Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture Archives Contact Us Search Forum Upcoming Events

HVVA NEWSLETTER, February 2000
(Click on graphics/photos for larger view)


From the JOURNAL

November 29, 1999, the Turpening/DuMond/Seff stone house (Eso-3) Ulster County .

This is a modified 18th-century 8-bay 2-room New World Dutch stone house with full cellar. There is evidence in the graduated anchorbeams and trimmer beams that it may originally have had end-wall jambless fireplaces. In the 1850-1860s the walls and roof were raised to make the second story more usable and some of the original hewn rafters were reused. In the new masonry in the loft are a number of thin (1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch) white washed brick. None show soot but they could be from a smoke hood. The original, or first period, house seems to date 1760-1770.

Some of the important first period artifacts are: 1. A window frame in the west wall, 2. A cellar door with pad hinges. The finials are pointed., 3. A wall stud in the cellar nailed to the floor boards above. It has cut groves for infill. It was probably from the center wall on the first floor. 4. A door post on the first floor with original paint. This was probably from the center wall. 5. Collar tie slots in the re used ratters from which to determine roof pitch. 6. Evidence of a bee hive oven in the external end-wall. 7. Mortises in the undersurface of beams (4) and (5) These tWo beams also preserve a rich first-period finish. The beams seem to be cherry.

The mortise evidence on beams (4) and (5) suggests a one bay stairway or center hall. It is complex and would take more careful and experienced observation to unravel. The house is being restored by its new owner.

December 2, 1999, with Roger and Todd examined the _/Robb/Haight Dutch stone house with frame additions, near Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County. Dutch store houses are relatively rare in Dutchess county.

The house seems to have begun as a 25.5 by 34-foot long 8-bay 1 1/2-story stone house with end-wall jambless fireplaces. The south end room that contains the best fireplace evidence was divided into two bedrooms and a parlor. The beams in the parlor were reduced in size when the ceiling was plastered. In the 19th century. Despite a number of changes and additions the house preserves a number of important mid-18th century artifacts.

Some of the most interesting original features are some 18th century panel doors with hardware, a crown molding and other moldings on the door between the two rooms of the stone house and a typical lattice storage room in the cellar constructed with rose-head nails.

Especially important is a window with wide muntins and a raised panel shutter with pad hinges on the west end wall. This weighted-sash window and frame are in a remarkable state of preservation and should be fully documented.

December 19, 1999, at the Robb Farm with the owner Bob Haight, Roger, Todd, John Stevens, Alvin Sheffer and Jim Decker. Someone unknown has started digging for bottles in the old privy site even though Bob checks the place sometimes twice a day.

John Stevens drew some of the moldings and to preserve some of the most important artifacts we removed the window shutter, internal door and the crown molding that proved to be made of one piece of oak and set with four nails. It had been there since first nailed to the studs. There is a clay-and-straw infill behind it. The nogging, split wood set between the studs to support the clay, is in this case held with nailed strips of wood like the late 18th century Stissing Tavern in Pine Plains. This method is usually thought to be late 18th century and the grooved-studs earlier, but the door style, Dutch fireplace and sash window seem mid-18th century.

Bob welcomes our input and is willing to let us remove the window sash and put a 43" x 69" external plywood sheet over the window frame but would like a painted likeness on the sheet of the missing wide-muntin 8-over-8 sash.

A first official January chapter meeting at the Marbletown firehouse was suggested.

January 5, 2000, with Roger and Todd visited George Turrell and the Achter-Col company dismantling a house on the Columbia Tpk., Florham Park, Morris County, NJ. It is going to be re-erected in Indiana by the circa 75 year old owner who sold the property for 1.25 million dollars to an industrial site. She has lived in it for 40 years. The site is known as the Hammock. The earliest 18' 7" x 36' part is part stone, dated 1722, It has a gambrel roof. The ceiling beams may run the 35' width of the house and have had a supporting wall as sofit-mortises indicate. Some of the doors and windows are early. It has Dutch pad hinges with diamond finials on the front raised panel door and low Dutch molding on the exterior window frames. The ceiling had been plastered but the hood beam is larger and more finished than the other three that have wane. The two-room layout and the framing of the gambrel roof is unknown to us. We will try and see it again when more of the frame is exposed. We will keep copies of the 6-page measured drawings. Frame drawings will be done later. We will try and see it when the frame is more open.

January 9, 2000, a first meeting of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the DBPS was held at 1:30 PM at the Marbletown Firehouse, 21 people attended:
Amelia & Bob Anderson, John Kaufman, Robert C. Eurich, Darryl Alan Brittain, Bruce Palen, Ed Baldyga, Linda Rolufs, Paul Palen, Russell Ley, George K. VanSickle, Alvin Sheffer, Alvin D. Wanzer, Todd Scheff, Don McTernan, Jim Decker, Peter Sinclair, Clark Jung, George Turrell & family, Fred Steuding and David Baker.

Most of the above names being those of unofficial paid-up voting members, most of whom voted "yeh" to the idea that we should form a Mid-Hudson Chapter and remain affiliated with the DBPS.

There was a good input and discussion on the issue of not-for-profit status and that this might be done with slight cost by registering with the Department of Education rather than coming under the DBPS as a chapter. Jim D. got a copy of the DBPS statement and will amend it to enlarge its purpose to include all vernacular material culture.

