Sunday, August 12, 2018

Vanishing Landscapes - Old Barns

Little by little, Swain County's history vanishes every year, both in terms of the loss of the people who once called it home, but also in the buildings that are torn down for various reasons. Lately I've been taking long drives through the county in search of old places to photograph before they, too, disappear forever. Today in lieu of a lengthy piece, I thought I'd share some photos of some of the old barns in the county - both past and present. Most of these are from the western end of the county.

If any of you, my wonderful readers,have particular memories of these barns or the folks who owned them, please do share in the comments or via email (oldeswain@gmail.com). Additionally, if you know of any old barns that you'd like to see photographed, please reach out to me and I'll be happy to do that so long as they are easily accessed (I'd love to do another photo series on them).

Enjoy!

Upper Brush Creek


Bryson Branch (note the antique car under it)




Cowan Wikle's barn in Lauada (just off NC 28)
Information provided by Bill Burnette

Old Deep Creek Road



Silvermine Creek

Wesser Creek


Lower Brush Creek

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Sources:
All photos taken by Wendy Meyers
Bill Burnette (ownership of barn in Lauada)

10 comments:

  1. The barns of my youth are long since gone but so am I. It is a wonderful thing you do to try to preserve the history of Swain County. Too many people want to blend it in with the rest of the world, to keep it "modern". They fail to realize how unique a place it is.
    One barn I remember vividly is Mose Wikle's. After he died a renter, whom I shall not name, moved onto his homestead and made homebrew in the hayloft of his barn. He buried his fermentation vessel beneath the hay so it would be warm enough to "work off" even in winter. I was too young to partake of adult beverages so I will plead the 5th here. But it was some good stuff. In the summertime he took it from under the hay, put it in glass jars, and buried it in the creek. Cool and refreshing I'm sure it would have been but again I plead the 5th. I have since become a teetotaler but that stuff sure was good (at least that's what they told me).

    Sorry, I'll stop before my comment gets longer than your post but let me reiterate, it is a great thing you do. Please continue as best you can. It means a lot to me!

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  2. That is awesome, Ed - I love to hear the memories associated with the barns and this one's a great one (cracked me up). Can you remind me of where Mose Wikle's place was? If on Wiggins Creek, was it to the right or the left at the split?

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  3. Turn right at the Bus Shack onto Ammons Branch Road, cross Wiggins Creek and drive until the road reaches Hurricane Branch. Just across the branch is Mose's house. A road turns to the right a little past the house that goes up and around the hill, behind the house to the old barn. I'm not sure the old barn is still standing but Google's satellite image shows a building of some kind there. I hope it has survived!
    Mose had a blacksmith shop just as you cross onto that little road on the right of the branch and the left side of the road. I don't think it has survived but it is possible.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ed - I will go out there in the next couple of weeks and take a look - and of course grab a picture for you. (Especially after your great story)

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  4. Beautiful barns, important work, and precious legacy's.... of know-how, of the strong rugged and wise men who built them

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and enjoying! You are so right about the legacies they have left for posterity.

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  5. Wendy, If you can still get on my Needmore NC map where I have the places of my childhood marked, I have the barn and blacksmith shop marked as well as the house.

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    1. Ed, I sent you a message regarding this. I no longer can access it but would dearly love to see it again.

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  6. Mose Wikle was Jeff and Tiny Wikle's son. He lived right up the branch almost in sight of their homeplace. I imagine it is all grown up now but when I was growing up there was open fields between the two homesteads. Mose shot himself on the front porch of his house one day before the tenth anniversary of his wife's death. I guess he thought it was time to go see about her.

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    1. That is so sad about Mose!

      I have a picture of Jeff and Tiny Wikle that was taken of them sitting in chairs in front of a very expansive field (as far as the eye could see). It's definitely not that way anymore - very wooded.

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