Just before we reached the outer limits of the great green, there is a small town named Barberville. You'll know you've reached Barberville when you see a house brimming over with rusty iron artifacts, giant chickens and ceramic everythings.
The owners seem ok with tourists stopping in to gawk at their wares.
After a good eyefull of all this...stuff; we set our sights across the street and just up a little ways, to a sign inviting us to come and see The Pioneer Plantation.
It's a small collection of original houses, public and commercial buildings from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. (think miniature sturbridge village). We paid the six bucks to ckeck it out.
The handful of buildings turned out to be packed with a surprisingly good collection of period stuff, both in furniture and artifacts.
The old Central High School's single classroom appeared to still be in use...
And the other side rooms were converted to museum space, sporting the devices and contraptions of life back in the day.
Back outside were great examples of southern backwoods architecture in the form of shotgun shacks...
...a train station, engine and water works...
a country store, a blacksmith, cobbler, and church.
All the buildings were saved and brought in from the surrounding towns except the high school, the only building originally on the property. All the buildings still looked funtional and it was easy to imagine what it was like to pull open the sqeaky screen door and clomp into the old country store for say, some coffee beans or flour.
The whole operation appeared to be a private venture, no state money, and run by a handful of folks who obviously were working at a labor of love.
We met one of them tending to the small stable of farm animals they keep. He had a name for every lamb, goat, chicken and turkey. The peacock roaming freely out of it's cage had the ability to fly away, but he wouldn't, the old man assured us. He won't stray far from his dinner.