•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Saving the Undercroft


The beauty of old barns for me begins with their riot of shapes and panoply of textures. Barns are industrial buildings that often meet a complex architectural program. They grow with the farm they serve and change with changes in agricultural markets. Their organization usually follows considered decisions about how to get more out of the work day with fewer sore muscles. One can often trace the history of what was farmed and how, by additions and changes made to the farmstead.

A lot of hands went into the making of any old farmstead. Every window and every wall carries the particular quirks of each hand & mind that hammered on it. In some old farms, even today, a great great great grandchild has taken me to places where great grampa set a mark.

Sadly, all of my encounters with old barns also remind me that these geriatric structures are often crumbling. As they fall, they plow under a rich history and a lifestyle. I'd like to think that "plowing under" is the compost of images such as this.