How Old?

On a photo excursion earlier this week, I hiked out into the backwoods with a fellow from church to an old deserted farm here in West Virginia. I marveled when he told me how old the antiquated buildings were.

How old would you guess this farm house is? Leave a comment with your guess and then I’ll post the answer in a few days.

Old Farm House

Here’s a hint: my tour guide said it had been 32 years since anyone had lived here.


  1. Denise December 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    My guess is Circa 1856.

  2. Robert Staddon December 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I would think Denise is pretty close. It looks Civil War era to me. Perhaps right afterwards. 1870?

  3. Denise December 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    I can’t be sure when looking at the photo, but does the home have two doors on the front? If so, it’s possible that it was a dog trot structure at one time, and the breezeway was later sealed up.

    Dog trots were popular structures in the mid 1800’s. The homes were comprised of two sections that shared one roof. There was a breezeway between the two structures. One side was used by the family for sleeping, and the other side was where the family cooked and entertained company. The breezeway was used as a porch by the family and a place to store the water barrels, fire wood and keep food cool during cold months. Since the breezeway was covered by the roof, items stored there were protected from the rain. A door from each section of the home opened onto the breeze way. Many times, owners of dog trot homes eventually sealed up the breezeways.

    Though the house in the picture is dilapidated, the structure itself could be quite valuable to those who are into the restoration of vintage american cabins. The structure in the picture might very well be worth something. I look forward to hearing more about this building.

  4. Wendy Gunn December 23, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    I agree that it looks Civil War era, and my guess was about 1865. It is, however, a very uninformed guess, unlike Denise’s:) I look forward to hearing more about it, too, as I love old buildings of this sort. I love to imagine who lived there, what their life was like, etc. It is like a connection to someone from another time in history.
    Merry Christmas to your family,
    Mrs. Gunn for the Gunn Family

  5. James December 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    Yes! The front has two doors. I didn’t actually go inside, so I couldn’t say if the breezeway theory is correct, but there definitely is a good possibility that that is the case.

  6. Mary December 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    150 years old is my guess.

  7. Denise December 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    Like Ms. Gunn, I too like to imagine what life was like for those who lived in the old houses that surround my neighborhood. And I agree that it’s a connection to someone from another time in history. I can only dream that one day my husband and I can afford to purchase and restore an older home. I have my eye on a home in Vergennes, VT built in 1790, and abandoned for the past 40 years. The windows, still intact, were hnd blown in Williamsburg, VA. And the home has a modest ballroom. Perhaps one day I shll win the lottery and bring the home back to it’s beautiful Georgian status. Merry Christmas!

  8. Crystal December 25, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    A wild guess…. 150 years?

  9. Donald December 27, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Going by intuition: maybe 90 years?

  10. Mrs. Ant. December 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    117 years

  11. Christen Richardson December 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    This old house looks similar in design to our house here in South Western Michigan. Ours was probably built in the late 1870s or early 1880s. It was built when loggers moved in and made a saw mill in the middle of the woods. The old mill is still running, but the old train station in gone, the dam in the river is no longer used, most of the forest has been turned into farm land, and the old houses (including ours) have been remodeled. The memories and a few of the old building are still here though.

    Thanks for sharing the picture!

  12. Matthew H December 30, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Is it around 75 yrs old?

  13. James December 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Hope you get your house, Denise. That would be quite a project, albeit rewarding.

    Thanks for sharing, Christen. Having seen the old buildings here in WV gives me a greater appreciation and admiration for folks who say they are living in homes from the 1800s. It would be nice to see that old mill one day; amazing it’s still running after all these years.

  14. Denise December 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    The house I so want to save is featured on page 16 of the following. Every year for 20 years someone claims the house will be restored, but alas it fails to come to fruition. At this point in time, she’s probably a goner. Just hope something can be salvaged.

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