.

.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

CONWAY -- VERNACULAR SETTLEMENT


OLD CONWAY GARAGE
Sometimes while cruising down a country highway or back road, we come upon a few homes and stores clustered within a semi-defined commercial landscape. The stores can be either deserted or, "hanging in there." Usually the cluster exudes the feeling of a time past, one that is beyond its prime. My father used to define these types of places as, "just a spot in the road."

In Rockcastle County, Kentucky there is an old clustered settlement called Conway which was named after a timber man. He founded the settlement as a commercial place to operate his business. His selective harvesting was mostly virgin timber from the surrounding area. White oak was the most desirable of the trees being cut. Eventually most of the valuable trees were cleared out and Mr. Conway moved on leaving the settlement to survive on its own.

Always a very small settlement of a few homes and commercial places, it attempted to make a go of itself. An example of survival was the old Conway Garage. Existing during the 1930s - 40s and perhaps before, it is now a building with a completely different commercial focus. Changes occur by necessity to survive.


OLD CONWAY GARAGE EXTERIOR
Above is a vintage photo of the exterior surrounding the old Conway Garage. A small child in the picture gives one an idea of the height of this large truck. Another plays with a tire off to the left. Notice the large sign on the building announcing CONWAY GARAGE and an old hand pump off to the side of the truck.

UPDATED CONWAY GARAGE
Today the structure exists as a deli and small grocery that has been updated almost beyond recognition of the original garage.

"Bones" tell the story when looking at old architecture. You get the feeling that the structure is old by its overall details. Compare the old Conway garage photo at the top of this post and this updated Conway garage photo above you can pick out some of the, "bones" of the old structure.

CONWAY COMMERCIAL BUILDING
Down the street a bit is an old store that has additions and sheds surrounding it. But the architectural false facade front is a dead give away that it is from another time.

FRONT FACADE CONWAY COMMERCIAL BUILDING
Old style store bay windows were used to show-case wares, undoubtedly ones that were needed by the locals of the area. It appears that the last use for the store was possibly a resale shop?

FRONT DOOR CONWAY COMMERCIAL BUILDING
-- CLOSED --
A "closed"sign hanging on the door could mean closed permanently, as many of these commercial clusters can be here one day and gone the next usually due to redevelopment growth of an area. This particular building has had a closed sign on it for at least a year.

Conway's old architecture seems to indicate that the prime time in this town was during the early 1900s. Changing ways determine if settlements like these can remain viable.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Barbara, Thanks for the comment on Folkways Notebook. Plan to keep the photos coming along with comments of the common yet intriguing ways of folk.

    ReplyDelete