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Pilgrim Roofs

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In honor of Thanksgiving this week, we are writing about pilgrims and the type of roofing system they used. The earliest homes in Plymouth used a thatch roofing system.

Pilgrims had access to a very limited amount of supplies. They brought very little with them on the ships due to the limited space. Everything used for building their settlements, they foraged from the land around them. This included tools, building supplies, and food. Roofs were no different.

The pilgrims constructed thatched roofs out of whatever natural materials were around. Straw, grasses, and dried out reeds were secured together to create a waterproof barrier to keep the elements out. Constructed with precision the roofs held up. However, the dried materials prove to be extremely flammable and a danger to the pilgrims.

During the first few years, many of the pilgrims lost their homes and buildings due to fires. Embers from fires often escaped and landed on the roof, which ignited the whole house on fire. Eventually laws were passed that prohibited installing thatch roofs. Colonists switched from thatch roofs to plank roofs which we see in the photos of most history books.

Happy Thanksgiving!  From all of us at Allen Roofing and Construction!

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