historic structure report - sandburg home main house

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  • Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

    Connemara Main House

    Historic Structure Report

    September 2005

    Historical Architecture, Cultural Resources Division

    Southeast Regional Office

    National Park Service

  • Cultural ResourcesSoutheast RegionNational Park Service100 Alabama St. SWAtlanta, GA 30303(404) 562-3117

    The historic structure report presented here exists in two

    formats. A printed version is available for study at the park,

    the Southeast Regional Office of the National Park Service,

    and at a variety of other repositories. For more widespread

    access, this historic structure report also exists in a web-

    based format through ParkNet, the website of the National

    Park Service. Please visit www.nps.gov for more


    2005Historic Structure ReportConnemara Main HouseCarl Sandburg Home National Historic SiteFlat Rock, NCLCS#: 05146

    Cover image: Carl Sandburg looking away from Main House. (CARL 109103, photo by June Glenn, Jr.)

  • National Park Service v

    Table of Contents

    Project Team xixForeword xxi

    Management Summary

    Historical Data 1Architectural Data 1Summary of Recommendations 2

    Environmental Improvements 2Fire Safety 3Repairs and Maintenance 3Further Historical Research 3Further Building Investigation 3

    Administrative Data 3Location Data 3Related Studies 3Cultural Resource Data 4

    Historical Background and Context

    Flat Rock 5The Memmingers 8

    Rock Hill 10Civil War 20Reconstruction 22

    The Greggs 26The Smyths 28

    Ellison Smyth 30The Mills 33Connemara 34Caretakers 35Servants 35Retirement 37

    The Sandburgs 39Connemara 41

    Chronology of Development and Use

    The Memmingers Rock Hill 50Design 50Contractor and Craftsmen 55Materials 56Construction 56Addition, 1848 58Postwar Alterations 61

  • vi Connemara Main House HSR

    The Greggs Rock Hill 63Exterior Alterations 63Interior Alterations 64

    The Smyths Connemara 66Early Alterations 66Rehabilitation 68

    The Sandburgs Connemara 72Remodeling, 1945-1948 73Later Changes 86

    National Park Service 88Exterior 88Interior 89Systems 89

    Connemara Time Line 90Floor Plans and Molding Details, 1850-1950 93

    Reconstructed Floor Plans and Details, c. 1850. 95Reconstructed Floor Plans and Details of Added Features, 1900 97Reconstructed Floor Plans and Details of Added Features, 1925 99Reconstructed Floor Plans and Details of Added Features, 1950 101

    Physical Description

    Building Site 104Foundation 104

    Footings 104Stone Foundation 104Brick Foundation 105Wooden Posts 105

    Chimneys 106Structural System 106

    Sills, Beams, and Plates 107Joists 107Posts and Studs 108Rafters 108

    Exterior Finishes 108Roof 109Lightning Rods 110Windows and Doors 110Screening 113Storm Windows 114Exterior Woodwork 114Portico 115East Porch 117Conservatory 118West Porch 119Carport 119

    Interior 119Ground Floor 120First Floor 136Second Floor 158

    Floor Plans and Molding Details, 2004 169Plan of ground floor 171Plan of First Floor 173Plan of Second Floor 175Molding Profiles 177

    Treatment and Use

    Requirements for Treatment and Use 179National Historic Preservation Act 179Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 180

  • National Park Service vii

    International Building Code 180DOI and NPS Policies and Regulations 180

    Alternatives for Treatment and Use 181Basement 181Room 108 182Room 207 182Watson & Henry Recommendations 182

    Ultimate Treatment and Use 184Environmental Improvements 184Fire Safety 185Repairs and Maintenance 185Further Historical Research 187Further Building Investigation 188

    Summary of Recommendations for Treatment and Use

    Environmental Improvements 189Fire Safety 189Repairs and Maintenance 189Further Historical Research 190Further Building Investigation 190

    Sources of Information

    Manuscript Collections 191Public Records 191Primary Published Sources 191Secondary Published Sources 191NPS Studies 192Oral Interviews 192

  • viii Connemara Main House HSR

  • National Park Service ix

    List of Figures

    1 United States Geological Survey (1946), with arrow marking location of theMain House 4

    2 Detail from Robert Mills Atlas of South Carolina (1825) , showing route of State Road through Saluda Gap to Flat Rock. (From seventh printing, SouthernHistorical Press, 1980) 6

    3 One of the last traces of the Buncombe Turnpike in Flat Rock, not far from Mountain Lodge and Mud Creek Church. (T. Jones, NPS-SERO-CR, 2004) 7

    4 St. John-in-the-Wilderness Episcopal Church in Flat Rock, organized in 1836, with the present building constructed to a design by Charleston architect Edward Jones in the early 1850s. (T. Jones, NPS-SERO-CR, 2004) 7

    5 Main house at Saluda Cottages, across Little River Road from Connemara, built by Count de Choiseul in 1836 and remodeled in the Second Empire style in the 1870s. (T. jones, NPS-SERO-CR, 2004) 8

