A new place for an old home


Old dog trot house on pumpkin hill road rison ar

Until spring of 2010, this old home was in shambles, 47 miles or so to the west of where it now sits  on Pumpkin Hill Road southeast of Rison, Arkansas enjoying early morning sun in mid-November. The old structure is the former home of Bob Abbott’s grandfather. Bob thought the old home was worth saving. So he did.

In 2010, Bob Abbott decided it was high time to move his grandfather’s old dogtrot house from Smead, Arkansas to his place on Pumpkin Hill Road southeast of Rison, Arkansas. The old house had been in its original location since the late 1800s and was no longer owned by the family.  It was not in good condition. In fact, Bob was told by many that the old house was well past restoration and that the move was a bad idea. Bob disagreed and finally found an individual who agreed with his disagreement. He made a deal with the current owners and the move was on.

Old dog trot house

Click on the house for more pictures and info.

After come careful jacking and loading, the old house was on a trailer and ready to roll. The trip from Smead to Pumpkin Hill Road was in the neighborhood of 47 miles, mainly over back county roads and secondary state highways. See some details of the pre-load condition of the house in our earlier story: The Old House at Smead.

Fortunately the trip was reasonably uneventful and the moving crew safely delivered the ancient cargo to the Pumpkin Hill location. Then the real fun began: Reassembling a house without all its parts. Some parts were simply beyond salvage and the builders had to substitute newer materials and make them fit.

Before we go too much further. may we suggest that you check out the start of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. You’ll see more pictures and get additional information.

front view of dog trot house showing dog trot breezeway

You are looking down the dogtrot breezeway from the front of the house. The kitchen side is to the right. The bedroom is to the left. This is close to the original structure of the home. In later years, the homeowners closed the dogtrot at both ends and made a big central room. This was a common practice as families grew, an early no-brainer for a quick room addition.

the back side of a dog trot house

Here’s a 180, looking at the dog-trot breezeway from the back porch.

A look inside

Dogtrot houses in their basic form have two rooms separated by a breezeway. One side has sleeping  and “living” quarters, the other side has a kitchen and dining area. In almost all dogtrot houses, the family eventually made additions to the structure. This one is the two-room version.

bedroom in dog trot house

This is the bedroom complete with iron bed, ladder-back chairs and a vintage Singer Sewing Machine. There are two windows, one to the photographer’s back and the one you see to the left. There is also a door to the back porch. The walls, ceiling and floor are original equipment.

bedroon in dogtrot house showing breezeway

Looking at the bedroom from the front corner showing the entrance door from the breezeway. The wide angle lens necessary to capture this image has distorted the door to nearly twice its size.

Interior of dog trot house bedroom

The home entertainment corner of the bedroom consisting of a 78-rpm Victrola and a couple of chairs. The dresser has a picture and wash bowl.

kitchen in dog trot house

The kitchen has the expected cast-iron stove, a table – and chairs for mom and dad – and benches for everyone else. For ultimate convenience of the times there’s also a sink, pantry, and cupboard.

Kitchen in dog trot house

The kitchen from a slightly different angle.

view of dog trot house kitchen

Another view of the kitchen. This time with hanging aprons. Nice touch.

dogtrot house on pumpkin hill road rison ar

Here’s one more look from the front in mid-afternoon sun.

There’s more on Pumpkin Hill Road

We’ve visited Bob Abbott’s place on Pumpkin Hill Road before, but for those of you who are not familiar with the place, you’ll also find The Traveler, a fully restored and working (but not rolling) executive rail car from a bygone era. You can learn more on The Traveler in our original Corndancer story, Traveler’s Rest and our Weekly Grist version of Traveler’s Rest.

The Traveler railroad executive private car

The Traveler was once the private car of the president of the former St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad, known popularly as the “Cotton Belt” line.

Chapel on Pumpkin Hill Road

There’s also a Chapel on the property, popular for small weddings, memorial services, and other church meetings and events.

Tree top reflection in lake

This tree-top reflection in a lake on the Pumpkin Hill Road place looks akin to any number of French impressionist works.

And as a parting shot, there’s a fine lake on the property. I saw a tree-top reflection in the water. It’s the Almighty’s version of French impressionists made available to me. And to you.

Lake on Pumpkin Hill Road

Click on the lake for our special Pumpkin Hill Road gallery

Pumpkin Hill Gallery

We have created a special gallery of 19 pictures of the place on Pumpkin Hill Road which are larger and better resolution than normal web presentation.

If you would like to see the Pumpkin Hill Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures larger and in greater detail this gallery is for you. Click here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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The old house at Smead


old house at Smead Arkansas

The cedar tree in the foreground may well be older than the house. The house was built in the late 1800s. When the tree was a sapling, we don't know. One thing we do know, it displays the gnarled and scarred characteristics of old cedar trees − the looks of a hardy survivor.

The old house, and not a lot else, is at Smead, Arkansas. It is the childhood home of my friend Bob Abbott who graciously pointed me in the direction of his former domicile. The story of the old house started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To see how the story started plus two other pictures, click here, a very cool thing to do.

Almost, bit not quite

From the front, the old home almost appears marginally habitable. Unfortunately, looks, in this case are deceiving. The house faces east, as you see it above. The rub is, the weather, in this neck of the woods, mainly comes to us from the west. So the back of the house, for well over 100 years, has taken the worst hissy-fits Mother Nature can pitch, on the chin. It has collapsed in several places.

