What is this tiny shelter by a driveway?
December 22, 2020 8:53 AM   Subscribe

The other day, we passed by this house, and were struck by that little shelter on the driveway: namely, we were flummoxed by what its purpose might be. It's the sort of thing which, if it were a century old and British, II'd assume had something to do with horses (a place for some servant to stand out of the rain?), but this appears to be newish construction. Anyone have a sense of what it might be?
posted by jackbishop to Home & Garden (44 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A place for their kid(s) to wait for the school bus would be my guess.
posted by Redstart at 8:55 AM on December 22, 2020 [47 favorites]

It looks like a fancy shed to me.

ETA: oh wait, you mean that thing all the way to the left? I got nothing.
posted by cakelite at 9:00 AM on December 22, 2020

I would say that Redstart is correct!
posted by PinkMoose at 9:01 AM on December 22, 2020

I live in New England and those tended to be more shed-like to provide shelter from winter storms. But yes, if you have a long driveway, your kids wait there for the bus.
posted by gideonfrog at 9:02 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

In my area, that kind of structure would be where you stack bundles of firewood to sell to tourists. The house looks a little too fancy for that, though.
posted by pie ninja at 9:05 AM on December 22, 2020 [16 favorites]

I've seen more enclosed places for kids to wait for the bus. This looks like a fancy version of where to store your garbage cans to me. I know some areas have private companies who come to take your garbage, is this one of those places?
posted by annieb at 9:08 AM on December 22, 2020 [10 favorites]

I spent a lot of time in end-of-driveway schoolbus shelters as a kid, and this looks like it would be terrible/useless for that purpose. I think it's either a shelter for honesty-box type sales of eggs or produce, or for a garbage can.
posted by niicholas at 9:11 AM on December 22, 2020 [26 favorites]

It looks like a farm stand - I saw a few of these in Victoria, where the owners would leave flowers, fruit and vegetables for sale and passers by could drop in a few dollars on an honor basis.
posted by elsmith at 9:14 AM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]

Live in rural Massachusetts and those things are indeed for selling firewood or as a simple farm stand display.
posted by spitbull at 9:22 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

odd that it's positioned right over the ditch....is that intentional or just where it made sense to put it.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 9:23 AM on December 22, 2020

I agree that it doesn't look like a terribly effective school bus shelter, but people sometimes build things that are less than ideal for their purpose. The garbage can holder idea seems plausible, but why would it need a roof? (Unless maybe they also put out an open recycling bin?) The farm stand idea also seems plausible, but the house and yard don't look to me like the property of someone who sells stuff from their garden. And you'd think it would include a shelf to set things on that was higher than ground level. I don't think it seems big enough for firewood. School bus shelter is still my first guess.
posted by Redstart at 9:24 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

For the garbage can so it doesn't get covered in snow
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:33 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

In that part of the world - Kentucky near Louisville - that's a small farm stand for selling produce, or maybe honey, or maybe firewood.
posted by minervous at 9:37 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

I like the bus stop idea. Could be repurposed with a crossbar piece for offering veg/flowers in the summer, too. I think it's at the ditch because that is at the property line. There was also maybe a thought that it was sort of romantic - a cute bus stop over a stream? I also second the notion that people don't always build things "the best." A common theme in my line of work is assessing home remodeling DIY where you can clearly see that someone 10, 20, 100 years ago tried their best but it's now time to move on. I actually think this looks like a pretty good job, honestly. Could be better....could be worse.
posted by amanda at 9:44 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

In Calgary, this would be for garbage and recycling bins like FirstMateKate mentioned; it might also be for something like propane tanks.
posted by sagc at 9:59 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Is it perhaps for better viewing the giant bear in the field next to it?
posted by teremala at 10:00 AM on December 22, 2020 [28 favorites]

I am thinking that is a measured distance from the large bear like thing in the field. Maybe used for archery shooting at the target. Seems odd to be that close to the road, but may be the only location to get the desired distance.
posted by tman99 at 10:08 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I would guess honor-system produce stand if it had some elevated shelves. People in my area sometimes have little roadside farm stands not much bigger than that for selling produce from their gardens, but in that structure there's nowhere to put produce that isn't at ground level where bunnies can easily reach.
posted by beandip at 10:11 AM on December 22, 2020

Where I grew up, that would be for the garbage, recycling, or other items that might need to be picked up by someone.

Kids would also take advantage of the shade while waiting for the bus, but that would not be its primary purpose.
posted by rpfields at 10:12 AM on December 22, 2020

Just noting: (a) it has been there for a while, judging by the weathering, and (b) it has a flagpole holder on the nearest post. I like the archery idea the best. It provides insufficient shelter to be a schoolbus stop, and a farmstand would tend to have more in the way of shelving.
posted by beagle at 10:13 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

My other thought would be to hold trash cans as there is no level ground along the street to place them.
posted by tman99 at 10:14 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Re: bus stop/shelter - c'mon, y'all . . . the thing's wide open. Rain and snow don't just waft gently straight down, and anyone handyperson enough to build that thing (just look at that shingled roof and the leveling over the ditch, even if the base concept seems pretty simple) is gonna be handy enough to throw some plywood on the sides so it's actually useful as a shelter.

My vote's for garbage cans or propane or the freebie/honor box firewood produce stand. The horizontal slats provide support for shelving during the season, which it may not be (maybe because pandemic) in that picture.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:32 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

Another vote for a classy trash-can picking-up spot.
posted by Rash at 10:40 AM on December 22, 2020

Well whatever it is....and I may have spent too much time on this...no one else on that road for a few miles either way has one.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 10:42 AM on December 22, 2020 [12 favorites]

Whether the structure was originally meant for bins/farm-stand purposes/bus-stop shelter (when the kids were young, it had sides and an annual paint job?), as a bonus visitors making a right-hand turn into the driveway can't swing too wide and wind up in the ditch. (The bear in the field has waited a long time.) Lost drivers make shallow turns, too, instead of driving into the ditch or heading all the way to the garage door to turn around.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:54 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's a one person observation or fishing deck. Possibly made for birding. It may be a place where you feed the fish in the water. The water may have been bigger years ago when the shed was built. It was built by the water for a reason. I think it was built to make grandpa happy and so he wouldn't go to a nursing home. To keep him busy.
posted by cda at 10:58 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's a garbage can shelter. The roof is a nice touch and keeps the snow off the bins, which makes them less heavy to haul back up the driveway.
posted by nkknkk at 10:59 AM on December 22, 2020

You stand there and kiss your sweetie in the rain, while enjoying the burbling stream below. Like a lil tiny gazebo. Or you stand there since you can no longer pick your way down to the stream due to your knee problems.
posted by amtho at 11:07 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

If I were building a garbage can shelter, I probably wouldn't put a roof on it at all, but if I did, I wouldn't make it high enough for a person to stand up in. I would make it just a bit higher than the cans themselves. Someone just needs to be able to reach in to place or remove a can, not get in there themselves. And a lower roof would let in less snow. But Crestwood, Kentucky apparently only gets 11 to 15 inches of snow per year, so cans getting covered with snow is probably not a huge concern.
posted by Redstart at 11:07 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Before I saw your linked picture, I thought you were be referring to an Amish Phonebooth. I suspect these are still in use, even in times of cell phones (?). But seeing the picture - yeah, looks like a recycling / trash bin storage so it doesn't get blown by the wind.
posted by Dotty at 11:08 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm going to guess that it's a sort of produce stand in season. My initial thought was school bus shelter, but there's no way that thing offers any sort of protection. This is what a school bus shelter looks like; it needs walls!
posted by hydra77 at 12:43 PM on December 22, 2020

It is not likely a school bus shelter. There is a yellow sign fallen down past it, that says school bus stop ahead, implying the school bus stop is further down the road. Hmm, not much in the way of houses going past there though.
posted by baegucb at 1:27 PM on December 22, 2020

Definitely a produce stand. I've seen these in rural Ohio. It's been built to be level, and it wouldn't be suitable for a garbage bin as it has no lip on it to roll a bin in and out.
posted by essexjan at 1:56 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

There is a yellow sign fallen down past it, that says school bus stop ahead, implying the school bus stop is further down the road.

Where is this promised school bus stop?
posted by vacapinta at 2:03 PM on December 22, 2020

It’s probably not for milk cans because that’s not a farm but that was my first thought.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:39 PM on December 22, 2020

Maybe someone smarter than me can see if they took out a building permit for the structure in question.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:06 PM on December 22, 2020

This was the owner of the home, and he was a beekeeper, so my vote is it is a roadside stand to sell the honey. Seems too small and open to be a bus shelter.
posted by waving at 3:15 PM on December 22, 2020 [21 favorites]

Oh, oh, and maybe the bear was a particularly attention-grabbing mascot? Might also explain why the roof is up so high.
posted by teremala at 3:34 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

Bear is looking for honey
posted by waving at 3:47 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Based on waving's excellent detective work, I am now changing my vote to honey stand. It looks like the beekeeper's elderly widow still lives there, so there wouldn't be any school kids in that house now and there wouldn't have been any for quite some time. It doesn't look a whole lot more functional as a honey stand than as a school bus shelter, but if it hasn't been in use for 8 years or more, I guess that could explain it. There may have been other parts that were removed.
posted by Redstart at 6:00 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

There are a variety of honey stand designs, some are smol, and some are
absolute units. I imagine that the beekeeper had a countertop and maybe a shelf there,
posted by waving at 7:14 PM on December 22, 2020

Mr. Willard had a nice sense of humor. Imagine stopping to pick up some honey, and then looking up and across the field.
posted by Preserver at 8:48 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

Shh. It is the Tardis and the Doctor has disguised it while he/she solves an Earth problem.
posted by Cranberry at 12:49 AM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

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