Y’all Come See Us
By Steve Tweed
Rural America has a rich farm history in which Appalachia has played a major role.
Some of the more impacting visual reminders are the barns that dot the landscape around us.
The most famous of these barns are the “See Rock City” Barns, which first began to dot the American landscape in 1935.
Soon, other businesses began to follow suit.
A family’s Sunday drive could not pass without seeing at least one “Message Barn”, encouraging folks to visit a particular landmark, venue or business.
There were even barns with religious messages such as “Prepare To Meet God” or “Get Right With God”, etc. Who would have ever guessed that the side of a barn could be used to help promote someone’s eternal well being?
The two examples offered here are both Burley Tobacco Barns with very different messages.
The photograph of Barn number one, the Winston Cook Barn, was taken in northern Madison County, North Carolina. The ad on the side of the 1928 built barn encouraged Burley Tobacco Farmers to sell their crop at the now long defunct “Bernard’s Big Market Tobacco Warehouse”.
The photograph of Barn number two was taken a short distance from Hot Springs, North Carolina in Del Rio, Tennessee. The message on the front of the barn reads “Prepare To Meet God” not once, but twice.
Given the current condition, I couldn’t help but wonder if the message was meant for passing motorists or as an omen for the barn itself.
The Winston Cook Barn was dismantled three weeks after this shot was taken, in November of 2015.
The Del Rio “Prepare To Meet God Barn” will soon be on the ground. They will be nothing more than iconic reminders of Appalachia’s deeply rooted tobacco heritage and relegated to the annals of history, another piece of Americana vanishing to time and progress.