“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Constructed With Colonial Ideas

Constructed With Colonial Ideas Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
1. Constructed With Colonial Ideas Marker
Inscription.  Although this barn was built at the end of the American Revolution, carpenters used much older ideas in its construction. Its builders employed a ten-foot interval between structural posts, a measure which became widely used in the 17th-century Chesapeake. This is indicated by the main wall posts, which are set ten feet apart, forming bays or division. Also, artisans covered the walls with split oak strips called clapboard, a material rapidly adopted by the Maryland settlers in the 1630s and extensively used throughout the 1600s and 1700s.

Look at the large wall timbers. At the top of the main posts is a large horizontal beam called a plate. On top of it are the ceiling joists that tie the two walls together. Note that the joists extend out past the plate about 12 inches, and a "V" notch is cut in the joist near the end. In this notch rests a square timber tilted at an angle. It is called a tilted false plate and the roof rafters are nailed to it. This idea was a late 17th-century Chesapeake innovation that eliminated the need for making elaborate, time-consuming joints and allowed the
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rafters to be nailed in place, saving labor.

Built with the same tools a 17th-century English carpenter would have used, the Mackall barn reflects the evolution from England to Maryland architecture that occurred during colonial times. Artisans selected or created ways for constructing buildigns better suited to life in the Chesapeake.

Even though it reflects 17th-century carpentry practices, the Mackall granary differs in two major ways from most 17th-century structures. First, it had a roof made of shingles, not clapboards. As old growth trees were cut down, quality timber to make good straight clapboards became more difficult to find. Shingles provided a tighter tool and became widely used during the 1700s in Maryland and Virginia. Secondly, most were supported on wooden posts. Called earth-fast architecture, this method became the standard way for 17th-century artisans to build. The Mackall granary originally rested on a cobblestone foundation. Many of the stones are still visible. Such foundations made a structure more durable and less susceptible to rot. Only the elite in the 1600s could afford homes with stone or brick foundations.
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture
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ArchitectureColonial Era. A significant historical year for this entry is 1630.
Location. 38° 11.006′ N, 76° 25.786′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Point Lookout Road, 0.4 miles west of Rosecroft Road. The marker is inside the open-air barn. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 16721 Point Lookout Road, Saint Marys City MD 20686, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Carpenters' Marks (here, next to this marker); To Market! To Market! (here, next to this marker); How Old Is This Barn? (here, next to this marker); A Pressing Situation (here, next to this marker); Tree Growth Rings (here, next to this marker); What Happened Here After 1695? (here, next to this marker); What Kind of Barn Was This? (a few steps from this marker); Who Worked Here? (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 31 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on September 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 6, 2022