While taking a break from our barn antique treasure hunt, sounds of a cast iron bell rang in a gentlemanly baritone ring. Wondering what it was about, we headed down the embankment along side the barn. Our generous new friends were pointing us to the open door to wash up for lunch.
There’s nothing like working hard and stopping for delicious picnic lunch on the outside shaded porch. Fresh made chicken salad, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, and kettle chips, accompanied by a fresh batch of mint ice tea. The mint was carefully selected from the farm and brewed with delicious results.
As we finished our lunch, I could not help but ask about the small white building just beyond the patio porch. A gorgeous ceramic cat sat on its roof as ornamentation. The shingled roof had much character and small pond had naturally gathered at it’s entrance just before flowing along the creek.
A springhouse is a building built over a water spring. Normally, these buildings are small and made of stone. However, there are some that can get quit large. In the days before electric refrigeration, it was the family refrigerator. Necessities like milk, eggs, meat, and other food were kept from spoiling while stored here.
If you don’t know what you are looking at you may think springhouses look out of place. Often times they are built into a hill or slope and much of the building can not be seen. This helps keep the interior cool. Think about your basements in your home. They are most likely a lot cooler then your main floors above ground level.
The running water acts as a natural refrigerant. The running water pulls heat away from the building. The same basic principle used today in our electric refrigerators’ and air conditioners.
Due to the necessity of flowing springs many spring houses can be found throughout the Appalachian Mountains. The next time you are in the back country of Pennsylvania, keep and eye out, it’s quite possible you will find one.
Walking down the embankment, we inspected it on all sides. Naturally we went around front to the door to get a look inside…
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