A cool country barn

old barn

This is the back side of the old barn. The front side is in substantially better condition.

This old barn in rural Arkansas is well over 100 years old. The man who built it was not yet ten years old when the War Between the States came to an end. See more pictures of the barn and get in on some of the family background where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com, a very cool thing to do. Click here to go there.

To honor the privacy concerns of the barn owners, we are not disclosing their names or the location of the barn past “a barn in rural Arkansas.”

The barn has some unusual characteristics we haven’t encountered on our previous barn adventures. It has a walkway around the outside of the stable side of the barn. Shirley (a pseudonym) whose grandfather built the barn had no explanation of this feature. There had to be a good reason, because in a day when sweat provided power for construction tools instead of electricity, a lot of extra effort was required to build the walkway.

barn walkway

The barn has a walkway around the stable side of the barn. We have yet to figure out what the benefit was to justify this extra effort. Although the room you see is floored, horse and mule stalls are next to it. The barn was still in use in the early fifties.

In one of the rooms on the corn crib side, I spotted some sort of device with a crank and a couple of pulleys connected with a flat belt. Turns out it is a hand-cranked pea-sheller, or as Shirley called it in correct local vernacular, ” … a pea thrasher.”

pea sheller in barn room

The device you see is a hand-cranked pea-sheller more popularly known as a  “pea-thrasher.” Oddly enough, the machine is about the same size as a modern electric version I observed last week at the Purple Hull Pea Festival in Emerson, Arkansas. Some things change slowly.

Under the shed in the back of the barn, near the walkway, there is a feeding trough crafted from a hollowed log, not an easy task. Perhaps it is a reflection Shirley’s of grandfather’s and father’s mindset. Traditional men, they never bought or used a tractor, always depending on mule power to do their farming. She said they quit the farming business in the early fifties when lighting struck and killed their mules. They apparently decided that was a sign to quit. Good thinking.

feeding trough

This feeding trough is built from a hollowed log. Unless the builder got lucky and found a hollow log, this was not a short job. Note the rough-sawed board above the trough. Chances are good that the planks used in this barn were ripped from logs  right on the site.

On Arkansas Highway 9 near the Dallas-Hot Springs county line you will find the pristine Hunter Chapel Methodist Church, built in 1852. The church has regular services and they still accept the deceased in their cemetery. That my friends is what you call staying power.

Hunter Chapel Methodist Church

Hunter Chapel Methodist Church. Members find it ironic that the only liquor store for miles in any direction is directly across the highway from the 158 year old church.

Taking the long way home on Dallas County Road 74 (a long, long, long, and winding gravel road),  a bunch of miles south of Hunters Chapel, you will find Old Cypress Methodist Church, founded in 1886, it is younger than Hunter Chapel by 36 years. The 1800s were good for John Wesley’s folks in these parts it seems.

Old Cypress Methodist Church

Old Cypress Methodist Church, founded in 1886, can be found on Dallas County Road 72. On that road, the church is probably outnumbered by 20 to 1 or better by deer camps.

A few miles from Highway 9 on the aforementioned County Road 74, I ran into a real ass. She had some friends, but they were all camera shy. So look at my beautiful ass.

my beautiful ass

My beautiful Arkansas ass.

Inside of old barn

Click on the picture to see the inside of the barn

But wait, there’s more! More barn pictures, inside and out

Each week, we shoot more than we have room to show, so we post them on our handy high-resolution picture galleries. In these galleries you will see more views of the barn inside and out.

The pictures are bigger and they are better. See everything we shot for this story in color and glorious black and white in gallery one: Click here to go there (This is a flash gallery, so MACs don’t like it). Click here for gallery two which MACs will like. There are 42 pictures in gallery one and 20 in gallery two.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

The hunt is over

hunting club cabin

The smaller of two buildings at the abandoned "Chateau Log Cabin Hunting Club" near Carthage, Arkansas. The red circle is where a load of what appears to be number six shot impacted on the building. From the shot pattern, one can presume the shooter was standing and the muzzle of the gun was not far from the impact area. Looks suspiciously like one of the infamous, " ... I thought it was unloaded" shenanigans. See the closeup below.

This story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com, where you will see pictures of the cabin and the hunting club sign. To see those pictures and find out how this whole thing started, click here, a very cool thing to do.

The two old buildings at the no longer active Chateau Log Cabin Hunting Club, just west of Carthage, Arkansas are just barely visible from Arkansas Highway 48 at highway speed. After a turn around and traversing a muddy ditch alongside the highway, I arrived on the premises. The building above has two rooms, both appeared to be bedrooms. Meals and socializing, of equal importance to the hunt in the hierarchy of deer hunting activity, probably took place in the cabin building just behind this one and to the right.

pellet impact area

A shotgun probably loaded with a squirrel shot discharged not far from these pellet holes.

We are presuming the pellet holes in the front of the building were accidentally made. One simply does not normally blast away at one’s deer club with a shotgun at point blank range. After the discharge there was probably a universal underwear change made by the members present at the time.

Hunting clubs run from palatial to pedestrian, with this one closer to pedestrian than palatial. Furnishings were (and still are) for the most part, spare furniture that most families accumulate by just being a family. Creature comfort is not the big issue, but protection from the elements is and this structure could handle that job well.

inside an old hunting club

The Hilton, it ain't, out of the weather it is. Accommodations were tight and if you had one really accomplished snorer, he probably filled the room with his raucous nasal concertos. The blue boxes in the window are electrical outlets, no doubt added after the walls were built. The window was the easiest and quickest place to mount the boxes. They were not shooting for a mention in Architectural Digest, only to have "juice" available.

Further down highway 48, I turned north on Arkansas Highway 9. North of Tulip on Highway 9, I came across Hunter Chaple Methodist Church, according to their sign, built in 1850. The church, in pristine condition is testimonial to a congregation of  caring members who understand the meaning of what is truly valuable.

Hunter Chapel Methodist Church

Hunter Chapel Methodist Church north of Tulip, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 9.

Further up highway 9 is Lono, home of the Country Corner, purveyors of great sandwiches among other things. There is an old residence on its last legs across the highway from the Country Corner. I figured we had best shoot that sucker while we can.

old residence at Lono Arkansas

The elements are about to win. The fat lady is not singing, but she is warming up.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind