Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Awaiting preservation

Clifton Forge, Virginia 

A variety of old rail-cars rests on the grounds of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia. I don't know what the future holds for these cars but they are part of a history that I believe is worth saving. These rusting artifacts my not be great works of art, but they represent the work and achievements upon which the present is built. We preserve not for nostalgia, but for understanding.

Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Buckingham Branch Railroad

Clifton Forge, Virginia 

The Buckingham Branch Railroad is a short line railroad that operates here in central Virginia over parts of the former Chesapeake and Ohio system. Their headquarters are in the old C&O Depot in Dillwyn, Virginia and trains serve local industries along 16 miles of track between Dillwyn and Bremo. The railroad also leases 200 miles of track which runs from Richmond to Clifton Forge, passing through Charlottesville.

Locomotives 12, still showing Kansas City Southern (KCS) paint is an EMD GP40-3 built in 1968. Locomotive 13, also an EMD GP40-3 was built in 1967 and displays the Buckingham Branch paint scheme.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Country Home

Augusta County, Virginia 

Like many of my fellow baby-boomers, I grew up in one of the suburbs that sprang up at the end of World War II.

But when I was a boy, aunts and uncles and cousins lived in houses that looked very like the old country house in the picture above. I envied them then. Now, I remember the smell of biscuits and bacon in the kitchen; the smell of gasoline and grass in the sheds; the freedom outdoors, and the comfort inside.

Sitting beside the road with my camera, I could almost believe that any minute Aunt Clemmie, all these long years gone, would step through that aluminum storm door, a white wash pan on her hip and black-rimmed glasses glinting in the afternoon sun.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Eagle Rock, Virginia

The only source I could find for the date of the station in Eagle Rock says that it was built in 1915 to replace an earlier wooden structure. Chesapeake and Ohio passenger and freight service to Eagle Rock continued into the early 1950s. The depot is now a CSX railroad maintenance and storage building. Trains no longer stop in Eagle Rock.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Botanical #10

Greene County, Virginia 

There are about 80 species of nasturtiums in the genus Tropaeolum, a name derived from the Roman custom of decorating a trophy pole called a tropaeum with the weapons and armour of a vanquished foe. Carl Linnaeus chose the genus name because the plant called to mind this ancient practice; the nasturtium leaves like shields and the intensely colored flowers like bloody helmets displayed on a victorious trophy pole.

Friday, July 11, 2014

C&O Locomotibe 614 - In the cab

Clifton Forge, Virginia

If you are of a certain age, it is likely that at some point you dreamed of roaring down the tracks with one hand on the throttle and one hand on the whistle cord of a massive steam locomotive. The sound of the whistle is like nothing else: urgent and lonesome, it is a sound that no longer echos across the American landscape.

 The engineer's seat.
After her retirement in 1952, 614 continued to operate on and off through the years, both as an excursion train and as a test locomotive in the 1980s to study the feasibility of designing a modern steam powered locomotive to haul coal. The picture above of the engineers seat shows the relatively modern cab controls added during this period.

Looking forward from the fireman's seat on the left had side of the cab.

For more information about the history of C&O 614, including the years from her retirement to the present, visit The Official Website of Chesapeake and Ohio Steam Locomotive #614

Thanks for reading Photography in Place. Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

C&O Locomotive 614

Clifton Forge, Virginia 

On display at the C&O Railway Heritage Center,  614 is a 4-8-4, J3-a Greenbriar class steam locomotve. Designed to pull C&O's premier passenger trains, she is 16ft high, 112ft long, weighs some 434 tons. The locomotive develops 5000 horsepower and is capable of speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

614 was the last of 12 Greenbriar class locomotives delivered to C&O by Lima Locomotive Works. Built in 1948 and retired in 1952, she is the only surviving example of the Greenbriar class.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Art underfoot

Bath County, Virginia 

One of the most pleasant features of my stay at Douthat State Park last month was the small stream that ran behind my campsite. I fell asleep each night to the sound of water tumbling over the rocky stream-bed.

Before supper one afternoon, I climbed down the bank behind my trailer to the creek for a closer look. The water's edge was shady and green in the afternoon light. The wet rocks underfoot were slippery, and looking down to keep from falling, I began to see pictures among the rocks. The stream was lined with an up-tilted bed of what appeared to be shale along with water smooth rocks, mosses and ferns. I spent a happy half-hour photographing the colors and textures at my feet. Sometimes, it pays to look down.

Wilson Creek - My campsite is on top of the high bank to the right.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Afternoon freight

Eagle Rock, Virginia 

The sun was just about to disappear behind the bluffs to the south of town when I heard this eastbound freight train approaching the old depot at Eagle Rock on June 11, 2014.

Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

A trains rolls along Railroad Avenue, once the busy heart of Eagle Rock.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

72 Railroad Avenue

Eagle Rock, Virginia 

In the early years of the 20th century, Eagle Rock was a prosperous commercial center  By 1940 stores and businesses lined Railroad Avenue, including a bank, depot, hotel, drug store, and bowling alley. In addition to the lime kilns, several light industries operated in Eagle Rock, including an ice plant, stave mill and the Eagle Rock Milling and Manufacturing Company which produced flour and cornmeal.

The town's prosperity ended with the closing of the lime kilns in 1954, and a record breaking flood of the James River in 1985 destroyed most of the few remaining businesses. Today Eagle Rock is quiet and peaceful, except when a freight train rumbles past the empty windows on Railroad Avenue.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The lime kilns at Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock, Virginia 

The first lime kiln in Eagle Rock began operation in 1847. Limestone is loaded into the top of the kiln and heated to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the limestone to powdered lime. Lime was used in agriculture, in whitewash and masonry mortar and in iron furnaces where the lime bonded with impurities in the ore to form slag, which could be separated from the iron. The limestone was quarried nearby and transported to the kilns by a system of cables over the James River until 1880, when a bridge was built across the river. The kilns in Eagle Rock ceased operation in 1954.

Eagle Rock is included in the book Lost Communities of Virginia by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg. (Virginia Tech, 2011).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In the dining car

Clifton Forge, Virginia 

The dining car Gadsby's Tavern was built in 1922 and remained in service until 1967. Completely restored by the C&O Historical Society, the car is on display at the C&O Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge.

It had rained the night before, and everything outside was damp when I took this photograph while seated at a table in the empty dining car on  the morning of June 12, 2014. See here for a post about a visit to Gadsby's tavern in 2011 which includes a picture of the car's exterior.