarding puzzle adventure!
And so we continue our restoration of Steele Mansion, taking it into its reincarnation as a historic inn, hoping for an opening date in the spring of 2014. In the meantime, here are some great inns already open in Lake County!