Many of the original buildings at Playwicki are no longer in existence but they are a big part of the rich history of Playwicki Farm: The House, The Barn, Carriage House, Spring House, The Cornell House, The Log Cabin, The Temple, The Chicken House, The Oil House, The Corn Cribs, The Pig Penn, The Butchering Building, and The Ice House. Each detailed in our book “The Buildings of Playwicki Farm”, available to purchase.
Below is some detail on our existing structures that are standing and utilized at Playwicki Farm.
The farmhouse is a multi-sectioned stone vernacular residence which appears to originally date from the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century and was modified with Queen Anne style alterations during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.
The Van Artsdalen Family and the rich history of the house are interesting because it shows how a farming family enlarged their dwelling to meet the social demands of their increasing prosperity. The style of architecture used shows that the family was aware of architectural improvements that gave greater physical comfort. They were innovative people not bound by a conservative aesthetic. The result may appear grotesque to people living in an area steeped in colonial architecture but the story the house tells is historic not aesthetic. Their interest was a house that gave them comfort, as understood in that time, and provided space for entertaining. Their aesthetic concerns, at the time were centered on maintaining the natural beauty of the farm with its meadow, streams and woodland. Most of their time was spend outdoors whether working on the farm or enjoying its many attractions.
The barn was a large frame over stone bank barn which was in such poor condition it had to be dismantled. An 1830 newspaper advertisement notes the presence of a stone barn was over shoot and cattle shed. According to a study completed by timber framer and barn expert the majority of the barn appeared to date from the second half of the nineteenth century.
Adrian Van Artsdalen project was a much larger and more expensive building than envisioned by the family. The Barn project was one of the reasons the farm had to operate with such a high mortgage in later years. Apparently, the mortgage was not completely paid off when the dairy was no longer profitable and finances were further strained when prohibition ruined the market for the rye crop. The dairy and the rye were the farm’s two major sources of income in the early part of the twentieth century.
The Barn provided space for the cows, horses, additional space to store plows, harrows, mechanical hay mowers, rakes, corn driller, a roller and a cider press, etc.
This stone structure has also undergone Queen Anne period alterations. The second floor is covered with frame siding which fits nicely with the nearby house. The interior was altered in the twentieth century when it was converted into an apartment. This building was utilized as a dormitory for hired men that worked at the farm.