The farm house we live in was built in 1837 by David and Richard Specht. David was the original owner. He bought the land from Charles Caroll a signer of the Declartion of Independance. They built the house with clay bricks they made by hand from materials dug on the property.
The floor joists are solid trees with the bark still attached. On the second floor one room has the ceiling exposed to the roof. When you look up you see they used wooden dowls to secure the wood in place for the attic floor joists. The wood itself has hand honed marks on it where you can see they smoothed it out.
Each room has its own fireplace which are very shallow. We were told that's how coal fireplaces were designed. The rooms themselves have ten foot ceilings. The walls are covered in horse hair plaster, no lattice work just plaster slapped up against the brick interieror of the house. The house exterior itself is made three bricks deep and has widows sills that are almost a foot and a half deep.
My wife started researching the history behind the house and found that among other things that the brothers Specht had a run in with Union soldiers. It seems when the Union was getting ready to attack the Confederate Army at Point of Rocks, Maryland they tour down fences in case they needed to retreat. Well the Specht brothers didn't like having their fences down and their cows running free so they built them up.
As it turned out the Union did have to beat a retreat from Point of Rocks and when they came upon the Specht property they did not like that the fences were restored. In his book The History of Carrollton Manor, 1928, William Jarboe Grove surmizes that had the Union had any ammunition left the brothers would not have lived to tell about it.
Another little bit of written history was the demise of David Specht himself. It was written that he went out during a bad storm to check on the house when a brick fell and hit him in the head. Since Mr. Specht there have only been six owners of the farm house.
So when it came time to renovate the house we were advised that the cheapest and quickest way to accomplish what we wanted to do was to tear the house down and build it from scratch. Knowing what we knew about the house we just could not bring ourselves to make that decision. It did cost more and it did take longer to fix. But, you can't replace history, you can't replace the kind of hand craftsmanship that was put into this house and you'll never replace the hopes and dreams that first built this house.
We are mere stewards, keeping the place up so that hopefully generations from now, someone else will read the history and decide that the house is to precious to tear down and build from scratch and will want to preserve it for as yet unknown generations.
Buy local - from a farmer not from a chain advertising "Local"