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Blog Cabin 2011: Homebuilding in Mathews County

Homebuilding in Mathews County, the location of Blog Cabin 2011, tells a story of shipbuilding, shipwrights-turned-homebuilders, locally sourced materials and changes in construction methods precipitated by the Industrial Revolution.

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Inn at Tabbs Creek. Photo courtesy Lori Dusenberry

The Shipwright-Turned-Homebuilder: The Inn at Tabbs Creek

Shipbuilders played a crucial role in Mathews’ early homebuilding history. Ship building techniques, including mortise and tenon joinery, were utilized in the construction of circa-1800s structures. The Inn at Tabbs Creek, built in the late 1890s by schooner builder William Robert Billups, stands as a testament to local shipbuilders’ carpentry skills. “The joints were so tight, I could not get a razor knife into them,” says Michael, who recently completed renovations at the inn.

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