NEWSLETTER, July 1999
Sunday, June 6, 1999 with Todd and Roger Scheff in Columbia and Dutchess Counties we visited five Dutch barns and one 1766 Dutch brick house.
1. _/Linder/Whitney (Rhi-7) 4-bay Dutch barn with balloon frame. The remains of this farm were recently bought by the owner of the next barn (Rhi-16). The house across the road is a 1790-1800 center-hall frame house but the present barn, that replaced the original barn perhaps 100 years ago, 1890-1900, is a rare and fascinating study in the persistence and modification of tradition.
The frame is amazingly light with 4x6-inch columns and 4x9 1/2inch anchorbeams. There are no braces on the H-bents. All the beams are sawn. There are no mortise and tenon joints with pegs. The anchorbeams are joined with nailed half-lap joints and the purlin braces are toe-nailed. The frame is certainly an experiment in what is known as "balloon framing," a system that replaced timber framing by taking advantage of more efficient saw mills and cheaper wire nails.
2. _/Whitney (Rhi-16) 4-bay scribe-rule Dutch U-barn. This farm was on the Beekman Patent. The barn has a scribe-rule frame with race- knife lines and circles for marriage marks. Lines cut across the joints.
There is an inscription near the center of an internal anchorbeam. It contains initials, perhaps of the owner and builder, and the numerals "81." The eight is cut with two race knife circles. This seems to indicate a 1781 construction. The anchorbeam tenons extend but are not wedged.
3. _/Nieman (Rhi-17) 4-bay Dutch barn. The present owner is restoring the house and outbuildings with metal roofs and structural repairs. The Dutch barn is made of the parts of several scribe rule frames. Some anchorbeams have three pegs. All anchorbeam tenons extend but only one wedge could be found. There are parts of longitudinal struts with holes for a stake-wall reused as studs in the front end-wall and there is one stake-wall strut in place on the cow side. Today we find plank walls separating the cows from the threshing floor in Dutch barns but originally the cows were separated by a stake wall and there were no stanchions.
4. _/Pumpkin Hollow Farm (Tag-3) 4-bay square-rule Dutch barn. This farm is a-Theosophical Center "dedicated to promoting study, service, meditation and fellowship." This Columbia County farm has an early "Livingston mill site, a i 790-1800 center hall house and a square-rule Dutch barn. It was purchased by Michael Sellon in 1937.
Evidence indicates the frame is square-rule dating after 1815. There are chisel marriage marks on the scissor purlin-braces. The anchorbeam tenons do not extend and the purlin-braces are not pegged. There is a profuse use of braces and they are all sawn. All of the side-wall-posts are sawn and the in between studs are poles. There is an 1888 date on the end-wall but this must date the reconstruction in which a new roof was built and the aisle in three bays on the horse side was extended out about 3-feet.
This last alteration is rare. Normally when deeper horse-stalls were needed or desired the manger was moved into the nave. Another rare feature of the barn is the 20 foot bay with interior posts that created a 12-foot nave flanked by 3 1/2-foot high mowstead-walls. This created a very Anglo-American system for hay storage while the other three bays kept their Dutch uses.
Aside from two examples of Dutch barns in Vermont, according to Jan Lewandoski, this newly discovered barn in Craryville, township of Taghkanic, is perhaps the most eastern of the approximately 600 surviving Dutch barns in New York and New Jersey, taking the place of the 3-bay Hamm/Woods (PP-1) Dutch barn in Pine Plains. Perhaps because of their location on the fringe of Dutch-American culture, both of these barns show features that have been adopted from New England. The Woods barn makes extensive use of wedged dovetail tenons, a rarity in Dutch timber framing.
5. Tishauser/Northrop (Cla-5) 4 bay Dutch barn. This barn is "being used for a dairy operation and as is often the case with Dutch barn conversion to dairy, the lower 6 1/2 feet of the frame is replaced with metal posts and stanchions and the floor covered with cement. The anchorbeam braces are hewn and the, purlin braces sawn and pegged. There are two raising holes in each column, one 3 feet below the purlin and one 10 inches above the anchorbeam. There are longitudinal raising-holes in some wall posts.
