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Folks' Old Home: 1936

Folks' Old Home: 1936

1936. "Col. Alfred Cooper homestead. Aventon vicinity, Nash County, North Carolina. Structure dates to 1760; reputed oldest house in county." 8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.


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MacKenzie, you are correct about the second-floor fireplace, which would have been a bedroom. However, the first-floor fireplace would have been in the hall, or the more public room of this house (possibly of a hall-parlor plan). The kitchen for an 18th-century structure as "grand" as this would have been in a separate building. Kitchens weren't typically brought into the main house until the mid-19th century or later, when typical NC/VA farmhouses were extended with rear "ell"s.

Cypress wood

I'm not sure about North Carolina, but in rural Georgia the 19th century houses my family lived in were made of cypress wood, and left unpainted.

The wood is water and rot-resistant, and weathered to a silvery color that was much admired.

"too proud to whitewash" ?

Was whitewash so considered a poor man's choice?

My Dad's home in Owensboro, KY - not all that far away, and now a historical landmark - used it extensively in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The whitewash was a byproduct of the (acetylene) lighting gas generator. The concept was "use everything but the squeal"!


Summer evenings on the front porch

My aged mind is still crowded with odd details in the lives of people who had been dead for years before I was born because of hearing such front-porch conversations during visits to relatives down on the farm. In a way that genealogical charts cannot, the knowledge that a blue racer frightened Great Grand Aunt Nora as she was hanging out the wash and she dropped the good linen sheets into the mud in her panic to get away, resulting in a switching from her mother for her carelessness, still brings days I never knew vividly to life.

Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash

The old adage applies here, as with many Shorpy images of vintage southern dwellings. Unprotected siding and trim wouldn't last nearly as long Up North. Makes it easy to find the studs, though...

Stack Shape

Good observation, jimmylee42. The shape of the stack indicates a second, smaller fireplace in the bedroom area above the large 1st floor fireplace-the big one probably in the kitchen.

Those were the days

When youngsters listened to family conversations. It was an important link because the younger generation would recollect how family had solved a similar problem that reoccurred for them years later.

Sadly, Personal electronics are now putting a crimp in that flow and continuance of family information.

Tall chimney

That fireplace might produce a very hot and roaring fire in the cold weather with the top of the chimney that high above the roof line.

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