Hooker Road redux


Old house on Hooker Road

Click on the old home for our original March. ’09 post. See more angles and details.

By March 2009, I had driven past this old home on Hooker Road off US Highway 425, south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but it was not until then I stopped for more than a quick snapshot.

After the first day, shooting in the afternoon, I returned the next morning for a 180 on the light from the previous day. Click to see our original Hooker Home post.

Once on the premises, my best guess was,  that in a few years (it has now been a few years), the old structure would have fallen to a pile of kindling. To our good fortune, I could not have been more incorrect in my conjecture. The old structure, as of a few weeks ago,  is still standing, perhaps a little worse for wear given the climatic beating it takes, but still upright.

Old house on hooker road

Click on the house for another picture and more information.

The old home follows the typical rural southern home. It started smaller than it was before final abandonment. The inhabitants added rooms, nooks, and crannies to suit their life style.

Evidence of livestock enclosures and out buildings hint that there was prosperity at some time. You can lay your eyes on another picture of the house and soak up more information and observations on the March 22, 2009 edition of the Photo of  Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

 

110 years old, in the family, the second time around


puppies at old house

These are Angie Ledbetter’s puppies. The pups’ mother moved them from the Chez Ledbetter to the nearby ancestral home of the Garners, her great grandparents and grand parents. There is one more puppy who was bashful and missed the photo-op. They have a severe case of cute.

Note: See more pictures of the pups in our Weekly Grist Gallery

If you blink, you may miss the Garner Place off Arkansas Highway 128 in the Lonsdale community. The original Garners built the first residence on the place as homesteaders sometime in the mid 1800s. The structure below was built and first occupied sometime between the late 1800s and 1901 according to Myrna Garner, widow of the late Robert “Bob” Garner, who was born in the home, a grandson to the original Garners. His final resting place is on the premises.

old farm house

The Garner Place off Arkansas Highway 128 in the Lonsdale community. The Garner family takes a great deal of pride in their ancestral headquarters. So do their puppies.

Old rocking chair under porch roof

See more Garner House pictures at Corndancer dot-com

It’s not every family that has a 110-year-old plus crown jewel of family heritage, where the fifth generation can hang their hat and say, this is where I came from. The late Bob Garner and his wife Myrna had that in mind back in 1974 when they bought the place back.

Seems in the early 50s Garner’s siblings were anxious to sell the old place and divide the spoils. There were 300 acres and the house which they hoped would bring a princely sum.

The property was auctioned off for less than a third of what it was worth. Before we go much further, may I suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com and see some more pictures of the old home and get in on the start of the story. We’ll wait here.

Bob Garner never forgot about the property and always wanted it back. Then in 1974, he got a call from his father who informed him that the people who bought the place were putting it on the market. Garner and Myra lived in Florida at the time, but Garner let no grass grow under his feet. He returned to Arkansas, made an offer and convinced the friendly local bankers to loan him the necessary moo-lah to close the deal. It all came together and the Garner place was THE Garner place again. See more pictures of the house in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

old gnarled tree

The gnarled old tree at the side of the house, surviving against the odds, is symbolic of the Garner resolve to bring the original family place back into the family fold.

 The Garners, led by Angie Ledbetter, daughter of Myrna and Bob have plans to stabilize the parts of the structure not deteriorated and repair what is needed. First on the list is to rebuild the porch which they tore out after a friend had an unseemly crash-through on the original equipment. According to Myrna they are scouting for old lumber to maintain the character of the home. Sounds about right from what I’ve learned about the Garners.

 

As we reported on Corndancer Photo of the Week page, the old home site is the Bob Garner’s final resting place. His mausoleum endured a crashing tree during the recent rash of Arkansas storms. The mausoleum survived. A couple of weeks ago, while traveling south of England, Arkansas, we encountered a similar set of circumstances. Both near misses. Perhaps the Almighty is reminding us who is in charge.

fallen tree beside grave

A near miss at a church cemetery south of England, Arkansas. The Almighty making sure we mere mortals do not forget who is in charge. Very convincing.

old barn

I drove on Cash Mountain Road as I meandered in the direction of the Garner Place and found still yet another old barn. You just can’t see too many.

