Mid-Century Construction

Text prepared by the Somerset Historical and Genealogical Society:

The period from 1840 to 1880 was one of steady growth in the county. Construction was influenced by the development of roads through the area, particularly the Glades Road, the Pennsylvania Road, and the smaller toll roads. These roads brought into the district people who required buildings, the artisans to build them, and some of the materials needed for their construction. Most importantly, traffic on these roads produced the wealth needed to build houses, barns, and taverns, and brought contact with cultural sources east of the Alleghenies. Agriculturalists prospered during this period, as seen in the handsome brick farmhouses and large barns they erected. A specific design of banked, center-hall plan brick house with double porches became a fixture at the finest families of Brothersvalley Township. Photographs of one of these homes is reproduced below.

This design was executed in wood in many locations in Somerset and Stonycreek Townships. Eleven examples of the brick home of this design were identified These are located on the map below The construction dates of these houses range from 1850 to 1870. Almost without exception, these houses took the place of early log structures on the farm. The handsome Federal-style brick homes of Berlin were built during this period by second and third generation merchants and businessmen.


Construction dates and current owners for the above homes are as follows:

Click here for photos of all farm houses together. (57 sec. download time at 33600 bps)

Click on hypertext to the left of date for photo of each house and individual facts:

ST- 522 - c. 18xx - Calvin Will

SK-298 - c. 1840 - Robert and Nancy Bauermaster

BT-044 - c. 1852 - Robert and Towalee Will

BT-059 - c. 1850 - Mrs. S. Boyd Dickey

BT-157 - c. 1867 - William Scurfield

BT-173 - c. 1870 - Brian Stair

BT-374 - c. 1852 - Rick Bonomo

BT-335 - c. 1859 - Jim and Lissa Paxton


BT-010 - c. 1860 - Harry and Virginia Rhoades

BT-056 - c. 1850 - Thomas W. Calvert

BT-214 - c. 1850 - Dave Meese


Barns with over-hanging forebays or foreshoots, summerhouses built over springs, and other farm structures were erected during this period to house larger herds and new farm implements and wheeled vehicles. Late in this period, barn decorations became popular, particularly in Stonycreek and Brothersvalley Township. Distinctive designs have been identified in each of these areas, including the five-point Stonycreek star and the page. By contrast, barns built earlier in this period have,only heart- shaped or round ventilation holes cut in the gable end for decoration and utility.

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