Tuesday, August 14, 2018

THE OLD BARN IN NOKESVILLE, VIRGINIA

On Friday, August 10th, 2018, we decided to take a ride up to Skyline Drive.  For as far back as I can remember we have passed by this old barn with the cow and the pig painted on the side, really not knowing anything of its origin but enjoying it all the same.  (The photo below is one I found online.  Its location is on Route 28 in Nokesville.)

As the years went by we began to notice how both the barn and the mural were slowly starting to fall into disrepair.  Then a couple of trips back we were delighted to see that it was sporting a fresh paint job, on what we assumed was the renovated barn.  It turned out that the old barn had been leveled, to be replaced by this new one and a new cow and pig also.  I decided to do a little research on line and found its story here.  

The barn was built by farm owner William R. Free in 1922, and passed down to his son-in-law, Thomas Hawkins, Sr.  

Twenty-three years ago Sylvia Ludwitz, who had passed by this barn all the time on her commute, heard about a mural contest on the radio.  She was eager to enter the competition, but wasn't sure where to paint her project.  Remembering the barn she asked permission from Mr. Hawkins Sr. to paint on the side.  He said yes and she and a group of students from the Brentsville District High School began their labor of love.  The mural didn't win the contest but it became a very important icon for Nokesville, to all of us in fact who enjoyed seeing the cow and pig as we made our way up Rt. 28.

As I mentioned in the beginning,
the barn started looking a little ragged and the mural with it.  In May 2012 the Hawkins Barn Restoration Committee started organizing fund raisers.  I guess the barn was too far gone.  Sadly it had to be demolished and a new one was built in its place.  

In 2015 the current barn owner, Dale Hawkins, found the artist again, and asked if she would repaint the mural.  It doesn't sound like she had any hesitation in agreeing to do so.  The story goes that she was base jumping in Katmandu when news of the new barn and the mural request found her.  She immediately hopped into a dugout canoe and started paddling north. After three months of travel (hopefully she wasn't in the dugout for very long) she arrived in Nokesville and started painting the mural, this time helped by many residents including members of Friends Uniting Nokesville.  It was an exciting time for everyone, including the people driving by who saw the painting going on, honking their horns in encouragement.

So here we were last Friday, not realizing all the effort that had gone into restoring one of our favorite sights as we drive towards the Shenandoah's.  Sylvia Ludwitz, the artist who started it all, Dale Hawkins and the town of Nokesville have a lot of heart to get this done.  My thanks go to all of them.  It has always given us a smile as we drive by.




34 comments:

  1. Wow! It took her three months to get there! I am so glad they re-built and painted it! It must be a really famous landmark by now. I lOVE it, it makes me happy to look at it.! We live at the base of Skyline Drive, maybe five minutes from it. But I have never heard of Nokesville or this route. It must be a far away part of the drive from us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, that was quite a journey. I would have enjoyed her telling that story. Do you live far from Big Meadows?

      Delete
  2. How cool! I recall seeing the old mural. It's been a long time since I drove through there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We usually go by it as it's our route to get up to Skyline Drive.

      Delete
  3. What a truly lovely story. Thank you. And those who ensured that if whimsy couldn't be preserved it should be recreated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very welcome EC. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  4. It's lovely. No wonder you wanted to read its history and glad that you shared it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! What an amazing story, and to be able to find the same artist to repaint this treasure is very cool. Driving past that would definitely make me smile so much. Hugs and Happy Tuesday! RO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks RO :) Hugs and happy Tuesday right back at you :)

      Delete
  6. Nice story, I love the mural and barn. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

    ReplyDelete
  7. this is one of the most wonderful stories I have read in a long time. I love the old barn and painting and the new one to. sad they tore it down, but the new one is just beautiful. glad you looked up the story.....

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a cool barn and awesome story! Love that it has been done, hate the barn had to be rebuilt but then again not everything can stand forever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, I was sad the old barn had to be demolished too but you're right, nothing lasts forever.

      Delete
  9. Great story. We sometimes have no idea of the history of things when we pass by them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a great story! Incredible that you can find anything online now. I had a nightmare the other night that google wasn't working for me and I was unable to locate the information I need.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is a wonderful story! How nice to find out a little bit of history so close to you. I would love to know more about the murals near to me. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it. I'm sure there is a story to every mural. It would be nice if all the artists and locals put them on line.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. I agree William, they did an excellent job of recreating the original.

      Delete
  13. A great read, and I love the barn, fabulous murals.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jan, all the best to you too.

      Delete
  14. "...she was base jumping in Katmandu when news of the new barn and the mural request found her. She immediately hopped into a dugout canoe and started paddling north."

    This is hilarious!

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have got to see this barn now. Great story and love that mural.

    ReplyDelete
  16. i LOVE this barn denise and what a great story!! the mural is awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn’t it a great barn? So glad you enjoyed Debbie, thank you :)

      Delete

I thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoy reading them very much and always try to return a visit. As I do monitor comments it may take a while for them to appear, even quite late depending on what is going on and how much time I am able to spend on the computer.

I appreciate all who look at my blog, but I am unable to publish businesses or anonymous visitors.