Outside looking in and vice-versa

old screen doors

Left, "outside looking IN, with the front door open, you can see down a hall where the back wall of that part of the house has collapsed. Right, looking OUT the same door, it is almost good enough to tell your friends to "come on in and make yourself at home."

Dog trot

The house was originally of the dog-trot style, common in that day and time. Although the domicile was under one roof, there were two distinct areas separated by a breezeway. Usually, one side was for cooking and passing the time of day and the other side was for sleeping. At some time, the breezeway ends were closed and it became a giant hallway.

hall way and rooms

The front door is just out of view to the right hand side of the pictujre. The first room has all the appearances of a living or "front" room. This hall was originally a breezeway. The ceiling material is "beadboard," a popular milled wood stripping of the time. There is a dirt dauber nest by the ceiling light fixture.

Barns

Rural residents of the era of this house almost always had some livestock for food and work. These critters require accommodations, most always manifested as a barn. This location was not exception. There are two barns on the property, a cow barn and a horse barn. The cow barn is below. The left side is for the cows. The right side is a tool shed, hay storage area and general purpose hideout.

old cow barn

The smoke house/tool shed is in better condition than the house.

We’ll have more on this location next week. More looks at the house and nosing around the barns. There always more questions asked than answered on these explorations, but perhaps that’s the appeal.

I am running a bit late this evening. Production was halted while I watched one of my fondest wishes come true during Super Bowl 44. Geaux Saints. Who Dat?

Click here to see a gallery of 21 high resolution pictures from this location, including those you have seen here and on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. We always shoot more than we have room to publish.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Traveler’s rest


The Traveler, opulence on wheels

Now 104 years old, the Traveler, once the personal rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad permanently resides on Pumpkin Hill Road south of Rison, Arkansas,

Now 104 years old, the Traveler, once the personal rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad, now permanently resides on Bob Abbott's place down Pumpkin Hill Road south of Rison, Arkansas,

Though her paint is a bit faded, for her age, the Traveler, formerly the private rail car of the president of the St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad is holding up well. She left active service in 1960 and has been here on Pumpkin Hill Road, south of Rison, Arkansas since. This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To see more pictures of the Traveler, click here, visit the Photo of the Week page and get in on the start of the story.

What you saw as the Traveler pulled away from you. The door is open to the observation parlor. You see reflections in a large oval mirror over the rear facing parlor settee.

What you saw as the Traveler pulled away from you. The door is open to the observation parlor. You see reflections in a large oval mirror over the rear facing parlor settee.

At the back of the car, there is an observation parlor with the door opening to the rear platform. See a picture of the parlor here. If you think you see water in the background of the picture above, you are correct. It’s a toss up  as to whether is a big pond or a small lake, but it is a beautiful impoundment, brimming with large catfish, bass and hand-size bream. Those who wet a hook there are normally not disappointed according to Bob Abbott, the owner.

The mahogany main parlor at the front of the car has a writing desk, a large table with six chairs and very comfortable aisle seating. The windows are large. The carpet, though aged, is lush.

The spacious main parlor served as a dining room, a place for business meetings, and for friendly card games as is evidenced by cards and other necessities in the open drawer,

The spacious main parlor served as a dining room, a place for business meetings, and for friendly card games as is evidenced by cards and other necessities in the open drawer.

Detai of the writing desk. Note the fine joinings and finish of the cabinetry, all in original condition.

Detail of the writing desk. Note the fine joinings and finish of the cabinetry, all in original condition. Notice the charcoal in the pan under the desk. It absorbs moisture and untoward odors.

The hallway would not be a comfortable fit for the average NCAA Division I or NFL defensive tackle. I wear a 46 long suit and when I stood squarely in it, my shoulders scraped the sides of the door.

The parlor pictures above were shot with flash. The picture below was shot from further toward the front of the car and shows more of the mahogany cabinetry in the upper foreground. The color has a different cast brought about by using only available light.

The main parlor from closer to the front of the car. Note the overhead storage and richly upholstered seats.

The main parlor from closer to the front of the car. Note the overhead storage and richly upholstered seats. Also notice my pickup in the left window, a no-no, but I did it anyway.

Though the Traveler is the star of the show on Bob Abbott’s Pumpkin Hill Road place, it is not the only attraction. In 2007, Bob had a small chapel built on the banks of the lake/pond(?). (your guess is as good as mine). Since then it has become popular for weddings and other church related events. Bob, being who he is, does not charge for its use.

The Traveler's new neighbor, the chapel, has proven to be nearly as popular as the Traveler. It could be Divine intervention.

The Traveler's new neighbor, the chapel, has proven to be nearly as popular as the Traveler. It could be Divine intervention. The chapel is particularly impressive in the early spring as Dogwood trees generously bloom.

Signs, signs, Joe Webb’s signs …

A Buick sign from "back in the day."

A Buick sign from "back in the day."

As promised on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page and in last week’s Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, I am showing another of Joe’s signs. On this one, the Buick folks tout their valve-in-head engine configuration. In the mid fifties, Buick added a variable pitch impeller in their automatic transmissions which supposedly gave you neck snapping power on the low end and more economy on the high end. Such cerebral appeals have long since given away to more visceral appeals in this day and time. The facts are now, proper cup holder configuration is higher on the pecking order of consumer concern and awareness than valve configuration. And so it goes.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html