Old Barns and Old Ghosts: Tell Stories

Texas house

Hey Lloyd, Evan and the rest of the Shelter team: I was inspired to write the way I feel about old buildings and specifically old barns after reading Lloyd’s last post about barns in Oregon.

–Your friend in Texas, Tohner S. Jackson

Before I began work this morning I decided to take a walk.

Preface: I love old buildings. I grew up in a classic old Texas farm house and for the first few years it had no A.C and was heated by wood. One of my first jobs working for my dad during summers between school included taking care of a series of 19th century buildings that created a complex complete with a barn that we turned into a theatre that the college (UT) held Shakespearean plays in all summer and was used as a teaching facility and as an example of a very rare collection of early Texas homes and barns.

Many a vacation as a youth revolved around touring old homes (Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, and Arlington House) just to name a few. When I was ready to buy my first house I bought one that was built during the year that the last shot was fired during the civil war. Since that time I have restored/remodeled many old homes. There is nothing easy about old buildings they require constant love and attention and even more patience. But old buildings hold a certain Je ne sais quoi that can never be duplicated. No matter how talented and how much work a craftsman goes through to create age and history in wood. Nothing but time and many stories can create it. Exactly as it should be.

Old barns are amazing and in our area of Texas they have been disappearing for the last 50 years and some well before that. As the family farm which would have been commonplace for the typical rural family of yesteryear has all but disappeared. These building stand as relics and many of them as ghost. Beautifully, slowly and sadly melting back into the earth. Many still have stories to tell. We just don’t hear them though because we have constructed a digital world that sees age as only the futures enemy.

I can’t say that I’ve always heeded the advice given to me by old buildings. But this morning as the sun rose over the red relics that stand not far from the old farm house we are restoring … well …

I took a walk.

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