Point of Interest: LaPointe-Krebs
The LaPointe-Krebs House, also known as the Old Spanish Fort, has undergone a significant restoration project led by contractor J.O, Collins and featuring reclaimed, antique heart pine beams supplied by Albany Woodworks. The historic house, which dates back to 1757 and is the oldest in the Mississippi River Valley, required extensive renovation work to meet historically accurate standards.
One of the main challenges of the project was preserving the house’s historic features while raising the sunken foundation. Steel beams and jacks were used to level the house, but they could not be bolted directly into the home due to historic preservation issues. Despite these challenges, the restoration project was ultimately successful, and the LaPointe-Krebs House is now open for tours.
From The LaPointe-Krebs House & Museum Facebook Page:
“Congratulations to The LaPointe Krebs Restoration team! They were recently recognized by The Mississippi Heritage Trust for the restoration work done to rehabilitate the historic house. Everyone is invited to come visit and see the fantastic results of their efforts.”
History & Construction
The LaPointe-Krebs House is unique in that it incorporates a variety of historic building techniques, including Tabby Concrete and Bousillage. These techniques can be seen throughout the house, along with original beams and other historic features.
Did you know that the walls of the original center and eastern rooms of the LaPointe Krebs house are truly one-of-a-kind? It’s true! These walls were made using a special material called tabby, which is a mix of quicklime, water, sand, ash, and locally-sourced shell (mostly oyster).
What’s so special about tabby, you ask? Well, for starters, it’s super strong and durable – in fact, the 12″ thick walls made using this method are still standing strong today! And here’s the really cool part: this unique construction method and material can’t be found anywhere else in the Colony of New France or on the Gulf Coast.
So next time you’re admiring the historic LaPointe-Krebs House, take a moment to appreciate the incredible craftsmanship that went into creating those remarkable tabby walls.
Did you know that the LaPointe Krebs house features not one, not two, but three different types of construction methods? That’s right – each room has its own unique story to tell!
The center and eastern rooms, for instance, were constructed using a special material called tabby, which includes wooden timbers that aren’t intended for support but rather to serve as attachment points for windows, doors, and exterior corners. Meanwhile, the western room is built in the traditional Poteaux-sur-sole method, where upright structural timbers are connected to bottom sill timbers and upper plate timbers with pinned mortise and tenon joints. The areas between this timber framing are filled with Bousillage, a mixture of Spanish moss, fibrous materials, and silty soil.
To maintain historical accuracy, Albany Woodworks worked tirelessly with the architect and contractor to ensure that all materials supplied were up to par, including matching sawmarks that would have been created by hand sawing in the 1700s.
But that’s not all – the floors of all rooms were originally made of tabby, while the roof and supporting timbered structure were hand-hewn and pit-sawn from timber. Over time, the house has undergone numerous remodels, including the addition of subdividing interior walls, relocation and addition of fireplaces, and even the creation of two attached cabinets.
Visitors to the LaPointe-Krebs House can now appreciate its rich history and unique features. The house, which acted as a museum for many years, fell victim to Hurricane Katrina but has now been restored to its former glory. Thanks to the hard work of all involved in the restoration project, the LaPointe-Krebs House will continue to be a landmark of some importance for years to come.
If you would like to see more about this exciting historic renovation project, including the fascinating history of LaPointe-Krebs House and how Albany Woodworks contributed to its restoration, check out our previous blog post Click Here
Visit LaPointe-Krebs website for visitor information. Click Here
Photography courtesy of Alissa Woods and LaPointe-Krebs House & Museum. Copyright 2023
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