You guys have some terrific homes! http://www.loc.gov/pictures/
. when You go to this link type in "fireplaces" in the search. That will take you to about 1800 different homes photographed for historic purposes. There are many in PA NY and NJ and will be interested to see if any of you guys are near these places. I am working on a pre 1820 post and beam house in Alexander NY. I was able to finish the double fireplace and bake oven that was removed in the 1920's. The house is a small modest house and is a pretty early structure for the area. The house is not livable and at the rate I am going it never will be. I have been able to collect most of the period 9 over 6 and 6 over 6 windows for the house plus the correct period mantels and doors plus other misc. items. Around this area of Western NY almost no one has any respect for real early homes.
It's not just where you are, hack remodeling occurs everywhere. I guess people think they are "updating" these places, but after it's done, it's just another house. I pay close attention to the older houses when traveling around, it's nice to find a restored gem in the middle of the mess.
With this place it's just a plain farm house, very simple. So I am more or less "creating" the look. I have very little original work to rely on, since the renovation in the late 1930's. The only original room is the one I am in now, there is old, old plaster over lath boards covered with furring strips and fiber board walls. The ceiling is lower then the other rooms, it's squared timbers with interlocking joints. The house is not quite 2 full stories, the part of the ceiling is pitched in the upstairs rooms. On the pitched part of the ceiling in here the beams of the original roof are still intact, just sawed off, so the plaster just kind of hangs in the air under the current roof. I'll try to get a photo.
I've been through Allentown many times, where you take the city streets to get to the area to the south. I am always amazed at all the old buildings that still have the iron coal doors on the front foundations. I wonder if anyone would notice if some of them suddenly were missing?
Pictures of your place???