Barns That Tell A Story

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Nancy Hart, Mar 13, 2024.

  1. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    Mail Pouch Barns

    A Mail Pouch barn on Rt 26 near Marietta, Ohio (Google Streetview, June, 2023).

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    Harley Warrick (1924 - 2000) was the last Mail Pouch barn painter. He painted signs on barns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, New York, Illinois, and Michigan.

     
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  2. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Supreme Member
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    I remember those ads painted on barns.
     
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  3. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    Rock City Barns

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    "Rock City is a tourist attraction on Lookout Mountain in Georgia. Opened in May 1932, the attraction gained prominence after owners Garnet and Frieda Carter hired Clark Byers, the former $3-a-week buttermilk bottler, in 1935 to paint "See Rock City" barn advertisements throughout the Southeast and Midwest United States. Byers painted over 900 barn roofs and walls by 1969. His work helped turn a sleepy tourist attraction into a world-famous phenomenon."

    Where I grew up Rock City barns were thought of as second class Mail Pouch barns. I think because the tourist attraction wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Has anyone ever been there?

    Clark Byers poses at the first Rock City barn, in Kimball, Tennessee, first painted in the mid-1930s.

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  4. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Veteran Member
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  5. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    Oh, you betcha! My parents took us to Chattanooga when we were kids and we went to Rock City, Ruby Falls, and the other tourist traps.

    I remember seeing the painted barns AND the Burma Shave signs.

    Then my late husband and I took our daughter there and repeated the experience. We rode the incline, too.

    Finally, the Spousal Equivalent and I visited there and did it all. There's a great aquarium, too, divided into two parts, the river and the ocean.
     
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  6. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    Does anyone remember "The Real McCoys" episode where Grandpa agrees to get his barn painted "for free", thinking he's got a real deal. But it backfires when the painter also paints "GAMBLING IS AT ITS BEST AT __________ CASINO" on the roof.

    As his daughter-in-law is against gambling, he is in a panic. He grabs some sheets of tarpaper and covers up some words and letters, so that it spells out "GAMBLING IS A SIN".

    Unfortunately, a windstorm comes up and blows the tarpaper away and he has to pay to get the roof re-painted.

    I used to love that show when I was a kid.
     
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  7. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    It says Ruby Falls, Rock City, and the Incline Railway are three separate attractions. Wow! :(

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    Ruby Falls, the country's tallest underground waterfall.

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  8. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    @Nancy Hart , that was an interesting video.

    I well remember those See Rock City barn signs. When we started seeing them, we knew we were getting close. The excitement started to build. :) There was another kind of sign too, but I can't remember what it what it advertised. I looked for them on Bing but couldn't find them.

    Oh, I see that you just posted them!:)
     
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  9. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    I don't remember that episode but we watched the show when I was a kid. I always liked Walter Brennan.

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    The Real Mccoys - Season 1 Episode 12 Gambling Is A Sin - YouTube
     
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  10. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    Oh, I'm glad you found that!
     
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  11. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    "The vanishing billboards of the back roads of America. Features Harley Warrick, "the last of the mail pouch barn painters" at work in the mid 1980s, an interview then as seen on the news magazine "Capital Edition", and an updated interview with Harley at home in 1999. Finally, a 2019 addendum brings viewers up to date on the barns and Harley. Story reported by Jan Thompson Goldsmith, from a 1999 broadcast of "Picture This, AMERICA."

    Harley Warrick and the Mail Pouch Barns
     
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  12. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    American Gothic Barn

    Three miles west of Mount Vernon, Iowa, on US Rt 30. This barn was painted by Mark Benesh, a local middle school art teacher, who was commissioned by the barn’s owner to replicate Grant Wood’s masterpiece. The large replica covers the barn’s entire facade. The sides are painted to depict a bison in a prairie and an image of the Iowan countryside that inspired Wood throughout his life.

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  13. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    This poem has already been posted in the Robert Frost thread, but it fits here. Besides. I like it.

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    The Need of Being Versed in Country Things

    By Robert Frost

    The house had gone to bring again
    To the midnight sky a sunset glow.
    Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
    Like a pistil after the petals go.

    The barn opposed across the way,
    That would have joined the house in flame
    Had it been the will of the wind, was left
    To bear forsaken the place’s name.

    No more it opened with all one end
    For teams that came by the stony road
    To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs
    And brush the mow with the summer load.

    The birds that came to it through the air
    At broken windows flew out and in,
    Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
    From too much dwelling on what has been.

    Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf,
    And the aged elm, though touched with fire;
    And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm;
    And the fence post carried a strand of wire.

    For them there was really nothing sad.
    But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept,
    One had to be versed in country things
    Not to believe the phoebes wept.
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    From our old friend Vic's recollections and stories:
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    "Vic's barn was built in 1864, by his Great, Great Grandfather. It was 100 feet long, and at some point, they removed 30 feet and moved it and attached it to the side of the barn.
    Vic and his first wife, Thelma, painted the barn in 1951. It took 9 days and 40 gallons of paint (White with red trim). The rungs on Vic's ladder broke and down he came paint and all, covering Thelma with white paint. Although she was seeing red for a while, she ended up laughing."
     
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  15. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Supreme Member
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    Folk Magic: The Hex Signs

    When immigrants from Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands arrived in the United States, they brought a tradition of painting these circular symbols on barns. Farmers believed that these symbols would protect their barns from evil spirits and bring good luck. Each design held its own meaning. Many dispute this and say they are just decorations.

    Because they are so heavily associated with Pennsylvania German Country, many people incorrectly assume the Amish developed and use hex sign iconography. Amish and Mennonites reject the hex signs as superstitious or pagan.

    Barn star artist Milton J. Hill (1887-1972) of Virginville, PA, painting his classic star pattern on a barn in Berks County, ca 1950
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    Courtesy of the PA Folklife Society Archive, Myrin Library, Ursinus College

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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2024

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