Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why We Do What We Do

This past weekend, Newburgian and I went to investigate a couple of spots in the county where schoolhouses once stood. A friend had told us about one spot where his late aunt had taught near the site of the Vickery Cave off of State Highway 58 (Guion Road)....another friend told us about the old schoolhouse at Gid which was rumored to either still stand...or to have burned in recent years. It had burned...the foundation remains.
On the way back home, we decided to travel along the old Tate Road between State Highway 58 (Guion Road) and of the very early roads in the county. The tornado that swept through the county in early February paved a path of destruction across this old road along a branch of Rocky Bayou. As it did so, it cleared underbrush that partially hid an ancient log home while also removing the home's roof. The roof has been replaced since and the magnificent old structure stands alone on the decimated landscape facing Rocky Bayou.
Why, you may ask, have I informed you of these encounters with Izard County's past?
Because our experience last Saturday gives the perfect excuse to also inform you of our reasons for putting so much time and energy into this site.
Izard County is rich in early Ozark history, tradition, and culture. As you may have deduced by browsing through our sidebar, there are many examples of homes, schools, churches, and other structures which are still viewable in our area...each challenging interested parties to explore the known history as well as the lost history that they represent. A lot of the county's history is a complete mystery due to the various fires that destroyed its courthouses in the past.
Destruction has come at the hand of both nature and the hand of man over the centuries. The tornado mentioned above also destroyed the majestic bulk of the Shell House which stood along County Road 289 (Zion Road). Near the intersection of 289 and old State Highway 69 near Sage, the same tornado ripped apart one of the "pyramids of Izard" old house with a pyramid-shaped roof. The latter, we were able to get photos of and have them stored. The former was one of those places we kept saying, "You know? We REALLY need to get some shots of the Shell House before it's gone forever."
Guess what?
It's gone.
Thanks to Mrs. Betty McCollum, we have some photos of it that she had kept herself.
Other structures have been dismantled or burned by landowners to make way for new construction or larger pastures.
This is the basis for why we do what we do at EIC. We want to preserve these places for future generations...whether by assisting in any restoration efforts or by documenting remaining structures with photographs.
It is also our goal to interest others who value the heritage of Izard County in getting involved in the preservation of these wonderful sites...both man-made...and natural geologic features.
But...the main reason we do what we do is because...well...we LOVE doing it!
We hope you LOVE IT that we LOVE IT!

Note: I would like to apologize for not getting this up as a mid-week post as advertised in last week's e-mail. A new semester began this week and "busy" doesn't even begin to describe the activities necessitated by the fact.

Old Lunenburg Schoolhouse finally succumbed to the elements around 1989. Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Grimes

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