Irvin Henry Dietle farmhouse, Larimer Twp., Somerset Co., PA

The photos on this page show the details of the farmhouse of Irvin and Alma (Miller) Dietle on what is now known as White Oak Hollow Road. It had also been the farmhouse of Ephriam and Mary (Dietle) Geiger. Most of the images that are shown on or linked from this page were provided by Ralph Dietle from the papers of his father Irvin Henry Dietle.

The following photo shows the house and summer kitchen when the farm belonged to Irvin H. Dietle. The back of the photo is inscribed "Irvin Dietle Home". Like most older Somerset County farm houses, this one was located near a year-round spring. Just beyond the house, to the left, was a large stone spring house (not shown) that was used for cooling food, and served as the only water supply for the house. The smaller building on the left is the summer kitchen. There was no fireplace in this house, although it was an older style house with no central hallway. One entered directly into the kitchen, then one room connected to another, without hallways. The interior doors that I remember were rough-sawn boards painted orangish-brown, with crude thumb latches rather than doorknobs. The windowpane glass was somewhat wavy. A large upstairs room was converted into a bathroom. When I was a kid in the 1950-60's, the house was heated with a coal furnace in the basement, but when my dad was little there was a heating stove in the living room. The beams supporting the first story floor were partially flattened logs.

I don't remember much of the summer kitchen. I do remember that it contained an old cast-iron cream separator that was quite tall. I also remember that my dad, grand-dad, and uncles hung quarters of beef there. Each fall, they would slaughter one of Grand-dad's black angus cows, and split it amongst them. Dad told me when I was little, and told me this year, that the purpose of the summer kitchen was to keep the heat of the cook stove out of the house in the summer. I have also read recently that Somerset County summer kitchens were a way of getting heavy food preparation tasks out of the house.
Irvin Henry Dietle house and summer kitchen, Larimer Twp., Somerset Co., PA

The back of the following photo is labeled "Ephriam Geiger House", which suggests the photo was taken before Irvin and Alma (Miller) Dietle bought the farm. Note the upturned kettle on the work table under the porch. Also notice the horse-drawn sledge in the foreground. This photo must have been taken with a relatively long exposure time, because the person in the basement door is blurred. A portion of the stone springhouse is visible at the far left. In this picture, the summer kitchen has a chimney. I don't remember ever seeing a chimney on the summer kitchen, and in the photos I have from the time when Irvin and Alma Dietle lived here, there is no chimney.
Irvin Henry Dietle house and summer kitchen, Larimer Twp., Somerset Co., PA

The following picture shows Irvin H. Dietle sitting in front of the door to the basement stairs, with the doorway into the downstairs bedroom visible behind him. I included this photo because the extreme thickness of the walls is an artifact of the timber frame construction of the house. If you look closely, you can see that the basement door is made from vertically oriented boards. You can also see that the wallpaper above the two doorways is applied over horizontally oriented boards.
Kitchen in Dietle farmhouse.

This photo (developed in Feb. 1965) was taken from the kitchen looking into the small living room of the Dietle farmhouse, and shows grandpa Irvin H. Dietle sitting in his chair. In this picture, it is obvious that the wallpaper is applied over vertically oriented boards. Imagine what it would cost to build a house that way now, considering the high cost of lumber. The little alcove in the background accomodates the doorway to the stairs that lead to the second story of the house. The staircases to the basement and the upstairs are behind the wall the round mirror is mounted on.
Plank walls in Dietle farmhouse.

In this photo, Alma and Irvin Dietle are posing in front of the alcove, and the doorway in the background leads into their downstairs bedroom. It is clear that the wallpaper of the alcove is applied over vertically oriented boards. The door into the bedroom is also made from vertically oriented boards.
Plank walls in alcove of the Dietle farmhouse.

The following photo was taken in the kitchen of the farmhouse. The door opens out onto the full length porch, and was the primary entrance into the house. The individuals in the photo are Luther "Bud" Dietle, Lerene (Geiger) Dietle, Irvin Henry Dietle, and Alma (Miller) Dietle. The photo was provided by Bud's daughter Kay.
Luther, Lerene, Irvin, and Alma Dietle.

The following photograph was taken in the living room of the Dietle farmhouse, looking generally east. From left to right, the individuals are Craig Dietle, Kay Dietle, Luther Dietle, Lerene (Geiger) Dietle, and Patricia (Smith) Dietle The photo was provided by Kay.
Living room of Irvin and Alma Dietle.

The following short video shows the kitchen and living room of the Dietle farmhouse as family members open Christmas presents. The video opens showing the range and sink against the western wall of the house, and then it shows family members seated at the kitchen table with the Mission-style hutch in the background. The back of the hutch faces the western wall of the kitchen. Junior Saylor (in a yellow shirt, holding gloves) is standing in front of the white pantry door, which is located on the northern wall of the kitchen. The refrigerator is next to the door into the living room, and its back is against the eastern wall of the kitchen. Notice the cupboard built into the thick eastern wall of the kitchen. Next, the camera faces the southern wall of the kitchen, and shows the white door that exits out onto the porch. Shortly after that, the video switches to the living room, and shows grandpa Dietle sitting on the telephone bench next to the door into the kitchen. After that, the video shows the brown living room door that opens onto the porch. With that introduction, the rest of the video should be more understandable.

Here are links to other photos of the Irvin H. Dietle farmhouse:

  • The living room of the Dietle farmhouse, facing the eastern wall

  • Looking into the living room from the kitchen

  • Looking toward the kitchen from the living room

  • Photo of the porch on the Dietle farmhouse

  • Ralph Dietle on the east steps of the Dietle farmhouse

    Go to the Dietle index page

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