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HVVA Newsletters

From the JOURNAL

Saturday, March 18, 2000 with Carol and Karl Wick of the Kline Esopus Church Museum, we visited the VanWagnen/Krum farm on Snake Hill, Esopus, Ulster County (Eso-4). It is owned by Raymond Krum Jr. Plans are underway to spend a day documenting the farm. it has a complex square rule barn with many individual construction features such as a pair of curved swing-beam braces and a timber arch-support over a side ramp entrance added later. It has many original use features and there are a number of tools and pieces of equipment relating to the farm which should be documented with the barn. There is a mixture of vertical and horizontal siding and a classic Hudson Valley set of three martin-holes in the peak end of the main barn. There is an earlier Dutch stone house.

March, 9 to 13, 2000 A Michigan trip...Henry Ford Museum...I had written them of my stove research and asked for an appointment. I received documentation on 16 stove plates in their collection. They represent end and side-plates of 5 and 6 plate cast iron stoves. None of the documentation tells where the plates were collected but the measurements and descriptions are informative.

The 5-plate stove was a wall or jamb-stove used during the 17th and 18th century in conjunction with the fireplace. The 6-plate stove was the first free standing and ventilating stove. Greenfield Village was closed for the season, but in the Ford Museum's cast iron wood-stove. exhibition, the 5-plate stove is not interpreted and the 6-plate stove is only represented by a few examples of eroded fragments.

After arriving in Greenfield, I was not able to contact anyone in the research library by phone so I went to the building without an appointment. It is a busy place, but I asked for information about a leaded window. Greg Huber had told me that Henry Ford had collected it in Saugerties from the Ten Broeck house. One librarian searched for it on the data base of their computer. Seventeen windows were listed in the collection. One was a "17th century (?). lead frame from an old 9-pane window mounted (now) on masonite. Framework of a window trellis." No size or place or origin, other than "USA?" are listed, but a small image of the object shows that it has rectangular panes and may well be from one sash of the two-sash casement window of which the frame still survives in the Ten Broeck house. I normally associate rectangular leaded panes with the Hudson Valley Dutch and diamond panes with New England. I asked Greg why in the Ruien Poortvliet book Daily Life in Holland in the Year 1566 half of the windows illustrated are diamond panes and half rectangular. He said that the rectangular panes were later. He might be correct.

Saturday...attended the one-clay Annual Conference and Meeting of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network held in Lansing, at Michigan State University. I was the guest of the Network, Steve and Julie Stier. The network is about five years old. 200 people attended. 14 talks and demonstrations were given in 3 concurrent sessions.

These included all aspects of preservation. Tom Visser, from the Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Vermont spoke. His excellent Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997, contains two items I found relevant to the Hudson Valley.

A map of New England on page 14 shows the approximate 1840 distribution of "purlin frame and rafter frame roofs." I believe these roof types are related to the English box-frame with principal rafters and the more Dutch frame with dropped tie beams and common rafters, and that the distribution of the common rafter, as indicated in western Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, shows the persistence and expansion of Hudson Valley Dutch-American timber framing. I can only guess at the common rafter distribution in northern Maine.

The New England Field Guide is well illustrated and covers all types of farm buildings. There are stone smoke houses described but no summer kitchens mentioned. The summer kitchen seems to be a distinct Hudson Valley type. This small building of stone or brick is found throughout the valley. They are difficult to date but those that have survived often contain unaltered Jambed and jambless fireplaces and ovens.

Frank Graham, Victor Wiltse and Gary Vanderpool, local Michigan contractors and carpenters, spoke about barn roof repair and demonstrated raised-seam metal roofing. This was the best attended session of the conference and will be given twice next year.

I gave a talk entitled, Dutch Barns in New York and Michigan. I related some of my experience with Michigan barns on 3 barn hunting expeditions I took in 1990 and 1991. Two of the tours examined barns in the Holland area and the third was a two week tour searching for evidence of Dutchness in western New York State, Oneida County, and in three Dutch communities in Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Francis Adrian Van Der Kemp, a political refugee from Holland, an historian, writer and farmer, came to America in 1789 and bought an old stone house at a place called Fox Hall in the Esopus valley of Ulster County. In 1792 he moved with his family to the "howling wilderness" of Oneida County to establish a Dutch settlement there. He built a log cabin and, as he wrote in his journal, a "Dutch-style barn with a wing for living quarters for the black servants." They named the place Kempwick.

The local historian in Barnveldt, Oneida county, where Van Der Kemp eventually settled, was very helpful but in one day of searching I could find no Dutch barns in the area. It seems the 3 1/2 million acres of land that the Holland Land Company hoped would attract Dutch farmers became dominated by English and Welsh immigrants.

The Dutch who settled Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, beginning in the 1840s, came initially in groups seeking religious and moral reform by creating new communities in America. The first Dutch settlements of Pella. Iowa, Holland Michigan and Cedar Grove, Wisconsin were each distinct in their means, their new environment and the problems they would overcome. The styles of their barns are also distinct.

Sunday, March 26, 2000 with Roger and Todd Scheff to Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County to visit two Dutch barns they had spotted on a back road. The owner of the first barn _/Bates (WF-2), Leslie M. Bates, was home and gave us three photographs and a short history of the barn and let us examine it. It is a scribe-rule three bay true form Dutch-American barn with 24-foot nave and two 11-foot side aisles. It measures about 46' wide by 36' long. The building was moved in 1930 a few hundred feet up a steep hill and given a partial basement.

