Purpose of the Room: In this room the fireplace and bake oven were the center of activity for the preparation of meals for the family. With a large open fireplace and bake oven placed alongside of it, we would have found this area crowded with many cooking implements. Many of these early implements we still relate to in our modern kitchens. The fireplace would have several small fires built on the hearth each used for preparing a different portion of the meal.
Baking would have been done in the bake oven as a fire would be kindled inside the oven and probably required a couple of hours to obtain the right temperature for baking. Then the ambers would be raked out with an iron peel into the channel leading to the open hearth of the fireplace. Now you were ready for a day of baking but one could not see this as a daily occurrance.
Please note from the picture the revolving trivet on three spider legs in the fireplace. This would allow for a pot to be placed on the trivet among the hot ambers any place within the hearth and one could move the position of the pot by merely using a long-handled instrument to revolve the trivet. The spider legs allowed for the hot ambers to be removed from underneath the pot to modify the intensity of the temperature. This is a primitive example of what we do today when we turn the knob on our stoves to simmer or warm but the concept has not changed in 200 years.
Dimensions: 16' 3 1/4" x 14' 5 1/2"; ceiling height 7' 9 1/2"
1. Predominant feature in this room is the large cooking fireplace and attached bake oven making it the very heart of the home. The design of the mantle surround suggests the possibility of earlier fabrication than the house but this is yet to be proven. These people were early “recyclers” as many pieces of the 1720’s house have been used in the 1812 house and there is good possibility this mantle was a re-cycled element. Probably some time in the mid-1800's the fireplace had been downsized by creating a brick insert in front of the original fireplace but still utilizing the original smoke chamber and flue. Additional wood trim had been fashioned to replicate the original as a coverup for the old brick surround and to complete the transformation from a large cooking fireplace. During the 2001 fireplace restoration the insert was removed to reveal that the original fireplace had been left in tack. This original fireplace proved to be a “smoker” and that may be the reason it was down sized and we see the summer kitchen building moved and attached to the existing house. In this room we also found charred chair rail on the south side of the room, a charred beam in the ceiling and the underside of the floorboards directly above this room are also charred.
2. Molding, chair rail, cabinetry and doors in this room pre-dates the 1812 house from their construction, design and color of Soldier Blue milk paint which was original to the elements.
3. The wood floors are original. A orange/red shellac mixture had been applied to the floors in recent times and is now in a state of needed restoration.
1. Walls - over the years this was a room of many colors. The earliest wall color was verdigris green and similar to the background color shown on this page. The next color applied to the walls was ochre and this color with pale blue trim had been very popular in the 1820's. The last paint color now appears as a rusty hue. There is only a trace of the rust color as subsequent wallpapers and their removal had also removed much of the last coat of paint to these walls. In most probability this was a vermilion red color.
2. Trim - the original color was Soldier Blue milk paint as was the color of so many trim pieces from an earlier period. The next color applied to the trim was either pale blue or white where the blue bled through leaving a white and blue striated paint feature.
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