See more pictures of the barn in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Parting shot

Traveling through the hinterlands of Arkansas and nearby states, one occasionally runs up on some narrow bridges. I found one in Saline County, Arkansas northwest of Glen Rose that takes the record. My truck and a bicycle would not safely nor successfully negotiate the bridge with out grievous personal injury and dings.

pickup truck on narrow bridge

Tight ain’t it?

But wait, there’s more

old barn

See more pictures in the Weekly Grist gallery

See our Weekly Grist gallery with more puppy pictures, another view of the tree on the grave, another barn picture and several more pictures of the Garner house. Click and go to see these pictures. Your momma would want you to do this.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

The Crain Loop calamities


Old yellow house on Crain Loop Road in Cleveland County, Arkanas

A collapsed storage building in the front yard of this home is a harbinger of things to come. This one has been abandoned for a while. The particle board on the left window is already grayed.

Old house on Crain Loop in Cleveland County Arkansas

Click for more Crain Loop pictures

Crain Loop in Cleveland County, Arkansas is a pristine country road. You can almost hear the music. Gentle curves and an idyllic environment make the drive worth the trip regardless of the season.

Along the way, we encountered four old homes in stages of disrepair from nearly at the point of no return to near collapse. Before we continue, check out the beginning of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Click here to go there. We’ll wait here while you peruse that content.

The old home in the top picture shows signs that someone still has a sentimental attachment and cares about the old place. The grass has been cut and there is no litter or trash in the yard. The other three former homes we found on Crain Loop do not enjoy a fan club like this one does.

Tar paper cabin

A structure like this is frequently the butt of the colloquial moniker, "tar-paper shack." There is a ladder barely visible next to the tree. It provides access to a platform wedged between the lower branches of the tree.

The next of four abandoned home places, an old tar-paper covered structure was where I encountered the only other human being on the shoot. As I was banging around on the truck while loading my ladder this individual appeared out of the woods with a curious look on his face. I came forth with “Howdy,” the most disarming rejoinder that immediately came to mind. He returned the gesture and said my noise peaked his curiosity. During deer season, I normally like to make lots of non-deer noise. We mutually explained each others presence. He said he was camping with his son and I told him I was photographing the house. I know the truth and veracity of my end of the conversation and I presume his was as well. But I don’t know for sure.

old crumbling house on Crain Road in Cleveland County Arkansas

This is the back of this house. The underbrush was thick around the front. You can catch a glimpse of Crain Loop through the doors.

From the number of jettisoned glass containers in the trash pile behind the crumbling house above, the place may have briefly enjoyed the lofty status of  “deer club” after it ceased to be a family residence. If not, the last residents had a terrible thirst.

I suppose there are more pleasant pursuits than puttering around old houses. The redeeming value, one would presume, of such structure stalking is that we gain or increase appreciation for what we have. Or did not formerly have. Or formerly had and no longer do.

 

Old house on Crain Loop

Click for the Weekly Grist Gallery

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Every week, we publish our Weekly Grist Gallery with larger pictures of all of our weekly “keepers,” some of which are not published in Corndancer or Weekly Grist. If you missed the other two links to the gallery, it’s not too late: 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



Kirksey Country


Fendley Store, Fendley AR

Fendley Store was opened by Kirksey family members in 1907 and closed in the forties. The Kirkseys have kept it in serviceable condition since its closing. Seemed like the right thing to do.

When you pull into Fendley, Arkansas it’s hard to miss Fendley Store. There’s not much else from an urban development viewpoint and that’s not a drawback if you happen to be a Kirksey. As a matter of fact, it’s close to ideal.

See the old Kirksey house at Corndancer dot com

The family has lived on this real estate since around 1874. Across the road from the store in one direction is the home of one of the original Kirkseys, still in use by a Kirksey.

To see the house (complete with tire swing and a neat little stone bench),  click here and go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com where this story started, a very cool thing to do. Also see one of the Spring Creek Nursery greenhouses and three generations of Kirkseys.  Take your time, we’ll wait here while you look around a bit.

