A Dendrochronological Evaluation of Three Historic Pioneer Cabins at Spring Mill Village, Indiana

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Geography and Geology


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Spring Mill was an important pioneer village in Lawrence County, Indiana during the 19th century, with its three-story gristmill serving much of the region. Due to the historical and regional importance of Spring Mill to pioneers, the state of Indiana recreated the original village in the 1930s. While most wooden structures were recreated using donated logs from historic structures around the state, three original nearby structures were relocated to the park. The history of Spring Mill is well documented, but less is known about the three original structures, which are the oldest wooden structures in the village. We used dendroarchaeological methods to determine the construction history of the three original pioneer structures. We found the cutting dates of logs from two of the structures (Granny White and Sheeks Houses) confirmed colloquial construction dates, while the Todd House was believed to be constructed fifteen years earlier than the cutting dates suggested. We also found the preferred wood for pioneer homes was L. tulipifera, as most of the logs used in the original construction of the homes were from this species. Using dendroarchaeological methods provided a means to determine the construction history of pioneer cabins in southern Indiana and our findings suggest that these methods can be used throughout the Midwest where reference chronologies are available. (C) 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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