Centre Family Dwelling, Naked

Today we took Christian Becksvoort to the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill to see some of the buildings and – we hoped – some of the furniture. For more than a year, the meeting house and Centre Family Dwelling have been under construction. And the majority of the village’s furniture collection has been in storage.

Recently we heard they were opening the Centre Family Dwelling for tours and we drove to the central Kentucky village to see whatever we could.

After a visit to the newly restored meeting house and a substantial Kentucky lunch, we arrived for a tour of the Centre Family Dwelling. Thanks to the bad weather (snow, spitty snow and rain) the only people on the tour were Chris, Megan Fitzpatrick, two other women and me.

When we walked in, it was like seeing the building when it was new in 1834. You could smell the fresh plaster and paint. The floors were bare and unfinished. The rooms were empty. And it was just us and 21,000 square feet of building.

The $5.1 million restoration added geothermal HVAC to the building, new lighting (sorry, but I’m not a fan of it) and fresh paint and repairs.

I thought I’d be disappointed to see the building without all the furniture. I’ve visited Pleasant Hill about 20 times since 1993, and I think of many of the rooms and furniture pieces there as familiar friends. But the empty building was a bit of a revelation. And you won’t be able to see it like this for long.

Starting later this month, you’ll be able to tour the building without a guide. And there won’t be exhibits or objects displayed in the building until November 2019 (or later). So if you want to see the building in its purest form, now is the time.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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10 Responses to Centre Family Dwelling, Naked

  1. johncashman73 says:

    They put in recessed lights? Yikes.

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  2. Roland Stewart Chapman says:

    Is this the kind of house that the Quakers lived in ?

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  3. Roland Stewart Chapman says:

    It’s like the dwelling of a minor English aristocrat , or a wealthy 19th century tea merchant

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  4. Clayton Hammond says:

    Grew up in Danville. Mom is from Harrodsburg and worked at Shakertown in her teens. Always loved visiting there, and love seeing pictures of it empty…totally different feel. Bought the book. Love it. Its hard to further distill and purify the Shaker aesthetic, but Becksvoort does.

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  5. jimmyfly311 says:

    Grew up in Danville. Mom is from Harrodsburg and worked at Shakertown in her teens. Always loved visiting there, and love seeing pictures of it empty…totally different feel. Bought the book. Love it. Its hard to further distill and purify the Shaker aesthetic, but Becksvoort does.

    Like

  6. Aaron says:

    wow, that is really nice to see. thanks for taking and posting these pictures!

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  7. Steven Miller says:

    What’s a wiener? You mean Shakers, not Quakers? I’m gonna buy the book! Thanks for the review and pics.

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  8. Charlie Buchanan says:

    Hope you got to see the furniture from second floor of the meeting house. And the attic truss structure. Amazing stuff up there!

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  9. THOMAS OBRIEN says:

    Add to bucket list!

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  10. Indy Mike says:

    We visited Pleasant Hill in November and the Center Family Dwelling was still under construction. It looks like the did a great Job. Can’t wait to visit again.

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