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,




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. 



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