1870 Construction Clues

The construction history of the Locust Grove Schoolhouse is still a mystery. Although there is documentary evidence that the Schoolhouse existed before 1870, it is not verified when it was originally constructed or what the building looked like prior to 1870. The Pocopson School Board minutes use a variety of descriptions to record the 1870 building period: building, rebuilding, construction, and renovation. Architectural clues from the roof and cellar shed light on the 1870 “renovation.”

Roof Construction Clues (Text)

The Locust Grove Schoolhouse interior restoration exposed the roof construction details through removal of all ceiling plaster. A single summer beam runs the entire length of the building. A large single truss runs lengthwise on top of the summer beam. These facts indicate that the entire roof structure of the original Locust Grove Schoolhouse was removed and replaced to accommodate the addition of the cloakrooms. No seams can be found in the masonry walls to indicate where the expansion occurred. It is surmised that the masonry walls too were at least partially deconstructed and rebuilt.

Cellar Clues (Text)

The cellar reveals stone foundation walls, which create two rooms of unequal size, separated by a stone wall with central doorway. The exterior cellar entrance leads to the northern room, which is approximately 22 feet by 22 feet [check], with walls 18 inches deep. Interior access to the schoolhouse from the cellar, via a trap door, is located in the northern room. The northern masonry foundation supports sash sawn floor joists. The smaller southern masonry foundation section, approximately 10.5 feet by 22 feet, supports sash sawn and mill sawn joists, pieced together. The renovation specifications mention the addition of the southern foundation and walls above:

The walls to be 18 in[ches] thick, and the foundation to be 2 f[ee]t deep, to be of good building stone and good mortar; the walls to be built on three sides of sufficient hight [height] that the floor when laid will be on a level of underside of door.[1]

The Locust Grove Schoolhouse cellar and foundation construction support the documentary evidence describing two building periods, the latter being 1870.

[1] Framed document, “Draft Specifications…”  page numbered 6.