The George B. Hitchcock House

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Federal Style, Historic Preservation, History, Masonry, Miscellaneous

The  George B. Hitchcock house is one of those remarkable survivors that are significant not only as architecture but also for their roles in out nation’s history.   Hitchcock was a Congregational minister and one of several, prominent abolitionists active in southern Iowa.  He used this stone house, which he built in 1856, as a stop […]

Old House CSI: Dundas, MN

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Research, Building Styles, Carpentry, Folk Victorian, Greek Revival, Historic Preservation, Historic Windows, History, Miscellaneous, Vernacuar

I always have my head on a swivel when I’m driving around the countryside because I’m on the lookout for old and interesting buildings.  This gable front-and-wing  house in Dundas, MN caught my eye during a recent drive.  You can see that the house has changed over the years and I thought it might be […]

The Italianate

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Historic Preservation, History, Millwork, Miscellaneous

Examples of the Italianate can bee seen across the country.  It was the most popular building style in the United States during the mid-19th century and persisted in the West until the 1890s.  Despite being so common, however, its origins aren’t often discussed and many have a poor understanding of the artistic and social  factors […]

History Hiding in Plain Sight: The Vergeboard

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Millwork, Miscellaneous, Picturesque

When we speak and write we use lots of words, often without being aware of what they actually mean or what their origins are.  We also use words as metaphors but don’t pause to consider what their original definitions or meanings might be.  For instance, we use the word “verge” all the time,  such as […]

Historic Windows: Part Two

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Carpentry, Greek Revival, Historic Windows, Joinery, Millwork, paint

This is the second installment in a series of blog posts on historic wood windows. This post will focus on my process for evaluating windows and recording important data and features. Before I undertake any restoration or conservation project or reproduce an historic window, I do a systematic and thorough evaluation so I can determine […]

Historic Mortar: Part One

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Miscellaneous, paint

One subject that is of great interest for the owners of masonry buildings is mortar.  We all know that mortar is the cementitious material used with brick, stone, tile and terra cotta.  Most have also heard that there are different types of mortar and that some are not appropriate for applications on historic architecture.  Indeed, […]

Victorian Trades: The Carpenter, House Joiner and Cabinet Maker

Posted Leave a commentPosted in paint

I enjoy doing demonstrations for local historical organizations and civic groups where I show people how furniture and millwork were made during the 1800s.  Visitors who watch my demonstrations normally use several words to describe me, including carpenter, wood carver, wood worker or wood wright.  Since I never want to sound argumentative I usually don’t correct them or […]

Details, Details, Details: What I look for when examining historic windows.

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Carpentry, Historic Windows, Joinery, Millwork, Miscellaneous

The more you look the more you see. With a casual glance you will identify general shapes and outlines, but when you look closely all sorts of detail will become apparent. When I look at historic windows I try to identify as many details as possible so I can understand better how old they are, […]