The Buildings of Muscoot
The Main House was originally built as a summer house in a Victorian
style which matched the carriage house, carriage barn and ice house. The house was moved to its present location in 1901.
In 1910-1911, electricity and indoor plumbing were added to the house. From 1924-1927, the house was extensively remodeled for year round
living and was turned into the present Colonial Revival style. There are thirty one rooms which include eleven
bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Upper Dairy Barn
This was the showpiece of a country gentleman’s farm. It was built to replace the
1880s barn that burned on September 28, 1906 due to a case of arson which is still unsolved. The upper barn was used for storing hay
and grinding grains into animal feed. By the 1950s, a pipe was added to the outside of the dairy barn so that bulk feed from a tanker
could be pumped directly into the barn.
Lower Dairy Barn
The lower dairy barn is used for milking cows. Until 1950’s about 40 cows were hand milked twice a day in this barn.
In the 1910-1911, the barn was very modern with a concrete floor, steel stanchions to hold the head of each cow in place while being milked,
a gravity fed water system and the overhead track system for feeding and cleaning. It was restored in 1997.
1911 Milk House
From 1911 to the 1930s the milk from the cows was immediately brought to this building. Built for a contracted
price of $600, the two room building has a straining room and milk cooling room. The straining room was used to ensure that the milk was
clean and that it had no dirt in it from the milking process. In the milk cooling room, cans of milk were kept in the troughs which were
filled with ice from the ice house. The troughts chilled the cans of milk before they were sent off to the dairy. From the 1930s onward,
it was used as the farm supervisor’s office.
1930s Milk House
This milkhouse was built at the peak of the dairy business at Muscoot in response to the need for improved sanitary conditions
for holding milk before it was sent to the dairy. Similar to the 1911 Milk House, it also had straining room and milk cooling room. In the late 1940s, the “Jet Aire” Milk
Cooler electric refrigerator was installed to cool the milk. The farm workers lived upstairs.
The barn was originally used up until the 1950s to stable horses that were used to plow the fields and cut hay. Today a
variety of farm animals are housed in the barn.
Constructed of chestnut beams, the shed stored wagons used
for farm work. On the back underside, on the left wall
there is “historic graffiti". Marked in the wall is the symbol for Ballentine Ale, 3 interlocked ringed, the number “42” for the year 1942
and the initials JB for Jasper Booth, the son of the Muscoot blacksmith, and FTH for Ferdinand Travis Hopkins, III.
The farm raised potatoes, apples and other fruits and vegetable were stored in the root cellar.
A wood burning stove was kept in the cellar which would be lit in the winter to keep the stored produce from freezing.
Used through the 1940s to store ice. After the winter harvest, blocks of ice were surrounded with layers of sawdust which
acted as insulation. With the below ground storage and proper packing, it was possible to keep winter ice through the summer. The blocks
of ice were used in the farm milk houses to chill the milk. Today, a variety of ice harvesting tools and equipment are on display.
Once the corn dried on the stalks in the field, it was harvested and brought to the corn crib. The slatted walls
allowed air to circulate and further dry the corn which would be used for animal feed. The corn crib was used until the 1940s
when bulk feed was delivered to the farm. Corn no longer had to be raised, harvested, dried and used for food. The corn crib was then used
to dry kindling wood.
Originally a storage shed from the 1920s, the present blacksmith shop was built in 1976.
the original Muscoot blacksmith shop was located just to the left in what is now storage shed. In the 1920s Muscoot had a blacksmith named
Jasper Booth who shoed the horses.
It was rebuilt in 1910 on th 1880 pit after the fire that destroyed the dairy barn in 1906.
The ensilage pit was used to store silage, a tpye of food for the animals. Silage was made from the stems, leaves and roots of grain
plants. They were compacted and stored in an airtight, dark pit until it all fermented making a tasty, but smelly “salad” for farm animals.
The Hopkins were very progressive for using ensilage in the 1880s.
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