1800s Homesites Question (no its not a map question)

WIDirtFishing

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1800's Homesites Question (no its not a map question)

I was curious if anyone knew back in the 1800s if houses were built certain ways. What I mean by that is like; House normally faced North, Ponds/lakes were in the back yards, houses commonly built on hills, etc...

I know it seems kind of a dumb question, but I have found a homesite from 1875(isn) and disappeared by 1910. I have found a lot of iron relics (unidentifiable), but no modern day trash or pull tabs whatsoever. There has got to be something good there, even iron relics like horseshoes or axe heads or something would be nice.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Catobra

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Jun 21, 2012
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I read this when posted and thought that it was a good question/topic. Keep waiting to see if anyone replies and am surprised that no one has yet.
 

beepbeepin

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Are the foundations still visible?. I've heard of people cleaning out an old foundation for years for the good stuff.
 

calisdad

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It is a good question. I imagine you're looking for the house location. I'd say look for a depression. Not having electricity people most likely had a root cellar to keep food cool. Also a place where there is an abundance of nails would indicate where a building burnt down, as most of them must have. I was once told by a bottle digger that the out houses were no more than 15 steps out the back door.
 

Mackaydon

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Years ago, I went to Scotland to find my 'roots'. The location of the 'old house' was in a present day sheep field. A neighbor told me to look for two tree stumps about 4-5 feet apart. If I found them that would indicate the door to the kitchen was nearby--a local custom. Today, I still have two kitchen implements found near these stumps-- relics of where my kin used to live-- and a 'living' part of my genealogy.
Don.......
 

CMDiamonddawg

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I am located in South Jersey . What I notice here is an old house near a lake, the front faces the road , not always the North , usually the West or Southwest . Built on a hill is a better idea here . Seldom see the lake in the backyard , usually the side yard but based on the road location , not to say the pond couldn't be located in the backyard , especially in a village or town . Research , Not an easy thing to do but it helps to figure these things out before you tun on the machine . Saves time and a ton of rambling around digging up nothing but modern day litter . Look for signs of habitation , large shade trees or daffodils in an overgrown vacant lot . Horse and carriage barns where a back yard location in most parts . Good Luck figuring out these lost sites .

8-) CMDdawg
 

Catobra

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I am located in South Jersey . What I notice here is an old house near a lake, the front faces the road , not always the North , usually the West or Southwest . Built on a hill is a better idea here . Seldom see the lake in the backyard , usually the side yard but based on the road location , not to say the pond couldn't be located in the backyard , especially in a village or town . Research , Not an easy thing to do but it helps to figure these things out before you tun on the machine . Saves time and a ton of rambling around digging up nothing but modern day litter . Look for signs of habitation , large shade trees or daffodils in an overgrown vacant lot . Horse and carriage barns where a back yard location in most parts . Good Luck figuring out these lost sites .

8-) CMDdawg

About the daffodils-good advice. I forgot all about that. If you come across an ornamental tree (flowering dogwood, azalea, lilac etc.) or a bunch of non-wild or non-native flowers or plants (like daffodils, hostas, yucca etc.) in the niddle of nowhere it is a good indication that there was once some sort of building there even if you can't even find a cellar hole now.
 

kshollywood

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I look for glass, check out the trees, or just hit certain areas and scout
 

okie jack

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In Oklahoma most of the old houses I have been to pre 1900's the front door points to the east or west. That way the wind does not blow in the doors and windows in the winter . Come to think about it almost every old homestead I have hit down here is like that.
 

kshollywood

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Okie jack thats a cool thing to know about the houses, I'm from the deep south so a lot of what we hunt are old corn fields and pea fields. So we look for porcelain, glass and stuff on the surface and start there, or along creeks or old rivers and bayous.
 

okie jack

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That's another thing about were I live. You can almost bet that if you find water creeks , rivers , lakes they will be houses near by . It's not really just for humans but the cattle and other livestock . Another real good pointer around here is easter lilies they grow on almost every pre 1900 walkway . I do not know why but I have found a lot of stuff around them .
 

Kevinmo1

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Sep 1, 2012
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A little info about locating outhouses...

Usually, the location wont be located where it would not be visible from the road. Also, it's NEVER near the well (don't want to contaminate the H2O). Finally, they're usually located downwind from the house, for obvious reasons.
 

NewsMan

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In the mountains here in Virginia I have heard that the privy is always located east of the house because of the winds that usual come in from the midwest.
 

Gypsy Heart

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The poster hasnt said where the house was located...town...country...but..depending on the area ,if it was built with no cellar...look for the foundation corner stones...fireplace stone or bricks...outhouse was usually on an edge of hill or slope for drainage purposes if land was too rocky to dig hole...if he is not finding any modern trash...then sweep the entire area and dig everything...look for lilacs ...usually planted to mask odor from privvy...fruit trees...homesteaders usually had chicken houses ,smoke house,springhouse,stable/barn...doors usually faced east because of rising sun and barns east and west doors for maximum use of daylight...it was considered lucky to place coin under cornerstones of buildings...washwater would have been used on garden areas and garden areas produce alot of treasures....look at area in early morning when dew is visible...depressions will stand out better with glistening dew...darker green areas also a good sign of privvy....
 

Frankn

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The early Amish in this area built with the corners of there buildings facing N,E,S,W. Entrances were on the NW side. I look for low areas that indicate early walkways. As the sun is just rising, they stand out as shadows on the ground. The well was usually on higher ground than the house and the outhouse was on lower ground on the other side of the house. Big front porches were utilized and the front yard was used for social activities as the back yard was a work area. Things were hidden in the ground close to markers, like 10 paces north of the big rock. Most were in sight of the house, but some early mansions had "observation towers" on top that served to view the area. Frank
 

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WIDirtFishing

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Thanks for the help everyone. I an going to head back hopefully wednesday and i will party with any luck.
Unfortunately this spot is located right in between 2 dirt roads (U shape) that serve as the entrance and exit and I'm afraid it might have served as a dumping ground for dirt when the park was being constructed. It is possible though that i have located a plum tree. No fruit to be seen, but smaller looking tree with some thorns. My dad use to have one in the yard and it looks fairly similar. I will hit it a couple more times though and find out.
I will keep you posted. FYI this spot is I'm East central Minnesota.
 

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