Smoke House

Originally Constructed: Prior to1820

Relocated to Village: 1974

This smokehouse, found at the Elam property on a ridge above the headwaters of Caesar Creek southeast of Xenia was the first log structure volunteers brought to the Village. It was an exciting day in the history of this restoration project and a really good learning experience.

In Pioneer Ohio the earliest smokehouses were made of logs with Puncheon floors like this one. They often sat off by themselves quietly serving their unique function of smoking and storing sausages, hams, pork shoulders, ribs, bacon and beef.

Before the butchering a slow fire was started in a pit cut in the flooring or in a large pot often with hickory shavings and logs. The meat was then hung from the rafters remaining in the smoke from a time frame of several days for up to a week.

Preparing the meat for the smokehouse was very important. Pork was popular because it responded especially well to the spices and smoke. Most smokehouses could hold the selected parts of about four hogs plus other meats. When the smoking process was over the cured meat was ready for storage or the kitchen.

Update on the building: A few years ago we had to take down part of the building due to it starting to fall apart. We started to rebuild the building and then ran into a manpower issue. We reached the point where we needed more than just two people working on the rebuilding of it and did not have the able bodied people available to be able to do the job (along with not having the machinery which could take the place of the man power). We have half the walls up and we did redo the floor in the building. Our goal this year is to complete the construction of the walls and begin to get the roof rebuilt. 2020 dealt us a blow in getting the job done and many people stayed home and did not feel safe going outside but we believe with 2021 we should be able to get more of the help we need to complete this project. This project so far has involved two of our members taking down the old structure to the base and evaluating the logs and beginning to rebuild from the logs which were good still and other logs we had in our storage.