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Cape Cod Wooden Chimneys

Since, even today, our well made chimneys are often sources of fire risk, it is astonishing to learn that early Cape Codders once used chimneys of wood.

The thatched cottages, which then were everywhere in use in sea coast towns, were provided with chimneys made of logs. No doubt, the greenest of logs were used, but the hot fires that furnished draft, dried them out completely. Some chimneys were platted, that is, they were plastered with reeds and mortar, while the others were plastered with clay.

As wood and hay were stacked in the streets, all the early towns suffered much from fires. The fires would be caused by sparks from the wooden chimneys. Soon there were laws which forbade using such unsafe chimneys. Since brick was by then being imported and stone was being quarried, wooden chimneys were surely undesirable.

Fire-wardens busied themselves in visiting cottages, hunting for “foul chimney hearts,” and they ordered wooden chimneys and thatched or flag-roofs removed and replaced with safer material.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 03/22/06
Categories: HistoryHouses
Keywords: architecture, cape cod house, history


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