The vanishing Textures and Colors on Jefferson St in Lynchburg VA
Lynchburg VA --- My Hometown
Just in case you can't tell after reading the Hub itself, Lynchburg Virginia is my hometown, and even though I haven't lived there since 1997, with the large number of children on my mother's and my father's side of my family, I go back and visit regularly.
Funerals, weddings and Family Holidays are what end up calling us back home so often.
When I go back, I take my NIKON Camera and try to get great photographic shots of places that have memories for me from my youth.
This is really getting harder and harder to do as the town grows and the people destroy, one way or another, the buildings, parks and the other favorite places that I remember from my youth.
Anyway, on a trip a couple of years ago, I was downtown on some errand, and I had an hour to kill. So, I roamed around the old part of the City down near the James River grabbing random shots in the great light that was available.
I was concentrating on colors and textures and I think I got some good stuff. Here are some of my favorites.
What Old Train Stations turn into! At least this old station was saved and turned into a restaurant.
A Lynchburg History - sketches and recollections by inhabitants
I go back to this book regularly whenever I revisit Lynchburg because it is full of interesting information on the area that I can go visit and enjoy..
Lynchburg was founded by John Lynch in 1757.
The area around Lynchburg, at the time was a prosperous Tobacco growing area, and the area John Lynch selected for the town was, at the highest point up the James River that a boat could travel.
And, it also happened to be a perfect site for a Ferry across the river.
This section of downtown Lynchburg that I was in, just off of Jefferson Street.
The whole section of town was once a river freight handling area that eventually evolved into a railroad warehouse section of town.
And I was right on the river, near the site of the original Lynch's Ferry.
As the saying goes, "You can't throw a rock, or stick a shovel in the ground without hitting something old!" And this is especially true in the old section of Lynchburg as well.
If you want to read some more on the history of Lynchburg check out The History of Lynchburg . It's a well done site, and and is very informative.
If you are in Lynchburg, and are by chance downtown, you must, absolutely must, go to the old TEXAS TAVERN which is located at the end of Main Street.
Is the Texas Tavern a restaurant? Is it a Cafe, is it just an old hole-in-the-wall that people frequent. You will have to decide this for yourself.
This is a hallowed tradition with the locals, to go occasionally and re-experience a meal at the Tavern. So, when you go to Lynchburg, take an extra hour from your busy schedule and drop by the Tavern for a Western and a Bowl with Flowers.
The Tavern and it's food have a long history, and you must try it.
I mentioned that Lynchburg was the furthest up the James River you could navigate a boat. Well, the Tobacco grown around Lynchburg was transported down the river from Lynchburg, in Colonial times, on crude temporary boats called Batteau Boats.
These were long flat boats made from green lumber and patched with Tar, and were only used once. When the boat arrived in the port areas on the James, they were unloaded, and the boats were abandoned to rot.
For the past several decades there has been an annual Batteau Festival in Lynchburg. And the highlight of the Festival is theBATTEAU Race itself.
Numerous teams from around the state of Virginia, make replica Batteau, dress in period clothes, and race down the James River to Richmond.
It is a great event to attend or even better, to participate in.
A book of newspaper articles called Remembering Lynchburg
This book was recommended to me and I love reading these old newspaper articles on the people and places and crazy happenings from Lynchburg's past.
There are a lot of these old lanes in Lynchburg and probably all old River Towns. Many have been paved over by "progress" to provide smoother transportation to people. I just loved this small remnant of the past when I saw it beside an old warehouse building near the railroad tracks and river. Actually, it is a pretty efficient design, if you think about it.
The River Rocks were free. Just dig them out of the River bank, and pile them a foot thick or so, with some sand. Then those old wagons with steel outer rims rolled over them every day. The sheer weight of the wagon and it's cargo packed them together in the pattern you see, over a few decades. And, if a hole or low spot appeared, just throw some more free rocks and sand in there and wait for them to fall into place. Very efficient.
I love the Colors and overall Texture of the road.
Old Lane - River Rocks
Cobblestone Street Stone
Jefferson Street in Lynchburg was once paved with Cobblestone from end to end. I am not sure today how much still remains. The two pictures you see are still the same stones but after close inspection you can see that one is the original street and the other has gone through some re-layout by the City.
The large gaps you see in the redone area, just doesn't exist in the original areas. The old sections have had many decades to grind against each other and the grit that falls between them to form a beautiful construction, while the other looks, well new, with old stones.
My Dad worked for the C&O Railroad his whole career, and I can remember when I was a child riding in his car on the original road. It had Railroad tracks down the middle, and Dad would speed up and try to stay on the tracks. The tires would shift between different sounds that I can still hear.
