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