Last Thursday night, from 5:30 to 7PM, March 24, 2016, the Appalachian Barn Alliance presented a program on the barns in Madison County, NC at the Asheville Eye Associates. This event also ushered in the Don McGowan and Bonnie Cooper exhibit of 16 of their barn photographs. The exhibit is titled WITH THESE HANDS, AN APPALACHIAN BARN EXHIBIT.
“There are thousands of well maintained barns in Madison County,” opened Taylor Barnhill, lead researcher, as he continued a most informative audio visual lecture. Taking us through the history of the area and Western North Carolina in general, there was no lack of interest amongst the 45 attendees at the public reception. “From the initial two hundred and eighty barns selected, we want to document in great detail fifteen from each township, continued Barnhill. He goes on to describe the living history and evolution of design and materials taken directly from the land for their construction. “Madison County wasn’t even opened for settlement officially until 1792, as it was considered Indian territory,” continued Barnhill.
Craftsmanship for barns likely came from early Pennsylvania German, Swiss and Scandinavian traditions that were passed on to the Scots Irish, English and German migrants.
The McGowan and Cooper Photograph exhibit will continue through the month of June, and is part of an upcoming book. A portion of the sale of the photographs is
being donated to the Appalachian Barn Alliance. The exhibit is in the gallery at Asheville Eye Associates, 8 Medical Park Drive, Asheville, NC.
The Appalachian Barn Alliance, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization is dedicated to helping preserve the agricultural heritage by remembering the barns through photos, oral histories, and architectural drawings. Self-Guided Barn Driving Tours in Townships are available from AppalachianBarns.org or PO Box 1441, Mars Hill, NC 28754, phone 828/380-9066. They also offer a historic information database, newsletter, an annual barn tour day, photo contest and workshops on preservation. Photographic Barn Workshops are conducted by Don McGowan. More information at http://www.earthsongphotography.com/