When on the Cobblestones, the whole car would vibrate and there was a loud roar of sound as the old tires beat on the varying surfaces of each stone. Then suddenly, the tires would grab the railroad tracks and the sound would shift to a smooth hum for a few seconds and the car would stop vibrating and it would fell like we were riding on a slippery cloud. But, all too soon, there would be a slight sideways shift of the car and the roar and vibrations were back. I loved it.
One more thing, my Dad told me was that all of these old cobblestones in the streets were cut at a local quarry by slaves before the Civil War, and that they were real craftsmen considering the manual techniques they used to control their size.
In this picture, they seem to absorb the sunlight and provide a nice flat dusty gray color that is interesting to the eye.
Old Warehouse Wall - Window sealed long ago
Warehouse Wall with Window
I have stared at this picture over and over. It fascinates me with the color of the Brick, the chipped and faded layers of paint, and most importantly, the fact that here is a window at ground level that someone decided HAD to be bricked up. And it was done long ago.
I paint some, and, Oh how I wish I could paint a wall with such color and hints of past secrets. I really don't know the actual history of this building or it;s mysterious window, but I have decided that because the window is so close to the ground, it had to have been originally designed to move trash or ashes or some such from the building. It couldn't be for transferring Coal into a Coal Bin because it should be higher. It couldn't be a window for light for the same reason. So Egress for Trash is my best guess.
Love It - Whatever they are
Love It - Whatever they are!
You have to love this shot. I was walking around on Jefferson Street, and stopped in front of one of the many old warehouse buildings, and as a cloud moved away, the Sun splashed across these old ...... Things ..... and I started shooting. What a great shot this is, even if I don't really know what these things are.
Is one of them some kind of stone wash basin used by some bygone company that once occupied the building? Is one of them actually just a Boat shaped stone Flower Pot? Is the long flat one another type of stone basin for processing a long forgotten product?
Or are they all just some unweildly pieces of stone that were dragged from the building to be thrown away because they no longer serve a useful purpose?
Whatever they are, they are a fantastic sight laying there in their quiet and patient repose, absorbing the rays of the Sun.
Windows, and Drains
Windows and Drains
Another old Warehouse, boarded up, but still standing proud. The Windows are painted over and the Drain pipe exhibits numerous leaks that have stained the old Rock walls.
I caught the light at Midday and the many different colors all contribute to the impression of age. This old workhorse warehouse wall has great character.
Walking up and down Jefferson Street, one thing you notice is how far it is vertically to Commerce Street at some points. No wonder they call Lynchburg the Hill City and the City of Seven Hills.
Interestingly, I seem to remember someone telling me that Jefferson Street was once called Commerce Street and renamed for some unknown reason, like many of the streets in Downtown Lynchburg, like Church and Court Streets.
Anyway, I was staring up at the rear of some of the old buildings on Commerce Street when, at one point, I was in front of a very high wall of weeds.
I pushed through them for about ten feet, and came upon this old retaining wall that was still standing. The Patina on the rocks is fantastic, and the quality of the masonry work was very high. It's just another hidden piece of beauty that can still be found in downtown Lynchburg.
A Warehouse building on Jefferson Street. It was empty when I took the picture, but I peered in the windows, and there seemed to be some kind of construction going on inside, so hopefully someone is repairing and reclaiming this old Beauty.
I can remember, again, when I was a child, riding down with my brother in the back seat of my dad's old car. Dad stopped at the dock you see, and walked up to a very large Black man and talked to him for a minute or so. He then came back to the car and opened the trunk. The Black man had gone inside, and soon returned with some vegetables in rectangular bushel containers. They loaded the trunk, Dad paid him some money, and we left. It seems there was "canning" to be done.
Then ..... that old warehouse, was bustling with activity; with cars and trucks pulling up and driving away, and people, many people constantly entering and leaving. Now, it is just an empty shell.
I hope someone finds a use for it, again, before it deteriorates even more.
Wall Containment Rod and Washer
Tracks Everywhere! Pave Paradise, Put up a Parking Lot?
Retaining Wall of Stone from long ago
Great Pictures - They are Everywhere!
These are just a sample of the pictures I took on Jefferson Street that day, but they are also my favorites.
The thing I enjoy about Photography, is just what you see here; Natural Beauty, just lying around waiting for the right EYE to catch it and capture it for others to enjoy with you later.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.
7000 Jefferson street, lynchburg, va
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© 2009 Don Bobbitt