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

A farewell to Isaac. Nearly.

fishing dock at saracen lake pine bluff arkansas

The last vestiges (I thought at the time) of tropical depression Isaac are leaving town. The angry clouds on the horizon are his. Shot from the fishing dock of Saracen Lake, our downtown impoundment in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Isaac fooled us. He came back for a curtain call later that night.

We finally got some rain here in LA (lower Arkansas). Seems like we have had domino-sequence dry spells for the last two summers. In 2012, we never quite overcame the rainfall deficit we experienced in 2011, adding insult to injury.

view of storm outside window link to corndancer

Click on the window for more of the story

It was so dry, the state was considering a water pistol buy-back scheme. Before we go too much further, check out the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this story started.

Then along comes Isaac inching his way from south Louisiana to the LA homeland. The original tracking put the “eye” just about over us. On the way, Isaac changed his mind and skewed west, a classic case of good news and bad news.

That put us on the east side of the donut, the roughest side of the storm. The counter-clockwise rotation of the storm sucks fresh moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and dumps it inland, mainly on the east side of the storm rotation. The good news is, you are finally going to get some rain.

Rural road covered with water

Saturday afternoon, September 1, I headed out looking for aftereffects of Isaac. I did not find much that was notable except perhaps for Clint Henderson Road, north of Humphrey, Arkansas. There were several stretches where water covered the road, all of which I negotiated in the faithful pickup. The road section above was the longest, but not the deepest. This section was six to eight inches deep. The deepest section I’m estimating was right at axle deep.

The bad news is it’s coming to you three ways: hard, fast, and continuous. And in the process you are going to take a drubbing. Fortunately by the time Isaac crossed into LA, he was a tropical depression rather than a tropical storm or a hurricane. That’s little consolation to someone who has three inches of water in his den. On the bright side, he still has a den.

Saturday afternoon, I was laboring under the delusion that Isaac was gone for good. I was driving around looking for Isaac aftereffects and did not find many. I did notice that most of the afternoon was marked with a stiff easterly wind. That should have been a clue.

ripe corn in stiff breeze

There was a stiff breeze from the east most of Saturday afternoon, as evidenced by the horizontal leaves and bending stalks of this harvest-ready corn in a field east of Altheimer, Arkansas. The wind was a harbinger of things to come.

This old Grapette sign adorns the north side of the now unoccupied Leake building in what’s left of downtown Altheimer, Arkansas. The old sign has been on my list for a while and I figured today was the day. Grapette was about the best tasting “cole-drank” ever made in my humble opinion. It originated in Camden, Arkansas. For far too long after the brand fell on hard times, the drink was not available. In recent years, Wal-Mart bought the recipe and rights to the name and now sells it in their stores.

The Leake building in Altheimer, Arkansas

This is the Leake building upon which you will find the Grapette sign. The building dates back to 1917. The last business in the structure was Rusty’s Package Store. “Package Store” is a term widely used in LA and throughout Arkansas to soft peddle the term “liquor store” to the general public, some of which “don’t believe in likker.”  Rusty’s last package left the store a long time ago.

Later that night, Isaac did an encore — with us being on the tail end of a storm line reaching from LA to northern Illinois and Indiana. He dumped hail and rain and hit us with some strong winds. Isaac, one of Mother Nature’s children, had the last laugh. But then, Her family always does.

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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