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HVVA NEWSLETTER, January 2006
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FROM THE JOURNAL
Wednesday, December 28 Responding to an E-mail from Karlyn Elia, Ulster County Historian, I went to see a Dutch barn on Route 32 in Saxonville, Saugerties, an area on the north border of Ulster County with Greene. It was registered some years ago as (__/Kocis Uls/Sau/012) but never measured.

5-Bay Dutch U-Barn with additions _/Kocis (NY/Uls/Sau/012) Saxton, Saugerties, Ulster County, NY N42'09.105; W047'00.007; 422' elevation

      Joe Kocis and his son Steve are working together to repair the barn. Some of the side-wall and aisle rafters have already been restored. They are working toward replacing the roof.
The barn is unusual in several ways. It seems to be a square-rule frame, normally dating it after 1810 but the barn has features that are earlier, especially the extended and wedged tenons of the anchorbeams. There are also 2-foot level scribe marks on two of the anchorbeams. These are traditional scribe-rule markings indicating the carpenters knew some of the old lay-out tradition. The frame is made of hardwood, perhaps a mix of oak and chestnut.
Loft of 5-Bay Kocis Dutch Barn, facing north Saugerties, Ulster County, NY


      

      It seems that there were four-part wagon doors with strap hinges only on the south front facing the present house. These doors swung into the barn like the earlier wooden hinged and harr hung doors did. There are reused anchorbeams from an early barn with lap-dovetail joining of the braces and a longitudinal-strut reused as a stud in the north end wall. It has notches for a horse hay-rack but there is no evidence of nails holding the bars of the rack, perhaps they were tied on?
      Another unusual feature of the barn frame are the upper braces on the four internal anchorbeams but only on the side toward the mountains and away from the road. There are very serious winds in this area and the braces seem designed to resist that force. The tails of the rafters on this side are nailed with short boards to the plate so that the wind will not have a place to get under the roof and blow it off.
      Wednesday, January 4 I met with Tom Colucci at the Kocis Dutch Barn in Saxton. We spent an hour or two going over the barn and made a number of observations that I had missed. I had come back to look for evidence of a lowered anchorbeam in bent 5.. I found that and a more complete drawing of the end walls and their very unique bracing, also more intriguing carpenter's scribe markings. The one-foot difference in the height of the aisle struts indicAtes cow and horse aisles.
     
When the barn was converted to a dairy operation, perhaps 100-years ago, a lowered ceiling was installed at the height of the lowered anchor beams and all four internal columns on the road side were cut off at this 7'8" floor level and the bottoms of the wood columns replaced with metal supports, a common conversion.
       In order to have a wide, 20' side entrance into the nave at bent 4., the right column was cut off at the anchorbeam, that was then supported from above by a metal strap tied to a circa 24-foot long part of an early circa 30-foot long re-used oak anchorbeam, resting on the new anchorbeams 3. and 5..

        Thursday, December 29 I drove with Jim Decker to the Town of Ghent, in northern Columbia County. We met up with Alvin Shaffer and George Yonnone, a restoration craftsman from West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. George had wanted us to see a two story ramp barn that the owners would consider selling for removal, if they felt that the buyer was interested in reconstructing it and not using it for lumber and parts. It is a complex frame using parts of at least one scribe-rule Dutch barn. There are at present two reused 25-foot long pine anchorbeams on the two internal bents set about 7.5-feet from the floor. They measure 12X 19 inches.



Floor Plan, Bents, Column Wall and Side Wall
The Kocis 5-Bay Dutch U-barn, Saxton, Saugerties, Ulster County, NY
The south end-wall, Bent 1., is shown with studs and two conjectured animal door openings on the sides.
The internal bents 1., 2. and 3. are classic Dutch bents except for the one upper brace on the anchorbeam.
The north end-wall, Bent 6., is shown without studs and a conjectured door opening.
The double anchorbeams in Bent 5. maintains the 12-foot level and supports the lowered 7-foot mow.
The West Column-Wall shows a conjectured dirt floor for animals in the back-bay between Bents 5. and 6..
The West Side-Wall shows a very regular placement of posts and studs. This is also true of the placement of the 16-
pairs of rafters. It is a feature that may indicate age or ethnicity.

      The beams have no evidence of braces so it was conclude that they had been shortened from original 30-foot long beams and that the present side wall posts were the original columns with anchorbeams set 13' from the floor and a 7 or 8-foot verdiepingh. It was a large Dutch barn.
It is an interesting barn frame and with some imagination it could be made into a nice house. It is also a kind of reconstructed frame with reused parts in which, with more time and study, someone could help deduce the area's 18 century Dutch barn tradition, so little of which has survived.

     George took us to two nearby barns he is working on. The first was an English three-bay barn in New Concord (the name attests to the English invasion into Yorker territory). The scribe-rule late 18   century frame has Dutch H-bents and raising holes, but English use of the anchorbeams as summer beams with joists and the rafters having tails overhanging the plate They seem to be a modified English step-lap. The siding of the barn was originally vertical like New England barns but later sided with horizontal weatherboards. George pointed out that the braces were irregular in their measurements indicating they were laid out with scribe rule Braces in Dutch barns were standardized long before square rule was adopted for the main
      I woud guess that the original carpenters spoke English and used English framing traditions but had adopted the H-bent and raising hole of the Dutch. (*)

      Finally we went to a 4-bay side entrance barn in Claverack. It is an English barn plan with side entrances and center threshing floor. The frame was designed for a mid to late 19th century American hay barn with sawn, rather than hewn timbers. Its bents have vertical queen posts supporting purlins and held back with metal ties. It seems to have been designed for a metal hay-track, used to unload loose hay from the wagons. It was once a Lown farm, a prominent family of this area. Alvin says the Lown gang played a big part in the violent boarder wars of the 18th century, disputes over the boundary claims of Massachusetts and New York. It is a very hilly part of Columbia County that still retains a feeling of an isolated borderland; the early roads that once connected the Hudson Valley with Boston, now see little traffic.
       (*)  Greg Huber, editor of the 2™ edition of The New World Dutch Barn, disagrees with my labeling the Stewart barn in Red Hook (RH/012) as a Dutch barn, it is similar to the New Concord barn, see HWA Vol. 7. No. 8. We did not measure or spend much time with the Stewart barn but my impression was that it had an English 3-bay side-entrance plan but a Dutch frame. I would guess that the carpenters spoke a Dutch/German dialect and were familiar with an early Dutch rafter design. Greg objects to my calling this a major/minor rafter system because it does not have a ridge pole. There are probably only three or four examples of this rafter system known in America and they all have design differences. These are rare survivals of 17th and 18th century Dutch techniques.
       Carpenters with New England framing traditions did work in Red Hook. Bob Hedges knows of a barn in ruins near the Steward barn that has flared posts. We hope to visit that in spring. Todd Scheff put me on to the two-story brick Wagner House in Upper Red Hook (RH/21) that originally had a gambrel roof with English framing. From reading Walter Wheelers recent article on gambrel roofs, I would guess it was built by Boston carpenters.

       Sometime in April or May when the Vogels return from Florida, we plan to continue the Red Hook Survey and to revisit the Stewart barn with new eyes and do a better documentation. If you would like to join us send a note.  Greg writes that he knows of some Dutch barns in southwestern Vermont.  Would he let us know their location for our Dutch Cultural Resources Survey?

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