The Road to Gamaliel 2, The Cistern

Cistern 1

On the way to Gamaliel there is a series of hollows you pass, one such caught our attention; Jay Farrel and myself pulled into drive to explore. Originally what caught our attention was a brown and gray ruin of a house further down the muddy road but what ultimately took center stage was another ruin above and to the right of us. We headed up and began the trek up to the ruins.

Cistern 2

Aged in a patina of browns and grays the ruins had easily blended in with the surrounding winter forest.  I realized what a stroke of luck it was that we’d made this trip during the winter because none of this site would be visible come spring or summer. No, the riot of green growth would so completely swallow these buildings that they might as well never existed.

Cistern 3

A large tree had at some point fallen down near one shack next to another a dryer drum and chair sat out front.

Cistern 4

Climbing over and under Jay and myself were able to get a glimpse inside of the main shack. Looking in I just had to ask myself what was this place? Did anyone live in here at some point? Was it a hunting shack? What? We found no beds but that means little.

Cistern 5

The door was built of castoff wood and sheetmetal with a handle that was I’m pretty sure a ceramic knob from an electrical line.

Cistern 6

Inside a dirt floor and not much else. There was an outhouse so was this the main house? As I said earlier the lack of a bed means little.

Cistern 7
Cistern 8

Sheet metal out here went a long way. I’m intrigued by it’s use and I love the mismatching tones, colors and textures.

Cistern 10

At the from of the main structure stood something I’d not seen before. A large concrete cistern filled with water. Yes, I’d seen wells before but not like this. This cistern easily measured 4 and half feet in diameter and stood just as high above the ground. Covered in lichen, moss and a rime of frost. It triggered my imagination as to what this place had been, perhaps it had been some moonshiner’s still?

Cistern 11

Had this been a still back when the Gamaliel Road been smaller, rutted and less traveled? I could see it in my head.

Cistern 12

Someone had spent some time making this cistern, pouring the concrete and shoring it all up. Who knows how long it’s stood. The day Jay and I came out here it was a warm day, mid 60’s or more.

Cistern 13

But here I stood shooting a cistern of water that still had a layer of ice upon it nearly an inch or two thick. I’d love to revisit this site on a day when the ice has melted.

Cistern 14
Cistern 15

I’d bring a chain with a plumb upon it and measure how deep the well goes. It’s got to be fairly deep still to maintain such an  icy covering.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this continuation of the Road to Gamaliel, Kentucky. There is more to come. Keep checking in for updates that will more updates that will satisfy your love of the abandoned and the forgotten.

Friends do keep in mind that printed works of are on display February 1st thru the 28th at the Copper Vault, 116-118 W 6th Ave, Springfield, TN 37172. I hope to see you at the reception Thurs Feb. 15th 5-8pm.

If you enjoyed reading this and looking at the photos, you might be interested in buying a copy of my book Forgotten Tennessee. Its available in most bookstores, Walmart, Target, Costco, anywhere that sells books. You may also order it by following this link