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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  April 4, 2015 10:00am-10:31am EDT

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>> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule of upcoming programs and keep up with the latest history news. , each week american artifacts takes you to hear -- to museums and historic places to reveal what artifacts reveal about american history the -- history. akins castle is one of the oldest brick castles in the u.s.. we learn about the structure of the house and some of the virginians who call it home. jennifer: i am jennifer hurst-wender, the director of
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the museum. today we are bacon's castle. bacon's castle is on the national register of historic sites. we are the oldest dwelling in north america. we are the oldest statewide organization in the nation. we acquired bacon's castle in 1973. for the next 10 years in order to preserve the structure they did some of their largest preservation initiatives during this time period, including replacing the entire summer beam and making many repairs to the original portion of the house. it was open to the public in
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1984. in 2014, celebrating its 30th year being open to the public. in 2015 we will be going into our 350th anniversary. we are the oldest brick dwelling in north america. it is a very rare architectural style. there are only three examples of this style of architecture in the entire hemisphere. this is the only one in the united states. the name bacon's castle derives from the 19th century. they start referring to the house as bacon's castle because of its association with bacon's rebellion. in 1665, when the house was built, and later 1776 during the
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rebellion, it was known as arthur's brick house. it is interesting we now refer to it as bacon's castle. especially since the owner of the property was in large opposition to bacon's rebellion it is interesting they would later change it to bacon's castle. not sure he would be too happy about that. their reasons for targeting arthur allen's house, seizing it, occupying it, and destroying most of the tobacco crops predated september 1776. when we look at the causes of bacon's rebellion, most of them are indirect result with the
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relationships of virginia indians. they rated between 3226 virginians including nathaniel bacon's lower plantation. the governor originally ordered for 500 men against the subsequent -- he changed his mind and disbanded the troops. those colonists felt that they weren't receiving the full support from the governor. they felt the need to organize together in order to build up their own militia. in april a group of volunteers of colonists who lived along the western front organized together
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and they are looking for a leader. nathaniel bacon is voted in essentially as their leader. in june of 1776 bacon ordered 400 of his men to return to jamestown to renegotiate terms of governor berkeley. he met with him and from the state house. there he drew open his coat and offered bacon a cheap shot on the matter. bacon was vying for the commission to go against the virginians. berkeley has opened his coat offering a cheap shot. bacon took this as an offense. the focus was on the virginia indians but quickly turned
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toward the governor and those who supported him, and including the landed gentry such as the owner of bacon's castle during this time. by september bacon and his rebels had targeted several of the landed gentry homes, including arthur allen ii. in august, he caught wind they were coming. he was the only member of the search out to court to vote against sending provisions to bacon, so he felt outnumbered in surrey county. he hid his bibles and waited for the governor he knew would be fleeing to the eastern shore with 39 of the governor's closest friends. allen was not present when 70 bacon's rebels arrived. when they were healed, they
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killed all of arthur allen's livestock, they drink his line and smashed his bottles. after the governor and his friends had fled, they burned the entire town. all that was left was one tavern. of course, the tavern owner was a friend of bacon. that led to the relocation of the capital from jamestown to williamsburg in 1699. nathaniel bacon felt ill in the fall of 1676 before the british were able to suppress the movement in 1677. bacon was a newcomer to virginia. he was wealthy but a newcomer. he was not considered part of the elite 200. there were also newcomers who
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had come this way and former indentured servants trying to establish their own way along the western front. bacon was able to gather a lot of support. in 1676, he is noted as having between 1200 and 2500 men in support of his cause. he led the largest uprising to date against the governor. moving forward, the landed gentry is concerned there would be similar uprisings. in a preventative measure, they start to separate servants quarters based on race. either identifying them as european or african. some historians have attributed bacon's rebellion as the cause for the encouragement of race-based slavery. the room we are in now has been based from the 1711 inventory from arthur allen ii after he passed. probate inventory notes all the pieces of furniture in the room of the house, all the household belongings after someone passes away.
