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The Belmont Mansion is pink again — here’s why

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Students returning to campus might notice the historic Belmont Mansion on the North Lawn got a sprucing-up to prepare for the new school year.

The Belmont Mansion got a new paint job in July, changing its color from yellow-green to the pink that appeared on the original house designed by estate owners Adelicia and Joseph Acklen. This is the third time the mansion has been painted back to pink in its recent history — part of an effort to return it to its 19th century appearance, said the mansion’s executive director, Mark Brown.

“This process began years and years ago with a paint analysis of the original color scheme for the mansion,” said Brown. “When the analysis was finished, the color you see out there today is the first color it was painted when the house was stuccoed the first time, probably in 1857.”

The home, built by the Acklens in 1853, was initially left brick-colored. In 1857, the wealthy couple decided to add the east and west wings and stucco the outside pink — the original inspiration for its current paint job.

Over Adelicia’s lifetime, she repainted the home several more times. When Belmont Women’s College purchased the mansion in 1890, they painted it white to match the neoclassical aesthetics of the time, and it remained that color for almost 100 years.

“That trend just didn’t stop until the 1970s, when you started getting color back in houses again,” said Brown. “This house stayed white up until the late 1980s, when it returned back to its original color.”

The pink paint got another refresh about 11 years ago, and the color faded over time to a yellow-green, but that yellow-green color comes from the same pink paint, said Brown.

“The red pigment in the paint is a very fugitive dye, and so it fades very, very rapidly,” said Brown. “It’s interesting; everyone sees this color and the color it fades to as very different colors.”

In addition to repainting the outside of the mansion, this restoration campaign also included replacing the tiles on the portico. Somewhere around the 1920s, Brown estimates, the original black and white tiles were replaced with pink marble. This August, the black and white returned.

All of these repairs are an effort to restore the mansion back to its appearance at the time it was built by the Acklens.

“It’s not an aesthetic thing, it is a historical thing,” said Brown.

PHOTO: The Belmont mansion with its rosy, refreshed look. Belmont Vision / Katherine Bell

This article was written by Anna D’Amico. Contributory reporting by Chandler Maynard.

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