Across the road in another direction is Spring Creek Nursery operated by Brian Kirksey and his family. The nursery is just part of what the Kirkseys do. They also raise cattle, build greenhouses and are in the timber business as well.

Spring Creek Nursery Greenhouse

Spring Creek Nursery greenhouses are designed and built by the proprietor, Brian Kirksey. They are good stewards of the environment. Diligent recycling is a part of their business.

The Spring Creek Nursery is a sophisticated operation in a rural setting. Low traffic. Low noise. Low hassle and a zero mileage commute. The family has five dogs, four of which are normally part and parcel of the daily “work-flow.” What is commonplace at Fendley is spectacular to those of us who see far too much asphalt and traffic. Take Moorman Road for example. The road runs through the Kirksey Farm. Not far from one of the greenhouses, the summer foliage of trees lining the road form a verdant tunnel. Not too shabby for less than a block and a half from Main Street.

Moorman Road

Moorman Road running through Spring Creek Nursery forms this living tunnel.

Just a few miles west of Fendley, on Still Creek Road, you will see the perfectly restored Loy Kirksey “dog-trot” house restored by relatives of Brian Kirksey. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a perfect example of this popular style of 19th and early 20th century rural architecture.  Sometimes you hear of these houses being referred to as “shotgun”house, which is a misnomer.

Loy Kirksey house

The Loy Kirksey House, originally built prior to 1874 is on Still Creek Road northwest of Fendley. Dog trot houses got their name from the style of two living spaces separated by a breezeway, through which one's dog could and would trot.

But wait, there’s more

More pictures

More pictures

Each week, we post all of the “keepers” of the shoot or shoots for Corndancer and Grist posts in an on-line picture-only gallery. There is normally not room to publish all we shoot and like. The pictures are high-resolution and larger that the posts.

This week the additional shots include some more green house, dog-trot, tunnel and tire swing shots in color and good ol’ black and white.  Click here and take a good look.

Thanks for dropping by and taking a look at how things are in a completely rural setting. I’m giving it a dozen thumbs up.

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

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

Btfsplk or Addams?


What was probably a fine home in its time has now taken on the desheveled, creepy, haunted look relished by mystery fans and despised by the squeamish.

What was probably a fine home in its time has now taken on the disheveled, creepy, haunted look relished by mystery fans and despised by the squeamish.

When I saw this old house, now a bit on the mysterious side, I wondered, could this have been occupied by the Li’l Abner character and bad-luck artist,  Joe Btfsplk? Or perhaps by the equally famous champions of dark humor, the Addams Family?  Either would probably feel right at home. Speaking of which, this exploration had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com.  You are looking at the back yard of this house east of Ola, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 28. To see a couple of front pictures and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.

This room an addition to the house, is large and had large windows, both conditions unusual for homes of this age.

This room, an addition to the house, is large and had large windows, both conditions unusual for homes of this age.

The right side of the house is an addition and is a large room, unusual by the standards of rural residences of that day and time. I’m guessing it is in the 90-100 year old age, but be advised, “guessing” is the operative word. The room also had large windows, also a bit on the unusual side for a house of this age. The open area to the left of the picture is the back of the breezeway through the middle of the house.

The old "living room" is a repository of evidence.

The old "living room" is a repository of evidence. But who dares to investigate?

Lest you think I have lost what few marbles I have left, I did not enter the house to shoot the picture above. Having a tall tripod, a tall skeletal structure, a short ladder and an open window saved the day for an interior shot. I like to include these when I can because I suspect many people are curious as to what is in the inside of abandoned houses. I suspect that at some time, probably more than once, a transient, not too choosy about accommodations, dragged the bedding into the room and built a small fire. Not at the top of the pecking order, but, any port in a storm I suppose.

Methinks there is some value in almost everything we see or hear. This old house is an example. Most of us should be grateful we do not have a wind tunnel through the middle of our respective residences. We should also be grateful that Al Capp and Charles Addams saw fit to provide us with countless laughs. And in Al Capp’s case, some insights into ourselves and our society.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe

 

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