Monday, March 4, 2013

Mystery Monday – What are those doing there?

Horn family home in St. Louis, Sierra County, California.
The four women (left to right) are Amelia "Bridget" Horn
(Keenan) and her daughters Amelia Horn, Margaret
Rutishauser (Horn) and Annie Horn. The name of the
donkey staring through the wooden fence is not known.
Source: Collection of Richard Hanson.

The photo depicts the home of William Horn and his wife Amelia (nickname Bridget, maiden name Keenan) located in the mining town of St. Louis, Sierra County, California. The year is somewhere around 1890. The town was located near the top of a mountain which would quickly accumulate significant amounts of snow during winter storms.

This mystery concerns those angled wooden reinforcement poles extending from the roof to the ground. I have received two different opinions regarding their purpose.
  1. The poles reinforce the roof in regards to a snow buildup and help the overall structure withstand strong winds.
  2. Canvas or boards lashed to lower part of the poles prevent snow drifts from building up against a wall and pushing it in.
Have an opinion as to which possibility is correct, or a third option? If yes, post a comment or email me at

Submitted and posted by Richard Hanson

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