Sam Davis Home
Historically, farms in the 19th century included a small building called the smokehouse where meats could be smoked and stored. It was generally separated from other buildings to keep smoke away from the main house and lower the risk of fire.
Smoking is the process of curing, cooking, or seasoning food by exposing it for long periods of time to the smoke from a wooden fire. This process slows bacteria and kills insects that feed on meats and fish. Hickory, oak, pecan and other native woods were commonly used for smoking.
Originally the term outhouse referred to a small structure away from the main building. Today the term outhouse refers to a small enclosure around a pit that is used as a toilet or privy. The outhouse privy was located close enough to the main house to allow easy access, but far enough away to minimize odor. It was also located a proper distance from wells or fresh water source.
On Southern estates in the 19th century, the kitchen was often located a short distance from the main house with a vegetable, herb, and spice garden nearby. Most kitchens contained an open-hearth fireplace. Fear of fire in the kitchen was a reason to keep the buildings separate.
Because food could cool quickly, the kitchen was often connected by a walkway leading directly into the main dining room. Tennessee's warm climate made operating a kitchen quite unpleasant, and having a separate building for food preparation kept the main house cooler in hotter months.
Cured pork hanging in meat house. Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-USF34-082115-C
Postcard ca. 1960s
Exterior of kitchen, a 1930s
Interior of kitchen, ca 1930s