Monday, June 3, 2013

Postcard featuring my dream house

Cozy stone house? Check.
Built into the surrounding environment? Check.
Sod roof? Check.
Goat on sod roof? CHECK!!

This Plastichrome postcard by Colourpicture1 features a photograph by Hugh MacRae Morton. The caption states:

"INVERSHIEL, a Sixteenth century Scottish Highland village at Linville, North Carolina, showing 'Bill Goat' mowing the sod roof of Croft house."

First off, if you have any doubts about that being a goat on the roof of the house, here's a link to another Morton photograph in the University of North Carolina archives that was taken in the same sequence as the one featured on this postcard. If you zoom in on that high-resolution photo, you can clearly see the bearded white goat.

The photographs were taken in July 1967, and this additional caption information is provided at the UNC website:

"'Mrs. Agnes MacRae Morton and son Julian in doorway of Croft House. Pet goat (Bill) trims green-grassed roof. Note native stone walls, chimney pots, leaded windows.' Croft House is located at Invershiel, a reproduction of a 16th century Scottish Village in Linville, NC developed by Julian Morton (Hugh Morton's brother)."

Hugh MacRae Morton (1921-2006) was a conservationist (he developed Grandfather Mountain2 in North Carolina) and professional photographer who donated his life's work to the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

You can read more about the Croft House at Invershiel at "Scottish Heritage at Linville" by Celeste Ray on the A View to Hugh blog and "Invershiel ... An Old New World" by Betty R. Raveson (a 1967 magazine article in Palm Beach Life).

The Invershiel community, never completed, is now known as Tynecastle, and Randy Johnson wrote about it for WNC Magazine. It is unlikely that Croft House is still around in its original state. According to Johnson's article:

"In the ’60s, there were misfires in achieving the 'unbelievable livability' promised. The original cottages have seen their grass roofs, which were not entirely practical, replaced by tile when roots began growing through the tar paper. Gone forever is the chance to see a goat grazing atop the sod roof of Agnes’ house, which Hugh captured in a photograph.

Despite such issues, the basic formula of two-foot-thick stone walls, insulated and backed by custom wood paneling, has stood the test of time—with ongoing maintenance, of course. 'There’s no way around it,' says Bret [Schwebke], 'leaded glass windows need care, and the joints between the stone in these structures need to be kept up. Just the rock itself requires waterproofing every two years.'"

1. Two other Plastichrome postcards were featured recently: (1) Fruit shopping at the famous Farmers Market in Los Angeles and (2) Silly postcard of a potato in a toy tractor
2. In 1952, Morton built the Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain. It's safe to say that my wife will never cross that bridge. Or perhaps even look at photographs of it.

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