A glance at the Armoury webcam will confirm that reconstruction of the Anderson Kitchen is now in full swing. The kitchen is the first of six structures that will be rebuilt over the next three years, showing the property as it looked during James Anderson’s war-time service as Public Armourer for the Commonwealth of Virginia. A recently-completed artist’s rendering shows how the site will look when finished.
The view is as if looking toward the WNW and the corner of the building shown only as an outline is the current Anderson House. Duke of Gloucester Street runs diagonally across the upper right hand corner of the image.
What’s still to come? Following completion of the kitchen in mid-March, the Armoury building—a replacement for the present Anderson Blacksmith Shop — is next on the agenda. As many of you have noted, demolition of the blacksmith shop has already begun. Just this week, the northern section was removed to provide necessary space for brick masons to complete the kitchen chimney. The remainder of the blacksmith shop will be pulled down during the month of March.
Those of you who remember construction of the current Anderson Blacksmith Shop in the early 1980s may wonder why we are removing one shop to replace it with another. The goal of the Armoury project is to show the full extent of James Anderson’s Revolutionary War-period operation. Newly discovered documents and a fresh interpretation of older evidence, both archaeological and historical, have brought us to a new understanding of how the Armoury was constructed, which is sufficiently different from the present structure to warrant a new building.
The schedule for the Armoury reconstruction is choreographed to the final detail. By summer, visitors and webcam watchers will see construction of the Armoury building swing into high gear, and by mid-2012 the blacksmiths should be lighting their new forges. In the meantime, we hope you will visit them in their temporary residence at the Deane Forge on Prince George Street, across from the Wythe House.
Beyond the Armoury building there are four other reconstructions on the docket: two storage buildings and a workshop, all slated for completion in 2013; and that most “necessary” of buildings, a privy, to be finished in 2012. The accompanying plan indicates how you might make your way through the newly designed Armoury landscape.