Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rural Historic House Walk: Fact, Fiction, and Fancy

I took some time out from my frenetic dyslexic ant pace of working, gardening, and trying to preserve the harvest to tour the historic village of Rural.

The village of Rural got its name from its first settler James H. Jones, who named the area his Rural Holdings. The name stuck. Jones is a Welsh name. The village I live in was settled by the Welsh; Jones being a common name among the Welsh of this area, my house was built by a Jones as well. Actually when J.H. Jones got done founding Rural, he came over and was one of the first residents in my village as well. So visiting these historic homes 13 miles from mine, I am also looking to clues to the age of my house.

The entire village of Rural is on the National Historic Register. It is significant in that it illustrates what a mid-century Yankee community was like. The community, founded by a Welsh settler, it was built almost exclusively by Yankees from the eastern United States who could trace their heritage to Great Britain. In fact, one of the key buildings in this village was actually designed and built by my great-grandfather. The mill and the damning of the Crystal River and its spillways and such were designed and laid out by my ancestor, although it is no longer existent, nor was it in my memory.

This shot of the grand staircase and the next few pictures are all from the house pictured at the top. This is not the first house built in the village of Rural, although no doubt, it is the grandest.

It also has the most original architecture apparent. Many of the others have been remuddled in such ways to make the determination of original versus even historically accurate remodeling lack any sort of veracity.

For example, although I think the cove metal ceiling is fairly old, probably 1890 to 1920, the fact that it chops into the top of original framed windows tells me it is not original to first design concept of the house. I would never remove it, but a bit of research should have been done into when this pattern was made and where the ceiling may have come from. Another house (this as the second house built in Rural by this same family), or a different room? The ceilings were fairly high in these rooms, at least ten feet. Yet, in this room it is lower. Surely that is a mystery, which might help explain the metal ceiling.

These wallpaper samples are very much in keeping with a formal dining room. (I apologize. The second is upside down!)

I always question when beautiful maple floors show up in a house in this area. The nicest floors which can be verified authentic due to the diligent work of the current owners are like these maple floors in what was then the grandest house built in Rural. Seeing these floors in any other house not built in the same scale of grandness in the same time period (about 1890 to 1910) leaves me to question their authenticity.

Most people I am sure had floors similar to those uncovered in my own home, which were heart of pine and very similar to these. Certainly, any house built in the 1850s would have floors much more similar to these heart of pine floors displayed at the Halfway House, which was the first house/tavern built in Rural. My floors show grooves sealed with oakum, not nearly the nice craftmanship of these.

These are found objects found under a porch at the back of the house during a remodel and give a glimpse into the lives of the early settlers in a wonderful way.

I have a similar collection of items, much more mundane and lower level on the economic ladder.

Lastly, one house sported a porch with this bead board grooving, which would typically been painted a sky blue, a small fact not mentioned by any docent. Mine is painted the historically accurate sky blue, with no heed to the my house's pink paint, a bit lighter than the time worn and faded lead paint blue which can detected in chipped areas.

These were the best and most architecturally interesting pictures I took. And still, they give me very little to go on to accurately date my house, within less than 20 years.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. And how come there aren't any towns named suburban?