Long Branch Farms
Recognition Award Winner
Location: South Carolina
Year of Award: 1999
Original Use: Equipment Storage, Other
Current Use: Equipment Storage, Other
The Gowdy family has lived and farmed in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, since the late 1700s. Kevin Gowdy is the fourth generation of his family to farm at their current location in Cades, and the seventh generation farming in Williamsburg County. Kevin is proud to use two hundred-year-old Gowdy barns in his fresh market produce farming operation.
In September, 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the Gowdy's farm, and almost completely destroyed the old barns. Some people might have been tempted to knock them down and build new buildings at this point, but Kevin's father, Earl, was determined to rebuild his family barns. Using lumber salvaged from other old buildings, and some new lumber cut and sawn on the property, Earl rebuilt the two barns, strengthening the walls so they would withstand the next hurricane. Kevin helped him put new metal roofs on both barns and shore up the foundations. "The work took a lot of time, but the end results were great," says Kevin. "I use every inch of space in these two century-old buildings in my modern farming operation." The project cost them about $5,000, well below the cost of replacement buildings.
Kevin nominated the barns for a BARN AGAIN! award as a way of saying thanks to his father for all the work he put into saving the family's heritage. "These buildings have been in my family for a long time, and I have a strong loyalty to my family and ancestors, just as my father does," he says.