Re: "box" type construction?
I know of "box" construction, but the type of house that went by that name was only 1 story. Since yours is 2 story, I think we would be talking about two different things. It also went by the name "single-wall" construction.
Essentially vertical 1x12 sheathing boards with horizontal siding applied; no studs. The spiking of the 1" planks to the sills and top plate was the only thing holding up the roof. No insulation space. Doors and windows were sort of framed in with 2x3 posts/bucks. Very easy, fast and cheap to erect. Most people who were living in box houses sought to frame them in ASAP, when they could afford the studding and plaster.
I encountered them as a college student (studying historic preservation) in Arkansas, but they were widespread in the delta southern US. The surviving box houses I knew of dated to around 1880 to 1900.
Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.