The frame is of oak? and the timbers quite massive. On the two internal H-bents the anchorbeams measure 12 x 20 inches, the columns 12 x 10.5 inches and the braces 5.5 inches square. The timbers are finely finished, the shoulders of the joints are diminished, the extended tenons have two pegs rather than wedges and are finished square. The barn has thirteen pairs of hewn rafters. They are spaced so that two of the pairs rest on the purlin just above the internal columns. evidence in a broken mortise indicates the drill-bit the carpenters used had a lead screw, a late 18th century technology. The owners believe the barn dates circa 1790.

Last we visited a nearby Dutch barn _/_(WF-3). The owner was not home so we could not examine it but we left a newsletter. We talked briefly with a tenant who said he thought the house was built in 1829. The barn might well be from that date. The pitch of the roof is lower and the side walls higher than (WF-2). It is worth noting that neither barn has a pentice roof above the wagon-doors and (WF-2) originally had outward swinging doors with strap hinges. Two southern traits that extend into New Jersey. These are the first Dutch barns registered in Wappingers Falls. The first registration in the township was Stony Kill Farm (WF-1), a NY State DEC Environmental Education Center with an early Dutch stone house and side-entrance barns.

From the Editor... The almost official new organization now has 90 paying members, $77 in the working account and $462 in the Oliver Barn Fund. Membership renewal forms are being sent to those who joined in February through April 1999.

About 25 people attended the 10 AM, Saturday March 15, 2000 meeting at the 1747 Germantown Lutheran Parsonage. The group held a brief business meeting. Seven people were selected as trustees, Peter Sinclair, Jim Decker, Alvin Sheffer, Todd Scheff, Roger Scheff, Bob Hedges and John Stevens, and a new name was chosen, Society for the Preservation of Hudson Valley Vernacular, (SPHVV) by near unanimous consent.

Mary Howell, Columbia County Historian, gave a short history of the Parsonage Museum as well as the politics and economics of the large 1710 Palatine immigration from the German Palatinate in the Rhine Valley. Brought in ten ships from England to the Hudson Valley, many Palatines refugees died on the long crossing. An eleventh snip, full of tools and supplies for the poorly planned project about to unfold, mysteriously ran aground on Long Island and its cargo vanished.

The temporary settlements at West Camp, in Ulster County, and East Camp in Columbia County, that housed hundreds of families eventually vanished as the Palatines found permanent homes elsewhere. Some were able to purchase land in the valley, 60,000 acres, known today as Germantown was granted some and others became tenant farmers of the Livingston family.

The group examined and discussed the Germantown Parsonage, its possible original form and many changes. Drawings were made of paneling, door frames and moldings. The 1747 Germantown Lutheran Parsonage makes an interesting comparison with the 1743 Lutheran Parsonage in Schoharie County, reported on in the November Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 6. Especially interesting and almost unique in New York State are the very Germanic strap hinges with their Dutch pads found in the two buildings.

Some of the group then went with Jim Himelright to see the Hover family farm (Ger- 10) with a 1905 3-bay mill-rule English basement barn. Mill-rule appears in the late 19th century and is the last phase in regional timber framing. Scribe-rule distinguishes work before circa 1810 and square rule after that. The beams of the Hover barn are sawn on an up-and-down mill and characteristically, there are no shoulders for the braces and beams. There is a major-minor pattern to the common rafters with the majors resting on the purlins above the queen posts. There are raising holes in the posts. Jim, who has done restoration carpentry, thought the raising holes might have been used, in some way, to rig a gin-pole to raise the wall plates.

After lunch in Red Hook, the group, now eight, visited the Hicks/Spencer farm (Mil-2) on Boice Road, Milan, Dutchess County. Scott Spencer, the present owner took us on a tour of the 18th century house, a small stone summer kitchen with a smoke hood and a shed/barn with a Dutch square-rule frame with many bents and puzzles. There are center wedges on the soffits of the anchorbeams where they join into the columns. (this should be compared with Hamm/Woods (PP-l) Dutch barn in Pine Plains). John Kalowski, a local carpenter who has repaired the frame over the years pointed out some of its other features. John also told of some of his experience with local church steeples he has worked on. This would make an excellent tour.

The Spencer (Mil-2) stone summer kitchen is narrow. It has a hood beam but no trimmer beams. It has a more rudimentary construction of a Dutch fireplace than a summer kitchen on the Lasher farm (Ger2) in Germantown, Columbia County documented a few years ago.

Most surviving summer kitchens are later than 1760 but they preserve construction techniques that perhaps predate anything surviving. We know very little about the construction of the first temporary shelters built by Europeans in the Hudson Valley.

At the end of the day two car loads arrived at Rokaby (Rhi-19) in Rhinebeck. We did a quick tour of this historic riverside site viewing its gardens, outbuildings and fleet of ice-boats. It was getting dark, but Richy Aldrich showed us the family home, its stylish decor and framed ancestors, the papered parlors, the porch with faded frescos of General Armstrong's accomplishments and the eight-sided Tudor leather library. A wonderful day from low to high.

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