NEWSLETTER, August 2000
From the JOURNAL
Sunday, July 9, 2000 to the Jay and Polly Armour "Four Winds Farm" (Gar-4). Gardiner, Ulster County, an active organic family farm with cattle, sheep, spotted pigs, hay and vegetables. It was originally a Deyo farm, the house dated 1796 and a barn listed on the 1790 tax role. The original 90 acre farm is now divided into five lots the Armours have 23 with the timber frame barn. The surrounding farms are all active with fruit, hay, etc. Jay and his family live in a newish timber frame house and they are building a large lightly framed new-age barn with insulating hay-bale walls and a , hillside underground storage for vegetable. It is almost complete. It will have a stucco finish. The early barn complex is used for hay and animal storage.
The original 3-bay 44' 4" x 28' side entrance swing-beam barn was full of hay and hard to examine. It has many later additions. It seems to be a square-rule frame made from earlier parts. The rafters butt. Some have marriage marks and appear re-used.
Saturday, July 29 with Alvin Sheffer to Monterey, Massachusetts for the Timber Framers Guild barn raising at the Gould Farm, a 100 year old therapeutic community in the Berkshire Mountains, a working farm with animals and crops. There were about 200 or 300 people in attendance, one-third in hard-hats working on the barn frame, one-third on the food and extras under the big tents, the rest hung out and socialize. There was even a little fiddle music. Every thing on this complex project had run smoothly. An organization of portable band saw mills had cut the timbers from local pine and hemlock. The hill was excavated, a foundation prepared and a group of local timber frame carpenters completed the frame of the cellar and first floor. Two weeks before the raising Guild carpenters had camped out for two weeks and cut and prepared the timber frame of this 35 x 90 foot 4-bay canted queen-post traditional square-rule building as a gift from the 15-year old gUIld to the Gould Farm on their centennial year.
The five bents were assembled on the floor and raised by teams of workers, some with pike poles. When all were up, teams brought the plates and braces to complete the structure. By the time the joists were laid out and the floor boards put down, lunch was about over and the queen posts and rafters were finding their way to the loft floor. Only the lightest nudge with the commanders brought the joints firm.
I was able to question both Rudy Christian, from Ohio, and John MacFarland from Pennsylvania, Guild carpenters who take an interest in the traditional buildings of their regions, about the use of a ridge beam, how we had found the first Dutch barn with such a roof structure. Both knew of its use but did not know of its origins or associations. The only three examples I know of are on a small up-and-down saw mill in Palenville, a barn associated with a water mill in southern Ulster County and a carriage barn we visited in Pine Plains (July 1999 Newsletter, Vol 1, No 4, page 4). I look forward to learning more about them.
Sunday, July 30 with Roger Scheff to Herkimer Home, Herkimer County, in the Mohawk Valley, to give a talk on Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture. Afterwards we went with Bud Miner to see a Dutch barn nearby with rotated roof, an alteration that is common in New Jersey. But is directing a privately owned survey of New Work Dutch Barns (NWDB) in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys. They are using a global positioning devise to give location and are registering their data on Microsoft Access 2000. The hope to determine how many of the NWDBs examined in the 1960 study by Fitchen and the 1970 study by Flanders are still standing.
The mission statement stresses that the survey not be a catalog for "barn shoppers." Due to the economics of the area, the Dutch barns of the north country are especially threatened by removal and this situation was discussed by Skip Barshied, Paul Flanders and others at the Herkimer Home. The NWDB Survey 2000 welcomes information surviving barns as well as to where and from where NWDB have been moved.
Contact Bud Miner, 220 Stimson Street, Herkimer NY 13350.
From the Editor
Our application for a charter from the NYS Department of Education was returned with further papers to fill out and the suggestion that we simplify our name by eliminating "Society for the Preservation of" and become simply Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture (HVVA).Our contacts in the Education Department were very helpful and we returned the paper work but due to our oversight and ignorance we forgot an important document that we must have notarized by five trustees, so, that our application must now wait for the November meeting of the Regents for approval. With a charter we hope to reduce mailing costs and be eligible for grants.
