Boggs House Museum
The logs used to build this house really are impressive. I'm not sure if pictures can convey how large they are. Some are over two feet in diameter! You can see in the photo above that they have dovetail notching, which usually indicates construction in the mid to late 1800s for this area, so it is interesting that the documented date of construction is so early. The PCHS believes the logs are black walnut, another interesting feature, as this is not a species of tree typically used for log structure construction in this area. The exposed logs show a great deal of weathering and some locations have what appear to be burn marks on them. Curiouser and curiouser....
Here are two very real possibilities of what happens when we collect only one sample from a structure:
1. The sample breaks into tiny pieces or turns to sawdust. It is no longer usable. We cannot provide a date for sawdust. The end.
2. The sample comes out perfectly (yay!), but we just so happened to sample the one log that was a replacement 100 years after the structure was built. Great, you now have an incorrect date for your structure and we will never know the true date because we only collected one sample.
So, the moral of this story is that we absolutely must collect more than one sample to provide you an accurate date for your structure. This idea of replication is fundamental to our science, whether we are sampling trees for ecology or logs for construction dates. Multiple individual trees (logs in this case) must independently verify an event before we can conclude that it is a real phenomenon. We will never provide you a construction date for a structure after taking only one sample. Period. It's bad science and it's bad business.
Ok, so that being said, I will now get back on topic.
Elias Hammer Homestead
The spring house was built out of a mix of species including pine, oak, and poplar. It has half dovetail notching and is currently not chinked. At one point in time it was used as a room to hang meat. The half dovetail notching suggests early to mid 1800s construction, which would mean it was likely built by Elias Hammer once he inherited the property.
The kitchen also has half dovetail notching. It was recently rechinked, and they did a great job because there was only one spot where we could squeeze a drill in the wood. So, it's not a candidate for tree-ring dating but the notching suggests it was built around the same time as the spring house.
The whiskey barn sounds like a cool bluegrass band name to me. If you read this and you happen to play bluegrass, and you happen to need a band name, and you decide to name your bluegrass band Whiskey Barn, please write a clever song about tree rings or the HTP.
Anyway, the whiskey barn is a rather large structure built of oak and pine logs. Many of them have bark, which is great for dating purposes. The interesting thing about the barn is that the notching is not half dovetail like the spring house and the kitchen. Instead, it is steeple notched and round on the bottom. This suggests it was likely built before the spring house and the kitchen. Well before, if you ask me. Steeple notching usually indicates late 1700s construction. Anybody else thinking what I'm thinking yet?
Ok, I'll give you a hint. There once was fort on this property. There is no longer a fort on this property. Or is there??? This is all speculation, of course. It sure would be cool to find out though.
The house is a two story structure built from oak and pine logs. An addition was built on at some point in time, likely the late 1800s or early 1900s. The house also has steeple notching, but it is not as crude as the barn. Someone clearly put more time and effort into this structure, but again, it could date to the later 1700s. Could it possibly be the fort? Or built from the fort logs? Maybe. I would love to find out. Wouldn't you?
Brookside Farm Schoolhouse
We know the schoolhouse predates the 1890s based on historical documentation. The half dovetail notching suggests it was likely built in the early to mid 1800s. We identified numerals on all logs from where it had been assembled/disassembled. Based on our assessment, it would make a good candidate for tree-ring dating.
The Simmons Barn was huge! HUGE! The original Simmons house no longer stands, but documents suggest it was built in the 1750s. The second house, all brick, was built in 1812. The barn could date to either the first house or the second house. No one really knows its history, but oral tradition says it is the original barn.
Many of the logs in the barn were rounded and saddle notched, a style typical of western log structures. But there were a few logs that were steeple notched. Odd. It is possible some original logs were reused in a newer barn. All logs were left unhewn. Dates and initials were found carved into the wood in a few locations.
Well that wraps up another day of tours in Pendleton County. But wait, there's more! Check back soon to see where we went next!