Brick in the Valley, June 4, 2015

The Barnett House, c.1840, sits looking over the river valley on Caretaker’s Road, in Walloomsac, NY.

Graceful, upright, red brick, white entrance with sidelights, marble lintels and water table: Neo-Classical.
It is one of many brick houses built here beginning in the 1820’s. The Academy in Old Bennington, 1821, was probably the first, followed by others on Monument Avenue, in North Bennington, and Shaftsbury. By the 1840’s handsome brick houses graced at least 9 farms in Hoosick and Walloomsac.

The quarries on Mt. Anthony and West Mountain could have supplied the marble. Where did the brick come from?
After the Civil War there were brick yards on Rollin Road in Shaftsbury, on Clay Hill in Hoosick Falls, and Coleville Road in Bennington. Before 1860?  I can find no record. 
During research at the Hoosick Township Historical Society, Charles Filkins, Phil Leonard and I considered transportation. Brick was manufactured in the Hudson Valley. How might it have come here in such quantity?

Turnpikes were straight roads laid out beginning in the1820’s to ship goods to market expeditiously. Ones that still bear the name are the Mud Turnpike in Boyntonville, the Tamhannock Turnpike in Pittstown, Turnpike Road in Cambridge. In Bennington, West Road in Bennington,VT, which stopped at Pleasant Valley Road was extended to Mapletown in Hoosick, NY.

A farmer taking his produce to Troy for the market would have returned with an empty wagon. Even a small load of brick would have made the trip more profitable. Many trips would have meant many bricks.  Plausible, but are we right? Maybe.

The name ‘turnpike’ comes from the pole - a ‘pike’ - that barred a private road. When the toll was paid the pike was turned; the traveler could proceed.

6/7/2015        What is a 'water table'?
It is the board or stone at the bottom of the wall just above the foundation. Often foundations were irregular, being built out of stone. The water table stuck out, insuring that water running down the face of the house was jettisoned away from the foundation.
At the Barnett House the foundation  - above the ground - is made from beautiful cut stone, laid up with care. It is not irregular. Still the mortar would have been lime and sand, not cement - protection was still useful.

This house, c. 1825, has a brick foundation and a stone water table. Here the window sills are stone, but the lintels over the windows are arched brick, not stone as in the Barnett House. I think the technology for cutting the wide marble lintels did not yet exist.

On the brick facade 'ghost lines' can be seen above the entrance where  a porch was once added and then removed.

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