Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Cherry on Top of a Historic Building

I've been thinking about chimneys.  Maybe it's all the talk of Christmas in July (Santa Claus, you know) or maybe it's because we've got some whimpy little chimneys on our project house.  There are 2 chimneys and it looks like every room had a coal stove, but no fireplaces, so there was no need for more than a narrow passage for the smoke.  The chimney that ends in the kitchen is propped on 2x4s and didn't even reach to the basement.  Since there's no real reason to keep these chimneys and they aren't what you'd call an architectural feature, we're going to tear them down when the roof is redone.  

On our own house, we had the two chimneys rebuilt and lined so that we could use one for the boiler exhaust and possibly gas logs in the shallow fireplace one day.  The other chimney appears to never have been used (it had no soot or penetrations) and seems like it's only there to provide some symmetry to the American Four Square.  

Back in the day, chimneys were just one area that masons were able to show their skill and pride in their work.  There are gorgeous examples throughout the country that are most definitely architectural features that help to define the historic character of their buildings.  Check out some great examples below and don't forget to look up!

Bacon's Castle, Surry, VA

Shirley Plantation, Charles City, VA

Westover, Charles City, VA

Smithfield Plantation, Blacksburg, VA

Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton, VA

Falling Water, Mill Run, PA



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