NEWSLETTER, April 2002
FROM THE JOURNAL
Sunday, March 10, 2002 with Mike Barberi and Paul Spencer, we drove to Westerlo, Albany County to see an abandoned farm on Route 32. Like the Losee house in Rhinebeck and the Madden house in Stony Hollow, this Westerlo house never had plumbing or central heating. Small diversified farming came slowly to an end here perhaps 30-or-more-years ago. Its last days are preserved in the overgrown but undisturbed complex of buildings. The four timber frame buildings that seem early are the corn crib, the large 4-bay barn, the smaller barn and the frame house. It would be an interesting site to study and preserve.
The frame house was built in two sections both 28' 6" wide by 20' long. One frame shorter than the other. The shorter frame is some kind of box-frame with the plate and tie-beam set at the same level. It is very like Jack Sobon's "tying joint variation VI" (Timber Framing #28, June 1993, see also TF#56 June 2000). He writes that it is a style found in western Massachusetts. The rafters are all common, the feet are set with step-lap and are lapped and pined at the peak. Those in the taller frame have collar ties with lap dovetail joining. It is a style of framing I am not familiar with.
A number of changes were made to the house in the mid to late 19th century but many things including rose headed nails, riven lath, a raised panel door and race knife marriage marks on timbers give it a feel of the 18th century. The use of exposed summer beams seems clear evidence of some New England connection.
Many of the "New England" features of the house frame are found in the barn frames. The hewn timber frame corn crib is rare. I know of only two others in the Hudson Valley.
Sunday, March 17 With Todd and Alvin to visit the barn and house on a Lasher (Lasher Col-Ger-14) family farm on Church Road, Germantown, Columbia County, NY.
The frame house seems to date 1770-1790. It has a classic New World Dutch 8-bay frame with some individual or regional features. It makes a good comparison with the Losee and the Greg houses in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, all from about the same era.
20-years ago the Lasher house was in bad condition. There were a number of modifications done to save the structure but there is enough original fabric left to give a good idea of its early condition. It seems to have had a cellar kitchen with a smoke flue passing by the side of the fireplace in the room above. There is an original condition wooden partition between the root cellar and kitchen.
There is a beautiful crown molding of an early Federal mantel on one fireplace and a cupboard framed with a broad flat molding. The two 8.5 x 5-inch, 22 foot long internal beams that survive in one room are finished with the same molding design used on the beams of the 1747 Parsonage and the Rockefeller houses, also in Germantown.
Saturday, March 23, 2002 About 8 people attended a tour of, Dutchess County, NY, houses. The first was the Abraham Kipp house (Dut-Rhi-21) at Rhinecliff, a stone bank house overlooking the Hudson River across from the Rondout landing area of Kingston.
Hendrix Kipp, lived in Kingston, known then as Wiltwick or Esopus. In 1686 he obtained a deed for some of this land from Ankanoy and two other Sachem (Chiefs) of the Mohican Nation. It is thought that the Kipps settled the Rhinecliff area in the first decade of the 18th century and Jacobs built 3 houses within three years near the landing. In the early 18th century the Kipp family operated a ferry here (*).
On page 336 of The Kip Family in America, by Fredrick Elsworth Kip, published in 1928, there is a description of the various Kipp houses at Kipsbergen (Rhinecliff), who built them and when (*). The author quotes a contemporary, W. Ruloff Kip, as saying,
The Kipp family did originate in France and Ruloff tries to make the connection. He notes two characteristics of Dutch architecture, the parapet gable and the gable entrance.
It has been noted recently that many of the early Hudson Valley Dutch houses had gable entrances and that this may have been derived from the orientation of town houses in Holland, The stepped parapet gable is certainly a Dutch style. From early illustrations of Manhattan, Albany and Schenectady, we know that the parapet gable and the gable-entrance house were popular forms even though almost none have survived. There is no evidence that I know of for parapet gables on houses in Ulster, Dutchess or Columbia Counties (Mid Hudson) area, in part, because there were few brick houses, mostly wood and stone. The Mid-Hudson seems to have resisted style for a simpler look. The Gambrel roof style that is said to have been introduced from New England, was also un-popular in the Mid-Hudson area. Certainly the small rural houses here were similar in appearance to the low cottages in many parts of Europe but it would be better to included a comparison of house plans, hearths and construction techniques as well as appearance.
The Abraham Kipp house seems to have begun with a gable-entrance and with its later addition was transformed into a kind of side-entrance center-hall house. Most of the early gable-entrance houses in the Mid-Hudson were later changed to side-entrances.
