Hershey, Pennsylvania

Day 1790

       Our last camping trip. We are in Hershey, Pennsylvania to attend our granddaughter’s wedding. Since we are helping with the wedding, no time to sightsee, or even to eat a Hershey bar. 

       We have been traveling for 4.9 years full time. It has actually been 5 years and 8 months, but we did not count the time in our driveway over the years and not actually traveling. 

       Our original plan was to travel a minimum of 5 years to justify the cost of a new RV as opposed to a used one. Our thoughts were to reevaluate after 5 years and hopefully continue until our health forced us to stop. However, with the China Virus closing some State borders to us and sites, like museums and other public places being closed, our travel destinations have become limited. We have travelled to 37 states including Alaska, 3 Canadian Providences and 1 Canadian Territory. We were going to Hawaii, but they haven’t finished the bridge. We have been to the Arctic Circle and back.

       Our plan after giving up RVings was to move into a retirement community, like Oak Crest as both our parents did, to conveniently live out the remainder of our lives. My mother actually signed us up on the wait list 10 years ago. Barbara wasn’t too wild about Oak Crest, and we have been leisurely looking at other facilities.

       We returned to Maryland last December for my father’s 100th birthday (he past the following month).  We couldn’t leave Maryland because of the virus, so we spent some time looking at old age homes. We had a list of requirements that the home must possess. While touring a facility in Hunt Valley, Maryland, we were informed that they had 30 people on their wait list (they had to wait for others to die to make room). While showing us one of the display units, we realized that the unit had everything on our list. It was perfect. In making inquires on availability, we were, to our surprise, told it was immediately available. The previous owners recently passed (died) and the unit was offered to the 30 people on the wait listed, who were not interested in this unit. We took it on the spot.The next day one of the 30 people on the wait list changed their mind and said they wanted that unit, but were told “sorry, it was now taken.”

       So, as of September 20, 2021 we will be living in an old age ghetto. We are selling the Sphinx if you are interested. 

Technical Stuff:

Cambridge, Ohio to Hershey, Pennsylvania: 115.6 miles

4 hours 7 minutes

9.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.80 

New Concord, Ohio

Day 1768

     New Concord, Ohio is a village laid out in 1828 when the National Road reached this point. The National Road was the first major improved highway built by the federal government. The 620 mile road connected the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and was the main transport path to the West at that time.

     John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born on July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio, at homeThe result of John Herschel Glenn, a plumber, and Clara Teresa a teacher, fooling around.

     While Glenn was still an infant, the family moved to nearby New Concord, Ohio, He was the third American in space, and the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times in 1962. Glenn was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974 and served for 24 years, until January 1999. At age 77, Glenn flew on Space Shuttle Discovery‘s STS-95 mission, making him the oldest person to enter Earth’s orbit, and the only person to fly in both the Mercury and the Space Shuttle programs

     We toured his childhood home guided by living history actor portraying John’s mother Clara Teresa.

     She showed us John’a room, and some of his prized possessions, like his sled.

     She described to us how it was living through the Great Depression. You remember collecting S&H green stamps.

     Perhaps the second most famous resident of New Concord is William Rainey Harper, born July 24, 1856 in this log cabin.

     He was a child prodigy, a polymath of prodigious energy and scope of learning who graduated from college at age 14, earned his Ph.d at Yale at age 19. At age 35 was chosen by John D. Rockefeller to help create the University of Chicago, where he was the university’s first president. 

Cambridge Glass Company

Day 1767

     Cambridge, Ohio, is well known among glass collectors as being the location for the Cambridge Glass, and Mosser Glass plants.

     The Cambridge Glass Company was chartered in 1873 by a group of Cambridge, Ohio businessmen. But it was not until 1899, when the site was purchased by the newly formed National Glass Company, that funds became available to start the construction of this new glass factory.

      Fifty years later, the demand for fine handmade glassware began to decrease, and the competition of foreign and machine-made glass began taking its toll. In 1954, it was decided to close the plant, ending one of the best and most prosperous glass companies the world has ever known. Imperial Glass Company purchased the Cambridge Glass molds two years later, and would use them for another three decades until that company went bankrupt in 1984.

     Due to its prolific production of glass over 80 years, there is now The National Museum of Cambridge Glass to show off its wares. 

     We had a private tour through the ages of making glass by Anna, one of the curators.

     I enjoyed the display showing the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog of the glassware

and then showing the item.

     Tidbit of Information: Their names were Richard W. Sears and Alva Curtis Roebuck. Sears was white and Roebuck Black. Sears initially hired Roebuck as a watch repairman. They formed a partnership as a mail order business and incorporated as Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1893.

     The origins of Mosser Glass go back to the time when Orie Mosser was the plant manager of the Cambridge Glass Company. His son, Thomas, began working there as a teenager. When Cambridge Glass closed in 1954, Tom decided to continue in the glass business building a company of his own.

Employing 30 craftsmen, Mosser Glass is a family owned and run business. 

We were able to take a tour of the plant and observe the various stages of making glass. 

With each piece individually hand crafted, no two are exactly alike. Barbara was able to picked the one she liked best from this 4 cardinals.

Cambridge, Ohio

Day 1766

     In 1796, Col. Ebenezer Zane received funds to blaze a road suitable for travel by horse through the Ohio wilderness. For some unknown reason he named the first settlements in honor of Cambridge, Maryland.

     Where this road, known as Zane’s Trace, crossed Wills Creek, a ferry was established in 1798. The land on which Cambridge stands was granted to Zaccheus Biggs and Zaccheus Beatty by the government in 1801. (What are the odds that both men had the same unique first name?) A settlement grew up at the creek crossing. A bridge was built here in 1803, and the town of Cambridge was platted in 1806. 

     Like many old towns we have visited, Cambridge had its share of old buildings, like this eye catching odd building built in 1896.

     Built in 1881 the Guernsey County Courthouse is an impressive. building.

     Interesting though is the civil war monument to Northern soldiers. There is an engraved inscription on one side, but you cannot read it because they put a soldier in front.

     William Lawrence Boyd was born June 5, 1895 in Hendrysburg, Ohio, but reared in Cambridge, Ohio. A six-foot-tall, prematurely white-haired, handsome, rugged young man who easily attracted women, he decided to go to Hollywood in 1919 to be an actor. In Hollywood he accepted bit parts and became a favorite of Cecil B. DeMille. Boyd starred in 1918 in Old Wives for New, possibly a prophetic movie, for he married and divorced actresses Ruth Miller, Elinor Fair, and Dorothy Sebastian. Let’s face it, it is hard to find a good woman. In 1938 he wed singer-dancer Grace Bradley; the marriage lasted thirty-five years, until his death.

     Although Boyd starred in many movies, he is best known to you as Hopalong Cassidy.

     In 1935 he was offered the lead role in Hop-a-Long Cassidy (named because of a limp caused by an earlier bullet wound). That Western hero had been created by Clarence Mulford, a Brooklyn, New York clerk. Mulford’s Cassidy was a rough, red-haired cowboy who limped from a bullet wound, drank, cursed, smoked, and gambled but had strong ethics and values. The studio officials conceded that Mulford’s Cassidy could not be portrayed to young people as a hero. Boyd supported that belief and developed the role of a cowboy who epitomized clean living. With this philosophy adopted in Boyd’s personal life, he lost his old identity and became Hopalong Cassidy.

     From 1935 to 1943 he and his horse Topper made fifty-four Hopalong Cassidy movies for Sherman; he then produced twelve more on his own, for a total of sixty-six. In the late 1940s as television became popular, Hopalong Cassidy became its first cowboy hero series. Boyd made 106 television shows and 104 radio shows.

     To honor Boyd, the Hopalong Cassidy trail meanders through Cambridge.

Technical Stuff:

Rising Sun, Kentucky to Cambridge, Ohio: 220.2 miles

4 hours 28 minutes

11.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Day 1765

      All these “main” streets now look alike. 

     The site of Lawrenceburg was settled in the early 1780s by a German immigrant named Jacob Kaufman and was first called Kaufman’s or Coffman’s Station. The post office was established as Lawrenceburgh on January 22, 1817, for William Lawrence, a local tavern owner. The community was incorporated as Lawrence in 1820 but renamed Lawrenceburg in 1827.

     The reason we came to Lawrenceburg was to eat at the River Watch Restaurant, a floating restaurant on the Ohio River. 

While eating dinner

we were able to observe the activity on the Ohio River.

     We walked the Lawrenceburg Levee Walk, built April 26, 1999 and came across this tribute to First Responders:

Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky

Day 1764

     NOTICE: Anyone offended by criticism of God, religion, or Christ, probably should skip this blog.

     Kenneth Alfred Ham was born October 20, 1951 in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. He is a Christian fundamentalist, and apologist. He is the founder of Answers in Genesis, a Christian apologetics organization, and the creator of the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. I had previously visited the Ark Encounter (see Day 787).

     Tidbit of Information: I originally thought Christian apologetics were apologizing for their beliefs, but learned Apologetics is from the Greek word ἀπολογία, which means “speaking in defense”. Therefore Christian apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through argumentation and discourse. I apologize.

     Forty authors writing 66 books over a span of 2,000 years wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit what we know today as the Bible. The Question is: is the Bible just a collection of moral stories or is it full of true, historical accounts? The Creation Museum takes us through Genesis 1–11 in an attempt to answer that question. 

     The 75,000-square-foot museum cost $27 million dollars, raised through private donations, and opened on May 28, 2007.

     Most of their secrets are behind this locked door.

     Realizing the purpose of the museum is to “exalt Jesus Christ and dispute the theory of evolution”, you have to take everything with a grain of salt. That being said, the museum is very well done. Throughout the museum, Ham looks at a piece of the world and attempts to give the Naturalistic Evolutionary view and the Biblical view. For example here he compares thoughts on abortion.

     Ham advocates biblical literalism, accepting the Book of Genesis creation narrative as historical fact and believing the universe and the Earth were created together approximately 6,000 years ago, contrary to the scientific consensus that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the universe is about 13.8 billion years old. (In physical cosmology, the age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang.)

     The Bible states that God made the land animals, including dinosaurs, on Day Six, so they date from around 6,000 years ago, according to Ham. On day 6 he also made Adam and Eve. Therefore the dinosaurs and man lived together. The Bible teaches that God created a paradise.

     Adam and Eve soon corrupted paradise with sin. Suffering and death was the penalty. As a result, sin, suffering, and death came upon Adam and upon all the world he ruled. So, the First Adam had dominion and control over the world. There was only 1 rule (by Moses’ time there were ten), don’t eat from this tree. But Adam was morally weak, and he broke that one rule. As a result, all mankind must now suffer. It appears to me that God made Adam flawed. He could not help himself. Therefore it is God’s fault. Jesus Christ, as the Last Adam died to remove all our sins. But that did not happen. The day after Christ died, sinning was still going on, and goes on till this day.

     It appears that the dinosaurs were fairly intelligent

     According to Genesis, God made everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. What did he do on the 8th day? What is he doing today? He doesn’t call, he doesn’t write, does he still care?

     We know him as Jesus Christ, but back in the day he was Yehōshu’a Ben Yosef, Jeshua to his friends. I was just curious, when he stubbed his toe, or hit a hammer on his thumb, what did he exclaim?

     Even as a child in Hebrew School, this thinking made no sense. How about the millions of people in darkest Africa who never heard of Christ? All religions say the same thing, if you don’t believe as we do, you will not go to Heaven. 

