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Slow down to enjoy the buggies and delightful yard art treasures

Yard_art
Bob and Edith Langstron show off an Amish farm buggy sporting hydraulic brakes, turn signals and headlights. The fiberglass horse is from an antique store in Hickory Flat. (Photo by Daniel Rosen)

By Anita Rosen
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yard
One of Bob’s latest purchases is this hand-operated washing machine with wringer which had been in an Amish family for 90 years. (Photo by Daniel Rosen)
How many times have you passed that house—you know… the one on the east side of Yellow Creek Road about a mile from its intersection with Route 53—and glanced at the horse and buggy?  The growing collection always roused my interest but when those vultures perched on the post at the end of the driveway, I had to stop.

A pair of pink pigs stands sentry on the driveway of Edith and Bob Langstron’s home on Yellow Creek Road.  When I knocked, I was still thinking the buggies and yard art were the treasures here.  But as soon as blue-eyed Edith opened the door, I discovered my error. The real delight is Edith and her husband, Bob.

Miss Edith has lived at the Yellow Creek location for 60 years. With her first husband, she built a storm shelter into the hillside and erected a house on top of that. Later, when a fire took the structure, a new home was carried in from Canton and placed on the foundation. As we stood outside, Miss Edith recalled a quieter time when the only people coming down Yellow Creek Road—dirt in those days—were the milkman, the mailman and, perhaps, another four cars a day.

After their spouses passed away, Edith and Bob met through the intercession of friends Bob visited on antique business. They gave him Edith’s phone number. Bob called and Edith invited him over after church one Sunday. Credit goes to Bob’s direct approach to life: they met in May 2005; he proposed in October; and they married in January 2006. Keeping the humor and romance in the marriage, Bob continues to write Edith poems, some of which she has framed.

roadsite art
Roadsite art at the Langstron's home on Yellow Creek Road. (Photos by Daniel Rosen)
Miss Edith is a collector of family memorabilia, most of which is inside the house. Bob, however, has his collections both indoors and out. Space doesn’t seem to be a problem, as Bob rearranges his larger pieces outdoors and has plans to build a display area inside for more collectibles. Their wonderful home and garden was recognized in January 2008 with the Green Thumb Award bestowed by Keep Pickens Beautiful.

Hailing from Ringgold, Georgia, Bob worked 55 years as an engineer. Upon retiring in 1997, he visited relatives in the Berlin, Ohio, area—known for its Amish population. Seeing the buggies and building on a lifelong interest in collecting, Bob found his métier. 

First thing Bob did was buy a large truck and trailer and return, ostensibly on a vacation, to Berlin.  He bought two buggies thinking he could use or resell them in Georgia. Arriving in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on the way home, he was approached by a gentleman who wanted to purchase both buggies. Bob delivered them to Knoxville the next day.  Encouraged by this quick sale, Bob made four more trips in the next two weeks. “Buggy Bob” was born and, over the next three years, Bob sold more than 150 buggies. 

In addition to collecting and selling, the talented Bob refurbishes dilapidated pieces, giving them new life and beauty. And if you are looking for a deal on wheels, Bob sells used wagon wheels which come off the Amish buggies. Bob and Edith welcome callers to their house—just pull in and knock on the door—and they will give you a tour around the yard to see the memorabilia. My favorites include the well house, wash pots, and a fire hydrant. Inside, Bob has an interesting unique piece he calls the switch-hitter clock which runs backwards! 

Bob wouldn’t settle on a favorite piece for me but recollected the story of finding a farm wagon marked J. H. Johnston Company out of Woodstock, Georgia. Research showed it was from 1920 and Bob found a descendant still living in the area. According to www.preservationwoodstock.com, in 1888, J. H. Johnston Company first opened for business. The buggy passed back into the family and is still used in the Fourth of July parades in Woodstock.

So next time you travel down Yellow Creek Road, be mindful of the speed limit, then slow down a bit more as you go by the horse and buggy. Think about the not-so-distant past when Miss Edith saw so few travelers passing her house, and take a moment to enjoy the scenery.

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