NEWSLETTER, January/February 2002
FROM THE JOURNAL
Saturday, January 5 with Todd, Alvin and Conrad we went to pick up Jim Haraldsen and toured two barn sites on Church Ave., Germantown, Columbia County, with him. The first was the Dick farm (Col-Ger-12) with a complex of early 19 century barns and outbuildings. When young, Jim lived and worked on this farm harvesting loose hay and threshing grain on the threshing floor and winnowing it in a fanning mill. He recalls the use of the hay press. The home mace press on this farm was located between the ends of two large side-entrance barns. Hay was loaded into the shoot from above and when filled was closed at the top. At the bottom of the press two long hinged arms were connected with a chain which passed through a tunnel Into the smaller barn where it was attached to a windlass operated by a horse. The hay was pressed up in the shoot and the bale formed at the top. These bales weighed from 250 to 300 pounds and were shipped down the Hudson on special barges for the city market. The press and the roof above it are covered with a mass of typical black ink harvest writing, names and dates, sizes of bales and probably a nasty drawing or comment. Jim remembers some of these people. As a young man he also worked with the local ice harvest, once an important industry also connected by the Hudson River to the City markets.
Many local barns have pigeon holes, often above the wagon doors with nesting boxes behind them. Jim recalls that wild pigeons were harvested by the children in the barn at night. They were removed gently from their nesting place so as not to arouse them and taken to be eaten by the family. It took a few to make a meal. The hinged end frames on the hay wagon were called 'bolsters' and the stack of corn was a 'stout.' They did not use a pole to compress hay or hold hay on the wagon.
The last barn visited was the Lent barn (Col-Ger-13) (Fitchen #7). It is one of two known on Church Road with curved anchorbeam braces. Another distinct feature of this barn are its race knife marriage marks.
According to Fitchen's measurements the 25-foot measure 12 -feet above the anchorbeam. This tall ‘verdipingh’ is consistent with the use of two raising holes. Conrad suggested they were used at stages in the raising. When the top hole was too high for the raising plank the lower hole was used. The posts of the side walls all have longitudinal raising holes.
Fitchen wrote that he had found the tenon fragments of pentice outriggers in the mortises of the north end anchorbeam. We did not note this feature but if it is so, this is probably the most southern example of this northern pentice design known. The Lent barn received a $20,000 NYS barn repair grant but like the other 115 projects, none have yet been provided with money. The Lent barn is in stable condition with all new rafters and a metal roof. Jim recalls milking cows in this barn. It is in use now by the present farmer for storing baled hay in the center loft.
Tuesday, January 15 Eight people attended the 3rd meeting of the informal committee of the Terwilliger Mill Project In The Village of Saugerties, Ulster County, NY.
Alex Wade and others spoke of the challenge of the 1930s WPA stone wall and bank fill that impedes access to the mill site. The present opening was cut in 1970. Jim Kricker spoke of the design of the mill being dependent on what era the mill will represent. There was a change in milling in the 1870s when grist mills adopted roller stones that eliminated much of the dust problem from wheat. There is no dust problem with milling corn. Ken Barriclo suggested that we need an outline of the process with estimated costs. All agreed that developing an historic structures report with background documentation of the site was a first step. The following Mission Statement was adopted:
The Terwilliger Mill at Saugerties is dedicated to preserving 19th century rural grist milling technology. The site will serve as an educational and interpretive center that highlights the vital role waterpower played in both rural economy and local history. The reconstructed mill will utilize locally grown grains and offer stone ground products for retail sale.
The next meeting was set for Tuesday, February 12, 10AM at the Saugerties Village Hall.
Page 2,3 & 6 of the last issue: Regarding the Dutch barn and stone house in the Town of Knox, Albany County, they are not in Knox. Bob Anderson sent me a Beers 1866 map showing their exact location and identified it as a Vanderzee farm.
From STONY HOLLOW #3
I have recently been going places, collecting stories and photographs. looking for more information on the Madden house and people of the area. On December 8th I did a recorded interview, later transcribed, of Gertrude Madden's grandchildren, Merrit "Warren" Every and his sister Marlene Every Carney, who lived their early childhood during the 1930s and 1940s in the house.