     The inevitable truth appears to be we are the product of Walt Disney’s imagination.

     Surrounding the museum were numerous gardens and a petting zoo. With babbling brooks,

Wild flowers

and the animals

Ok, The End

Rising Sun, Indiana

Day 1761

     We are staying at Rising Star Casino Resort which is a riverboat casino and hotel perched on the Ohio River in Rising Sun, Indiana. Originally called the Grand Victoria Casino when it opened in October 1996. 

     Hyatt Hotels, the owner, decided in 2006 to sell the Grand Victoria. Full House Resorts purchased the property on Aug 19, 2011 and renamed it the Rising Star Casino Resort. An RV park with 50 full hook up sites was added in 2017.

     The city of Rising Sun is another of those small towns that sprang up along the Ohio River.

     Settlers prior to 1798 are difficult to document because of the “Indian menace.” Until the Northwest Ordinance was official, there were no troops to protect settlers in the area.

    Col. Benjamin Chambers was commissioned under the John Adams administration in 1799 to survey the lands west of the Great Miami River, a tributary of the Ohio River approximately 160 miles long, named for the Indian Tribe that lived in the area. 

     John Fulton, relative of Robert Fulton the inventor of the steamboat, moved here from Lancaster Co., PA. in 1798. The story goes the party was headed downriver, apparently without a destination, and a pregnant woman was among them. For her comfort, they anchored along the bank for the night. Daybreak was so beautiful, the site was named Rising Sun and the group decided to make the place its home.

     John James, originally of Frederick County, Maryland, arrived in 1814 and purchased 776 acres of land. John platted the town of Rising Sun. The town was registered in 1816. While he wasn’t the first settler, James is known as the city’s founder.

     In walking the town we came across a number of old buildings, such as Heritage Hall. Built in 1832, it is the oldest standing building on Main St. 

     This building, built in 1902, housed a number of business over the years, including a dance hall on the second floor, which was also used by the KKK as their meeting place. 

     We stopped at the Ohio County Historical Society. Mostly a collection of old junk, they did have 2 interesting pieces: This instrument of Death, a new and improved electric chair, made in March, 1928 by the local blacksmith.

And this two headed calf born in 1989:

 

Technical Stuff:

Bowling Green, Kentucky to Rising Sun, Indiana: 203.7 miles

4 hours 36 minutes

11.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Day 1758

     We were delayed in leaving Hartselle, Alabama because a small bird refused to fly off our hitch.

     We have previously visited Bowling Green for the Corvette Museum. See Day 793.

     The first Europeans reached what is now Bowling Green in 1775. By 1778 settlers established McFadden’s Station on the north bank of the Barren River. The Barren River is a 135-mile-long river in western Kentucky. It is the largest tributary of the Green River, which drains more of Kentucky than any other river. The Barren River was the historic route for westward traveling pioneers. They would travel down the River to a trading post at present-day Bowling Green, where their journey would proceed by land. The Barren River was named by early pioneers for its treeless fields. The open fields were actually created by the Cherokee Indians, who burned sections of woodland forming grasslands to attract grazing buffalo.

     TIDBIT OF INFORMATION: There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Kentucky today. Most of them were forced to leave Kentucky during the Indian Removals of the 1800’s.

    The centerpiece of Bowling Green is Fountain Square. On this site in 1797 a log courthouse was erected. After the Civil war, county citizens made demands for a new courthouse. It is unclear why it was not erected on this site, but the city purchased a lot not far from here and traded that property for the old square. A consensus was reached to create a park out of the old square. In April 1872 a fountain was placed in the park, and on April 23 the water was turned on. The city’s trustees officially christen the area “Fountain Park”.

     Within less than ten years, the fountain had deteriorated to the point that it had to be replace. In May, 1881 the city trustees purchased this 6,000 pound precast fountain.

   

     The statues surrounding the fountain represent the mythological figures of Ceres (goddess of grain), Pomona (goddess of fruit), Melpomene (goddess of tragedy) and Flora (goddess of flowers.)

     The fountain had Lilly pads, but alas, no frogs.

     At the north and south entrances to the park are two arched memorial entries of Bowling Green limestone. The park is filled with lush greenery.

     I took time out to be a pointer for George Lundeen. It is nice to know I am still employable. 

     Many of the original buildings are still standing around the Square,

for example the Princess Theatre, Bowling Greens’s movie house, built in 1914, was the first structure built in Kentucky for the expressed purpose of showing motion pictures. 

     Constructed in 1893, this building got it’s current name from Dentist Edward T. Barr, who occupied the upper story in the 1930’s.

     On July 18, 1921, Standard Oil of Kentucky built Residential filling Station No. 1. It was the first filling Station in the area. The station continued to operate until 1956.  

     If you remember free air at a gas station, you are really old.

     It is hard to believe that an attendant would pump your gas for you, clean your windshield, and ask to check your  oil.

     Four bridges have spanned the Barren River at this site.

     The center pylon dates from the first bridge, built in 1838.

     The Confederate army burned that wooden bridge when evacuating Bowling Green in 1862. This current bridge was built in 1915. 

     While we were here, the President of the United States dropped in.

     I said, “Joe, you can’t just drop in. I’m a busy man. You have to call first.”

Technical Stuff:

Hartselle, Alabama to Bowling Green, Kentucky: 192.2 miles

4 hours 2 minutes

11.3 MPG

Diesel: $3.06

Hartselle, Alabama

Day 1757

     “Hartselle, Alabama, was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad’s owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by fire in 1916.”

     Since we are camping in Hartselle only tonight, and not unhooking the truck from the Sphinx, I am not able to walk the town and talk to the townspeople about their history. I am therefore relying on the above quote from Wikipedia.

     It has been my experience that the information on Wikipedia differs from what the locals tell me, which is why I do not rely on it much.

     Okay, Okay, I couldn’t resist. How many noticed that the city name has an extra “e” at the end? My curiosity got the best of me, so I did some research (It’s amazing what you can do with some time and a computer). The answer was in an obscure booklet by David Burleson, Hartsell before the ‘E“,  who wrote that George Hartsell was born May 7, 1802 in North Carolina and married Delany Morgan in 1822. They moved here in 1834 and were the first real settlers of the property that wound up being incorporated in the city of Hartselle. After starting with 40 acres, they eventually owned as much as 800 acres. 

     George Hartsell’s property became one of the places in the county “where people came together,” Burleson writes, and by 1853 George Hartsell’s home was used as a gathering and voting place. The general area eventually was referred to as Hartsell’s — even though Scott L. Rountree and John Brown Stuart had more to do with developing what became the downtown business center of the future Hartselle. “George didn’t really found the town; he was just the namesake.” The city was founded in 1870 and was officially incorporated by the state as Hartsell’s in 1875. Around 1891 the federal government dropped the use of apostrophes in place names, and that made the name “Hartsells” show up on official documents, even though residents had started replacing the s on the end with an e. By 1920, the spelling Hartselle had become accepted for the city. So, a bureaucrat in the federal government decided to not use apostrophes, and that changed a city’s name. 

     TIDBIT OF INFORMATION:  President Benjamin Harrison signed executive order 28 on September 4, 1890, establishing the Board on Geographical Names“To this Board shall be referred all unsettled questions concerning geographic names. The decisions of the Board are to be accepted by federal departments as the standard authority for such matters.” Decisions of the board were accepted as binding by all departments and agencies of the federal government.

     An interesting note: Burleson’s booklet indicates Hartsell was a merchant and businessman, with no mention of him as an owner of the South and North Alabama Railroad. A search of the railroad does not list Hartsell as an investor. I think Wikipedia is wrong again. 

     Sorry, no pictures, unless you want to see the view outside my window of another RV.

Technical Stuff:

Montgomery, Alabama to Hartselle, Alabama: 158.9 miles

3 hours 14 minutes

10.8 MPG

Diesel: $3.06

Montgomery, Alabama, Again

Day 1756

     We have now been traveling around the Country for 4.8109589 years. Since we are traveling back home for our granddaughter’s wedding (another good man bites the dust) we are bound to repeat states we have already been (see Day 535).

     We are only spending one night in Montgomery, Alabama, as well as our next stop, Hartselle, Alabama, and therefore we will not unhook the truck from the Sphinx, and obviously not go sightseeing. 

Technical Stuff:

Pensacola, Florida to Montgomery, Alabama: 170.5 miles

3 hours 34 minutes

11.1 MPG

Diesel: $3.06

Fort Pickens, Pensacola Beach, Florida

Day 1751

     Hidden beneath this vegetation is Battery Langdon, Ft. Pickens. Its 12-inch gun could propel a projectile 17 miles out to sea. This massive gun bunker, begun in 1917 and competed in 1923, was covered with soil during WWII to camouflage it from enemy aircraft.

     In 1816, the United States began constructing Third System forts along its coastline to protect important waterways and seaports. Five years later, the federal government began fortifying areas along Florida’s 3,500 mile seaboard. Pensacola Bay was one such area.

     Tidbit of Information: Unlike First and Second system forts built between 1794–1812, Third System forts had durable construction materials and uniformity. Brick and stone forts were more resilient to time, nature, and battles. Maryland’s Ft. McHenry is a third system fort. The Third System came to an end around 1867. More powerful weapons technology, like steel breech-loading rifled cannon and steel steam-powered warships, made the forts obsolete.

     European powers had long considered Pensacola Bay one of the most important on the northern Gulf Coast. With depths ranging between 20–65 feet and a length of about 13 miles, the bay afforded excellent anchorage and protection for ships. After the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819, in which Spain ceded East and West Florida to the US, Pensacola Bay became a US territory. In 1825 President James Monroe signed a law establishing a new navy yard and depot on the bay. Forts were needed to protect the natural bay and navy yard, and thus Fort Pickens was conceived. In May 1828, the federal government acquired 998 acres on Santa Rosa Island to build Fort Pickens. The fort is named for Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, who fought in South Carolina during the American Revolution.

     The fort would be built on the western end of Santa Rosa Island, a low-lying barrier island that provides natural protection to the bay and mainland Florida. From this location, Fort Pickens would command the approaches to the channel, control access into and out of the bay, work with forts built around the channel, and prevent an enemy force from using the island to launch attacks against the navy yard. With five walls, cannons installed at Fort Pickens could fire at all points of the compass. During times of peace, a garrison of 60 soldiers could occupy Fort Pickens, increasing to 500 during times of war and up to 1,000 soldiers during a siege.

     Another Tidbit of Information: At the time of its completion, Fort Pickens was the largest brick structure on the Gulf of Mexico. It exhibited the latest theories in coastal defense design, construction, and weaponry. The fort illustrated the growing power of the US, and as a part of the Third System, it helped make the nation virtually impregnable.

     While the fort was a formidable force, it really only saw actual action during the Civil War. Fort Pickens was only one of four seacoast forts in the south that remained under Union control. When the confederates, who were holding the mainland, took on the Union soldiers at Fort Pickens they were met with a fierce battle that lasted two months. The Confederate soldiers were finally forced to retreat.

     And yet another Tidbit of Information: On October 25, 1886 the Fort was used as a prison to house Geronimo and his braves. Now, everyone knows Geronimo, but how about the 14 braves that survived with him? They are:  Natchez, Porcio, Fenn, Abnandria, Mahi, Yahenza, Fishnoith, Touze, Bishi, Chona, Lazalyah, Molzos, Nulthigal, Sophonne and Louah.

