THE 1850'S TEXAS SALTBOX

In 2000, the saltbox was disguised under a burned out skin of vinyl siding which included a Victorian-era addition. The interior was encased by lowered ceilings, faux wood paneling and carpeting; also burned out.
At that time, the saltbox was located at 405 South Market, just two blocks east of downtown Brenham and east of the bus terminal. Demolition was done at that location to uncover the original dwelling while 125 year old building materials were salvaged from the addition to restore the saltbox. Once completed, the house was moved by Yoakum House Moving to Wakefield Farms. Once in place, restoration began and the result is the building you see today.

Small Bedroom Room

During the restoration, an exterior door was found to originally exist where paneling was removed from around a small bathroom window. It was restored and is now the back entrance to the dwelling. A modern medicine cabinet had been cut into the room just inside the door from the parlor. To minimize new cuts into the antique dwelling, the electrical panel was installed in its' place. The floor in the utility was fraught with dry rot and termite damaged. It was replaced by vintage floor boards salvaged from the demolished Victorian-era addition. The only window original to the house and originally double hung is in the utility. It was originally located in the façade of the building on the bedroom side. It was moved to provide continuity with the windows on the façade as the rest of the windows in the dwelling were too destroyed to be saved or not original to the building

Bathroom

A later door and window was removed and replaced by the triple window now occupying the space above the bathtub; the modern era kitchen became the bath! The water closet was installed where an old pantry had been cobbled into the kitchen. The north wall of this room was missing once the demolition was completed. Old 18" wide boards were purchased from a Brenham antiques dealer to mimic the original siding of the house and were installed to dry-in this side of the building. The original floor in the bath was also damaged by termites and dry rot once excavated. Three layers of linoleum and a second hardwood floor laid perpendicularly to the first were demolished to uncover the damage to the original floor. It, too, was replaced by vintage floor boards salvaged from the demolished Victorian-era addition.

Bedroom

In the bedroom, the east window still shows the marks of having been occupied earlier by another door. The original saltbox either had two front doors or the current front door was added or relocated from the room currently used as the bedroom. On the wall separating the bedroom from the parlor, you can still see the irregular boards that made up a "raise up" window. It is speculated that the dwelling may have originally been used by the builder as a bakery or retail space prior to being moved to South Market Street where it was used as a home. The hinges to the window were preserved and remain attached to the boards making up the 'window' on the inside of the wall!

Parlor

In the parlor where the boards are too perfect, fire damage occurred and the originals had to be replaced. A closet not original to the room was removed to provide the space for the entirety of the parlor. The wet bar armoire now sits in lieu of the removed closet. An old access to the attic had been cut into the ceiling at the top of this closet. This cut was used to house the cold air return and the pull down stairs to access the attic while minimizing additional cuts into the original dwelling. During the fire, fireman made a cut into the exterior of the façade/south side of parlor window. The siding removed to check for fire was saved and placed back into its original location. Saved and placed in this same window are the porcelain electrical conduits discovered during the demolition and which dates the electrical wiring to the technology of its time.

Exterior

Similar building characteristics to other dwellings constructed by German immigrants of the time of this cottage were visible during the 'archeological demolition' of the burned out structure back to the original dwelling seen today. First, the building originally had the board and batten style of siding. This was exposed with the 2000 fire and subsequent restoration. Thus, where board and batten siding was missing due to later modifications/fire, vintage building materials were used to restore the board and batten siding. As was later common, the building was then clad in clapboard siding. Hence, this dwelling actually has two layers of exterior siding restored with period materials. The clapboard siding was restored with reclaimed siding from the Victorian-era addition. New clapboard was used only when this source was exhausted. Porch pillars added with the Victorian-era addition were saved and now stand in a "fairy ring" in the stand of pecan and hackberry trees at the dry stream on Wakefield Farms.