This stately building of which I have several close-up compositions, is an example of how decades ago, designers and builders used lots of intricate brick work (especially on columns) and scroll-work at the top, to make their masterpiece look timeless. This building is the old Rockingham County North Carolina County Court House. It’s now a historical center, with a much more modern, but unfortunately less majestic replacement being opened in 2011.
Category Archives: America’s Past
There’s a special (for me) location along rural Route 8 in SW Virginia that I often drive by on my way into the mountains, that always makes me want to stop. The problem usually is that the farm house across the highway is apparently home today to a truck driver, because he usually parks his rig in front of the main object of my photo interest: I.M Akers General Merchandise Store. A relic from the Blue Ridge past. From the covered area in front of the store where hand cranked gasoline pumps perhaps stood, to the public drinking fountain by the main entrance, and lastly to the old homestead “out back” where I assume Mr. Akers and family once lived, working daily to manage and run the store; the only such place around for miles as far as I could tell, it’s all about history, and I like that a lot. Here’s a collection of photos I made recently when the semi-truck was NOT parked out front, thus affording me a great photo opportunity. Thank you Truck Driver whomever you are!
In the United States decades ago when travelers drove their private vehicles on vacations or otherwise, there were no “Interstate Highways” such as we have today with main exits having any number of chain motels to serve as a place to rest for the night in relative comfort. Back then there were what I’ll call Motor Hotels that provided a place to stop that was more like one’s home than a temporary place to stop for the night. I found one such place near our home in SW Virginia. It had a separate “office, while across the adjacent street there was a long, single story building with individual “apartments” complete with separate garages in which to park the family car for the night. I’ll call this place “The Red Motor Hotel.”
As I drive along winding roads in SW Virginia I often pass by interesting old homes which are now vacant. Some are in bad shape, others not so bad. The photos I made of one such house below fall into the “not so bad” category. In fact, it was interesting and inviting in a way: for example,as I wandered about the outside I expected some person to pop their head out the door and ask what it was I was doing there. The lacy curtains on the front door were sort of spooky, given that squinting eyes might be lingering inside in the shadows looking at this stranger standing on the porch. The wooden scroll work along the porch ceiling was also interesting, complete with peeling paint. Once again, my travels brought me to interesting photo opportunities. Thank you Lord!
A military veteran myself, I decided to spend that day in 2014 in a favorite small town of mine located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town was renamed in 1884 from Taylorsville to Stuart in honor of Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart, who was born 20 miles west of town in Ararat, Virginia. Small in size, but large in character in relation to a vibrant and bustling central business district. Several seasonal “festivals” are held here annually and are attended by thousands from all over the region. Yes, I like Stuart and am glad I chose it on Veterans Day this year in which to make some photos to commemorate that day … for me.
I like to make photos of churches in rural, countryside areas. In this case it involved the Grace Mountainside Church in Robbinsville, NC in the Smoky Mountains. While I was interested in the building itself, it was really the stained glass window on the entryway red door that caught my photo eye. This is a relatively old church, which has been renovated with new siding. I also liked the contrast of the colorful vegetation in front, with the plain siding of the church.
On our recent train ride aboard the Great Smoky Mountain RR (see prior posts earlier this and last week) one of the main historical attractions along the ride (per our staff host who rode with us in the car, giving us drinks and when necessary giving us some local lore) was what is referred to as “The Civil War House.” On the outward leg of the trip, I missed seeing it since I was on the side of the passenger car opposite to the house. However, on the way back I decided there was no way I was going to miss seeing it a second time. So, I positioned myself by the open space in the connecting area between cars, where I could look out at the passing views with no window involved. I was not alone. Soon I was joined by another passionate photographer and his wife, both very nice folks. We shared the limited space with me looking forward to provide ample warning to the approaching attraction. His wife remembered our host saying that the house was located at mile-marker 70 “something” so when we passed MM 80, counting down I started to pay very close attention. Then in a flash, I saw the house coming into view as we sped along. We both made room for the other and started clicking away. I’m not sure what he got, but I was pretty happy with one of my images. The scene reminded me of how much American Civil War history there is still around today in Virginia and North Carolina. In this case, I’d never have had the opportunity to see it had it not been for riding on the train. Lucky me!