Collections › MESDA Collection › Hall


Place Made:
Catawba County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
Accession Number:
The woodwork in this room was removed from a house outside of Catawba, Catawba County, North Carolina. Traditionally original ownership of house has been assigned to “Gentleman” John Perkins (1733-1804). Perkins owned large tracts of land in the North Carolina Piedmont and was among the earliest European settlers in the Catawba River Valley. The use of Flemish bond brickwork and the three-room hall-parlor-chamber plan could suggest that the structure was built in the late eighteenth century; however, the date 1811 was found on the back of one of the cornices when the woodwork was removed for reconstruction at MESDA in 1962. Research by June Lucas suggests that the was probably built instead for Ephraim Perkins (1764-1822). Lucas’s research also suggests that the decorative elements may be the work of the Bost family based on similarities between the decoration here and that found nearby at Old St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, built in 1818. Similar paint decoration can also be found at Rosedale, built in 1815.

In 1962 Frank L. Horton acquired the woodwork from the “main lower and main upper rooms… as well as enough original sash from throughout the house to outfit the original number of windows in the two rooms.” The hall was the primary room on the main floor of the house. When the hall was installed at MESDA the locations of windows, doors, and stairs were adjusted to fit the space available. Frank Horton hired decorative painter Robert James Webb, Jr. to retouch and recreate the decorative paintwork throughout the room.

Unfortunately no record was made of the extent of the retouching and recreation of painted surfaces in the room. In 2013 the museum hired paint analyst Susan Buck to study the room and determine the originality of its painted surfaces. Buck determined that almost the entire room had been overpainted; however, she also determined that the original painted surfaces were largely intact below the 1960s overpaint on the mantel. Working with paint conservator Andy Compton in 2015 MESDA was able to remove the 1960s overpaint from the mantel and reveal the original painted surfaces.

The serpentine valences above the windows and doors of this room are unusual. They are based on a surviving original from the house. The window architraves still retain many of their original pins used to hang window treatments. The window treatments themselves were designed by Natalie Larson based on physical evidence and period sources.

The house itself still stands. It was nominated to the National Register in 1974.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA also has an upstairs bedchamber from this house (acc. 0000.16).

Credit Line:
Original Installation: Frank L. Horton; Rennovations: Mrs. Mary E.S. Hanahan