Uncle Bob's Travels

Places I've hung out in, sometimes briefly.

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Snowflake VA

This is Snowflake, Virginia, located at 36.68981, -82.48956.  It’s in Scott County on the Nickelsville Highway, about halfway between Gate City and Nickelsville.  Over a decade ago, this Snowflake General Mercantile was a fairly thriving place, then some guy in Nickelsville bought it and it soon went out of business.  I still have a ruler with the  SGM name on it.  This is the store as it looks now:

Here’s proof, if such is needed, that this is, indeed, Snowflake:

Across the highway is, well, nothing in particular:

When the 911 street naming requirement came to pass, many of the roads intersecting Nickelsville Highway in this area were named in Snowflaky ways, like Sleighbell, Icicle, Bobsled, and the like, until you get closer to Gate City and the roads have names like Revolver and Mcred.  Unsentimental types, those.
I always liked Snowflake and the two mature ladies that ran the store.  I hope they did well when it was abruptly shut down.

Glade Spring VA

One year ago, the Glade Spring area felt the effects of a mighty storm that dealt death and destruction over a wide area. Recently, as we traveled around, we saw remnants of the storm’s impact, but the downtown area is intact and open for business.  There’s an active hardware store:

An interesting (I guess) club, called the Jamica, for some reason:

A window in an old department store that, if you look closely, spells out “LUGGAGE”:

and an outdoor chess set (all this around the town square):

As we were walking around (it was on a Sunday), a man bounded out of a local church, handed me a tract and proceeded to tell me a little about the town.  Much appreciated, sir.

Stoney Point Railroad

So, there we were, rolling down highway 750 in Washington County VA, on our way to Saltville, when we came across this 500′ long amazement: Stoney Point Railroad.  Read about it here.  However, nothing beats seeing the SPRR in person, by donation.  What a place.  It’s at 36.84999, -81.79882.

Telford Flea

Every Saturday and Sunday, there’s a medium-size flea market in Telford TN, on the highway.  It’s just a short bit from Jonesborough (the by-god-oldest-town-in-Tennessee), heading toward Greeneville (Greeneville, with four – count ’em – e’s is how you can tell it’s not in South Carolina or North Carolina).  It’s not anywhere as extensive as the fleaery (my word) in Piney Flats, but it’s worth a drop in, if you’re in the area and don’t mind walking through endless tables of  stuff.  I love the big pandas.

St. Paul VA

I call it São Paulo, for no particular reason.  We pass through here all the time, often a local Marathon outlet is a place Hiking Buddy does a “pee and tea”…taking a pee and buying an over-sugared (I don’t do sugar) bottle of some strange flavored tea, which he always says is too sweet.
Anyway, in 1939 the Norfolk and Western (now the Norfolk and Southern) and the Clinchfield (note that it’s “Norfolk and Western Railway” but “Clinchfield Railroad“…must be a story there.) got together to relieve the town of a chokepoint, to wit, where 4th street crossed the railroad.  Instead of raising the railroad, which would have proven to be complicated, the lines just lowered the street.  Works well,  Shot one is of the underpass from the town side, then a cu of the inscription (the 1939 date is there, but it’s relatively tiny).
On to a look at the historic Stonebriar Hotel and then the Lyric Theater.  St. Paul was the place to be once upon a time when coal was king.  And it’s still a pleasant, well-kept town.

Next is a look down 4th Street and a shot of one of two business/apartment buildings we noted that had open terraces for the people on the second floor.  Neat idea.

Back in 1912, according to a letterhead shown in James Goforth’s “Building the Clinchfield”, this was the Blue Sulphur Hotel, “Home for the Man of the Grip” (makes no sense unless you know that “grip” meant “suitcase”).  “A Well of Blue Sulphur Water at Entrance Free to Guests” (ick). Rates were $2 and $2.50 (the extra 50 cents got you a room with a bath).  “An elegant, high-toned stopping place for travelers.”  Acetylene light.  Telephone in each room.

And this is the old Lyric Theater.

Cleveland VA

The N&S runs right through this town.  Nearby is the town of Carrie.  I don’t know when the town was established, but it’s a little worse for wear now.  However, a ray of sunshine: the first picture is of the original Cleveland Bank, which subsequently moved across the street to a building especially built…I’m told they placed the two safes, then poured all the concrete…enough that one of them was usable as a storm shelter.  The bank became Peoples Bank (the one of the deplorable logo), then decamped for parts unknown.  I met a couple who have rented the second building now and are preparing to put in a cupcake/coffee house.  Bless their hearts.  I wished them well.  The second picture is of downtown Cleveland.  Update 07/23/12:  There’s something very interesting right near Cleveland.  Take a look here.

Morristown TN

I was born here.  And it was before the second story sidewalks were installed.  We lived six blocks from downtown, on Main Street.   The house is long gone, but it was a pretty, two-story, white stick-built home.  Nice yard.  All compound things are impermanent.
The first picture is of Main Street downtown, on the upper sidewalk, looking east.  The second is of an old paint-up sign for a newspaper, the Gazette & Mail.  The other newspaper in town was The Sun.  Both of my brothers worked for it at one time or another.  The third picture shows the location where the um, well, stately Kingmyer  Hotel once stood. I have included a scan of an old, damaged postcard of the hotel as it once was.
When I first returned to Morristown, after an absence of maybe 25 years, I was shocked at how small all the buildings looked.  The last time I had seen them, after all, was when I was considerably shorter, at 12 years of age.



Whitesburg KY

Whitesburg is the county seat of Letcher County KY.   A colony of Italian stoneworkers came to Whitesburg around 1911 to help build the L&N railroad, which operated up until the late 80s, when the tracks were taken out.  Their expertise in ashlar stone work contributed to the beauty of several downtown buildings, especially the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church (first picture), built in 1938.  In fact, just below the name plate next to the door is a representation of a boot.  I was told it was a homage to the stoneworkers’ native land.  The next picture is a close-up  of the boot.   Then there is the very tidy ashlar stone arch bridge just east of town that crosses over the North Fork of the Kentucky River.  A posting of this bridge on bridgehunter.com says it was built in 1912, but I think it is later (I welcome comments on this).  Finally, a tightly cropped (I had a perspective problem) look at a proud, former Coca-Cola bottling plant, now a college.

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