Valle Crucis Farmhouse

This old vernacular farmhouse, built in 1877, was quite common in the rural southern Appalachian Mountains.  It’s close to the Watauga River, and near the locally famous Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, and is among the few remaining homes from this era.

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 3
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 3

As early as the late 18th century, settlers moved westward into the southern Appalachian Mountains acquiring fertile farmland along its rivers and tributaries.  Simple log homes and farm structures, eventually gave way to larger hewn log structures later covered with basic weatherboard.

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 2
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 2

By the last quarter of the 19th century, increased farm production and the availability of mechanical sawn, turned and molded woodwork, had enabled successful farmers the means to build framed farmhouses similar to this one. 

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Rear Detail
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Rear Detail

These homes were known for their straightforward, functional appearance, with a “T” or “L” floor plan, 1 ½ stories, and a gable roof. Porch brackets are often the only ornamentation.  This house, and one in my previous post, features a two-story gable fronted porch centered on the front elevation and protecting entrances on each story.

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 1
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 1

I was unable to confirm who last lived in this house, but saw references suggesting it may have been someone from the Mast family. I should have asked when I stopped by the Mast General Store during this visit for a pair of wool hiking socks and ice cold bottle of root beer!

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Barn Detail
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Barn Detail

To really appreciate these compositions, click to view a high resolution version. Everyone please stay grounded and safe during the holiday season.

Season’s Greetings!

C. S.

Stike’s Holler

While visiting my younger sister and brother-in-law’s cabin in Ashe County, I was introduced to this picturesque little hollow, or holler as pronounced by folks in the Appalachian Mountains, along Buffalo Creek on Hwy 88.  The holler was north of West Jefferson, and right below Warrensville.  Later in October, I passed by to scout the sun position to determine the best time of day to photograph.

Stike's Holler Composition 1
Stike’s Holler Composition 1

Luckily, there was an older gentleman carrying items in and out of the lower right shed.  I walked across the bridge over Buffalo Creek up the hill to introduce myself and asked permission to take pictures on his property.  He said yes, and introduced himself as Fred Stike.

Stike's Holler Barn Composition 1
Stike’s Holler Barn Composition 1

I mentioned there were local artists which made paintings of his property.  Fred acknowledged his property’s appreciation in the local art community and went on to explain he was born in the lower house and now lived solely on the property by himself.  He noted local folk referred to his home as Stike’s Holler, and his sister had previously lived in the house further up on the right, but had moved to a home nearby on Buffalo Creek.

Sinking Shed in Stike's Holler Composition 1
Sinking Shed in Stike’s Holler Composition 1

Later in the week, I returned in the morning with my camera, but Fred was either not up or not at home.  I wish I had an opportunity to take his portrait.  The hill leading up to the barn on the top left and sinking shed on the top right was a bit steeper than it appeared at the base.  The stream in the center of the property had a slow trickle of water.  I found it fascinating how the structures were built into the hillside.

Sinking Shed in Stike's Holler Composition 2
Sinking Shed in Stike’s Holler Composition 2

While photographing the barn and sinking shed at the top of the hill, I could feel the ground was quite soft.  Perhaps the rocky soil has over time allowed dirt to wash through causing the shed’s foundation to sink on the uphill side.  I took a moment to image what this small mountain farm was like when Fred was a young boy.

Old House in Stike's Holler
Old House in Stike’s Holler
Stike's Holler Composition 2
Stike’s Holler Composition 2

I plan to drop some of these photos off the next time I visit Ashe Country and perhaps capture an outdoor portrait of Fred. Thank you for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving to all especially all my good friends on WordPress! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to experience a high resolution version.

Cheers!

C. S.