A Corner of Canaan
I began this project because I thought that antebellum homes were beautiful and I was amazed by the craftsmanship, hand craft, but my point of view quickly changed as I sought answers to whose hands might have crafted these structures. This led me to the census, the basic scaffolding for any survey of community. I was astounded to find that this record was a gateway to the lives of the people who lived at these sites. Each structure bears marks of careful design considerations and sophisticated joinery, executed with astounding skill, usually with a broad axe or a draw knife. Flutes in columns were carved using sensitive pressure, mitre dovetail joints carved as carefully as a pair of wooden dutch shoes. Eccentric decorative elements allude to the design sensibilities of each builder. The issues raised by looking at these sites still have relevance in a contemporary context as we continue to fill in historical gaps by attributing architectural elements and styles to builders and communities.