The Moses Tyler Homestead, situated at the center of the Blackacre State Nature Preserve, dates to approximately 1785. As part of the National Register’s Tyler Settlement Rural Historic District, the Homestead shelters an 18th-century residence, spring house, barn, and a pre-Civil War farmhouse, now open to the public as the Presley Tyler 1844 Farmhouse.
The Presley Tyler Farmhouse
The Presley Tyler Farmhouse was built in 1844 by the youngest of Moses Tyler’s eleven sons. Constructed in a single-pile, the I-house design of the two-story brick farmhouse was characteristic of the region. Today the nine-room structure houses the Conservancy’s office, a caretaker’s apartment, and the Presley Tyler Visitor’s Center, where patron’s can learn about the homestead’s history through photo exhibits, maps, and displays of historic relics. The road that passes in front of the farmhouse was originally part of Mann’s Lick Road, once a main road for the district.
The Stone Cottage
The Stone Cottage was originally a one story, two-room residence, each room having its own entrance and its own fireplace. Constructed in 1790, it was probably used to house one or more of Moses’ sons as they married and continued to live on the family farm. After about 1825 it was probably used as a slave residence. A very early one-room frame house with sleeping attic and stone fireplace may have been the residence of Moses and Phebe. It stood between the 1844 farmhouse and the stone cottage and was demolished in about 1930. Regardless, the stone cottage has served many purposes through its 200 years and today is rented by the Conservancy to a tenant. Some of the stones cut from the farm’s early quarry are visible behind the cottage.
Double-Crib Appalachian-Style Barn
Based on the style of its construction, the barn would have been built around 1790. It would have provided storage for corn and other grains fed to livestock. The barn is unique in that it houses two (as opposed to one) large cribs of poplar logs, which are connected by a superstructure supporting the roof. The barn was originally covered by shakes, but these were replaced by tin after 1915.
The Spring House
The Spring House, built of stone probably quarried at the site, is associated with the 1790 Stone Cottage. The structure covers a spring emerging from the surrounding limestone and provides a cool lower level for the storage of perishable foods, along with an attic space for additional storage. The pond below the house was created in the 1940’s.
The Smoke House
The brick Smoke House was built originally of logs several feet from its current location and was used for smoking meat. Fires were maintained in the building and the smoke preserved the meat hanging from the rafters. The current structure, which covers a dirt floor and contains a wooden trough, is a replica built in the 1940’s.
The Carriage House Complex
The Carriage House complex, built in the early-19th century, is constructed of clapboards. It has served many purposes, including possibly a residence. Today it is home to the Jefferson County Public Schools’ Blackacre Environmental Education field office.