Upstairs at LeRoy House
by Lynne Belluscio
There are four large rooms on the second floor of LeRoy House, with a very wide hall going from front to back. You will notice that the ceiling in the front of the house is much lower and the door frames are very plain. In the back of the house, the ceilings are high and the moldings are very deeply carved. It is believed that the back of the house is the newer addition to the original land office building that stood on the front of the property. When the house was a boarding house in the 1870s, the rooms on the second floor were divided up in an effort to have more rooms. A wall was built across the back hall to make a small room. The evidence of this wall can be seen on the floor. The floor also reveals a round hole where a stove pipe once brought heat from the main floor into the second floor.
The four large rooms have fireplaces. Later, when a steam boiler was installed in the basement, the rooms were fitted with steam radiators – with the exception of the northeast room which has no evidence of heat, other than the fireplace. The windows in the second floor are all fitted with interior shutters which could be closed to regulate room temperature in the summer and winter, as well as provide privacy.
Four hall doors have nine-pane windows. The small frosted panes are painted with reverse paintings on glass, with images of animals and scenery. It is said that these were installed to provide privacy in the rooms, but to allow light into the hall. We don’t know who painted the windows, but at one time they were considered quite primitive.
The back room on the east side, still retains beautiful paneling beneath the windows. More than likely, this was the “master bedroom” of Jacob and Charlotte LeRoy, with the windows overlooking the expansive gardens and courtyard in the back. (This room is now used for changing exhibits.) Across the hall is the furnished 1830 bedroom. The tall poster bed, is said to have been in the house when the LeRoys lived here. It is quite possible that the bed had a curved wooden frame to support bed curtains. The curtains could be closed to prevent drafts in the winter. In the early 1800s, bed curtains went out of favor, because it was believed that they prevented good circulation of air.