Description of Jacob Van Meter House
This is one of the oldest houses in the state of Kentucky. It was built in 1790 by Captain Jacob Van Meter, who was among the small group of the first settlers in Kentucky. The unusual chimney was built onto the house in 1800.
The house is located by the branch of Valley Creek, which leads into the Nolin River, and it was very hard for the occupants in the colonial days to know when the Indians were approaching. For this reason a large porthole was built in the chimney. The gun powder room inside the house was built around this hole. The brick forming the hole are of a wedge shape.
The window seen in the chimney was built in 1800 for light in the large bedroom. Brick over the window and cellar entrance are also of unusual shape.
There is a cellar underneath the house. It's entrance is under the bedroom window. It's walls are made of dirt and large stones. The cellar is dug under the chimney. The center part of the chimney around the cellar entrance, the window, and the shooting hole is walled up for safety. The smoke escapes by canals that run up the side of the chimney.
There are four flues in the house. There is a fireplace in the downstairs bedroom and another one in the three bedrooms upstairs.
There are six large beams hued from rather large logs that reach from one end of the house to the other. They measure about 20" x 14" by approximately 35' long. Three of these beams are under the main floor, two on each side and one down the center. The other three are placed in the same manner above the up stair rooms. The runners and rafters are fitted into these beams and secured with large wooden pegs, measuring 3/4 in. in diameter and 6 1/2 in. long. The rafters are made of 4 in. x 6 in. wood rather than normal 2x4's used today. There are braces running from these rafters that measure about 6 in. square. The sheeting was nailed to these rafters by wooden pegs somewhat smaller than those used for the rafters. The shingles were wood and nailed to those rafters with square wooden nails.
The chimney on the south end of the house was made of limestone rock from the cellar floor all the way up. This chimney has been torn down from the roof up and sealed off because it was not safe to use. There were originally three fireplaces in this chimney: one in the cellar, one on the main floor, and the other upstairs.
Legend has it that the chimney containing the porthole was built in one day (from sun up to dark) by a passerby who saw the brick being baked. He said he was a brick layer and would work for one dollar a day, and his room and board. This chimney measures about 14' wide and about 20' tall.
The Kentucky Heritage Commission has designated this house a Kentucky Landmark and deems it worthy of preservation.
This old house is located on the farmed owned by William Hill Jenkins of Glendale. The house is located a half mile off Highway 222 (two mile from Glendale, Kentucky.
Contributed by Dottie McKee
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