Pensacola Beach, Florida

Day 1750

     Pensacola Beach, (known as “Ochuse” since the expeditions of Hernando de Soto in 1541) is an unincorporated community located on Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island, on the Florida’s Emerald Coast.

     Tristán de Luna y Arellano was born 1510 in Borobia, Spain. A Spanish explorer and Conquistador, he came to New Spain (now Mexico) and was sent in 1559 on an expedition to colonize Florida. Luna established a colony called Santa Maria de Ochuse at modern-day Pensacola, the earliest multi-year European settlement in the continental United States.

     “CIG” is a 3ft. sea turtle made from 1238 cigarette butts from the Pensacola Beach. Bet you didn’t know cigarette butts grew on the beach.

     We went out in search of the Eighth Methodist Church. We never found it. We did find the First Methodist Church. Not as exciting as the Eighth, but you work with what you are dealt.

    The First United Methodist Church of Pensacola was founded December 7, 1821 and is the oldest Methodist congregation in Florida. This is actually the fifth building the Church has occupied and dates back to October 14, 1908.

     This house was built in 1867 for Danish sea captain Charles F. Boysen. It was constructed using materials from wrecked buildings along the street. Boysen was the Norwegian Vice-Consul, and during his tenure the home served as a Consulate of Sweden and Norway. In 1882 the house was acquired by Edward Aylesworth Perry, who served as Governor of Florida from 1885-1889 and lived here until 1900. The house is now owned by First United Methodist Church of Pensacola.

Technical Stuff:

Pensacola, Fl. to Pensacola Beach, Florida: 22.4 miles

1 hour 7 minutes

9.7 MPG

Diesel: $3.08

Pensacola, Florida

Day 1749

     We have been to Pensacola a few times before. See Day 819 and Day 981 and Day 984 and Day 985.

     When you go to Ocean City, Maryland, you have to go to Thrasher’s for their french fries. In Pensacola, you have to go to Bailey’s Produce for their fresh vegetables direct from local farms. 

     Baileys Produce can trace its beginning to 1936 when Doc Bailey began selling crops grown on his family farm in Jay, Florida. He and his wife Helen opened Bailey’s Curb Market in 1938.

     Their boys grew up working in the family business. Their son, David, and his wife Billie, put their skills to work and later passed them on to their sons. David Jr., Doug and Don working alongside their parents to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the Gulf Coast area. Don Bailey became their business partner after graduating from college. 

     Because each days produce is fresh from the farm, and changes daily, all signs are magic marker written.

     This is General Bernardo De Gálvez. Every time I tried to take his picture, he turned his head. 

     He was the Spanish Governor of the Louisiana Territories at the time of the American Revolution. In 1779, when Spain became an ally of the American Revolutionaries, he was the Commanding General of Spain’s army and naval forces in the New World. On March 18, 1781, he led the naval charge into the well-defended Pensacola Bay. After weeks of siege, on May 8, 1781, he successfully drove the British out, making the “Siege of Pensacola” the longest battle of the American Revolution.

     Built in 1907, this building was the original City Hall. Today it is a museum, named for Theodore Thomas Wentworth, Jr. born July 26, 1898, in Mobile Alabama. His family move here in 1900 and at age 22 he became the youngest County Commissioner ever elected in Florida. He was an avid collector, and it is his collection that formed the basis of this museum. 

     Here, Barbara is getting directions from J. Earle Bowden, a newspaper cartoonist.

     The Seville Quarter of Pensacola looks a lot like New Orleans.

     The Charles Lavalle House, built in 1805, is the oldest standing house in Pensacola. There might me a sitting house that is older.

     And….here is Charles now:

Technical Stuff: Dothan, Georgia to Pensacola, Florida: 156.2 miles

3 hours 3 minutes

10.5 MPG

Diesel: $2.89

There is more to Dothan than meets the Eye

Day 1748

     Back in the 1800’s what we call water towers were called standpipes. The Dothan Dixie Standpipe stands one hundred feet tall and sixteen feet in diameter. The city’s early growth is a result of pure and plentiful water. The Standpipe sits atop a 625 foot deep artesian well which began supplying fresh water to the city of Dothan on April 5th, 1897. The Dothan Dixie Standpipe is the oldest continuously operating water tower in the State of Alabama.

     Hand me my wrench, please. 

     This Atlantic Coastline passenger station was constructed by the Atlantic Coastline Railroad in 1907 during Dothan’s rapid growth as a commercial center. This station served Dothan until 1979. 

     The station is guarded by the Gargoyle.

     As stated yesterday, the current prominent industry of Dothan is peanuts. A closer look at this industry and how it effected Dothan is located in the George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum. Unfortunately, the building was locked.

     I called the museum, no one answered. I left a message and did not receive a return call. I don’t know if it was locked because of the china virus or, like a greater part of downtown, is abandoned.

     The old downtown commercial center of Dothan appears to be mostly vacant and run down. The buildings span the period of Dothan’s early growth from 1885 to 1930.

     During this time Dothan grew from a small rural town into the trade and transportation nucleus of the area, the last area of Alabama to be settled and developed.

     This section of the city began losing its importance as a commercial hub in the late 1960’s when retail businesses began moving to outlying shopping centers and malls, abandoning many buildings. 

     By 1992, most of the shops and business had left in favor of Ross Clark Circle’s busy traffic, shopping center, and malls. This is what we have all come to expect as a downtown modern center. 

     A small group of citizens began the process of bringing downtown back as an attraction, commissioning murals to be painted on the historic buildings left vacant. There are currently 19 murals, including a hidden mural inside the Dothan Opera House. 

     We tried to enter the Opera House, but like most of the other buildings it was locked, with no notice or explanation. The Opera House was built as a municipal auditorium by the growing town. Seating 800, it opened October 8, 1915, with a performance by a local orchestra. The 3 story masonry structure remains basically unaltered from its original plan. A new civic center was built across the street in 1971. 

     On February 9, 1903 delegates from this area formed a new County from three existing counties and named it Houston after former Governor George S. Houston. In March of that year an election was held and Dothan was named the new county seat. In 1905 the Houston County courthouse was dedicated. In 1960 that building was torn down and this building was constructed, which opened in April 1962 in the same spot as the original:

     A few blocks away is the Federal Courthouse, all in the new section of Dothan.

 

 

 

 

Dothan, Alabama

Day 1747

     When we entered Dothan to walk the town, we saw these children frolicking in the sunshine.

     Between 1763 and 1783, the region that is now Dothan was part of the colony of British West Florida. You remember from Day 352 and Day 529, one of the 15 colonies that wasn’t. During the American Revolution, British West Florida decided not to join those rabble-rousers.

     The first permanent white settlers consisted of nine families who moved into the area during the early 1830s to harvest the abundant timber. Their settlement was named Poplar Head. For nearly 30 years, the Poplar Head community changed little. By the late 1870s, however, with the rise of the lumber, turpentine, and naval stores industries in the area, more settlers came to the area for work. They began clearing the surrounding land for farms and built more homes. Soon, they asked for their own post office. 

     So imagine this: It is November 11, 1885, the town fathers are sitting around the pot belly stove discussing what to name their town after they were informed that the Post Office cannot use their name of Poplar Head, as it was already the name of another town in Alabama. “Well,” says one, “since we are a lumber town, why don’t we name it Bunyan, after Paul Bunyan?”  “How about Colfax, after Schuyler Colfax, the 17 Vice President of the US?” “How about Irvin, after Irvin McDowell, the famous confederate General?” “How about Jumbo, the star attraction in P. T. Barnum’s circus?” And the most timid town father suggested “Kisimova after Eugenia Kisimova, Bulgarian feminist, philanthropist and women’s rights activist?” No, they all decided, they would name the town Dothan (דֹתָן), after the biblical city in Egypt where Joseph’s brothers threw him into a cistern and sold him into slavery. Yes, they all agreed, that is it. Go tell the Postal Authorities. 

     The above Joseph statue at Millennium Park is a ten-foot cast bronze sculpture in the downtown area. It represents the Bible verse “For I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan” (Genesis 37:17).

     Following the devastation of the cotton crops by boll weevil infestation in the 1910s, the area embraced peanut farming and has developed into one of the largest peanut-producing regions in the world.

     Eventually, farmers turned to peanut production, which was successful and brought financial gain to the city. It became a hub for the production and transport of peanuts and peanut-related products. Today, one-quarter of the U.S. peanut crop is harvested within 75 miles of Dothan. Peanuts Around Town is a public art project organized by The Downtown Group, consisting of 5-foot-tall peanut sculptures decorated in various fashions and displayed around Dothan.

     Ok, you are in downtown Dothan and you want to go from College Drive to Appletree Street? You take Troy Street, of course. The smallest city block in the United States.

     Boy, it is a hot summer day:

     Cones are to protect Barbara from cars.

     Wow! I didn’t realize we were in town that long.

Technical Stuff: 

Milledgeville, Georgia to Dothan, Alabama: 230.9 miles

5 hours 10 minutes

10.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.89

Old Governor’s Mansion, Milledgeville, Georgia

Day 1741

     Only 8 governors lived in the Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia. Mainly because the mansion was only in use from 1839 when it was built until 1868 when the Capital of Georgia was moved to Atlanta.

     We were fortunate to receive a private tour of the mansion.

     The building of the mansion was started in 1835 with the first Governor residing here in 1839.

     Prior to 1839, the governors lived in private or rented homes.

     General William T Sherman and his 30,000 troops marched into Milledgeville on Wednesday, November 23, 1864. He made this building his headquarters.

     (He was going to come in on Tuesday, November 22, 1864, but the building is closed on Tuesdays.)

     Governor Brown was governor at this time and shortly before Sherman’s arrival fled to Macon, Georgia. He returned to the mansion the following year, but was arrested by federal troops. He was taken to Washington, D.C. and briefly imprisoned.

     Andrew Johnson pardoned him on the condition he resign the governorship. By the summer of 1868, Georgia’s capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta.

Scenic Mountain Campground, Milledgeville, Georgia

Day 1740

     Because we are in the Deep South, with 90 degree weather, we decided just to hike around the campground. 

     Scenic Mountain RV Park and Campground has 83 camping sites on 112 acres. Amenities include a bathhouse, coin laundry, three pavilions, a playground, and a salt water swimming-pool with a pool temperature whirlpool. Although the park claims free wifi, the signal is pretty poor. Each site has cable TV with 33 channels

     It advertises paved roads with gravel sites. Our site was level, and it looked like most other sites were as well. A grassy area is located next to each gravel site with a picnic table and fire pit.

     We are 5 miles from downtown Milledgeville.

     The park has six fishing ponds and seven nature trails that are almost 5 miles long.

     Although the park boasts numerous activities, like painting, bingo, jewelry making, glass etching and live music; none were going on the week we were here. I was unsure if that was a result of the china virus, or the park not keeping up with its prior high standards. 

     It appears this was a very nice park at one time. Now looking unkept and run down. Grass not attended to,

streets in disrepair

with numerous pot holes. 

     Nevertheless, there were still many amenities, but because of the heat, they were not in use.

swimming pool,

playground,

pavilions, 

stage,

not today.

     The air conditioned club house was empty.

     Even the dog washes were not in use.

     The only exciting thing going on in this heat, was the tractor falling into one of the ponds.

Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum

Day 1738

     In the first decades of the 1800s there was a movement in several states to reform prisons, create public schools, and establish state-run hospitals for the mentally ill. In 1837, the Georgia State Legislature responded to a call from Governor Wilson Lumpkin, by passing a bill calling for the creation of a “State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum.” Located in Milledgeville, then the state capital, the facility opened in 1842.

     Of course, I couldn’t resist seeking it out.

     The facilities was once the largest mental hospital on Earth. Today, it is slowly rotting away.

     In December 1842, the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot and Epileptic Asylum opened its doors to patients afflicted with all manner of mental ailments. It was considered a state-of-the-art facility at the time, eschewing ropes and chains in favor of holistic care and work programs designed to help rehabilitate the patients. This model met with great success, particularly under the leadership of Dr. Thomas A. Green, who served at the hospital from 1845 to 1879. 

     However, as frequently happened in such 19th-century mental institutions, things took a dark turn as the years went on. The population of the hospital had ballooned while the capacity of the buildings had stayed the same.

      The site gained national recognition during the 1950s as the largest mental institution in the world, with over 12,000 patients, 6,000 employees, and more than 8,000 acres of land.    

     The gentle practices that the hospital had once pioneered fell by the wayside as staff struggled to cope with the massive population. The patient population grew steadily throughout the twentieth century. The increase in numbers meant a concurrent decrease in the quality of care. By the 1960s, there were over 12,000 patients living at Central State Hospital, with only one medical staffer per 100 individuals. 

    As conditions deteriorated, patients began dying. A 1959 exposé revealed that none of the 48 doctors patrolling the wards were actually psychiatrists. Mothers across the South threatened to send misbehaving children to Milledgeville. It was soon discovered that more than 25,000 patients were buried in unmarked graves throughout the hospital grounds. This was a result of families not being able to afford to bring their loved ones bodies home. 

     The main hospital eventually shut down in 2010. The property is closed to the public and constant security patrols ensure that no one goes close to the buildings. In fact, I was stopped 3 times by security while taking these photographs, saying either I or my parked truck were on private property.

      Today, Central State Hospital serves only 200 patients and has downsized to roughly 2,000 acres of land, adjacent to these abandoned buildings. .

 

 

 

Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville, Georgia

Day 1736

     Today we trudged up Memory Hill to the Cemetery there.

     Milledgeville, founded in 1803, was Georgia’s 4th capital. As part of the planning of Milledgeville in December, 1804, four public squares of 20 acres each were established, with one square (the South square) set aside for public use. In 1809, the Methodist church, with approximately 100 members, was built in the South square, and a church cemetery was established in 1810. Other churches began building in Statehouse square, rather than the South square.

     Eventually the Methodist church moved to Statehouse square also, and the South square became the Milledgeville City Cemetery. In 1945, the Milledgeville City Cemetery obtained the additional name of Memory Hill. The cemetery contains over 7700 identifiable graves with at least 1200 graves with no markers or names.     

     You can be a great man while you walk this earth, but this is all that is left 40 years after your death:

     This is Carl Vinson who died at 98 years old on June 1, 1981. He served in Congress for 50 years as Georgia’s representative. He is credited with being the father of the “two ocean navy” because he urged the creation of the Pacific fleet and developed a 10 year plan to build a strong navy. It is his foresight that help prepare the U.S. for World War II.

     James A. Gibson, born 1880, died 1945, was a Buffalo Soldier who fought in the Indian Wars of 1880 and in the Spanish American War, charging with Teddy Roosevelt on July 2, 1898 up San Juan Hill (it was really San Juan Heights, but that is another story).

      Edwin F. Jemison (the young Confederate soldier whose photograph is among the best-known images associated with the War Between the States):

     Edwin Francis Jemison, a member of the 2d Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, fell in the battle of Malvern Hill, on July 1, 1862, aged seventeen years and seven months.

     He was brave and honorable. In the first call for volunteers to defend our rights his noble and enthusiastic spirit was one of the first to respond; and nobly did he, although but a child in years, he sustained himself in the front rank of the soldier and gentleman until the moment of his death. Bounding forward at the order “Charge!” he was stricken down in the front rank, and without a struggle yielded up his young life.

     These children didn’t die (no date of birth or death), their parents just got frustrated with them. It is said that every night from dusk til dawn they rise up looking for their parents.

     Thomas Haynes Bonner, Died at The Battle of Vicksburg August, 1863.

     It is a shame to think that the remaining 8,895 graves here have their own story to tell, but does anyone remember, or care?

     Look at the time, time to go.

Milledgeville, Georgia

Day 1735

     We are camping this week in Midgetville, Georgia. Sorry, it’s not Midgetville, but Milledgeville, named for John Milledge. Born in 1757 in Savannah, Georgia, he fought in the Revolutionary War and was very active in Georgia politics, including being Governor of Georgia from 1802 to 1806. 

    The first European to set foot here was Hernando de Soto on April 3, 1540, searching, on behalf of Spain, for gold. We know this because it was covered by CNN news. 

     Milledgeville is situated on the Oconee River. The rapid current of the river here made this an attractive location to build a city. The river’s name derives from the Oconee, a Muskogean people of central Georgia. Milledgeville was a planned city (like Washington, D.C.) established in 1803 and was the capital of Georgia for 60 years, from 1807 to 1868. However, after the war the Capital of Georgia was moved from here to Atlanta, a city emerging as the symbol of the New South.

     On January 19, 1861, Georgia convention delegates passed the Ordinance of Secession, and on February 4, 1861, the “Republic of Georgia” joined the Confederate States of America. On November 22, 1864 Union general William T. Sherman and 30,000 Union troops marched into Milledgeville during his March to the Sea. Surprisingly, he did not destroy the city. 

     This allowed us to view houses, like the Sanford-MdComb House, built in 1823.

     The city also had these relics:

     Milledgeville boasts two colleges, Georgia College, not to be confused with Georgia University, and Georgia Military College. 

     Georgia College was chartered in 1889 as Georgia Normal and Industrial College. Obviously the College was not Normal as it had 6 different names over the years:

Georgia Normal and Industrial College (1889–1922)
Georgia State College for Women (1922–1961)
Woman’s College of Georgia (1961–1967)
Georgia College at Milledgeville (1967–1971)
Georgia College (1971–1996) and its current name                         Georgia College and State University.

     The campus comprises 43.2 acres in the center of Milledgeville. The campus contains buildings of red brick and white Corinthian columns, representative of those constructed during the Antebellum period.

     TIDBIT OF INFORMATION: The Antebellum Period was a period in the history of the Southern United States from the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War (1783) until the start of the American Civil War in 1861. The Antebellum South was characterized by large plantations and the rampant use of slavery.

     Georgia Military College (GMC) was established in 1879 “…to educate young men and women from the Middle Georgia area in an environment which fosters the qualities of good citizenship.”

     GMC’s main campus is located in downtown Milledgeville, a couple of blocks from Georgia College. This makes the city pretty crowded with college students. 

     The school was originally called Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College and was ceded state government lands surrounding the Old Capitol Building, which was the seat of government for the State of Georgia from 1807-1868. The Old Capitol Building is a central feature of the Milledgeville campus and sits on the city’s highest point.

     I tried to tour the The Old Capitol Building for the history of Milledgeville, but it was closed to the public as a result of the china virus. 

     The name of the school changed to Georgia Military College (GMC) in 1900. GMC is one of five military junior colleges that participates in the U.S. Army’s Early Commissioning Program. Students who graduate from GMC’s two-year, military science-oriented curriculum receive an officer’s commission in the U.S. Army. 

   

TECHNICAL STUFF:

Rock Hill, South Carolina to Milledgeville, Georgia: 247.7 miles

6.0 hours

9.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.95

Town of Ebenezer, South Carolina

Day 1733

     We are staying at Ebenezer Park and Campground. It is a very nice State Park, occupying 26 acres located on the shores of Lake Wylie in North Carolina.

     They have a nice circular boardwalk:

there were swings overlooking the Lake

to watch the sunset.

     Ebenezer lies within that area once known as the Indian Land. 144,000 acres set aside for the Catawba Indians by treaty made in 1763.

     Legally the white man could not lease or buy this land, but the pioneers could not be restrained, and, with or without the consent  of the Catawba, they occupied the land. Finally in 1840, a new treaty was made whereby the Indians ceded all their land to the State of South Carolina (no pressure there).

     The Town of Ebenezer grew up around Ebenezer Presbyterian Church which had been organized in 1785. The name was changed to Ebenezerville in 1837. It was discontinued in 1866 (even then, they had a cancel culture). The post office here was called Old Point from 1890 to 1911 because there was another Ebenezerville in another state. The town was incorporated as Ebenezer in December, 1893.

     In 1846, when plans were being made for the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad, it was proposed that the railroad run through Ebenezerville. However, the citizens did not want trains going through their community, so the track was laid a few miles east of the village. This brought about the beginning of Rock Hill (see Day 832).

      Ebenezerville was unincorporated and annexed into the younger and larger city of Rock Hill in 1961. 

     Writing blogs makes me hungry. So, in Rock Hill, I went to Legal Remedy Brewing Co. Supposedly one of the owners is a Malpractice Lawyer, and hence the name. 

     The brewery houses a 17 barrel brewing system,

     plus a full restaurant, with an interesting menu.

and other signs    

      Arrr, you have it.

     Ebenezer Presbyterian Church was founded in 1785 as a centerpiece to the community of Ebenezerville. 

     The original church, a log structure, was located  across the street from where the present church stands.  It is one of the oldest churches in South Carolina.

     The Ebenezer Cemetery has been used as a community burying ground since the beginning of the church in 1785.  The oldest marked grave is that of Stephen McCorkel, who died in 1790.  The rock wall surrounding the cemetery was constructed during the 1850’s. 

The graveyard contained Revolutionary War soldiers

as well as Confederate Civil War soldiers, who’s graves were clearly marked.

     I found no graves of Union Soldiers.

     As I was leaving the graveyard I heard something behind me, turning around I saw this. 

I hurriedly left.

Technical Stuff: Candler, NC to Ebenezer, SC: 134.4 miles

3 hours 45 minutes

10.8 MPG

Diesel: $2.95

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Day 1729

     Hendersonville is the County Seat of Henderson County, located in the southern mountains of western North Carolina, about an hour from our campsite

    Before Revolutionary War soldier William Mills “discovered” the area in the late 1780s it was the hunting grounds for the Cherokee Indians. Mills received one of the first land grants in the western Blue Ridge Mountains and settled the land.

     Henderson County’s first source of revenue was agriculture. Settlers grew corn, wheat, rye, potatoes and cabbage. Not only did William Mills settle the area, he also planted hundreds of apple trees each year, which inspired his neighbors to do the same. Henderson County now leads the state in apple production and is ranked in the top 10 nationally.

     Henderson County was officially created in 1838 and named for Leonard Henderson, chief justice of the State Supreme Court who died in 1833. The town of Hendersonville received its charter in 1847 with a population of several hundred people.

     The Henderson County Heritage Museum is housed in six rooms of the renovated Henderson County Courthouse.

     Because of the China Virus, and this being a government building, we had to knock at the locked door to gain admittance. We were given a private tour of the museum by Barbara Green. She spend her entire life in Hendersonville and gave us her insight to the things we saw.

     As expected, the museum housed a host of ancient items.

