Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Georgia


Smith-Turner House

Smith-Turner House, Lexington, Georgia (33.870559, -83.114205)

Primary Phase of House         Felling Dates: Undated

The Smith-Turner House is one of the most intriguing of Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and the inability to date its original section frustrating. The first owner of the land on which the house stands in the county seat of Lexington was John Smith who purchased the obviously unimproved lot for ten dollars in 1798. It has been assumed that the oldest part of the house was built soon after. It is a somewhat unusual structure, two stories tall of hewn logs with half dovetail corner joints. The log top plate is hand hewn on three sides and pit sawn on the top to create a flat surface for the second floor ceiling joists, which are original. (The roof rafters were replaced in phase two.) Originally the house had either a hall-parlor plan or a three-room “Quaker plan,” with a chimney at the east end, the end with the larger room, the hall. Also unusual is the full cellar with brick walls, built on a slope so as to be entered at the rear. All joists of both first and second floors are hand hewn. Evidence on the sills suggests that this structure had porches both front and rear. Also notable is evidence that the original roof was cantilevered over the chimney at the east end (both chimney and cantilever were removed at phase two). At least some of the nails in this section are wrought, suggesting an early date. The logs were always covered with clapboards on the exterior, but were originally only whitewashed inside. (Mark Reinberger)

Worthington, M J and Seiter, J I 2018 “The Tree-Ring Dating of Ten Vernacular Buildings in Northeastern Georgia”, unpublished Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory archive report 2018/05




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Contact Information

Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230