The Madden house is 16-feet from the track of the old Ulster and Delaware Railroad and the Stony Hollow Station was just on the other side. "On week-ends," Warren told me, "City people would come up. Get off at the train station and go to the little hotels and colonies nearby. Then Sunday night they'd all come back to the station and go back to the City. When they brought in the diesels it was a big day. I remember the steam. I used to run upstairs and look down to see what they were eating."
The first event Marlene recalled was drawing water from the spring. It was located between The Madden house and the Bush house next door. It served them both. In the dry season, when the water was low, Marlene remembered with pleasure that her brother, Warren, would lower her down on a rope to fill a pail. When it ran dry, Warren recalls, they would go back into the woods on a path and clear out another spring, enough to get water. Sometimes they would get water from the school down the road that had a well and a pump, but the Madden spring was usually full and often it would overflow. Warren says that it is part of an underground river. The area is full of rock ledges and swamps.
After hearing from Warren, a story his grandmother often told, of a funeral in the Madden house in which a body in a coffin sat up and frightened the assembled mourners, and how it was the work of some pranksters, I asked Marlene, "You said that people were superstitious?"
"Yes," she said, "my grandmother was."
"Did they carry sticks with bundles?" I asked.
George was discovered by professional folklorists in the 1930s and his bag of songs proved larger than that of any traditional Catskill Mountain musician of his day. In addition to his traditional English ballads and ditties, George Edwards sang two family songs, both long-winded tales told in an Irish minor key. One was a light-hearted story of Irish poverty from the female point-of-view and the other an autobiography of the singer's wandering life.
To Skipper's right is seen the Brush house and i bellow it, the large steps of cut-bluestone that lead up to the Madden house. The spring is seen directly behind Skipper's waist. It rises two stones above ground level and the opening is covered with a hinged door.
It can be seen on the side of the Bush house that the original unpainted weather-board siding is deteriorated and the front is faced with new novelty siding. In 1930 the house was painted a bright salmon with white trim, ten tears later it was abandoned and by 1949 had collapsed.
Valley Vernacular Architecture House Tour in Central New Jersey
Three 18th century timber-framed houses were seen in Somerset County. All are owned by the Meadows Foundation that was set up in 1977 to preserve the Van Wickle house, then under threat of demolition. The Foundation has subsequently saved other threatened historic buildings in the area. The three early houses all showed a great degree of affinity with Dutch-American houses on Long Island. This has to be said with a degree of caution, because so few Long Island houses survive that are contemporary with the New Jersey that were examined.
The best Long Island example for comparison is the Minne Schenck house of circa 1730, that the writer restored (19671972) at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. It was originally located at Manhasset in Nassau County.
The New Jersey houses visited were one-and-a-half story and two rooms deep. All have moderate-pitch gable roofs. The last example, the Franklin. Inn had been raised to a full two-stones In 1829 In anticipation of the opening of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The original rafters were re-used, but not in their original locations.
The Van Wickle House is dated circa 1722. It is similar in size to the original part of the Winne Schenck house. While the main rooms of the Schenck house were the same size, each with its own front door on either side of the central partition, in the Van Wickle house one of the main rooms is considerably larger than the other.
The partition in the Van Wickle house has been removed, creating one very large room but the original larger room was wider as well as deeper than the other. The rear part of the house is divided into three rooms. One of the original partitions has been removed and a replacement built several feet from it to create a larger hall and stair lobby at the back door.
The Van Wickle house, like the other two houses visited in New Jersey, has its anchorbeams running the full depth of the house. They are large sectioned, smoothly finished and square cornered. They are supported at the partitions by posts. The interior faces of the exterior wall posts, as well as those of the partitions, are exposed in the rooms. In the Minne Schenck house, only the interior faces of the front and rear wall posts are exposed. The Van Wickle house probably had jambless end-wall fireplaces. The present fireplaces of English type might be original and in any event they would not seem to date much more than ten to twenty years after the original construction of the house. One fireplace wall, in the smaller main room, retains mid-18th century paneling, with closets on each side of the fireplace. The closet door hinges have foliated 'H' hinges that are appropriate to a pre-1760 dating. The trim of the fireplaces in the larger room is from the early 19th century.