     Most of the buildings in this area have the original facade, with plaques describing the original building. Unfortunately, modern business obliterated the view with modernization, such as this restaurant, which used to be a garage.

     The food was excellent.

     However, two items maintained their original integrity. The Mast General Store and the McClintock clock.

     In 1883 Henry Taylor opened a small General Store. In 1897, W.W. Mast purchased a half interest in the store and was named the “Taylor and Mast General Store”. In 1913, Mast purchased the remaining half of Taylor’s interest, and the business became known as the Mast General Store. There are six Mast General Stores in North Carolina. This Hendersonville store opened in August 1995.

     The O.B McClintock Company made large clocks for banks from 1917-1949. On March 11, 1927, this clock was placed into operation by the Citizens National Bank.

     Made of bronze, it features copper hoods as the top and bottom and art glass dial faces. Originally, the clock was driven by a mechanical-electric clock inside the building which sent a 24 volt signal to the outside clock to activate the 4 faces and another signal to set off the Westminster Chimes inside the clock. By 1993, many components were beyond repair and the system was updated with an electric timer system. Twenty years later, in 2013, the clock was completely renovated. The new system will automatically adjust the clock faces for power failures and daylight saving time. While standing here, the clock chimed the half hour.

     We next went to Oakdale Cemetery, just outside Hendersonville to look for the Angel. 

     To best understand this, please read my blog for Day 1376, our stroll through Asheville.

     Author Thomas Wolfe’s first novel was “Look Homeward, Angel”.  In the book, there are constant references to an angel statue carved from Italian marble. This is the angel, Margaret E. Johnson, born 1832 died 1905. Thomas Wolfe’s father, W.O. Wolfe, sold the statue to the Johnson family to mark the family plot in Oakdale Cemetery.

 

Dupont State Forest, North Carolina

Day 1727

     DuPont State Recreational Forest is a 12,500-acre state forest, located in Henderson, Western North Carolina near the South Carolina state line. The State of North Carolina purchased the land for the recreation area in three major phases between 1995-2000. The land purchases began when the DuPont Corporation sold its industrial operation and surrounding land holdings to the State, hence the name of the forest.

     The forest consists of 86 miles of trails and roads leading to a number of water falls, which was the reason of our visit. Each of the falls has it’s name, of which I will not bore you (your welcome).

     The hikes to the various falls was strenuous, and in some cases just plain muddy.

but it was well worth the hike.

     We even encountered some wildlife

          To get to some of the falls, we had to traverse wet rocks

      TIDBIT OF INFORMATION: The movies, The Hunger Games, were filmed entirely in North Carolina. Many scenes from the movie were shot in Dupont State Recreational Forest.

 

Candler, North Carolina

Day 1724

     We are staying at a very nice KOA campground in Candler, North Carolina. Candler is a grease spot on the map. It consists of this campground, a truck stop, and a Dollar General. No town, no streets or buildings, no visitor center or chamber of commerce. Nobody knows where the name came from or when the area was settled. The campground is right on interstate 40, and I mean right on the highway. Because of the heavy truck traffic, guests complain about the noise. Their solution, offer free ear plugs.

     The closet town is Canton. Canton, North Carolina is located in the Smoky Mountains about 20 miles west of Asheville, and 5 miles from our campsite. The Pigeon River flows right through the middle of this small town.

     The first inhabitants of the area to be Canton were the Cherokee Indians. Europeans didn’t arrive here until after the American Revolution, about 1780, after gaining title to the land from the Cherokee (voluntary, of course).

     As some of you know from my previous blogs, I am fascinated on how towns and cities got their name. To find the answer about Canton, N.C. I went to the The Canton Area Historical Museum.

     The original purpose for this building was to house the Canton Library. Constructed in 1954, the library remained there until 1990 when the library was moved to a new location and this building became the home of the Canton Area History Museum.

     I interrupted the clerk who was about to type a document.

     I was informed that Canton was founded in 1889 as “Buford”. Later that same year the name was changed to “Vinson”. The name was changed to “Pigeon Ford” in 1891, because it was at this point the Pigeon River was at it’s lowest, which allowed horses and wagons to cross, or ford the river.

     In this photo, the first railroad bridge, constructed in 1892 can be seen.       

     A wrought iron truss bridge was erected across the Pigeon River, at the site of the above crossing, around July of 1892,

it remained there until demolished in 1962, and replaced with this bridge.

     The recognition plaque bearing the bridge company’s name was saved and is currently on display at the Canton Historical Museum, where I took the below photograph.  

     “The Town of Pigeon River” was not a popular name and did not sit easy with many of the local businessmen and dignitaries, especially the railroad ticket agent, C. S. Mingus, who went by the name Cash.

      Further, the town was being confused by other locations named Pigeon. The town leaders met in 1892 and heated arguments ensued as to a new name. Finally, in frustration, Cash Mingus stormed out of the meeting and walked a couple of blocks to the bridge that crossed the Pigeon River, saw this sign, and declared, that would be the name of the town. 

      In January, 1893 the General Assembly of North Carolina officially change the name of the Town of Pigeon River to the one that persists to this day—the Town of Canton.

     And, now you know the whole story.

     Along the banks of this scenic river lies Evergreen Packaging, a long-standing paper mill that now produces Starbucks cups, among other things.

     The Colonial Theater was built in 1932 and renovated in 1992 and again in 2006 giving the town a multi-use facility with state of the art film, video & sound equipment. It regularly hosts concerts, plays, festivals, weddings, and conferences. It is now dark because of the China Virus. 

Technical Stuff: Salem, Virginia to Candler, North Carolina: 239.9 miles

4 hours 46 minutes

10.1 MPG

Diesel: $ 2.96

Dixie Caverns, Salem, Virginia

Day 1723

     We are spending tonight at Dixie Caverns Campground in Salem, Virginia. On the campground property is Dixie Caverns. We have been to a number of caverns, some commercial, like Mammoth Cave and Luray Caverns, and some private, like Endless Caverns and Dixie. They are all starting to look alike to me, with their own “Grand Cathedral” rooms, their “Pipe Organ” formations, reflecting pools and stalagmites that look like — take your pick — George Washington, an Indian or Stonewall Jackson.

     All the caverns seem to have the same origin : In reference to Dixie Caverns, the story is the caverns were discovered in 1920 by two boys who were searching for a lost hunting dog named Dixie that disappeared into a hole in the ground. The cave was named for this dog (not clear if the dog died or what). Endless Caverns was discovered by two boys chasing a rabbit.  Mark Twain Cave was discovered when a hunter was following his dog who went into the cave. Do you see a pattern here?

     I think most these stories are fabricated for salesmanship. For example, in reference to Dixie Caverns, newspaper clippings from The Roanoke Times’ archives report that the cavern’s location was known by local hunters in the 1860s and that the caverns were explored and mapped by the early 1900’s.

     The current owner of Dixie Caverns is Connie Browning. Her family has owned Dixie Caverns for six decades, being purchased at action in 1956 by her father, Albert Trompeter. Records indicate there were three owners before Trompeter bought the cave.

TIDBIT OF INFORMATION:  Cave vs. Cavern. The natural underground chamber in the hillside or the cliff is known as a cave. On the other hand, caverns are the type of caves which are formed in soluble rocks and have the ability to grow speleothems. The caves only have one chamber or opening, whereas caverns have multiple openings. Therefore, all caverns are caves, but not all caves are caverns.

     The best known attraction of Dixie Cavern is a bell-shaped flowstone formation known as the “Wedding Bell” which, as the name implies, is a large, bell-shaped formation. Many a man has met his doom being married under the bell.

     The Dixie Caverns are unique in that they are up in the mountain which is unusual in that you walk up rather than down. If you are into stair stepping, this is the place. In touring the cavern, we climbed up or went down over 400 stairs. Visitors don’t burrow down in the ground to tour the Caverns, they walk up. The cave rooms are inside a hill, which is entered through an entryway that lead to a 48-step staircase dubbed “Jacob’s Ladder.” The top of the cavern is 80 feet above the entrance.

     The caverns were only formed in the past million years as water dissolved the limestone and created holes and passages that merged into great cave rooms. Many of the formations are calcite, formed by drips of water that evaporate and leave behind tiny particles of calcium carbonate.

ANOTHER TIDBIT OF INFORMATION: Limestone is a soluble rock that fractures and dissolves due to the carbon in rainwater. When the limestone is washed away, large openings are left behind. Stalactites, stalagmites and columns are formed when dripping water leaves traces of calcium carbonate, which over many years will add up and lengthen into calcite formations (which imaginative cavern owners will name “Chief One Feather,” “Liberty Bell,” “Tower of Babel” and so on). It takes more than 100 years of dripping water to form 1 cubic inch of a stalactite.

Look over there! Those sheets hanging from the cave ceiling sure look like bacon! Mmm, bacon.

     The only wildlife in this cave are salamanders:

Technical Stuff: Broadway, Virginia to Salem, Virginia: 129.6 miles

11.0 MPG

2 hours 30 minutes

Diesel: $2.96

White Oak Lavender Farm, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Day 1722

     Broadway is a town in Rockingham County, Virginia. We stopped here because Barbara wanted to visit White Oak Lavender Farm in Harrisonburg, which is a short distance away.

     White Oak Lavender Farm is owned and operated by the Haushalter family in the Shenandoah Valley. The farm has been open to the public since 2008. They grow over 8,000 lavender plants. 

     Lavender gets its name from the Latin word “lavare” (“to wash”).  Through the ages, it has been used for making soaps and cosmetics. The fresh scent and antiseptic properties combine for wonderful, natural cleaning products.  Herbalists have used lavender as a medicinal plant for centuries.  Lavender is reported as a cure for insomnia and back pain.  Anointing with lavender oil was recorded in ancient Greek writings (don’t forget, they are the same people who touted hemlock). 

     Patrons are invited to pick as many plants as they desire. 50 plants costs $8.00

    The farm also boast numerous animal

as well a variety of other plants and flowers, 

Please, don’t eat the daises 

     Evidentially, bees play a big part in establishing different lavender fragrances. The farm cultivated thousands of bees.

     Most of the lavender plants had bees in them

     Of course, there was a bottle tree

     The bottle tree came to the United States during the slave trade. It was believed that bottle trees warded off evil spirits.

     In the drying barn, hundred of lavender plants were hung to dry. They sure smelled sweet.

     I liked the gazebo with the hat passthrough.

     With all the thousands of lavender plants, the farm smelled great.

     Since today is July 4th, the KOA campground at which we are staying had fireworks. They were underwhelming.

     Well, high five to you all

See you later.

Technical Stuff: Abingdon, Md. to Broadway Va. 188.3 miles

8.6 MPG

9 hours 9 minutes

Diesel: $3.11

Plumpton Park Zoo, Maryland

Day 1715

     Plumpton Park Zoo is located in Cecil County, Maryland. This privately own zoo is home to some exotic animals.

     The zoo was started by Edward Plumstead in 1985 on his family estate, initially with deer and a few domestic animals. Now the zoo is home to over 165 animals including giraffes, tigers, bears, deer, wolves, monkey, kangaroos, and llamas, and is run by a professionally trained staff of zookeepers.

     Someone left the gate open

and the peacock roamed freely

     You can get close to the animals and hand feed them

     They even had a horse, recently released from prison.

     The coolest animal there was this Bengal Tiger.

