I’m a sucker for being first in line to visit any old General Store. Anywhere. We’re fortunate to live close to many still operating in the mountain regions of Virginia and North Carolina. My favorite is located in Valle Crucis, NC near Boone. Mast General Store has so much to see you need at least an hour, and even then you will feel like going around again to find that “special treasure” just waiting for you. In that regard, there’s lots to make you get your credit card out, or your cash, whichever. As far as photo opportunities are concerned … well, just take a look at what I saw recently.
Category Archives: America’s Past
Martinsville, Virginia is my home. While I live just outside the city limits, I consider myself a resident, because I spend so much time there with my camera. I have seen the city in ways many people do not. At one time not too long ago, Martinsville was a primary “economic engine” for the Commonwealth. Today, not so much because of major changes in how America obtains manufactured goods, such as textiles and furniture…overseas versus local. But, this is another story. Here, I want to show you what I saw recently while “looking up” in Martinsville. More importantly, I’m convinced that the economic future of the city is also, “looking up.” Lots in that regard is ongoing, but again that’s another story. Now for the photos. PS: Others who live here might want to guess where the photo subjects are located.
I recently returned from a two-day visit to Maggie Valley, NC with our daughter and her husband, who are buying a mountain home there. Beautiful place there. I made some nice images that I want to share. The mountains of Virginia and North Carolina are my absolute favorite place to go. Thank you Lord!
Before the arrival of railroads in the Dan River Valley region of SW Virginia, goods were transported to city and town markets via flat-bottomed boats. By the late 19th Century, railroads had taken over that purpose. A rail line was completed from Danville to Stuart in 1884 and passed through Martinsville. The “Danville and Western Railroad” was nicknamed the “Dick and Willie” by local residents and while train traffic was discontinued years ago, the roadbed of the line has been converted into a multi-purpose recreational trail as it passes through Martinsville. The 4.5 mile long trail is used today by thousands annually, and the name Dick and Willie remains affectionally in the hearts of many. Recently, I took a early morning walk along the trail, and was rewarded not only by the exercise I had, but by the beauty of wildflowers and greenery all along the route. Kudos to local government planners and officials for making this all possible.
As I was walking down a street in Eden, NC I noticed that to the rear of a large brick house now a realtor’s office, there was a smaller brick structure that I wanted to see more of. So, I walked to it, looked inside an open door and saw this.
Looking closer I wondered what it’s purpose had been, since it was obviously no longer in use. There were marble steps around the lower perimeter of the opening, as well as pipes and shelves holding a few small pots.
I concluded the small space was once a “potting shed” that might also have served as a winter season “greenhouse” complete with watering capability. Whatever it was, it definitely caught my eye, and made me thankful for being able to record with my camera what I saw.
A Weather Vane is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. They are typically used as an architectural ornament located at the highest point of a building. I found two at the top of buildings in Martinsville, Virginia. The first is at the top of the historic “Gray Lady” house and the second sits at the top of the city’s Post Office. Both looked better to me in black and white.
Neighbors where we live are perfect for us. One is Frank, and he has a very unusual house. Not so much on the outside, but when you walk through the front door you can’t help but feel you’re in a very unique place. His front porch has items displayed that make you wonder what might be inside.
When you get inside, your visual senses are overwhelmed with items of beauty, historical significance and just plain awe that one person could collect so many diverse items and display them in such an attractive manner. Here are several examples.
Frank definitely appreciates history; not only in America but worldwide. He has been collecting antiques for over twenty years since he retired. He told me he usually makes three weekly visits to local antique shops, usually coming away with a great find, often for an amazingly low price. And, he actually knows where everything is located in his house, and has each item recorded for posterity. Like I said above, we have great neighbors.
This 1881 Victorian Style house was the home of the 32nd Governor of North Carolina, David Settle Reid, and he lived there for the last 10 years of his life, passing in 1891. He was one of six governors from Rockingham County, and the City of Reidsville bears his family name. This home was the first structure in Reidsville to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In short, I like the home because it is so scenic and colorful, providing lots of photographic angles. Here are some photos I made recently.
I was headed down a very narrow country road, seeking a place to turn around to get back to the highway I had planned to take (no, I wasn’t lost, just following my nose) when I spotted this very nice, old and deserted home, with NO TRESPASSING signs posted. I had to stop and get some photos, and I did. I figured I’d obey the signs and just wander around the yard, getting some photos, thinking the “no trespassing” applied to the house itself. As I got my last photo, I heard angry dogs barking from over a nearby hill. Time to go I told myself, and just as I got into my car there came the first (perhaps) unhappy farm dog looking for the trespasser (me). As I drove off, the dog looked at me and wagged his tail, I guess not so unhappy after all. But, I thanked the Good Lord for making me end my photo shoot when I did. There surely were other dogs around. It was a great experience and I took away some nice images.