An Indiana Jones Moment
Something like that happened last week on our restoration project. When I last posted, Dawson was working on the “middle passage” becoming a library. He was in the process of widening a single doorway into a double doorway and pulling off the wall. When the plaster settled, there before his eyes was an incredible, exposed beam. He knew in an instant he’d discovered something unexpected. The construction technique, wooden nails, heart timber too dense for termites, this beam and others like it, have supported the house built in 1770. Dawson must have felt like Indiana Jones. He called us, of course, but was almost too excited to talk. Historians are at the courthouse now trying to uncover the secrets of our tract. What we know for certain is that the John R. Wheeler House of the 1900s is not the original structure, but a modernization facade built over the top of a much older building. Dawson wonders if it will turn out to be an ancillary building of the plantation whose house is about a current block or two away. Perhaps it was a provision house, a store; perhaps Revolutionary soldiers were garrisoned there. Did George Washington sleep here?
Dawson is framing the doorway using the lovely old molding. But one old beam will be left exposed. “It’ll be a great conversation piece,” he says. Y’all need to come and see it.