Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back Road Trip Part II

At the end of Sarvis Fork is this barn--at one time a dairy barn (see the milk house at front right?), probably for Jersey cows whose cream would be sent to a creamery to make butter. Small farmers had to discontinue selling milk to the bulk plants when regulations became too costly for them to be able to compete. But they could continue to sell cream and there may be a few still around that do just that. (According to this website, there were only 7 dairies left in West Virginia in 1992. The WV Department of Agriculture's statistics place WV 42nd in the country in dairy production.) It's an odd fact that while farms declined, production of milk per animal has skyrocketed. Another odd fact is that milk production has been moving west. We usually think of Minnesota and Wisconsin as the dairy states, but in fact California now has more dairy farms than any other state. That's strange to me, considering the water issues in most of California. I wonder where these mega-dairies are located in the state?

The Mail Pouch logo is barely visible on the barn's plank side.

The New Era Store has been in operation since the late 1800's. The store's look hasn't changed much over the years I've lived in Jackson County. When I was a substitute mail carrier, this was one of the stops on my route. At that time it was run by Carl Snyder and was the real hub of the community. Its location isn't ideal--it's in a sharp 90-degree turn. But maybe that's an advantage because people have to slow down to get around the turn.

Entrance to the store. I love the eight-paned wood door and the old timey screen door.

Inside the store, the warm wood floors offset the more modern display shelving. (I wonder how much cigarettes were when the store was built? The sign advertises Camels for $3.70 a pack--whew! I am glad no one in my house is a smoker. That would be a serious impact on the budget.) The New Era store is a typical country store, selling everything from milk to nails and kerosene.
I searched online for the source of the community's name. It's an unincorporated community, but I know it's been there almost since the county was formed, and like the store is mentioned in a 1906 Jackson County history book.
Sources for more information about dairy history in the US:

WV Department of Agriculture: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/West_Virginia/Publications/agfct0805.pdf

National Agriculture Library: The Bureau of Dairy Industry: http://www.nal.usda.gov/speccoll/images1/dairy.htm


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the trip. I just love the back roads. I like the sign on the front that looks rather old....'No Bull'.


Granny Sue said...

Me too, Deloutre! I'd like to have that for some of my storytelling events :-)

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