Friday, August 13, 2010

Pictures of the Abraham Church home

Last week a reader sent me some photos of a home that one belonged to Abraham Church. The Church family sold the home in 1887 to Joseph McRea Bond. He lived there until his death in 1899. It then passed to his daughter, Ida Bond Shelby. This first photo is the oldest. It was taken in 1915, and shows members of the Shelby family in front of the home.
At some point in the home's history weatherboarding was added to the outside. Multiple generations of the Shelby family lived there until it was abandoned sometime in the 1950's. This next photo was probably taken at some time around then. You can see that the trees are much larger here.
It was 1982 when the next photos were taken. Historian Jill Garrett took them for a newspaper article.

Trees had grown up all over the property.
Yes, you can see all the way through the house here. This was an architectual feature common to the period call a breezeway or dogtrot. It allowed for air to flow to more areas of the house. Without air conditioning, this was an important feature to have.
A separate building was the smoke house. It never had weatherboarding added. It is possible that this is where B. H. Roberts put on his disguise. He described it as being a "loft room that the family used as a smokehouse."

4 comments:

Christopher said...

What's become of the home, do you know, Bruce?

BruceCrow said...

Yes, it is a very sad story. You can read about it here.

The short version is that it was sold, disassembled, and moved, to be reassembled. But money ran out and it was never put back together. The logs eventually deteriorated beyond usefulness.

Ardis E. Parshall said...

Looks like it was a fine house in its prime. Looking at this series of photos was like looking at a family album where you watch a strong, vigorous uncle slide into a decrepit old age. Or maybe I should look at it the other way, where you look at pictures of someone you know only as a very old man and discover that he was once that strong, vigorous young man. We don't often guess looking at people or buildings what they've seen and gone through.

Great post.

BruceCrow said...

Ardis,
B. H. Roberts called the home a plantation in his various writings. The family was prosperous and comparatively wealthy.
I had planned to take a trip to Grinders Switch to see if I could photograph the remains. I thought I might show that one first and then back up the time line as Ardis suggested. But I was recently told it was so far gone now I wouldn't be able to find even that.