Barbara Fish, who remains a neighbor, lived in the Kipp house for 20-years and has researched the family as well as made a number of interesting observations and speculations about the house that she shared with us. She made few changes in the condition of the house as she found it and can recall a number of features that are since gone. She has dated this Kipp house as circa 1708 with a 1732 addition put on by Jacobs Kipp son Abraham who had four slaves as well as many children.
On the main floor of the addition there is a peg in the ceiling one bay back from the fireplace. On a trip to England Barbara found the same evidence in a house there and was told it was for a removable pole to tether small children to, to keep them from getting too close to the fire. From evidence, now almost gone, on the beams she fells there was originally a wall-bed to one side of the fireplace.
The present owner, with help from the Rhinebeck town historian, Nancy Kelly, Niel Larson and others has been researching the family further. It seems that the first Kipp came to The Valley with Henry Hudson on his voyage of discovery in 1609 and that they first settled on Manhattan and later moved to Kingston, sometime after it became a safe place for settlement in the late 1650s.
A few years ago Pam Herrick, Roger Scheff and I did a preliminary historic structures report of the house, Roger and his brother Todd were doing restoration carpentry and masonry work for the owner at that time. They are working again for the new owners and have made a number of new discoveries including stairway changes. The following are some drawings and conclusions from the structures report.
Evidence in the original house indicates it was a classic Dutch/American one-room four-bay stone house with a root cellar and a jambless fireplace-hood supported on a massive 11 x 15-inch hood-beam. The present 19th century wood frame wall on the front of the house replaces the original stone wall that at some point was taken down. The stone walls are stable now but there is evidence that there was settling which probably weakened this front wall. Archaeological work is being done. One 4-foot square near a door yielded 500 artifacts.
Winne/Kimmey Dutch barn, circa 1790
Although one corner is collapsing, some of the right purlin plate is missing and areas of the roof and rafters gone, most of the frame is in very good condition. The fate of the barn is uncertain. The woman who is developing the land wants the Dutch barn and a long modern pole barn behind it removed for a roadway. Her excavator who has just finished building a pond has suggested an easy method.
Keith Cramer, vice president of the DBPS and active with the Mabee farm restoration in Schenectady, along with Hubert de Leeuw, a native of Belgium, have just disassembled and removed the circa 1790 center-hall frame house that went with the barn. They have it in storage in two truck trailers parked at a site one-quarter of a mile away. They plan to restore the house there and develop the land as a community-farm growing organic products. It is a low flat land, part of the Hudson River estuary that has an early history of Dutch and Native American settlement. The rich soil attracted them both. The Dutch came soon after the settlement of Albany. The barn seems from the start to have been designed both for grain and hay. Its 18- by 41-foot 3-bay square-rule addition is the classic straw-mow, in this case attached to the barn. Many of the major timbers in the barn are yellow pine. The clipped corners of the extended anchorbeam tenons are a regional feature, Keith says.
The fate of the barn is not yet certain and even if it is re-erected it may not have its present form that is the result of lengthening the back bay to increase hay storage. This was done soon after its original construction in circa 1790. Keith and Hubert are working to preserve the barn with the house at their farm site.
The photograph above shows bents 1. & 2. Mow poles are placed across the anchorbeams and some flitch boards across the poles. This open flooring supports and helps ventilate and dry the loose hay above. Originally this area may have been used for storing the grain harvest.
this photograph shows the 24-foot end-bay. Hay was stored to either
side of the narrow center aisle. The loose hay rested on the ground
and was held back by the 3 1/2 foot high mowstead walls to either
side of the drive-through. (*)
Evidence suggests that the first change to the house was to convert the cellar into a kitchen by inserting a shallow fireplace and a bake oven in the foundation wall bellow the fireplace and building a narrow brick flue off the back of the house. This method of stacking flues is found in a number of early Hudson Valley houses. Eventually, after the adoption of jambed fireplaces, flues were placed side by side.
Eventually A two-story stone addition was made with 6-bays, two for a center hall and four for the chamber and parlor both rooms with Jambed fireplace that maintain a Dutch flue system. The brick hood of the original house is gone but the kitchen fireplace flue survives. The bricks measure 7 1/4 x 3 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches. A law passed in 1703 demanded that bricks should measure 9 x 4 1/4 x 2 inches, but unlike dendrochronology, brick-size seems a less certain way of dating although often an indication. Bricks in the smoke-hood of the mid-18th century Weaver house nearby measure 8 x 4 x 2 1/4 inches.
