Welcome to The Depreciation Lands Museum


The Depreciation Lands Museum houses three exhibits in one building.

The Mercantile

Talley Cavey stands as a pioneering beacon of commerce and community on the frontier landscape, tracing its roots back to its establishment in 1805. As the first local village in the area, it proudly boasted the distinction of hosting not only the inaugural general store but also the region’s maiden post office. However, in an era where cash was a scarce commodity, the economy of the frontier relied heavily on the practice of bartering.

Transactions often took the form of exchanges for goods and services, with the local Mercantile extending lines of credit to customers, settled through the trade of essential farm products such as wool, eggs, butter, and cider. Amidst this barter-based economy, furs emerged as the primary form of currency, with deer and beaver pelts serving as the foundation for economic exchanges.

While paper currency issued by the government facilitated transactions, particularly for paying taxes and official duties, the ultimate symbol of wealth remained in the form of “hard” currency – gold and silver coinage – underscoring the resilience and adaptability of frontier communities in navigating the challenges of economic scarcity

The Workshop

In our bustling community, the presence of a skilled cabinet maker or woodworker was indispensable to the fabric of daily life. This artisan, adept in the crafts of carpentry, joinery, and cabinet making, played a pivotal role in shaping the physical landscape and enhancing the comfort of villagers’ dwellings. From constructing sturdy buildings to meticulously crafting intricate furniture pieces, the cabinet maker’s expertise permeated every facet of community life.

Apprenticed tradesmen in these disciplines embarked on a rigorous seven-year journey to mastery, during which they were provided with essential provisions such as food, shelter, clothing, and education. By the culmination of their apprenticeship, these dedicated craftsmen not only honed their skills but also amassed a formidable arsenal of tools, embodying the timeless legacy of craftsmanship and dedication that defined the essence of frontier communities like Talley Cavey.

The Barn

Within the confines of our barn stands a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of a bygone era: the venerable Kramer wagon. Manufactured by Warner & McGowan Builders of Newton, PA, likely between the years 1840 and 1850, this sturdy wagon epitomized the pinnacle of freight transportation in its time.

Renowned as the workhorse of its day, the Kramer wagon boasted an impressive hauling capacity of approximately 8000 lbs, equivalent to a staggering four tons of freight, outpacing its contemporaries with a smoothness and speed unparalleled by the Conestoga. Crafted by Thomas McGowen, an immigrant from Ireland who arrived in 1830, this wagon served as a vital lifeline for transporting goods, from barrels of merchandise to distant markets such as Wheeling, WV, along the storied National Road and even into bustling Pittsburgh.

While the majority of Kramer wagons plied their trade between Baltimore and Philadelphia, some, like ours, ventured further afield, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of American commerce and transportation.