THE RESTORATION OF JABEZ NEWHALLíS TAVERN

CHAPTER 3 -- PHASE I: DEMOLITION

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Before we could decide how to proceed, we needed to be able to see the buildings, which meant clearing trees and other plant growth - outside and inside.

The north side entry was our first target.

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We attacked trees, vines, and bushes with pruning shears, hatchets, and a chain saw, hauling away many pickup truck loads.

Chris and Lindsey, Jan's children, dragged the manageable branches to clearer ground, and in a few days we were able to enter the house without crawling through a thicket.

In many ways, our new home had looked less formidable before our pruning!

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Next, we focused our efforts on the various 19th-century excrescences - porches, bay windows, extensions, roofs, and additions - which had obliterated the classic lines of the house.

Each element we removed exposed a wall which needed to be re-framed.

We had opened Pandoraís box!

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  Each of the two front rooms on the first floor of the house contained a pile of old bricks.

They had once been the twin chimneys that had replaced the original center chimney in the 19th century.

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We removed the Victorian pantry and its double roof.

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While most of the original flooring was in place, many of the joists that had supported the floors on the ground floor had been broken by the impact of falling masonry.

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We quickly discovered that most of the paneling had been removed from the interior of the house,

while the exterior walls had also suffered from a century of careless "improvements".

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Our demolition work continued on the south and west sides.

On the south was a Victorian bay window and two second-floor dormers, all overgrown with trees and vines.

Alan Parker, our neighbor, helped us get rid of a few of the larger trees.

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After the vegetation had been removed, we amputated the 19th-century bay window and, in the process,

discovered next to it the opening that once held the original front door of the cape.

Its shadow revealed the classic 18th-century form of many small Historic Deerfield doorways.

The doorway had been covered over and now contained a bargain-basement double-hung window.

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After we had removed the bay window and covered the resultant scar with a set of glass doors purchased at a yard sale, our new neighbor Fred Parker, Alan's father,

having heard that John was ďa musician", offered the opinion that we must be hippies and that the old farm was about to become "a commune!"

After a look at these picture, who would blame Fred?

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We removed the porch that had been tacked onto the west end of the house and carefully stripped the clapboards and sheathing from the south and west walls.

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In the process we discovered that 90% of the sills and four of the five posts on the south side had been destroyed by insects or dry rot and needed to be replaced.

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The Greek Revival addition on the north side was too far gone to save. 

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We removed it, being careful to salvage as many clapboards, boards, bricks, and rose-head nails as possible.

Chris and Lindsey managed to earn a little flea market cash by straightening nails which we would use later.

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After we had cleared the hundreds of bricks that had been strewn throughout the front house when its 19th-century twin chimneys had collapsed,

we dismantled the single remaining chimney, which had been built in the late 19th century to heat the back house.

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John, sticking his head out of the hole left by said late chimney. 

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Click here for Chapter 4: NEW FOUNDATIONS AND CHIMNEYS

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Chapter 1: AS FOUND: SEPTEMBER 1985

Chapter 2: SEPTEMBER 1985 -- THE OUTBUILDINGS

Chapter 3: PHASE I: DEMOLITION

Chapter 4: NEW FOUNDATIONS AND CHIMNEYS

Chapter 5: NEW ROOFS

Chapter 6: RE-SHAPING THE EXTERIOR

Chapter 7: PREPARING FOR OUR FIRST WINTER

Chapter 8: SPRING 1987 -- CLAPBOARDS AND PAINT

Chapter 9: OUTBUILDINGS: THE CARRIAGE HOUSE

Chapter 10: OUTBUILDINGS: SHED, MILK HOUSE, AND BARN

Chapter 11: RESTORING THE CUPOLA

Chapter 12: GARDEN AND FRONT DOOR