I began fieldwork under my latest New Jersey Historical Commission grant in August, assisted by my colleague Maria Cerda-Moreno. We focused on elevations and sections (more easily done with two people than floor plans) until we could be joined by our third crew member Stephanie Long Fazen in September. Those were some hot days!
|Janet looking. Photo by Maria Cerda-Moreno.|
|Maria Cerda-Moreno and I measure the roof projection.|
|Janet records as Maria measures.|
The farmstead is now unoccupied though the land is actively farmed by a local farmer who lives elsewhere. The last occupant, Ruthann Wright, sold the farm after her husband George, who was the third generation Wright on this farm, passed away in February 2009. Ruthanne has generously shared with me many family photos that chronicled the family and the farmstead since 1904. They will help me visualize the farmstead as it was and how it functioned. I have learned that there was once a three-bay basement barn with a dairying wing and milk house, a free-standing corn crib, a labor house, and an equipment shed. An Italianate-style house still stands, but is now vacant, unfortunately. Here in this wagon house, these farmers sat and cut the eyes out of last years' stored potatoes for planting this year's crop.
|Maria, Stephanie and Janet in the wagon house, posing on the steps to the loft.|
This wagon house was rehabilitated at least twice in its life. George and Ruthann Wright gave this building a complete new skin, including the exterior wall framing. Nevertheless, there was much original historic fabric to see, record and interpret, such as the main timber frame, floor joists, the double-thick wood floor, wood board walls complete with graffiti, staircases, and stone foundations. The crib slats were long gone, but shadows of them on the posts and beams, and empty stud mortises evidenced the former existence or corn cribs. These owners were natural preservationists, practical farmers who tended to save what they had and make it do.
|The Wright's wagon house circa 1920.|
|The John and Lydia Zerns House, a farmhouse no more. The porches and third floor window grilles contribute greatly to its character.|