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Collection Mouns Jones
Object Name Drawing, Architectural
Description Measured drawings (18 X 24 inches) accompanying Historical American Buildings Survey photographs and text. Two pages of information contain cover page, inset location map, structural plans, and floor plan drawing. Image #1 is of drawings only. For images of cover-page refer to MULTIMEDIA LINKS or additional image. For full HABS text see 1000.01.018--MJTX1 or MULTIMEDIA LINKS. For photographs included in this HABS project file see records MJPH16--1000.01.016 and MJPH17--1000.01.017. See Notes below describing two additional [photo] images. Regarding the relationship between the eaves wall doorway locations and the "former board partition" noted on this drawing, see photo record MJHPH67--1000.01.072.

{a} "Ruins", as an architectural term informing the condition of significant historic structures, usually signifies the remains of a building or other structure which has completely or substantially collapsed, survives with significantly diminished structural integrity, or has been thoroughly demolished. As discussed below, the use of "ruins" in describing the formal and structural condition of the Mouns Jones house after the 1950s partial collapse is an exaggeration which inadequately acknowledges the substantial extent of original masonry fabric still standing and structurally stable after the roofing and flooring failed and fell onto and demolished the first floor. The standing "critical mass" of early walling [most probably 80-90%, of the two-story perimeter masonry survived the partial collapse); see record photos in MJHPH67, Image ## 8 & 9, and MJHPH16, Image # 1], and the entire foundation plinth and basement{b}, delineated the original perimeter of the floor plan and provided clear guidance for the restoration of the house. An early bake-oven foundation was also unearthed and re-used to support the re-created oven shown on the drawings by Barry Stover published on sheet 2A of the Atlas of Architectural Drawings published by the Trust in 2008.

{b} the partially below and above-grade foundation walling which sometimes{c}encloses “cellar” spaces below the first (ground or above-grade) floor and serves as a perimeter “base” for the superstructure. Renaissance Pallazzi often had “rusticated” [scored to resemble squared and dressed (“ashlar”) stonework]- basements rising prominently above-grade and supporting the “piano nobile” [principal story] and attic spaces; see George Douglass records and photographs for a provincial ashlar ”principal” story [first floor] set on a rubble basement enclosing partitioned cellars.

{c} no evidence has been found for a cellar below the first floor of the 1716 house. HABS notations regarding a cellar “filled-in” by debris from the collapsed roof, flooring, and framing timbers might be attributable to a mistaken assumption that the basement enclosed a cellar. Archaeological probing should disclose whether stone piers remain as evidence of a support system for the first floor joists, which would preclude an open cellar. John Ruskin and other Victorian preservationists, and some of his American disciples in the early 20th century, espoused the stabilization and conservation of "noble ruins" in their as-found condition. The Historic Preservation trust of Berks County adopted the more progressive American approach, choosing to consolidate and restore early fabric, re-construct missing or altered elements, and re-create other documented segments and components to complete a substantially authentic building in its early form, as determined by sufficiently persuasive evidence and analysis. This approach requires careful documentation of the process, detailing each phase of the project and the means, methods, and materials utilized. The late 1940s, 50s, and early 1960s photographs [see archive records MJHPH3, 16, 17 (showing loss of upper walling from SE gable end), 44, 66, 67 (images #1, 7 & 8), and 84] show that the Mouns Jones house roof had collapsed, destroying the integrity of the attic and second floor joists and boarding, and the roof framing, wall plates, and roof covering material. These photographs, and earlier images [MJHPH60, Images #1, 3 & 5] document that the roof had been neglected and had leaked for years, causing the ultimate deterioration of structural framing members and eventually the failure recorded in these drawings and in the photographic records. As is evident in these drawings and in contemporary photographs cited above, the vast majority of the masonry walls, original and replacement fenestration in the first and second stories, both chimneys, door framing in both eaves walls [one relocated], the long joist {d} leveling plate above the existing first floor doorway and windows [photo], and all four reciprocally bonded ["quoin"] corner piers remained substantially intact.

This remaining structural fabric, including considerable masonry evidence of the early elevation details, fenestration geometry, and interior plan-form, provided a sound basis and sufficient documentation for stabilizing and reconstructing this important dwelling on the frontier of Philadelphia in the early decades of the eighteenth century.

{d} The HABS drawing included in this record notes: "Second Floor Joists 5" x 8", Edge Beaded, at 3'-0" On Center." No joists were found after the 1965-70 restoration campaign; however, this HABS note affords a reasonable basis to infer that the joists were sawn and beaded rather than squared and hewn.

Considering the above facts and findings, one might question the use of "Ruins", in its classical and Ruskinian sense, as well as in a modern context, in describing the Mouns Jones house in 1957 and when placed in the custody of the Trust in 1964-5.

Laurence Ward, March, 2016

Date 1957
Notes (IMAGES NOTES) IMAGE#2 Detail of exposed masonry joints of original 1716 doorway; IMAGE#3 Detail of original (1716) timber leveling plate for joists which supported second-floor boards; NOTE the slightly higher (and not supported directly on the original embedded plate) position of the joists installed during the 1965-70 restoration,”
People Jones, Mouns
Souder, N.M.
Catalog Number 1000.01.019
Archive Number MJHDWG1
Notes on Related Objects OBJECT ID# - 1000.01.092 or MJHPH86, caption complete is "“West eaves wall and openings after pre- 1958 roof collapse.”
This photograph shows visual evidence of the "Mouns Jones House Ruins."
Creator N.M. Souder
Search Terms MJDWG
Mouns Jones Drawing
Mouns Jones House
Historic American Buildings Survey
Library of Congress
Old Swede's House
Mouns Jones House Drawing
HABS Drawings
Elevation Drawing
Board Partition
Partition Wall
Floor Plan
Joist plate
Leveling plate
Sawn joist
Hewn Joist