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Monday, January 27, 2014

OLD VERNACULAR CORN CRIB IN THE COUNTRY





Sitting alone and unused in the hill country of Estill County, Kentucky is this vernacular hand-crafted old corn crib built probably during the early to middle part of the 1900s. Vernacular in the sense that the structure is concerned with domestic and functional use rather than fashionable. 

On the bottom of the crib runs a metal strip acting possibly as a barrier to keep varmints from entering. A small unused gate leans against its front corner. Once used as a structure to store corn cobs as feed for the farmer's domesticated animals -- it now stands as a fragment of our past. 

Its weathered silvered wood displays a contrast against the fields and woods behind it. Driving by the crib, folks can glimpse at this symbolic structure that represents what once was. Its condition has been kept in fine repair. I wonder what its future holds?


A vintage style board and batten door with old heavy hinges is the only access to the corn crib that I noticed from the road.



16 comments:

  1. It is curious, isn't it. Grass is mowed, can't see loose shingles or ribs. It's as if it's bothering no one and earned a good rest.

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    1. Joanne -- This corn crib was part of a large farm. All around this farm was mowed. It seemed like he or she liked everything neat and tidy. When I lived in KY I noticed many buildings on farmsteads that were now in disuse. I would add this charmer to the list. I don't know if Ohio had cribs, I assuming they did as they were and probably still are in some respects a farming state. My maternal family were farmers in Ohio but I was young then when I would visit and of course could care less about the types of buildings they had. I just loved to play with my cousins. I do remember the large beautiful barns though. -- thanks -- barbara

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  2. How lovely. And I don't have to drive to KY to see it! Thanks for comments about the structure as well as good photos. I never thought of vernacular in that sense, but it makes sense.

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    1. Barb -- From the weather reports it sounds like you are knee deep in snow. I look at vernacular objects in the sense that you can read the culture and the creator from the form and materials used. I read buildings in this way. I read all vernacular objects this way -- it's really just observing and becoming acquainted with the objects around you over time. Stay warm. thanks -- barbara

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  3. I always travel west. Your photos entice me to head east...sometime!

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    1. turquoisemoon -- travelling is so personal. Where are your favorite places to visit. I've always felt that the US is not one big culture but many small ones living adjacent to each other. It would be fun to travel like the book, "Travels With Charley." thanks -- barbara

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  4. Old corncribs fascinated me so much I had to build one. We used it for a few years before we got out of farming and back to simpler homesteading. I still love them; it's the thriftiness, I think, and the self-sufficiency they represent.

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    1. Granny Sue -- You and your husband seem very industrious as reflected in all that you both are involved with. To me building a crib would require time and patience but then you point out the thriftiness of having one so it evens out. Hope you have found another use for your crib or maybe you prefer to view it as a wonderful reminder of what you did as a team effort. thanks -- barbara

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  5. Isn't it great to still find these isolated reminders of our history. It also has a couple of features which, if it were in the UK, I would be confident of hazarding a guess about. The whole building appears to be raised on piers, which in England we would call "staddles", which also serve the purpose of making the store inaccessible to mice and rats. At the top is a small boarded-up opening; might that be to encourage owls to enter the building as a further deterrent to vermin? Although the front of the building looks in reasonable repair, from the amount of light coming through it looks like the back might need some attention.

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    1. John -- Some of our cribs are raised on piers, especially the old ones. I am not familiar with the name, "staddles." I imagine that they are similar to our large stacked and flat rock piers found on our old cribs. I also have not observed a boarded up opening qt the top of any of the corn cribs in our Midwest. I have lots of crib photos that I took while living in Kentucky. I will have to go back through them to look for some of the details I might have missed. Your observations are great -- thanks -- barbara

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  6. It is nice to see structures that is unfamiliar to me - we don't have corn here. It seems to be in good condition, so maybe it could be used as place for drying clothes?

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    1. RuneE -- Corn cribs were found on landscapes where corn was grown so I can understand why you are not familiar with them. I imagine that farmers would think of a use or two for them eventually. -- thanks -- barbara

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  7. Wow, that is really in great shape. I love it.

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    1. Janet -- I imagine you see corn cribs in your part of the country. I suspect that small farms around you still have such structures -- thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  8. We have a smaller version of this on our farm. It was still storing field corn in '75 -- we have used it for storing an assortment of things ever since. And, in my book ART'S BLOOD, I had a character trapped in this corn crib's literary twin.

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    1. Vicki -- I remember seeing a photo of your unique corn crib on your blog some time ago. The fascinating part of a corn crib is that they were built by the maker to suit his construction form. You probably have many different forms in your area -- thanks -- barbara

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