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HVVA NEWSLETTER, September 2005
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FROM THE JOURNAL: Friday, August 5 Red Hook Patsy Vogel had arranged for us to see two sites on Spring Lake Road, Red Hook.Dutchess County. Craig Vogel, Bob Hedges and I went first to see the farm of Larry Thetford and registered it:

 

Feller/Thetford Dutch barn and frame house (ny/du/re/0011) coordinates N 42'01.331 W 073'49.694; elevation 313'

 

This is thought by the Feller family to be the original frame house built in 1746 by Nicholas Feller, a 1710 Palatine immigrant. The large original farm was subdivided later for the children. The next farm visited a short distance down the road was probably one of these subdivisions. We registered it:

__/Shutz/Gonzalez-Stewart early side-entrance barn and frame house (ny/du/re/0012) coordinates N 42'01.331 W 073'49,842; elevation 206'

These are two sites that should be studied more carefully. The square-rule Thetford Dutch barn probably dates to the circa 1820-1830's but may be on the site of the original barn. It is up hill from the 1746 house but the roof lines are not parallel. The original house is now a wing off the back of a two story Victorian. The original house has a Dutch anchorbeam construction, probably two-rooms, but much of the frame is hidden and it is difficult to know the original fireplace type, roof pitch or the height of the knee-wall. 24-feet, is wide for a Dutch house, but the one exposed beam at the back of the house is massive. The house has grooved posts for riven lath with mud and straw infill. The rafters are not original. It has a partial cellar of three-bays bellow the back room. An accurate assessment of the house can only be made when more of the frame is exposed.

Feller/Thetford Dutch Barn Complex


Feller/Thetford House
The house that is visible from the road is Victorian but the wing behind contains parts of the original 1747 frame house.
_/Shutz/Gonzalez-Stewart Side-Entrance English Barn with Added Bav

Perhaps the house had a gable entrance facing the road. This is the plan that has been deduced for the Franz Nehr house in Rhinebeck from about the same period and it is interesting that

Franz's daughter or sister (?), Anna Marian Nehr, married Nicholas Feller who together began this local line of inter related families. They buried their dead at the nearby Red Hook Reformed Church until 1818 when the church refused to bury Felton Feller, a 31-year-old man with a tainted reputation, so the Fellers established their own cemetery and eventually surrounded it with a carefully laid field stone wall and an iron gate. The door posts are of massive cut bluestone, a material noted for its endurance, and the wall is caped with large slabs of the same stone, all of which was quarried and finished in Ulster County. Sometimes these types of heavy loads were brought across The Hudson River on sleds in winter when it froze.

The Gonzalez-Stewart barn is a well preserved mid 18 th century hybrid. It has a very Dutch style of framing, with raising holes and a rare major/minor rafter system that suggests the barn was originally thatched. It began as a three-bay side entrance drive through barn, a plan that is called English. Some of its carpenter marriage-marks, Roman numerals cut with straight chisels, have flags, flags are a marking system associated with German carpentry and found also in the Silvernails barn, another well preserved early hybrid barn in Pine Plains, Dutchess County. The wagon doors on both sides of the Stewart barn were originally harr-hung.

We did not examine the Stewart frame house. The original, we are told, is the east and center section of the present house. Spring Lake Road was an important route into Massachusetts and Connecticut and originally the road ran between the barn and the house that served as an inn and a place to collect road toll. There is a short connecting road to the east of these two farms named "Star Barrack". No one knows for sure the meaning of the name.'Some have suggested it refers to a 5-pole hay barrack.

 

Feller Cemetery and Family Genealogy

Friday to Sunday, August 12 to 14 About 50 people attended a conference on "The Dutch House" organized by Don Carpentier and Bill McMillan and held at Eastfield Village, a remote reconstructed village in the town of Nassau, Rensselaer County. Eastfield Village is an important place in The Hudson Valley for hands on tr aining in the restoration crafts. It also has a large collection of historic tools and architectural artifacts that Bill and Don have collected over the years, and most important are the memories, records and documentation of the restoration craftsmen who have worked on early buildings and the architectural and cultural historians who have studied and written about New World Dutch vernacular architecture. The conference was to bring them together.

It was a dedicated crew of people who endured four slide lectures per day in a small crowded church with the heat reaching 95-degrees by sun down. The times between were welcome. There was a lot of good exchange among the participants and thoughts of a re-union.

<-Feller/Thetford Farm drawn from aerial photograph

John Stevens showed measured drawings and photographs and talked about some of the Dutch houses in his forthcoming book, Dutch Vernacular Architecture in America 1640-1830, being published by HWA.

Rich Gehring, a translator of early Dutch manuscripts with a broad historic and cultural interest, gave an introduction to 17 th century Dutch history and economics and stressed the importance of New World Dutch architecture as the most accessible record of its uniqueness.

Michael Kelley spoke in detail about the recent moving of the 1751 Daniel Winne House from Bethlehem, Albany County, to The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Manhattan Island. Don Carpentier expressed his regret that this house will not be used to interpret its architecture but will be reduced it in size to fit a small room in the American Wing, as a backdrop for the museum's Dutch/American furniture and art.

There is a feeling among vernacular architecture preservationists that there should be an order to the list of possibilities for what action is taken when an historic building is threatened. Second choice is to move it to a public site nearby. Cannibalizing an important building for parts is near the bottom of the list.

Because Brian Parker could not attend, Bill McMillan showed a few slides and talked about the 1723 Peter Winne House, that Brian, with John Steven's help, is slowly restoring to its original condition. It was a neighbor and an early model for the 1751 Daniel Winne House of the Met.

Ruth Piwonka spoke about early Dutch gardens. Rod Blackburn talked on the furnishings of a Dutch house. Hank Meeske on the social changes that affected the Dutch House and Alex Greenwood & Elric Endersy showed photographs and drawings of the many timber framed barns and outbuildings they have moved, restored and documented in New Jersey. They showed the many variations of the angled wall corn crib and of the English-Dutch hybrid frames. Clifford Zink gave a well organized power point presentation on Dutch houses he has documented for many years in New Jersey. He has organized the sites in an Access data base program, the same being used in The Dutch Cultural Resources Survey (The Survey).

The conference ended with Bill MacMillan's presentation of his research into early window frames and doors in Dutch Houses that he did in the 1980's for the restoration of the Vorleeser House on Staten Island.

 

Part Three, Newsletter

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