The historic Belmont entrance gates have received much needed attention this summer and fall. The gates were built by Gari and Corinne Melchers in the early 1920s, and as seen in this picture they were originally painted white.
Paint analysis revealed that this gate had the same off white paint as the main house. Other gates on the property were either painted the green seen on the house shutters, or were simply whitewashed in areas of heavy use, such as the barn yard. This differentiation of color from other gates signal their importance; they secured what was then the only public entrance to Belmont. An earlier, Ficklen period, entrance to the estate is thought to have been located just downhill from this location.
Working with Habalis Construction Company we were able to restore most of the original material of the gate. An earlier blog post documents that Gari Melchers was involved with the design of at least one of the gates at Belmont. The workmanship of the main entrance gate is similar to others on the estate, and it is likely that they were designed and made at Belmont.
The gates are hung on stone piers which bookend the stone walls fronting Washington Street. The piers had shifted over the years, and were leaning so much the gates did not close properly. New footings and repointing of the stone work solved that problem. The origin of the lion statues on top of the piers is unknown, but they have been guarding the gates for close to one hundred years.
The stone walls, wooden gates and the piers crowned with guardian lions create a stately entrance for Gari and Corinne Melchers estate, and it is our hope that the expert attention they have received will give them a new lease on life for another century.
We thank the Stewart Jones Charitable Trust for their generous support of this project.