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Readings for the next few weeks:

All readings are (or will soon be) available through blackboard.

Readings that accompanied Irene Cheng's Lecture on 10/25:


            Pages from Fowler, Home for All, 1848-50

            H. Ward Jandle, Chapters on Octagon Houses and on Catherine Beecher, from Yesterday's Houses of Tomorrow


Readings for 11/01:

            Norman Johnston, "The Human Cage"

            Markus, "Formation" and "Reformation" from Buidlings and Power,


Readings for 11/08:

            Meredith Tenhoor, Biopolitics

            Foucault_ Reader-politics-of-health  (read to the top of p. 267 only)

          Optional:  Foucault_security-territory-population

          Optional:   Simmons-Leroux


Readings for 11/29:

            Latour and Weibel, From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik, An Introduction to Making Things Public,

            Others for this class TBD

Upper-Class Leisure and the Shaping of the American Landscape

The introduction of Western civilization onto the American frontier is generally characterized as a dangerous and strenuous enterprise, undertaken by groups of prosecuted and disadvantaged peoples, through meager and innovative means.  This depiction aligns with the narratives of settlements like the 1620 Plymouth Colony, the 1629 Maryland Colony, the Oregon Trail of the early 1800s, the 1847 Salt Lake Valley settlement, the post-Civil War 1876 settlement of Deadwood, and countless others.  One might however argue that the accumulated mythologies of these settlements have had more to do with shaping the American ethos than that of the American landscape.  The landscape might be better attributed to the ruling class: those with resources, power, and influence to shape it, both politically and physically. 

While he served as a delegate for Virginia in the United States Congress, Thomas Jefferson participated on a committee to formulate and propose the Land Ordinance bill, passed in 1785.  The bill called for the commission of surveyors to partition lands newly acquired from the Native Americans into “townships” of six miles square, which were then separated into thirty-six “sections” of one-square mile each.  Parameters were drafted for dealing with situations when the grid came into conflict with the natural obstructions and constrictions of the landscape, such as major land formations and bodies of water.  The process of surveying and partitioning the land allowed the government to have a process for controlling which parcels of land they sold, how many they sold, who they sold it to, and what land they would hold onto for the private sector, further maintaining control through the institutional presence of government.  Every other township was designated to be sold as a whole, with the other half sold on a per-section basis, and reserving four sections out of each township for the U.S. Government, as well as one section per township to be designated for public schools. (Geib 4)

Incoming funds from the sale of the parcels of land could then be directed, amongst other places, towards the development and maintenance of schools and institutional buildings for the townships as well as the infrastructure to service and connect them.  While noble intentions for the growth of civilization are apparent in the legislation, the government takeover of the country’s system of land ownership and allocation essentially did away with the idea that a person, through struggle and perseverance, could forge out into the wilderness and stake a claim on a piece of land which they found fit for their future.  This notion was replaced by a buyer’s market, a plutocratic system beholden to greater political and economic burdens than that of the individual settler.  This legislation arguably affected a dramatic shift in the core principles of those who sought the spoils of the American landscape, and a life within it.  The Land Ordinance bill might be seen as part of a shift towards the primacy and legitimacy of financial capital, and away from a focus on the productive capacity of labor and hard work.  The most fertile and attractive of the untamed lands would not go to the person who took the effort and initiative to seek the land out and make it their own, but rather to the person with the means to acquire the service of others to take on the task on their behalf.

The application of the Cartesian blanket to the American landscape provided a fairly arbitrary but expeditious means for splitting up the land, with the grid partitioning terrains, resources, landmarks, and formations into discreet divisions.  The bill established the requirement that each acre of land be sold for a minimum of one dollar. (Geib 4) This kind of fiscal valuation and monetization of the natural environment further promoted and validated a sociopolitical environment whereby the different plots of land, once surveyed and haphazardly delineated, would be appraised relative to one another based on the land’s specific conditions and amenities and sold to the highest (or most politically connected) bidder.

