Welcome new members. If you have been recently invited to join our forum, welcome.
Please take a few minutes to introduce yourself at The Meeting Room / General Discussions / Introduce yourself

General DiscussionsDo You Have An Idea What These Buildings Were For?

Open Forum - This is the official "any-topic" portion of the site. Stop in, say "hello", comment on photo or non-photo related topics, vent your frustrations or just chill out. The choice is yours.
User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Supremus
Mentoris Supremus
Posts: 6689
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Do You Have An Idea What These Buildings Were For?

Post by minniev »

I'm in the process of applying for the National Register of Historic Places for my country house and its immediate surrounds. The surrounds include a couple of buildings you've seen before and I've been around all my life. But I never, until asked by a state level expert evaluating it, what the original intent was. So I'm asking if anyone here has an opinion. Both structures are as old as the house and #2 may be older than the house.

Building #1 has always been called "The Playhouse" and indeed the children used it to play in. There was also a lot of variegated stuff stored in there. It's a single square room, with a door and 3 shuttered unglassed windows. The only distinguishing feature inside is a solid brick counter about 3 feet high and 2 feet deep, around all the walls. The floor is plank and beneath this room is an underground room that was a storm cellar connected to the main house by a 12 foot underground tunnel. It was built when the main house was built so its playhouse function must have come later after their children were born. The state evaluator says the upper room had some function but he cannot figure it out.

Building #2 (2 pictures) is a two room wood plank structure with a brick chimney, 2 doors and 2 windows. The wall between the two rooms has been removed so we are not sure whether there was a brick fireplace or simply a woodstove vented to a brick chimney. There is family lore that it was used to cure sweet potatoes. It is located approximately 20 feet from the main house not far from other structures that were service buildings like a sawmill, blacksmith shop, smoke house and carpentry shop. There is evidence that electricity was added probably in the 1930s (original spool and wire still visible) and that water was piped from the artesian well that serviced the main house. I don't remember it being used at all, so whatever it was, it was before the 1950s. The state evaluator wondered if it was used as a residence while the house was being built, as a farm office, as a residence for workers. The potato curing house was probably a use it had at one time but it seems a little elaborate to have been built just for that.
Attachments
house (1 of 1)-2.jpg
sister bess (1 of 1)-3.jpg
house (1 of 1).jpg
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
uuglypher
Mentoris Dominus
Mentoris Dominus
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:57 pm
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by uuglypher »

Since you’re already mentioned a “smokehouse” I’ll rule that out, but you haven’t mentioned a “root cellar” where some storable edibles could be kept cool and dry; apples, ‘taters, smoked meats ....+????
Dave

User avatar
uuglypher
Mentoris Dominus
Mentoris Dominus
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:57 pm
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by uuglypher »

Since you’ve already mentioned a “smokehouse” I’ll rule that out, but you haven’t mentioned a “root cellar” where some storable edibles could be kept cool and dry; apples, ‘taters, smoked meats ....+????
Dave

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Supremus
Mentoris Supremus
Posts: 6689
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev »

uuglypher wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:06 pm
Since you’ve already mentioned a “smokehouse” I’ll rule that out, but you haven’t mentioned a “root cellar” where some storable edibles could be kept cool and dry; apples, ‘taters, smoked meats ....+????
Dave
Thanks for your thoughts! It is possible that the two room house was just for vegetables, and that my grandfather employed some creative means of curing sweet potatoes that required all those amenities. My cousin thinks this is the case because of stories she heard from her mother and a local woman who remembers the operation. The researcher for the state dept of archives and history is skeptical.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
PietFrancke
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2770
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:38 pm
Location: WV
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by PietFrancke »

such an interesting topic.. In today's age, outbuildings are just containers for junk that someone did not have the heart to get rid of. But our ancestors had less and had to be smarter, so function was a requirement. Outbuildings were expensive (wooden planks and labor were expensive), so function had a role. I can only surmise that the function had to do with whatever the household was up to during those periods in question. We are what we are and we do what we do.. So how did your ancestors make their way through life? Somehow these buildings were part of that story.

Sure, it could have been storage, and thinking about it, it may have been. The only alternative my beer brain can think of would be some type of production... It goes back to your families way of surviving/being productive/making money.

so in the end, my comments are useless,... Standard buildings, standard outbuildings, standard purpose... but all driven by history.

