Monday, June 30, 2014

Evening rain

Clifton Forge, Virginia 

After fixing and eating supper at the campground, I decided to drive back over to Clifton Forge. A storm was brewing. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center closes early, but the CSX train yard in Clifton Forge operates around the clock and I hoped to get some late evening pictures from the Amtrak parking lot adjacent to the yard.

There were no trains moving when I arrived, but a new crew was coming on duty.

 This GE AC44CW locomotive, built by GE Transportation Systems, uses AC (alternating current) traction motors instead of the more common DC motors.

The rain started, along with a few rumbles of thunder after I got back to the campground, and I fell asleep that night to the sound of rain on the roof of the trailer. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

116 Railroad Avenue

Eagle Rock, Virginia

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge closes at 4:00 so I decided to drive over to Eagle Rock. It is a small town located along the railroad tracks that run between Clifton Forge and Buchanan. The town interests me because me mother grew up in Botetourt County and I visited my grandparents often in Buchanan which is less than 20 miles away. The train station is still standing in Eagle Rock and the remains of the lime kilns that fueled the town's prosperity from 1847 until 1954 are preserved in a small park on the edge of town.

More from Eagle Rock and Clifton Forge to come next week. Have a pleasant summer weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sitemeter failure

Blog Note

For the past four years I have been using Sitemeter to compile statistics for Photography In Place. There have been a few outages along the way, but overall I have been satisfied with their service until recently. I have been unable to access my data for over three weeks now, and emails to their support have gone unanswered. In addition, a popup message asking blog readers to login to Sitemeter occasionally appeared as pages loaded. If any reader has encountered that, I apologize. This evening I finally decided to stop using Sitemeter and removed all the Sitemeter code from Photography In Place so there should be no further disruptions. 

Sitemeter is a free service, so I can't really complain too much. After all, you get what you pay for.

C&O Locomotive 5828

Clifton Forge, Virginia

Its working days now just a memory, former C&O locomotive 5828 rests on the grounds of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia while a freight train approaches on the active CSX tracks, led by CSX locomotive 2683.

Recently repainted in the classic C&O paint scheme, 5828 looks brand new, but it was built in 1952 by General Motor's Electro-Motive Division (EMD) and was one of 180 GP7 road switcher locomotives built for the C&O. The 16 cylinder diesel produces 1500 horsepower.

The CSX locomotive in the picture above is an EMD GP38-2, built in 1979. These pictures were made on June 12, 2014.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Smiths Creek Yard

Clifton Forge, Virginia 

Week before last I spent three days in the Clifton Forge area. I camped in the travel trailer at Douthat State Park and spent my time photographing at the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Heritage Center, the very active CSX train yard in Clifton Forge, and the small town of Eagle Rock. The picture above shows the re-constructed passenger station and to the left, the original red brick freight house on the grounds of the Heritage Center.  To the right of the station is Southern 614,   a 4-8-4 steam locomotive now on display.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The view from town

Mt. Solon, Virginia

This picture was taken from the main road passing through the town of Mt. Solon, a reminder of how small towns once fit seamlessly into their rural surroundings.

"Our surroundings, if noticed, resemble a living history museum—a disjointed but sometimes readable visual narrative composed of the physical remnants of settlements."*

*From the preface to the book Lost Communities of Virginia by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg. Mt Solon is one of the "lost communities" included in the book.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Planter's Bank

Mt. Solon, Virginia

The former Planter's Bank building dates from after the Civil War. The elements of neoclassical or Greek Revival architecture set this building apart from the style of the other buildings in town. Pictures from several years ago show the bank in a much dilapidated state, badly in need of paint and cleaning, but apparently restoration work has been underway more recently, and the exterior of the building is now in excellent condition.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Mt. Solon, Virginia 

In the early years of the 20th Century, Mt. Solon had a Ford dealership, a gas station, a bank and several small shops. Today a walk down the town's quiet, tree lined main street finds very little remaining of the businesses that once prospered here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mt. Solon Grocery

Augusta County, Virginia 

Mt. Solon started in 1799 with the establishment of a mill on the small creek that now runs through the center of town. Over the years several businesses sprang up and around 1900 the Chesapeake Western Railway laid tracks through the town. The town's prosperity would soon come to an abrupt end. The railway was abandoned in 1930 and the mill closed in 1939.  Today, the town exists as a small residential community.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nasturtiums #5

Greene County, Virginia 

Next week we will be exploring Mount Solon, Virginia. Today Mount Solon is off the beaten track, but it once served as an important rail link and business center.

Thanks for reading Photography In Place, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Nasturtiums #1

Greene County, Virginia

A pot of nasturtiums on our deck caught my attention last week. There was only one blossom, but my eye was attracted to the highly variegated leaves and I knew exactly how I wanted to photograph them.

When I started photographing, it was the shapes and textures of the leaves that I wanted to picture. Soon though, I began to see beyond the leaf's edges and into the plant's layered depth. I ended up with a group of pictures completely different from my original intention.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014

In town

Augusta County, Virginia

This group of buildings is located, not out in the country, but right along the main street of Churchville. The old buildings are a reminder of the days when small towns were not much removed from their rural surroundings. Town folk had gardens and often some livestock—chickens perhaps, or a cow for milk. A time when a barn, a smokehouse, or a chicken coop did not seem out of place in a small agricultural town.

These pictures were taken last month, right around the corner from the Family Dollar Store. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Star building

Churchville, Virginia

Driving through Churchville last month, I came across this old tumbledown building. It was in the side yard of a house in town, and as I walked up to photograph it from the sidewalk, I noticed some folks sitting at a table in the shade of a tree nearby. I went over and talked to the lady who lives in the house next to this curious little building, but she did not know much about its history or original purpose.

The building leans at a crazy angle and one side seems about to fall in, although the woman did say her husband planned to try to shore it up. I took a bunch of photographs and left wondering how long the "star building" would survive. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tom's Tree

Augusta County, Virginia 

Don't ask me who is Tom, or why this is his tree. All I know is what it says on the sign.

But I do know a little bit about this single lane through truss bridge. It was built in 1901 as a railroad bridge on the alignment of the Chesapeake Western Railway. The 130 foot span crosses the North River near Stokesville, Virginia. It was converted to vehicular use after the tracks between Stokesville and Mt. Solon were dismantled in 1930.

Segments of the former Chesapeake Western Railway are operated today by Norfolk Southern's Chesapeake Western Branch.