Walker Sisters Home
Historic Structures Report, Part II & Furnishing Study
NPS Logo


(House Corn Crib Springhouse)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Prepared by
Russell Jones, Architect
May 1969

U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation
Washington, D.C.


A. Record Drawings of Existing Condition:

The Walker Sisters Complex consisting of three structures was measured in November 1968 and record drawings prepared. Reduced copies are included as part of this report.

B. Photographs of Existing Conditions:

Photographs showing existing conditions as of November 1968 will be found following this section.

C. Detailed Description of Structures:

1. House: Three-room, one and a half story L-shaped log structure on stone foundation. The one and a half story portion measures 20 feet 6 inches by 22 feet 5-1/2 inches. The one story kitchen ell including the porch measures 18 feet 4-3/4 inches by 27 feet 3 inches.

The walls are constructed of hewn logs and are joined at the corner for half-dovetail notching. The joints between logs are chinked with mud and small stones.

The porch is constructed of sawn board on hewn log framing and is enclosed by one rail set between four posts supporting the roof. A rock step appearing in historic photographs has been removed.

Access to the building is by three doors, from the porch to the kitchen, from the porch to the living-bedroom and the third from the living-bedroom in the west wall. The step for this door has also been removed. Access to the garret is by ladder and crawl hole from the living-bedroom.

The windows are six in number, five on the first floor and one in the garret. Four of the first floor windows have single six light sash. The two remaining windows are closed by wood shutters.

The kitchen and the living-bedroom are both heated by a fireplace and massive outside chimney constructed of field stones laid in mud mortar.

A small stone chimney, supported by the kitchen ceiling has been added to receive a wood stove smoke pipe.

The kitchen and porch roof is framed with pole rafters and covered with wood shingles on shingle laths. The story and a half portion is framed with rib poles and pole rafters covered with wood shingles. Both roofs have been covered with roll roofing for protection and to prevent leaking.

Floors throughout the house are sawn boards. The garret floor is supported on hewn joist. The first floor joist were not inspected.

The interior walls of the living-bedroom have been partially covered with newspapers and magazine pages.

2. Corn Crib: Gabled roof, with single center crib and two side sheds. The crib is set on a field stone piers laid dry. Overall measurements are 24 feet 7-1/2 inches by 19 feet 8-1/2 inches.

The walls of the crib are constructed of hewn logs. The corner notching is half-dovetail.

The roof is framed with pole rafters supported at midspan by a purlin bearing on hewn log lookouts. The eaves are supported by post and beam. The roof is covered with wood shingles on a shingle boards. The north half of the original roof has been covered with tin. The roof extends approximately 7 feet at the west end.

Access to the crib is by means of a small door in the west end wall and hung on wrought iron strap hinges.

Two harness racks are located at the east end and one at the west end of the north shed.

The puncheon floor measures 3 to 4 inches thick and is laid transversely on the log sills.

3. Spring House: A hewn log structure measuring 7 feet 10-3/4 inches by 9 feet 7 inches on stone foundation.

The roof overhangs the front wall approximately 4 feet and is framed with rib poles. The present roof is plywood sheathed and covered with roll roofing for protection of the building.

The spring house is entered through a board and batten door hung on a wood gudgeon and pintel hinge.

Originally the pit was stone lined and the floor may have been stone paved although there is no remaining evidence. Two shelves extend across the interior rear wall. A partially destroyed hen nest is located in left front corner.

D. Description of Proposed Restoration:


The work will include rehabilitation and restoration of all features of the three structures comprising Walker Sisters Complex. Any discrepencies or unforseen conditions discovered during the course of the work shall be brought to the attention of the Park Superintendent and the Branch of Restorations for resolution before proceeding. All work necessary to accomplish the rehabilitation and restoration shall be performed in an expert workmanlike manner.

Care shall be taken that the general character of the primitive structures and the appearance of age shall not be destroyed by the stabilization or restorations.

Complete dismanteling of the structures in accomplishing the restoration shall be at the discretion of the foreman in charge of the restoration.

If the structures are to be dismantled, number each existing part, recording each number on the measured drawing so that its location can be determined for reassembly or replacement.

1. House:

Foundation - remove existing mud mortar to a reasonable depth and tuck point using lime-cement mortar composed of 1 part hydrated lime, 1 part white cement and 6 parts sand, colored to match the original mud mortar. Rebuild missing portions of the foundation using stones from the site.

