photo of the week

Grandpa Lived Here

Once in shambles and on the verge of collapse, this old dogtrot house, formerly of Smead, Arkansas, is now nicely restored and resides less than an axle greasin' southeast of Rison, Arkansas, on Pumpkin Hill Road.  It is the former home of my friend Bob Abbott's grandfather.  On Bob's suggestion, I shot the old house in February, 2010.  Not long after that, Bob decided the old structure was worth saving and had it moved to its present location.

New Home on Pumpkin Hill Road

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Author's Note:

A lot of people told my friend Bob Abbott that “it could not be done,” with respect to moving 47 miles and restoring his grandfather’s crumbling dog-trot house.  Bob summarily jettisoned that advice and proceeded to do what he intended to do — with amazing results.  This week we show Bob’s restored dog-trot as it was re-established on Pumpkin Hill Road just outside Rison, Arkansas.  The first time we ran this story in 2012, it garnered a lot of looks.  When you look, you’ll see why.

Thanks for looking,
       Joe Dempsey


Down the Bore

Looking right down the bore of the dogtrot from the front of the house, the great outdoors looms in the background.

One of the Good Guys

First Published on Sunday, November 25, 2012
Pine Buff, Arkansas

There was more than one "expert" who informed Bob Abbott that his grandfather's old residence at Smead, Arkansas, was beyond repair and could not be moved — and further, that there was little chance the drooping structure could be successfully restored.  Little did they know that Bob's least used word is "can't."  He showed 'em.

Bob eventually found an individual who said with confidence that he could move the old structure the 47 miles separating Smead from Bob's place on Pumpkin Hill Road, the new location for the old house.  They made the trip — and getting there was only half the fun.  After a year-and-and-a-half or so, the complex restoration job was finished.  Bob's crew used all of the existing, salvageable materials they possibly could, including floors, walls, and bead-board ceilings.  Click here to see more details of the house before it was moved. And click here for a gallery of pictures of the old house before it was moved.


The Back Porch

The other end of the dogtrot, AKA the back porch, complete with an eclectic selection of tools and "home-appliances" of the day and time when the house was home to a growing family.  The chairs are a bit more modern, but any port in a storm, so to speak, when it's time to take a seat.

Bob's place on Pumpkin Hill Road is also home to "The Traveler," the former personal rail car of the former president of the former St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad, formerly known as the Cotton Belt.  We have visited The Traveler before in our story "Traveler's Rest," published in this series in August of 2009. At the time of that story, Bob had made a deal with a painter to spruce up the car. The painter failed to meet his obligations, so the old car looked pink and gray. Now it sports its original colors.


Fit for an Executive

The fully-restored former executive rail car, The Traveler, shares top billing on Bob Abbott's place on Pumpkin Hill Road. Click here to see the pristine, fully restored interior of the car.


Take a Swim, Catch a Fish

The Traveler sits next to a small lake on the property.  The lake is a popular as a swimmin' hole and a place to snag a catfish or two.

Bob Abbott is a generous sort and makes his property available for weddings, reunions, church meetings, and the like.  It's nice to know there are a few good guys left.  Bob is one of 'em.

Photo Notes

Nikon D300, tripod mounted, ISO 200, all. Top picture of house Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, base shot of five for HDR compilation, 1/500@f11; Head on shot, AF-S VR Nikkor 18-200 f3.5-5.6, base shot of nine for HDR compilation, 1/250@f8; Back porch, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, base shot of nine for HDR compilation, 1/40@f4; Traveler AF-S VR Nikkor 18-200 f3.5-5.6, base shot of nine for HDR compilation, 1/800@f14; Lake, same lens, base shot of five for HDR compilation, 1/400@f8. Post processed with Photoshop® CS6 Extended, Photomatix 4, and HDR Express.


see more
Step inside the old house,
take a look at rooms and furnishings,
plus some more exterior shots
and a really groovy reflection in the lake.
See it all at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
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