Thanks all. Yes this is a post and beam home. And Inspector I know hust what your talking about (regarding damage done by other people). On the first story I've torn out the interior walls. There are 12 x 16 beams spanning the structure every four feet (no other floor joists just pine plank layed on top of the beams for the second story floor). They are 20 feet long and are moritsed into the second story sills. At one point they must have had a fire which destroyed one of the support posts (also a 12 X 16 by looking at whats left hanging) so they substituted a single 2x4 as a support. How everything stayed up is beyond me
. I have not replaced it yet (just started interior demolition on this house about two weeks ago). I'm going to support both sides of the missing column with two 4x4s prior to attempting any replacement.
This house has had nothing (and I mean nothing) done to it since the 50's. We bought it only because its across the street from our home and we picked it up cheap. Oh, and I misspoke whan calling this a saltbox. Further investigation into the structure tells me this was probably an eyebrow colonial and had a later addition of two first story rooms added on. The rafters appear to me mortised into the sill for the second story and the first story additions rafters are attached to the outside of that sill so there are no "long rafters".
I've completely remodeled our house which was built in the 1790's and expanded in 1820. Unfortunately it suffered from some "renovations" prior to my getting hold of it. The outside was original but the inside was "circa 1980 condo". Way out of touch with with it's colonial heritage.