Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Corn Crib Gazebo: Before and After

"The Corn Crib was once used for the storage of corn and other feed grains. In the 1930's, Mr. Magers had two buildings joined together to make one larger building. Constructed of cypress, it has a hip roof that is covered in shingles. The style is unusual for a farm building. It is in POOR REPAIR." . . from the National Register of Historic Places 2007

I wish I had a photo of the corn crib when we moved to the farm. . .The photo above shows it in excellent repair compared to what we found in 2005. . .The photos below are after much clean-up. . . .When a survey team arrived from the Department of Arkansas Heritage in Little Rock and went to work gathering information and photographs so that they could submit our farmstead to the National Register of Historic Places, they were amazed at the good shape most of the barns and larger buildings were in. . .Not so much the outbuildings. . .While they encouraged me to TRY to restore it, they knew it would take a lot of work and money to restore the Corn Crib. . .Unlike the image above taken ca 1960s, the poor building was in horrible shape. . .Floor fallen in from termites and rot, so treacherous it was unsafe to enter. . .No doors. . .Siding rotted and falling off. . .Few shingles left on the roof--only enough remnants to see that it was green at one time. . .Many of the joists had rotted. . .Trash and animal droppings scatter around. . .For all the negatives, the main structure of cypress including the rafters was still in fairly good condition. . .If we could get a roof on it, it might be saved.

I would never considered anything but restoration. . .I'd worked at Colonial Williamsburg long enough to know that any building could be brought back to life. . .There was another reason I wouldn't tear it down, though. . .It all goes back to the late 1950s-early 60s when I'd bike out to the farm (we lived 'in town') to be with Daddy who often had some project going on in the shop. . .At one time he was building a houseboat to put on Lake Norfolk for our summers. . .but that's another story I'll have to tell you later.

While Daddy worked, I'd roam around the barns and buildings making an adventure out of the day. . .I liked the big barn. . .the little barn was alright. . .but my favorite was the Corn Crib. . .By the time Mom and Daddy inherited the farm, there were no longer cattle or mules or horses or any animal except dogs, chickens, and a few barn cats. . .So Daddy used the building to store fertilizer and seed. . .The only time I could play in it was at the end of summer when it was empty until the next year.

I wasn't suppose to play there. . .chemicals and all. . .but I did. . .I pretended it was my little home. . .daydreamed of how I'd 'fix it up'. . .where the bed would go. . .and a rocker. . .and a table and chairs. . .I'd need a big wood stove to cook on. . .a cabinet top to make my pies. . .Daydreams. . .

Forgive me Daddy. . .but, every time I'd hear the shop door open, I would run or hide so you wouldn't catch me. . .How many years ago was that? And, I'm just now confessing. . .

Anyway. . .Let's just say I've been fond of the building for many years. . .The deterioration didn't concern me. . .I envisioned it as a place where we could relax with an iced tea in the afternoon. . .or fire up the grill and have our friends over. . .or spend a quiet Sunday there alone with a good book.

In a way, I suppose it is my playhouse still. . .just not the one I planned years ago. . .John and I both have added special touches making it everyone's favorite of all the twelve buildings. . .I picked the Victorian style screen doors. . .John constructed the cupola with the weathervane rooster. . .We  painted the gazebo exterior red with white trim to match the other buildings. . .I made certain a green roof went on top. . .The siding IS the original. . .all we could salvage. . .which is how we determined the area to be screened. . .We started adding back the reclaimed boards at the front and then the back. . .and used the remainder on the lower sides. . . .It was six years ago that we finished and have enjoyed it every since. . .By next Spring the old beauty will be due for a coat of paint. . .or not. . .part of her charm is the weathering of the cypress and paint.

You can see the interior photos at THE COUNTRY FARM HOME:
although here's a peek for you. . .Quite a difference, isn't it?
I'm so glad I never forgot those childhood daydreams and salvaged this building. .
.It's a fun place to relax and regroup. . .whatever the season. . .Yep. . .
LIFE IS GOOD here at the farm. . .
No complaints