Appalachian author Wilma Dykeman dies at 86.
Coal industry zeros in on way to strengthen underground seals
Funds called of little use to black lung victims
"Water is a living thing: it is life itself. In it life began."
- Wilma Dykeman
Appalachian author Wilma Dykeman dies at 86.
Coal industry zeros in on way to strengthen underground seals
Funds called of little use to black lung victims
Posted by Jeremy Peters at 5:43 PM
April 29th. The Sabbath. The Bitten Horse is better. 3 Quarters of A mile below the house is a Pond in the Low ground of the River, a quarter of a mile in length and 200 yds. wide much frequented by Fowl.
30th. I blazed a way from our House to the River. On the other side of the River is a large Elm cut down and barked about 20 feet and another standing just by it with the Bark cut around at the root and about 15 feet above. About 200 yards below this is a white Hiccory Barked about 15 feet. The depth of the water here, when the lowest that I have seen it, is 7 or 8 feet, the Bottom of the River Sandy, ye Banks very high, and the Current very slow. The Bitten horse being much mended, we set off and left the lame one. He is white, branded on the near Buttock with a swivil Stirrup Iron, and is old. We left the River and having crossed several Hills and Branches, camped in a Valley North from the House.
May the 1st. Another Horse being Bitten, I applyed Bears Oil as before Mention'd. We got to Powell's River in the afternoon and went down it along an Indian Road, much frequented, to the mouth of a Creek on the West side of the River, where we camped. The Indian Road goes up the Creek, and I think it is that Which goes through Cave Gap.8) Bell County (Kentucky) Historical Society: Thomas Walker 250th Anniversary of Walker's Discovery of the Cumberland Gap:
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 12:38 AM
Filling in the gap of our now-four-part photo essay of Lee Highway, aka Route 11, between Knoxville, Tennessee and Mount Jackson, Virginia, I've back-tracked a bit because the sunset picture of the Draper Mountain Overlook at Pulaski didn't do the view justice. So, we'll start off there looking to the north at Cloyds & Little Walker Mountain in the background.
The first sign of civilization that you see as you drive down Draper Mountain into Pulaski is Calfee Park, most recently home to the Blue Jays of the Appalachian League. Unfortunately, Pulaski is once again team-less. Another town courted the Blue Jays away with better facilities and the promise of better attendance than what Pulaski provided.
A view of downtown Pulaski. Once a thriving business district, it has fallen victim to textile and furniture plant relocations over the past 25 years, the end of the railroad era and being by-passed by Interstate 81. Pulaski Furniture still is in operation on the edge of downtown but the number of people it employs is far below what it has been in the past.
The next town along the journey is Dublin. Rumor has it that it's the fastest growing town in the Commonwealth (it's Dublin everyday!). The train station hasn't been in service since N&W stopped passenger rail service but several investors have renovated over the years. It's currently for sale if anyone here is interested. It's also on the site where Union troops in the Civil War destroyed a munitions depot and tore up the tracks leaving sites to east without easy access to the salt mines of Saltville,Va and bringing troop movement along the rails to a halt. For more on that element of the Civil War, follow this link to the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain.
Route 11 leaves Pulaski County and enters the City of Radford when the road crosses the New River. Travelers have been able to cross the river span since 1891. Before then, people were pulled across the river using the Ingles Ferry, Dudley Ferry or Peppers Ferry.
At one point in time, the powers that be within the railroad company needed a place to manufacture rail cars and steam locomotives. Two sites in western Virginia were in the running for the facility, Radford and Roanoke. Of course, the Roanoke site was chosen and the city grew by leaps and bounds because of it. Radford served as a refueling and watering center for trains that had just chugged up Christiansburg Mountain from Roanoke en route to Bristol, Bluefield and Hinton. A view of downtown Radford and Radford University.
A view of geese along the New River at Radford University's Dedmon Center
The Montgomery County Courthouse in Christiansburg might be the ugliest courthouse in the Appalachian region, if not the country.
Route 11 intersects Interstate 81 again at Christiansburg. This might also be the only place that you can find a Waffle House, an American Institution™, along the old road south of Lexington. This particular part of Route 11 is at the top of Christiansburg Mountain, where you leave the Gulf of Mexico watershed and enter the Albemarle Sound watershed. Waters to the west flow into the New River and waters to the east flow into the Roanoke River.
"The Straightaway" is a 1.8 mile stretch of perfectly flat and straight road between Shawsville and Elliston. Route 11 bisects the flood plain of the South Fork Roanoke River in this rich farmland. I have worked with two people that were raised in this area, one in his 60's and one in his 30's. Both have some good stories of the races that took place on this road in their youth.
