Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735-1835

Overview

Within the picturesque borders of Jefferson County, West Virginia remain the vestiges of a history filled with Civil War battles and political rebellion. Yet also woven into the historical landscapeof this small county nestled within the Shenandoah Valley is an unusual collection of historic homes. 

 

In this fascinating architectural exploration, John C. Allen, Jr. details his expansive seven-year survey of Jefferson County’s historic residences. By focusing on ...

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Overview

Within the picturesque borders of Jefferson County, West Virginia remain the vestiges of a history filled with Civil War battles and political rebellion. Yet also woven into the historical landscapeof this small county nestled within the Shenandoah Valley is an unusual collection of historic homes. 

 

In this fascinating architectural exploration, John C. Allen, Jr. details his expansive seven-year survey of Jefferson County’s historic residences. By focusing on dwellings built from the mid-eighteenth century to the arrival of the railroad and canal in 1835, Allen unfolds the unique story of this area’s early building traditions and architectural innovations. The 250 buildings included in this work—from the plantation homes of the Washington family to the log houses of yeomen farmers—reveal the unique development of this region, as Allen categorizes structures and establishes patterns of construction, plan, and style.

Allen’s refreshing perspective illuminates the vibrant vernacular architecture of Jefferson County, connecting the housing of this area to the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley. Varying features of house siting, plan types, construction techniques, building materials, outbuildings, and exterior and interior detailing illustrate the blending of German, Scots-Irish, English, and African cultures into a distinct, regional style.

 

Adorned with over seven hundred stylish photographs by Walter Smalling and elegant drawings, floor plans, and maps by Andrew Lewis, Uncommon Vernacular explores and preserves this historic area’s rich architectural heritage.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933202877
  • Publisher: West Virginia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 731,783
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Allen, Jr. works as a preservation coordinator and architectural historian near Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He serves as the chairman of the Historic Landmarks Commission of Jefferson County, West Virginia. Andrew Lewis, the illustrator, is a licensed architect living in Rectortown, Virginia. His architectural work has been recognized with many awards over his twenty-four-year career. Walter Smalling, Jr., a Washington architectural photographer,began his professional career with the National Park Service and has worked as a freelance photographer since 1988.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter One
      From Settlement to Refinement: Houses in Context
  • Chapter Two
      Early Farmhouses, 1735-1815
  • Chapter Three
      Later Farmhouses, 1815-1835
  • Chapter Four
      Outbuildings: Farm Structures Serve the House
  • Chapter Five
      Town Houses, 1780-1835
  • Chapter Six
      Siting and Construction
  • Chapter Seven
      Exterior Features
  • Chapter Eight
      Interior Detailing
  • Chapter Nine
      The End of Local: Arrival of the Railroad and Canal, 1835-1850
  • Conclusion
  • List of Houses Surveyed
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contributors
  • Index
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