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The Early American Room

This kitchen-living room of the early colonists was chosen to portray the sturdy simplicity of life in America during the 1600s.

The focus of the room is a nine-foot fireplace with "fixings" of a log hook, heavy iron kettles, a spider, gridiron, longhandled waffle iron, bread shovel, skewers, ladles and forks. A small recess in the brick wall would have served to bake bread.

Pine beams used in the seven-foot-high ceiling and fireplace were brought from Massachusetts. White pine is used for the seminar table, benches and chairs. Special light fixtures are made of pierced tin.

The small closet between the blackboard and fireplace contains a secret panel. Once the concealed latch is discovered, its release causes the wall to swing open, revealing a hidden staircase to the upper loft, which is furnished as a 19th- century bedroom.

Some details of the room:

On the four-post rope bed is a wedding quilt, handmade in the 1850s. Nearby is a pine cradle. Other furnishings include a Bible and wash set.

Near the flax spinning wheel is a basket of hand-dyed wool, demonstrating the use of flowers and roots in producing subtle colors.

The sampler honors the family of the Early American Room donor, which came to America on one of the first ships to arrive. The donor of the room was George Hubbard Clapp, whose name graces one of the University's buildings, Clapp Hall. Mr. Clapp was also the chairman of the board of trustees. The sampler reads, "This classroom, finished in April, 1938, in recognition of the austere dignity of Roger Clap, captain of The Castle who out of Plymouth in Devon, the 20th of March, landed in health at Nantucket the 30th of May in the year 1630."

ARCHITECT: Theodore H. Bowman, Pittsburgh

STYLE: New England Colonial, 17th century


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Created by Sara Zeno

Edited and modified 4/98 by Marie Mazzocco

Sound clips edited by John Rehbun and Carl Kuzmich from the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education (CIDDE) at the University of Pittsburgh