Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Tiger Crown Bricks

My life in appalachia - Tiger Crown Bricks

Do you know people collect bricks? I knew folks used reclaimed brick when they built a new house or installed a brick driveway, that sorta thing, but I did not know there were brick collectors until I stumbled upon this site: Brick Blog.

I saw the brick in the photo above at an old home site near Fontana Dam. Curious about the name I googled it, that’s how I found out about the collectors.

I should have known I wouldn’t find what I was looking for I really didn’t need to. The real story of the brick was already in my head.

Back when people were still living in the area having a brick house or a brick anything would have been big doings. I’m positive it would have been something to be proud of having brick around your place.

All I had to do was look around me to see what a fine country that brick had been laying in for the last 70 years. As my eyes looked down through the valley and my ears listened to the creek in the distance it seemed I could hear the men gathered round at the nearest store: discussing the new brick house; talking about the corn in the field; worrying about the war raging in a foreign land and heart broke over being asked to leave all they’d ever known for the good of the rest of the world.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Carl Diaz
    January 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I found a Tiger Crown Brick here at the Old Cotton Mill Built back in 1889 as close as I can find out, it has been turned into Luxory Condos so some of the structure was torn down during rconstruction, I wish this brick could talk I bet it has some wonderful and sad stories to tell ….

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    March 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve heard a few brick stories in my time Tipper..Those old bricks do have stories to tell..Susie

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I always feel sad when I see the ruins of a grand old farmhouse & a little brick rancher sitting down the hill. The grand old lady speaks to me in a way the bricks don’t. Thanks for the different perspective, Tipper!

  • Reply
    March 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Most houses in Cyprus are built with brick – even the most modern ones. But I must admit, I’ve never heard of brick collectors before!

  • Reply
    March 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I didn’t know there were brick collectors either.
    Wonder what stories that old brick could tell?

  • Reply
    March 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    It’s amazing to see where all these bricks come from. There is a state park here in NW Florida that was once a rich man’s winter estate and the huge brick walkway has bricks made from all over south. I spent time photographing the names on them. That’s as close as I can get to collecting them!

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    March 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Great reading. I have a couple of bricks that were found at the old home place, I kept them because one had the paw print of a dog that had stepped on it while it was still

    • Reply
      March 11, 2019 at 9:46 am

      That’s fun!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    March 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    That old brick inspired some beautiful musings, Tipper!

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    March 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    tipper you surely amaze me with all the knowledge you share with us.
    i never would have thought of a brick collector.. hmmmm
    interesting to know that just by the name.. you can find when and where it was made.. wow
    and think of all the history… of the homes it graced.. the laughter, tears… and lives it touched..
    again.. thanks for sharing.. big hugs to you.. its a snowy day here in pa..

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I wish our house was brick, it would be a lot less upkeep to it. I remember when I was a kid we went back up on the hill and gathered bricks to make an outside grill with. I don’t know why the bricks were there or where they came from. But they sure came in handy.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    The first real job where I got a
    check was carrying bricks for my
    uncle. His hands were tough as
    shoeleather and he could chop off
    a brick with his trowel to form
    the corner of a house. When we got
    finished with that big ole place,
    I had a sense of pride and some
    money in my pockets. Wasn’t as much fun but it sure beat lizzard

  • Reply
    March 5, 2012 at 11:52 am

    So therefore Ed, those people that have a “veneer brick home” are a few bricks short of a load. Sorry I couldn’t resist adding my warped sense of humor.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

    From whence came the term “built like a brick [email protected]#*house?”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I don’t know that “collecting” is the right word, but I’m the proud owner of two bricks which have really special meaning to me. They came from the home of Robert Ruark’s maternal grandparents in Southport, N. C. For those who wonder why a mountain boy would be interested in a Tar Heel who grew up about as far from me as was possible and still be in the Tar Heel State, I would simply note that in my studied opinion (and that of many others), Ruark was the finest outdoor writer this country has ever produced. Anyone who hasn’t read his collected stories in The Old Man and the Boy and The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older has a grand treat awaiting them. He mentions the house from which the bricks came numerous times in his writing.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    March 5, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Interesting post (as usual). Bricks can be very interesting. The first fireplace I put in a house had “chicago” brick. Course they weren’t original, but had that look.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

