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mgbinspect

Tavern/Store/Post Office, Gravel Hill, VA 1799

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This is the original store, post office and residence of Gravel Hill, VA circa 1799. Through a series of additions the structure went from probably 800 SF (in two stories) to about 2400 SF. So, much of what you'll see isn't from 1799. Hoping Bill K might throw in a few comments here and there - especially regarding the bench like tool I photographed in the basement.

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Above is a document from the Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America declaring the store and tavern at Gravel Hill, Virginia as a Post Office overseen by the fella at the top. It was issued in March of 1864.

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This photograph of the front elevation is misleading, in that the front porch, shed to the left and the entire right half of the building (incuding the dormer) are not original. One can see the outline of the original building in the siding of the left elevation. Also, all of the field stone chimneys were added later.

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Hopping Bill can identify this tool.

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The bottle says HINDS something ALMOND

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The beam in the background has a tenon, which isn't set in a mortise. There were a series of them down the length of the front porch. At first I thought maybe the outer sill with the mortise had rotted away, but since there was no remnant of a sill with any mortise the whole length of the porch I finally concluded the timbers were recycled from another building nearby.

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This fireplace serves the original store (1799), but I don't think it's the original fireplace. The lintel stone is one dressed piece of stone. I don't think it was originally made for this fireplace. I feel it also was recycled from another property during the mid 1800's. Any thoughts Bill?

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This is the floor of the store. The closer half is original. The far half is an addition which transitions from a brick foundation to field stone. The field stone foundation mortar was barely more than mud and over the years has dried up and fallen out, due to two centuries of foot traffic (vibration). Consequently, the far field stone foundation has, over time, lost 2.5" in height, as can be seen in the floor.

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Here's that drop off in the floor. The stone foundation needs to be repointed pronto. It's not much more than rubble and relies on the building to hold it in place.

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Above: Open Mortise and Tenon at the roof peak. No ridge board. This is original - 1799

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What would have been the original roof finish, if you'll hazard a guess?

Marc

I'd merely be guessing. Bill K's the man to ask. I doubt it would be slate in 1799 - more likely shakes? Bill?...

I do believe that's the original roof framing though.

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I inspected a property earler this month, where one of the buildings was (still is) an early post office.

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The 2nd to last pic, looking through the skip sheathing......it looks like slates. Were there still slates in place?

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Hopping Bill can identify this tool.

It really looks like a treadle used to pump a blacksmiths bellows.

This fireplace serves the original store (1799), but I don't think it's the original fireplace. The lintel stone is one dressed piece of stone. I don't think it was originally made for this fireplace. I feel it also was recycled from another property during the mid 1800's. Any thoughts Bill?
I think the dressed stone is salvaged, but the fireplace itself is more recent the mid 1800s.

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What would have been the original roof finish, if you'll hazard a guess?

Marc

I'd merely be guessing. Bill K's the man to ask. I doubt it would be slate in 1799 - more likely shakes? Bill?...

I do believe that's the original roof framing though.

Unless a building is in/near Peach Bottom in York County, PA there are no 18th century buildings that originally had slate. The earliest slate was commercially available was the mid 1840s.

Shakes were also never used on 17th-18th century homes. Wood shingles were always dressed (shaved smooth with a draw knife), unless someone was building a temporary shelter. Shakes weren't used untill the late 19th century, specifically for their rustic look.

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The 2nd to last pic, looking through the skip sheathing......it looks like slates. Were there still slates in place?

Yes, slate is the roofing material now, but I doubt it was 212 years ago. The slate is quite thin, and I wonder if that wasn't with purpose - (weight).

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What would have been the original roof finish, if you'll hazard a guess?

Marc

I'd merely be guessing. Bill K's the man to ask. I doubt it would be slate in 1799 - more likely shakes? Bill?...

I do believe that's the original roof framing though.

Unless a building is in/near Peach Bottom in York County, PA there are no 18th century buildings that originally had slate. The earliest slate was commercially available was the mid 1840s.

Shakes were also never used on 17th-18th century homes. Wood shingles were always dressed (shaved smooth with a draw knife), unless someone was building a temporary shelter. Shakes weren't used until the late 19th century, specifically for their rustic look.

Thanks Bill,

Then, wood shingles is what I meant. I wasn't' concentrating on the fact there was a difference between a shake and a shingle. I only deduced that, as Bill already stated, there probably was was no quarry to turn out slate roofing then. I figured the only alternatives would be wood or thatch, and thatch just didn't seem likely.

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quote]I think the dressed stone is salvaged, but the fireplace itself is more recent the mid 1800s.

I thought perhaps it started as a lintel over a door or window in some church, or such, and found its way to this lowly spot over a store fireplace. I do know this: having dressed stone by hand myself, that is a piece of work that took some sweet time to turn out.

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