Maryland Mansion Goes Green
By Tricia McCarter-Joseph | Online Only | Mar. 2, 2010
A 19th-century house museum in Princess Anne, Md., is halfway through a 20-year restoration. Teackle Mansion has been closed since December for the installation of customized geothermal-based climate control system beneath its grounds. The water-based system will alleviate the need for fossil fuels and help preserve the 200-year-old mansion in Somerset County.
"It's been a long process, but it's been a true treasure," says Gale Yerges, president of the board of the Friends of Teackle Mansion, which operates the museum. The group has raised more than $1 million toward the mansion's restoration and renovation, which began in 1999. "We're enthused and excited that we've come this far."
A series of 25 wells, drilled 100 feet underground behind the mansion, will be connected and then funneled to the house to control humidity and cooling. Work began last December and is scheduled to be completed in April.
Tackling the design and installation of the system was tricky, according to architectural historian Paul Touart, who is overseeing the $500,000 project. It took five years to map the sophisticated system because of the 10,000-square-foot mansion's varying ceiling heights.
"We never had any control over the humidity at the mansion, and all it had was a heating system through baseboard heating," Touart says. "It's been a challenge to design a system that works but yet is invisible."
The villa-style house was built over a 17-year period by trader Littleton Dennis Teackle and his wife, Elizabeth. Today the house museum offers tours to local schoolchildren, who can act as the characters that lived in the area in the early 1800s. Yerges says that plans are in the works for a visitors center at the back of the mansion.
"People have lived here all their lives and never been in [the mansion]," Yerges says. "People have been coming up to me and saying, 'I want to help,' and that, to me, is amazing."
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