Back to Homepage of Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma

Online Exhibit: Appalachian People: A Mountain Home

Laura Davis spinning and the Widow Davis weaving.

Laura Davis spinning and the Widow Davis weaving.

Western Monteith's HouseWhile living in a tent on Dicks Creek, Horace Kephart photographed "Widow Davis" seated in front of her home. He later published this photograph in Our Southern Highlanders as "An Average Mountain Home." In the album where he saved this photograph, he also saved a clipping of Western Monteith's home described as being "neither better nor worse than the average dwelling in the Smokies." However, his album contains photographs showing more variety and depth of Appalachian architectural styles.

Accompanying the photograph of Widow Davis and her cabin in the album are two additional photographs showing Laura Davis and Widow Davis spinning and weaving. Here, these women occupy living space outside the main dwelling building.

Another published photograph shows the back view of a cabin and the surrounding area. Here an outbuilding, and cleared area with various small structures demonstrate how family life stretched far beyond the main walls of many mountains homes. Spaces outside the main dwelling provided areas to prepare all facets of household manufacture and food preparation.

Kephart himself spent several years living in these mountains cabins. While his career as a writer meant he did not engage in subsistence farming, he still adapted aspects of the cabin lifestyle such as maintaining an outdoor kitchen area during the summer months.

Dogtrot Cabin.

Kephart's album also shows"Dogtrot" cabins and similar styles of a home that can grow in size to adapt to a growing family. With a dog trot cabin, one cabin can be used a a living space until a second cabin is built near the first. A roof connects the two, creating a breezeway where dogs, and others can go through. In time this breezeway may be closed in to create another room.

While Kephart's album does include photographs of the frame house that have since become the standard architectural form, these varied in function from the cabins and associated outdoor living spaces that fascinated Kephart.

"A Mountain Home" from Our Southern Highlanders.
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