Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mystery Solved

All manner of fabulous things are hidden in rural barns across this country. Car enthusiasts hope that their dream vehicle is hidden under burlap sacks and vines. Since rural people have rarely had any form of garbage pickup, old items are simply relegated to a corner of a barn or outbuilding.

When the granddaughter of Robert and Elizabeth Muirhead sought to restore the family farmhouse, she found the original bathroom fixtures tucked in the barn. Do you remember touring this farmhouse with me? It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Yes, a Frank Lloyd Wright farmhouse!! It's not like any farmhouse you've ever seen.



NOTE: Muirhead House is also a Bed and Breakfast. If you're traveling through the northern Illinois area, contact Sarah and arrange for a night in this fabulous home.

But we have a mystery to solve. On a previous trip to Josie's Antiques I noticed that a nearby farmer had an ENTIRE COFFEE SHOP tucked behind one of his silos. Now, I can understand the accumulation of old cars and farm equipment, but a coffee shop? Seriously, there must be an interesting story behind that acquisition.



Imagine my total surprise when driving by the farm one day my car was stopped because an 18-wheeler was delivering ANOTHER coffee shop to the farm. This was fast becoming one interesting mystery. I promised to solve it for you, but my sister and I talked and agreed that we both prefer the mystery to the solution. Why? Because our minds can create infinitely more interesting stories than the truth.

I had an ulterior motive for visiting Josie's. Since she's a neighbor to this property I was pretty sure she's know the story. As I munched on one of her chocolate cookies she related the background to me.

The stand-alone coffee shops belong to a family member. They were a business venture that suffered in the economic downturn. Since the units are not permanent fixtures (they're like the Fotomat buildings of the past), they were simply renting the space on which they stood and had to be removed after the business closed. And so, they are being stored on the relatives property because after all, there's a whole lot of space out here.

So the mystery is solved, although I think after several cups of really strong coffee I could probably come up with something more interesting.

How about you? Can you think of an alternate solution to this mystery?


Lisa D. said...

As soon as I saw the picture I was hoping that was the mystery solved! And then you had me worried for a second when you mentioned your sister and you wanting to leave it a mystery!
I cannot come up with an alternate story. I have a brother and a husband who are very good at making up their own stories about just about anything (and so my kids always look to me first before they believe any story from their dad or uncle). I just listen and enjoy.

Marilyn said...

When we lived in Washington there was a drive through espresso shop on every corner. You were seriously never more than a block away from a latte.
We moved to Oregon... Nada.
If it were't for Starbucks I don't think Oregonians would have known what a latte was five years ago!
I sure wish our farm had a good coffee shop behind the barn :)

Vee said...

I hate to hear about businesses going bust so I'm hoping that it is a hopeful sign that the owner is storing the coffee shops in hopes of doing better in a more welcoming economy. Otherwise, they may have been sold for a dollar. They'd make a great stage prop. Like Marilyn, I wish there were one in my corner. We need a coffee shop! My alternate story? I'm more interested in the one that you and your sister created. I know you gals thought something!

Vee said...

"Hope" seems to be the word of the morning...

Emily from Old-House Online said...

Thanks for linking to us! Your story about the coffee shop reminded me of an article we published about a man who collected stoves in the "Boneyard" outside his shop ( I wonder how many people make up stories about his strange lawn ornaments?

Amari said...

Thank you for checking that out! I drive past this farm a couple of times a week, and I've always wondered about the little coffee shop in the back. Now I know! It pays to be curious, and from now on I will take the time to check things out as well!!!!

Belle said...

Alternative story: A Starbucks owner doesn't like competition, so he goes around stealing other people's coffee shops and hides them on his uncle's farm.

Toyin O. said...

Interesting story, thanks for sharing.

Jenn said...

I've found many treasures in old barns!

Jayne said...

My book club took a little trip to the Westcott House in Springfield, OH, last Cotober. It is a FLW house that has been restored. We'd read a book on Wright that prompted us to investigate further. The pictures of the Muirhead House are very similar to the Wescott. FLW was an interesting man, both in his professional life and personal life.