Monday, May 2, 2011

The Big Red Barn is Gone with the Wind

The Mississippi Delta lost one of its treasured landmarks Friday night.

The recent high winds and storms that rolled through the Delta took their toll on the 93-year-old Red Barn at Rolling Fork, Mississippi, causing its buckling walls and already weakened roof to finally give way.

The old barn collapsed in on itself, creating a pile of rubble resting against the twin silos which are still standing proud above the flat Delta fields.

Here are a couple of pictures of the barn which I took a couple of years ago ...

I hated to hear about the loss of the old barn, and felt compelled to go see it for one last time. My husband and I drove up to Rolling Fork yesterday, and I would like to share some of the pictures I captured of what, I am sure, is the final chapter in the barn's history. I don't see how it could possibly be restored.

The shattered rafters and beams reminded me of an abstract sculpture ...

And this broken support reminded me of a cross ...

The Red Barn, built in 1918, was part of a 33-acre land purchase by the U.S. Department of Defense a year ago, and was overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District. The Department of Defense had planned to build a 3,800-square-foot interpretive center on the land, but the federal government’s $40 million cut in non-defense discretionary programs over a week ago suspended the project indefinitely. The project was to include a $6 million interpretive and educational center focusing on wildlife and the environment.

According to a Corps spokesman, "the Army Corps of Engineers does not have any congressional authority to do anything with the building, including repairs and maintenance."

The Delta isn't going to be the same without that awesome old landmark ... but, thanks to photographers like Marty Kittrell and Robert Walker of Vicksburg, its beauty and glory will be forever captured and memorialized in photographs. To see Marty's and Robert's pictures of the barn (including inside shots, too), you can visit their websites at Marty Kittrell Photography, and Grits Photography.

Rest in peace, old friend.

9 comments:

Tonja said...

What a beautiful and stately old barn! So sad it is damaged. Perhaps they will rebuild...that would be nice.

Lori said...

Since it wasn't being cared for, it probably can't be restored. On the other hand, the barn on what was my grandparents' farm, where my brother now lives, was moved off the foundation and sat down about 30 feet away by a tornado. The foundation was rebuilt and the barn jacked up and put on a new foundation.

littlethingsoflife said...

Thanks for sharing, Janie. Makes us sad to see it all collapsed, but we're not surprised; we knew it couldn't stand forever. Our trips up and down Hwy. 61 will never be quite the same without the ol' landmark that's been there all our lives...and I cherish the last snapshot of it I got a couple of summers ago.

I put a link to your blog on my FB page, and quite a few of my Delta friends have gone there to take a look, as well as to compliment your beautiful website. =)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I hate to see this, Janie. That was a WONDERFUL barn. Were you the one who put that sweet wreath there? It's lovely.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Southern Lady said...

No, Pat, I didn't put the wreath there, but it touched my heart when I saw it. It was probably put there by someone who lives close by.

Leslie said...

I would love to get a photo of the barn before it fell. I am a native of Rolling Fork and my parents still live there. My mom took photos of it after it fell. The lady that put the wreath there is Lynn Moses of Rolling Fork. Its very sad.

Pat E said...

This is such a loss. I only read about and saw photos of this wonderful barn a couple of days ago when I discovered Marty Kittrell's blog. Through his blog I connected to yours. How sad to see another exquisite piece of history gone. I need to further explore your thoughtful blog.

Stacey said...

And great photographers like you!!

That was a beautiful barn. So sorry it's gone.

Danette Smith said...

Very sad to see such a beautiful piece of history gone. We have been trying to investigate the death of my grandfather that worked at that barn and was killed in a horse accident He's was only 24, and died in 1955.