photo of the week
A Picture of Heritage

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Author’s Note:

I generally eschew “going to the lake” on major holidays since my idea of enjoyment has nothing to do with the ability to walk across a large body of water on the decks of noisy boats.  Such was the case around Independence Day in 2010 when I found this old barn.  I was doubly lucky because the owners were close by and got me up to speed on the provenance of the old structure.

Also be sure and see our Weekly Grist article on the old structure. You’ll find links there to a gallery where you can see more of the old including some detailed interior shots.


Joe Dempsey 


Feed Storage and Stables

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.

At the Epicenter of Agrarian Pursuits

First Published on Sunday, July 4, 2010
Pine Buff, Arkansas

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 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.


Dirt Road No More

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.

Photo Notes

NIkon D300, tripod mounted, ISO 200, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, side shot 1/400@f10 and the inside shot 1/13@f4; front shot Nikkor VR 70-400mm f4.5-5.6 D ED, 1/320@f9.


see more
The adventure of this barn
continues on our blog,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.
See several more shots of the barn,
plus a couple of cool old churches
and some surprise stuff.  Click here
to go there.  Be sure and see the link at the bottom of the blog page to our weekly high resolution gallery.

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