Sunday, September 23, 2012
A U T H O R ' S N O T E :
Originally Published on Sunday, July 4, 2010
Occasionally, I do not reveal where a photo subject is located or who the owner might be, which is the case today. This old barn is owned by an elderly couple in a remote area. Inside are some highly desirable items — and they would like to keep them on the premises. So their names are Shirley and Ted and they live in Arkansas. You understand I'm sure.
Shirley's grandfather, the builder of the barn, was six years old during the War Between the States. He told her he remembered hearing the cannons in a battle not far from where she lives now. Shirley figures the barn was built in the late 1800s but is not for sure. It has survived well, at least on one end. Could be that a strategic re-roofing job at some time contributed to the longevity of the structure.
The barn is spacious inside. At one time the upper part was floored for storing hay. As with most barns, one side was for feed storage and one side was for stables. In this case, the corn crib and other storage areas were on the right of the picture. The log structure hints at the age.
The family owned a nice chunk of acreage in the area and raised cash crops of corn and cotton plus subsistence crops for family and livestock. This old barn was the epicenter of those noble agrarian pursuits. It was designed as a "horse-barn." The front entrance door was tall enough to admit a man on a horse. The barn, however, was not an exclusive hostelry for horses. Mules, the wagon, and plow pullers shared these quarters. In that day and time, a nice stable of mules was necessary for farming success.
The barn is now just a few feet from the highway right-of-way. When it was built, what is now the highway was not much more than a dirt road. Not in his wildest dreams did Shirley's grandfather ever imagine that his barn would overlook a hard surfaced highway with vehicles blazing by.
Originally, the family residence was adjacent to the barn. It is now across the highway from the barn. There have been members of Shirley's family residing on this property since the 1800s. Not many families can lay claim to such residential heritage. Ted and Shirley are friendly people who are happy with who they are and glad to tell others about where they came from. And they have a very cool barn.
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.