Board and Batten!?! What is this Jargon?!?

This month’s jargon term is, “board and batten” or “board-and-batten,” depending on whether you’re using the term as an adjective or noun; for the record, hyphenate when using the term as an adjective. Every now and then, this type of exterior siding many be called, “barn siding,” because many barns across North America are constructed with this.

The actual definition of “board and batten” from my handy-dandy Guide to Vermont Architecture is this, “Exterior siding of flush wide, vertical planks with narrow wooden strips (battens) covering the joints.”

Historically, board and batten would refer to siding built of wood but given today’s building material options, this siding can be made of plastic, metal, or even fiberglass. Board-and-batten siding can be seen on informal styled architecture, think country homes, churches, and/or barns. During the Victorian era it would have been seen as an architectural feature on Carpenter Gothic homes.

So, board-and-batten siding has an interesting back story. Basically, people built in this style because of a lack of materials plus it helps create a stronger and more energy efficient wall. You’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about…

Imagine yourself, a recent arrival to the New World. There’s extensive, old growth forests that you’re not familiar with; England really doesn’t have forests like this anymore. You are also in desperate need of a shelter for yourself and family. Cutting down trees and building a log house would be the easiest and quick; you only have axes and saws and there are no saw mills yet built. The log house is easy to build, for the most part, the issue is that the felled tress do no exactly fit together, so there are gaps that you and your family fill in with moss, leaves, sticks, and mud. It mostly does the job…but there’s still a cold draft during the winter. By the way, you’re not the only family that needs to build a quick home plus there’s also an extreme logging occurring in the New World with lumber being shipped back to Europe. The forests are slowly depleted but houses still need to be built because of the increasing numbers of colonists. Eventually a town is built up around where you and your family settled and a saw mill in constructed. Because of the lack of trees and a new sawmill, newer settlers are building there houses out of planks and strips of wood. Out of one felled log, a lot of planks can be planed, meaning it is most cost effective. The seams between vertical standing planks can easily be covered with narrow wood strips (batten), keeping the cold out during the winter.

For an actual visual of a log home located in Northern New York, check out this link: The article is about an actual log cabin that was reconstructed to represent the home of the first settler in Parishville, Luke Brown and his family. In the photos accompanying the article, you can see the space in between the stacked logs.

Check out the following images to see buildings constructed with board-and-batten siding. There are no spaces in between planks!

This patriotic home is one of the many summer cottages located in Thousand Island Park on Wellesley Island in the 1000 Islands Region. The battens are painted red while the boards are white. The home was constructed in 1876. The cottage is an example of Eastlake wood detailing, stick style elements, and I would call it Carpenter Gothic.
The Ol' Station
This is a convenient store located in Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks. This photo was taken way back in 2015 on the way home from a Dave Matthews concert in Saratoga Springs. As of this post, the store might be permanently closed…but hopefully the building is still there and maybe a new tenant is in the building.

Buildings from Upper Canada Village:

Blacksmith and Wheelwright
This is a building seen at Upper Canada Village. The living history museum consists of a number of buildings that have been moved from around Canada to form this village showing what life would have been like in the 1800’s. This building combines board and batten on the upper story with squared log siding on the first floor. There are a number of buildings with this combination of siding at Upper Canada Village.
Union Cheese Shop
This is another building at Upper Canada Village. The cheese shop shows 19th century techniques and uses period equipment to produce cheese that can be purchased at the Village’s store.
Masonic Lodge
This is the Masonic Lodge at Upper Canada Village. It is a 1863 building that was moved to the Village in 2008 from the Village of Kars in south-west Ottawa. The building is constructed on board and batten.