Two of the front wall windows in the larger room would appear to be original. They have 12over-12 double-hung sash with 7 by 9-inch glass. The muntin section is appropriate for the second quarter of the 18th century (1725 to !750). Similar windows survive in the Minne Schenck house. The two windows in the smaller room have been altered. One has 19th century sash, the other has poor copies of the original sash. The original transom over the front door survives.
The front wall of the Van Wickle house is clad with round-butt, butt-nailed shingles, as is that of the Schenck house. While the other three walls of the Schenck house are clad with clipped corner shingles, a form easier to produce, the end and back walls of the Van Wickle house are clad with weather-board. Within the roof of its added wing, a substantial area of original beaded weather-boards survive.
In the Schenck house the riven oak lath to which the shingles were nailed, is gained into the posts on the front and back walls of the house so that the shingle lath has a common surface with the posts. The HABS (Historic American Building Survey) drawings of the Van Wickle house indicate that its shingle lath was installed in the same way. On the end walls of the Schenck house, the studs were set back from the posts gable rafters the thickness of the lath. The lath was was gained into the corner posts and heavier studs at the side of the fireplace wall and passed over the common studs and corner braces.
The Van Wickle house has a generous overhang of the roof over the front wall. This has a slight change of angle from the roof slope. It is not original as can bee seen from the wall shingles that survive within it. They show a considerable degree of weathering. They retain early red paint. It is likely that the underside of the overhang was not originally enclosed. Framing evidence shows that the front and rear overhangs of the Schenck house were original but were removed when the house was partially 'Greek Revitalized' in the 1830-1840 period.
An anomaly of the Van Wickle house is that half of it, the larger room side, has settled six inches lower than the other half. This transition is very noticeable between the middle anchorbeams, where the front and rear doorways are located. It is difficult to understand what kind of foundation failure resulted in this condition. At the present time, the first and second floors are level, this being accomplished by adding furring on top of the original floors and laying new flooring. It is not known when this was done.
Also difficult to understand is the distorted framing of the wing. This structure, slightly narrower than the main part, was added sometime in the 18th century. It is possible that like the wing added to the Minnne Schenck house, the Van Wickle wing replaced a separate kitchen building or bake house. The wing is two rooms deep but unlike the original house the anchorbeams of the front part are mortised into posts in the line of the partition wall. Curiously, the second floor beams of the back rooms are set higher than the anchorbeams. The inner posts once extended upward to carry a plate that supported the rafters. Later the inner posts were cut off at some time level with the tops of the rear room beams.
The anchorbeams of the wing of the Van Wickle! house. are cased in boards and it is therefore not possible to I know if they were smooth finished. Probably not, or why would they have been cased? The visible posts in the wing are out of plumb and are not even parallel with one another. It is as if a ramshackle structure was moved up against the end of the house without an effort being made to correct its frame.
According to the HABS drawings of the Van Wickle house, the walls are infilled (nogged) with brick, the interior surfaces of which were plastered to reveal the interior faces of the wall and partition posts. The front wall of the Minne Schenk house was brick nogged, but the end and back walls were infilled with clay and straw packed around riven sticks held in place between the posts and end-wall studs with half-inch square strips of wood that kept the riven pieces in place. Similar half-inch square strips were also used to keep the brick nogging in place. At about two-foot intervals pieces of wood were inserted between the brick courses. The interior surfaces of the infill was troweled smooth and finished with a coat of plaster. Many coats of whitewash were subsequently applied.
Transverse sections of Dutch-American houses showing the 'evolution' of roof pitch from steep to less steep, and the increase in house width.
A. The Jan Martense Schenck house, circa 1672, originally at Flatlands, Kings County, New York. Now in the Brooklyn Museum. One of the earliest surviving Dutch-American timber-framed houses. Basically one room deep, but originally it had a rear file of rooms of unknown width and roof construction. The rear rooms were removed in the 18th century when the rear wall of the house became the front. Note that the rafters are trenched for shingle lath on about 10-inch centers. There is no "Old World" precedent for this usage known to the author.
