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The Log House in Historic Hellam Preserve

Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)
Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)

I attended the Preservation Celebration for 40 Years of Historic York, Inc. at the Historic Hellam Preserve yesterday. This post shares some photos of two of the buildings on the grounds. References are from points made in Joe Kindig’s Keynote presentation and discussions with others attending this gathering.

The key Germanic characteristics of this log house are the steep pitch gable roof with a two-story attic, the large central chimney and slight flared-up roof-lines at the lower parts of the roof. This house has a raised stone walkout basement, with walls containing thin flat stones. This type of stonewall construction is unusual, although two old barns in the area also exhibited this type of construction.

Dendrochronological analysis (tree-ring dating) indicated the original log house was built in the winter of 1758/9 or shortly thereafter. It was built by John Shultz about 500-feet from Kreutz Creek in Hellam Township, York County, PA. The logs are fit together with dovetails at the corners.

Continue reading for five additional photos.

 

The main floor of the log house has a traditional three-room plan. The following photo shows the fireplace on the main floor and a cut-away of the wall construction. The hole in the back of the fireplace is to accept a five-plate stove in the room on the other side of the wall. Red-hot embers would be placed into the stove from the fireplace and the iron plates would radiate the heat to that room.

Main Floor Fireplace in Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)
Main Floor Fireplace in Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)

The first floor of the attic was where the majority of the family slept. The following photo also shows this log house contains a smoke house in the first floor of the attic. Fire would be built on the slate floor of the smoke house to smoke meats.

Smoke House in First Floor of the Attic in Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)
Smoke House in First Floor of the Attic in Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)

The second floor of the attic was primarily used for storage. The central chimney can be seen coming through the second floor of the attic.

Central Chimney coming through the Second Floor of the Attic in Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)
Central Chimney coming through the Second Floor of the Attic in Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)

The walkout basement contained the large cooking and butchering fireplace, shown in the following photo.

Large Cooking/Butchering Fireplace in the Walkout Basement of the Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)
Large Cooking/Butchering Fireplace in the Walkout Basement of the Mid-18th Century Germanic Log House on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)

The following photo shows a typical stone two-story springhouse, just downhill from the log house. The strong spring in the ground floor contained a nice stream of cool water that provided natural refrigeration in colonial times. The top floor of the springhouse was used for storage.

Springhouse on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)
Springhouse on the grounds of the Historic Hellam Preserve (S. H. Smith, 2015)

The Historic Hellam Preserve also contains a very nice, huge, circa 1800 Germanic Sweitzer-style stone bank barn and a nicely restored 19th Century farm house.

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