Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Traveling Back in Time in Ritchie County

On a recent storytelling trip, I decided to return home in a roundabout way, driving a few miles out of my way (well, about 30 actually) to explore a road I had not yet travelled. I'm amazed when I look at a map of West Virginia to see how many roads I have driven, how many little communities I've visited. I seldom pass up an opportunity to go somewhere different.
A sign of the past: an abandoned bus station on the side of the road. I've seen many of these scattered across the state; some are still being used as general stores or even homes, but many are slowly deteriorating and will soon be lost. It's surprising to find them in places considered remote now; in their day, these roads were probably as "main" as the interstates are today.

Further along, retired oil-and-gas field machinery rusts slowly into the vegetation. Prominently sprayed on one rusting tank: "Not for Sale."

In Pennsboro, I stopped for dinner and a quick look through a new antique store. I found two old books and a unique wooden xylophone there. Dinner was disappointing--hearty fare, but poor service and a hefty price tag. Note to self: don't eat in Pennsboro again.
But the old railroad station, in the process, it seems, of being restored, was lovely. A new church conference complex dominated the center of town and is pumping life back into a place I remembered as struggling to survive.

This building was awesome. Look at the old advertising painted on the sides, the fancy brick and trim work, and the double front porch!

I was curious about the "flowers" on the second floor porch, so I zoomed in for a closer look:

It's West Virginia glass, wound around the rails to create a work of art. Masterful. I wish I could have met the owner of this property--they must have a creative mind and an appreciation of old things. My kind of people!

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