Header -- Queen Anne's Lace Abstract

Friday, February 8, 2013

OLD SPRINGHOUSE


Above is a spring house I saw as I was driving along a rural road in Rockcastle county. I stopped to take a shot of it even though it was way off in the distance. 

It sat alone -- no parts of a homestead were left. Constructed of   laid-up limestone and a tin roof, now rusticated,  it added charm to its rural setting. 

Basically spring houses are built into a hill embankment to capture a flowing spring. The spring water is kept clean by having an overhead structure to flow into which also  provides cool temperatures to its  interior. Having the walls built with stone or rock insulates the small building and provides a cool place for storing items such as butter, meat and other dairy products. The advent of electricity brought an end to the necessity of having a spring house.



Inside the old spring houses were rock troughs that held shallow pools of water. These troughs were used to store dairy products. This particular trough belongs to a man that saved it from his old family place in Madison county. Made of hand chiseled limestone and extremely heavy,  it now has been retired to his backyard in Berea, Kentucky. 

26 comments:

  1. Those that went before us were so strong and determined.

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    1. Tabor -- I've often thought about the strong determination of homesteaders. For the most part we have lost that physical determination today. We have warm houses, warm cars, grocery stores etc. Ever once in a while I hear about folks that have returned by choice to this style of living. I applaud them and don't think I could?
      -- barbara

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  2. What a wonderful old building and photo opp. Love this bit of history you've shared.

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    1. Teresa -- Seems like a bit of a feat to use a spring house when we just open our refrigerator door. thanks -- barbara

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    1. sparkle100- Oh my is right -- lots of work but such a charmer of a building -- thanks -- barbara

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  4. It's a lovely photo showing the rustic qualities of the springhouse. But the engineering involved is fascinating & you've brought alive for me a way of life!

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    1. Sketchbook Wandering -- Construction was surely a tradition that was passed down -- assuring a cool repository for certain items. The laid-up rocks are quite spectacular as they age along with the aging roof -- thanks -- barbara

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  5. I love sitting alone with a road side find such as an old barn, house or anything else rusticated :)

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    1. Dee -- I have a feeling that you have been an admirer of anything rural
      for a long time. For me its that aging quality that speaks to me. -- barbara

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  6. Great shot! Also love that header. That's a new pic isn't it???

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    1. turquoisemoon -- Oh the header is one I have put on intermittently since I started my blog. However, it's been quite some time since I have used it. Some headers are favorites and I use then off and on. -- thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  7. I remember a neighbor "back in the hills" who used a working spring house for milk, butter, etc. They lived a primitive life without electricity. I was fascinated although I'm not sure I would want to live that way all the time.

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    1. NCmountainwoman -- What an experience that would be to actually see a spring house being used. I hear there is a reclusive family that lives up in the hills not to far from me that live "the old ways". I would love to meet them but feel they are reclusive for a reason and a visit from me would not me appreciated. -- thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  8. Very interesting. I have never heard about this way of doing refrigeration before.

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    1. RuneE -- Interesting that spring houses are unknown to you. Perhaps ice houses were used in your country as they were in the colder parts of ours. Where I live ice is rather unusual -- thanks -- barbara

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  9. We have the remnants of an old springhouse on our farm. I love it. We have several spring/waterfall areas on our farm.

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    1. Michelle -- Do you use the spring water for drinking? I love fresh spring water and try to keep some on hand for drinking although I travel a few miles to get it from a lovely flowing spring. I imagine the spring still runs through your spring house? thanks -- barbara

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  10. Interesting historical post today. I did not know of this.

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    1. Birdman -- I am always amazed to find old rural structures that served a particular need for a homesteader. So many of these structures have been wiped off the land. Thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  11. This is a beauty of a spring house. What craftsmanship our forefathers possessed. I remember a spring my father showed me when I was young. It was at the edge of the woods in a remote area. It was a hollowed out tree about three feet in diameter. It was buried in the ground around four feet. It was full of spring water that bubbled up from the sandy bottom. The most remarkable thing about it was the lone trout that called the spring home. What a beautiful vision that was and remains. An aluminum dipper hung next to the spring for visitors to share. Thank you for bringing that memory back with your post.

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    1. Raining Iguanas -- your memories are so warm - with your father, the spring and the trout. I feel that memories are the layers we build on to be who we are today. Springs are found abundantly in my area. I try and collect from a spring in my area although it is a trip in my truck to get up to it. Lots of hair pins and steep roads. If I am feeling courageous I attempt it bringing my many empty water containers. thanks -- barbara

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  12. A tiny spring house was on the farm where I was born and lived until I was 10. It was and remains a mystery to me for I have no idea where the water came from or went. There was a square basin about 4x4 feet with water maybe 2 feet deep. My father kept 5 gallon milk cans there that he filled with milk morning and evening, saving aside only what we would use. On some schedule a truck from a nearby company picked up the full cans and left empty, clean ones. It was a small sort of shed about the same size as the outhouse that was behind the garden.

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    1. June -- Your description sounds like a milk house. I lived on a farm as a young adult that had a small cement block structure near the road. I was told that the structure was where the farmer used to place his large milk cans for the dairy truck pick-up, But if it had a flowing spring than it was a spring house. I do know that farmers did set their milk cans in a structure near the road for pickup right through the early 50s and maybe longer. Your young life experiences could be a book. thanks -- barbara

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  13. Only few remain here in "Bluff Country" which I've found on troutfishing forays. A remnant of a past age when the work and ingenuity of our pioneer ancestors stood out....

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    1. troutbirder -- I imagine you have lots of hills (or bluffs) where these spring houses were probably located. It sounds like your area is still pretty rural. Aren't you lucky. thanks -- barbara

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