History Comes Alive at DeYoung

Powerhouse or Workshop, ca. 1900

Submitted on 5/21/13

The workshop, as the last owner called it, is a late, nineteenth century, L-Shaped, wood framed, utility farm building that once served as a water-powered woodworking, blacksmith, and farmstead repair workshop. It is a balloon framed structure with vertical siding over a stone foundation with concrete additions or reinforcements.

Henry Campbell probably installed the wheel to provide power to electrical light bulbs for the farmstead about 1900 (you can see the wiring entering the building at the kitchen ell). Water, the primary force which drove the wheel, came from a diverted spring-fed stream that ran through a series of hand-dug troughs leading to the building, then through a short run of metal piping under the flooring. An overshot metal wheel, which sat within a stone and cement chamber beneath the building, powered the machinery and generator via a connected, kinetic support system of metal sprockets, chains, metal axels, wooden pulleys and leather belting. Then, probably about 1930, we think that Louis DeYoung slightly modified the building to accommodate an electric generator that sent power to the farmstead’s house, barns and outbuildings. He added electrical machinery at the same time. \The building still includes Louis DeYoung’s stockpile of scrap—he never threw anything away if he thought it might be useful for some yet-to-be-determined project.

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