B. The Winne/Creble house, circa 1720, Bethlehem, Albany County, New York. Perhaps the most 'Old World' Dutch-American house to survive. Gable-fronted, with overhangs front and rear. Its roof, as restored recently, is steeper than most surviving examples. Upper collar-ties are gained into the rafters and nailed. The lower collars are mortise-and-tenon and pinned to the rafters. The feet of the rafters are flush with the plate and held with iron spikes. Houses in the mid-Hudson Valley and Mohawk Valley of New York, tend to be only one-room-deep through the 18th century. Other examples of Dutch 'town house' type in the Albany area are the Abraham Yates house, circa 1725 and in the Schenectady area the Tuenis Slingerland house, 1762 at Fuere Bush.
C. The Pieter Wyckoff house, circa 1670, Canarsie, Kings County, New York. Some authorities have dated the original part of this house to the 1650's. Built as a two-aisle house with columns carrying a purlin plate, it was lengthened in this configuration in the 18th century. In the early 19th century, the rear aisle was replaced along with all of the roof. The original rafter spacing is known from notches in the purlin-plate. The hood-beam in the original part of the house had corbel braces that were removed in the early 19th century. Corbel braces on the hood beam were also found in the Phillip De Freest house, circa 1690, in North Greenbush, Rensselaer County, New York. See HVVA Newsletter, October 2001, Vol. 3, No.7.
D. The Ditwas/Stoothoff house, circa 1700, originally in Queens County, New York, it was dismantled and rebuilt in Nassau County in the 1920s. There are few surviving examples of this type of house, but old photographs show that this two aisled form was once fairly common in Kings and Queens Counties on Long Island. The framed bents were not re-erected in their original sequence. The anchorbeam braces had probably been removed in the 18th century when plastered ceilings were introduced. A good example of this type of house, surviving relatively unaltered, is the John Welling house, circa 1711, at Pennington in Mercer County, New Jersey.
E. The Minne Schenck house, circa 1730, formerly at Manhasset, Nassau County and now at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. A two-aisled house with the interior columns eliminated and anchorbeams the full depth of the house. It has a moderately pitched roof, slightly asymmetrical. While the roof overhangs had been removed in the 19th century, there is evidence of their having been an original feature in the framing. It is not known for certain if the overhangs were original to the D. Stoothoff house. They were not original on the Van Wickle house.
F. The Duryea house, circa 1787, formerly at East New York, Kings County (demolished in the 1990s). Similar to the Minne Schenck house but later and on a smaller scale. There was structural evidence for the roof overhang being an original feature. A number of photographs and paintings exist of houses of this house type that is now virtually extinct. This may have been the last one on Long Island. Curiously, a number of houses with this 'salt box' shape with a front overhang exist in Connecticut but do not have 'Dutch' framing. Two houses with this profile still exist on Long Island; the Van Nostrand/Starkins house at Roslyn and the Peter Cooper house, formerly at Hempstead, both in Nassau County. The original parts of these houses date circa 1680 and are both of English construction. The Dutch appearance is the consequence of later rebuilding.
The oldest part of The Wyckoff/Garretson house is dated circa 1730 with additions circa 1760 and circa 1805. It is deeper than it is wide. Its framing is similar to the mid 18th century Valentine/Losee house in Roslyn, Nassau County, Long Island, that the author restored incrementally in 1976, 1980, and 1996-1997. The exceptional feature: of the two frames is the use of jowled corner posts (gunstock posts) with upper tie beams, an English timber framing feature with possible Germanic origin, in combination with Dutch H-bents. I do not know of other examples of this usage in New Jersey in context with Dutch framing (*).There are a number of examples on Long Island such as the early 18th century grist-mill at Plandome and the (formerly) three-aisled Dutch barn from Sands Point, now on the grounds of the Cow Neck Historical Society at Port Washington, both in Nassau County Suffolk County there is the original section of the Arsenal, built circa 1740 at Huntington and the grist mill at Stony Brook which dates to the 1750s.
The anchorbeams of the Wyckoff/Garretson house are of oak and are somewhat smaller in section than those in the Van Wickle house. They have very small three-quarter corner beads. The house originally had one large front room and two small back rooms. An enclosed stair occupies part of one of these. There had been a jambless fireplace on an end wall, but the present English fireplace and its mantel appear to date to circa 1780 if not earlier.
