A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

History in the House

As I've posted before, my house has some history...it was originally a workshop to repair railroad wagons and carts.  The yard has it's own history, too...there's plenty of old junk still strewn around it.  But the house structure itself has some history, too.  In the den at the back of the house, a series of beams provide support.  But these aren't just any beams.  They look quite old, and one of the beams has a large spike sticking out of it:

The spike itself is old and rusted, as if it was exposed to the elements for some time, and the wood is a bit weathered, too, with some cracks in it. 

There are also precisely round holes drilled into the wood.

Given the aged appearance of the wood, the holes, and the spike, I'm inclined to think that these could very well be old railroad ties from one of the two railroad lines that met up in Freeville from the mid 1800s through the early 1900s that were salvaged when they were tearing apart the tracks after the railroads became defunct.  The rails and ties are long gone, but you can still follow the path of the old tracks in parts of town, and I hope to do some exploring there after the weather warms.

When I first moved in, my dad and I wondered how old the wood might be and where it might have come from.  Now that I know something about Freeville's history, I can at least make an educated guess.  It's neat to know that part of what turned Freeville from a tiny hamlet into a small village  - the railroads - is sitting right in my living room.

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