I would also add:

To create a site, for the display, interpretation and preservation of artifacts related to the regions pre-historic and historic vernacular cultures; to maintain a workshop for the display, repair and replication of historic objects; to establish a public archive of information; to adopt and help maintain other historic sites in the Mid Hudson Valley.

Paul Palen, a trustee of the Holland Society, announced that the Winne/Creble house has been purchased and the junk is being removed. He credits our big-mouth newsletter with helping save it.

January 15, 2000, with Jim Decker and Bob Eurich visited the Robb farm. We screwed half-inch plywood to the frame of the window and Jim measured and drew the molding on the external face of the frame. He noted from a surviving 18th century trim nail that the frame was originally trimmed where it meets the masonry, like the Hammock House in New Jersey.


From the Editor...The unofficial Mid Hudson Chapter now has 76 laying members, $117 in the working account and $305 in the Oliver Barn Fund. A meeting is being called in Ulster County on Saturday, February 19, 2000 at 1:30 PM at the Marbletown Firehouse, off Route 209, 5 miles west of the Kingston traffic-circle exit #19 . Take 28 to Pine Hill and exit on Route 209 toward Ellenville. There is a nice Italian restaurant nearby for those who get hungry later.

The chapter will be updating its work toward a not-for-profit status, perhaps elect officers and discuss some of our on-going projects and plans. There will be coffee, a table of photographs and drawings and a slide projector. Members are encouraged to bring slides and artifacts and to make snort presentations.

The flu, the snow and cold weather have held up more ambitious plans to visit and document sites but there have been some interesting correspondence and notice of up coming events.

Bud Miner of Fulton County has continued new fIgures to Greg Huber's estImate of surviving Dutch barns by county, They are Herkimer 3 + and Fulton 3 +. He also belIeves there are some to be discovered in Otsego County and is working on that.

Ted Hilscher from Greene County writes that there are 3 Dutch barns left in Greene County. An early scribe-rule frame with cup marriage-marks on 9W near Coxsackie has no roof and is in a state of collapse. We will make a point of documenting it when the weather turns. Ted will be conducting a tour of Greene County barns in April. He wrote a good artIcle on swing-beam barns, Summer 1998 Greene County Historical Journal, and we hope some of these will be on the tour.

Pam Herrick, is organizing the Silver Ribbon House Tour in Dutchess. County, Saturday, June 3 for the Dutchess County Historical SocIety. The tour wIll focus on some buildings in the Pine Plains area. The Mid-Hudson Chapter will set up a display and interpretation at the circa 1821 Hamm/Woods Dutch barn (PP-1) near Stissing Mountain, an interesting timber frame that Bob Hedges has been restoring over the years.

Clarke Blair, a native of the Mohawk Valley, a charter member of the DBPS and first honorary member of the Mid-Hudson Chapter, wrote a letter with a family story of the Revolutionary period that is included below. Referring to my unsubstantiated claim that early pioneers in western Ulster County sometimes hid in their jambless fireplace smoke-hoods from the Indian, French and Tory raiders, Clarke wrote the following.

Dear Peter,
Thanks for sending the two pamphlets (newsletters) from the Mid-Hudson Chapter. I found them both very interesting.

On page 8, Volume 1, number 7, Bevier/Newkerk/Romero Dutch stone-house (Waw-4), there is mention of household members hiding from Indian raiders in the large fireplace chimneys (hoods). My ancestors on my mother's side lived in Currytown, State Route 161, South-east of Canajoharie In the Butler-Brant raids their home was raided. The husband was not home. The wife saw them coming, she and the children went up the fireplace chimney to hide. The raiders broke up the furniture, stole the food, but didn't set fire to the house. Later the raiders captured one of the male members of the Ouderkirk family, took him to the Canadian border but didn't treat him badly. He was held several years. During his captivity he married (?) an Indian girl. They had two children. His captors allowed him to go hunting with them, with the threat of death, if he tried to escape. When he had a family to feed they allowed him to go hunting alone, still with the death threat. His Indian wife knew how badly he wanted to return to his people. When he was allowed to be gone three days, she told him not to hunt but to strike out for the Mohawk Valley. With a three day head start they could not re-capture him. He died of consumption soon after his return home. She had told him that shortly she and the children would follow. She did and was totally accepted by his family and lived out her life with them. I am the descendent of one of those children - so watch your scalp Peter.

Smoke houses - On Queen street, east of Fort Hunter, about 3/4 of a mile, is a limestone smoke house built by early valley settlers. All early smoke houses were built very strong so the wolves and bears couldn't steal the meat. On top of the hill south of the smoke house is a lime stone quarry. There was a lime kiln there to make cement for the early settlers.

Dutch Barn Glossary of Terms - This came up at a meeting of the DBPS several years ago. Shirley Dunn stated that several terms used to describe barn framing timbers could be more descriptive and more understandable, that we should make up a list of terms. I opposed the idea saying that most Dutch barn enthusiasts had accepted Prof. Fitchen's book, The New World Dutch Barn. 1968, as the bible of barn architecture and most had been using his terms. That to introduce new ones would only confuse the terminology.

Copyright 2004. Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.