Hallstatt, Austria:

A Building in Hallstatt
This is a building located in Hallstatt, Austria. Hallstatt is located in Upper Austria and is on the western shore of Hallstatter See (lake). The village and surrounding area is a World Heritage Site because of it’s wonderful history and culture. I’m not very sure about the history of the building or it’s current use. I assume it might be an inn along with being someone’s permanent residence.
Another Hallstatt Building
This building is also located in Hallstatt, Austria. It looks like it could be a barn but I have a feeling it might be another house. Hallstatt is part of Salzkammergut, in the eastern Alps. The village has a very rich history spanning all the way back to the Iron Age because of the salt mines. The town suffered from massive fire in 1750 that destroyed most of the wooden buildings. The center of the town is all in Baroque style, while buildings away from the center like this and the other building are wooden with board-and-batten siding.
Batten Door
This is a door I saw while walking around Hallstatt. It is considered a batten door, most likely on the other side of the door are some kind of planks holding the battens in place to be a door.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or have any board-and-batten sided buildings in your neighborhood!

Thanks for reading!

Further Reading and Resources:

1) An article about Board and Batten- a brief history, how it is currently used in architecture, etc. :

2) A nice little history lesson on the siding:

3) Another great article on what board-and-batten siding is:

4) Like always, my handy dandy resource for architectural jargon is: 

“The Historical Architecture of Vermont: Guide to Vermont Architecture,” Curtis B. Johnson, editor and Elsa Gilbertson, Principal Author, published by: the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1996.


What is this Jargon in Austria!?!?! Hallstatt Edition

It’s taken me a few days to collect my thoughts and ideas on how to share the history and photographs I took on the second leg of the trip in Austria. After spending two full days in Vienna, I hopped on a train and headed to Hallstatt, which is located in the Salzkammergut region of the Eastern Alps!

The next post I’ll go into more detail about the train traveling from Vienna, arriving in Hallstatt, and some of the attractions in the picturesque village. This post I just wanted to use, as a way to broaden everyone’s architectural terminology knowledge and give a glimpse of what I saw in Hallstatt!

So today is brought to you by the letter “J,” as in “jerkinhead roof.”

So you’re probably thinking: “WTF is a jerkinhead roof”…. “This sounds made up!”…. “Who comes up with these things!?!?!?!”

It’s not a made up term.

It seems to have been around for a long time though the exact origins of the roof style are not clear. In 1902, the definition for the roof went like this, “A ridge roof of which the ridge is shorter than the eaves, having with a single slope from the wall of the clear story outwards.”i Let’s be honest, I have no idea what that actually means. It’s confusing. My trusty, Guide to Vermont Architecture, gives the following, clearer definition, “A gable roof in which the gable peaks are clipped off and inclined backward.”ii That makes a little more sense.

Here’s a photo that helps show what we’re talking about:

Jerkinhead Roof
This is a building that was located behind the inn I was staying at, Gasthof Bergfried. Behind the building in this image is the Salt Mine Museum.

This type of roof is also occasionally called, “half-hipped” and “clipped gable” or even “jerkin-head roof.”

As already mentioned, there seems to be no clear indication on where this type of roof originated from. The one source I found that gave some idea of the roof’s origins was Early American Architecture: From the First Colonial Settlements to the National Period written in 1952 by Hugh Morrison. Morrison makes the suggestion that the style, during the medieval period, may have helped protect the gable-ends of walls that were built of wattle and daub.iii The roof style can be seen in many European countries such as England, Germany, Denmark, Slovenia, and obviously Austria. The roof is typical in timber-framed buildings and historically would have been seen on thatch-roofed houses.

Hallstatt Roofs
There are a number of jerkinhead roofs in this image.
Old Town Market
So many colors and jerkinhead roofs! The Cafe Derbl, the yellow building on the right, has a very long history and apparently has been in existence since the 15th century when it was a bakery.
Row of Jerkinhead Roofs
Another close-up of some of the buildings around the Old Market Square of Hallstatt. The history seems a little unclear, but a fire in the 1700’s destroyed much of Hallstatt, resulting in most of the town being rebuilt during the Baroque era. There are some buildings that survived the fire, not sure if these are some of those earlier buildings from the 15th century or from a later date.
Cafe Derbl
Another view of the Old Market Square.
Rooftops of Hallstatt
This image was taken from the Catholic Church located above the Old Market Square. Some of the brightly colored buildings in this image are seen close-up in following image; they surround the Old Market Square. The Church in this picture is the Protestant Church,
Close-Up of Bright Colored Buildings
Theses are those brightly-colored buildings seen in one in the previous image.

