Hidden in Plain Sight: A Tornadic Discovery of Enslaved African American Life in Missouri’s Little Dixie
Author(s): Timothy Baumann
In 2004, a tornado passed through Missouri’s Little Dixie region damaging what was thought to be just an early 20th century barn on the Prairie Park Plantation, an 1840s farm that was originally operated with nearly 50 enslaved African Americans. Prairie Park is a privately-owned antebellum plantation on the National Register of Historic Places with extant original brick structures and landscape features including a Georgian planter home, a detached kitchen, and a two room slave quarters. The damaged barn was assessed after the storm to determine if it was historically significant and if it should be saved. Upon inspection the barn’s core structure was surprisingly identified as a frame slave quarters with intact ceiling joists, a board & batten exterior, and a limestone foundation. In 2005, an architectural archaeology project was conducted to document this rare/endangered structure and the African Americans that once lived within its walls.
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Hidden in Plain Sight: A Tornadic Discovery of Enslaved African American Life in Missouri’s Little Dixie. Timothy Baumann. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436880)