The Samuel D. Byrd house, like many of its era, was originally constructed with hewn logs, enclosing one room with two doors and no windows. As time went by and conditions improved, or when necessitated by a growing family, the one-room home became a generously sized six-room dogtrot house.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The old Samuel D. Byrd house sits a tad better than a mile west of Poyen, Arkansas, on U.S. Highway 270 — and it sure enough looks old, but few will probably guess just how old. The structure was started in 1848 by you guessed it, Samuel D. Byrd. That makes it 164 years old this year.
From the beginning until 2000, members of the Byrd family occupied the structure. Hobart "Sonny" Byrd, a descendant of Samuel D. Byrd, and his wife Betty now own and maintain the property. They live fifty yards or so to the east on the same parcel originally purchased by Samuel D. Byrd.
A gap in newer walls reveals the original 1848 hewn-log construction. Friction and the force of gravity are the prime movers in how this technique works. So far, so good.
The structure was modified in 1850, 1896, and the early 1930s. The sheet metal roof was added in the 1950s, replacing the original pine shake shingles. Though Betty Hobart likes the patina of the roof as it is, she muses that it must be replaced soon. She reported that she had heard rumors of a metal roofing material that emulates the look she likes.
You are looking at a prime example of why these structures are called "dogtrot" houses. The breezeway on this one is eight feet wide, which will accommodate a whole pack of dogs should they elect to trot through. The original log-room is to the left behind the front room on the left. Next to the window on the right side of the picture you see a plaque identifying the inclusion of the Samuel D. Byrd house on the National Register of Historic Places. As such, it is available for visits. Click here to contact the Byrds via e-mail for more information or to arrange a visit.
Sonny and Betty Hobart take their work maintaining the family homestead seriously. The inside of the house is furnished for the most part with family heirlooms, some dating back to the original structure. The kitchen includes a wood-burning stove. When you visit the Samuel Byrd house, you will get a good taste of history. Sonny and Betty can regale you with details not available anywhere else.
If you are interested in a detailed history of the old home and family, go to our webpage about The Samuel D. Byrd House (click the red) and see a comprehensive history compiled by Sonny Byrd.
N O T E S:
SEE THE INSIDE
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.