Home > Our Philosophy > New Skin for Old Bones of 1760 Barn 3/26/06
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Storms Provide New Skin for Old Bones of Circa 1760 Barn at Whittier Heights

  Historic architect Robin McCaffrey explained that "by translating the forces of Nature into elements of shelter we bring glory to something larger than ourselves."

Colleyville developer David Bagwell has found a silver lining in the wake of last year's hurricanes. Extensive forest devastation caused by the storms has yielded a temporary surplus of high quality cypress wood from old growth trees in Louisiana. Cypress, well known for its resistance to decay, is ideal siding material for the New World Dutch Barn whose restoration is set to begin on May 20 in his Whittier Heights development for use as a community building.

"Erected in the Mohawk River Valley before the Revolutionary War, the barn's massive hemlock beams and posts are also prized for their longevity and resistance to decay." Bagwell commented. "However, years of exposure to the elements made the mostly pine roof, flooring and siding unsalvageable. We feel fortunate to be able to procure nearly-impermeable cypress wood for its new facade, while also injecting capital into the Gulf Coast economy."

New World Dutch Barns are nearly square buildings built on a low stone foundation or piers. They have a steep roof and wagon doors in the gable ends that originally swung on wooden or metal hinges, one side halved to create the typical "Dutch door". Above the door is an overhang called the pentice. In the corner of the gable end is a small door for animals and humans. Martin holes cut in various designs high in the gable let in birds and air.

Inside, massive crossbeams span the center of three aisles and connect to posts in an H-frame design supporting a platform of poles where hay, flax, or straw was kept. In the side aisles facing the threshing floor were stalls for the farm animals.

Flint foundation stones for the Whittier Heights New World Dutch barn have been collected in Ohio, each showing knapping marks that authenticate their heritage.

Call Susan Folkert at 214/673-6754 for more information on Whittier Heights, or click here.


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