SMOKEHOUSE -- Where meat is cured from a slow hardwood fire. Usually the smoked meat is stored in the smokehouse after being cured.
The above smokehouse sits on the Rodgers-Trible Homestead in Madison County, Kentucky, just outside Richmond. It is part of a large restoration effort by the Madison County Fiscal Court and the Battle of Richmond Association.
Presently the Rodgers-Trible Homestead is closed to the public. All outbuildings extant on the property appear to be untouched since becoming part of the museum homestead property. The exception is with what is believed to be a slave house -- it is presently under major restoration due to a severe state of decline.
It was a pleasure to walk the grounds (with permission) and be the only one peeking and peering into the outbuildings. Sometimes outbuildings are not appreciated for their "language" that "talk and tell" the history of a place. Hopefully, the buildings on this place will be left in their original state and only maintained as needed -- keeping their character. Every piece of an old structure is a story.
The Rodgers-Trible Homestead was settled in the early 1800s. As with all properties, over time, they change. The smokehouse is box board construction, a type of construction popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A shed roof structure is attached on the side -- perhaps constructed after the smokehouse was erected? The smokehouse sits perhaps 30 feet or so from the rear door of the main house. Even though it is labeled a smokehouse, it could have been used for various other rural uses.
Could the metal roof of the smokehouse have been wood shingles at one time? There are dirt floors inside both the smokehouse and its attached shed. Only one door leads into the smokehouse and one door into the shed. There is not a connecting interior door between the shed attachment and the smokehouse. Stepping into the smokehouse is accomplished by using a low elevated slab of quarried limestone.
The shed's one and only window is now empty of glass panes. It acts as a frame for the ancient tree just outside. As I walked about the large section of property I felt an eerie sense of people who once lived and worked there. This always seems to happen to me when I come across an empty homestead. I look for shadows of use on the buildings and paths worn over time. These shadows represent the living of a time past.