Log Walls - Inspect all wall logs and sills replacing those found to be unsound. Repair and replace as necessary the sawn boards on the kitchen gable. Where replacement of any log or board is made, the original member shall be used as model.

Chimneys - Provide shoring for the two outside chimneys to prevent collapse during the stabilization. Install a reinforced concrete core to support the chimneys and bond the stones. Remove existing mud mortar of all three chimneys to a reasonable depth and tuckpoint with lime-cement mortar of the same proportions as used for the foundations. Color shall match the existing mortar.

Porch - Inspect sills, flooring, post, rails, lintels ceiling joist and ceiling boards replacing those found to be unsound. Provide stone step matching that shown in the historical photograph included in this report.

Roof - Inspect all roof framing and shingle laths and replace unsound members. Reroof using locally made hand split wood shingles matching the original in size and thickness and which shall be laid with the same exposier as the original shingles.

Doors and Doorways - Repair or replace as necessary the three board and batten doors, doorframes, and trim. Replace any missing portions. Provide wood steps at the outside door from the living-bedroom.

Windows - Repair or replace sash, frames, trim and shutters. Replace all broken window glass and reglaze.

Hardware - Repair existing hardware where possible, any additional hardware required shall be fabricated to match similar existing items.

Ladder - Repair ladder to second floor. If the public is to be allowed access to the garret, replace with a stronger reproduction of the existing ladder.

Kitchen Interior - Inspect floor joist and flooring for decay, replace as necessary. Repair and tuckpoint fireplace and hearth. Repair fireplace shelf. Repair or rebuild miscellaneous shelves and cupboards. Replace missing pegs as may be indicated by holes the ceiling joist and walls. Repair "Shoo-fly" replacing missing parts to make operable.

Living-Bedroom - Inspect floor joist and flooring, replace as necessary. Repair and tuckpoint fireplace and hearth. Repair fireplace shelf. Repair or rebuild miscellaneous shelving and cupboards. Before any work is done to the room, photograph all wall surfaces now covered with newspapers and magazine illustrations. Salvage as much of the existing covering as possible for reuse and reference. Secure newspapers and magazines of the historic period for repapering. All new newspapers and magazine illustrations shall be tinted to match existing material in coloration.

Garret - Inspect floor joist and flooring, replace as necessary. Inspect eave closure board and replace any decayed or missing sections. Repair crawl hole and rework as required for safety of visitors.

Site - After all work on the foundations and building has been completed, regrade to direct surface water away from the building.

2. Corn Crib:

Foundation - Rebuild stone piers as may be required.

Log Walls - Inspect all wall and sill logs, replace those found to be unsound. Original item shall be used as model for replacement.

Roof - Remove shoring now supporting roof, replace rafters and other roof framing found to be unsound or of insufficient strength to safely support the roof and any superimposed load. Replace unsound and missing shingle laths. Remove tin roofing on north slope and reroof entire roof with locally made hand split shingles. Replace where necessary the posts and lintels supporting the two shed roofs. Refasten fence rails east shed post.

Door - Repair or rebuild door and wood latch as needed to be operative. Reset existing wrought iron hinges.

Crib Floor - Inspect floor for rot, replacing puncheons as necessary. Replacement puncheons shall show adze marks.

Harness Racks, Pegs, Etc - Repair harness rack and replace missing pegs as indicated by peg holes in the crib walls.

Site - After all work on the foundation and building has been completed, regrade to direct surface water away from the building.

3. Spring House:

Foundation - Repair and tuckpoint stone foundation. Rebuild where necessary.

Log Walls - Inspect wall logs for rot, replace logs found to be unsound.

Roof - Remove modern sheathing and roll roofing. Inspect rib poles for rot and replace as necessary. Install board roof in accordance with historic photograph.

Door - Repair and renail the board and batten door, wood gudgeon and pintel hinge and jamb boards.

Interior - Repair two wood shelves and hen nest. Rebuild stone cooling pit in accordance with historic photographs. Replace missing pegs as may be indicated by existing holes.

Site - Regrade site to direct surface water away from the building.

General Notes:

Preservative and Waterproofing treatment shall be applied to all existing and new wood.

Termite Treatment shall be applied to the ground under and for two feet outside of all structures.

All New Wood shall be weathered or colored to match existing wood.

Cut Nails shall be used throughout all structures where nailing is required.

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 30-Sep-2009