The expansion and civilization of the vast territories of the United States was became a hurried process, and this allowed the country to fall into a familiar formula of civilization: these circumstances amongst others fostered a climate in which the developing plutocracy had favor in the allocation, reservation and development of the American landscape and its unique offerings.

In Drinking the Waters: Creating an American Leisure Class at Nineteenth Century Mineral Springs, Thomas A. Chambers frames the springs of Saratoga and western Virginia as sites that were in effect claimed or commandeered by the developing aristocracy as social spots for vacation and leisure.  Those who liked to think of themselves as amongst the “elite” were naturally drawn to the unique environment of the springs, and the nature of the activities that were facilitated by its rare offerings.  Tales of the mineral springs’ capacity for rejuvenation and healing spread throughout the major cities of the east coast and the springs became a desired destination, if a person possessed the lifestyle and resources that would allow for such an adventure.  Chambers discusses how the springs’ resources attracted an economy of leisure which in turn manifest an architecture that accommodated this wealthy strain of leisure.  Bathhouses and hotels arose to serve both the logistical needs as well as social desires of the springs’ visitors.

Mineral springs are just one example of the many natural treasures of the American landscape that attracted the exploitation of the upper-class aristo-plutocracy.  It was (and still is?) fashionable to attend social events on steamboats and riverboats, leisurely floating along and schmoozing and eating and showing off and socializing.  A prime example of this is the 1846 eponymously named steamboat built by the wealthy Cornelius Vanderbilt, which resembles a high-class floating carnival. (See image 1, Christman 87)  The steamboat hosted luxurious parties, family gatherings, and would also partake in gentlemen’s races up the Hudson River.  Vanderbilt, through the capacities of his extreme wealth, commissioned and utilized a large moving vessel that would essentially claim whatever body of water its passed through by nature its very occupation.

The Lorenzo estate might serve as a less grand but still potent example of this condition.  John Lincklaen, as an agent of the Holland Land Company, a corporate finance entity, was responsible for establishing the town of Cazenovia.  As a controlling voice in the allocation and development of the land, Lincklaen took advantage of his authority to reserve what he viewed to be the most prime real estate to serve as his own property.  As a result the landscape of the estate through generations of inhabitation was shaped to cater to a lifestyle of pleasure and leisure.  A horse stable rivaling the mansion itself was built to house expensive steeds for the lords of the manor to take leisure rides of their property and the surrounding lands.  The garden designer Ellen Biddle Shipman was commissioned to regiment the planting cycle of the already-planned parterre garden, which was laid out on axis with the front and rear entrances of the main house.  Different breeds of tree were planted so that their wood could be harvested and turned into miniature ships.  This arduous undertaking is clearly a hobby for somebody with plenty of time and resources on their hands.  The contents preserved on the Lorenzo Estate depict a story of wealth, and a desire to use that wealth to occupy one’s endless amounts of spare time.

The class division between finance and labor has never been more relevant as in the contemporary sociopolitical climate of America in 2012.  The current presidential election is between a former investment banker and a former community organizer.  The crash of the real estate bubble at the end of the last decade might basely be understood as a result of intentional lenience in the financial sector’s lending practices with everyday people—people who more generally expend labor for their income and wellbeing as opposed to dealing in finances.  By gambling with everyday American’s mortgages, the aristo-plutocracy continues to shape the American landscape.


Thomas A. Chambers, Drinking the Waters: Creating an American Leisure Class at Nineteenth Century Mineral Springs (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996).

Margaret Christman, 1846: Portrait of the Nation (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996).

George W. Geib, “The Land Ordinance of 1785: A Bicentennial Review,” Indiana Magazine of History 81.1 (1985): 1-13.

Changes to Route 20 Since 1884

It is possible to provide a complete survey of roads from 1884 which prefigured modern day Route 20 thanks to Sweet’s Atlases. The changes, additions, and subtractions have been noted here, beginning in Skaneateles. Overlays of 1884 and current Google maps anchor the account.

