Antique Junk Drawer

Farm House – The Story

After I put up the post on the farm house last week, my cousin Jim emailed me with the back story on the house and I thought I’d share it with you if you are interested.

Jimmy got the low down on the house from his father who passed away a few years back, but lived to be almost 100. It turns out that AD and Jimmy’s granny knew the family that owned the house and often told stories about them.

According to Uncle Sewell, the road that originally went by the house was a horse and buggy trail that ran between Tuna and Podunk.  The road was wickedly crooked and was known as Looney Corner, partly after the Looney family who owned the property and maybe partly because of the many cars they found in their tank.  For you non-Texans, a tank is what the rest of the country calls a pond.  I grew up the Midwest where a tank is where you keep your tropical fish.

Anyway, in the days of horse and buggy, the curve of the road wasn’t so much of a problem, but after the automobile came along, those who had been to Tuna and partaken of the spirits offered there didn’t always make the corner and ended up in the tank.

Later the road was graveled and then expanded into a two-lane road and then the four-lane highway that it is today.  According to Cousin Jim, the house has been abandoned since about 1955.  A construction-related business bought all of the property but chose to preserve the farmstead.  There are rumors that the property could be sold again. And of course who knows what the new owners will have in mind.

Time changes everything and so much history erodes with it,”  Jim writes.  “I can remember as a child riding in the car from Podunk to Tuna.  At one time that was a great house and only one of about five between the two towns.”

Also, it turns out that tarp that I Photoshopped out was the last remaining piece of tin on the roof. At one time, it had an all-tin roof and this one piece has managed to hang on through wind, weather and time – but not Photoshop.

Who knows what the rest of the story is for this house.  Maybe someone will come along and buy it and restore it to it’s former, long lost glory. Or maybe the earth will eventually reclaim it as it does all things that stand still for too long.


Not a solar panel or a tarp, but tin.

28 thoughts on “Farm House – The Story

  1. I’m so glad you gave us more of the story. I’m glad you cherish these bits of history; I do too. We have one of those houses not far from us and I am captivated by it…want to learn more. I love the photo, too – with and without tin! P.S. Hope you’ll stop by to see my latest post. Sean might be glad you do. 🙂

  2. How neat that you were able to find the story! I, too, have unexplained nostalgia for these kinds of houses alongside highways. I always wonder who was born there, who died there, and if there were brides who met their grooms at the bottom of the stairs…

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I always think of this poem whenever I see a house like this:

    The House With Nobody In It

    WHENEVER I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
    I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
    I suppose I’ve passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
    And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.

    I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;
    That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
    I know this house isn’t haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
    For it wouldn’t be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.

    This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,
    And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
    It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;
    But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.

    If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
    I’d put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
    I’d buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
    And I’d find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.

    Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,
    Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
    But there’s nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
    For the lack of something within it that it has never known.

    But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life,
    That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
    A house that has echoed a baby’s laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
    Is the saddest sight, when it’s left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.

    So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
    I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
    Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
    For I can’t help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

    Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

    I love the poetry of Joyce Kilmer. I hadn’t read this poem before. Thanks for bringing it to mind. ~ AM

  4. And thus the origins of the term “getting tanked”?

    Now I’m thinking of my grandmother’s house that she was forced out of by eminent domain, just so some construction company could put in newer, fancier buildings. Small, old houses like hers were considered an eyesore. She got relocated to some hideous little apartment the next street over. Then they used her old house, for YEARS, as their construction office, where she could see it from the apartment. To me, it seemed to be adding insult to injury. If you force someone out because the place “needs” to be torn down so badly, then freakin’ just DO IT, don’t leave it there to torment people. Evil, land-grabbing liars. >:-(

    That makes me SO sad Brigitte! Imminent domain is a violation of every principle upon which this country was founded. It makes me spitting mad. ~ AM

  5. It must have been built very well to have held up this long – abandoned since 1955. If it can’t be fully restored it would be wonderful if the wood and other items could be salvaged and used in another rustic home…

  6. I went to high school with a few Looney’s. One of them lived in a house that was made entirely of glass on one side. I would not be able to sleep in it.

    Looking at the view from inside this house, I wonder if that’s where they got the idea?

