I made this photo a few days ago, and it represents a specific photo subject I enjoy very much: rustic building windows and doors. It’s the wooden texture, reflections in the old glass, peeling paint, and thoughts about what sort of things lie behind, that get to me … every time. While I was making this photo, an old man came driving onto the property I was on, illegally I might add because there were “No Trespassing” signs in view. However, a metal farm gate was open, and I’d been to this old house several times before. I figured better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. Anyway, the man was a farm hand, carrying items out from behind the house. I explained what I was doing and he welcomed me to stay as long as I liked. Maybe it was my rural SW Virginia accent that did the trick, or the US Coast Guard hat I was wearing. We chatted a bit about the old home, which he said was built in the 1870s, and had been enlarged over the years. He said folks had lived there well into the 20th Century. It was indeed rustic. The foothills of the Blue Ridge where we live sure do have character. Like this rustic old house, and the nice old man I ran into that day.
When I see just about anything associated with “railroads” I get an urge to stop and make photos, usually beginning with one such as that above or the one below.
But once in awhile I’ll spot something different such as this now unused Railroad Fire House Shed.
So, I explored the shed inside and out, and here’s what I saw. Enjoy a look back in time.
Martinsville, Virginia has some significant history associated with it. For example, it once was a central hub for America’s furniture and textile industry; Bassett, Stanley, Hooker, American and more. Today, manufacturing has moved on just as it has throughout the nation, sadly. However, what remains are many interesting sights to see and photograph. Recreational activities are thriving here now. Hiking, biking, water sports and much more. We love living here. Visit sometime if you will. In the meantime, enjoy these images.
As I drive around narrow back roads in SW Virginia and adjacent rural North Carolina, I often find what I’ll call photo treasures from the past. When one of them has something of special interest to my wife (like the Barn Quilt in the last image) I’m happier than I would have been otherwise, because I love sharing these sorts of “photo gifts” with her and others.
Axton is a special place, for me, because I love making photographs of locations that today are far from what they once were. This very small town is located along the state line with North Carolina, near Martinsville, Virginia. Today there is an elementary school there which is part of the Henry County School System, a Fire and Rescue Station, some retail convenience stores, a few old buildings-some occupied and some not, and many small farms. The old water tower there definitely caught my eye.
Once, a train line passed through and stopped at this station. I walked around it, thinking about what it was like when a train approached on rails now gone.
There was a furniture store here at one time, now empty, and a Post Office building that to me looks like an old bank. It’s now being used to sell various items.
Lastly, the farming nature of the area is easy to spot by some vacant farm homes, barns and other structures.
Like I wrote earlier, Axton is a special place for me … and my camera.
My wife Barb is a very good “Quilter” and she has close friends here in SW Virginia who are equally so, or better. They each truly love what they do, and spend a good bit of time doing it together. A few days ago, I drove Barb to her quilting friend Patsy’s country home, to deliver an item she had made to be “machine quilted” on Patsy’s large frame machine. I was excited to go along because I wanted to see and photograph Patsy’s century-old family home. The brick style is classic, and it’s in very good condition. There were outside aspects of the home that caught my eye. Such as …
After I went inside, and after Patsy kindly said I could go look at whatever I wanted, I wandered about being most attracted to the warm wooden textures, especially on the well-worn stairs. The stained glass window in the front door was also interesting. It’s not an original, but looks like it.
I also walked around outside, making photos of her apple trees and the grape arbor, noting that birds and bees were thoroughly enjoying themselves on the fruit. Patsy also has a vegetable garden, and before we left she took me into her “root cellar” to show me all that she has preserved for later use. She offered me a couple of mason jars full of goodies, which I happily accepted.
Three hours after we arrived, we drove home having just experienced the true hospitality of a “SW Virginian” … folks we are so very happy to be close to.