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in many cases when historians want to restore historic houses, they may not be left with the original pieces. over time transition of the family who owned the house and other circumstances. but through these inventory records, they are able to restore the rooms pretty accurately. what we see in this room are mostly period piece is based from the 1711 probate inventory. even though it dates to the 18th century, most of the pieces here date back to the 17th century including in the corner of 17th century piece. we also have the scroll as part of the collection from the 17th century as well around the dining table. this is another unique
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characteristic of the chambers. in the 1600s and 1700's, chambers were multipurpose rooms. upstairs, they would have entertained the special or privileged guests. they would have even dined in their own chamber, unlike the way the victorians used their bedrooms. we have the complete division of public and private space. one of the advantages of bacon's castle is we do have the addition from 1854 which shows the distinction of how the rooms were used from how these were used here. the first time we hear of arthur allen 1 is in 1650 when he makes a land patent for 200 acres. by 1665, arthur allen has completed arthur allen's brickhouse. by the time he completed building this house, he is already in his 60's. he lived here for four years and then passes away. he was born and raised in england, which has a high number
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of jacobian architectural structures. it makes a lot of sense that this was the high-fashion. when he built his house in the wilderness of surrey county, he decided what he wants to do is build a house in the style he remembers, high-fashion. this is what he wants to do. he builds a style that has stables, chimneys. he built it in a 2-1, 2-room and two-room plan. you have four large rooms. you have your porch tower and stair tower in the back in surrey tradition. it is already out of date. nobody in england has been
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building jacobian architectural style for the past 50 years. it is just not being done, which is why this style is so rare to find in this hemisphere. there was nobody in north america building to that level at that time. after he passes away, the estate goes to arthur allen ii. he has been educated in england. the time when he is sent back to england is right after the english civil war. during the english civil war you have cromwell who has pretty much taken england and made it a very conservative country. after the restoration of the monarchy, you have the pendulum swinging from very conservative to the opposite of that. the resurgence of culture and art is prolific.
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one of the things that comes out of this is the idea of the restoration of a pleasure garden. it is not just a specimen garden. you are not gardening just to feed your family. you are also enjoying the beautiful flowers, the smells. you are enjoying taking your friends or sweethearts and walking them around these gardens. during his education, he comes back and brings that idea with him. i we are in the wilderness -- here we are in the wilderness and you have almost a medieval style house his father has built. arthur allen ii going to bring some of the culture he learned
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in england and establish that here. he builds a 1.5 acre english pleasure garden. they are planting things so he can invite his friends over and they can take a stroll through the garden. he is establishing himself as a leader in the virginia colony. he's really good friend is the governor of the colony, governor berkeley at this time. governor berkeley is involved in the skirmish that ends up being called bacon's rebellion in 1676. it is arthur allen ii and governor berkeley and the majority of their families that take over burning jamestown and this house.
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they flee together. the governor and arthur allen are fleeing. they are very good friends. arthur allen iii marries elizabeth brady makes the first changes to the house. when we are talking about elizabeth bray allen and her husband, arthur allen iii, this is the third generation that has lived in arthur allen's brickhouse which would become bacon's castle. by this time, they have very much established themselves as one of the very first families in virginia. they are a very upper-class family. they are entertaining the governor. they are friends with the landed gentry. they are in a tobacco economy. most of the plantation and surrounding plantations are working with selling tobacco.
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the estate records we have at this time have most of the financial records being traded in house had tobacco -- hogshead tobacco, so we are very much in a tobacco economy at this time. this is one of the few period rooms in bacon's castle. this was from a 1755 probate inventory after arthur smith passed away. he was married to the longest resident of this house elizabeth bray allen smith. she lived in the house 63 years. this room represents the second wave of changes to the house the house being built in 1665. by 1755, the style of have changed drastically in the colonies. at this point, we have elizabeth bray allen smith adding a partition to add a hallway.
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this room prior to elizabeth would have been open. it would have been about another six feet more open. when you entered the house, you would have entered into one large hall rather than coming into a foyer and this hall. she added paneling. she changed the position of the windows to make the house symmetrical. she brought life and vibrancy and a level of entertaining that we typically picture in the virginia colonies. she was one of the first families of virginia, so she was entertaining people like the harrison's and carter's, people who go on in proceeding generations who end up being presidents. the allen's that time were entertaining at bacon's castle. this room reflects the things that show the class of at that time what was called arthur
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allen's brickhouse. bacon's castle had get to appear. some things you see in this room are chinese exports coming all the way from china by ship residing in very rural surrey, virginia. there are window draperies and other things she had installed my closets to put away things that were not for everyday use. on the wall, we have fashion plates that represent that even though she was in rural surrey she was able to have the style that was the top of the fashion in paris. it gives you more of the idea she really brought style and
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culture to this house. this room, because it is done through the probate inventory, we know the age of a lot of objects in this room. this is unique because it is like our own home. we don't have everything that dates to one time, even though the probate inventory is to 1770 five, you have objects that date to the 17th century and were likely passed down from the previous generation, which is really interesting to see multigenerational objects listed in a period inventory and re-created here. it brings it home that this is a lived in space. this room was a parlor. this was a more formal level of entertaining. the room across the hall, we consider that to be elizabeth's chamber.