    The court house in Roane County was built with brick made by slaves right there on the sight…
    I wonder if any of them made a mark in any of the brick made by their very own hands….
    There are very unusal collections…I guess folks collect just about all things…We once met a man that had the largest collection of barbed wire in the country…Who knew there was that many types of “bobware” LOL…In fact we loved it so much we bought a art sample of his collection of “bob- ware”..and still have it…It sure draws conversation….
    My Mother always wanted a brick house…when she moved to Tennessee from NC…NC brick houses and stone houses must have reminded her of home…
    Great Post very interesting….
    Did you ever have one of your gals make a door stop from a brick…we still have one all covered on the bottom with felt and the rest painted…LOL

  • Reply
    March 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I was not aware that folks collect bricks there is a brick making factory about 10 miles from where I live and quite frankly I never paid it much mind–did remember the status one thought they had awhile back if they did live in a brick abode— as always Tipper you keep this blog of interest..

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 5, 2012 at 8:13 am

    A brick house, built in 1890, still stands in Blue Ridge, GA. It is now the Fannin County Heritage Foundation Museum, and the two-story double-brick wall house is known as the “Baugh House,” by James Baugh, the builder, whose family had the Baugh brick kiln in Mineral Bluff, Georgia. There’s much more history to the house. For those visiting in the Blue Ridge area, go by and visit the house and museum on West Main Street.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 5, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Tipper, that was a very interesting article. I’ve not given much thought about the origin of brick.
    When I was young I remember that having a brick house was a really big deal. Only people with money had brick houses.
    Many folks in our little paper mill town had rock on their houses, round river rock. To make paper you have to have water so the town and the paper mill were built on a river. Rocks were plentiful for the taking.
    When I visit that town now I see signs prohibiting people from taking the river rocks. The town is still full of old houses made of river rock.
    People used to value brick houses so much and my child’s mind assumed that it was because the brick made a strong house. It was not until I was grown than I learned that the brick or rock, for that matter, was a veneer put on the outside of the house for looks and really didn’t add much to the strength of the house.
    It was more of a status symbol. The bricks were rare and expensive.
    One more comment on clay. As a kid we lived in Atlanta for a while. I spent as much time as possible playing in the woods and creeks. Once I found a vein of clay running though the creek. I dug out as much of it as I could get and formed it into clown faces.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    March 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Back in the sixties I remember building a home with used brick. Sometimes we would have to venture to other states to find it. It was believed that the used brick was better to use because it was not considered ‘green’ and the chimneys built with them were more sturdy.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 5, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Tipper, you are exactly right: chimneys built with bricks, particularly for homes built in the Smokies prior to 1940, were not common and would likely have occasioned some conversation. In some cases, such as the one in your photo, the chimney was mostly stone but with a bit of a brick used for an interior facade, in the firebox area, or maybe just around the curved lintel.
    It may be a mental block, but I can’t recall a single all-brick chimney that is still standing on the north shore of Fontana. There are a fair number made with native stone which have survived, mostly intact, for over seventy years now (some close to a hundred). All but a couple of those used local mud for chinking.
    Those – like the one shown in the article on Pearl Cable’s folks – are heart-warming and a thrill to find. As trees around them die and fall, they will ultimately succumb. But by just surviving the rigors of wind and weather, they offer testimony to the craftsmanship and skill of their builders.
    By the way, for the many who offered prayers and kind thoughts for Pearl – she is doing much, much better, and hopes to get to go home from the rehab center by next weekend. She is one tough (and mighty fine) lady.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 5, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Most brick homes are now ain’t really brick at all. They have a wooden frame with brick veneer on the outside. The walls of the house actually hold up the bricks. So what you have is a house of sticks disguised as a house of bricks. So when the big bad wolf (or a tornado) huffs and puffs, he’ll blow the brick house down too.

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