Fisk Farm is a historic estate located in Isle La Motte, VT, with an adjoining (historic) marble quarry that began operations in the 1660s. Today the quarry is a world renowned fossil preserve as a Natural National Landmark. The original stone house on the property burned in the early 20th century, but its ruins stand, and later houses and barns remain on the property. Set on the west shore of the island, with a view of Lake Champlain, it is one of the most picturesque spots.
But, like all historic properties, there are some mysteries. Take this stone structure as your next challenge:
Set the to the left of the shingle style house in the photo above, this is the mystery object. The remains of the original stone house are in the background of this photo.
What is it? I don’t know, but I’m hoping you do. Some clues: 1) There is only one on the property. 2) Each side looks alike. 3) There are some pipes coming up from the ground. 4) Some of the insets have smaller metal pipes in them. 5) I am not taller enough to see the top.
Look alike sides.
Close up of the inset into the stone.
Another inset. Note the metal pipe.
One metal pipe coming out of the ground. This is the only one.
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.
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.
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.
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.