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Place in Appalachia: The Story of a Barn, a Tree, and a Community in the Hills of Southwestern Virginia
Puhl, Andrew Michael
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The concept of place is extremely important within today's contemporary society. As a result of hyper mobility, many people do not take the time to notice and understand the spaces surrounding them. A sense of place is subtle and fragile, yet can exist in the most humble of environments. In Appalachian, there are countless structures that dot the mountainous landscape symbolizing the sense of place in southwestern Virginia. The Virginia pole barn is important for the sense of place because of its direct tie to the land. Many of these structures were built from the indigenous American chestnut tree and crafted using traditional building techniques. These structures are an important contribution to the vernacular of the Appalachian region, and much of this is due to the material presence of these structures as they give balance and counterpoint to the ridges and valleys. Secondary research focused on theories about the creation of place, the spirit or character of a specific place, the role of symbols in these creations, and the importance of the American chestnut as a material. Primary research concentrated on the people who interact with these pole barns on a regular basis, the structures themselves, and the prevailing landscapes.
- Masters Theses