Yesterday the HTP accompanied fellow lab member and PhD student, Alex Dye, to Ridgeville, WV to see a man about a stone inn. Why? Well, because a hundred years or so ago Alex's ancestors moved to Ridgeville, WV and bought this large stone inn and called it Dye Tavern. And even though it is mostly stone, it has some pretty little logs hiding inside. And how cool would it be to date the house your ancestors lived in? We thought it would be very cool. Our mission was to help Alex determine if the logs in Traveler's Rest could be dated.
Traveler's Rest was believed to have been built around 1810, back when Route 50 was the main wagon road heading west. Apparently it received so much business that it had to be expanded in the 1820s. If you look closely you'll see a seam in the stone wall. The left portion is the original house and the longer right side is the addition. Written history suggests that the Kuykendall family was responsible for the construction of this inn. The Dye family purchased the inn in the later 1800s and sold it in the 1920s to move to Indiana where our superstar, Alex, was later born. After years of switching ownership, the Mineral County Historical Foundation purchased Traveler's Rest thanks largely to the late Elizabeth Dye Walker. There is now a sign dedicated to her efforts of acquiring the inn for restoration.
Frank Roleff, member of the Mineral County Historical Foundation, is now working to restore this beautiful inn to its original state. Alex hopes that tree-ring dating of the inn may help the Mineral County Historical Foundation to claim its historical status and aid in restorative efforts. It would probably make his ancestors mighty proud to know he was keeping the family history alive too.
We started our tour of Traveler's Rest in the attic, one of our two favorite places to work with logs. They're so protected in attics that they appear just as new as the day they were cut. We like that.
The attic logs were all pine. They were pegged and each one had a numeral carved into it.
We moved down to the second floor to see if any of the beams were rounded. We found one with bark still attached!
Since we didn't see much to work with on the first and second floors, we moved down to the basement, my other favorite place to work. Logs down here are also pretty happy and protected, as long as water hasn't seeped in....
Alex and Shawn searched the basement for "healthy" logs. They find one with tons of bark still attached!
Next, Frank took us to his house to show us a few other structures that he has collected over the years. The first was a two-story log house with steeple notching, indicative of the late 1700s/early 1800s.
Unfortunately, there were very few locations where we could drill because of the new chinking. This house reminded me of the Jarrett House in Greenbrier County that was also buttoned up. We did find a few locations though.
Next we checked out the chicken coop on Frank's property. It had half dovetail notching and was likely built in the later 1800s.
We sent Alex inside the coop to see if there was any bark on the logs. We told him he needed the experience. But really, Shawn wouldn't go in because of spiders. And I wouldn't go in because of the snakes. Yeah, they were fake. But we still weren't going in. Nooo sir.
And that concluded our tour for the day. Alex is now deciding if he can date these structures. If he does, we will gladly help him collect his samples. That's what friends are for. Unless there are spiders or snakes. Then he's on his own. Good luck Alex! We can't wait to read "Dendroarchaeological Dating of Dye Tavern" by A. Dye!
Thank you, Frank, for showing us around yesterday! It was a pleasure meeting you and we hope to see you again!