Henry Davis Flue-cured Barn


Address:

310 Bluff Mountain Road
Hot Springs NC 28743

Year Built: 1890s to early 1900s

Historic Owners: Danny Gillespie, 3/30/1888 to 12/1/1974

Description:

This type of log barn is now very rare in Madison County, an example of a log barn used to heat cure “bright leaf” or “flue-cured” tobacco, the first commercial tobacco type introduced to mountain farmers in 1872. The spaces between the logs were originally filled or “chinked” with clay and/or rocks and wedges of wood, to keep the heat from the rock “flue” fire inside, to quickly cure the hanging tobacco leaves. These flue-cured tobacco barns consistently measured around 21 feet square by 21 feet to the top log, with only slight variations. By 1882 the estimated of value of flue-cured tobacco was $200 per acre, with the average production per household of 4 ½ acres, providing a windfall of cash for mountain families.

Also known locally as the Danny Gillespie barn and farm, it is not known that this barn was built by Danny Gillespie, who was born in 1888 and would have been only 22 years old in 1910. It likely built by an earlier owner during the period of 1870 to 1910, when flue-cured tobacco was being supported by the US Dept of Agriculture. With many of these barns still standing across the landscape, some farmers continued growing flue-cured tobacco after 1910 and into the early 1920’s. The current owner also knows it as a flue-cured barn, having been the person who removed the mud chinking when adapting it to burley tobacco. Spring Creek has many round chestnut log barns built during the first half of the 20th century. It has been observed that some of these barns have logs with scarring from the chestnut blight, which would indicate that those trees were cut after 1920, being the approximate time the blight first appeared in Madison County. The original barn would likely have had split wood shingles for roofing. The log corner notching is the simpler saddle notch that requires less time and skill. Many of the chestnut logs still have their original bark, a material that no longer exists and is the only example of mature chestnut bark that people of this era will ever see.

Historic Use: Flue-cured tobacco

Type of Construction: Hewn Timbers and Notched Logs

Siding Materials: Milled Boards

Roof Shape: Gable

Roofing Materials: Split wood Shingles and 5-V metal

Roof Framing: Milled rafters

Foundation:

Species of Wood: Chestnut and Various Other

Hinges: Commercial Metal

Fasteners: Wire nails

Additional Features:

Outbuildings: none, livestock barn is directly across the road.


NOTE: The information above is an abridged list. For the full unabridged list (complete details), please download the PDF of the Data Form above.

NOTE: These photographs are meant to illustrate various features and construction elements of this barn.