Kingsley Plantation Barn - Fort George Island, Florida
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member gparkes
N 30° 26.357 W 081° 26.237
17R E 458011 N 3367544
Quick Description: Being from the midwest, I have seen the typical barn built out of wood, but one built from oyster shells... now that is a Waymark!
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 1/31/2011 10:29:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMAN23
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member fishingwishing
Views: 1

Long Description:
To begin with, this is a barn that is preserved in a National Park. Built in the 1800's, this was set in the Kingsley Plantation. The plantation produced indigo and cotton during the 1800's. The barn would have additionally been used for live stock for use on the farm.

What sets this barn apart from others is that it is made from a product called tabby. Tabby represents a blend of West African, Spanish, and Native American cultures. The oyster shells used to make the tabby were mined from shell mounds created by native peoples thousands of years before European arrival in the new world. By the early eighteenth century, tabby was used both here and in West Africa. It is unclear whether tabby’s origins lie in the coastal southeast or whether the technique was brought from West Africa through the slave trade.

The tabby buildings were constructed by enslaved workers who were skilled carpenters, tabby makers and brick layers. The structures they built 200 years ago remain today.

Tabby was created entirely from locally available materials. Oyster shells piled into middens by the Timucua were burned and ground for lime. Sand and water were mixed in, and often whole shells were added to speed the hardening of the tabby and to increase volume and durability.

Whole shell tabby was pourable and used much like today’s concrete. This type of construction was used for the slave cabins, kitchen house, and the walls of the barn. Tabby, without the whole shells, could also be made into bricks, which were used in the barn and the first floor of the kitchen kouse, as well as the fireplaces at the slave cabins. Once it hardened, the whole shell tabby was covered with a protective coat of lime putty, making the walls smooth. Little of this putty remains today.

* Part of this text were quoted from the National Park Service website: (visit link)

The instructions on creating tabby is quite simple.


1 - Burn a few dry oak logs down to ash.

2 - Add to the hot embers some oyster shells that have been bleached in the sun.

3 - Burn the oyster shells down to ash. This mixture of oak and oyster shell ashes makes an old-fashioned form of lime, the binding agent in cement.

4 - Mix the lime with sand and water. This makes the cement that binds the aggregate together.

5 - Add to the cement some oyster shells that have been thoroughly washed.

6 - Cast the concrete in wood forms to create walls, blocks or paving stones.

7 - Remove the forms when the concrete is set, and scrub the surface to remove the excess cement and expose the shells.

* Instructions found at: (visit link)

When visiting this barn, it is quite deceiving on intial appearances, that this isn't anything other than typical concrete construction, except upon close inspection of the walls. In the interior picture of the construction, you can see the layers or levels that the tabby was laid, one upon another. When you look at the walls, then you see the shells really stand out. This form of "concrete" construction is used not only here in the plantations, but also in the Spanish 16th century fortifications that can be found along the coast.
Construction: Other

Is this a 'working' barn?: Other (describe below)

Other:
Interpretation of the historic plantation... used within the settings of a National Park


Distinctive Features: Other (describe below)

Other Distinctive Features:
Construction material and history


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