HVVA now has 117 paying members, $143 in the working account and $384 in the Oliver barn fund. The next meeting will be Saturday, August 26 at 10 AM in Gardiner, southern Ulster County. See details on the back page. Also, after visiting Huguenot street the morning of August 18, drop by the Deer Haven Vernacular Music Festival in the Town of Livingston, Columbia County, and stay a while.
On Saturday, July 22 a small group of HVVers, Me, Roger & Todd Scheff, Alvin Sheffer, Jim Decker and Bob Eurick, met with Nicole Caroll, the new director of the East Fishkill Historical Society in southern Dutchess County We were given a tour of their Brinkerhoff/Pudny/Palen house (EF-3), a four-room center hall frame house rescued from vandalism and decay. It was restored in the early 1980s. The original one-room east wing was built after 1750 and the large center section with gambrel roof around 1780.
The East Fishkill historical society was formed in 1960 and received its permanent charter in December 1961.After acquiring the Brinkerhoff/Pudny/Palen house in 1975, members contributed time and money in saving it. Among its many local supporters were IBM and the late Cole Palen who is best remembered for founding the Rhinebeck Airdrome and Museum. The house had been home to, Cole's two maiden aunts. The 1780 section has many Early Federal features in the moldings and the fire-place mantels but it maintains a conservative Dutch vernacular plan. Its finished living area was confined to the first floor and the left was used for storage and work. There is a narrow enclosed staircase in the center hall leading to the left rather than an open Georgian type.
The framing of the gambrel roof is based en the southern Hudson Valley post supported purlin system rather than the northern cellar-tie truss system, as found in the circa 1765 Wyncoop/Londsbury house in Marbletown, Ulster County One unique feature in the Brinkerhoff house, the purlin posts are set in longitudinal sills that rest on top of the floor boards, not joined to, the frame below.
After lunch we went to the Brett/Hickman farm (EF-2) and talked with one of the owners, Ray Hickman. The farm was bought by Ray's grandfather in 1865. The two story frame house is a side hall Federal with a later kitchen wing. The barn has a scribe rule, oak and chestnut frame. It is a 3 bay Dutch U-barn with a two beam king post truss on one internal bent. The center post of the truss is held with dovetail tenons and wedges. There are no raising holes on the columns. The two part wagon doors have strap hinges and a horizontal removable pole. This horizontal door pole seems to be a regional feature found on all three barns visited in East Fishkill.
The Brett barn has many unique features that seem to make it the work of a carpenter who might have come from a millwright tradition rather than that of the New World Dutch barn. The lack of raising holes hints at this but: 1. the excessive and unusual bracing, 2. the two beam truss and 3. the rafter system in which they are joined to a five sided ridge beam, are features unknown in Dutch barns.
We next visited the Van Wyck/McHouy Dutch barn and house (EF-1) in Hopewell Junction. The owner is knowledgeable about the property and was president of the historical society when the Brinkerhoff house was restored in the early 1980s. The original Van Wyck frame house measures 48 x 28-feet. The cellar contains some unaltered and unexplored features. One 6 1/2 foot, 4 x 6-inch stud is a re-used barrack plate fragment with three holes set 2-feet apart. Letters of George Clinton indicate the cellar was used as a magazine during the Revolution.
Mr. McHoul identified the location of the Clove Valley Farm from some old photographs of the Dutch barn Todd had collected at a yard sale in Claverack one year ago. Roger guessed the barn was in southern Dutchess County by its small size and low side walls. Mike Jermyn, the roving photographer of vernacular architecture, had seen it near Hopewell junction and thought it was on Bogardus Road but it could not be found in our searches of the neighborhood. McHoul suggested Phillips Road.
It was a good way to end the day when we drove up the driveway of the Phillips/Scheuer farm (EF-4) and there was our old friend The Clove Valley 3-bay Dutch barn we knew from the photograph plus a frame house and outbuildings, all well maintained. We met and talked with the caretaker, Ferris Davis, who was helpful and knowledgeable of the property.
A most exciting upcoming event in late September, four of the HVVA trustees will be going to Holland for ten days. Four days we will be joining the English Historic Farm Building Group (HFBG) for a tour and conference organized by Ellen van Olst and Strichting Historisch Boperderij-Onderzoek (SHBO) of Holland.
Peter Sinclair, editor
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