Monday, September 30, 2013

Point Lookout Lighthouse

Point Lookout, Maryland

On May 23, 1828, Congress awarded the contract to build the Point Lookout Lighthouse to John Donohoo, who also built the similar Blackistone Light which we visited in 2011 (see here). The Point Lookout Lighthouse began operation on September 20, 1830 serving to warn mariners in the Chesapeake Bay of nearby shoals and to mark the entrance to the Potomac River. During the Civil War a hospital, prisoner of war camp and Army garrison were located on Point Lookout near the lighthouse.

In 1965, an automated light was built on a sandbar off Point Lookout, and on January 11, 1966, the Lookout Point Lighthouse went dark.

Looking across the Potomac River from the cupola of the Point Lookout Lighthouse

Friday, September 27, 2013


Cobb Island, Maryland 

Last week a 75 mile river trip brought us to the mouth of the Potomac where we visited Point Lookout State Park. The lighthouse on Point Lookout was built in 1830. During the Civil War the land around the lighthouse held a Union Army hospital, Fort Lincoln, and a Confederate prisoner of war camp. More about all that next week.

Pictured above is the bow of the Chesapeake Bay skipjack Caleb W. Jones, one of the last survivors of the bay's sailing oyster fleet.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Somerset miscellany

Orange County, Virginia 

Here are a few more photos from the Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party which took place September 13, 14 and 15, 2013.

This old gasoline tractor looks like it has had a long and useful life. It bears the marks of its age, and seems to me more evocative of an earlier time than a meticulously restored antique that looks like brand new.

While a steam powered tractor plows the field, this John Deere model A sits on the sidelines. Steam power did not last long. Gasoline tractors were cheaper, smaller, easier to operate and had the additional advantage of being able to cultivate row crops. By 1920, steam power on the farm was obsolete. John Deere model A tractors were produced from 1934 to 1952.

During the steam tractor plowing demonstration, a spectator watches from a perfect ringside seat—the driver's seat of a 1930 Model A Ford!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Somerset blacksmith

On Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to watch the blacksmith at the Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party hand forge this pair of blacksmiths tongs.

These tongs were fabricated from mild steel stock using only a hammer, a 150 year old anvil and a punch to form the pivot hole. The jaws were formed first and then the handles were welded to the jaws. Once the handles were in place, the hole for the pivot was punched and the pivot was riveted in place.

With the workpiece in the fire, the blacksmith explains that obtaining the correct temperature for each operation is critical to successful forging. Temperature is judged by eye, according to the color of the glowing metal. In fact, the entire process was regulated by eye without measuring tools or patterns.

When the forging was complete, the blacksmith agreed to sell me the completed tongs which had taken shape before my eyes. This is the only tool in my collection that I actually saw being made.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Steam tractors plowing

Friday was a perfect late summer day. The air was cool, the sky was blue, and in the large field out back, behind the sawmill and McCormick baler, black smoke drifted above the trees. Steam was up, ready to plow.

Monday, September 16, 2013

37th Annual Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party

Orange County, Virginia 

The 37th Annual Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party was held this past weekend at the Fairfield View Dairy Farm over in nearby Orange County. I have photographed and written about this event in the past (click here to see previous Somerset posts) but find something new and interesting each year. This year was no exception and I will be posting about Somerset this week. Hope you will stop by to explore the farm technology of a bygone era, visible through the mists of coal smoke and steam.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Third Sunday - September 2013

Louisa County, Virginia 

St. John's Church - 1844

St. John's Church, Green Springs Parish, is a particularly well preserved and little altered example of the Jeffersonian Classical Revival style. The builder, James Magruder, probably worked under Thomas Jefferson's master builders at the University of Virginia and reflects Jefferson's architectural ideas.

In 1888, St. John's Chapel (see here) was built in the eastern part of Green Springs Parish to accommodate parishioners for whom St. John's Church was too far away to attend regularly.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stone Comfort

Vicksburg, Mississippi

In April of this year I spent several days photographing in the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The cemetery dates from the early years of the 19th century and is one of the oldest continuously operating cemeteries in the country.

A selection of these pictures in PDF format entitled "Stone Comfort" was published on the Lenswork Online  web site. If you are a Lenswork Online subscriber, please log in and view the portfolio in the Lenswork Reader's PDF Gallery .

If you are not a Lenswork subscriber, you may view "Stone Comfort" by clicking here.


Please stop by on Sunday for our monthly Third Sunday feature. This month we will be visiting St. John's Church in Louisa County, Virginia. The church was built in 1844.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wooded path

On a foggy morning
we walk along a wooded path
into trees made strange by mist.

Fog withholds our future,
and swallows up our past.
Somewhere ahead, cows low and clang.

We stop to listen.
In the dampness a drop of fog
slips down the neck of your blouse.

Stay close, you whisper.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013