Cherokee women were known to be fine weavers. The White Frame House is set up with a loom and a spinning wheel so that visitors may see how fabric was made for families in rural areas of the Cherokee Nation.
The white board-and-batten, two-roomed house represents a transitional time in a house’s life. Board and batten construction provided a quick and relatively inexpensive way to construct a home. The batten covered the space between the board siding and often was wallpapered with newspaper in hopes of further preventing drafts. In time, walls could be studded and insulated with a wall board surface added to the interior. Much of a fireplace’s heat went up the chimney, and the availability of cast-iron stoves proved more efficient. As cast iron cooking stoves became affordable, the owners of a house with a fireplace might choose to close up the fireplace and install a simple chimney to serve both the cooking stove and the heating stove. Not wanting to pull down the earlier chimney, and not wanting to sacrifice the old mantel that had become well-polished through use, the fireplace opening was simply shut up while the mantel and chimney were retained. Furniture could then be arranged close to what-use-to-be the fireplace.
Small houses required ingenuity. When the heating stove was installed in the winter, the loom might need to be dismantled and stored in the attic. A woman raising children might have to delay some creative activities until her children were grown. A widow might need marketable skills in order to support herself and retain her home. Spinning and weaving were activities that produced much-needed durable fabric. Sewing machines aided in the quicker production of clothing, something for which the woman of the house was generally responsible. Quilting, tatting, and embroidery were much valued skills.
The bed didn’t have bed springs, but ropes were intertwined to make a surface that would adjust to pressure points. Periodically, the ropes would have to be tightened, as they would stretch with time.
Houses did not have built in closets, but instead the few clothes owned by the family were kept in a piece of furniture called a wardrobe.