Since I’m still focusing on my trip to Austria, I shared a lot of images of jerkinhead roofs from Hallstatt. In my adventures around Northern New York, I don’t recall seeing these types of roofs but I know I now will keep a lookout for them! Do you have any examples in your neighborhood, if you do, share your examples in the comment section below!

Now with your new knowledge of Jerkinhead Roofs…can you spot that type of roof in this image. There are a couple of them!

Thanks for reading 🙂


i  A Dictionary of Architecture and Building: Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive, Russell Sturgis, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1902), 359-360.

ii  The Historical Architecture of Vermont: Guide to Vermont Architecture, Curtis B. Johnson, editor and Elsa Gilbertson, Prinicpal Author, (Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1996), 26.

iii  Early American Architecture: From the First Colonial Settlements to the National Period, Hugh Morrison (New York: Dover Publications, 1987), 143.

A Day in Vienna

My previous post gave a small introduction into my trip to Vienna and Austria. So we can back track slightly now. The trip, at least the destination, was planned by Jake. The month’s leading up to the trip, Jake posted clues to our adventure trip on Facebook. Some might find that to be cute and uber romantic…..ugh, it was….but it was also nerve-racking because I’ve never been out of the country (Canada doesn’t count because I go there so often) and had no idea where we were going.

My flight left from Montreal, Monday October 10 at 10:00 pm, which went to Heathrow in London From London I flew to Dusseldorf, Germany, and then from there, I arrived October 11 around 5ish in the evening in Vienna. On paper I was suppose to have about an hour wait time in London from the time my Montreal flight arrived to when I needed to board the flight to Dusseldorf….this did not happen. I almost missed the damn flight because the one I was on from Montreal was late! My favorite things said during the mad rush to the next flight included the flight attendant who checks your boarding pass telling me, “So glad you arrived Ms. Doyle, we were about to start paging for you!” and the pilot announcing, “Now that we’re all aboard, we can take off.”

The rest of the flight adventure was less eventful and the snacks on the flights were good. The food on British Airways was good but by the time I was on the flight to Dusseldorf I was hungry. Very hungry. Luckily there was snack time on all of the flights, which is possibly the most important time of the day. I had some Island Bakery Lemon Melts, which were made in Scotland on the flight to Dusseldorf. Those were very good. The snack time on the flight between Dusseldorf and Vienna consisted of some sandwiches. I can’t really recall what the sandwich was made of but it had red peppers on it and cheese. It was good but again I was very hungry, so it might have been horrible.

Finally. I arrived in Vienna: hungry, exhausted, sore. But I couldn’t let that get in the way of all there was to see!

So the first full day of Vienna, a lot of walking occurred! It was easy to get to the subway from the hotel, Falkensteiner Hotel Wien, that we were staying at in Margareten, one of the districts within Vienna. The subway got us from the Margaretengürtel stop to the Stephansplatz stop, which brings you right out front of St. Stephan’s Cathedral. I’ll share more photos and information about the Cathedral in another post (probably the next one) because it’s a really awesome building with a great history.

St. Stephan's Cathedral
St. Stephan’s Cathedral, the biggest thing you see when you ascend the steps from the Stephansplatz subway stop.

We grabbed breakfast at a restaurant called Chilai Ringstrassen Galerien, located near the Kärntnerstrasse, which is part of the business district and has A LOT of shopping. After breakfast we walked around and ended up seeing a lot go cool things. We walked through the Stadtpark, a huge public park- more on that and other Art Nouveau architecture soon…. By walking through the Stadtpark, we ended up near the Wien River (Vienna River). By this time I needed a snack and it was cold, so it officially was break time! We stopped at a place called Urania, which had a cafe at it. The Urania was opened in 1910 by Emperor Franz Joseph as an educational facility and public observatory, and it still serves that purpose to this day.


