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Historical Survey of Log Structures in Southern Appalachia: Page 3

An essay with 84 images that illustrate how environment can contribute to the formation of culture

Page 1  (Images 1-2)

Page 2  (Images 3-11)

Page 3  (Images 12-21)

Page 4  (Images 22-30)

Page 5  (Images 31-43)

Page 6  (Images 44-55)

Page 7 (Images 56-65)

Page 8 (Images 66-74)

Page 9 (Images 75-84)

Full dovetail notching, developed in Europe and found frequently in Pennsylvania, is rarely found in the mountains of Appalachia. A full-dovetail is cut at a compound angle on both top and bottom edges and is the most elaborate form or corner timbering (12). Early in the development of log construction in Appalachia, full-dovetail seemingly evolved into the half-dovetail notch which provided the same sound joint with less labor. The top edge of the logs has a simple notch angled downward from back to front, and the bottom has a simple notch angled upward from from the end (13). This dovetail is often known simply as "dovetail" in the mountains.  Square notching is believed to be English in origin and is usually found in the Eastern portions of Virginia and the Carolinas (14). However, a few examples of square notching are found in the mountains (15).

Other features of folk architecture are studied for origins and age. The Germans and Scotch-Irish excelled in the art of stone masonry. This skill was reflected in the fireplaces (16), chimneys (17), and foundations (18) of their log structures in Northern Appalachia. Solid stone foundations (19) are rarely seen farther south on buildings other than homes. Barns, outbuildings, and most houses in the Southern region were almost always supported by a simple series of stone piers (20). These are laid dry, or with mud, one on top of the other. Stone piers and foundations provided a means of leveling a building as well as helping to prevent termite infestation (21). Sometimes posts of locust or oak logs were used as foundation piers.

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