Natural State Snapshot

May 21-27, 2018

Photo by Kay Bona


I pass this old house near Widener, Ark. so often when traveling I-40 to visit my daughter and her family, and every time I make a note to get off on Highway 70 the next trip and take a picture of it, so during my last trip, I did just that. As I was photographing it, the owner, Jerry Wright, stopped to visit and give me some information. He has owned this house for many years, and in the past has installed windows and a back porch and made attempts to keep it up. Sadly he said that vandals keep it in disrepair. They break the windows and steal the wood on the sides. This house is considered a Shotgun House and is over 100 years old. A “shotgun house” is a narrow rectangular domestic residence, usually no more than about 12 feet wide, with rooms arranged one behind the other and doors at each end of the house. It is said that you can stand at the front door and discharge a shotgun and the bullet will travel straight out the back door. Research indicates that this architectural style came to New Orleans from West Africa via Haiti. Shotgun architecture is now recognized as an African American contribution to American architectural styles. Who knew I was photographing such a an indelible part of history.