Sunday, May 9, 2010
It is a stretch of the imagination for us today to understand the mindset of families from the early previous century and before, who elected to carve out a subsistence and life in remote places. This home place is a good example. From here to the nearest semblance of civilization had to be the biggest part of a day trip or more. Yet from all outward appearances, prosperity, long since taken leave, was once the rule of the house. I found this structure, recently spared from the bulldozer's blade, on Borderwieck Road, east of Amity, Arkansas.
A closer look reveals the dog-trot house style in which there were two living spaces separated by a breezeway. The tall windows are also styles of the times. In some cases, as the family grew, they would install a wall on either end of the breeze and make a big room.
It appeared that just a few days ago (the photos were shot on May 8, 2010) the surrounding land was cleared, the dozer operator taking pains to avoid further damage to the house and its attendant barn nearby. Unlike some of the other abandoned homes we see, someone apparently cared about this one.
The barn, just a few dozen yards from the house, may have been built first. It’s a notched log structure, which saw some improvements over the years before things started to go downhill. Most of the original log walls are intact.
The house and barn were well situated high on a hill, well drained with a vantage point to spot interlopers or hungry predators looking for a quick snack. Nowadays, we have concerns about hard drives, mortgage payments, the price of gas, and goofy politicians. The folks here certainly had parallel concerns appropriate to the times, but also had to be wary of being eaten by some of the critters who were their neighbors.
Like others of its kith, this place finally became a liability rather than an asset and was abandoned. I always wonder who was the last to leave and what was on their mind when they said farewell. The fact that the home has survived some serious meteorological assaults, the order of the day in these parts, speaks to the quality of its construction. Now, due to historical or sentimental value, perhaps its value index is moving back toward the asset category. At least it appears that way.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.