Back Door Guests are Best!

We have been trying various combinations to interpret the front door as it might have been. Unfortunately it isn’t known exactly how these were done. We found in the homestead the exact number of doors as there are openings. None of the windows survived, so they have been recreated. This door we are using does fit the opening, but it doesn’t match any of the others. We had theorized that they might have had a fancier front door, which was a common practice that remains to this day. However, something just never seemed right about it.

Theories abounded! Was the front door replaced later? Was this the original front door for the neighboring Victorian house that was built about 100 years ago? Were there old pictures that might lead us to the answer?
We dated the hardware on the door to about the 1840’s but it didn’t exist at the time of first construction. Was it replaced over time? We could certainly forgive a hinge that broke after 50 years of use.

We know the door frame has been replaced because the original frame used pegs. The approach was common in pioneer days but the remaining frame was not hung in this manner. The Homestead had been used largely as a barn since the construction of the nearby larger Victorian house. Could this have happened in the 1840’s as well?

In desperation, I turned back to Hugh & Lynn Babb the patriarchs of the family who have been in and around the home throughout their lives. They were in firm agreement that the door we were so busy trying to figure out was, in fact, the back door of the Homestead. It seems that, unlike today, the front door would have faced the creek and not the road. This didn’t sink in at first, but I finally realized that we have had the front door all along. It’s the board and batten door that is already installed as the current back door in its original location. So, if that door was board and batten, then the other’s would certainly not have been of a higher quality. It was in one of the very first pictures I ever took of the Homestead, sitting quietly and just waiting to be recognized!

We have now recognized this door that Seth built and are at work determining what is the best approach to interpret the remaining doors. Expect to see some changes to them as we finalize the design. The road has already lead us in paths unexpected that led us to our answer. Our intent is to interpret this Homestead faithfully and to the earliest period possible. Thus it has taken longer than any of us expected, but I promise that it is worth the wait!

So, with the needs of the new location at Fox Memorial Park we will be inviting our guests in through the back door. But as the saying goes “Back door guests are best!”

Repost: Originally posted on Jan 8, 13

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