Oregon State University

Historic Farm Structures as Material Culture: An Oregon Study

Historic Farm Structures as Material Culture: An Oregon Study, by Barbara C. Judge. 2004. $15.00

A rural vernacular Oregon farm is examined through the lens of settlement patterns, oral history and farm structures as material culture. Documenting the form, function and use of the house, barn and dependent outbuildings reveals a theoretical model of folk culture diffusing over time and space from the Upland South via the Oregon Trail to Oregon. Included are evolutionary changes to the Oregon farm diagrammed schematically over time, as well as photos documenting extant farm structures. Vernacular farm structures are "cultural languages." The timeframe of the farm settlement period is the mid-1800s through mid-1940s. Two historic family farms are mentioned as they chronologically follow the settlement of the Oregon country. The pioneer farm was settled during the mid-1800s. It belonged to Ann Riggs-Splawn who had traveled the Oregon Trail with six children to arrive in Oregon and obtain her Donation Land Claim of 640 acres. The primary farm examined in this monograph belongs to Ann Riggs-Splawn's great-grandson, Merle Jesse Splawn. Merle Splawn's farm was settled in the early 1900s near Brownsville, Oregon. The oral history is told through Merle Jesse Splawn. A family genealogy traces the family back to its Kentucky/Missouri roots. In 1992 there were 15 extant farm structures out of the 23 that had been on the farm. All extant farm structures are documented with photographs, builder's name, construction pattern, and date of construction. This monograph theorizes that without vernacular farm structures as cultural signposts we are losing the knowledge of vernacular farm culture. Research for this monograph was completed in the early 1990s. In 2004 the total farm complex was no longer extant

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