Front view of the old farmhouse on the Michael Korns, Sr. Somerset County PA farm.

Front view of the house on the Michael Korns, Sr. family farm

This 1998 photograph is the best available front view of the old farmhouse on the Michael Korns, Sr. family homestead in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA; unfortunately it is marred by the presence of a camera strap. The house was built on a well-made stone foundation, and has a heavy hewn timber frame and wooden siding. The interior wall surfaces are covered with lath and plaster. On at least two sides of the house, the first story exterior walls are filled with rock and mortar. This photograph shows that at one time the house had a full-length porch. An iron "snow bird" that fell from the roof had an 1802 patent date; of course the piece of the snow bird that included the patent date might have been cast long after the patent expired using old patterns. What little paint is left on the exterior of the house is white.

If you look closely, there are many interesting things to be seen in this photo:

  • The house was timber frame construction.
  • The right hand basement window has one surviving horizontal bar; such bars are common to basement windows in old farmhouses in this area.
  • The sill plate timber (if that is the correct name) on top of the foundation appears to be a single piece.
  • It is clear that there was a full length porch attached to the house at one time, yet the sill plate doesn't have mortises to receive the porch structural members. This suggests that the porch was not part of the original construction.
  • There are several different styles and widths of siding present on the house, including lapped siding above the porch roof, wide boards behind where the porch roof was, and wide boards low on the wall, near the sill plate.
  • The windows had twelve panes of glass.
  • The house had a "tin" roof.
  • The vertical structural timber near the center of the house used mortise and tennon construction to connect to the timber that supported the second story.
  • Many of the wall studs on the second story are short, and do not rest on the timber that supports the structural wall studs. This suggests that they may have been added at a later date to support plaster lath that was part of a remodeling job.
  • The interior walls were plastered.

    When Ken Korns was younger, the old house was used as a haunted house at Halloween time. Scared kids could be heard screaming a long ways away. When I talked to Ken in 2013, he recalled that one time the church hosted a Christian singing group from a college, and after the event the singers staid overnight with members of the church. One church member drove three college girls up to this old house as a joke, and said something like, "well, we're home".

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