Monday, August 2, 2010

Along the Back Roads...

As I traveled the back roads of Madison County coming home from the threshing on Saturday, this sign caught my eye.

Turnpike Road.  Way back, turnpikes were privately owned and maintained toll roads. There was a famous Buncombe Turnpike passing through Madison back in the 1880s -- but it ran along the river and was part of the Drovers' Road. Could this be a remnant, perhaps feeding into the main road? The river is nearby. . .
Just next to  Turnpike Road was this simple church. The back roads are sprinkled with small churches -- a leftover from the time when a church needed to be within walking distance of its congregation?  Or a testament to the independent, sometimes schismatic nature of religion among the people of this area?
A little farther on, I stopped to take another picture. Something about this abandoned house puzzles me. It looks more like the log construction used in tourist cabins back in the early years of motoring than the log houses that have survived in the area. The house just doesn't look to me like the local architecture. Could this have been built by an early transplant to Madison County?  I'll have to see if I can find out.

There's always something to see and think about -- along the back roads.

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22 comments:

Victoria said...

Back roads are the best roads, I think. Any road that's over two lanes wide I tend to find boring.

I hope you find the answers to the questions you asked in this post and blog about them!

L. D. Burgus said...

Abandoned can seem eerie and lonely but yet they have a story. The bottom shot has a great spot of flowers.

Mr. Stupid said...

Nice pictures. That house does look a bit out of place. There is always something about abandoned houses.

Callie said...

I love old houses and that one must have a good story to tell. Well, at least it should. Hope you can find out.

Martin H. said...

We tend to notice more along the backroads because we usually have to drive more slowly. I always prefer to take the minor/unclassified roads where I can.

Last year, friends of mine took a trip to the north-west of the UK, using only minor roads. They said it was like turning the clock back fifty years. Hmm, food for thought.

June said...

I like this post....
I love back roads!

Pat in east TN said...

Love traveling the back roads. Old churches are my favorites, then barns, and, of course, those old houses, left long ago/falling to decay.

Brian Miller said...

that house is really cool looking...definitely smell a story there...love traveling the back roads...

Jean Baardsen said...

Sounds like the type of places that would fit well into one of your books! Love the photos!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Vicki -- The house/cabin(?) is from the early 1900s. The window type and the fact that it has the tourist type logs is the giveaway. The left hand part of the structure (left on the photo) could be an addition. I would have to closely examine the structure to determine if indeed the left is an addition. A component of my Masters degree was in Historic Preservation and although I am a Cultural Anthropologist I continue my research on vernacular architecture of which your structure fits into. -- barbara

willow said...

I love your neck of the woods.

willow said...

....interesting what Barbara had to say about the house!

Tammy said...

I love taking the back roads too. Which isn't hard around here! Little churches still dot the landscape as well. Many are closed, but still well kept up. I believe the reason there were so many around here was the restricted traveling, same with all the old schools (and the churches and schools sometimes doubling up in the same building). It's hard to realize how 'local' everything had to be when just a few short years down the road we are so very mobile.
Tammy

Deanna said...

We traveled from Missouri to West Virginia a few years back, keeping to the back roads. The rules were no interstate unless it was absolutely necessary and no fast food - we could only eat at local dives. We saw the most interesting things and places! The back roads are the best!

estaminet said...

Dad told me years ago, while I was learning about the Chunn House, that Turnpike Road IS part of the old Buncombe Turnpike. If ever have time, drive along it - it's not long (it comes out on Bailey's Branch, on the other end) and is very pretty. I'll ask him about that church and see what he knows about it.

You can't throw a rock around here but you hit a good story, can you?

Jon Lee said...

I love this post. Growing up in West Virginia, I always traveled the West Virginia Turnpike to visit my grandparents. It was a dangerous road at that time, but I loved the tunnel that we had to pass through to get to our destination. I love log cabins. I will be interested to see the history of that log cabin you posted.

Liza said...

Your closing sentence SPEAKS to me. Ripping along the dirt roads in our area over the years has led to some unique discoveries, and besides that, it is just some good old-fashioned fun!

jennyfreckles said...

There's always something new to learn. Thank you for keeping your eyes open - for my delight!

Vicki Lane said...

Victoria -- keep reading the comments -- the answers are coming in!

Larry -- couldn't resist that little volunteer impatiens!

Mr. S. -- Oh, there is indeed. I'd love to go in and look around but there are pretty strict laws about trespassing.

I'd love to do that, Martin -- maybe across the USA. Or even across North Carolina. Unfortunately, I'm usually in a hurry to get wherever and then to get back home.

We see plenty of all those, don't we,Pat?

Write that story, Brian!

I may well find a use for all three of these, Jean.

I was guessing in that range, Barbara. There were lots of folks from elsewhere building summer homes in the mountains at that time -- but not, I think, very many in our county. I'm going to ask around.

Willow -- And below, some info on the road! Cool!

True enough, Tammy! Paved roads and cars weren't common around here till the forties or even, in some places, the fifties.

Sound wonderful, Deanna! I try to look for the local eateries whenever possible when traveling. There've been so real goodies!

Cool, Estaminet! Ask him about the old house, too, would you? I'll go take a drive on Turnpike Road soon!

Jon Lee -- I love thinking about the history of some of our old roads -- I wrote a lot about one of them in my book IN A DARK SEASON.

Liza and Jennyfreckles -- I like to think of all of us -- from Canada to Yorkshire and all over, exploring our back roads and learning more about where we live -- and then sharing it on our blogs!

Tipper said...

Nothing like traveling the backroads and wondering. I bet the turnpike name is from days gone by when there was a real turnpike. Amazing how those old names somehow hold on.

Misty said...

I would like to thank you for doing this blog. I look forward to reading it every day. I just love the pictures and the stories. Everyday I read your blog and feel as though I've been on a mini-vacation. Thank you for that!!

Vicki Lane said...

Yep, Tipper -- according to estaminet (above) it was just that!

Thank you so much for saying that, Misty! I'm so glad to be a part of your day.