Friday Pop Quiz (because summer will eventually get here)!

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I keep this photo on my desk bulletin board. I found it in some files years ago (i.e. credit is not mine).

This is probably an easy one, but a fun one. Quiz: What is this structure? 

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And tell me, what are you up to this weekend? Anything fun? Good weather? The snow is practically all melted in Burlington (hallelujah), at least until we get a good April storm. ;)

Georgia Pop Quiz Answer

For the Preservation Pop Quiz, Georgia edition. If you’re following the comments, you’ll see that the answer has already been revealed (from the knowledgeable Andrew P. Wood). However, for those who do not track comments, read on.

Mystery site in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

Mystery site in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

The mystery structure is a smoke house that was part of the Granite Hill Plantation in Sparta, Georgia. The answer (as well as the quiz) comes from Chad Carlson.

Granite Hill Plantation. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

Historic Granite Hill Plantation. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.


The plantation was owned by Andrew Jackson Lane in the 1850s. At the time of the Civil War it had 74 slaves, 22 structures, on 2200 acres. The smoke house was the last remnant of the plantation. The main house was moved to Macon, GA, in 1968, and was destroyed by a fire very soon thereafter. (You can see the smokehouse in the background of the main house.) Most thought it was a jail for slaves because of the bars on the windows. I came across an article on Granite Hill Planation from the “Southern Cultivator” magazine from 1859 wherein it mentions “a two story smokehouse of finely dressed granite.” Since meat would have been the most valuable commodity on the plantation the bars were placed in the windows to keep people out. Given the size of the building it was probably also used for storage of other commodities as well.

Granite Hill Plantation in 1968. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

Granite Hill Plantation in 1968. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

The Granite Hill Plantation house being moved in 1968. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

The Granite Hill Plantation house being moved in 1968. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.


The Sparta Kaoline Corporation bought the property in 1998 to mine the granite beneath the building. Stonemason Brent Kickbush was hired to destroy the smokehouse. His attempts to find someone to have the smoke house reconstructed on their property were unsuccessful and the building was torn down.

Want to learn more? Check out this video from Chad.

Preservation Pop Quiz: A Georgian Mystery

Let’s pretend it’s not freezing cold and winter, shall we? (Though if you are a skier, you love this weather, I know.) Turn your attention to the southeast. Georgia, to be exact.

Mystery site in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

Mystery site in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Chad Carlson.

What’s your guess?

Mystery Answer: Sutton, VT

Last week I posted a photograph of an abandoned less building that’s missing all of its windows in Sutton, VT, asking if anyone had an idea of what it could be. While I love offering up a pop-quiz, I had only an inkling and no answer to this building. Your answers were creative: chicken house (perhaps a reference to the last quiz?), jail, sewing shop, school?

The Sutton Mystery.

The Sutton Mystery.

Thankfully, I can always count on the State Architectural Historian to lend a hand to my building quandaries. That is to say, while my guess was accurate, I owe the complete answer to the State Architectural Historian (thank you!). So what is it? Your hint: the neighboring property is the Portland Pipe Line Corporation.

This brick building is the former pump house for the Portland Pipe Line Corp., built in 1941. Originally 21.5 acres, the complex included the pump house, a brick boiler house, a Quonset hut, and a nearby eight single family dwellings for workers and their families. And here’s the most interesting part: at the time of construction, Sutton did not have electricity. Meaning, the pumping station was self sufficient and siphoned crude oil from the pipeline to power the generator in the boiler house. The pump house and all of the homes had their own electric plant.

The Not-a-Chicken-House Pop Quiz Answer

Most everyone thinks this building is a chicken house. That was my first guess, as it was many of yours.

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The quiz: identify this structure.

It’s not. Nor is it a sugar house. But, it does have to do with agriculture. This building is located on the former Vermont State Tree Farm in Essex, VT (Chittenden County). In fact, this building is a seed extractory building, part of the tree farm. What does that mean? (I asked the Vermont State Architectural Historian the same question! Below is his answer:)

Pine cones would be placed on mesh grates in front of the banks of windows, where the heat of the sun would dry them out and cause them to open up (“cone flaring”). The pinecone seeds would then be removed, and voila! New seeds for planting the next crop of Vermont’s seedlings, which were shipped all over the state for re-forestation projects. By the late 1800s, 80% of Vermont’s forests had been cleared. To counteract this deforestation, the Vermont State Tree Farm was established in 1922 to grow new trees. By 1924, this tree farm was transplanting 2 million seedlings a year. Prior to this, seedlings were imported from Germany.

Today the tree farm is home to recreational fields serving the town of Essex, Vermont.

Preservation Pop Quiz

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One side of the building.

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And the other side.

What is this building? How did you guess? Hint: it’s located in Vermont.

Preservation Pop Quiz

A pop quiz, of the “this one or that one” type, and why?

All other elements being equal (hypothetically), would you choose:

This railing?

Railing #1

Railing #1

OR this railing?

Railing #2

Railing #2

Please provide your reason for choosing one over the other.

Preservation Pop Quiz

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Bonus points if you know this location!

Happy Monday! Here’s a pop quiz. (Anyone else think actual pop quizzes are just about the worst thing in school? Luckily this if for fun, not grades.)

How would you read this streetscape? Specifically, why is there a fire hydrant in the street?