Barn Preservation Society
to the Study and Preservation
of New World Dutch Barns
FALL 1998, Vol. 11, Issue 2
with Plans of Main Floor and Cellar, Palen Stone House, Marbletown,
The room to the left of the center hall has evidence on the ceiling
beams of a light partition that is no longer there. This kind of
room division to form a side bedroom may date to a time before
the lofts of local houses were finished and partitioned off for
bedrooms and dormer windows cut into the roof for light. This room
to the left of the center hall has a built-in four door cupboard
with 1800s period paneling and molding. The three internal ceiling
beams (1, 2 & 3) each measures 7"
x 11" and is of pine wood planed to a smooth surface. Some
edges are beaded. The beams and the bottom planed surface of the
ceiling boards have never been painted.
The room derives from the classic four-bay(7) Dutch plan like
that of the 1690 Bevier/Elting house in New Paltz but this 1800
example has adopted the English jambed fireplace, eliminating the
need for a massive hood beam with trimmers and so all three internal
ceiling beams are about the same dimension.
It is noteworthy that the builder of the Palen house, in order
to create a facade of close and regularly spaced front windows,
disregarded the structural placement of beams by resting some on
the frames of windows and doors. An earlier builder might have
sacrificed the regularity of window placement to support beams
on the masonry walls.
The two internal beams (4 & 5) of the three-bay center hall
are also planed pine while the five internal beams (6, 7, 8, 9 & 10)
of the six-bay room to the right all measure 6" x 9",
have hewn faces and are scarred with pine-bore beetle holes. There
is no evidence of lath and plaster. Their red patina does not match
the ceiling boards. It is one of many hints that the house has
utilized recycled parts.
The three internal cellar beams (1, 2 & 3) in the kitchen
are rough hewn and measure approximately 7" x 10". Some
of the five internal beams (4, 5, 6, 7 & 8) in the storage
room are hewn, others planed smooth. They range in size from 6" x
10" to 12" x 15"
and many are reused. All of the beam sizes in the house serve structural
needs but their finish and size also express the builder's values
concerning each room.
Closer study of the house and barn over time would probably solve
some of the questions concerning original form and development
and might also uncover new mysteries.
NOTES ON PALEN DUTCH BARN & HOUSE
1. Berends, G., Historische Houtconstructies in Nederland,
Stichting Historisch Boerderij-Onderzock, 1996. This is an excellent
book with good drawings and photographs. There is a one-page English
summary of the contents but unfortunately the text and captions
are not translated.
2. Sobon, Jack, The Scribe Rule or Square Rule?, Self
3. Peter Sinclair and Susan Sahler, Town of Rochester, Report
on Historic Barns and Timber Framing, Spillway Farm Press,
1997, p.66. 4. Sobon, Scribe Rule. 5. Fitchen, John, The New
World Dutch Barn, Syracuse University Press, 1968. Still the
most comprehensive study but long out of print and selling for
$180 a copy used.
6. Sinclair & Sahler, Town of Rochester, p. 6.
7. Sinclair, Peter, The Four-Bay New World Dutch House-a tour
with John Stevens of three Eighteenth-Century Stone Houses in
Ulster County, NY, Spillway Farm Press, 1998.
year old photo of Dutch Barn and carriage house before collapse
of carriage house. Notice board and batten siding on carriage
house as opposed to the horizontal siding of the Dutch barn.
View of house and barn complex looking east. The
chimney shown is wide to accommodate the flues of the cellar
kitchen and the fireplace on the main floor. In the earlier Dutch
tradition' these two flues would have been wide and placed one
behind the other rather than side-by-side as was done here.
The Palen site plan shows two features that are
common to regional homesteads. The barn is located higher than
the house and the roof lines of the barn and house run in the
same direction, in this case, northeast to southwest.
POWDER POST BEETLE ALERT!
By Harold Zoch, President, Schoharie County Historical
a familiarization tour of the Dutch Barn at the Schoharie County
Historical Society at the Old Stone Fort, our curator, Starlyn
D'Angelo, noticed tannish dust on a column. Upon removal of a short
plank-like attachment, she noted that the column was being destroyed.
The cause of this destruction was Powder Post Beetles. I found
a similar infestation (but not as severe) at the Best House Museum
in Middleburgh. At the Society's Dutch Barn, fully 40 percent of
the column cross-section was gone.
Under the barn, I noticed the same conditions on our middle and
column sills. The areas which are affected show perfectly round
holes about one sixteenth of a inch in diameter (see photo). Streaming
down from these holes is a tannish streak of fine powder. On flat
surfaces, such as the tops of sills, there is a pile of the tannish
powder surrounding the holes.
This search under the barn showed that the older oak material
was being attacked. Newer oak material did not appear to be attacked.
The new wall sills, which are hemlock, appeared untouched. During
floor removal to facilitate spraying, however, some older attacks
in the floor, which is hemlock, were noted by Chris Palmatier.
Similar areas of attack also appear at the Best House. Sleighs,
desk, horse stalls and a chopping block were attacked. Based on
observations at both sites, it appears that the beetles prefer
hard woods, perhaps older hard woods.
These are personal observations which might be specific to my
sites. It would be best to examine your own buildings, no matter
what the wood type, and look for the typical holes and powder streaks
Several years ago the entire Old Stone Fort building was sprayed
for similar conditions. At that time and this time the professional
pest control person was called. We suggest you obtain professional
help if you find the same conditions.
1998 Recipient of the Dutch Barn Repair Grant
Mount Gulian Society, Beacon, Dutchess County, New York
Dutch Barn at Mount Gulian is commonly known as the VerplanckVan
Wyck barn. It was moved to Mount Gulian, a reconstructed Verplanck
home, in 1975. The barn came from the farm of Philip Verplanck
at Hopewell Junction, fifteen miles away. John Fitchen in his book,
The New World Dutch Barn, describes it as "4-bay. 43'-10" long,
49'-11" wide, 9 1/2-ft. side-wall height. North-South orientation.
Wagon doors at both gable-ends; usual entrance at North. 10 1/2 "x
11 1/4" columns spaced 26'-5"
transversely, face to face. 5'-3" height to soffit of longitudinal
links; 6'-3" height to that of transverse struts. Very slender
rafters, spaced irregularly about 4' -6" apart on the average.
Regular pattern of fairly long sway-braces. Roman numeral numbering
of framed members starts at North end. Anchorbeams of yellow pine,
other structural members of oak. Rather coarse workmanship throughout.
Unique feature: cantilevered projection of North gable (originally
at South end, too), central portion, from anchorbeam level." See
photos, pages 148 and 149. A photo of this barn is in the 1929
book by Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutch Houses in the Hudson
Valley Before 1776, page 43.
As Fitchen mentions, the unique feature of this barn is the overhanging
gable in lieu of a pent roof. The purlin plates actually extend
beyond the end wall columns to accommodate this construction.
A fundraising campaign for the barn is underway. Phase one, installation
of the barn doors is near completion. Phase two, restoration of
the beams is slated for 1999.
Dutch Barn Preservation Society
The Mabee Farm Historic Site
1080 Main St. (Rt. 5S)
Junction, NY 12150
Phone: (518) 887-5073
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