going!     Going!     GONE!
A Spring Creek barn destroyed by winds
Back in the day, the Meadows barn, built in Spring Creek in the 1920s by merchant Burgin Meadows, was filled with tobacco, hay, livestock and the 12 children he and Molly Hipps Meadows had by the end of 1919. A dry goods store steps away and a large home next door welcoming boarders who arrived on horseback made for a busy household and a thriving business enterprise. 
On Jan. 11, 2020, fierce winds and torrential rain and possibly a tornado were predicted for WNC. The next morning, Ethel Meadows Kirkpatrick, who grew up at the barn site, posted a grim message: “The Wind Won.” The structure had been in disuse since the tobacco subsidies ended in 2004. Most tools, implements and farming equipment had been removed in previous years by the Meadows grandchildren, Spring Creek  neighbors and the Barn Alliance. (below)
On March 27, 2021, another fierce storm, withbursts of hurricane-like ‘vortexes,’ was predicted for WNC. From sunshine to black clouds, the day changed quickly and dramatically with such intense rain that residents couldn’t leave their dwellings. Thirty-eight seconds after 12:30 p.m., the Meadows barn was hit by gusts and went down in a flash. 
See how tobacco is "put up" and Read the story about
The Old Barn “to be preserved, and to be used as an educational tool for people to know what we are all about around here, and where we came from. That’s what this barn is to me, a testament of where I came from. ” - Elaine Ray Thomas
Grants received for Mars Hill Smith Farm 
A group of community members led by Ross Young, Director of the Madison County NC Cooperative Extension office, met in January 2012 to discuss “What could we do to honor the agricultural heritage of Madison County?” The result was the formation of the Appalachian Barn Alliance. Our goal would be to document the barns and barn-building traditions of Madison County and the surrounding southern Appalachians.
     We have since documented almost 100 of these historic barns, but we became aware of two things: 
     (1) Madison County holds a premier place with more than 10,000 barns
           in the county; 
     (2) Those barns were disintegrating, and we needed to document them quickly.
We soon recognized a need for a Phase 2 plan. In 2014, we developed the idea for a heritage farmstead where the architectural styles of the southern Appalachian barn could be preserved and opened to the public for future generations to enjoy. This proved a difficult task, but it was solved when the Richard L. Hoffman Foundation Bailey Mountain Preserve and the town of Mars Hill obtained the 87-acre Smith farm property on the outskirts of Mars Hill. A working partnership was created to achieve our secondary plan.
2021 has brought new energy to the ABA! So far, we have been awarded three different grants for the improvement of the lower eight acres of the Smith farm.

     A grant from the Madison County Tourism Development Authority allows us to improve the driveway and construct some temporary parking spaces.

      A grant from the Richard J. Reynolds III & Marie M. Reynolds Foundation will be used to stabilize one of the three barns on the property. 

      A grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership (which requires federal approval) will fund the design, creation and installation of informational signs for each of the three barns. 

On the Smith farm is a bank barn, a burley tobacco barn, and an all-purpose barn. In addition, a livestock barn and a flue-cured tobacco barn have been donated, dismantled and stored for future reconstruction. Several kind supporters have donated farm implements and barn-building tools for future display. 
A Welcome Center is planned for the farm house and will contain information about the Smith family, the ecology of the Bailey Mountain Preserve and the barn research that has been collected by the Appalachian Barn Alliance. We hope that you will follow our progress as we work our way to completing our goals.

See Beautiful Spring Creek  
Above is the 5-mile straight stretch of Hwy. 209 that runs through this peaceful valley. Surrounded by mountains, this is a memorable ride! Many old, picturesque barns remain standing and are referred to by a long-ago owner’s name; some are still owned by that owner’s grandchildren and great-grands. 
The Self-Guided Driving Barn Tour of this township is available HERE.
Did You Know that there were three styles of barns used to cure to cure tobacco in Madison County?
Introduced in 1870 ~ the flue-cured tobacco barn for heat curing of commercial “bright leaf” tobacco.   See more about flue-cured barns

The fire-cured, or smoke-cured Bull Face or Dark Tobacco barn, built to smoke cure this specific type of tobacco for chewing tobacco. Usually large log barns in which a smoldering, smoky fire was maintained on the floor to smoke the tobacco as it hung, flavored by cherry bark or apple culls.  See more about fire-cured barns
The air-cured burley tobacco barn, built for the exclusive use of air-curing burley tobacco, built by the 1930s. Metal roofing, to replace the old word shingles allowed for a lower slope in the roof.     See more about burley tobacco barns.
The Caravan Barn Tours are back.... 
with researcher and tour guide Taylor Barnhill.
He drives his car and you follow along in your own vehicle as he tells the history of the area using a mobile device. There are stops along the way and opportunities to learn up close about some beautiful farmsteads.  All done at a safe distance.
Call Taylor 828-380-9336. 
More information about this and our other Tours HERE.

 Please forward this to an interested friend.
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Appalachian Barn Alliance  •  PO Box 1441  •  Mars Hill, NC 28754-1441


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