Bethlehem Township Springhouse at Tower Hill Reserve (revised)

Mark

Thanks to a very supportive and friendly Hunterdon County Parks & Recreation division, I was able to photograph in detail the beautiful springhouse at the Tower Hill Farm.  On a rainy morning, of course.  A special thanks to Ranger Warren Schultz for his help and everyone along the way to this Sunday morning.

I had been to the springhouse on a previous occasion several weeks earlier, but it was raining with such hard winds that day that I just couldn’t do the springhouse justice.  Today was a much better day.

We see from the historic marker of the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commision  that this 2-story stone springhouse dates to the 1840s.  It is right on the road and easy to see.  There is a place to park just north of the springhouse.

This springhouse is 14′ wide x 16’3″ long x  16’3″ tall to the peak of the roof from our measurements.  It has been restored with a new roof, gutters, new doors and shutters.  It doesn’t seem to have any of the original hardware.

This is the street view of the springhouse.

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We can see two openings, lower one is 28.5″ wide x 21.5″ tall (frames included) and upper portal is 20″ wide and 28′ tall.  The window frames and shutters/door have been replaced in keeping with the original design.  This view is the west side of the springhouse.

The south side of the springhouse has a single door.

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The north side has no windows or doors.  This is my favorite view of the springhouse.  It shows the rich stonework and permanence of these historical outbuildings.

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The eastern face of the springhouse has a window and a full size entrance to the second level of the springhouse.  Here are several views.

 

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The lower two-door window is placed in the same position of the same window on the western view.  When it is ajar you can see the opposite window.  The first floor of the springhouse is flooded with water as you can see below.  The original beams are supporting the second level floor boards.

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With a ladder supplied by the County Ranger, I was able to enter and see the second story in full detail.  The roof is new and here are several views of the interior with some of the original framework.

 

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I have been looking at the mortars used in the historic outbuildings – the original vs examples of repointing.  Several of the springhouses and summer kitchens have very similar mortars – namely slaked lime with sand usually rounded.  In this springhouse, what I think are examples of the original mortar,  sand is irregular shaped.

An interesting article on “Repointing mortars in historical masonry buildings” is from the National Park Service and here is the link to Repointing mortars .  It is from their Technical Preservation Services, Preservation Briefs, by the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.

 

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The Tower Hill Farm springhouse is, I believe, the first I have seen with such an irregular sand composition and visually broader particle size distribution.

Here is the final view from the road.SH-17

This is all that remains of the original estate.  Fortunately, the springhouse is in good hands.

 

 

 

 

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