Monday, September 15, 2014

Early Architecture and History in the Valley

2014 Deyerle Lecture Series

Early Architecture and History in the Valley

                On Thursday, October 2, at 7:00 pm, the Massanutten Regional Library will host the first of our lectures of the 14th annual Deyerle series, sponsored by the family of the late Dr. Henry P. Deyerle. The focus of the series is the Heritage of the Shenandoah Valley. The topic for 2014 is Architecture and History of houses in Rockingham County prior to the Civil War.
      The first lecture is an overview of architectural and construction characteristics common to Valley houses built between 1750 and 1850.  Ann Terrell Baker will be the speaker.  Ms. Baker is the author of Old Houses in Rockingham County Revisited, 1750-1850 (2000).  She will present a pictorial history on some of the houses discussed in the book.  Terrell’s book is an updated and expanded version of the volume published in 1970 by her father, Isaac Long “Jimmy” Terrell, titled Old Houses in Rockingham County, 1750-1850.  Both books are available at the Library.

While architectural style is subjected to “fads,” architectural interpretation is largely dependent on means, materials, and manpower at the location of construction.    One unique style does define early architecture in Rockingham County.  The styles found in the County were those brought by German settlers from Pennsylvania, English settlers from the Tidewater, and Scotch-Irish who traveled up the Valley.   Architectural styles of the early pioneers were remarkably similar wherever one went along the seaboard.  In this research no architect has been associated with or identified in Rockingham County during the period 1750-1850; however, a study of the houses reveals common architectural patterns.  (Note:  Scans of floor plans and some information are from Isaac Terrell’s book.)
Pioneer House

The basic and often first house of a settler was patterned in the pioneer style, which consisted, at a minimum, of one room with one fireplace.  Some structures had a pitched roof
making space under the eaves for storage or sleeping areas, which was reached by a ladder or by a circular staircase in a corner of the room.  An ell might be added at the rear of this room for storage.  If a fireplace was built in this addition, it was also used for cooking.  A house located on a slope could be dug-out for an additional room, and if a spring was there, it could be used as a fort against the Indians.  Construction materials were those at hand – stones and logs.  Though logs were used prior to 1750, what we think of as traditional chinked-log construction was introduced into the Valley by the Scotch-Irish in the mid-1700s.  As a pioneer prospered the original small houses were often added-on to with larger, grander extensions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Film Nights at the Library

In September, the Main Branch of Massanutten Regional Library in downtown Harrisonburg will be holding a special film night. The first event will be Tuesday, September 30 at 6:30 and the program will continue through November with a different film each month. All films are award winning independent films. The program will be led by Dr. Robert Hoskins, Professor Emeritus, from James Madison University whose interests are in Graham Greene, 20th Century British Novels, and Film Studies.
     We encourage everyone to stop by our lobby display and discover a new movie or relive their favorite moments from a classic. Movies are magical experiences; they have the ability to convey emotions through images and sound.  Viewers are temporarily transported from normal life to an intimate world and are able to get lost in the drama and action, but then are able to return, safe and sound, at the conclusion of the film.

   This September we invite you to join us for Jens Lien’s The Bothersome Man. This Norwegian film follows forty something Andreas as he arrives in a new city with no memory of how he got there. As Andreas settles into the routine of life, he begins to realize that the town, the inhabitants, and their experiences are devoid of any type of emotion. Andreas attempts to flee the city but cannot. Soon Andreas finds a friend and a mysterious crack in a wall where music and light pour through, and Andreas becomes obsessed with finding the source and escaping the city. The Bothersome Man looks at the nightmare of a life without emotion—a contemporary horror-film but without the violence, scare tactics, and gore.

Massanutten Regional Library will be offering a free viewing of The Bothersome Man on Tuesday, September 30 at 6:30. We invite you to join us and hope you look forward to the upcoming films that will be shown on October 28 and November 18. Upcoming times and films will be announced shortly!
For more information contact Jon Hilbert @ 434-4475 x125