Oronoque Saltbox Historic Home Survey
Like many early Connecticut saltboxes, the Oronoque home had a small partial cellar underneath the hall and lean-to, at the southern (warmer) end of the house. Photo C6 shows the main wall, which formed part of the stone basement supporting the chimney column. C1 shows the main and rear walls, and C2 is a view of the rear wall, above which the original rear ground sill was visible.
The home’s foundation and cellar walls were formed from wet-laid rubble stone. The foundation supported the ground sill about one to two feet above grade, except at the south end, where the foundation was a bit higher (E18 and E19). A hatch at the southeast corner provided outside access to the cellar (photo E21), and an interior cellar stair was located just under the rear second floor stair leading up to the south garret — all fairly standard configurations for an 18th century Connecticut home.
Also, as is usually the case in nearly all homes of this vintage, the first floor joist system consisted essentially of logs, with only one or two sides dressed, and much bark remaining (photos C3 and C4). Just above these joists, one could readily see the “slit work” typical of an early home: crudely cut planks forming the underlayment of the ground floor, with the finely finished, secondary plank flooring just above it (photo C5).
Finally, a more modern, dimensional joist system supported the hall floor (photo C7), undoubtedly replacing lost timbers.