The group last visited the Weaver house (Dut-RH-17) in Rock City, Town of Red Hook
(***). This 4-bay Dutch stone house, like the Kipp house, has a wood-framed front wall but evidence in this case suggests that the Weaver house never had a front wall of stone but was the later addition to a 7 -bay Dutch frame house now gone.
The end pair of rafters and bent # 8, identified by its marriage marks, are all that is left of the original house. They support the present 19th century wooden end. The house is a remarkable un-modernized survival that has been lovingly neglected for about 50-year. It is now in need of loving care by its new owner. It is an excellent site for above- and below ground archaeology and study. It has one of only seven surviving Hudson Valley smoke hoods that I know of.
Late in the afternoon, a few diehards of the group went to the Rose Hill Farm (Dut-RH19) in Red Hook. Presently maintained by Dave Fraleigh as an apple farm,. it has been in his family for many generations. Fraleigh is a Palatine German family who came to the Hudson Valley with the large 1710 immigration (****).
The present house is a 2-story frame with a Mansard roof. Its 19th century form completely disguising its late 18th century roots. There is a well preserved cellar "larder," a small storage room enclosed with a light frame and narrow (2- to 3-inches) riven (split) vertical lath nailed to it with rose headed nails. Despite the generous use of iron, two nails for each lath at each girt. the door has wooden hinges. These lathed-larders have survived in a number of early houses. They seem to have been built to prevent theft, to keep out large animals, slaves or strangers.
The British troops did come to the Kipp landing in 1777 after burning Kingston, and passed the house twice on their way to and from the burning of mills at Barry town and the Livingston's manor house at Claremont. They evidently did not burn the Kipp houses, why?
see HVVA Newsletter December 2000, Vol 2, No 7.
From the Editor:
The Spring 2002 Vernacular Architecture Newsletter (VAN), a quarterly journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF), a national and primarily professional and academic organization, has a Dendrochronology Update, by Anne Grady, of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), She is their dendrochronology project architectural historian. They are working with Dr. Edward Cook and Mr. Paul Krusic, of the Columbia University Tree-Ring Lab located in the palisades area of the Hudson Valley (*) to date historic buildings in the Boston area. The project has been supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. A master chronology for oak has been established to date buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries. The chronology was established by studying the timbers of six Boston area meeting houses and public buildings dating 1681 to 1785. 65 core samples, 5/8-inch in diameter, were taken to establish the chronology. This was then matched with tree ring samples from Mt. Wachusett, 40 miles west of Boston.
In the newsletter (VAN) there is an introduction to VAF's coming conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 15-18, 2002. The author writes, "Since the early 1980s, the Chesapeake has been one of the most intensively studied regions in the area of early American architecture. As a result of extensive architectural fieldwork, dendrochronology, archaeology, and documentary research, a new perspective has emerged of the region's architectural development during the first two centuries of settlement."
Here in the Hudson Valley things take a little longer to happen and you wonder why?
At the last Dutch Barn Preservation Society meeting a September 2002 bus trip tour of Bethpage Village, on Long Island, was proposed. The bus would pick up and deliver passengers at Albany and Kingston. For such a long-leap into the past, Bethpage being 3 1/2 hours from Albany, 35 paying participants would be required. John Stevens, who will probably be one of them, suggests we avoid Saturday the 21st which is the Rensselaerswijck Seminar of the New Netherland Project at the Albany Institute. How about September 28th? We need an estimate of how many people might go. If you are interested in participating please contact Ned Pratt (518) 271-6647 or me (845) 338-0257.
An unofficial group has formed, known as the Neher/ (Losee) Farmstead Committee organized to preserve a 3-acre historic site in the Town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, with an 18th century frame house and a Dutch barn. (**) Preliminary measurements were taken of the buildings but access is difficult until the property is officially transferred to a not-for-profit organization. Minutes of the meetings are available on line from. <Kinshipny@cs.com>
A letter from Bud Miner of the NWDB Survey 2000, documenting Dutch barns in the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys. He is using a survey of barns done by Paul Flanders and Charles Gerhing, now of the New Netherland Project, in the early 1970s. Of the 37 barns they registered only 15 are left standing 30-years later. His new internet address is <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have just connected to the internet and can be reached at <hvvernar.netstep.net>. I am not yet familiar with the system but working at it.
Peter Sinclair Editor
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