  7. Hi, it’s Jan, using Jeana’s account. I love your tuna stories as much as Jeana. One of the Looney boys grew up to be a ENT Dr. who I went to for years for allergy problems. Thanks for the memories 😉
    P.S. Thank you so much for the card. When the auxiliary lady (pink lady) delivered it to my room, I cried with joy.

  8. Thanks for the house story and the lesson on the tank.

    Age of the house though may have been friendly to wood worm so don’t count on the house being able to be saved. It would be nice.

    Enjoyed the history and story.

  9. AM:
    “You are so bright,somehow you always
    choose your words just right.
    Camera in hand,and ready to go,
    telling A.D. to drive slow.
    Stop, look, and listen
    at the world all around,
    so many things to leave you spellbound.
    Life is like a mist, and soon to be gone,
    If I could, I would write it in a song.
    I’m intrigued by all I see,
    Whether a trip to Tuna, or the country.
    Old buildings, children, flowers,and trees
    all mean so much to me.
    I shall never take for granted, my Family.
    For God has surely,and truly blessed me!”

    Cousin Jimmy you are quite the poet!

  10. Awww….thanks for sharing this story. I feel better now knowing someone DID love it at one time 🙂

    Did you make up the names of those towns??? Are they for real?? They’re hilarious!!!! Of course, I live in Sinking Spring 🙂

  11. Great info! Re: Tanks

    I’ve always called them tanks and learned years ago like you it was a Texas thing. Or so I thought.

    I’m reading “These is my Words” and now the sequel: “Sarah’s Quilt”. She in Arizona territory – ranching and she mentions she has a few tanks on her property….and yeah, she means ponds.

    Maybe the author is a Texan and doesn’t know tanks are only a Texas thang. 😉

  12. I’d love to see pictures of the inside. Any chance? I just love old houses and the stories those walls could tell. Fascinating.

  13. Personally, I love old barns and structures. Living out in the west (Arizona) there are ghost towns everywhere. It makes you realize and appreciate that everything has life stages. Plants, animals, homes, cities, countries, you get the picture.

    I just found the fact that there is a Podunk somewhere out there funny. I always said I grew up in Podunk, Colorado – because we were literally out in the middle of nowhere. Who know a Podunk actually existed?

    Know what would be great? Reclaim that wood for a renovation – green design at its best.

  14. Your two stories remind me of “The Trip to Bountiful”. We have some Loonies in Austin that are lawyers…wonder if they wandered in from Tuna. You mean everyone doesn’t know what a TANK is? I learn so much from you!

  15. OK, AM… I totally empathize on the whole tank/pond issue. I am a Tennessee girl who transplanted by the plan of God to Texas. I will never forget a new co-worker inviting several of us over to see her newly built house. We had appropriately oohhed and aahhhed over every tiny detail when she nonchalantly waved toward the back of the house and said, “We put a tank out back too.”

    My response (in utter and wide-eyed amazement): REALLY!!!! Why?!

    (I know that I had moved to a military town, but come on, she had to be kidding?!)

    Her response: Oh, we thought the boys would really enjoy it.

    I spent the rest of the time surreptitiously glancing out the back windows trying to spot the tank.

    Finally, someone asked me what was so breath-taking out back, and I sheepishly admitted that I, a little Tennessee girl, had never seen a tank and would truly like a glimpse.

    Cue the looks of shock and horror that I had NEVER SEEN a tank?!!! What bubble had I lived in?

    We all trekked out back for that sacred moment. Everyone looked at me expectantly when we were in view of the water…. I looked at everyone in confusion and confessed that maybe I needed new contacts.

    Thus began my love of Texans and my “bless their hearts” moments.

  16. Hi, it’s me again. You inspired me with your original post on this house so I signed off and grabbed my camera and my honey and away we went.

    I do not know the original story behind my house but I am asking around to see if I can find out. Also, I think I could post just a few more pictures of it. Stop by sometime, and leave me a comment if you have a mind to, that is. (That ought to be some Texan talk for you there). As Mam-maw would say, “sure-‘nough.

    Anyway just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration.

  17. I think maybe the Tank thing just hung on in Texas longer than other parts of the region maybe? My husband is from Louisiana and he was the one who explained them to me sometime around when we got married…i love that you found out the back story on the house.


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