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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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Changing the Face of Homebuilding: The Industrial Revolution

As the 20th century neared, a number of forces impacted homebuilding in the Mathews area. Industrialization and rail transportation facilitated the delivery of sawmill lumber. Carl Lounsbury, senior architectural historian at Colonial Williamsburg, explains: “Rails transported wood faster. That really marked the revolution in building — the cheapness of transportation and transition away from locally produced materials.” On the eve of Blog Cabin’s construction and as the supply of local hand-hewn live oak dwindled, homebuilders shifted to other, more accessible, wood types milled out of state.

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