Gilfillan Farm

Summer Kitchen

All of the identified structures on the Gilfillan Farm property are in need of varying levels of restoration work. It is the mission of the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair to restore the historic buildsings and reconstruct those that are no longer standing, to the standards set forth by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Completed in 1857

Not Just a Luxary

Long before the modern day craze of outdoor kitchens was popular, summer kitchens were an important staple to living in the 1800's.

Restoration Work to Date

  • New roof 2009
  • New Gutters 2012
  • Installation of french drains, paint removal from the brick and repointing 2020-2021

Future Work & Estimated Costs

  • Internal brick restoration- TBD
  • Fireplace restoration- TBD

The Rising Trend of the 1800's

The Gilfillan's were fortunate enough to have a Summer Kitchen on their homestead. Completed in 1857, the Summer Kitchen turned out to be a necessary luxary and was considered "modern" for it's time. The purpose of a Summer Kitchen was to have a place outside of the main home to store and prepare food during the hot Summer months. 

In the 1800's, people cooked their food using wood-fired ovens and open-faced fireplaces. The Gilfillan's did not have equipment with advanced technology for cooking that we have today. Therefore, temperatures for heating and cooking food could not be regulated. Heat was radiated through the structure and neither air condition, nor refrigeration was available. Summer kitchens were often constructed at homes for the sole purpose of preventing the main house from getting too hot while preparing and cooking food in the Summer. 

The Summer Kitchen at the Gilfillan Farm has a fireplace for cooking. At one time, it also had an oven that was used for baking. As the world progressed into more modern eras, the Summer Kitchen became more of a luxary than a necessity. Not only did it serve as a place for outdoor cooking, but it also provided additional workspace for activities or chores such as canning and laundry.

The Master Plan indicated several areas of concern for the Summer Kitchen. As with the farmhouse, the brick work was painted over so that both buildings would match. Unfortunately the paint was causing the brick to hold moisture and deteriorate. In 2020, a Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission matching grant allowed for the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair to address this issue in addition to drainage work.
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