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mgbinspect

Yesterday: A home built in 1764

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Here are some architectural and hardware highlights of a home I inspected yesterday built in 1764. The average height of the doors was about 73" +/-

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The old hand dug and brick lined well. She's slowly caving in.

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The kitchen fireplace in the basement with a crane and a brick oven on the side:

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Floor framing:

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The front door and Foyer, which extends through the center of the home from the front to the back door and out to an english garden:

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Random cool hardware:

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The door to the side porch:

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And some random interior shots:

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(Wood valance)

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Views from the upper windows:

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Hand cut rabbits, and M&T's in the framing. Too cool.

Indeed - second time I've seen this setup in the last forty-five days or so. I don't know how or why, but I'm not complaining. I love these old homes, from top to bottom. [:-wiltel]

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That must have been fun to inspect. I have a 1780 home in a historic district Monday that I'm looking forward to inspecting.

John C

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That's 120 years older than any building in my territory. What is the foundation like? Stone and mortar?

I guess you could still call that an English garden in 1764. The Boston Tea Party was in 1773. [:)]

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That's 120 years older than any building in my territory. What is the foundation like? Stone and mortar?

I guess you could still call that an English garden in 1764. The Boston Tea Party was in 1773. [:)]

Believe it or not, most of the early homes in Virginia (once you get past wilderness settlers), have brick foundations. I imagine the brick was ordered and came over serving a double purpose, as necessary ballast on the sailing ships. I'm sure Bill K might correct me a bit. But, I know sailing ships needed ballast to help stay upright. (Near Annapolis Maryland, on the South River, is a point called Chalk Point - where chalk used for ballast was apparently dumped.

At any rate, brick was the material of choice for the well to do, probably due to being user friendly. Having laid up a lot of brick and stone, I can assure you that stone goes up about three to four times slower than brick. One can lay up about thirteen vertical feet of brick in a day, and only about three to four feet of stone. Stone is a very slow process, through which you hind the closes possible piece of the puzzle and "dress it" (make if fit with a hammer and chisel, if needed).

As in the last home I inspected from 1799, the original foundation was brick and all the addition foundations were field stone. The stone was most likely laid up by slaves. The brick foundation was fantastic, and the stone foundations were in miserable shape - literally deteriorating and taking the additions down with them.

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I imagine the brick was ordered and came over serving a double purpose, as necessary ballast on the sailing ships. I'm sure Bill K might correct me a bit. But, I know sailing ships needed ballast to help stay upright. (Near Annapolis Maryland, on the South River, is a point called Chalk Point - where chalk used for ballast was apparently dumped.
You no doubt heard that from blue-haired tour guides clad in polyester "colonial" costumes. That bit o'folklore is right up there with every spring cellar around here was an "entrance to the Underground Railroad".

Mike, dig a hole anywhere near that house and you'll find some of the best brick-making clay in the Mid-Atlantic. For some of the very earliest colonization attempts, in the first quarter of the 17th century, there were some building materials brought by ship. Since that time, no one has ever produced any primary documentation that brick, stone, "chalk" (lime or gypsum) or any other building material was used as ballast in ships headed to this colony from Europe, and used for building construction. The colonies were a vast resource of quality building materials.

There is plenty of documentation however, that brick, stone, glass, timber, etc. was always being exported FROM here to Europe since the mid 1600s. For inbound ships, there was little need for ballast due to the amount of goods being transported to supply the colonists/Americans. If there was ever a need for ballast, it's always been coarse sand or rocks, that would be of no use in buildings.

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I imagine the brick was ordered and came over serving a double purpose, as necessary ballast on the sailing ships. I'm sure Bill K might correct me a bit. But, I know sailing ships needed ballast to help stay upright. (Near Annapolis Maryland, on the South River, is a point called Chalk Point - where chalk used for ballast was apparently dumped.
You no doubt heard that from blue-haired tour guides clad in polyester "colonial" costumes. That bit o'folklore is right up there with every spring cellar around here was an "entrance to the Underground Railroad".

Mike, dig a hole anywhere near that house and you'll find some of the best brick-making clay in the Mid-Atlantic. For some of the very earliest colonization attempts, in the first quarter of the 17th century, there were some building materials brought by ship. Since that time, no one has ever produced any primary documentation that brick, stone, "chalk" (lime or gypsum) or any other building material was used as ballast in ships headed to this colony from Europe, and used for building construction. The colonies were a vast resource of quality building materials.

There is plenty of documentation however, that brick, stone, glass, timber, etc. was always being exported FROM here to Europe since the mid 1600s. For inbound ships, there was little need for ballast due to the amount of goods being transported to supply the colonists/Americans. If there was ever a need for ballast, it's always been coarse sand or rocks, that would be of no use in buildings.