   

     Here this little girl tried to feed him,

     Oh! No. She became his lunch. Oh, well. 

Old Baltimore County

Day 1710

     The first County Seat of Baltimore County was established in 1659 on the Bush River, about 1 mile from our campsite. It barley lasted 40 years, until about 1700 when it was moved to Joppa Maryland. 

      Baltimore Town, as it was then called, was a ferry landing and its tobacco port served the upper bay. It was also a gateway to the wilderness. (It is hard to imagine where we are camped as the gateway to the wilderness). Authorities ordered a courthouse built here in 1674. As populations gradually grew around the Patapsco River, pressure increased to move the County Seat to a more convenient location. Although some renovations were performed on the Baltimore Town Courthouse in the mid-1690s, the area was in rapid decline. 

     By 1712, the County Seat had moved to Joppa Town, but Old Baltimore may have been abandoned as a government center even earlier.

     I hiked down to the site (see above photo), and this is what it looks like today.

Leight Estuary Center, Maryland

Day 1706

     The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center is the research and education facility of the Otter Point Creek component of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (Whew!). The Estuary Center is dedicated to increasing appreciation and understanding of estuaries (what’s an estuary?) The Center is located where Otter Point Creek meets the Bush River. The Bush River is an Estuary (that part of the mouth or lower course of a river in which the river’s current meets the sea’s tide) of the Chesapeake Bay. 

     Located next to our campground, we visited the small museum there, then hiked the surrounding area. 

     Our hike ultimately led us to a pier with devices measuring the quality of water of Otter Point Creek and the Bush River.

     Since the color of the water was dark brown, I would think it was pretty polluted. Nevertheless, the data is uploaded to the Centralized Data Management Office. The data collected is available at their website: http://cdmo.baruch.sc.edu/dges

     I did not see water quality listed. Maybe because it was so obvious.

Home Alone, Abingdon, Maryland

Day 1480

     We are back in Maryland until January, as the Country is shut down because of the china virus. We will stay here throughout the holidays, and celebrate my father’s 100th birthday.

     Because of the home-owner’s association, we cannot park in our own driveway. So we are at an RV park in Abingdon, Maryland.

     I want to leave the first week in January, drive to Louisiana for warm weather, then go though Death Valley. From there I want to go to California, see my brother, and travel up the Pacific Highway to Oregon and Washington State. (An alternate route would be to go to Hawaii, but they haven’t finished the bridge.)

     That is what I want. Who knows what is going to happen. Worst case scenario, if I don’t get the virus and die, is to cut our 5 year plan down to 4, sell the RV and spend the rest of my days rocking on my front porch. 

Technical Stuff: New Market, Virginia to Abingdon, Md.: 182.6 miles

3 hours 57 minutes

11.1 MPG

Diesel: $2.00

Barbara says: “goodbye!”

Battle of New Market, Virginia

Day 1479

     On May 15, 1864, the historically significant Battle of New Market took place in which 257 teenage cadets of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) were pressed into service by Confederate General John Breckinridge in a successful effort to delay the North’s march on Richmond, Virginia. They were part of a makeshift Confederate army of 4,100 men who forced Union General Franz Sigel and his army out of the Shenandoah Valley. This was the last major Confederate victory of the Civil War. As a result of this defeat, Sigel was relieved of his command and replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter, who later burned VMI in retaliation for New Market (can’t take a joke).

     On June 22, 1791, Henry Bushong acquired farmland consisting of  260 acres in Shenandoah County that would be home for several generations of his descendants. In 1825, Henry’s son, Jacob, built this home.

     The Bushongs raised wheat, oats, cattle, hogs, and horses. To service them, the farm contained a blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, meat house, summer kitchen and wash house. 

     The Battle of New Market raged across their farm lands. We walked the battlefield (The corpses had been previously cleared).

     When Interstate 81 was built, it cut directly through the battlefield. A tunnel was built under the roadway so we could traverse from the west to east side of the farm.

     On this side of the battle field along this line of cedar trees, the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment engage the confederacy. The regiment lost 174 men in the battle.

     Tidbit of Information: On October 25, 1905, surviving members of the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry gathered here to dedicate this monument to their regiment’s valor. It is one of the few statutes in Virginia memorializing Pennsylvania’s Civil War soldiers. After the ceremony, the men returned home with cedar saplings from Jacob Bushong’s field. Those trees still survive in the Johnstown, Pa. cemetery where many of these veterans are buried.

     On the day of the battle, this was a recently planted wheat field, but with 3 days of hard rain preceding the battle, and thousands of tramping soldiers it was reduced to a muddy bog. In the heat of the battle running soldiers had their shoes sucked off their feet. With bullets flying, the shoes could not be retrieved, and the soldiers continued barefoot for the remainder of the battle. This spot became known as the “Field of Lost Shoes.”

     Unfortunately, another segment of our journey has come to an end. With winter approaching and the china virus closing everything down, we are forced to return to Maryland. 

     Keep a lookout for us.

Endless Caverns, Virginia

Day 1478

     On our way back to Maryland we stayed at Endless Caverns Campground in New Market, Virginia. While most campgrounds have a play area, swings, pools, etc. this campground had caverns.

     The cave was discovered by two boys chasing a rabbit on October 1, 1879. Changing ownership several times, the cave was open to commercial tours in 1920.

     The cave is a consistent 55 degrees.

     One of the formations was like a large chair in which the kids on the tour sat and had their picture taken. Our old bones said we will stand next to it. 

New Market, Virginia

Day 1477

     Life is like ice cream, enjoy it before it melts.

     New Market, Virginia, is located at the foot of the Massanutten Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley. Settlers first discovered the area in 1727. Many of those settlers were Germans of the Mennonite and Lutheran faiths, later joined by Scots and Irish. Originally known as Cross Roads, the town was officially established as New Market on December 14, 1796 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.

     The Town is basically one long road.

     A walking tour enabled us to see some of the original homes and buildings, like the Henkel House built in 1802, it has been used as a grocery store since 1835.

Neat scale

     A member of the Clinedinst family has lived in this house since it was built in 1882.

     The Calvert House was built in 1770 and is still owned by the Calvert family, whom are decedents of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, to whom the King of England gave Maryland. (So why is his family living in Virginia?)

     Dr. Solomon Henkel, a physician and druggist, built this house in 1802. 

     It is noteworthy because a metal plate on the door covers damage done by Yankee bayonets and rifle butts when they tried breaking into the house after having hot water thrown on them from an upstairs window during the civil war.

     The original town pump was built in 1811, of which this is a replica. Why didn’t they just use the kitchen sink?

     The Confederacy is still pretty much alive in New Market.

     However, some concession has been made to racism.

Technical Stuff:

Fort Chiswell, Virginia to New Market, Virginia: 185.5 miles

3 hours 49 minutes

11.5 MPG

Fort Chiswell, Virginia

Day 1476

     It was a gorgeous fall day as we arrived at Fort Chiswell RV Park in Fort Chiswell, Virginia.

     In 1758 there actually was a Fort Chiswell here which was an outpost during the French and Indian War. Eventually, the fort was neglected, and now no longer exists. 

     We are stopping here for only 1 night on our way back to Maryland. Since we are not unhooking the truck, we only walked around the campground.

     On our walk, this halloween day, a black cat crossed our path. What does that mean?

     To get here, we found ourselves on a wrong way concurrency, which is where the road contains two routes going in opposite directions, actually driving out US 81, we found ourselves on a double wrong way concurrency, one of the few in the United States. 

Technical Stuff:

Sylva, North Carolina to Fort Chiswell, Virginia: 230. 5 miles

4 hours 29 minutes

9.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.04

Mingo Falls, Cherokee Reservation, North Carolina

Day 1468

     It was a beautiful fall day. Covid was in the air. Time to seek out a waterfall. 

     Mingo Falls, from the Cherokee’s name for Big Bear, cascades 120 feet down the mountain. 

     The falls is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation and located on Mingo Creek before it empties into the Oconaluftee River.

     We took The Pigeon Creek Trail to Mingo Falls. The hike to the waterfall runs alongside a rushing stream. 

     The trail is short, but you must climb 161 steps. At the top of the stairway a short path past rock outcroppings leads to a viewing area at the base of the falls.

     The trail is 0.25 miles long and is moderately difficult, unless you have been sitting around the RV for 9 days, then it is very difficult. I didn’t tell Barbara I was beat, but each time she said she had to rest I said “oh, ok.”

     Tidbit of Information: There are over 250 waterfalls in this part of North Carolina. Mingo Falls is considered one of the most spectacular. To be honest (of which you all know me to be) some of those falls might only be 10-20 feet, and some, like Indian Creek Falls (see Day 1402), I would not classify as a waterfalls, more like a water slide.

     It is quite impressive, though, as I stated before, being in the Smoky Mountains there are hundreds of streams and creeks, including one right behind our RV. 

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Day 1459

     Today’s blog is about our trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, in The Great Smoky Mountains, to reach the highest point. That means you are going to learn more than you probably want to about this parkway and mountains.

     The Blue Ridge Parkway was the first national parkway to be conceived, designed, and constructed for a leisure-type driving experience. It connects The Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.  Running from Skyline Drive, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina, it is the longest road planned as a single unit in the United States.

     Begun during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the project was originally called the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Work began on September 11, 1935, near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina. On June 30, 1936, Congress formally authorized the project as the Blue Ridge Parkway.

     The Parkway meanders for 469 miles of which we drove 73 miles today. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The road is carried across streams, railway ravines and cross roads by 168 bridges, 26 tunnels and six viaducts. Elevation ranges from 649 feet at James River in Virginia to 6,053 feet, the highest point on the parkway, at Richland Balsam in North Carolina, which is here:

     I was able to stand on the tippy top of the mountain.

     The mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina are blanketed with a smoky haze that gives the region an almost magical quality. The Smoky Mountains are home to millions of trees, bushes, and other plants. The atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapor scatter short-wave length rays of light which are predominantly blue in color. The blue light that is scattered from the sky is between you and the mountains causing the mountains to look blue.

     When European settlers arrived in the early 1800s, they took inspiration from the Cherokee language when they named these mountains The Great Smoky Mountains.

     Tidbit of Information: You will notice there is no “e” in Smoky. Now you can call them the Smokey Mountains, as do many of the locals, especially here in North Carolina, but the more prevalent Tennessee spelling is “Smoky” and that was chosen as the official adjective of the park. Perhaps it was a cost saving measure. The elimination of all of those “E’s” over all those years must have saved a small fortune on signage and printing costs. I mean, that could be millions of “E’s” saved over all of the years since the park was dedicated. And when you think about it, it’s not smoke at all. It’s mist, or fog, or ozone and other greenhouse gases being emitted from the foliage. But the Cherokee named the range Shaconage which roughly translates to the place of blue smoke. (Richard Weisser).   

Johnathan Creek, Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Day 1449

     Johnathan Creek is a babbling, frolicking little creek that alternately rushes and meanders along its course through the Great Smoky Mountains. We hiked the part the goes through Maggie Valley, North Carolina. 

It use to be farmland around here.

But time has taken it’s toll:

Some of the older homes are pretty neat.

This modern house was just completed on the creek:

     It has all the modern conveniences you can ask for, including a Jacuzzi and hot tub that looks over the creek.

     Unfortunately, when everything was said and done, they realized they forgot to put in a bathroom. 

