By Marcy Thompson
Picturing The Past 

Barn Is Only Remaining Outbuilding


The barn is the only outbuilding left on the Allison-Deaver property. (Photos courtesy of Dan Bennett)

The barn is the only remaining outbuilding on the farm that Benjamin Allison, William Deaver and Carl and Mae Smith operated for 170 years on the Allison-Deaver property. It was most likely constructed in the 1920s or 1930s on the foundation of a much older structure using a mix of old and new materials.

Evidence of 19th century construction includes thick uncoarsed stone slabs on three sides of the foundation, a central timber dated to 1827 through dendrochronology and hand-hewn mortise and tenon joints with hardwood pegs.

Evidence of 20th century construction includes machine-sawn studs and rafters for framing, thick poured concrete foundation along the east wall, concrete floors in the corn crib, stair room and open pen and manufactured rolled steel roofing.

The exterior of the barn is mainly open-slat design to allow for ventilation. Some areas are more tightly enclosed, while the east side is an open equipment storage area.

The interior consists of an 8-foot wide alleyway with double door access on both ends. An open-slat corn crib with mesh lining and an open pen flank a stair room between the alleyway and the equipment storage area. Three open-slat stalls, an en-closed storage room with plank flooring and one box stall are on the west side of the alleyway.

The stair room provides access to a large loft. Large openings on the ends of the loft allowed for hay or straw to be hoisted into it via a pulley system. This could be dropped through a hatch in the loft floor into the alleyway below as needed.

To the east of the barn is an in-ground silo used to store corn silage. Rock walls and tin roofing was used to cover it when in use.

Carl and Mae Smith owned the property for over 30 years from the early 1950s into the mid-1980s. During their time at the Allison-Deaver, House Mae Smith had flower gardens all around the house and down the bank behind the house. She had a large vegetable garden in the flat area in front of the barn. She kept all her canned goods, along with baskets of root vegetables and crocks in the cellar. The Smiths kept a cow and a pig at the barn and in the pasture. There was a chicken coop east of the house near the edge of the pasture.

In 2002 a weathervane in the shape of a rooster with the date 1815 in its tail feathers was installed on the barn. The weathervane was crafted by Irv Haines. Weathervanes were once common on barns. Used to indicate wind direction, they are mainly decorative today.

The Allison-Deaver House is open on Saturdays (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Sundays (1-4 p.m.) beginning May 16. Groups are invited to contact the Transylvania County Historical Society at 884-5137 for special tours.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the N.C. Room during regular library hours Monday-Friday to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions, contact Marcy at [email protected] org or (828) 884-3151 ext. 242.)

This fowl weather vane, with an 1815 date, sits atop the barn


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