As shown by Sweet’s, Genesee Street enters Skaneateles on a direct line from the west. It carries straight through the heart of town tangential to the tip of Skaneateles Lake, and then exits just as it came. Further along a fork in the road gives way to two paths. One is today’s Route 175, also visible on the Sweet’s Atlas and which leads to Marcellus. The other is the continuation of Route 20 to the southeast. Up until this point, Route 20 has exactly followed preexisting roads.

Further to the southeast, there is disagreement between the map of 1884 and Google. Just prior to the intersection of Route 20 and Route 80, the map of 1884 shows a jagged move towards the north, which cuts back south and regains the path of the road we see today. Once the 1884 and current maps align, they continue that way until the outskirts of Cardiff.  Today’s Route 20 pulls just short of central Cardiff making a shallower curve than the original roads.  This was just for a moment however for soon after the 19th century roads rejoin modern Route 20. After Route 20 crosses through Lafayette, there is the first major difference. The earlier road carries straight across the valley containing Butternut Creek bisecting the property of Mr. Dodge. This section of the road is today known as Dodge Road. Current day Route 20 does not follow this route straight across the valley, whose slopes can exceed 20% gradients at times. Just past Dodge Road, it makes a generous curve south until it reaches the valley floor. At the bottom of the opposing valley wall it curves back north. This latter section, where the road starts back north, is one which had never existed in any form previously. These changes are now known as “Big Bend”. From the low point of the valley you can see several of the oldest houses in the region, including the Ebenezer Hill House built in 1810 and James Sherman’s house only three years later. It is surprising then that the road was not formed earlier. In the early 19th century roads were mostly private endeavors created by the settlers who wanted simply to make their own lives easier.

All the way through Pompey and Pompey Centre, Route 20 follows roads that had been laid as late as 1884. Of note in Pompey Centre is an original one room school house from 1857, which now houses the Pompey Historical Society. Before the road reaches Cazenovia there is another big bend, perhaps more dramatic than the Big Bend in Lafayette. Roads shown by the map of 1884 shot straight across the valley seemingly without any hesitation. Route 20 crosses Oran-Delphi Road much further to the south than any original road in the area had. The bend is a near repeat of the one in Lafayette. Here Route 20 turns southeast where it carries steadily to the bottom of the valley. Upon its arrival at the bottom it heads across the valley floor.  It turns back north at the bottom of the opposing slope, which is quite considerable. It regains the path of the 1884 Road at the hill’s crest and carries due east into Cazenovia village first passing Lorenzo on the right. To the east of Cazenovia, Route 20 largely followed the route of the late 18th century Cherry Valley Turnpike.

These results point to two things of note. The first is that the automobile necessitated a change in the way deep valleys were handled. Perhaps early cars did not have enough power to make it up the hills, or the breaking ability to get down them safely. The second, that legislation which established modern day Route 20 was merely the capstone on decades of development. 

Slideshow of Maps Surveying the Route 20 Corridor Between Auburn and Cazenovia

The following are a chronological collection of maps surveying the land between Auburn and Cazenovia combed from the University of Alabama collection. The first map was drawn in 1809 and the last is from 1937.

One of the biggest obstacles in studying these maps are the different concerns of each cartographer. Some maps detail land formations, others detail modes of transport, and some only include the locations of cities and towns. What I am attempting to do requires a choreography of these different kinds of maps and their sometimes incompatible information.

My corresponding essay outlines the forces behind the development of Route 20, but does not yet align itself with these images, of which I have built an extensive collection. I am hoping to integrate the two and populate this hybrid with photos of any architecture included in the discussion. For now, this was an important preliminary way to look at the transformation of the region. 

Maps from 1809-1937

Whaling industry in 19th century

In 19th century, whaling industry was one of the most prominent businesses in America.  Whale oil was mainly used for lighting, lubrication and softer kinds of soap and whalebone was used to make corsets and other manufactured products. The term “whale oil” can be used for different species of whale.  However, because of their chemical composition and use of purpose, the quality and quantity of oil were various by species. For example, baleen oil contains genuine fats which consists of glycerides of fatty acids, sperm oil contains mainly compounds of wax alcohols and fatty acids. Sperm oil is dominantly used because it makes smokeless and odorless candles which were a main production of whale oil in that period.The whale oil obtained from its blubber by boiling in large vats. All the process for oil extracting was processed on the ship because of its difficulty of transportation. The extracted oil was transported to the whaling ship’s port such as New Bedford, Massachusetts.