While refueling with coffee and apfelstrudel (apple strudel as you probably guessed), we made plans to find the giant Ferris wheel that was visible from the cafe. On a side note, the apfelstrudel was amazing at the Urania Cafe. This apfelstrudel, was the apfelstrudel to beat, and no other strudel compared to it the entirety of the trip. If you’re at the Urania, get the apfelstrudel.


Along the Wien River there was a path, so Jake and I followed it to get us closer to the Ferris wheel.

The Ferris wheel we were headed towards is the Wiener Riesenrad (Vienna’s Giant Ferris Wheel). It was designed by the English engineer Walter B. Basset. The wheel was constructed in 8 short months from 1896 to 1897, and was officially opened to the public on July 3, 1897 during the crown jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph (the same guy behind the Urania). Since its opening, the Wiener Riesenrad has stood as a landmark of Vienna in the Wiener Prater.

The Prater is a large public park in Vienna’s second district, Leopoldstadt. The park has a long history and was first mentioned in the historical record around 1162. Throughout its history, it had served as the imperial hunting grounds for the Habsburg family. It did not become the public leisure space its known as today, until 1766 when Emperor Joseph II opened the Prater to the people. Emperor Joseph II was the son of Empress Marie Theresa and older brother to the French Queen Marie Antoinette. The Prater does have an amusement park within it; it’s free to walk around but each ride costs money. The Wiener Riesenrad isn’t just a Ferris wheel, within the small complex for the attraction there is a little panorama museum highlighting the history of the Prater and the Riesenrad, a restaurant below the wheel, a souvenir shop, and there is the ability to rent out certain cabins on the wheel for events/parties/dates.

Walking through the Prater, the scenery changes quite a bit, it goes from an amusement park to a forested park.

From the Prater, Jake and I, walked back over the Wien River, eventually we decided to take a trolley to get closer to our original starting point: Stephansplatz. We actually got off the trolley near the Museum Quarter, an area where there are many museums and government buildings. The street we were on is called the Opernring and it turns into Burgring as it goes by a few of the Austrian museums. Walking down the street we arrived at this area teeming with life in front of this huge multi-towered building and the Habsburg Theater. Apparently a circus was going to be happening later in the evening and a number of food and drink stalls had been set up for the event. The food and drink stalls all varied in their offerings. I settled on a käsekrainer, a sausage with cheese in it and it came with a hard roll and mustard. It was good! I also got some kind of wine spritzer drink flavored with lavender syrup. The interesting part of ordering the food is that the plates and cups had a deposit on them. So you paid a small fee, like one euro, which you got back when you returned the plate or cup.

The large multi-towered where the all the action was taking place in front of was the Vienna’s Rathaus, the city hall. It was designed by Friedrich von Schmidt and constructed between 1872-1883. It’s imposing, right? It reminded me of something out of a horror film, probably because of its neo-gothic style, which used 30 million bricks and over 40,000 cubic meters of natural stone, it is construction. Adding to the imposing building effect, are the towers. The tallest measures 97.9 meters and it actually (you can’t see it) has a statue on it, “Iron Rathausmann” which means the iron city hall man….it’s also considered a symbol of Vienna. The building is still used as the official seat of the mayor, the city senate/provincial government meet there, and other municipal councils meet there too.

After dinner, we were exhausted and it was late, so that meant adventuring through the subway system to get back to the hotel in Margareten so that more Austria adventures could occur! Thanks for reading and stay tune for more posts about my trip to Austria.

Sources and Further Reading:

Information on the history of buildings or areas have come from a combination of pamphlets I collected at different attractions and some of Vienna’s travel websites. Those websites follow:


Prater and Wiener Riesenrad →

Rathaus →

What is this Jargon in Austria!?!?! Baroque Architecture

It’s been awhile since I consistently posted about my preservation and history adventures, hopefully I can keep my posting on target for the next few months!