6. _/Sheldon (Cla-6) two-story center-hall brick house with gambrel roof and earlier stone wing. This brick house is dated 1766 and contains many original features. The house and 150 acres are for sale.
Some notable features are the steep original ladder-stairs in the stone wing and the stairs and balustrade in the center-hall of the brick house. There is a wall of paneling that may have been moved when the fireplaces were replaced with stoves. Part of the paneling might be a wall-bed. There is evidence in the cellar that the original 1766 house had end-wall jambless fireplaces, one of which had later been converted to a jambed fireplace.
This house makes an interesting comparison with the Wyncoop/Lonsbury house (Mar-13), a two-story stone house of a similar date in Marbletown, Ulster County, that is a more refined Georgian style, while the Sheldon house retains many traditional Dutch country features. It was evidently a house of the Rensselaer family.
Friday, June 11, 1999 with Roger & Todd Scheff and John Stevens we met with Bill Reinhart and measured the 1727 Kiersted stone house (Sau-23) in Saugerties, Ulster County, NY. Roger found a fragment of leaded glass with attached iron guard-bar in a small compartment on the side of the parlor fireplace paneling and a piece of molding for an early door frame, with an original red stain finish, nailed to a cellar beam. All Dutch houses had leaded glass windows before 1740 but none remain in place and only a few fragments and evidence of their use survive. Vertically sliding sash windows with wood mullians, as we know them today, replaced the leaded windows that were casement or hinged sashes. Iron guard bars were necessary for support because the lead was soft. The Kiersted example was originally a six-pane window. The 2 x 5 inch glass panes differ from the 4 x 6 inch standard pane.
The Brush house was recently acquired by the local historical society, the Little Nine Partners, and was soon after damaged by an arson fire. This was especially sad because of the very original condition of the house. Work is now underway to restore it.
There is an historic marker that says the house was built as a blockhouse in association with the Revolution but recent research by Neil Larson has uncovered a different story. It seems Graham came from Westchester County where the British had burned his house. He. came to this place of refuge and built a one-room log cabin without a cellar to which he soon added a center hall with stairs to the loft and another room with a fireplace, all of logs. The log addition was built over a cellar with an outside entrance. The simple lap joining of logs, without dovetails, relates its construction methods to the military garrisons being built at that time to house troops. Graham came to Pine Plains because his father had been one of the Little Nine Partners in the local land patent.
Bob Hedges gave a slide show and talked about local barns, some of which no longer stand. About eight people took a tour of two Pine Plains buildings. The Grange Hall (PP-6), now an antique store, was visited. It has an exposed king-post truss rafter system. A small side entrance barn (PP-7) of about 1840, presently owned by a veterinarian, was visited. It has a five-sided ridge pole into which the hewn rafters are joined and pegged. The square-rule frame is built with girts for vertical siding and there is an abundance of bracing, both ascending and descending and some short ones on the rafters. I have seen two similar, highly structured frames of this type. One of a water-powered saw mill in Palenville and the other at a water mill site in Gardner.
Alvin, Roger, Myself and John Stevens drove to Stuyvesant, Columbia County, and visited the Andries Witbeck (Stu-1) house visited. May 22, 1999 with Roger and Todd. This is an early 18th century two-room center-hailstone house It is undergoing restoration by its owner who has a good understanding of the evidence he is uncovering and of the building's many changes from a Medieval Survival into a Greek Revival with a few later touches of Victorian. The story-and-ahalf house originally had jambless fireplaces on its end-walls and its center hall had an encased stairway to the loft.
On the return home we visited the Steven Miller/Van Wyck/Van Deusen homestead (Cla-7). The original 2 bay Van Deusen Dutch barn measures 32 feet wide and 21 feet deep. It has a 12 -foot nave and 10 foot side aisles making it the smallest Dutch barn known. There are six pairs of rafters. The center bent has 7 x 9-inch columns and a 12 x 7-inch anchorbeam. The braces are hewn and the tenons extend and have one wedge on the center, internal bent. The shoulders are diminished indicating it could be an 18th century example. The 2-bay addition to the original barn contains a number or re-used parts. The frame house with gambrel-roof dates to about 1760.
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