Whaling process can be divided into floating factory which produces whale oil and whale ship’s port which is developed based on whaling industry.  Due to the difficulty of transportation of whales, the whale ship was a main factory and the port was a subsidiary factory organizing and transport to the other town.

How the whale port town formed as a mediator between floating factory and off shore town factory. What was their role as a mediator?




Delaware River


Mills were crucial elements to the development of early American communities. These early industrial facilities permitted the transfer of simple materials into usable goods. The mill was at the heart of a complex system of supply and demand.

The Hanford Mill is part of many networks. Processing timber and grain, the mill provided both finished goods and and refined materials for later use outside of the business. The local importance of the mill radiated to the surrounding community, allowing lumber for construction and usable grain for local agriculture feed. The initial source of power for the mill is the East Branch of the Delaware River, and its linear expanse reflects the further reaching impact Hanford Mills, and others, had on the development of the North East.

The importance of the waterway is much greater than its ability to supply power: it is also the medium of transportation. Mills along the Delaware river produced lumber for industry further down river in Pennsylvania, as well as locally.
By exploring the relationship of the river to the mill, a greater understanding of the diverse networks that form the surrounding community can be found. My initial investigation is based in tracing the two branches that create the Delaware river: the East and West. Then charting the the developments along these an index of typologies can be created as the river flows south, then back east to empty in the Atlantic. The initial efforts can be found on Google Maps:


mapping and exploring upon the singular purpose buildings which have counterparts in mills and plantations

 " Mineral processing plants, lumber mills, and factories are highly specialized production centers that can exist only if linked transportation and communication systems with suppliers of raw materials for finished products." (Meyer 249)


The Hanford Mills were ideally located along Kortight Creek, which provided the water power necessary to run a rural industrial complex.  The complex  started with the most prominent feature, the mill, in 1846. The second most prominent feature is the transportation system; a railroad line runs through the site, an added benefit, for importing raw materials and exporting finished goods. When the Mill was in production ramps would extend out from every door to create direct lines of production in and out of the railcars. 


It grew overtime, into a mill complex which made specialized goods for over 100 years. The mills and plantations in this era share similar singular purposed buildings spread along a rural complex. Although it does not share the same elegance of the plantations, where each building is perfectly aligned upon an axis. The mill has an elegance of it's own, laid out according to the rules of efficiency. The increasing specialization of the goods manufactured at the mills and the location of resources had a direct effect on the spatial integration of the new buildings placed on the site.


The Creamery was typically a one story rectangular buildings constructed of stone or wood, which incorporate a cooling moving stream or an accompanied ice house for cooling and storage of milk, butter and cheese. Roof vents would have been used to vent warm air. Typically production was on a small scale on each farm, but the Hanford mills built a farmer's co-op factory-sized creamery and nearby ice house which was built in 1902 but is no longer in operation and the buildings have been removed. It wasn’t uncommon for towns to build around a mill, and the community stores built an ice house on the site, between 1890-1910, which is also no longer on the site. But a replication has been produced for the museum and it is still in use for special events. Ice harvests were held in the winter and blocks of ice were insulated with sawdust in a double walled shed.


The Hanford Mills also had a chicken coop and smokehouse, located near the John Hanford Farmstead. Smoke houses typically were masonry structures, made of brick or stone and had small gable-roofed, windowless frame with a solid wood or sheet metal iron doors. Meat is hung over a smokey fire which seals its surface, but doesn’t cook it. Conveniently and efficiently located is the chicken coop , which is raised on posts and double walled for ventilation and insulation. 



It's interesting to analyze the relationships of all these small buildings seemingly scattered among the site. With a closer view you can see how they are laid out according to the avalibilty to natural resources. The mill is situated to harness the water power of the pond, while its supporting ammenities are nearby, the lumbershed, feed mill and railroad tracks. Around the house there are more domestic functions such as the chickencoop and smokehouse. The barns and garages are situated to provide room for the animals but also allow easy access.





