Did I Tell You About the Hiestand House?

I don’t think I did. I think I just put up pictures. Anyway, we drove about an hour farther than I thought we should have.  Looking at a map, I’m convinced that going up to Bowling Green and cutting across on the future I-66, even if you can go 70 miles an hour the whole way, took longer than if we had cut up through Glasgow.  But whew, it took forever to get over to Campbellsville.

The house itself sits on a slight hill overlooking the road into town.  It’s got a sewer treatment plant to one side and a hotel behind it, but I was amazed at how much land it still sits on, considering that it seems to be pretty prime real estate and the house had been in really bad shape at one point.  If it were Nashville, that puppy would have been torn down to make room for a parking lot.

But I have to give it up for the people who did the historic preservation of that house.  Dang, it’s amazing.

The house is so cute, all gray stones and blue trim and wooden shingles that have weathered to gray and started to cover with moss. The kitchen is right up close to the house, a little square box coming off the back corner of the house.  The Hiestands used the back door primarily, but the house is set up with a room on either side of a hallway, with the hallway leading to both the front and back door.  There’s a very steep staircase in the hallway that leads up to the second floor which is also divided into three spaces.

Our tour guide was really intrigued with the fact that the house had “closets,” which were just two very large cabinets, one on either side of the fireplace in the living room.  What I was more intrigued by is that the dining room appeared to have the same set-up–two floor to ceiling cabinets, one on either side of the fire place–but they were NOT cabinets at all. The one on the left opened up to a very steep staircase up to the master bedroom on the second floor and the one on the right opened up into a little vestibule that took you to a side door to the house which then, when you immediately turned right, led you right to the kitchen.

The amount of brilliance this is cannot be overstated.  Imagine that it’s winter and you’re trying to heat a house with only three fire places (the children’s bedroom didn’t have a fireplace). Every time you opened the back door, you were letting cold air right into the center of the house.  This way, women could come in from the kitchen into a little space that was very warm (since it was right up against a huge fireplace) and then open the door into the dining room.  So, opening the outside side door really only fully affects this little space.

I don’t know who came up with that design but it was brilliant.

I wish we’d gotten pictures of that.

Anyway, I’m definitely going to try to take my folks up there, even though Bart and I are positive that this is not our ancestor, but our ancestor’s brother.

Especially because I know my dad is going to love the story about how our ancestor’s niece single-handedly defeated the Confederates. It’s not much of a story.  They saw the strategic value in a large house made of stone sitting on the top of a hill overlooking the main road into town, a house filled with women who might cook for them. A house that would be easy to defend, say, even by one woman with a rifle.

And so it was.

To the sadness of the Confederates.

One thought on “Did I Tell You About the Hiestand House?

  1. where i grew up, old houses usually had “windcatchers”. think of a small, fully walled in, covered porch; right in front of the front door, just big enough to sit down and take your boots and coat off in. it’d be unheated, of course, and serve the same function of trapping the cold air in a small space; an airlock for the winter.

    of course, back there, no house would ever have its fireplace and chimney built on the side of the building, the way i see is common here. wastes half the heat, that way. such things belong in the center.

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