Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crab Orchard Museum Pioneer Buildings

On the grounds of the Crab Orchard Museum they have reconstructed the pioneer settlement. The buildings are made of logs, as they would have been in the 18th century. In the picture above, there is a large family home, a small single-rick log cabin, and in the background a building housing shops.

The shop building is a double-rick cabin with a dogtrot, that is, it's constructed of two pens of stacked logs with a covered open area between. This design allows for the use of shorter logs yet provides some shelter from the elements when going from one room to the other.

The room on the right is set up as a cobbler's shop, where shoes would have been made and repaired. The hand-carved wooden lasts lined up on the bench, around which a shoe would have been built, often were custom made for individual customers and kept between orders. Once the last was made, it was possible to re-order shoes that fit without having to sit for measurements.

The single-rick cabin is one room, which would have served as kitchen, bedroom, and living area. Often there would be a loft where children slept and sometimes large families occupied such small spaces. Children would have been conceived and born on a bed in the corner, with no expectations of privacy.

The blacksmith shop sits behind the single-rick cabin. Here all of the metal tools needed by a pioneer community would have been made and repaired.

One cabin is set up as a loom house with spinning wheels. Here wool and flax would have been spun into thread and woven into fabric to make the clothing worn by the residents.

There is an apple house or cellar where apples and vegetables would have been stored in coolness. The stone walls partly below grade and a thick door would keep the interior cool in summer but above freezing in winter.

The spring house would be similar, except built over a spring with a constant flow of water through it. Here would be kept milk, butter, and cheese at a constant temperature.

The smoke house was used to cure and store meats. Beef and pork were typically rubbed with salt and placed on shelves where the salt would draw out the water. Smoke from a fire of wood chips in the middle of the floor would add flavor to the meats. Barns and cribs would round out the dependencies.

Kitchens often were separate buildings set away from the living quarters for fire protection. Here the kitchen is separated from the main house by a dog trot, which doesn't provide fire protection but keeps heat from cooking away from the living quarters in summer. Here a woman is washing dishes on the kitchen's porch, again escaping the heat from cooking.

More commonly cooking was done in the fireplace of single-room cabins and even in larger homes. Here the fireplace has a crane to suspend a pot over the flames.

The day we were there the house with the separate kitchen was swarming with costumed youth ages 8 to 14. Tomorrow we'll see what they were doing.

1 comment:

  1. I love these posts on frontier life! I would love to go there and visit. Early life in the Appalachians fascinates me. I love the old buildings.