Documentation and analysis of millwork :a method for mapping the evolution of Solitude
Ballard, Aleta Sue
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Solitude, a nineteenth century farmhouse and historic landmark, located on the campus of Virginia Tech is currently slated for preservation. The purpose of this study was to trace the architectural history of the farmhouse and adjacent outbuilding through its existing mill work, hardware, and other architectural features. Eighteenth and nineteenth century architectural pattern books and the knowledge of architectural historians were used to date the interior millwork and hardware in this building. The millwork and hardware produced evidence of at least three distinct design periods. To determine if mill work and hardware dates supported the approximate construction dates commonly thought accurate for the three major sections of this building. The 1801 and 1834 sections of the house exhibit Federal style. Greek Revival dominates the 1851 section, as well as the renovated 1801 section, and the later additions exhibit Victorian style details. The adjacent log and frame outbuilding contained mill work that mixed Federal and Greek Revival elements. Using this information, along with information obtained from researchers who previously studied Solitude, a sequence of floor plans was developed. These plans show the evolution of the house through two major additions, as well as three smaller ones. The evolution of the outbuilding was also noted.
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