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Built in 1830 ? (was Dating 18th/19th century Details)

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby gregV » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:56 pm

Jeremy. Not sure I would spend too much time on looking for a once upon a time kitchen firebox. EVERYTHING is pointing to there never being one there, and that the Ell was added the same time. It would take starting to pull out any new walls , etc to investigate.

Have some questions.

1. Take some pics of the inside of the ovens and general area of that whole brick area, including that small firebox
2. can you sketch out the walls in the house that you feel are original. Please show location of doors and windows.
3. Rough dimensions of each room.
4. Can you add to that sketch about where that yellow kitchen area is in the Ell.
5. Please let me know if you think the two parlor cupboards are original.
6. Show location of stairs for cellar and for second floor.
7. what does the area look like that would have had a keeping room firebox? What is that wall like?


I do think that what you see is what the house pretty much was as it always has been. It's very very cool I think as it's a modern home among it's peers, so it seem. You area may have been more with it back it the 1800s, and this could have been a common place thing to have a house like yours.
It was very hard for the woman of the house to give up the old way of hearth cooking for a new modern stove. So, I can only fantasize that this was a home maybe built for a new young couple to start their married life. To not have the backup of a large cooking fireplace and to build a house around the thinking of only using a modern stove is quite the commitment back in the early 1800s.
I find it fascinating myself. Very cool indeed.
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby James » Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:37 am

Well, again, I don't know anything about architecture in New England and how it might vary from here. But I have NEVER seen a ridgepole in a building from circa 1800. Around here the rafters would all meet at the ridge and be mortised and tenoned together and pegged.
And I have never seen what I would call a "subfloor" either. I doubt they would have ever had the term. What you DO see are lay after layer of floors built up over time as they get worn and they would simply put down a new floor on top of the old one. When the chimney came down at my grandfathers old pre1800 house years ago(at the time was my uncles house, and my cousin still lives there)there was great view of the cross section of the floor. It had four layers from old wide board pine, to narrower pine, to plywood, to modern floor laid on top of that. So my guess is that what looks like subfloor now was exposed for years till someone decided to modernize and put a new floor on top of it. One of the great old plantation houses in the county here is being restored and they removed a later floor to restore the original underneath. Even with the nail holes it still looks good. I have contemplated doing the same thing in my dining room where there is a later and not particularly good floor on top of the old one. Looks like the tenants in the 40's probably did it(and they were NOT overly skilled either).
Any idea if it ever had exposed beams in the ceilings? My grandfathers house used to have them, but they have been covered up. But there is one place in the staircase where you can still see just enough on one beam to know they were exposed with beaded edges just like mine are here.
Locust Quarter, circa 1770 Georgian Gambrel roofed cottage.
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby gregV » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:07 am

Hey James,
Your House(s?) sound really interesting. I will have to do a search here. Anything that has a finished and decorated post and or beam has MY attention! That would be pretty early here in New England, most likely pre 1740. After that it would have been more on the rare side. Might have been the 'cold' element we have up this way.

Yea, sub flooring again is quite common here. I have seen it as early as 1750ish. It was laid always as sub flooring and never intended to be seen as the main floor.
Sub flooring here was for the most part chestnut or red oak. About 5/8" thick, water sawn logs that were never even de-barked. They were laid over the joist as sawn, not squared up or straightened, the bark still on. The main floor was laid over that and then nailed.
When I did my south parlor floor I did everything I could to replicate the original. The local mills are good here but let me know that if I wanted more oak sawn this way that they would have to charge me a premium. Uggg. Below is a picture of how it came out. In the cellar looking up at that floor. You can see the oak sub floor with the bark still on. Unfortunately the only mill that would saw it that way would only do on a circular saw. :-(

Now I do see that Jeremy's "sub floor" is done much more 'neatly' then what I have seen in most other sub floors, so it IS a possibility that his house may not of had a sub floor and that those could be the finished floorboards. Something for 'J' to investigate.
Jeremy, if there is any area that you can see the thickness of those boards then let us know what it is.

In the very late 1700s you will find here that wide floor boards were left to the less formal rooms. As much as we worship them in an antique home now, back then they were the equivalent of modern day plywood. One will find here that the formal rooms would have narrower boards.

Image
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby Old Colonial » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:25 am

Greg,

Is your workshop open for visitors? I'm a hobbist furniture maker and always love to see workshops. Especially when they make such great stuff like you do.

Jeff
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby jharkin » Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:00 am

Greg-

Of topic.. Where in CT are you? I grew up in Southbury and my father still lives in Brookfield... maybe if you have that shop open I could find an excuse to pop in on a trip.


Back to my place. I will take some more photos and sketch some. Thoughts.

We are 25 miles from Boston. This town was settled in 1710 and we are on the Charles River, there supposedly was a water mill here back then. Plus the next town over, Milford, has an old granite quarry. So I think sources for hte sawn boards and the big granite foundation slabs were available back to the 1700s. Being near Boston I could see locals adopting modern nails and hardware quite early.

Both layers of flooring in the front of the house here go UNDER my walls. I can take a shot of the cross section in the basement stairwell.

In the addition I think that the 3.5" floor stops at the walls, which makes me think renovation.

I still wonder about the difference in the foundation stones of the addition.

I will take another photo of the chimney base side profile, there is quite a ledge under the boiler stack as if something was removed, and there are mortises where a girt under that wall was probably taken out... its just not as far out as I would expect for a big hearth extension.

Also, the parlor hearths with the greek columns. I take a new photo that shows it better, but the hearth extension is much WIDER than the current firebox, it actually extends a few inches beyond the pilaster on each side. Really makes me think there was a wider fireplace at one time that got rebuilt.

