A Photo a Week Challenge: Nostalgic
This is actually part of a re-post, with an update, from a topic I wrote about last year.
Rural barns. Old barns are disappearing way too fast throughout America’s countryside and the backroads of North Carolina are no exception. This topic was also perfect for A Photo a Week Challenge about Nostalgia as well as Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge about old buildings, including barns.
The Appalachian Barn Alliance is a not-for-profit group dedicated to preserving rural history in part of western North Carolina by documenting historical barns and the traditions they represent. Last summer, my husband and I took one of their self-driving tours and visited the barns of Walnut Township in Madison County, near Asheville.
Once in Madison County, we followed winding country roads for about two hours to nine different barns the preservation group researched. There were many other old barns and farm buildings along the route, turning our drive into a sort of barn-treasure-hunt.
A few of the barns were not exactly where we thought, but the directions got us close enough to figure it out. Most of the structures were eventually used for tobacco drying of some sort, and many were originally built to house livestock. The history of each barn was as interesting as its deteriorating appearance and we could soon spot the distinctive monitor roof and gambrel roof designs. Along the way, we read about many used as flue-cured tobacco barns and converted in the 1920s to air-cure burley tobacco (used primarily for cigarette production). Many early barn-owners sold (or bartered) their barn roofs for advertising . . . maybe our first billboards? Does anyone else remember those “See Rock City” barn ads?
This year, due to Covid-19 the group has had to cancel many fundraising events but has come up with a great way to still conduct tours. Participants travel in their own cars and follow the researcher/guide as he conveys info by phone or walkie-talkie, during the 3-hour tour ($45pp). Once at a barn site, the guide uses a microphone and it’s easy to keep socially distanced. For info email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are so many routes still to explore and we plan to try one of these tours sometime soon.