Now that's hilarious, because that's EXACTLY where I heard it - Jamestown, I believe (if that's the settlement they've been excavating for years and have only discovered foundations).

Back then (probably five or six years ago on a tour of the excavation and foundations) I was shocked to learn: 1. that portions of the settlement were townhomes... Townhomes?... Really?... [:D] I just couldn't imagine townhomes in Jamestown or Yorktown. 2. in the renderings, the townhomes were all brick. So I asked where the bricks came from, and the "blue-haired tour guide clad in that polyester "colonial" costume" claimed they were ordered from England, which seemed like a lot of weight, but... OK, what did I know?... Funny...

Yeah, of course I know Virginia is teaming with clay, but I doubted that, early on, we could properly fire them in the wilderness. I knew that later we started making our own here.

It STILL cracks me up to imagine Jamestown as a townhome community... How 70ish...

Now the Chalk point deal - when I was a kid, friends of my folks (and fellow members of our local Lutheran church) owned a really cool cottage on the water right on the tip of chalk point. They had a great dock complete with a cabin cruiser and a really cool racing sailboat - a Penguine I think. (He used to do the Indian River sail boat race. I got to go with him one year.) That was where the Chalk Point story came from... I was probably twelve, and had no reason to doubt it..

So, I took a leap and married that twelve year old kid revelation with the blue haired polyester "colonial" garb guide story... But, I did fully expect you to correct me, if I was wrong, which you did. Thinking is dangerous business... [:-snorkel

Well, like Mark Twain said, "Education consists mostly of what we unlearn." [:-graduat

Bill, do you think ANY of the hardware or doors shown are original? I'd ESPECIALLY like to hear your thoughts about the brown wood-like door knob. (I've never seen one before!) And, the double doors to the front side porch - (equally unusual, for me). And, for that matter, what are your thoughts about the cast iron or wrought iron fire-screen? I assume that came on the scene much later?

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I think I've seen similar doorknobs made from glass or possibly a Bakelite-type material. Early 20th C. Also the doorlatches in some pic, the square type that screws to the side of the plank door, were common here in the 1920's-30's.

I can picture American bricks going back to England. That would be when the tall ships would need something for ballast, besides gold bars. [:)]

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Bill, do you think ANY of the hardware or doors shown are original? I'd ESPECIALLY like to hear your thoughts about the brown wood-like door knob. (I've never seen one before!) And, the double doors to the front side porch - (equally unusual, for me). And, for that matter, what are your thoughts about the cast iron or wrought iron fire-screen? I assume that came on the scene much later?
There's no hardware there that dates back to the presumed date of original construction. The box locks are the type from the latter part of the 19th century. The fireplace grate is as well. The fireplace crane and beehive oven door are recent, awful attempts at reproductions. Cranes weren't even created until after 1785 and were extremely rare. They are almost always added later to 18th century homes as an attempt to return to it's "colonial" appearance.

The HL hinges and latch are store-bought, mass-produced reproductions. None of the doors in the pictures are original. The sidelights flanking the entrance were added later. There's a lot of wood components in and on the home that I suspect were added much later too.

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The whole house is polyester!... [:-weepn]

(Sheesh, It must be tough holding your tongue as well as you do, Bill, in a world so eager to pass off smoke and mirrors for authenticity. In my case, it gives blissful ignorance an added appeal, because I'd definitely go crazy...) [:-banghea

(Whispering - Now you've completely peaked my curiosity - Is the house age in question?..[:-sonar] Surely the soil dates back that far... [:-bigeyes [:-hspin])

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I see quite a lot in the pictures you posted that would support the declared date of construction.

It's not an authentically restored living history museum. It was a home to many families of several generations, each with their own ideas of what should be a part of the house.

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I see quite a lot in the pictures you posted that would support the declared date of construction.

It's not an authentically restored living history museum. It was a home to many families of several generations, each with their own ideas of what should be a part of the house.

Well, Bill, it gets even more difficult to decipher: according to the young farm manager, who manages two estates (this being one of them), this is not the original site. The structure was purchased and relocated, at some point during its long life.

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Bill, I do quite a lot inspections of very old house’s but would be in awe to inspect one in your company! Thanks for all the info and advice showing me & other inspector's how much more I need to learn. It never gets old.(even if I'm getting old!)

John C

I see quite a lot in the pictures you posted that would support the declared date of construction.

It's not an authentically restored living history museum. It was a home to many families of several generations, each with their own ideas of what should be a part of the house.

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