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she would have had her bed in that room as well as that being the room she would have worked out of. when people are visiting to meet with her, they would have gone to the hall where this room would have been for more general entertaining. we are now in the kitchen. that is what the basement was used for up through 1860. normally, we don't expect to see kitchens inside historic houses in virginia or further south mainly because of the heat. for the 1600s, it is not that uncommon to find the kitchen on the ground floor because men such as arthur allen were modeling the practices they knew from england and applying them here. this was the main kitchen up through 1860. within 50 years, they realized the mistake. the smoke would rise as they were cooking over the fireplace up through the floorboards and
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the rest of the house would become unbearably hot, so they did build a summer kitchen outback within 50 years. unfortunately, we lost that to fire in 1979. this still was the main kitchen up through 1850. it was cut off from the interior. you're only access would have been through a door in the wine cellar or through the corner of this room. if you were the cook, servant, or valet carrying food, you would be going outside and back up the stairway into the house. even unpleasant days, that would not be an easy task carrying food. the room where the stairs are now leading down to the basement was to the root cellar. this is where they stored meat larder products. we are called bacon's
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castle and are asked if we sell bacon. i tell people we don't do they did serve pork products here at one point. in the kitchen behind us, we have found the wine cellar. this space stored all their beverages, including arthur allen ii's wine. he produced and sold his own. it was known as the norton variety which did well for him. we also have some original reconstructed wine bottles upstairs on display. we have it sealed with "aa" for his name. this room is used to demonstrate the preservation efforts preservation virginia undertook when we purchased the property and some of the decisions we made to restore it and preserve it in specific ways.
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we showcase that. one of the interesting ways we showcase that is in this room, you can see the fireplace is shallow. it is efficient. you can compare that to up here where we have the window cutouts that expose the original mantelpiece. you can see the original mantelpiece went to about here and the same on the other side. it was one large piece of wood. it was cut with a pattern. originally, it would have been a smooth surface. it has hatchet marks that were put into it here the plaster when later families decided to make the fireplace smaller. it greatly enhanced the efficiency of the fireplace to make it smaller. other things to note in this room, we have also left this area up here exposed so you can see some of the original 16 sickly five brick and mortar.
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you can see where some of that made way for the original builders to put in the window. above that is one of the original beams of the house. that is a 1665 beam put up there. during the preservation of bacon's castle, reservation virginia -- preservation virginia tried to find original fabric if possible. rather than replacing the entire being, it was only the joint that needed to be replaced. as much of the original material was salvaged and new material was put in for preservation. you can see the same thing with the bricks. going up over here, you can see the continuation of the original beams in the house. again, the example of the grooving that matches the fireplace. this was all part of the
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original house. we did a paint analysis. some of the earlier layers were gold. it is interesting to imagine we have our 1711 probate inventory, and the room is done to what the house looked like when it was first completed. you have to imagine there is a possibility the beans were painted gold, which would have been neat. by the time preservation virginia acquired the property it needed a lot of restoration. the decision was pondered whether we needed to bring the house completely back to the original state. the preservationists decided we wanted to show this house as almost 350 years worth of people living in this space. we not only have kept a lot of things over time, but we have preserved and showcased them to show how houses changed and the
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different ways people used a lot of the space. >> we are now over the porch tower. this ring would have been directly above -- this room would have been directly above where visitors would have entered into bacon's castle up until the point the 1854 addition was built and the entrance was moved. you can get a fantastic view of why we say this houses in the jacobian style of architecture. if you look out the window, you can see the tables -- gables. you can see the triple diamond turned chimney.
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they are on a diagonal. there are three chimneys on each side of the house. on this side, we have a chimney on the garrett, the first floor, and the second side. on the opposite side, we have a chimney on the second, first floor, and also the basement kitchen fireplace. this is where visitors get a chance to get an up close and personal look at the architectural style. 2015 is the 350th anniversary of bacon's castle being built. it was built in 1665. we are very excited we are able to continue our presentation efforts in order to hopefully keep it alive for another 350 years. announcer: you can watch this and other american artifacts programs anytime by visiting our website.
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this weekend the c-span city's has partnered with -- to learn about the literary life of tulsa, oklahoma. benefit it was a company he founded just north of tulsa. she became -- it became the headquarters. today you still see the familiar phillips 66 shield. it has become as familiar to many people out here as a coke bottle. it is that iconic in the minds of many motors. he was part of that flamboyant oil fraternity that came out from the late 19th century into
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the 20th century and flourished. these were macho men that had amazingly solid egos. they were very sure of themselves. but he was human. that is all part of the story the good, the bad, the ugly. he was many things, always first and foremost he was an oil man. announcer: watch all of our events from tulsa today on c-span's book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on c-span3 american history tv. >> up next, heather cox richardson. she chronicles the evolution of the party of lincoln and examines the origins of the party, arguing it was founded to advocate for the middle class
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against the elite plantation owners. she also looks at the republican figures who defined the party like president abraham lincoln theodore roosevelt, and ronald reagan. at the wilson centerit is about an hour and a half. host: it is my real pleasure to introduce heather cox richardson today. someone's whose work i have been reading and admiring for some time now. she is a professor of history at boston college. and every time i think i have caught up with what she has written, she produces yet another book. so i have to keep reading but i do so with great pleasure. she has written five books on various aspects of american history. she is a 1992 graduate of harvard university's program in the history of american civilization and her first four books explored civil war, the gilded age, and the american west. and the presidencies of abraham lincoln to that of theodore roosevelt.


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