June 28, 1950

Dating historic fabric can get kind of tricky.   Technical clues can be relatively uninformative (OK, they used wire nails, so the work is likely to date somewhere between the 1880s and today, now what?) or misleading (the original Norfolk latches were reinstalled on another door one hundred years later during the Colonial Revival).  So it’s nice when somebody actually writes it down.   You, know, like on a piece of wood.

Yesterday, we found such a marker on a wood furring strip in the Federal NW study.  So why a date from the Truman Presidency rather than, say, the Madison or Van Buren Presidency?  Remodeling, of course.  In 1950 (June 28 to be exact), the owners of the house at the time (The New York State Training School for Girls) lowered the ceiling and installed some (lovely) fake wood paneling and bookcases.  The dated furring strip was used to even out the original plaster wall and provide a nailing surface for the new finishes being installed.

This installation was likely prompted by the poor condition of the plaster wall in 1950 which probably was a result of the unaddressed rot conditions in the exterior wall behind it.  But that is all speculation.  June 28, 1950; that’s a fact.

Kudos to Jesse Tuttle, Jr. for making this discovery.


2 thoughts on “June 28, 1950”

  1. I think the date is off. We moved into the house in 1953. My father was head of the training school. I remember them paneling that room. They said at the time there were nails from the civil war period. Debby Novick Noy

    1. Very interesting! Last digit is difficult on the stud is difficult to read (it could be a three). Also very likely that there have been multiple generations of interior finishes in the rooms (and thus several generations of nails).

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