If the timbers of what is now known as the Ransom Steele Tavern could talk, I would love to know what they are whispering. Maybe thank you? Can you imagine what it was like back in day in Apalachin, NY around 1830’s when the idea of this building located on the corner of Pennsylvania and Main was devised. Once the word got out about that a group of folks were going to fabricate a large public building, a new sense of community was born.
Large timbers were settled on and then brought down by a sharp bucksaw with a couple of strong backs. They were then dragged by the neighbor’s farm horse down to the local mill to get squared up The tools back in the day were simple. Chisels, mallets, draw knifes, sharpening stone and a vision. Timber framing demands a level of intimacy and dedication that tends to make people extend the limits of their abilities. When people extend their limits, tools will be asked to do the same.
Mortise and tenon joints, scarf joints and queen posts were all taking shape. Over the course of several months, maybe years, all the pieces were really coming togther. Armed with a mental image of what to develop, the frame starts to unfold, timber by timber, joint by joint, in a systematic way so that each timber can be visually seen and placed in the frame. Finally 4 timber frame bents are ready to be tipped up. A date was set for a barn raising. June 5, 1831, 184 years ago.
Standing on a large stump, Ransom thanked everyone for being here to help and then said, “The time has come to get these beautiful timber frames standing up and linked together. Afterwards lets celebrate with some fine food that the ladies have cooked. We’ll drink some of that brew Holmes makes and have a sip of that other libation that Barton makes all while we listen to those fiddle and banjo tunes that Forrest and Jewett have been playing. Thanks again everyone. Lets go!!”
The Apalachin Publick House was born.
I think this is what Mike, Steve and Michael felt once they started to pull back all the layers of the tavern. The tavern cried out to have them keep this be as a place of gathering for Apalachin. Every square inch of the Ransom Steele Tavern was touched over the past couples of years. The fact that a stage was one of the first things to built, set the stage, so to speak. Putting a stake in the ground to have another celebration at the Steele made it all real. The opening weekend was the start of new life for the historical tavern. It was like doing another barn raising all over again. Difficult to describe in words, but you can catch a glimmer of something special when you stand back after a barn raising and begin to realize what just happened. I like to think Ransom is in Mike’s shadow on opening night smiling.
Cheers to the vision!!