Architectural history offers Springettsbury’s Schultz House datestone update
This Schultz House datestone has drawn much scrutiny in recent years, as the construction date of this Springettsbury Township German farmhouse has been questioned. The disputed date is across the top. Background posts: A virtual photo tour – and an actual tour – of York County’s vintage Schultz House, Old Schultz House might be younger than its datestone, Camp Security combines history, beauty.
Some architectural sleuthing has set as clear of a date for construction of the Schultz farmhouse as York County has seen thus far.
The date was long established as 1734 or at least somewhere in the 1730s. Recent research has suggested the house off Locust Grove Road near Old Orchard Road could have been constructed as late as the 1750s.
Fellow history blogger Scott Butcher has posted a datestone update, based on the review by a preservationist from western Pennsylvania… .
The Schultz House’s wonderful stonework …
The expert’s conclusion?
From Scott Butcher:
The datestone of the Schultz House presents an interesting dilemma. Written in German, it has been translated as:
In the year, 1734, John Schultz and his wife Christina, built this house
For well over 100 years, the Schultz House has been recognized as being the oldest in York County. However, preservationists have often had at least a bit of doubt as to that claim; after all, why would the oldest house be a two story stone structure? Most early buildings were one story and were made of log.
Further doubts arose with the discovery of a passenger manifest for the Loyal Judith, indicating that Johannes and Cristina arrived in the American colonies in 1742, not in 1731 on the Pennsylvania Merchant with other members of the Schultz family.
See my earlier post: “Schultz House: Oldest in York County?”
But if they weren’t here in 1734, why would the stone have that date? Could they have brought a datestone from an earlier home in Germany? Highly unlikely.
Historian George Prowell, in his 1907 History of York County, argued that the datestone actually read “1737.” Still, that doesn’t explain the discrepancy.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Schultz House with a preservationist from western Pennsylvania. This individual has been involved with preservation projects throughout the United States, and I was anxious to have him look at the datestone – unbiased eyes, and with a familiarity with both German and Latin.
Immediately he said, “That’s not a three.” His initial opinion was that the datestone read “1754.” He mentioned that the inscription seemed to have a blend of German with Latin. I later e-mailed him the photos above and below, and again asked for his opinion. The photo below was tweaked in Photoshop. I cropped the date and reversed the color to make it easier to read.
Judge for yourself. What is the date?
As for the preservationist, his opinion was definitive:
“I have no doubt that the date on the stone is 1752 – not 1754, not 1734, not 1732. It’s 1752.”