This Greek Revival House, now the Admission and Gift Shop (1), is typical of local 1850s farm homes.
The Greek Revival Colonel’s House (2) represents the most popular style chosen by affluent Southern planters. The Colonel, so named by the townsfolk for his social position, would have moved to the Midwest to pursue his political, commercial and agricultural interests. In addition, he was probably a land speculator who own most of the surrounding territory and sold plots to newcomers in town.
Private schools provided the most common form of education in rural areas. Built by the Colonel primarily for his children, the Schoolhouse (2b) would have been open to other children in the village whose parents supplemented the teacher’s salary. Attendance was irregular and depended on work needing to be done at home. The Colonel’s North Barn (2e), South Barn (2a), Privy, Well House (2c) and Worker’s Cabin (2d) complete the complex.
Reproduced from period materials, the New England saltbox-style Mercantile (3) played a crucial role in the establishment of the crossroads village. Here local farm families, with a limited cash income, could barter their farm produce or buy on credit factory-made and imported goods such as sugar, coffee, textiles and hardware. Reproductions are for sale to visitors.
The Trademan’s House (4) represents the middle-class home of a skilled craftsman. The small self-sustaining farmstead includes a Smokehouse (4b), Privy and Barn (4a).
Offering room and board to stagecoach passengers, the Tavern (5) was typically a busy for news and travel. A center-hall floor plan structure with its open “dogtrot” breezeway separates the innkeeper’s quarters from the actual tavern, kitchen and servant’s room, and upstairs divides the men’s sleeping quarters from the women’s. In addition to being a likely loitering spot for townsfolk, the Tavern would have served as a postmaster’s office. Complementing the Tavern are various original structures, the Chicken Coop (5a) and Smokehouse (5b).
The Blacksmith and his wife offered vital services to the community. She served as a midwife and he as a skilled smith, forging tools, repairing wagons and wheels, shoeing horses, and even occasionally pulling a neighbor’s tooth. While the Blacksmith’s House (6), a two-room frame structure, features original colors and trim inside, the Blacksmith’s Shop (6a) has been reproduced according to a photograph. The Blacksmith’s homestead includes his wife’s Herb Garden (6b) and Shed (6c), in which she grew and dried her midwifery supplies, and a Privy. Today, items forged in the shop can be purchased at the Mercantile and Gift Shop.
A primitive frontier farmstead, the Settler’s House (7) represents the home of the earliest village resident. Although the settler would have moved to the area in the early 1830s, he maintained the simplicity of his lifestyle and home through the 1850s. Structurally, it features a unique combination of half log crib and half pole frame with clapboard siding. Its Root Cellar, Privy Hog Shed (7b) and Barn (7a) complete the farmstead.
The cross shape of the village’s hewn log Church (8) is reminiscent of medieval European churches. Many believe the 12 corners of the structure represent the 12 Apostles of Christ. Commonly, the village church housed various denominations and doubled as a gathering place for social and political functions.
Home and office of a rural lawyer, the tiny, two-room Law Office (9) has a storefront façade deigned of imitate cast iron fronts popular in the 1850s. As the local legal council, the village lawyer would have occupied himself with estate settlements, wills and land boundary disputes throughout neighboring communities. Because the lawyer had no kitchen, he would have taken his meals at the Tavern.
Adapted from a traditional plan, the village Livery Stable (10) provided boarding for horses of travelers and town residents. Its proprietor would have rented horses and carriages as well.
Reflecting Southern building traditions and the influence of Georgian architecture, the Squire’s House (11) represents the home of an affluent Southerner whose economic interests were strictly agricultural. His large Barn (11b) indicates his extensive farming operations. The Summer Kitchen (11a) would have served as his first residence while his larger home was yet unfinished. As a separate food preparation area, this remodeled hewn log building kept the home free from excess smoke and heat.