We may in fact never know exactly when, why, and how the post was truncated, but its discovery did seem to solve the mystery of the “magic arch,” which must have been placed to compensate for the truncated post.
The problem was, the “magic arch” had never really been providing real structural support, which would explain why the home had been sagging in the middle.
To start the process of fixing the post, Bob set up a jack to stabilize it. His next steps were truly heroic.
He discovered a standing dead white oak timber on a friend’s land, gained permission to take it, and then he and Paul cut it down.
Bob sent us this photo on January 9th, with the caption: “Some local color: shown is the post for your house after we hauled it to the roadside after milling it in the stand of trees beyond.” (Bob, we are eternally grateful.)
John likes to speculate that the new post could be from the same white oak as the original; nearly four hundred years ago it could have made its way from the same ground, perhaps from a related acorn.