(10/05/2019)

The wind whistles through the old
livestock pens creating ghostly sounds

By Bob Weaver 2016

The Spencer Livestock Exchange is standing empty, suffering from its' final closure a few years ago, a reminder of days gone by when Calhoun and Roane County farmers brought their stock to the location to be sold.

We returned to the building for a renewal of early memories of the busy exchange, a shadowy image of a former time.

The agricultural era which it represented has essentially faded into the food dependence of agri-corporations in the 21st century.

The auction ring was a lively place with a flow of animals
being sold through the early morning hours of the following day

Wandering through the giant structure, with the wind sweeping through the building and gates banging, the experience was rather eerie.

The large wooden structure rests on Bowers Hill along US 33-119 east of Spencer, the exchange moved to that location in the early 1930s from a site in Spencer.

It was a big event for farm boys and girls to accompany their parents or grandparents to the weekly livestock sale, herding pigs, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, or chickens onto the family truck, and heading toward Spencer.

During the sale's heyday, farmer's trucks would be parked up and down the main highway as far as the eye could see, the weekend sales lasted through the early morning hours.

Farmers would bring produce, farm equipment and odds-and-ins to sell on the side, while enjoying the social atmosphere of the event.

Wandering through the large complex
recalls memories of agricultural days

The late Lovell Sampson recalled herding cattle, pigs and turkeys in the 1920s across the West Fork of the Little Kanawha and out Egypt Ridge on foot to the market.

Our visits give comfort, a reminder of a work hardy, simpler and slower time.


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