In Md. State House, Preservationists Hope to Return Old Senate Chamber Closer to Its Original Look

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Architectural detectives in Maryland will spend the next year studying ghost images that splotch the walls of one of the nation's most historic spaces in the hope that the clues will guide the restoration of the room to its appearance at the time of the nation's birth.

For years, a mysterious water leak had plagued the walls of the Old Senate Chamber in the Maryland State House, the nation's oldest continuously operative legislative building. The water was causing ugly bubbles in the plaster of the historic room, where in 1783 George Washington stood in front of the Continental Congress and resigned his commission as head of the army....

In search of the source of the water, the preservationists last year peeled back all of the plaster and paint accumulated over the years in the Old Senate Chamber, revealing the bare brick beneath. And, stripped to its bones, the room began to share its secrets.

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