Barn Restoration at White House Farm
Summit Point, West Virginia
  A detailed description of the restoration of the oldest standing barn
  in West Virginia, conducted between 2003 and 2005
In February, 2003, during a 3-ft snowfall, the roof of the barn collapsed and a
large section of the east wall was blown out.
In March 2003, a grant proposal was prepared and submitted to the
  WV State Historical Preservation Office requesting funds to restore
  the barn to its original style using period construction methods.  The
  grant was awarded in July 2003 and Alicia McCormick, a local
  engineer, was hired to design the restoration project. 
The barn at White House Farm dates to the mid 1740's when the farm was established.
Originally built as a stable, it was converted to use as a dairy barn in the early 20th
Century.  The original gable roof was replaced with a gambrel type, a concrete floor and
feed troughs were installed, and the original louvered windows and one door were
replaced with glass-paned sash and fixed windows.  For more information on its history
please visit the White House Farm Home Page at
The roof was removed shortly thereafter and tarps were placed over three of the
  remaining walls to keep them from deteriorating further.  The west wall required
  total rebuilding so it was left uncovered.  The end wall shape indicates that the
  original barn roof was a gable style.
After an extended time for engineering design and
  contract bid solicitation and award, Village Restorations
  and Consulting, Inc, of Claysburg, PA, was selected to
  restore the barn. 
Click here to learn about this firm.
Led by Roland Cadle, the restoration
  crew began site preparation in April,
  2004.  A portion of the north wall was
  demolished and stones from the west
  wall, which had collapsed during
  Hurricane Isobel, were moved so that
  the affected walls could be rebuilt.
   Once the area had been cleared, construction began on the
  base of the north wall (above) and a concrete foundation was
  built at the south (far) end of the west wall (left) to protect the
  west wall from deforming as it had done previously due to
  soil and water pressure from the adjacent fill.  In the
  picture on the left, note the original 1740's foundation
  stones and their proximity to the natural rock outcropping,
  which served to stabilize a portion of the original west wall.
  Note above how the new walls will incorporate this same
  use of the rock break to provide support.
By July, the west wall was well on its way to completion
  and a new window had been put in place which exactly
  reproduced the original louvered window (sill shown
  above) discovered when the old wall collapsed during
   Hurricane Isobel in 2003.
In September, restoration of the east wall began.  Once the
  glass and window frames had been removed, it was
  found that two of the openings had originally been built as
  doorways, so mortise and tenon frames were built to the
  original dimensions.  The raised doorway on the
  right is believed to have led to a stairway to the loft, so
  the loft design was modified to accomodate the new
  stairway as well.  By October, the wall was completed and
  construction of the timber-frame roof was initiated.
Old logs that had been used twice before (in a log house and a timber
  frame barn in PA) were purchased in 2003 to serve as joists and sills
  for the barn.   After they had been squared up a bit using a broad axe,
"dove-tailed" slots (shown above) were carved into the sills and matching
   members were carved onto the ends of several joists.  These joists keep
   the side sills from pulling apart under the load of the roof itself.   The
  remaining joists were spliced and pegged into place to provide a clear
  and level base for the loft floor.
   In addition to the dove-tails, "bird-mouth" notches were hewn into the sills to hold the
  similarly notched roof rafters (see photos above).  The bird mouths keep the rafters from
  spreading apart from the weight of the roof superstructure.  
  The other ends of the 14 ft long rafters were notched and drilled to accept a wooden pin that fastened
  them together to form the ridge peak, shown below
   The loft flooring of pine boards over 1" thick was nailed to the log joists using hand-made nails with
  rose heads appropriate to the mid-1700's.  An opening was left in the northeast corner of the loft for
  the stairway rising from a loading platform located on either side of the doorway. 
       Note also in the left photograph above that the stone gable end of the barn was partially dismantled to
  allow installation of a new louvered window, which will provide light and air to the loft.
Barn as it existed in October 2002,
  when it was on the Jefferson County
  Barn Tour.
  By October 25th, two of the 14 sets of rafters which provide the foundation
   for the purlins and hand-split cedar shakes were in place.
  By November 3rd, Roland and Jerrod had
  completed nailing the purlins to the rafters.
  With the purlin nailing completed,
attention turned to nailing the hand-split
cedar shakes to them.  At the same time
the barn doors were painted with Old Village Paint's oil-based New England Red paint.
  On November 3rd, the small window in the east wall was constructed on site by Bill 
   Douglas, a wood craftsman from Village Restorations and Consulting.  A larger version
  of this type of window was also constructed by Mr. Douglas for the south wall loft window.
  By November 3rd, cedar shakes had been nailed to about 75% of the east side of the roof.
  By November 11th, the entire roof had been completed and
  restoration of the gable end wall had begun in earnest.  Note
   the new louvered window in place and John laying stones
  above it in the photo below.
  On November 15th, several workmen arrived to begin
  pointing the exterior, complete laying the stone for the
  south wall, and hang the large barn doors and window
  By early December, the pointing and roof had been completed
   and the wooden doors and windows had been painted.  Work
   also began on constructing a new shake roof for the silo.
  By December 21, the silo roof had been completed
   and it was hoisted into place with a large crane and
   fastened to the silo.
To return to White House Farm
home page,
click here
  By early January, all remaining wood work was
  completed, a packed gravel floor was in place, and
   the interior walls and ceiling had been whitewashed.
  The resulting overall appearance of the barn is as
   close to an 18th century Scots-Irish structure as could
   be done today and the 20th century silo, although still
   an eye-sore, is now better integrated into the
   otherwise colonial aspects of the property.