This old barn sits alone on the south side of Hwy 29 which bisects a historic local region known as
The barn was built almost 100 years ago, and was probably erected right on top of a smaller, earlier structure on the same spot. For the last forty years, this farm was owned by Eddie Dudeck who died just a few years ago. He was an eastern European immigrant (Polish?) , a tobacco farmer, and something of a land baron. Many of the local residents worked for him at one time or another, including my own father.
All around the stone walls outside the building is the best place to find coins, old pocket watches and spent ammunition. The first thing I noticed when I approached the site was how much debris and loose material had collected over time against the stone foundation. It was easy to shovel through this fluffy matter - yes thats cow dung in the right hand side of the picture. Littered with crumbling barn boards, buckets, and straw bales, the surface debris rests on top of some harder sub soil that conceals older relics. I have no doubt that some concentrated digging and sifting on this site would yield all manner of old coins and broken tools.
The wooden floor boards above the drive shed are carpeted in rotting tobacco, which I tried to photograph, without success. The decomposing plant matter now perfumes the air in a musty fragrance. Underneath the ancient straw in an adjoining hay mow I found fertilizer bags and newspapers, one of which was dated September 1976 - Dumpdiggers believes this pinpoints the last summer the barn was used in any serious agricultural enterprise.
The dividing wall betwe en the hay mows. If I had more time on site I would dig away the straw and loose leaf tobacco from ar ound the short wall that bisects the interior of the barn. This is where Dumpdiggers would have the best chance of finding lost coins, jewelery and spent beverage bottles.
The dividing wall betwe
en the hay mows. If I had more time on site I would dig
away the straw and loose leaf tobacco from ar
ound the short wall that bisects the interior of the barn. This is where Dumpdiggers would have the best chance of finding lost coins, jewelery and spent beverage bottles.
Here are some old beer bottles that have already been recovered on this site. The labels on the bottles read, O'Keefe's Extra Old Stock Ale, Molson's Stock Ale from Montreal, Bradings Old Stock Ale, and IPA. The Glove believes this wide selection of 1970's era paper label beer bottles evidences teenagers dipping into their father's coolers and meeting here in ritual drinking. But I don't agree. I suspect these old bottles are the scattered remains of a late 70's era tobacco season harvest party wherein it was customary to provide young workers with a massive selection of commercial brew craft upon which they might deliberate their first taste of alcohol.
Buying and selling historic lumber sounds like a good business. Here's a Canadian website that buys old barn boards. Pine was the building material of choice for old barns in the 1800's. This abundant local wood survives the elements untreated – pine doesn’t shrink when it dries. All this is because pine has a natural resin (which is distilled to make turpentine?) that coats and protects its fibrous cells. Cedar also has a natural oil, but this wood doesn’t last as long outside and doesn’t grow to the size of pine logs.
This is just one historic property in transition - the rolling hills of Northumberland County seen here in the distance will soon be enhanced by gardens, fruit trees and a cute little animal pasture in the foreground. That's probably how it looked on July 17th 1908 when this barn was the center of activity on the Brewster farm.