Tree dating helps determine age of historic structures


Carolyn Stephens accepts McCoy project’s display for the Williamsburg Museum.
Kristen de Graauw and Nick LaCasse of the Greenbrier Historical Society

On May 24, Kristen de Graauw of The Historic Timbers Project presented poster displays Nick LaCasse of the Greenbrier Historical Society and Carolyn Stephens of the Williamsburg District Historic Foundation.

The displays outline the tree-ring dating results for the Barracks in Lewisburg and McCoy Fort in Williamsburg. Both the Barracks and McCoy Fort were found to be constructed sometime around 1799, the year in  which logs were felled for these structures.

Tree-ring dating can be a useful tool to prove the time line for log construction, it is a science called  dendrochronology. The more studies that are done on historic log structures in southeastern West Virginia, the stronger the database can be. Both of these structures were built of whiteoak.

“These projects are important because they allow historical societies and  communities to further understand the earliest periods of their regional history. Through the support of the Humanities Council, these projects are made possible and without the appropriate  funding from our legislatures for these projects our history is at risk.  It is vital that we as a community  support the extremely important work that the Humanities Council as well as Historic Timbers Project is doing to preserve our regional history,” said LaCasse

Project McCoy chairperson Stephens was quite grateful. “Our museum in Williamsburg was wishing for  an opportunity to have the McCoy structure dated. This program was an opportunity to participate in a program and get testing done that we couldn’t afford otherwise.”

The posters will be displayed in the Barracks and the Williamsburg Museum. These displays

mark the  conclusion of this project, funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council and West Virginia University.

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