•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dairy Barn & Cow Stalls, Elliott Farm

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: There's always been farming on this hill. I took this a week ago after a morning of photographing the barns from the fields below. The farmer who dug this barn deep into the hillside and near its top, knew that on chilly mornings he'd have the early sun on his back and on the backs of his cows, and that he'd catch the sun again in the afternoon as he loaded hay directly into the hay loft from the street side.

The 1853 map shows no barns, but the house is there, right where the road from town turns just as it does today as if it were to lead from town right up the front steps onto porch, only turning sharply left at the last moment to climb the hill rather than the stairs. Was it the Elliotts, who lived in the house in 1853, who built this barn?

The porch is gone from the vacant house. When did they stop farming here? Was it in 1928 when the creamery closed or in 1930 when the railroad stopped running, or were there dairy cows in the fields when I first passed by? Last year some of the barn boards were stripped away and the cupola tipped a bit more this year, and the roof won't survive another winter. One day I will come by and find the cupola fallen through the roof and smashed on the floor, the weather vane and it's four miniature gables shattered.

But it's impossible to know when. Perhaps it is miraculous that farming continues on this hill at all, more miraculous that some of the original families are farming here still.