​Lonesome Historic Site


2006 TN-96  •  Burns, TN 37029  •  206-953-2766

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  • Station 4: The Spring House1:14

Station 4: The  Spring House

This is the site where the original spring house stood. While the original purpose of a spring house was to keep the spring water clean by excluding fallen leaves, animals, etc., the enclosing structure was also used for refrigeration before ice delivery and electric refrigeration. There was a time when nearly every farm home would have had one. Varying in size, design and construction, there was one thing they all would have had in common: cold and fast-flowing spring water. Many of them were built into a hillside where temperatures were easier to control. Some were built directly over active springs and others simply channeled off a section of the spring where the water would continue to flow. The purpose of the continuous flow of cold water was clear: to keep a number of things cool.

Cows were milked twice daily in the barn, and the buckets of milk would be carried to the spring house. Here they would be stored for a day or two before being churned into butter or longer if used for making cheese.