By Ruth A Ringelstetter
In May of 2010, our return trip from North Carolina did not follow the most direct path. It followed a path that would take us past several famous mills. We first visited Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then we stopped at Glade Creek Mill in West Virginia. After these stops, our route would take us through parts of Kentucky we had not been to before.
Along the route, we found a Mail Pouch barn where the signs had been repainted. The original signs were too faded for the lettering to be refreshed exactly, but it is still a cool old barn.
This barn had the advertising for Mail Pouch Tobacco on one end and one side. It’s interesting to visit these barns and see the different variations. Some have the ad on one side, some on two, and one in West Virginia has been reported as having an ad on all four sides.
By the time we stopped at this barn there was a light rain starting and as Joann took photos of the barn, a donkey came from behind the barn.
This donkey had one ear that would flop down, and Joann was lining up her shots and then whistling, snapping her finger, and dancing around to try to get both of the donkey’s ears up for the picture. Sometimes she was lucky enough to get both ears up and the picture snapped before the one ear flopped down again.
The barn also boasts a quilt square. Quilt squares on barns were started by Donna Sue Groves in Adams County, Ohio. Today there are at least 27 states with Quilt Barn Trails. The quilt square on this barn is a double wedding ring pattern.
We couldn’t help but wonder if the donkey was aware of the picturesque setting in which he was grazing. Both Mail Pouch barns and Quilt Barns draw tourists and photographers. He probably just enjoys the company.
What we enjoy is hunting up these barns. In our area, quilt barns are easier to find, but we really enjoy our trips to states that have Mail Pouch barns. We try to hit as many as we can on those trips.
As the Mail Pouch ads fade and the barns fall, they are becoming harder to find. When you’re out on the backroads, enjoy any of these barns you find. You never know how long they will be standing.