Hello to all.

I have a problem. We are about to embark on a restoration project of our exterior, and I am stumped on the porch. We have a "Queen Anne Farmhouse" built roughly 1880 in western Iowa. It seems early (possibly started construction late 1870's) due to the fact that it has a mixture of details, mostly QA elements, but seemingly simplified. It is non-symmetrical, with a wraparound porch. Now, I truly believe that the porch raling and balusters are not original, as the balusters are tightly spaced and square. We would absolutely love to ditch the railing altogether, but we'd really like to know if it was common to leave the porch railing off entirely when these were built. There is an historic landmark home near us that was built around the same time, and it has no railing, but we want to be as authentic as possible. We cannot find any pictures of the house before the 1970's, and we have only anecdotal evidence in that nobody remembers a railing before 1957. I am befuddled! Also, would it have been common to paint the decking of the porch? How about the bead ceiling? And on that subject, can anyone recommend a good, historically accurate, T&G decking material and where I can source replacement ceiling bead boards?

A huge debt of gratitude. . .