There is another fireplace in the basement below this one with a bake oven door opening in its back wall. The dome of the oven is buried below the surface of the ground. It is possible that this basement fireplace existed concurrently with a jambless fireplace above.
The house is clad with shingles, those on the front wall have an exposure of about 12 inches. They appear to be quite old. The shingles of the other walls have an exposure of about 7 to 8 inches. In the circa 1805 addition, on the back wall where the infill has been removed, two kinds of shingle lath are visible. There is widely-spaced riven oak lath and between these is sawn lath, indicating that after the original wide-exposure shingles were discarded, the riven lath was retained and additional lath installed for shingles having half the exposure of the original ones.
On the second floor, in the original part of the house where the plaster surface has been removed, it can be seen that the walls are infilled with brick laid up flatwise. Strips of wood are set between the brick courses at intervals of about five courses. In the circa 1805 addition the exterior and partition walls have an infill of clay and straw worked around riven sticks held in place with 3/4 inch square pieces of wood set flush with the inside faces of the exterior wall posts, and both sides of the partition studs. The inside surfaces of the infill was worked smooth and finished with a coat of plaster that covered the posts and studs.
The rafters of the Garretson house are trenched for shingle lath. The trenches are on about 14-inch centers. The writer does not know of an Old World precedent for this practice, but it shows up in a number of early American houses of both Dutch and English background. Dutch examples are: the original part of the Bowne house dated to the 1660s in Flushing, Queens County, and the Jan Martense Schenck house of circa 1672 formerly at Flatlands in Kings County, and now in the Brooklyn Museum, English examples are the Peter Cooper house circa 1680 formerly at Hempstead, Nassau County, and now at Old Bethpage Village restoration, the Van Nostrand/Starkins house, also circa 1680, in Roslyn, Nassau County, the Doctor William Robertson Plantation house, circa 1690, in the village of Clark, adjoining the City of Rahway, New Jersey. A more distant example is the original part of the Thomas Lee house, circa 1660, at East Lyme, Connecticut.
J. Frederick Kelly (**) describes and illustrates the use of shingle lath (he calls them purlins and thought they were intended for thatch) of the late 17th century Moulthrop house in East Haven Connecticut (demolished in 1919). The writer's house in East Haven, built in the 1790s, utilizes timbers from a 17th century house including pieces of rafters that are trenched for shingle lath, The lath had been attached with wooden pins.
Available for perusal in the Wyckoff/Garetson house was a comprehensive "Historic Structures Report' with a separate volume of photographs and drawings. Unfortunately, time did not permit examination of this document.
The Franklin Inn, now serving as a used-book store, was built circa 1752 as a house for Cornelius Van Liew. Its square-cornered anchorbeams are noticeably smaller in section than the other two houses discussed, but are still about 30-feet long. It has two more-or-less equal sized front rooms and a wide center hall at the back of which is the original, somewhat primitive, stair. As noted earlier, the house is supposed to have been raised from one-and-a-half to a full two-stories in about 1829 when it became an inn. This dating is questioned by the present docent, Joanne Kaiser (***), of the Meadows Foundation who explained the house to a number of the HVVA group. She believes the house was already two-storied when it was occupied by the British General, Lord Charles Cornwallis, in 1777. She pointed out that the attic floor-boards, added when the house was raised, were nailed with rose-headed, hand-forged nails. It is indeed a question as to why nails of this type would have been used as late as 1829, when suitable cut-nails were readily available?
The roof of the Franklin Inn is now supported by four 'bents' with queen-post trusses and drop tie-beams. The rafters were re-used out of their original order. They have empty recesses for the half-lap dovetails of the missing collar ties, but they vary in their height above the attic floor. It would seem that slight alterations were made to the ends of the rafters. Since the pitch of the present roof seems to be about the same as the original had been, there is a question as to why the rafters were not simply re-used as they had come off the original roof?
