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#20893 - 08/10/09 09:48 AM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: Housewright]
OurBarns1 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 570
Loc: Cumberland County, Maine
Well howdy Jim! Nice to have you back in the fray...

Interesting comments about roof pitch. I hope this thread gets resurrected some. It's neat for us Yankees to compare what we see here for date indicators w/ those of southern barns.

I've been able to deduce that a pitch of 8/12 or less (on a barn, mind you) almost always indicates pre-civil war here in Maine. Absence of gable overhang (rakes flush w/ the building) is another indicator of early-mid 19th century.

The steep pitches came in at a time when barns became quite large here in the north. Big dairy was taking off here in the Northeast after the civil war. The need for big haylofts resulted in steep pitches, which ultimately ushered in the gambrel design around 1900-1930-ish.

Hope Jayson, the thread originator, pops back in...
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Don Perkins
Member, TFG


to know the trees...



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#20894 - 08/10/09 11:07 AM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: OurBarns1]
TIMBEAL Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1875
Loc: Maine
Hi Guys, is this roof pitch info solid, can it be a real indicator of dating? It does make sense. Maybe a consensus on it would make it true. Two items, odd roof pitches and lack of over hangs, things to look for.

Tim

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#20896 - 08/10/09 12:27 PM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: TIMBEAL]
OurBarns1 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 570
Loc: Cumberland County, Maine
I've found dating New England buildings is easier and more effective if you focus on exterior architectural details rather than joinery or hewn/sawn timbers, etc.

Georgian, Greek Revival and Victorian eras are displayed in roof elements and cornices, even on barns. I then look at interior details to support what I see on the outside. The whole thing begins to speak... This is a strategy I've come to over my surveys and have found it pretty accurate here in Maine.

When I speak of roof pitch as an age indicator, it's a generalization; I'm referring to pitches of 8/12 and under as a kind of demarcation, not "odd pitch." But odd pitch is certainly an interesting element to explore.

I think another thread here somewhere (god knows where) discussed 8/12 or 1/3 pitch as a very common pitch in the early 19th century: it could be walked, yet still shed water/snow fairly well. Perhaps roof staging/brackets were something they tried to avoid in the old days (at least on barns)??

Of course, a lesser pitch required less $ and material, too.
_________________________
Don Perkins
Member, TFG


to know the trees...



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#20936 - 08/18/09 01:36 PM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: OurBarns1]
Housewright Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/06
Posts: 332
Loc: Waldoboro, Maine
Hi Don;

I think you are correct on several accounts. The overall appearance of a building tells a lot about it's age, including the roof pitch. Sometimes there complications like an older barn being Victorianized or updated, or reused materials in a newer barn, so one needs to look at every detail and keep in mind that written documentation about a buildings age is frequently incorrect.
Wars have profound affects on building materials and designs, but whether the Civil War was the period roof pitch changes on barns I cannot attest to.

Jim
_________________________
The closer you look the more you see.
"Heavy timber framing is not a lost art" Fred Hodgson, 1909

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#23372 - 04/18/10 11:59 AM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: Jayson]
gtmerkley Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Saint Anthony dubois county IN...
Have you went to the county auditors office to see when it was built ? if it is like around here tax's had to be paid on it as soon as it was built.As far as it surviving Sherman the Confederates would ride patrol on the side and if they caught any of them thieves trying to burn steal or molest the people they would stop them that is why the path was not wider. I would say the barn was in a bad place for them to get too maybe there was a camp there or maybe the barn was a replacement for one they burned you should know more if the auditors office records are intact.

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#27858 - 12/30/11 08:40 PM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: gtmerkley]
Jayson Offline
Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Georgia
Holy smoke! Sorry to leave everyone hanging on this one! I think of this building more than any I have touched. I will be traveling near it soon and would like to make an official assessment. Please post pertinent questions and I will try to answer them. I will talk to the owner about tax docket and such. I am very lucky to have worked on this building and really appreciate the time everyone has spent with their replys.
Jayson

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#30694 - 06/04/13 08:19 AM Re: Attempting to date a barn in Central NC??? [Re: Jayson]
Jayson Offline
Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Georgia
After a very long search, a visit to the original site and a lot of head scratching, public records dated the barn to 1833. Thanks for all the interest.

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