Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Fort by E. L. Moore?

[E. L. Moore's Fort; J. R. Fisher collection]

Like Wilt the Whip-Maker, I can't find a construction article for this project, and to make matters worse, it isn't signed on the bottom. So, I can't say conclusively that this is an E. L. Moore build; however, there are several tell-tale signs that make a very strong case.
It's in E. L. Moore's backwoods style. The roof is similar to that on the cabins (this one and these two). Not to mention that the walls use a similar construction method, and have similar coloration. 
Also, a classic E. L. Moore touch is to construct the model so the roof will lift off to get a peek inside. With this model, the top floor lifts off the bottom revealing a minimalist interior. The photo below is the underside of the upper floor.
30 May 2016 Update: It turns out the Fort might actually be the blockhouse described in E. L. Moore's unpublished article, Shades of Buffalo Bill.


  1. This is certainly one of the strangest structures I've seen. I am no expert in agricultural architecture but it seems like something where the upper part is used to dry out something (hay ? ... other produce ?). I am sure Mr. Moore would have had an hilarious explanation featuring a far distant relative.
    Anyway, this structure (as a good many other E.L.Moore creations) is going to be part of my Russian wargaming WWII village called "MOHRSLAVOSKIGRAD" (see RMC 06/69) in 6Mil scale (1/285). All items being 3D printed.
    Keep up the good work. I've been an E.L.Moore fan since 45 years.

    1. That’s an interesting idea about what this building might be. The fort idea was suggested by its owner. It seemed plausible as it does remind me somewhat of part of an old west fort, but this one seems much more fortified (so to speak); however, I’m going to look into your suggestion because it’s more in line with the things that E. L. Moore typically modelled. Thanks for the kind words and clue!

    2. It's not a fort because it has no defensive apertures and ammo was stored in brick or stone buildings or in cellars. I think it's a granary from East-European or Scandinavian descent. Look in "Wikimedia Commons - Timring" (Swedish for Log Construction). I found following interesting pictures :




      I'm also wondering what the rod-like tubes on the upper floor are used for.

    3. Thanks for those links. I agree with your thinking that this isn’t a fort given the similarities with those granaries and its unfort-like features that you point out. Take a look at this so-called cob granary from Germany:
      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cobtree_Granary.JPG It bears a striking resemblance to the upper part of the model. It looks like it uses ‘staddle stones’ to lift it off the ground, but maybe there is a variant that uses a short column as ELM used in the model. Maybe those tubes are to let air in for drying, maybe to release gases, all the while keeping vermin out? I don’t know what they’re for either. After a little more searching, maybe it’s a variation on an ‘Oast House’ – a place for drying hops. ELM built a couple of breweries, so maybe these are part of them? I’ll have to keep looking. Thanks for all your great input!

    4. Hmmmm. I'm starting to wonder if it might be something called a 'Blockhouse'. Searching on that term in Google produces a lot of pictures that look like the ELM 'fort' For example, there is this Crockett Blockhouse, http://www.fortwiki.com/Crockett_Blockhouse which is quite striking in its similarity, and there's this one in Canada of the St. Andrews Blockhouse, http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nb/standrews/natcul/natcul3.aspx

    5. Some two bits thoughts here. It looks very similar to the blockhouses but still think of it as an agricultural building as ELM did not built anything military (as far as I know) and also because it is very un-railroadylike. The Oast House is a nice approach but then again drying hops involves fire, so unlikely in a wooden building.
      The tubes, indeed to increase ventilation and to keep the critters and birds out, definitively good thinking.
      I'll stick to the granary or a cob or other produce drying structure. Too bad we will never know what Mr. M had in the back of his head when he built it.
      As a sideline, I have all ELM articles that appeared in MR and RMC. I'm still looking for the others, the Clarendon Hotel in particular ?

    6. You’re right, what he had in mind when he built this model we may never know – but, a lot of surprises have happened on this ELM journey, so I’ve learned to never say never :-) Are you maybe referring to the Clarabel Hotel? It appeared in the February ’74 issue of Railroad Modeler. I’ve posted a list of ELM articles here: http://www.30squaresofontario.blogspot.ca/2014/04/e-l-moores-legacy-in-21th-century_30.html and as well as around a half-a-dozen appearing in RM, he had a number that appeared in Model Trains. I think the list is complete with respect to construction articles, but I believe it is still missing some photo spreads, letters, biographical notes and homage articles. Also, earlier this year I made a post that suggested the Clarabel Hotel model might have been based on his then residence in Charlotte, NC: http://www.30squaresofontario.blogspot.ca/2015/02/e-l-moores-residence-and-clarabel-hotel.html