Families and Farmhouses in Nineteenth-Century America: by Sally McMurry

By Sally McMurry

The antebellum period and the shut of the nineteenth century body a interval of serious agricultural enlargement. in this time, farmhouse plans designed by way of rural women and men usually seemed within the flourishing Northern farm journals. This publication analyzes those important symptoms of the paintings styles, social interactions, and cultural values of the farm households of the time. analyzing a number of hundred owner-designed plans, McMurry indicates the creative ways that "progressive" rural american citizens designed farmhouses in accordance with their visions of a dynamic, reformed rural tradition. From designs for effective paintings areas to a priority for self-contained rooms for adolescent kids, this interesting tale of the evolution of innovative farmers' houses sheds new gentle on rural America's efforts to evolve to significant alterations introduced by way of industrialization, urbanization, the consolidation of capitalist agriculture, and the increase of the patron society.

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In his choice of stucco Wing apparently was responding to a new fashion. According to a local historian, farmers in this prosperous area had long competed to "build larger and finer homes" than their neighbors. " Wing's house was small, but by stuccoing it he signaled his aspirations to high standing in the community. 12 Joe Wing's place, like those of Verback, Phillips, and Bryant, stood apart from the neighboring houses without completely repudiating them. These five buildings all indicate that their designers modified existing forms and adopted new styles, shapes, materials, and ideas.

By the Civil War, new forms were gaining in popularity, such as the "bent" house, which consisted of a pair of intersecting wings of roughly equal volume. Cube-shaped volumes also became more popular. 32 Independent farmer-planners like Cyrus Bryant often borrowed these and other vernacular forms as the basis of their plans. " (1853) and a signed plan by L. L. Pierce (1857) (Figures 2-17, 218), several versions of the Classic Cottage are evident. Philip Ritz (1857) chose to build a one-and-a-half-story house based on the Cape Cod (Figure 2-19).

O) Woodshed. (P) Pump. (R) Cement trough for milk. (S) Drain. (T) Window seat. (U) Back porch. Fig. 2—14. Joe Wing house, elevation. 23 Fig. 2—15. Joe Wing's wife and two of his sons photographed about 1901. They are seated in the living room next to the hearth (H) on the plan (Fig. 2-13). Fig. 2-16. Joe Wing's house, photographed about 1920. 24 THE PROGRESSIVE AGRICULTURISTS VERNACULAR 25 "spaces between siding and lath solidly with dry oak sawdust" for insulation. Sliding barn doors closed in the porch and shielded the kitchen entrance from the elements.

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