    6 Thomas Bennett, Jr., House (1802) at 69 Barre Street, Charleston, Memmingers home as a boy and teenager. (from Mills Lane Architecture of the Old South: South Carolina) 8

    7 Birds-eye view of Charleston, lithograph by Smith Brothers, 1851, as reprintedin Mills Lane, Architecture of the Old South: South Carolina. The tall spire at upper left is Grace Episcopal Church, built in 1847-1848 on Wentworth Street a block or two east of the Memmingers residence on the same street and where the Memmingers had a pew in the 1850s. 10

    8 The so-called Buck House, probably built in the second quarter of the nineteenth century as an overseers house. (T. Jones, NPS-SERO-CR, 2004) 11

    9 Milford, Columbia, SC, 1838-1841, built by Gov. John Manning with design attributed to Charles Reichardt.(Photograph from Kennedys Greek Revival America) 12

    10 The Charleston Hotel, one of the nations great Greek Revival buildings. (Image from Mills Lane, Architecture of the Old South: Greek Revival and Romantic) 12

    11 Mills Circular Church with steeple added by Reichardt in 1838. The building burned in 1861. Drawing from Mills Lane, Architecture of the Old South: Greek Revival and Romantic. 13

    12 Sketch of Rock Hill in Memmingers account book, c. 1852, annotated for legibility. (taken from Pence, Archeological Overview and Assessment, 1998) 14

    13 View of privy at west end of Swedish House, with Tenant House in background.(CARL3000/17/4P) 15

    14 View of Ice House about 1950, constructed by Memminger in 1847. The circular,subterranean portion of the building is still evident on the landscape just southeast of the Farm Managers House. (CARL3000/29/1P) 15

    15 View of the Memminger-era spring house, c. 1910. (CARL3001/03/01p) 16

  • x Connemara Main House HSR

    16 View, c. 1960, of the Swedish House, constructed by Memminger as a servants house in the early 1850s. (CARL3000/17/1P) 16

    17 Christopher Memminger, c. 1860. (CARL 28430) 1718 A plat of Rock Hill, 1876. (CARL 3005) 1819 Stereographic view of Rock HIll, probably 1870s, the earliest image of the house

    yet located. (CARL 28466) 2020 VIew of Rock Hill, prior to the late Victorian additions and alterations that were

    made about 1890. (CARL3001/01/48P) 2221 Christopher Memminger, c. 1865. (CARL 28429) 2322 Tranquility, built by Edward Read Memminger on his fathers Valley Farm in 1890.

    (Historic Flat Rock Collection) 2423 A 20th-century photograph of Christopher Memmingers youngest son, Edward.

    (From A Sketch of Flat Rock CARL 7170) 2424 Christopher and Mary Memmingers graves at St. John-in-the-Wilderness. (T. Jones,

    NPS-SERO-CR, 2004) 2525 View of Connemara in late winter or early spring 1901. Image shows East Porch,

    the bay window on the west side of the house, and the new front steps, all apparently added by the Greggs around 1890. (CARL3001/01/04P) 26

    26 View of Connemara after it was repainted by the Smyths in 1901 (CARL3001/01/18P)) 2727 Boating at Connemara, c. 1910. (CARL3001/01/41P) 2828 The Smyths on the steps at Connemara, c. 1900. Left to right: Lewis D. Black, Annie

    Pierce Smyth Blake (holding unidentified child), James A. Smyth, Mary H. Smyth,Mary Smyth McKay (child), A. F. McKissick (holding unidentified child), JuliaGambrill Smyth, Jane Adger Smyth (holding unidentified child), Ellison AdgerSmyth. (Collection of Juliane Heggoy, great-granddaughter of the Smyths) 29

    29 The Smyths servants in front of the kitchen, c. 1910. The building may have beenrebuilt by Smyth in the 1920s and was drastically altered when the Sandburgs turned it into a garage in 1945. (Collection of William McKay, Smyths great-grandson.) 30

    30 Smyth grandchildren eating watermelon near the southwest corner of the house. (CARL3001/01/01P) 31

    31 Some of the Smyths grandchildren and, possibly, their chauffeur James Robinson,in the backyard at Connemara, c. 1910. (CARL3001/01/17P) 31

    32 Some of the Smyth grandchildren at play near their grandfathers barns, c. 1915. (CARL3001/04/01P) 32

    33 One of the Smyths grandchildren behind the Main House with front entrance to Kitchen visible in background. (CARL3001/02/07P) 32

    34 Mr. and Mrs. Smyth in Front Room at Connemara, 1926. (Collection of Juliane Heggoy, great-granddaughter of the Smyths). 33

    35 Smyth feeding his fowl, 1931. (CARL3001/16/23P) 3436 James Fisher, c. 1920, Ellison Smyths valet and, after James Robinsons death, his

    chauffeur. (CARL3002/10/5P) 3537 Plat of the Smyths Connemara in 1944. (CARL 23294) 3638 Smyth and his dogs on the front porch at Connemara. (Collection of Juliane Heggoy,

    great-granddaughter of the Smyths) 3739 Sylvene, one of Smyths maids, 1937. (Collection of Juliane Heggoy, great-grand-

    daughter of the Smyths)

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