McFaddin-Ward House Electrical Upgrade Sep. 2023 Project Update
Beaumont, TX; Sep. 12, 2023 – As Phase 2 of the McFaddin-Ward House electrical upgrade nears completion, work in recent weeks has been highlighted by the installation of lighting in the Butler’s Pantry cabinets, rewiring of the collection’s lamps, and addition of insulation to attic spaces.
Newtron Electrical Services has been back on site to install strip LED lighting in every upper-cabinet doorway in the Butler’s Pantry. All lights will be controlled by a single switch with a dimmer to adjust brightness and provide increased illumination to the objects — primarily crystal and china — displayed inside.
Electricians are also working to rewire around 25 of the home’s historic lamps. With their varying designs and delicate parts, each lamp poses its own obstacles and requires the utmost care to access internal pieces. Electricians are tackling each lamp individually, first removing as many breakable components as possible, and then securing smaller lamps with Styrofoam or pillows to provide protection while work is performed. Old wiring is being replaced with new, modern — but historically correct — wiring to ensure the lamps can be safely plugged into the house’s upgraded electrical system. Efforts are being made to keep as many original parts as possible for each lamp, but anything not working is being replaced with new parts.
Temperature control issues in the house were addressed by adding insulation in the fourth-floor attic area and ceiling spaces around the third floor. Quality Insulation, LLC of Beaumont blew in insulation to a thickness of one foot to help with temperature control and eliminate temperature changes causing condensation on rafters and duct work. The new insulation will also help preserve the third floor’s new ceiling wallpaper by adding protection from extreme heat through the roof. Prior to the electrical upgrade, the house’s original knob and tube wiring prevented the addition of insulation as it would have posed a fire hazard, but with wiring updated, it is now safe to add.
As we move into the project’s final phase in the coming weeks, the experts from Crenshaw Lighting will return from Virginia to reinstall the house’s restored light fixtures, new Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper will be installed on the third floor, and all interpretation objects will be returned to their rightful places.
Current plans for reopening are projected for mid to late October.
UPDATE (Sept. 19, 2023):
The McFaddin-Ward House’s restored heirloom light fixtures, which were shipped to Virginia-based Crenshaw Lighting for refurbishment and rewiring in March, have returned for reinstallation as the museum enters the final phase of its extensive electrical upgrade.
Oak Grove Restoration Company representatives are back on site overseeing the reinstallation process as electricians from Beaumont’s Newtron Electrical Services put the finishing touches on the almost nine-month project.
The house’s nearly 100 light fixtures, including the large crystal chandeliers in the Entry Hall, Pink Parlor, and Dining Room, as well as the iconic grape-shaped lights and bronze maiden-topped fountain in the Breakfast Room/Conservatory, various ceiling fans, and decorative wall sconces, will be reinstalled beginning this week (Sep. 19-21).