Andrew Jackson Tavern – A New Foundation

The old tavern landed in a perfect spot among a patch of cedar trees on Foxfire Farm and was ready to begin a renewed life. 

Watch the video as we take you through the process of setting the building on a permanent foundation.

Of course, things don’t always go as planned.


But, be sure to take the Photo Tour, too . . .

The building was set on temporary blocks while the team devised a plan for their next steps. It would need a solid foundation, one like it first had 200 years ago, and one that will keep it firmly planted for the next 200 years.


Just about every piece of equipment Colonel owns found its way into the project. In preparation for the building’s arrival, Colonel drags away a tree with his 1957 Oliver Crawler to clear the space where the building will sit.




A pile of rock just beyond the building will be used for the foundation and chimney. Local Lynnville resident, Rick Taylor, salvaged a portion of this rock from an old home years ago and had been holding onto it until the right purpose came along. Once he realized this old building was the perfect recipient, he personally hauled the heavy-weight rocks up to the farm. His contribution to the project was important and appreciated.

Meanwhile, Colonel noticed that one of the support beams underneath didn’t fair well on the trip. It was rotted out and falling apart.  This was a major problem.

TempFoundationBadBeam  RottedBeamweb


The original construction revealed 19th century building techniques including wooden pegs and cedar support beams. If anything was to be replaced, it would be through careful planning by Colonel and his team to keep the historic integrity of the building. Now, a major support beam needed to be replaced.

So what were they going to do? Stopping by the Home Depot for a board was not in the plan.


Colonel’s own farm is plentiful with cedar trees and it seemed fitting that the new beam come from Foxfire Farm.

ColonelandCedarTree  CedarTreeweb

Colonel inspects the trees on the farm and finds “the one.”


Payton finishes the cut.

cedartreefalls  paytoncuttingtree


It’s not uncommon to see old tools brought out for the project like this cross-cut saw.


These two can tackle any issue that comes along and they are proud of their work!


Colonel’s 1946 Power Wagon pulled its weight on this project as it helped drag the log away.  The log was then sent off to the sawmill.


With a trip to the lumber yard, the large cedar tree was transformed into a new 12 x 12 x 20 support beam, though it would need a little more preparation before installation.


PaytonExamsClosely  BeamandJackweb

Before the new beam could be installed, the building needed to be leveled.  A board cut from the same cedar tree was installed on the side to offer some additional, yet temporary, support. An old railroad jack was used to support and help level out the building.


Talented craftsmen Corey Davis (left) and Payton Hewitt (right) are Colonel’s right-hand men on the restoration of the Tavern.  Here, they’re leveling the building.


Colonel delivers the new cedar beam as Corey helps place it beside the tavern to get it ready for use.


Colonel always finds the fun in restoration.


Colonel demonstrates hand hewing with an axe as they did in the 19th Century. After cutting the tree down, hand hewing with a broad axe or adze helped shaped the log. This time around, we had the convenience of a sawmill to ready the log for use.

 PaytonandCedarBeam  CedarBeamCloseup

The log required notches to be cut in just the right places. After some adjustments, the new cedar beam fit just like the old one.

CorySettingBeam  CorysettingBeamweb

When determining where the building sits level, an old-fashioned water hose does the trick. Colonel demonstrates how it works by matching the water level on either end.

ColonelwithWaterLevel  Levelweb

How do you know if it’s level or not? “If a guy riding by on a loping mule can’t tell, then it’s ok,” explains Colonel.


Colonel had some reclaimed limestone rock on hand that created the perfect pillars for underneath the building.


While modern technology is appreciated . . .


. . . a simple water level gets the job done, too.  Payton is on one end of the tavern while Corey is on the other as they use the water level.


Following traditional log frame construction, the new beam includes a round, wooden peg to help hold it in place.

New Support Beam

The careful craftsmanship shows with the new cedar beam now installed and the building strategically placed on permanent rock pillars.


We’re off to a great beginning as the tavern has been set on its new foundation. Now, the restoration begins!


Next: The Roof Old and New

Go Back to Andrew Jackson Tavern Home Page


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