And ultimately, I am reading Jack London's "White Fang", and as it all comes together, I can only think about how small and tiny I am..

And your solid brick counter especially sounds super expensive, so if your family was not super rich (and wasteful), it especially must have had a special purpose that escapes me completely,

User avatar
uuglypher
Mentoris Dominus
Mentoris Dominus
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:57 pm
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by uuglypher »

PietFrancke wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:11 am
such an interesting topic.. In today's age, outbuildings are just containers for junk that someone did not have the heart to get rid of. But our ancestors had less and had to be smarter, so function was a requirement. Outbuildings were expensive (wooden planks and labor were expensive), so function had a role. I can only surmise that the function had to do with whatever the household was up to during those periods in question. We are what we are and we do what we do.. So how did your ancestors make their way through life? Somehow these buildings were part of that story.

Sure, it could have been storage, and thinking about it, it may have been. The only alternative my beer brain can think of would be some type of production... It goes back to your families way of surviving/being productive/making money.

so in the end, my comments are useless,... Standard buildings, standard outbuildings, standard purpose... but all driven by history.

And ultimately, I am reading Jack London's "White Fang", and as it all comes together, I can only think about how small and tiny I am..

And your solid brick counter especially sounds super expensive, so if your family was not super rich (and wasteful), it especially must have had a special purpose that escapes me completely,
Hi,Piet,

An admirably objective and rational essay!
As for the brick counter? Howzabout sensible utilization of extra bricks left over from inadvertent surplus resulting from minor re-design of that chimney in bldg #2 after the originally calculated amount of bricks had been purchased and partly used?

Dave

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Supremus
Mentoris Supremus
Posts: 6689
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev »

Thanks, guys, for your thoughts. It’s hard to figure out, even for me and I had ample chances to ask people who knew, but never did. Children are notoriously bad at lacking curiosity about the things closest to them. I asked a thousand questions about stars but none about the potato shed. I am sure the buildings had function specific to the time of their construction but we aren’t sure what those were since my era was 5 decades later and the uses had changed. When the farmstead was built they farmed for their own use (vegetables, cows, pigs, chickens) and for sale. Cotton was the only crop intended entirely for sale, but they also sold what was produced in quantities beyond their needs: milk, corn, sweet potatoes, cane syrup), so the buildings could have been tied to some of those uses. There were also farmhand families who lived on the place.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
PietFrancke
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2770
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:38 pm
Location: WV
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by PietFrancke »

minniev wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:05 pm
Thanks, guys, for your thoughts. It’s hard to figure out, even for me and I had ample chances to ask people who knew, but never did. Children are notoriously bad at lacking curiosity about the things closest to them. I asked a thousand questions about stars but none about the potato shed. I am sure the buildings had function specific to the time of their construction but we aren’t sure what those were since my era was 5 decades later and the uses had changed. When the farmstead was built they farmed for their own use (vegetables, cows, pigs, chickens) and for sale. Cotton was the only crop intended entirely for sale, but they also sold what was produced in quantities beyond their needs: milk, corn, sweet potatoes, cane syrup), so the buildings could have been tied to some of those uses. There were also farmhand families who lived on the place.
my parents lived through WW2 in Holland - and I could never get them to talk about it. I know nothing about what happened before me... Will have to spit into a cup and try out ancestry and see what I can learn, but yeah, it amazes me how little knowledge we pass from generation to generation - for a million different reasons. We KNOW things, and we don't communicate it, and then things change and times moves on, and the knowledge is lost.

User avatar
uuglypher
Mentoris Dominus
Mentoris Dominus
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:57 pm
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by uuglypher »

PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:43 pm
minniev wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:05 pm
Thanks, guys, for your thoughts. It’s hard to figure out, even for me and I had ample chances to ask people who knew, but never did. Children are notoriously bad at lacking curiosity about the things closest to them. I asked a thousand questions about stars but none about the potato shed. I am sure the buildings had function specific to the time of their construction but we aren’t sure what those were since my era was 5 decades later and the uses had changed. When the farmstead was built they farmed for their own use (vegetables, cows, pigs, chickens) and for sale. Cotton was the only crop intended entirely for sale, but they also sold what was produced in quantities beyond their needs: milk, corn, sweet potatoes, cane syrup), so the buildings could have been tied to some of those uses. There were also farmhand families who lived on the place.
my parents lived through WW2 in Holland - and I could never get them to talk about it. I know nothing about what happened before me... Will have to spit into a cup and try out ancestry and see what I can learn, but yeah, it amazes me how little knowledge we pass from generation to generation - for a million different reasons. We KNOW things, and we don't communicate it, and then things change and times moves on, and the knowledge is lost.
Hi, Piet;
If your family is of “Nederlandish” branch of descent, you will likely benefit from the long, acid penchant of the Dutch to keep detailed and assiduously accurate marriage as well as independent birth records (including illegitimatii) and extensive genealogical records allowing, in some cases, documenting direct lines of descent from as far back as the 5th Century AD.

We found that my great grandmother, Maria Meier (a West-by-God Virginian of Dutch lineage was our genealogical window into the direct line of lineage specifically traceable to the late 400s - when that dead end was reached we received an apology that it could not be taken farther back! Routine genealogy took our direct Scottish line back to Robert de Grahame - one of Willie the Bastard’s Norman cohort in 1066 - and the English (Smith) and western Welsh (Washburn) lines petered out in the early 1800s and early 1700s, respectively. The documentable line via the Dutch ancestor, however, was long and fascinating.

It has been my eldest son who did all the digging, much with the assistance of Ancestry.com
So be not of little faith! Your Dutch lineage may very well provide fascinating windows into the deep and distant past!
Dave

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Supremus
Mentoris Supremus
Posts: 6689
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev »

uuglypher wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:34 pm
PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:43 pm
minniev wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:05 pm
Thanks, guys, for your thoughts. It’s hard to figure out, even for me and I had ample chances to ask people who knew, but never did. Children are notoriously bad at lacking curiosity about the things closest to them. I asked a thousand questions about stars but none about the potato shed. I am sure the buildings had function specific to the time of their construction but we aren’t sure what those were since my era was 5 decades later and the uses had changed. When the farmstead was built they farmed for their own use (vegetables, cows, pigs, chickens) and for sale. Cotton was the only crop intended entirely for sale, but they also sold what was produced in quantities beyond their needs: milk, corn, sweet potatoes, cane syrup), so the buildings could have been tied to some of those uses. There were also farmhand families who lived on the place.
my parents lived through WW2 in Holland - and I could never get them to talk about it. I know nothing about what happened before me... Will have to spit into a cup and try out ancestry and see what I can learn, but yeah, it amazes me how little knowledge we pass from generation to generation - for a million different reasons. We KNOW things, and we don't communicate it, and then things change and times moves on, and the knowledge is lost.
Hi, Piet;
If your family is of “Nederlandish” branch of descent, you will likely benefit from the long, acid penchant of the Dutch to keep detailed and assiduously accurate marriage as well as independent birth records (including illegitimatii) and extensive genealogical records allowing, in some cases, documenting direct lines of descent from as far back as the 5th Century AD.

We found that my great grandmother, Maria Meier (a West-by-God Virginian of Dutch lineage was our genealogical window into the direct line of lineage specifically traceable to the late 400s - when that dead end was reached we received an apology that it could not be taken farther back! Routine genealogy took our direct Scottish line back to Robert de Grahame - one of Willie the Bastard’s Norman cohort in 1066 - and the English (Smith) and western Welsh (Washburn) lines petered out in the early 1800s and early 1700s, respectively. The documentable line via the Dutch ancestor, however, was long and fascinating.

It has been my eldest son who did all the digging, much with the assistance of Ancestry.com
So be not of little faith! Your Dutch lineage may very well provide fascinating windows into the deep and distant past!
Dave
So, Dave, our cousins were pals! The First Lady of the sweet potato house and the storm cellar, my grandmother Minnie, was allegedly a direct descendent of William and Matilda through the Tyrell line. The genealogy on her side was researched at the expense of her sister, who was once among the 10 wealthiest women in America, obsessed with being tops on that list and desperate to learn if she had more interesting ancestors than Mississippi hill country farmers. There were other fascinating finds, but only the “good” discoveries were published. Before the books went to press, references to the Indians and horse thieves and illegitimate offspring were purged. My grandmother found all of it quite silly.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests