Mount Airy, North Carolina is a very scenic town of around 10,000 citizens, located a bit north of Winston-Salem, and it’s become famous because of a popular iconic 1960’s television show, still being enjoyed in syndication by millions today. The Andy Griffith Show took place in the fictional town of Mayberry, and its star was born in Mount Airy. It is believed that the town formed the basis for Mayberry, and when one visits today, many stores are named for fictional businesses featured in the TV show. Tourists flock to the town and many purchase “Mayberry” memorabilia. It’s a great place to take a camera, as I did recently. I like going there, and being it’s just about an hour away from home, I try to do that often.
Category Archives: Architecture
There are some photos which (for those having lived in the southern regions of the United States) might be recognized as being taken “down south.” My first photo involves a question. Why do old bank buildings look basically the same down south? Sadly, they no longer have the purpose they once did.
If you’re familiar with the Piedmont Regions of Virginia and North Carolina, you will recognize tobacco plants growing, soon to take over fields like this one. This crop is far less prevalent than it once was. That’s a good thing for many, not so much for others who make their living on the farm. Some of you may have labored picking tobacco leafs, which I understand was very hot and dirty work.
And then there are the numerous ponds and small marshy areas in the south. In their own way they are very beautiful with their vibrant colors at this time of year.
And lastly, it’s not hard to find old log-crib type farm structures down south, if you look for them. When I make photos of them, I like to look for a different view. Like this one.
One advantage of living and traveling around mid to small size cities is being able to find and photograph interesting structures. The first one here I liked mainly because it has a contrast between old (the building) and new (the cars parked in front). I also liked the cobble-stone street in front. The second photo reminded me of times when we were traveling about Europe, especially England. The influence of architecture from there is prevalent all across the United States.
Danville, Virginia has a vibrant railroad past, and it still has a passenger Amtrak line and busy Norfolk Southern freight line which pass through; Amtrak being a nice way to travel to New York City to the north, or New Orleans to the south. The first image below is the concrete arch railroad bridge crossing the Dan River. There are several auto and truck traffic bridges across the river at Danville as well.
The bridge which has always attracted my attention, however, is the original, steel-truss, Civil War era railroad bridge, that has been converted into a walking, biking and jogging path, for thousands of people annually. The details of the old bridge have always been of interest to this (not so old really) Army Engineer, and I suspect there are many just like me with the same opinion. Enjoy seeing what I saw.
One of my favorite locations to visit nearby with my camera is the old tobacco warehouse district in Danville, Virginia. There is a large project underway to renovate many of the old warehouses and administrative brick buildings into residential property, which is a good thing, but from a historical standpoint, I prefer to capture how it “once was” rather than how it “might be.” I am always on the lookout for interesting views there, and found some nice compositions recently “in between” two structures. I wonder what sort of vehicle, truck or train, once passed over the old timber roadway.
Here are two wider angle images that show the sort of buildings involved. This area was once a thriving business center that served the tobacco industry in the Virginia, North Carolina region.
Henry, Virginia is really just a name and Zip Code, more than it is a small settlement, town or city. In fact, one of its few main remaining buildings is not much more than a great photo opportunity. The main draw for me are the train tracks that pass close by to that building, and the manner in which the vacant tracks pass into the distance, giving some nice perspective views. That was my mission the day I visited recently, to photograph the tracks with some interesting perspective views. As I was standing in the middle of the tracks with my camera in hand, I heard in the distance the soulful sound of an oncoming train, as it passed by distant road crossings I could not see. I was excited because this meant I’d be able to get a close up photo of the Norfolk Southern train engines as they passed by me, standing a safe distance of course. It was a very long coal train and since I was headed in the direction of the side of the tracks I was on, I decided to drive on with some nice photos. Before I left, however, I snapped an image of the town’s historic building. I have a lot of photos of that building which I’ve taken over the years. Henry, though very small, is one of my favorite locations in the Blue Ridge region.
Once, many years ago, most towns and cities in America had at least one usually small bank that served the people living nearby. The Great Depression of the 1930s mostly spelled an end to many of these banks, but some carried on. Today, what’s left are the shells of those banks, still standing strong with their Greek architectural style, reminding many of what once was. This bank I thought was unusual mainly due to its rather narrow but tall stature. The addition to the right side was an afterthought to the main building … I suspect. The next image provides a bit more detail. Nice subjects to find, and then to photograph.
In my opinion, the best places in the Commonwealth of Virginia to look for “history” are located in small towns and cities in relatively less traveled places compared to, for example, Virginia locals near the nation’s capital in the District of Columbia. Not that the latter is not full of great history, it’s just too “busy” for my tastes.
Chatham, Virginia south of Lynchburg is one small town that I love to visit. The old courthouse for Pittsylvania County is located in Chatham and its tall columns and unique clock tower make for some nice photography. The county was formed in 1767 and was named for William Pitt, the First Earl of Chatham. The Greek Revival building was originally built in 1853. Like I said, lots of history down here.