Historic Timbers Project
Historic structures play a vital role in historic interpretation when written records are incomplete or uncertain. Accurate construction dates improve interpretations of political, social, economic, and cultural practices during construction and allow the buildings to be tied to calendar dated historical documents. In West Virginia, many log structures were built for housing, storage (barns), industry (grist mills), and fortification during periods of great historic significance, including the Seven Year War (1754-1763), the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), and the Civil War (1861-1865). Although many older structures including Fort Evans in Berkeley County and Fort Seybert in Pendleton County are no longer standing, a significant number of structures are still in existence. Many structures throughout West Virginia are already registered with the National Register of Historic Places, even without known annual construction dates. Numerous others have undoubtedly been overlooked for listing because construction dates are unknown; therefore the potential historic significance of these structures is unrecognized. Tree-ring dating of historic structures provides an annual cutting date for structural timbers, which then promotes pride in preserving historical buildings and deepens our knowledge of a structure’s historical context.
This project is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.