No problem, they improvised:

Still Here in North Carolina

Day 1447

     We have been here now since July. The pool was supposed to be finished when we arrived.

     No progress in the last 4 months.

     The campground normally has many activities, but most have been cancelled because of the china virus.

     However, today they did have a New Year celebration.

     I guess they had leftover decorations. There was entertainment.

     Sparsely attended.

     Plus it was chilly.

     He was Ok, but won’t make the circle.

 

 

Savannah Volunteer Fire Department, Sylva, NC

Day 1437

     Watching all the fires on the west coast, and being a firefighter for 28 years, got me wondering about fire protection here in the Smoky Mountains. As it happens, there is a fire station about 1/4 mile from our campground. 

     The Savannah Volunteer Fire Department was organized in June of 1978. Darrell Woodard was one of the founding members. He became Chief in October 1984 and continues to hold that position today. On July 1, 2009 he became the only paid permanent member of the department.

      I spoke with Chief Woodard today who told me that his fire district covers 27 miles and his department currently has 42 members. 

     So far this year they ran 147 calls. Most of the calls are for traffic accidents and medical emergencies. They only have about 3 structure fires a year. 

     The Fire Department gets its name from the The Savannah River drainage basin which extends into the southeastern side of the Appalachian Mountains just inside North Carolina, and runs by the fire station.

     Since we are in the middle of a forest, I asked if his fire department is also responsible for forest fires? His response was “if no structures are threatened by a forest fire, they assist the forest service.”

     Like Fallston, Md, my home fire company, there are no hydrants in his district, however Dillsboro, with the closest fire hydrant, is only 7 miles away, which allows them to refill the water in their equipment.

     In comparing my fire company with his, we found there was no real differences. Same structure, problems, and politics. 

     Tidbit of Information: Benjamin Franklin, at age 30, established Philadelphia’s first fire department. Sometimes called Benjamin Franklin’s Bucket Brigade, Benjamin Franklin was a volunteer firefighter in The Union Fire Company, formed on December 7, 1736 (that’s 40 years before the revolution).

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Day 1434

     This area was first settled around 1838 when the Indians left. Originally named Painter, it was renamed Cullowhee in 1903. Downtown Cullowhee was destroyed in the flood of 1940, and never rebuilt.

     The area is most noted as the location of the Judaculla Rock. Supposedly this stone was carved 1,500 years ago, that would make it year 520. Petroglyphs are images and designs engraved within a rock’s surfaces to symbolize important places, stories or events. If done today it is graffiti, if done a thousand years ago, a Petroglyph.

     The name of the town is derived from the Cherokee phrase joolth-cullah-wee, which translates as “Judaculla’s Place”. Judaculla was the Cherokee legendary giant and master of animals. According to Cherokee legend, Judaculla was a slant-eye giant (that would be considered racist today) who lived high up in the Balsam Mountains. He guarded his hunting grounds from Judaculla’s Judgment Seat, today known as Devil’s Courthouse, a site on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

     As legend has it, once, a party of disrespectful hunters came through his land, Judaculla chased them down the mountain. With a mighty leap, the angry giant landed here on this boulder. Putting his hand down to steady himself, he left his mark on the rock’s surface. The impression of his hand can still be seen at the lower right of the rock.

     I was not impressed with the rock. In fact, if I were not told it was a Petroglyph, I would have just stepped on it, continuing on my hike.

     Maybe the rain and weather of a thousand years has made it less impressive. Here is an illustration of what the rock carvings are supposed to look like:

     What do the carvings mean? Fortunately, the Cherokee left us a message:

Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Day 1431

     Sometime things just don’t work out.

     We visited Cross Creek RV Park, located in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, where some of our RV friends were camping, about 45 minutes from us across a mountain range. (Maggie Valley is 35 miles west of downtown Asheville.)

     The first white settlers moved into this Valley, called Cataloochee Valley, in 1805. Maggie Mae Setzer was born in this valley on December 21, 1890. Her father, Jack Setzer, wanted to establish a post office in the Valley as the nearest one was 5 miles away, over the mountains. In 1900 he petitioned the U.S Postmaster. The Post Office Authorities required a name for the post office, so Jack submitted his daughter’s name. Four years later, on May 10, 1904, Jack received a letter from the US Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock that the post office authorities had granted his petition. The official name of the mountain settlement post office was to be Maggie, NC.

     The Town is mostly closed because of the China Virus. However, we were informed that there was a hiking trail from the campground up the mountain that led to a spectacular waterfalls.

    Our plan was to meet our friends for breakfast, hike the trail to the waterfalls, and then spend the rest of the day and evening playing cards, and games.

     The trail was a well marked gravel stone path. However it was a steep 6% to 9% grade.

     We hike the trail to the top, about 1.5 miles, which took us an hour and a half. This is what we saw:

     No waterfalls. Not even an overlook. Just a circular end. 

     It took us 55 minutes to go back down the trail. I think the return trip was harder on our legs than the trek up. 

     200 yards from the beginning of the trail was this: 

     I hardly call this trickle a waterfalls. 

Webster, North Carolina

Day 1425

     The campground in which we are staying (Fort Tatham RV Parkhas a zip code of Sylva, North Carolina. The city of Sylva, and now the County Seat of Jackson County, NC,  is about 5 miles from our campground (see Day 1348). The closest Town to us, about 4 miles, is Webster.  In April 1853 for one hundred dollars an eighteen acre tract of land bought from Nathan Allen became the site of Webster, Jackson’s county seat. Five years later an act to incorporate the town of Webster was passed by North Carolina’s General Assembly. Webster was for sixty years the county seat.

     Jackson County was named for the Democratic president and North Carolinian, Andrew Jackson, while the County’s government center of Webster was named for the New England Whig, Daniel Webster. Prosperity came to the region. Webster, with its agriculture, mining and small businesses, became an active little town – the nucleus of Jackson County.

     During the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad, county residents fully expected the railroad to run through Webster. However, the county’s state government representative — said to be fond of his drink — was taken aside at a crucial moment in the voting process and plied with liquor by an individual desiring a route through Sylva, 1 mile away.

     Change came in 1913, when most of the businesses in the Town of Webster were destroyed by fire. That and the fact that the railroad went through Sylva, resulted in the County Seat of Jackson County being moved to Sylva, where the Court House was built. 

     Today, in Webster, there is no downtown area. Individual buildings do remain, such as the Webster Methodist Church built in 1887.

     And Walter E. Moore’s house built in 1886, one of the oldest homes in Webster that escaped the destruction of the 1913 fire. 

     The Webster Rock School was constructed in 1937 from local river rock by the Works Progress Administration in colors of tan and brown. The WPA was a New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. Do you think we need that today?

Deep Creek, North Carolina

Day 1402

     Went to three rock Concerts:

Indian Creek Falls 

Juney Whank Falls

Toms Branch Falls

     Indian Creek Falls is actually more of a water slide than a true waterfall. It is 45 feet.

     The other 2 falls are each 80 feet.

     We arrived at these falls by way of the Deep Creek Trail, which was one of the first trails constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the newly legislated (June 15, 1934) Great Smoky National Park. This part of the park is just a few miles from Bryson City (see Day 1336).

     Today, the park bearing the name of the Smoky Mountains encompasses more than 800 square miles. Just over half of this landmass lies within the state of North Carolina, with the rest in Tennessee. The park boasts 750 miles of trails, including 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail which runs along the crest of the Smokies.

     The creek’s gentle gradient, plus the fact that while it may be shallow (12-18 inches) it is deep by Smokies standards, making it ideal for floating downstream on a tube.

     As you can see, although North Carolina has a high infection rate of the China Virus, everyone practices social distancing and the wearing of face masks. 

     Part of our hike to the falls took us on a horse trial. Barbara said the horse that left these droppings is 45 minutes ahead of us.

     She determined this by noting the temperature as she squished through her fingers.

     I will leave that thought with you until next time.

Greenway Path, North Carolina

Day 1378

     Concluded walking the Little Tennessee River Greenway. Our last leg, on the Southern End of the Greenway, gave us different views than our previous 2 walks.

     This section had sanctuary for birds.

     In an open area was a frisbee field where Disk Golf was set-up.

     I am not sure I would want to do hole 14

     There was also a field for cattle.

     Because of yesterday’s rain, the river flow was more rapid

     Even the bridges were different, like this open sided covered bridge.

    All along the Greenway are benches facing the River and random picnic tables.

     These ducks are waiting for the ferry.

     All in all, another beautiful day.

Asheville, North Carolina

Day 1376

     Let’s start today’s blog with a trivia question: Why is this woman famous?

     Her name is Elizabeth Blackwell. If you know the answer before I tell you below, let me know in the comment section. Fabulous prizes could be yours. 

     Asheville is best known as the location of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate and the home of American novelist Thomas Wolfe. The first we have been too a number of times before we started RVing, and the latter I will discuss shortly.

      Samuel Ashe was born March 24, 1725 (that is 50 years before the American Revolution) in Beaufort, Province of North Carolina. He studied law and was named Assistant Attorney for The Crown in the Wilmington district of the North Carolina Colony. He ultimately became involved in the revolutionary movement. After serving in the War, he became active in politics, and in 1795, the General Assembly of North Carolina elected him governor at the age of 70. He served three one-year terms, the maximum constitutional limit, before retiring in 1798. Thereafter he remained active in politics until his death.

     In 1784 a town was established where two old Indian trails crossed. By 1793 the town had grown and was named Morristown. In 1797, Morristown was incorporated and renamed “Asheville” after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe. (Of course you know all about Samuel Ashe, because I just told you.)

     We strolled through Asheville utilizing their 2 mile walking self-guided tour. I was not impressed with the city. It was dirty and grungy, and they did not do a good job of preserving their rich history. Most historic sites merely had a plaque that identified it, as the historic buildings themselves had long ago been destroyed.

     All museums and public buildings were closed as a result of the china virus, even the Basilica of St. Lawrence. This building had not been previously closed since it was built in 1909. If a house to God is closed, what is left?

     In 1924, the Jackson Building became North Carolina’s tallest skyscraper. It is 13 stories. 

     North Carolina’s most famous writer is Thomas Clayton Wolfe, born October 3, 1900 in Asheville, North Carolina. He could not have been that famous as I never heard of him, and I minored in English Literature in college. 

     Look Homeward, Angel, his first novel, was published in 1929 and although a commercial success, was not well received by the citizens of Asheville. They recognized the characters were based on them, and they did not appreciate their dirty laundry aired. 

     Thomas’s mother ran a boarding house, called “Old Kentucky Home” where he grew up. It is now a memorial too Wolfe. 

     Usually open for tours, but not now. 

     Another Asheville native is Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who began her medical studies here and was the first women to receive a medical degree in the United States. Medicinal herbs decorate the bench honoring Dr. Blackwell. 

Little Tennessee River, NC

Day 1375

     We walked another portion of the Little Tennessee River Greenway. 

     This took us through a butterfly garden.

     The trail crossed the river by bridge 4 times during this walk.

     Of the four bridges, this is the only one from which you could not commit suicide.

     Probably because the water was so murky they did not want you to get sick if you did not die. 

     We stopped by the waterfalls.

     We saw the mower’s convention.

     All and all, a pretty nice day.

Town of Franklin, North Carolina

Day 1367

     The town was named for Jesse Franklin, born March 24, 1760, in Orange County, Virginia, who surveyed and organized the town in 1820. Jesse Franklin served North Carolina as a senator and as its 20th governor. The town of Franklin was not incorporated until 1855.

