Another Amazing Mansfield House Old Photo

Here’s yet another old photograph of the Mansfield House, once again provided by my good friend Randal Ritter of the Derby Historical Society. The photo comes from the Bradley Glass Slide collection, a set of over 400 antique photographic slides detailing Valley history that was donated to the Derby Historical Society some years ago by the Bradley family of Derby.

Mansfield House In Original Locations, Circa 1894

What’s so amazing about this old photograph is its clarity and detail. The copy I’ve uploaded above is quite large (about 3.7K by 3K pixels) and I’ve made no attempt to reduce it so that readers can zoom-in on details, if they choose to.

As Randy had pointed out, the tree out front shown in an earlier photo I’d posted here is now cut down, dating the earlier photo to some time prior to 1894. The tall ivy stand at this end of the house had also been cut down by this time.

Other curiosities made more obvious by this photo are:

  • The 2/2 sashes of the first floor windows. I’ve seen this pattern before, where the upper windows are of an earlier divided light configuration, such as 12/12, while the first floor windows are of a relatively modern configuration. The 2/2 lights are clearly of the late nineteenth century. Here’s another example. This begs the question, of course, of where did the present day 12/12 windows on the first floor of the Mansfield House come from? Perhaps from another home? Or are they replicas of seventeenth century windows that had been milled in more moderns times?
  • The framing member ends (upper and lower plates) protruding past the siding at this end of the house, back then, as they still do today.
  • A brick chimney in a state of disrepair. Today, the upper chimney is in quite good shape and features a stone veneer.
  • The front entryway sports what look like double-light windows near the top of each door. Today, these are replaced by solid panels.
  • Many of the clapboards are badly twisted, cupped, bowed, detaching, etc. Today, all the clapboards are systematically face-nailed with modern wire fasteners, obviously in an attempt to resolve this problem. However, I can’t help but wonder exactly when this might’ve been done.

Old photos like these are an invaluable source of information about ancient homes, and any historic home owner should consider her- or himself very lucky for each such photo they uncover. But these images also have a way of inspiring more questions than they answer. Which goes to show that one could easily spend a good many years trying to precisely determine the material history of a very old home.

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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4 Responses to Another Amazing Mansfield House Old Photo

  1. Exactly. One will have to live a very long time so that one can discover all the secrets and permutations of the house. Then one must spend a bit of time making it habitable and cosy. I believe a shop vac would solve almost all those problems.

    • John Poole says:

      Well, I’m glad you feel that way…’cause I’ve got a shop vac, and let me tell you, it’s a beaut! That, combined with a Vise Grip, ratchet screw driver, duct tape, and some dataloggers, and there’s no problem here I can’t overcome! :-)

      • Don’t forget lots of chewing gum to plug up the holes! :-)

        Thanks, John! A real fab’ photo. One I could definitely spend hours (days, really) studying. Wonderful!

        • John Poole says:

          Chewing gum?! Is that what Energy Vanguard is recommending for air sealing these days?

          Here, we’re considering oakum, as a traditional/sustainable air sealing material. Now, I’ll have to include caulking irons in my tool arsenal!

          Thanks for the good words, Chris! Hope all is well by you…

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