Another curiosity of this building, of which the front and end walls are weather-boarded (although it could not be determined if any part of the existing siding is original), is that the rear wall is shingled. The shingle-lath is gained into the posts, as in the Minne Schenck house described earlier. When the house was raised, the same technique was used on the heightened part of the wall, except that the spacing was reduced for shorter shingles. A large area of 18th century squarebutt shingles survive on this wall, butt-nailed with rose-headed nails, including a filled-in door or window opening, a change that appears to have been made in the 18th century.
Considering that the front wall primarily, and the end-walls secondarily would have been considered the 'show' walls of the building, and that these walls are clad with weather-board, it is curious that shingles, the preparation and installation of which would have been highly labor intensive, and therefore expensive, would have been used on the back 'inferior' wall?
There is much more that can be learned from these three buildings, and from buildings in others parts of New Jersey where Dutch-American houses and barns survive.
We have begun an historic structures report for the Losse property and in three days of documentation have discovered a number of interesting thing about the buildings. The bam has a .1770 date carved on the first internal anchorbeam. The side aisles have been removed and the columns cut off just above the anchorbeams but it will eventually be possible to reconstruct the barn to its original form because its twin is still standing a mile away in the Town of Red Hook. It is rare to find two barns with identical measurements like these and fortunate in this case.
The Losee site is near the center of the original Rhinebeck, a Palatine. German settlement that was established here before 1720. A population shift during the 18th century lead to the present village of Rhinebeck a few miles south. From the initial inspections of the house it seems that the history of its structure has gone through three major stages. In 1750, perhaps earlier, a one room 4-bay Dutch frame house was built, In about 1790 this building was taken down and its parts reused in constructing a 9-bay Dutch frame house with a. 15-foot lean-to off the back. The ridge of the roof was rotated 90-degrees and the small cellar left unaltered. In about 1830 a few changes were made but since then, aside from a recent fire that damaged much of the north end wall, little has changed in this house that has remained in the same family and passed through many generations, always in the female line, from its inception. It.has never had plumbing nor central heating and a little electric service only recently. It is a prime subject for slow and careful preservation and study rather than renovation and modernizing.
HVVA's first inspection of the Losee bam was on a tour of four Dutchess County barns organized by Todd Scheff and conducted Saturday, December 1. It was attended by 7 people.
The last barn visited was on the Fulton farm on Turkey Hill, being sold with 90 acres. It is part of a complex of buildings including a blacksmith shop and granaries. The small blacksmith shop has an intriguing light timber frame and a primitive forge and bellows. The Dutch barn is dated on the exterior end, "JPF 1830-1914." The original 5-bay 2-level Dutch square-rule barn seems to date 1830. Its timbers tend to be square in section and the braces sawn. There are few raising-holes and the rafters butt at the peak. It is an amazing and unaltered example of the Dutch barn tradition with many unique specialized features. Especially important is the rare survival of a hay and feed manger in three bays of the horse aisle. These work somewhat like the hay manger in the Snyder (Uls-Sau-5) Dutch bam of about 1820. A flap door covers the stakes to keep dust out of the horse stall when thrashing grain or to keep them warm on a winter night. These flap I doors can be folded out to form the space that holds the hay against the stakes.
Mangers for Horse Stalls
The 11 '6" side aisles where horses were stalled in the Fulton barn allowed for fixed partitions between the horses, whereas the 10' deep horse stalls in the Snyder barn, a more common measurement, necessitated the use of hanging partitions and removable poles to separate the horses.
2001 was a good year for HVV A. The office has been updated with a computerized mailing list program and a not-for-profit permit for mailings. The first was the gift of a neighbor, the second cost $250 and months of paperwork but it will hopefully bring down bulk mailing costs. A new fax machine awaits its instillation and E-mail access can not be far away. With the help of some kind contributions and many renewals we now have about 200 members and almost $600 in the bank. During 2001, HVVA took in $2,850 in memberships and contributions and spent $400 for government permits, $455 in repairs to the Madden house and $2,545 for printing and mailing the newsletter.
A 5-page index of sites and subjects covered in the first three volumes of the newsletter is now available for $5. A 164 page bound book of HVVA Newsletters Viols. 1,2 & 3 with an index will soon be available.
Peter Sinclair, Editor
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.