Now that my rural newspaper delivery route has been inverted and reversed I’m getting some new perspectives on the landscape, my familiar one hundred miles of mid-continent gravel roads.
A couple of days ago I was driving on a hilly blacktop county road, looking for a turn-off which, as it turned out, looked really different from the other direction, when I happened to notice an architectural oddity out in the middle of a field of corn stubble.
I pulled over and parked, then grabbed my camera and walked out into the field to investigate.
So strange! The structure was a small limestone building, about fourteen by twenty feet, with one low and narrow door, a single small window, and a loft accessible via a gable-end door, like a loft door in a barn.
What could this have been built for? I peered in the open doorway; the building was being used as storage for firewood and pallets. It reminded me of a settlement-era jail, with just the one small window.
The door is a classic example of a 19th-century utilitarian rural shed door. The latch and an iron rod used to prop the door open:
A close-up of the latch handle. I loved the strands of spider web!
The stonework was true and plumb, very well-executed, but the mortar looked recent, as if the building had been tuck-pointed not too many years ago.
I need a researcher to follow along behind me and look into the history of such finds! A candidate should be competent in botany, mycology, and local history, and should also have a familiarity with vernacular architecture. The pay is non-existent. Interested applicants can contact me here on the blog!