Preserving Stable Courtyard, Brick by Brick
Written By Heather Angel
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For over a century, the brick pavers of the Stable Courtyard adjacent to Biltmore House have supported everything from horse and carriage traffic to more than a million guests each year. Unsurprisingly, sections of the courtyard had become worn and were ready for a large-scale preservation project.
Continue reading to learn about what it takes to restore the courtyard’s appearance to Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt’s original design intent.
A brief overview of the Stable Complex
Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, one of America’s most prominent architects during the late 19th century, the Stable Complex was an essential component of the comprehensive plan for Biltmore Estate.
This state-of-the-art complex includes many spaces, such as horse stables, a carriage house, living quarters for estate employees, livery storage, saddlery, and, of course, a wide, brick-paved courtyard.
Tip: Learn more about Biltmore’s construction story at our Building Biltmore House exhibition, on display daily inside the Halloween Room. Access is included with Biltmore House admission and Annual Passholder memberships.
Stable Courtyard preservation by the numbers:
- The Stable Complex is around 12,000 square feet, while the brick Courtyard is around 9,000 square feet.
- During Mr. Vanderbilt’s era, there would have been as many as 25 riding and driving horses and 20 carriages inside the complex.
- The process of recreating replicas of our historic brick took more than three years.
- Preservation work is estimated to have taken a total of six and a half months to complete, with part of the work happening in 2023 and the remaining in early 2024.
- 1,700 square feet of brick pavers were assessed, some of which were original bricks and others which had been replaced over the years.
- 10,800 reproduction bricks and 2,016 gallons of mortar were ordered for this project. Both the bricks and the mortar were designed to age consistently with the original brick, and the differences now are calculated to produce the same appearance over time.
- Biltmore Estate has held the National Historic Landmark designation since May 1963. As such, our preservation work follows the guidance set by the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Keeping time in the Courtyard
In addition to the resetting of brick pavers, the Stable Courtyard Clock has also been recently preserved! The face of the clock was treated by our in-house Conservation team, which included restoring the gilded wood hands.
Biltmore’s Associate Curator, Meghan Forest, says “Historically, this clock would have been connected to all of the clocks in the service areas of Biltmore House, ensuring that staff had a firm and consistent idea of what time it was.”
Thank you for your help in preserving Biltmore
We welcome you to see our ongoing preservation efforts of this National Historic Landmark for yourself during your next Biltmore visit.