Jointing and Framing of Wooden Structure


Wooden frame

Timber Framing is the method of creating structures fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. It is commonplace in large barns. The methodology comes from making things out of logs and tree trunks without modern high tech saws to cut lumber from the starting material stock. Using axes, adzes and draw knives, hand powered auger drill bits (bit and brace), and laborious woodworking, artisans or farmers could gradually assemble a building capable of bearing heavy weight without excessive use of interior space given over to vertical support posts.

Korean traditional housing frame

Korean traditional housing section

joint system






A Study on the Connecting Method of Wooden Structure Found at Korean Traditional Wooden Structure and American Wooden Structure       

( Geuklakjeon Hall of Bongjeongsa Temple in Korea and Hanford Mills Museum in United States)


This study is to examine the connecting method of wooden architecture found through comparing two structures: one is the restoration process of one of Korean traditional structure which is Geuklakjeon Hall of Bongjeongsa Temple in Korea, which was constructed in Goryeo(918-1392) Dynasty and the other is the Hanford Mills Museum which is one of American wooden sawmills. This research also deals with the characteristics of the structure and construction method through the findings of the connecting method.

On Geuklakjeon Hall and Hanford Mills Museum, basic frame is made up of columns and lintels. Also, column is connected with lintels. Joints used between column and lintel are tenon and mortise joint, and dovetailed joint.


Hanford Mills Museum

Type of Frame Construction_ Balloon Frame Construction

 Balloon framing is a method of wood construction used primarily in Scandinavia, Canada and the United States (up until the mid-1950s). It utilizes long continuous framing members (studs) that run from the sill plate to the top plate, with intermediate floor structures let into and nailed to them. Here the heights of window sills, headers and next floor height would be marked out on the studs with a storey pole. Once popular when long lumber was plentiful, balloon framing has been largely replaced by platform framing.

Although lumber was plentiful in 19th century America, skilled labor was not. The advent of cheap machine-made nails, along with water-powered sawmills in the early 19th century made balloon framing highly attractive, because it did not require highly-skilled carpenters, as did the dovetail joints, mortises and tenons required by post-and-beam construction. For the first time, any farmer could build his own buildings without a time-consuming learning curve.

The main characteristic of balloon framing is at the floor lines. The balloon wall studs extend from the sill of the first story all the way to the top plate or end rafter of the second story. The platform-framed wall, on the other hand, is independent for each floor. In balloon frame construction, exterior wall studs continue through the first and second stories. First floor joists and exterior wall studs both bear on the anchored sill, second floor joists bear on ribbon strip, which has been let in to the inside edges of exterior wall studs.

Since steel is generally more fire-resistant than wood, and steel framing members can be made to arbitrary lengths, balloon framing is growing in popularity again in light gauge steel stud construction. Balloon framing provides a more direct load path down to the foundation. Additionally, balloon framing allows more flexibility for tradesmen in that it is significantly easier to pull wire, piping and ducting without having to bore through or work around framing members.



                                                                                     Photo of Structure of Hanford Mills Museum 




Geuklakjeon Hall

_Composition and Basic Frame

                                                                       plan                                                                                                                   elevation


Geuklakjeon Hall is made up of 4×5 columns and basic structure is composed of columns, sills, and penetrating ties. Sill and penetrating tie connect each lower columns and upper columns.

In the structure of Geuklakjeon Hall, it was found that front·rear and left·right side of the building used the different connecting method. It is due to the reason that side of the hall and inner part structured with the middle height of columns is different. The frame structures such as main beams, end beams, middle bracket posts, are connected with the joint and splice method. The center bay and side elevation bay are constructed with the different frame and construction method. In particular, the frame structure of the side has tall column which is connected with beams and penetrating ties. Through the study mentioned above, it is found that the connecting methods are highly related with the plan, structure, and construction method to construct a building.