Lastly, the moment before the battery on my camera died, The Roanoke River Wayside.
If not for a dead camera, I had planned to connect the dots all the way to Troutville but it's probably for the better. Visiting the busy streets of downtown Salem and Roanoke the weekend before Christmas would have left me needing some moonshine to calm my nerves. I'll leave that section for another day.
Posted by Mike at 2:54 PM
Dear . . . Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped. The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office." Thank you again for your email and thoughts.I am not going to comment on the fact that the Congressman obviously believes that the separation of Church and State is really just a vague suggestion, and that the religion should be Christianity (probably whatever denomination he adheres to at home) - that said, he has the right to hang whatever he wants in his office - see, Representative, rights work both ways. And I'm not going to comment on the fact that apparently the Congressmen did not realize the representative to the United States is not a naturalized immigrant, but an American by birth who can trace his family's roots into the 18th Century. I will say that he has obviously decided he does not like Muslims and wants no more of "those people" here - reminds me of the insults that used to be levied against folks like the Irishmen in my family. It is called bigotry, and I am horrified that a member of Congress from Appalachia is apparently proud of his. I hope the readers and writers in this community agree.
Congressman Virgil Goode
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 2:40 PM
November 14, 1970...seems like a normal date. But is was a date to change the city of Huntington, the state of West Virginia, and a lot of sports fans everywhere. That was the day 75 people including most of the Marshall Thundering Herd football team died in a plane crash near Huntington. From the official report...
Southern Airlines Flight 932 left Kinston, North Carolina, at 6:38 p.m., carrying the Marshall University football team, coaching staff and fans to Huntington, West Virginia. After an uneventful flight, the crew contacted Huntington Airport tower at 7:23 p.m. and were cleared for a localizer approach on runway 11. The weather conditions were poor, mist and light rain with broken clouds at 500 feet. The plane descended below the Minimum Descent Altitude, striking trees on a hillside about one mile from the runway. The plane then crashed and burned.I was 12 at the time. In the sixth grade. And growing up in Oceana, Wyoming county, West Virginia. I don't remember hearing about the crash. I don't recall even knowing about Marshall University. Sadly, for me there are no memories.
he Board has been unable to determine the reason for this descent, although the two most likely explanations are: a) improper use of cockpit instrument data; or b) an altimetry system error”
Posted by Al at 3:59 PM
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 2:07 PM
I had the opportunity to see the December 16 concert at The Birchmere with my wife Emily. The concert was enjoyable, although the band seemed a little full of themselves at times. Ralph sang on a majority of the songs, but sat a few out. He said he'd overdone it the night before. A real treat was when he played the old claw hammer style on the banjo.
A partial set list included:
A Robin Built a Nest on Daddy's Grave
I’ll Fly Away
Mary Merry Christmas
Orange Blossom Special
Mountain Dew (Last two were best of night in my opinion)
A considerable amount of time was spent promoting merchandise, which the band shamelessly admitted, but I felt it detracted from the show a bit. The "Play It And They Will Buy" approach seems like it would work better.
Overall, it was good music and another great opportunity to see a legend play live.
Posted by Jeremy Peters at 11:07 PM
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 5:26 PM
This post continues the road trip started by Eric's post on 11W from Knoxville to Abingdon, and Mike's post on Route 11 from Abingdon to Dublin, VA. I picked up Route 11 just north of Roanoke in Troutville, VA, tuned in Bluegrass Junction on my XM dial, and headed north.
Route 11 is again crossed by the Appalachian Trail just south of Troutville.
For some good home cooking, the Greenwood Restaurant is the place to stop; complete with a train that circles overhead in the dining room!
Located between Purgatory Mountain and Cove Mountain right on the James River in Botetourt, County is Buchanan, Virginia.
It is worth a stop and has plenty to offer, including a theater, many boutique shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.
And it's famous for the swinging bridge that crosses the James. You have to go over it at least once.
Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County offers an eclectic mix of things to do. The bridge itself is the main draw, but unfortunately, you have to pay to see it. The hotel offers quality accomodations, and personally speaking, is a great place for a wedding reception. There's also caverns, a wax museum, a zoo and a safari park nearby.
