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Bj Lewis

Taking stock

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By Bj Lewis
Rebecca Shelton, a terrestrial archaeologist for the Texas Historical Commission, makes notes about a tool shed at the Taylor family’s farmstead in Corinth during a site visit Friday.Bj Lewis
Rebecca Shelton, a terrestrial archaeologist for the Texas Historical Commission, makes notes about a tool shed at the Taylor family’s farmstead in Corinth during a site visit Friday.
Bj Lewis

Historical commission charts structures at Corinth farmstead ahead of relocation

CORINTH — Amidst blazing summer heat and goat bleats, Denton County historical officials and a terrestrial archaeologist from the state’s historical commission worked to chart structures and landmarks of the Taylor family’s Corinth farmstead Friday.

The family’s donated log cabin and barn will soon be relocated to the county historical park on Carroll Boulevard near downtown. Before that happens, state history officials wanted to take stock of the structures in their original locations.

“It’s in pretty amazing condition,” said Rebecca Shelton, a terrestrial archaeologist for the Texas Historical Commission.

“Obviously, there are modifications that have been made over the years, but that’s not uncommon. Farmers used the materials they had at hand.”

Historians believe Taylor family ancestors built the farmhouse in the 1850s. In late 2012, Foy Taylor donated it and several artifacts inside to the county. Officials plan to restore and move the house to the Historical Park of Denton County to join the other structures there and use the artifacts in existing exhibits.

As Shelton walked the grounds from the log cabin home past broken-down farm equipment to the barn and tool shed, she expressed awe at the items, the structures and their conditions.

“By constantly maintaining and renovating the buildings, they’ve actually preserved the log cabin features of both the house and the log structure of the barn,” she said. “That is pretty amazing for us. It is an exciting opportunity to see the original construction in place before they are relocated.”

Shelton said the farmstead was considered an archaeological site because of the architecture being more than 50 years old.

“It’s considered a site both in state antiquities code and also nationwide and federal regulations, like the National Park Service, will record any sites over 50 years old,” she said.

Shelton said the property will be mapped and photographed for state records kept in Austin. The site will also be assigned a trinomial, which is a unique designation developed for the Smithsonian Institution many years ago, for archaeological sites.

“It’s a pretty rare type of site for this area for Texas alone as log cabins were taken out in the 1920s and 1930s,” Shelton said, adding that it’s surprising to find a historic farmstead so close to the Dallas area.

Kim Cupit, curator of collections for the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, noted that most historic farmsteads were located in areas like Pilot Point and Bolivar in northern Denton County.

Also along for the site visit were archaeologist Jeff Durst and Brad Dougher, a University of North Texas student and chairman of the Denton County Historical Commission archaeology committee. Cupit said it was Dougher who met Shelton last month and brought her to the farmstead.

The state historical commission assigns an archaeologist to every county and Shelton is Denton County’s.

Cupit hopes state attention will bolster efforts to find and catalog more archaeological sites in Denton County.

“I don’t know how many sites have been recorded, but a lot more exist that aren’t. Some of them are on private land, some on public land like Quakertown Park. There’s one on Lake Lewisville, a prehistoric site … the Jones and Johnson farms, pottery kilns. …” Cupit said. “When you think archaeology, you think prehistoric, but a lot of these sites are historical sites and they have to be considered now.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.