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Saturday, August 11, 2012

APPALACHIAN HOME IN THE BACKWATER AREA

Appalachian Backwater Area
Vacant

The house above is an example of the vernacular architecture found in the backwater areas of central and eastern Kentucky. Backwater having two meanings; one, that the area is peaceful and isolated and two, that the area's culture can be moving to a different drumbeat than other parts of the nation. 

Most of these small cracker box types of homes were built in the early 1900s when many backwater areas did not have electricity nor plumbing and schooling was not emphasized as important. Today these types of homes on the Kentucky landscape  are swiftly disappearing along with the culture they symbolize.

Like any culture we can always learn something from it. When these homes can no longer be spotted on the land we will have lost a friendly handshake along with values such as making do, hard work, and simple ways.

16 comments:

  1. I love the picture and enjoy your story. I had never heard of backwater homes. Are some of the historic societies saving any of these???

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    1. turquoisemoon -- any place that fits the backwater definition can have homes that are built simply -- be it Oregon, Maine, Alabama, or any other state. Different states have their own stylistic forms. Backwater is cultural context not a house per se. I have given the Kentucky structure above the form name of cracker house. Cracker houses in Fla. are very similar in form to the above house. Some of those in FLA have been restored. I therefore borrowed the name as I could not find a handy name for the house. Some would say this house is a two pen or a four pen but I thought cracker appropriate. I have seen some restored in this area that are located near towns. Not so much in the isolated backwater areas. Here is a link describing the FLA cracker.

      http://www.oldhouseweb.com/architecture-and-design/cracker-farmhouses-1840-1920.shtml

      thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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    2. Thanks Barbara, I found this very interesting and will follow the link...Lynn

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  2. As I drove home along US 226 from Spruce-Pine to Marion, NC, I passed many decrepit mobile homes (many empty, but some still housing someone). I thought how these once represented a step up from the old frame homes built by the elders...and many young families were raised in these trailers. Then the children grew and left for the cities. Unfortunately the trailers don't leave behind interesting skeletons as those cracker homes did. Not usually a subject for good photos.

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    1. Barbara -- trailers come in all sorts of sizes and histories. I think that the best example I saw of what was once called generically a "trailer park", was in Oregon. It was a group of trailers that were decorated very artistically -- old hippies lived in the park -- apparently very artsy hippies. -- thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  3. "Making do," a phrase I've not heard since I was a little girl. Just imagine the secrets and stories hidden in these walls. Thanks for the history lesson about backwater homes and the culture they represent.

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    1. Nature Weaver -- I think, "make do" is a left over phrase from the depression era? My parents, teen-agers during that era, used the expression often while I was growing up in my small town. Thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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  4. I was wondering whether people might be rehabbing these kinds of places, but you answered that question. I can't decide whether that makes me happy or not -- I think I prefer preservation over rehabilitation.

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    1. elise -- I agree with you about preserving rather than rehabbing. The rehabs I have seen were done quite nicely keeping to the spirit of the place. thanks for stopping by -- barbara

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  5. Heaven!
    I would move in in a heartbeat!

    Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

    *hugs*

    Mimi
    The Goat Borrower

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    1. Mimi -- And I hope you are having a marvelous summer. It has been a hot one here as well as many other places as you know. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  6. I like those aged metal roofs and hope these types of structures will be around for some time, as photo opps for us and as reminders of the lives lived there.

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    1. Teresa -- the aged metal roofs are indeed beautiful. Many photos opps around here for you if you ever get this way -- thanks -- barbara

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  7. Is this referred to as a saddle bag log house? With the central chimney I was thinking that might be the name for it.

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  8. There is so much feeling in that picture.

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