Posted by Jeremy Peters at 7:00 PM
Posted by Mike at 9:14 AM
Colonel Harland Sanders, Chickenlord of Kentucky
(Image from Alice J. Schleicher, Inc., a Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchise Holder in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, & Alabama)
The title Kentucky Colonel has been around since 1813. The Kentucky Militia had just returned from a highly successful "War of 1812" campaign that resulted in control of the Northwest being returned to the United States. When the militia disbanded, Governor Isaac Shelby commissioned Charles S. Todd, one of his officers in the campaign, as an AID-DE-CAMP on the Governor's Staff with the rank and grade of Colonel. Todd married Shelby's youngest daughter two years later.Got all that? Of course you do. The War of 1812 led to a close association between a militia colonel and a governor. The governor then started using militia colonels as an elite honor guard at state events, then started appointing the title of "colonel" as an honorific. Ultimately, amidst the Great Depression and, one might assume, McCarthyism, the Colonels "organized" and transformed into a kind of honorific service fraternity.
Early Colonels actually served military roles. In the latter part of the 1800's, the position took on a more ceremonial function. Colonels in uniform attended functions at the Governor's mansion and stood as symbolic guards at state events. By the late 1800's, the title had become more of an honorary one. In the late 1920's, a group of Colonels started talking about forming a "society". Governor Flem Sampson gave his blessings to the project. Late one Saturday afternoon in May of 1931, the first meeting of what would eventually become the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels was held in Frankfort.
"Formulate a society to more closely band together this group into a great non-political brotherhood for the advancement of Kentucky and Kentuckians," Governor Sampson challenged. And they did. Minutes of the early meetings confirm that charitable programs were to be a central part of the organization. Social events would also play an important role. "The Kentucky Colonels" held a Derby Eve dinner for the first time in 1932.
Ruby Laffoon, who seemed to have had an innate sense of Public Relations and an affinity for Hollywood stars, replaced Sampson as Governor in 1932. Not long after taking office, Laffoon met with Colonel Anna Bell Ward Olsen who owned several movie theaters across Kentucky. A representative of theater owners nationwide, who also held a Kentucky Colonel commission, accompanied Colonel Olsen. The meeting theoretically concerned movie censorship. However, what came out of the meeting was a "new" organization to be called the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Laffoon appointed Colonel Olsen as Secretary and Keeper of the Great Seal.
The earliest known university nickname is the "Maroons," which came from the school colors of maroon and white. The Maroons name became associated with the school during the '20s and continued for roughly 40 years. During a brief time in the late '20s the student population voted to accept the Leopard as the official school mascot. Students in fact had a plan to purchase a leopard from the zoo in Memphis, Tenn., but it was not pursued and Maroons continued to remain the official mascot until 1963. During this time several beloved campus dogs, most notably Mozart who is buried behind the Van Peursem Pavilion in the ravine, unofficially served as mascots. In 1963, President Robert Martin decided that the school needed a "real" mascot and began looking for a new symbol for our university. The Kentucky "Colonel" was decided on as the symbol.
Officials at Centre College in Danville were upset with Eastern's new mascot, since their athletic teams were also called the Colonels. But the name stuck and the Colonel became Eastern's official school mascot. The first Colonel mascot appeared at an October 1964 football game and the tradition has remained ever since. Today's Colonel caricature is modeled after a 1967 drawing that appeared in the Louisville Courier Journal by nationally prominent newspaper cartoonist Hugh Haynie.
Intriguing, eh? Ah, to be a meager imitation of James Burke.
PS - If you want to become a Chickenlord and truly embrace the Colonel, you must visit two places. First, the Free World Chicken Festival in London, Kentucky (so awesome) and, of course, the Harland Sanders Cafe & Museum in Corbin, Kentucky.
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 12:32 PM
I just wanted to shoot out this interesting article to everybody - it is completely worth two or three minutes. Specifically, its an NPR article on how black students in rural, western North Carolina reiterate their African American identity by employing certain accent and slang terms and phrases, even while instant messaging. I find this sort of analysis significant because it really hits at how Americans in general and Appalachians in particular utilize their accents, consciously and unconsciously, to define their in and out groups and to enhance their personal self-worth. Just interesting food for thought.
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 6:10 PM
Posted by Eric Drummond Smith at 11:12 PM
The advent of steam locomotion and the discovery of coal in the Appalachian Mountains brought about some of the most significant transformations to the region since its European settlement. A multitude of short-line and regional railroads began appearing near the turn of the century and would prove instrumental in the development of the region's natural resource economy. All are today incorporated into either the Norfolk Southern Corporation or CSX Corporation.
This is the first part of a series that will highlight this important part of our history, the Appalachian Railroads.
It should be interesting.
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