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Southern Folks Who Never Lived Underneath a Tin Roof Have Never Actually Lived

Updated on June 24, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,

There is absolutely nothing

on this earth that can compare to anyone who has been given the extreme blessing of living in a house with a tin roof. Although this sentence structure and idea is very simple in measurement, the idea and feelings are higher and much more priceless than can be derived from the knowledge of one living in such a "slice of Heaven," as many (who had tin roofs) would agree.

Tin roofing (circa. 1800) was not a work of passion, but efficiency. Soon, tin shingles began to be imported to America from Wales, where tin was mined. In Philadelphia, Christ Church was completed by 1744 with a copper roof, but the Arch Street Meetinghouse was designed in 1804 to have tin shingles.

The people who lived underneath tin roofs did not stop to realize just how peaceful and pleasant a tin roof was to them. When the first people put tin on their offs, it was more of a step of progress than an idea to help in keeping a house free from leaks when it rained. It was an evolution of sorts.

The town of Hamilton is where this story originated.

This is living.
This is living. | Source

Efficiency breeds with convenience

as some wise farmer probably sat out on his front porch to rest after the evening meal and to get some rest from a day that began at sunrise and stopped at dark. The deep-thinking farmer must have saw how efficient that his tin roof worked on his barn, so with a few questions, he began to ask himself why not use the same type of tin on his home?

And that was when the tin roof began to surface as a "modern" home because most homes of this time had roofs made from wooden shingles. Although wood shingles was a great idea to improve the living conditions of a home, a tin roof somehow made it a bit better. In easier terms, there is just "that" unspoken something that makes living in a house with a tin roof a bit easier and peaceful when the day is done.

Tin roofs were

in fact pieces of tin that were lifted to a worker or two atop the house who was placing the pieces of tin in a secure manner. Roofing nails had come upon the hardware scene by now and by using these special nails made the pieces of tin adhere to the wooden rafters and bottom wood much faster.

Of course the men who hauled the tin as well as helped to place it on the home or barn were due to have cuts from the sharp edges of the tin, so this was a major danger for the people using the tin. In many years, the tin would begin to rust and have to be replaced thus the asphalt shingles were in the next evolution of roofing in the early states of America.

All in all, even with the wooden and asphalt shingles, many today still hold true to the unfailing love of being raised (and later living) in a house with a tin roof.

Historic house with tin roof in Eutaw, Alabama.
Historic house with tin roof in Eutaw, Alabama. | Source

Tin roof-living

can best be explained by using this description: the farming family has eaten their supper, the livestock fed and bed down, dishes are washed and food set ready for the morning meal which usually starts at 4:30 a.m.

When this day (which is how most days) end, the entire family is sitting either near a big fireplace while the father reads his Bible verses or a newspaper if he can attain one while the mother sews, knits, or does those little chores that she never finishes. Their children are resting and gazing into the fire (in winter) while a slow rain is playing a soft melody by the raindrops on their tin roof.

The adjective, hypnotic, easily fits living underneath a tin roof. A tin roof is without question, the best therapy for any working family of this generation for rest, relaxation and a deeper, clearer sense of meditation that stems from the lives that are underneath a simple tin roof.

Tin roofs of southern farmland barns are now images of antique perfection.
Tin roofs of southern farmland barns are now images of antique perfection. | Source

There is really

no way for this or any writer anywhere to aptly describe the deep-rooted feelings one has who has experienced living in the farmland in the early South. This fact was blessing enough, but when the addition of a tin roof was added, life itself for these families were complete.

Magic? Special music? These are not worthy ajectives in talk about tin roofing. The idea that a soft rain falling early in an early American working family it is supposed that the merging of the rain and tin roof coupled with the family's hard day at work, made the family have deeper sleep, get more rest, and recharged for another day.

You will love these links that pertain to tin roofs, their usage, and living in a house with a tin roof:

A beautiful sunset graces the southern farmland.
A beautiful sunset graces the southern farmland. | Source

10.) Drip Drop -- The Drifters

9.) Raise the Roof --The Wild Party - Julia Murney

8.) Is This Love -- Bob Marley

7.) Tin Roof Shack -- Golden Gate Wingmen

6.) Rain on The Roof -- Lovin' Spoonful

5.) Ready to Go -- Republica

4.) Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker) -- Parliament

3.) Don't Let The Rain Come Down -- Serendipity Singers

2.) Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down -- Scott Weiland

1.) Up On The Roof -- the Drifters

© 2017 Kenneth Avery


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Kathleen,

      As per your lovely comment, in my best, richest, most-rural tone . .."A-men!" Love "them" gravel roads, tin roofs and front porches.

      My dear friend, you nailed it. And please keep in touch.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      As Little Big Town sang: Give me a tin roof, a front porch, and a gravel road - that's home to me.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Greetings, Beth,

      Thank you sincerely for your sweet comment. I am celebrating the fact that you said that you not only loved your tin roof, but your son who joined the military.

      Truly you are building a wonderful chain of a nostalgic memories that will last you forever.

      Thanks so much.

      Keep in touch.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Evening, Brenda,

      I can really appreciate you for that fact about when you go away, you use your phone to sleep by the sounds of rain falling.

      Wow! I loved it.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Terrie Lynn,

      I am so sorry (and sad) to hear about you not like a tin roof and rain. But I can truly relate to your memory of a flood which is very traumatic. I will pray for you.

      Write soon.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, whonunuwho,

      Nice to hear from you again, dear friend. You are so right about the comfort of hearing rain fall against a tin roof. This is one of those hypnotic areas of life that unless we stop for a moment and lend our understanding to (whatever item), we will always be lacking.

      Thanks for your great comment. Write me anytime.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      21 months ago from Tennesee

      Beautifully written, Kenneth. My grandmother had a tin roof and I loved it, and guess what? My house has a tin roof, too! Our son recently joined the military and he told me the other week that he sure misses listening to the rain coming down on the ole roof. Thanks for sharing this oh so true article!

    • Down South Mama profile image


      21 months ago from Florida

      I love the sound of rain on my tin roof. There is nothing better to go to sleep with. When I'm away from home I play the sound of it on my phone at bedtime to help me sleep.

    • Terrielynn1 profile image

      Terrie Lynn 

      21 months ago from Canada

      some people really like the sound, I however do not. We had a flood and now any sound of water hiting anything makes me think something is broken and I can't sleep. But as usual ken your writing is great. thank you for another great piece. I hope to read more. Have a great weekend.

    • whonunuwho profile image


      21 months ago from United States

      Hey, Kenneth. Yep, we had one back in the day. We always fondly remembered it as the old tin-roofed house in our more recent talks. It was quite comforting to hear the falling rain on that tin roof. Many blessings my friend. whonu


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