Old Buildings

     Old barns and farmhouses, built before the widespread use of electricity and the internal combustion engine, are almost gone. As they disappear the realness of their time goes with them. We can read about the simple life people led without an abundance of "things". We can see the pictures and have some understanding of the hardness of life in that time. But only when we stand on the open prairie alongside these old buildings and feel the harshness of the summer heat or the bitterness of the winter wind can we begin to know what was endured by those that lived and worked in them. Of course even standing there we have already lost the sense of community and dependance upon each other that we have heard that they had.
    I wonder what they would think of our view of "necessities" today. Our dwellings of only 1500 sq. ft., our worn out 5 year old car, or even our "basic" grocery list. And I wonder if once they looked past the surface of life today and realized it's problems, many of them seemingly unsolvable, if they wouldn't be happy to keep their own.
    The pictures on this page were taken in eastern Washington but are miles apart. Three of them were on the Waterville plateau, two are in Lincoln county and one is in Yakima county but is actually more a part of the eastern Klickitat county community.
House and Barn

A Homestead

     I was standing on the county line between Yakima and Klickitat counties looking north into Yakima county. These buildings were probably built around 1900, and they were still in use as late as the 1950's. They are not as isolated a they appear, being only being only yards from the location of what was once the small community of Bluelight. It had a post office, a one room schoolhouse and I believe, a small store.
    I lived in Klickitat county as a teenager in the 50's, and lived in places not too different from this. I can't say I have a lot of fond memories of that time and place, but I go back to feel the solitude and lack of busy that still exists there.
Old Farmhouse

Where Somebody Lived

     Another old farmhouse, this one on the Waterville plateau. Somewhat larger than most I've seen, this was probably considered an especially nice home in it's time and place. But today, it sits and slowly deteriorates while the land around it is cultivated as part of a large corporate farm. The family that once lived here has likely scattered like the wind that blows through. I wasn't around to know any of the hardships or the joys of living when this was built. I know this is probably the coldest place I have been in Washington state in the winter and I don't see much cover from the summer sun. And I'm sure those who work the land now with air-conditioned tractors and live in more convenient homes and locations wouldn't want to go back to living as the builders of this dwelling did. So why do I feel that something important has been lost?
Old House

Old House

             "This old house once rang with laughter
              This old house heard many shouts
              Now it trembles in the darkness
              When the lightning walks about"
These pictures of this old house, more than any other I've taken , bring to mind the words above taken from a song of the 50's. Once this house was fresh and new, giving satisfaction to it's builder. Children were born and were sheltered here from the elements as well as the world that was waiting beyond when they were ready. But now, it's work is done and soon it, like those it sheltered, will be only a memory. And after a while, not even that. <
Old Barn

Old Barn

     No longer used by people, but still very useful as shelter to some wild birds and animals, this is one of the better preserved barns of it's time. It has a tin roof which I worked hard to keep shaded in the photograph. Tin roofs do a fine job of keeping out the elements but are not aesthetically pleasing. That aside, however, it should stand for some years yet. Being located in a wildlife area, it will probably give shelter to families of owls and other birds, as well as many small animals. Not a bad retirement for a once hard working domestic animal shelter.
Old Barn

Old Barn

     Another old barn that is in not too bad a condition. This one though, sits beside a busy highway on the edge of what is now a large wheatfield. There may have been other buildings nearby at one time but there is no sign of such now. The barn is probably too small to be of much use in it's location today. That would explain it's being unrepaired and left to decay. It may be used by some wildlife in it's remaining days. I hope so. I'm sure it worked hard enough in the early years to deserve that much.
     I can't help pondering what life was like when that busy highway was a wagon road and this was a handsome structure to see by those passing by. Probably they would stop and visit awhile. Maybe even take a meal and possibly help with a few chores before continuing on their way.
Older Barn

Almost a Memory

     Just waiting the final blow. A strong windstorm, a big snow, even a grass fire run amuck. Whatever, however, all it can do is wait. No purpose left. Few if any left that even remember when or why it was built or by whom.
     How hard the people who built this must have worked to have the basics that we today take for granted. How sad they would be to see the condition now of what they worked so hard for then. If they saw the direction things are going today, what would they think? Would they wish to go along or would they be happy to have lived in their day? For that matter, how do we feel. Do we look forward to what lies ahead, or do we wish we could back it up a little bit?
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