                                                                                    Body System of Column and Lintel

Composition method of Korean traditional body structures  is frame(column and lintel) construction which is a building technique based around vertical structural members, usually called studs, which provide a stable frame to which interior and exterior wall coverings are attached, and covered by a roof made of horizontal ceiling joists and sloping rafters. Joint of column and lintel plays a significant role as keeping whole frame. Also, method of mortise and tenon joint and dovetail joint are used for connecting of column and lintel.





                                                                                     Upper System of Cross Beam and Lintel

This is upper system of structure. Main purpose of upper system is for supporting roof. Basic frame of structure consists of columns and lintels. And cross beams are located on the lintels. Cross beams support the roof.



Jointing Method



                                                                                                 Mortise and Tenon joint

The mortise and tenon joint has been used for thousands of years by woodworkers around the world to join pieces of wood, mainly when the adjoining pieces connect at an angle of 90°. In its basic form it is both simple and strong. Although there are many joint variations, the basic mortise and tenon comprises two components: the mortise hole and the tenon. The tenon, formed on the end of a member generally referred to as a rail, is inserted into a square or rectangular hole cut into the corresponding member. The tenon is cut to fit the mortise hole exactly and usually has shoulders that seat when the joint fully enters the mortise hole. The joint may be glued, pinned, or wedged to lock it in place.




                                                                                                       Dovetail joint

A dovetail joint or simply dovetail is a joint technique most commonly used in woodworking joinery. Noted for its resistance to being pulled apart (tensile strength), the dovetail joint is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front. A series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of tails cut into the end of another board. The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape. Once glued, a wooden dovetail joint requires no mechanical fasteners.

Materiality is Key

It has to be said that materiality is of importance when looking at such an old structure like the Hanford Mills Museum. As soon as you walk in the underground room, where the water wheel is kept and the gears grind, you can instantly smell the dampness of the wood and stone. These particular smells allow the history of this old but majestic mill fly up your nostrils to stir images of what it was like to build in the mid 1800's. In the mid 1800's most of the structure used for the construction of mills was wood and stone as steel had yet to be mas produced for the purpose of structure building. In terms of the Hanford mill the use of wood is evident and the stone blocks used for the foundation. The structure of the Hanford mill is quite complex and one can observe the different cuts and incisions made into the mood for the purpose of better fitting each wooden beam. Wooden nail like pegs can be seen holding a beam and column together throughout several joints in the structure of the mill. It is amazing to think just how important wood was to the structure of this building and how it still conserves so well today. I really want to learn more about the exact building process of an 1800's mill because it can give an insight as to why the current building process works the way it does.

Celebrated Trinkets

Plantations: Celebrated Trinkets


Majestic deer antlers. Carefully arranged tea cups. Sculpted bottles of whiskey. Scattered cigar papers. As beautiful as the interior of Lorenzo has been maintained, one point of interest that seems to dissipate from the spotlight are the little attention grabbers that decorate the public gathering areas of the mansion. These celebrated trinkets, along with the detailed ornaments, create a sense of upper class, nationalistic pride that can be traced throughout the American landscape, as each piece of furniture resonates with a historic tradition.

                  Ideas of decoration respond to the human desire for entertainment, and considering the proper lifestyle associated within plantation living and dining rooms, luxuries of entertainment coincide with their expensive qualities. Customs of consumption are an inherently American trait, as E.R. Billings’ book, simply titled Tobacco, characterizes the typical plantation dweller as “being the fastest-going people on the ‘versal globe’…are, undoubtedly, entitled to take precedence of all nations as consumers.” These collections also provide a past, romanticized lens to the lifestyle of the rich through the implied decisions made when acquiring each piece of decoration to add to an overarching, desirable integrity to the household.

                  With plantation spaces designated for all sorts of exchanges of information, the presentation of entertainment outlets provides the owner with a chance to display both wealth and class, as guests are provided with a limited, yet pricey, selection of drinks and cigars, collected with choice glassware, ash trays, and various tools such as ice crushers and cigar cutters, that liven up the modernized, trivial nature of having a drink or smoke.