Chilton House was a working squab farm before & during the Great Depression. Squab is a kind of pigeon, and the eggs were sold or barterted. Chilton House is one of the few properties in the Piedmont with all of its outbuildings still intact. The buildings were restored in the Spring of 2020.
To provide water for the crops and the garden, a pumphouse brought water up into buckets for use around the house. Ours fills from the gutters, but others were connected to the water table through the farm's well.
When we restored the pump, we discovered it was made by Mast, Foos & Co, a company from Springfield, Ohio that produced farm equipment in the 1880s. The model is the "Buckeye Lift Pump."
It still works, and you can try it out yourself, all you need is a little bit of arm strength to work the pump and fill up the pail. We can't pay you, but feel free to water the garden!
While currently used as a garage and workshop, the old stable used to house horses and lots of hay. The metal rod above the door was part of a pulley system to pull hay up into the hayloft. It's visible at the end of the driveway behind the well.
The Old Well
Before running water, wells were essential for a homestead, especially one far from a river. While most wells have since been filled in, ours remains usable, and in theory, drinkable, though we aren't responsible if you try...
Used up until the 1980s, the smokehouse was where residents would smoke their meats, ensuring that they would be preserved long past their typical expiration date.
The "Squab" (Pigeon) Coop
At the far end of the property (far enough to keep the noise out of the ears of those living in the house), is the squab coop. It is just used for storage today, but up until the 1950s it was used for to harvest pigeons and their eggs, which were used to eat, sell, and barter.
The Haunted Summer Kitchen
Before the days of Air Conditioning, cooking in the main house during 90 degree Virginia summer days just didn't make sense. So manor homes and farmhouses alike kept a separate kitchen building for cooking, generally with a large fireplace. When you are visiting, the kitchen may be under renovation, but if not, feel free to poke around.
Be careful though, our summer kitchen has long been thought to be haunted, but we'll let you find that out for yourself...