I still think its possible, the house really IS as old as we think, but somebody gutted it in 1830 or so and heavily modernized it at the time the addition was put on. Maybe it suffered some major storm damage or something. The only thing that doesn't fit is the lack of evidence of old shingles where they cut the roof.

This is such a fascinating discussion !!! thanks Greg, James, Casey, etc

More info to come....

-Jeremy
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby gregV » Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:49 am

jharkin wrote:Greg
Of topic.. Where in CT are you? I grew up in Southbury and my father still lives in Brookfield... maybe if you have that shop open I could find an excuse to pop in on a trip.
I'm in Hampton. Not a whole lot to see here, but you are welcome to visit. Just give me notice so I can pick up my dirty cloths! ;-)
Back to my place. I will take some more photos and sketch some. Thoughts.

We are 25 miles from Boston. This town was settled in 1710 and we are on the Charles River, there supposedly was a water mill here back then. Plus the next town over, Milford, has an old granite quarry. So I think sources for hte sawn boards and the big granite foundation slabs were available back to the 1700s. Being near Boston I could see locals adopting modern nails and hardware quite early.
Agree, being you are that close to Boston many things were more available, INCLUDING a modern cooking stove ;-)
Both layers of flooring in the front of the house here go UNDER my walls. I can take a shot of the cross section in the basement stairwell.
That sounds right and I would assume it's all the original floor
In the addition I think that the 3.5" floor stops at the walls, which makes me think renovation.
I still wonder about the difference in the foundation stones of the addition.

I will take another photo of the chimney base side profile, there is quite a ledge under the boiler stack as if something was removed, and there are mortises where a girt under that wall was probably taken out... its just not as far out as I would expect for a big hearth extension.
OK, that all sounds good 'J'. Those mortises are an important clue, maybe.
Also, the parlor hearths with the greek columns. I take a new photo that shows it better, but the hearth extension is much WIDER than the current firebox, it actually extends a few inches beyond the pilaster on each side. Really makes me think there was a wider fireplace at one time that got rebuilt.
This is quite common to find and is exactly the same thought proses I went through 15 years ago, as my house has the same thing. The most common reason I would hear for this being done was as a place to put the tools for the fire. Who knows. As you can see in my fancy North Parlor that this hearth stone is way off. It's just the way it always was in this house.
ImageImage

I still think its possible, the house really IS as old as we think, but somebody gutted it in 1830 or so and heavily modernized it at the time the addition was put on. Maybe it suffered some major storm damage or something. The only thing that doesn't fit is the lack of evidence of old shingles where they cut the roof.
It may be Jeremy. I tend to write as if I am 100% sure but I need to remind everyone that I am no expert and I live by the words "never say never" when it comes to these houses. Jeremy, I just see all the clues pointing to the hose being the way it is now, and no clues showing otherwise. But AGAIN, I am not there looking with my own eyes. How do you get past the evidence that there were never any shingles under the ell roof? How do you explain that those roofers were always laid like that and show no signs of ever being cut away to open the access to the ell attic? Just the strongest clue to discredit I think. Anyone?
The large granite cap stones on the main house were decorative and not structural. There would be no reason for them to continue them on the ell. That's one way of answering that question. Not sure it is the right one. The fact that the main house foundation and the cap stones are not where the ell crawl space is, is also an indication it was all done at the same time. Added on ells would not have had the main house foundation match up as well as yours. Almost always some of, or all of that foundation wall would still be there. If those cap stones end cleanly at the ell foundation then that is another clue pointing to it being built at the same time. Most likely.
This is such a fascinating discussion !!! thanks Greg, James, Casey, etc
More info to come....
-Jeremy

Yes. .... I love this stuff. I hope I'm not wearing you out Jeremy. Hope others that know better will join in.
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby James » Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:56 am

I can see with the climate differences lots of construction could be very different. And the idea of a subfloor would be one of the ones they definitely would have needed. Downstairs here I still have the original floor in the living room, kitchen and part of the hall. One layer, butt joined, not tongue and grooved. Even with insulation underneath now, when the heat kicks on in the winter you can feel cold air coming up between the floor boards. One of the reasons I HATE a forced air heating system and wish this place had radiators instead. The insulation needs to be removed and a subfloor added, from underneath, and then the insulation put back. More $$$. But insulation even with the house wrap below that just is not good enough it seems. The PO but clear caulk between the floor boards, which I expect worked great, for a while, but eventually it all pulls loose on one side or the other and the gets clogged with dirt and so much of that is gone now. Plus it really did not age well looks wise either.
Not only do I have exposed beams in the down stairs ceilings here, but the framing, corner posts and posts by the doors are all exposed too. The vertical posts are 4 x 8's. The roof is resting on massive 4 x 10's or so. Four of them, 26.5 feet long. Like to try and find a sawmill that would supply me with some of those today. The sills are hand hewn 12 x 12's. The ceiling beams have great hand planing on them. Shows up nicely under the right lighting conditions.
Locust Quarter, circa 1770 Georgian Gambrel roofed cottage.
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby jharkin » Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:01 pm

Ok here you go. I sketched the floor plan. Its a bit small but hope you can reed it. Writing in pen is the modern usages.

We ahve the kitchen in the back of the addition. There are no ceiling rafters there so that space was probably storage shed. NOte that its back there BEHIND the stack with the ovens I found a stovepipe connector. However the connector is in some newer white brick added onto the old chimney... So I think its more turn of the century?

Image
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby jharkin » Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:03 pm

The second chimney. Inside the lower bake oven and the small fireplace.

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Last edited by jharkin on Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For Greg and others - Dating 18th/19th century Details

Postby jharkin » Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:06 pm

This is the wall where a central fireplace would have been. Its a sheetrock wall but I think the location is original as the door into the parlor and the stairwell is old...

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And the chimney base and floor below.

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