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Fallbrook Farm Heritage Site
Update 7 -
Tom Murison's First  Impressions

Tom is a professional historical renovator

Sat, 29 Mar 2008

Good afternoon gentlemen of the croft.

Peter and I went to the site this morning at 9:00 am. We walked down to the bridge first and had a good look at this very unusual and well constructed traditional stone bridge.

It has a simple semi-circular vault of dressed voussoirs (tapered stone blocks) which are held together by gravity in the manner of true arches. The mortar has deteriorated and should probably be repointed, but this is not, probably, a structural issue, but is a weathering issue. Open joints allow frost which can cause gradual spalling of stone and deterioration of the critical shape of the blocks. We noted the very fine, smooth steps formed as the creek tumbles rapidly down the hillside, eroding the limestone bedrock. This is very attractive, and must have been a wonderful place for kids to play in the summer.

We walked upstream from the bridge, and noted that there may have been a spillway on the east side of the creek but I could see no obvious sign of a masonry or earthen dam. However, having seen similar spillways, and noted in this location the rapid fall, which would produce something like 20 plus feet of drop by the time the water came across the roadway, it would have easily driven an overshot wheel just below the bridge on the inside of the bend in the road.

I suspect that the original dam may have been a simple timber crib filled with earth and stone, and that this dam stood just below the millrace in order to deflect the water this way. This could probably be confirmed with a visit by an archaeologist.

When I looked at the log in the house wall, it strongly suggested that it had been sawn. Coupled with the circumstantial evidence of a mill at the bridge, the hypothesis that I would start working with, is that a sawmill was constructed first, so that the heavy timbers could be sawn to size for use in the cabin.

We also noted the large field on relatively level ground, and placement of house on the hillside, not typical of early Canadian settlement, but probably very similar to highland siting, and the presence of a very large and old beech tree on the south side of the road, south of the field. One tree does not a village make, but I would be very interested to know the probable location of the native village that you referred to.

Must run, as my wife and I are going out this evening.

More later.


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