     The town is located in a valley surrounded by some pretty high mountains. Driving here we had to go up and down 8% grades. As usual, I just kept my eyes closed. 

     Throughout these mountains rivers and streams run. Naturally, some of the restaurants in Franklin are on these waterways.

     Prior to the White Man taking over here, the Cherokee Indians called this area home. The area that is now Franklin was named  “Nikwasi” or “center of activity”. The remains of the Nikwasi Mound are still visible in downtown Franklin, marking the location of Nikwasi’s spiritual center. A Council House used for councils, religious ceremonies, and general meetings was located on top the mound, as well as the ever-burning sacred fire, which the Cherokee had kept burning since the beginning of their culture.

     In 1761 the British, former allies of the Cherokee, destroyed Nikwasi. After the Cherokees rebuilt, the Americans destroyed it in 1776. The Cherokees rebuilt again and lived here until they were forced out in 1819. 

     You are probably wondering how I know all this. Simple, the Cherokee’s left a plaque.

     Tidbit of Information: William Holland Thomas was born February 5, 1805 on Raccoon Creek, two miles east of Mount Prospect, later called Waynesville, North Carolina. He was related to the Calvert family, the founders of the colony of Maryland, through his mother the grandniece of Lord Baltimore. Thomas had the distinction of being the only white man to serve as a Cherokee Chief, and an adopted member of the Cherokee Nation. But, that is a story for another time.

     In 1997, Duke Power acquired property along the Little Tennessee River, which runs through Franklin, to built power lines. After completion of the power system they deeded the property to the Town of Franklin who constructed the Tennessee River Greenway, a 4.7 mile paved trail along the River, part of which we walked today. Thank you Duke. 

     Like all the cities and towns we have come across in this area of North Carolina, there was a statute dedicated to the Confederate soldier who died defending his home in the war of northern aggression. 

 

Bryson City, North Carolina

Day 1366

     Bryson City, North Carolina is located about 70 miles southwest of Asheville, NC.

     The historic courthouse is now the city visitor center, and for a change, was open with a nice exhibit on the area. 

     The Tuckasegee River flows directly through the City.

     Bryson City use to be the Cherokee settlement of Kituwa, which stood here for hundreds of years. 

     Thaddeus Dillard Bryson was born February 13, 1829 in Haywood County, North Carolina. On September 7, 1861 he was Commissioned a Colonel in the 20th North Carolina Infantry of the Confederate Army. After the war, in September 1868, he acquired a large tract of land on the north side of the Tuckasegee River. 17,000 Cherokee Indians had been forced out of the area in 1838, leaving the land open for white man settlement. The town was originally called Charleston. The Postal Service screwed up the mail because it confused this city with Charleston, South Carolina. They are not even close to each other. Nevertheless, in 1889 the name was changed by the citizens, population 25, to Bryson City, to acknowledge the many services rendered to the city by Thaddeus Bryson. 

Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

Day 1364

     We hiked the Bartram Trail in the Nantahala National Forest to a lookout tower on Wayah Bald said to present a spectacular 360 degree view of the Nantahala, Appalachian, and Great Smoky Mountains. We were not disappointed.  

     Wayah Bald is the highest point on the trail where it crosses the Appalachian Trail (which is blazed white, for those that are interested).

     The trail is named for William Bartram, born April 20, 1739 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a naturalist, who crossed here in 1776 looking for new plants.

     The drive to Wayah Bald can be a dizzying one if you aren’t used to hairpin turns and switchbacks. From the bottom of the mountain at 2,095 feet above sea level, to Wayah Bald lookout tower at 5,342 feet is a 40 minute 13.2 mile drive over a winding very narrow road. The last 4.5 miles are on a dirt fire service road. A Bald is an area of a mountain top not covered by trees. Wayah Bald was named by the Cherokee Indians who called the area Wa-ya, Cherokee for wolf, which inhabited the area.

     The tower was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corp to accommodate personnel observing the Nantahala National Forest, keeping watch over the area for wildfires.

   Three miles from the top, we came across the first forest ranger station of the newly formed Nantahala National Forest, built in 1916.

     The forest got it’s name from the Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun.” Because of the dense trees, the sun only hit the ground at high noon (as opposed to low noon?).

     We then went to Bridal Veil Falls, a 45-foot waterfall not too far from the lookout tower. I could not find it.

     Oh, there it is. I was under it the whole time.

Fort Tatham Campground, Sylva, North Carolina

Day 1360

     Well, the china virus has finally effected us. No, we don’t have it. Our plan was to leave North Carolina and proceed to Maine. Maine’s border is closed to anyone traveling through New York State. Not just New York City, but the whole state.

     When we booked our campsite at Moonshine RV Campground, we booked through the July 4th holiday, and planned to move north. By the time we tried booking in Maine, and New York, the campground here had completely booked up through September. We spend two days boon-docking in the middle of the woods, with no facilities (water, electric, sewer), which was fine with me, we can be independent for up to 7 days.

     We found our current campground had openings. It was only 21 miles from Moonshine campground. Actually, we are on another creek (there are dozens of them in the mountains). This is the view from our side window. Tough life, huh?

     Although it is called Fort Tatham Campground, there is, and never was, a Fort Tatham. Sun Resorts like to name their campgrounds “fort”. 

     We are on the other side of the city of Sylva, which we have already talked about (Day 1348still in the mountains.

Technical Stuff: 

From one side of Sylva to the other, North Carolina: 21.0 miles

1 hour 10 minutes

8.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.29

Waynesville, North Carolina

Day 1359

     Waynesville, North Carolina, is located 30 miles southwest of Asheville, N.C.  between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge mountains.

     The town of Waynesville was founded in 1810 by Colonel Robert Love, born May 11, 1760, in Augusta County, Virginia, a Revolutionary War soldier. He donated the land and named the town after his former commander in the war, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. General Wayne was born January 1, 1745 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the nickname “Mad Anthony”. Waynesville was incorporated as a town in 1871.

     On May 6, 1865, Union Colonel William C. Bartlett’s 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, the Union Garrison at Waynesville, were attacked by a detachment of rebels from Col. William Holland Thomas’s Legion of Highlanders, who had been summoned by the locals of Waynesville. Thomas’ Legion fired “The Last Shot” of the Civil War here. The following day the Confederate and Union commanders negotiated a surrender. They had been made aware that Generals Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston had already surrendered and that continued hostilities would prove pointless.

     The claim that Waynesville saw the last shot fired in the Civil War is unsubstantiated, and the Battle of Palmito Ranch is considered as the final battle of the Civil War. It was fought May 12, 1865, on the banks of the Rio Grande east of Brownsville, Texas (see Day 269).

     We explored Waynesville to look for evidence of the last shot theory, but nothing has been preserved from the Civil War. In fact, no mention of that theory is mentioned anywhere (although it might have been in one of their closed museums). 

     So, I set off for the old Strand Theater which is now a coffee and ice cream shop. Sadly, it was closed today. 

     Waynesville today, although the County Seat, is nothing more than antique shops, and tourist traps. 

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Day 1351

     Lake Junaluska in the Blue Ridge Mountains was named after Chief Junaluska, a Cherokee leader, born in 1775.

     He fought alongside Andrew Jackson and saved his life at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814 (see Day 807). The Chief was alleged to have said upon the removal of the Cherokee Indians from North Carolina by President Jackson: “If I had known at the battle of the Horseshoe Bend what I know now, American history would have been differently written”.

     Tidbit of Information: During the Civil War, The CSS Junaluska of the Confederate States Navy was named for him.

     We hiked the 2 miles around the lake. 

     We got caught in a rain shower and were able to take refuge in a gazebo along the lake. 

     There was plenty of wildlife along the lake.

     Including fish,

     and swans,

     and I don’t know what this is:

     Along the lake were manicured lawns.

     and a rose trail.

     with roses coming into bloom.

Sylva, North Carolina

Day 1348

     We are now, literally, in the middle of the mountains in Western North Carolina, a few miles from the city of Sylva. The campground is just South of the Great Smoky Mountains in the mountain range known as Plott Balsam Mountains.

     Smack-dab in the middle of this photograph is Moonshine Mountain Creek Campground, where we are currently located.

     If you look really, really, really hard, you still can’t see us. Turning 180 degrees is the Great Smoky Mountains.

     Our campsite backs up to Moonshine Mountain Creek, which is part of Jones Creek. Because so many creeks are in this mountainest area, the origins of their names have been lost.

     Going through these mountain with our 22 foot truck and 40 ft Sphinx was a challenge. It really didn’t bother me as I kept my eyes closed most of the time. I had to tune out Barbara’s screaming.

     At the campground, we played various games with some friends. Their campsite had a deck built over the creek, how cool.

    The town of Sylvia developed as a center of local commerce after the coming of the railroad in the 1880s. Incorporated March 9, 1889, Sylva is named for Danish handyman William D. Selvey. I guess some people are just impressive. 

     The Jackson County Courthouse, on Main Street, was built in 1913. The Courthouse served as the county’s courthouse from 1914 until the present Justice Center was built in 1994. The courthouse building is now the county library. The Courthouse can be reached by climbing 107 steps from Main Street.

     Because of the China Virus, access to the library is by appointment only. We convinced them to let us in to look at the structure and was directed to the historical librarian who gave us a verbal tour of the building.

     Like all public buildings in North Carolina this week, we were required to wear “face coverings” (I guess they changed the name to get around people wearing batman masks).

     The literature said there were 107 steps leading up to the library’s front portico from the plaza at street level. Barbara counted only 105. I told her she should go back and recount them. However the historical librarian told us two steps were taken out when the fountain was installed. Barbara was relieved.

     From the top of the Courthouse steps was a neat view of Sylva.

     If the town looks familiar, you probably recognize it from the movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” which was filmed here. You remember movie houses, those places where people met and ate popcorn.

Technical Stuff:

McDonald, Tennessee to Sylva, North Carolina: 141.7 miles

3 hours 45 minutes

8.8 MPG

Diesel: $1.86

Tennessee Valley Railroad

Day 1343

     Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga choo choo? I am sorry, but this song is racist, it will have to be removed.

     Chattanooga welcomed its first rail line with the arrival of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1850. A few years later, in 1858, the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad also arrived in Chattanooga. The city quickly became a railroad hub with industries springing up in the area to take advantage of the new transportation corridors.

     The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, was founded by a small group of local residents in 1961 who were intent on trying to save some American history by preserving, restoring, and operating authentic railway equipment from the “Golden Age of Railroading.”

     The museum operates 3 miles of tracks near the original East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad right of way.

     We rode locomotive 4501 which ran for Southern Railway throughout East Tennessee during its career. It is a 2-8-2 Mikado-type steam locomotive built in 1911 by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia.

     The name “Mikado,” a Japanese word meaning “emperor,” came about because the first engine of this type was sold to the Japanese state railways. “2-8-2” refers to the wheel arrangement: two small pilot wheels in front, eight large drive wheels, and two small trailing wheels in the back to help support a large firebox.

     We rode this train from Grand Junction

to East Chattanooga and back.

     Since there is only 1 track between the two stations, when we got to East Chattanooga the engine and coal car are disconnected from the passenger cars and placed on a turntable which rotate it around so it can go on a parallel tract to take it to the other end of the passenger cars for the return trip.