So you’re probably wondering what exactly I’m planning for the next few months. For starters I want to share all the awesome things I saw on my recent vacation to Austria. A few weeks ago, I spent almost two weeks adventuring with my boyfriend, Jake, in Austria. We traveled to Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg, and then ended the trip in Vienna.

Jake and I in front of a MYSTERY Baroque Building. Can you guess which building it is? Answer might be down below…..

Since coming back home, I’ve been planning posts about the things we saw while on vacation- it was a lot of stuff. I wasn’t really sure where to start and I’ve researched a lot of very different things in all three locations. I figured I would start with a, “What is this Jargon!?!?” post and showcase some of the really ornate Baroque architecture that we saw in Vienna.

Baroque architecture has been described with a lot of unique adjectives: extravagant, deformed, absurd, irregular. All of these adjectives come about because of type of characteristics seen in Baroque art and architecture, which includes:

Strong curves that give a sense of movement- this can be considered either “actual”     and “implied.” So that means a curving wall vs. a statue in the pose that represents motion.

 Attempts to represent or suggest infinity. This is easy to see in Baroque paintings where the sky just seems to keep going.

Dramatic use of light and how light effects how the art and architecture is seen.

Use of bright colors and ornaments (sometimes gilded), which give an overall feeling of the theatrical and grandiose.

Richly sculpted surfaces- both interior and exterior.

The Baroque style was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. It started in Italy at the beginning of the 17th century (the early 1600’s). It spread throughout Europe and it arrived late in Austria. The main reasons included that during the 17th century, Austria was involved in the Thirty Year’s War (1618-1648); it is considered the deadliest European religious war fought between Protestant and Catholic believers. The other ongoing war that Austria was involved in was with the Ottoman Empire starting in 1529 when the Ottoman Empire tried to lay siege to Vienna; another siege was laid on Vienna in 1683. So during that time, a lot of resources were being used to fortify the city and country to protect from the wars that were Austria was involved in. Obviously, that means not a lot of elaborate construction was happening in Austria; a lot had also been either destroyed or looted by the Ottoman Army.

Some of the most famous Austrian Baroque buildings that were constructed under the rule of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who was the father to Empress Maria Theresa (who was mother to Marie Antoinette, the French Queen who was beheaded during the French Revolution), all were part of the Habsburg dynasty. Some of the local Austrian architects employed by the Habsburg family included Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, his son, Joseph Emanuel, and Johanne Lukas von Hildebrandt. All three men designed buildings that Jake and I saw in Vienna. The last note about Baroque Architecture that I want to make, is that this style at times was considered propaganda for both the idea of the absolute monarch and the Church. The buildings were beyond elaborate to emphasis the importance and superiority of both the Church and ruling family.i

The following are photos of some of the Baroque buildings we saw in Vienna. If you click on any of the images, it will bring you to a “slide show” type screen. On each “slide” there is the ability to click a link to see a larger version of the image, where you can “zoom” in and see more of the details of the different buildings.

The following are the sources that I used in researching Baroque Architecture in Vienna and various links to the different buildings showcased. The links to the individual buildings, such as the National Library or the Belvedere, may need to be translated. Google Chrome, always seems to ask me if I want to translate, hopefully your browser allows the same type of thing. 

If you have any questions or comments, just share them in the comments below….


Baroque Architecture in Vienna and Europe:

Specific Buildings and Sites:

i     So the information about Baroque architecture and the style’s history in Vienna came from a combination of websites, which are all listed in the “Sources: Baroque Architecture in Vienna and Europe.” All of the sources were accessed most recently on November 11, 2016. Sorry for the not exact Chicago Style Manual citation but hopefully the information is clear and easy for you to check out and further explore Baroque Art and Architecture!

**** Answer to the MYSTERY Baroque Building****

             It’s the National Library of Austria!!!!!