Uncle Bob's Travels

Places I've hung out in, sometimes briefly.

Coal Building

This is in Middlesboro KY.  I thought the building was interesting, faced in coal and such.  I emailed a polite request for information on the building.  Never got an answer.  Incidentally, this was taken on a Saturday.  The Chamber of Commerce was closed, locked and latched.

Anyway, the structure was built in 1926 using 42 tons of bituminous coal (which is 2.6 tons more than the person in the 1946 Merle Travis hit “Sixteen Tons” loaded.  Incidentally, George S. Davis claimed to have written the song in the 1930s as “Nine-to-Ten Tons”.  Check it out here).  That title is more general, since “number 9 coal” apparently refers to a particular seam of coal in Kentucky (there are multiple other claims to origin).
I know that Tennessee Ernie Ford (“Old Ern” from Bristol TN/VA) recorded this in 1955, but his version is generally considered to be more jazz than country.
And, man, could Tennessee Ernie sing hymns.  Better than George Beverly Shea and without the strange pronunciation of words, like “lard” for “Lord”.

Mooresburg Post Office

The Mooresburg TN Post Office.  This trailer was parked in front of here.
Between Rogersville and Bean Station, Mooresburg has had a Post Office since 1814.

How Natural Tunnel Used to Look


This is how the area looked before it became a state park in the late 60s.
The railroad built the line through this tunnel is 1893.  Can you imagine what the area around this tunnel looked like in the latter days of the 19th century?
To its credit, the park service has done good job in making the tunnel accessible, but not dangerously so.


The acquisition date across the bottom is misleading, I think.  I’d date this card to the early 50s.  The tunnel, btw, is not 1557′ long…it’s 850′.

Two Old Theatres

It’s rare to find one old, rusty movie theatre as we roll from town to town like some 21st century Virgil Q. Wacks.  But, to find two.  Score!
This one’s in Middlesboro KY.  It ran the big movies from 1948 to the early 80s, which is interesting, because this theatre
in Ewing VA, has a similar date span.   It’s almost completely gutted. Behind the board fence on the left, you can look down and see that it’s effectively a three-story building.

Jonesville VA


The ol’ Water Plant.  No water, but a big pine tree.
Actually, it may have pumped water from a spring and then chlorinated it.
Jonesville dates from 1794 (Hanson, Virginia Place Names, says 1792).

Greetings from Boone

grtsnc grtsncback

Actually, it’s “Greetings from North Carolina”.  It was cheaper to order these overprinted cards than setting up a whole new Boone postcard.  Thrift is good, but there’s really no memorial to the First Flight in Boone.  Oh, it’s the sentiment, you see.
This is an Asheville Post Card issue from, maybe, the early 50s.  It has clear inventory numbers, but I can’t tell what company actually printed the card.  Numbers with nothing to relate to are just wild in nature.

Rye Cove Tornado

This plaque memorializes the 12 children and one teacher who died in the May 2, 1929, F2 tornado that hit Rye Cove school just after noon recess.  It is known as the deadliest tornado to ever hit Virginia.  There’s a sad account of the day after the tornado here.

Two cards with a difference


These two Asheville Post Card Company issues are both titled ” J.C. 85 GARDEN SCENE ON CAMPUS OF MILLIGAN COLLEGE, MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TENNESSEE”.  However, the top one has an inventory number of 90271 and the bottom one, E-7426 (I have yet to find any list of dates for APPC inventory numbers).

See how the same picture, more than likely originally a black-and-white shot, has been airbrushed differently in the two issues.  The top card is not postmarked, but the word “Post Card” on the back is in a typeface that was used in the 60s.  The bottom card is postmarked with a 1947 date.  Here are the backs of the same cards:


I see this a lot.  The original picture was probably taken after WWII.  When someone ordered up a run of this card later on, APPC just recycled the picture and adjusted the colors to create a different-looking card.

B-23 Kings Mountain Memorial Hospital, Bristol, VA.-Tenn.

kingsmtnfront kingsmtnback

I used to drive past this edifice back in the early 2000s.  It was derelict then and I used to wonder when someone would have mercy on the once gracious building and take it down.  That happened in 2008.  It had taken 20 years for the Sycamore Shoals DAR to scrape up the money to build this hospital, which opened up in 1925, taking the place of a smaller St. Luke’s hospital over on 10th Street (that hospital had been built in 1908).  This hospital was made redundant in 1953 when up went Bristol Memorial Hospital, which met its Waterloo when the remote Bristol Regional Medical Center was built in 1994.

This is standard, run-of-the-mill Asheville Post Card Company issue, early 50s, probably.  There is a car in the picture, behind the tree.  Inventory number of the card is E-4666.

Aerail view – Bristol, Va.- Tenn.

bristolfront bristolback

This card had faded somewhat, so I brought the color up and used an all-purpose unsharp mask.  It’s a Haynes Publishing Company (Roanoke VA) issue from the early 60s.  Haynes cards that haven’t had a lot of light exposure tend to have bright colors.  Joyce Haynes and C. H. Ruth, the agents who shot all the pictures in the area, were probably using Kodachrome.  Damn fine film.

The title on the front, btw, is the font called “Brush script” in Microsoft Word.  Back then, they were probably carving each letter out of soapstone or something…

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