Saturday, September 21, 2013

Iron and Steel

Today is our final journey. Leaving Harrisburg we headed toward home with a few stops along the way.

Cornwall Furnace was leading Pennsylvania iron producer from 1742 to 1883 when it was shutdown. The site is primarily the furnace, but there are a couple of supporting buildings still existing. The Cornwall Furnace provided arms to George Washington and made PA first millionaire.

Cornwall Furnance PA

Cornwall Furnance PA

Cornwall Furnance PA
Where the Managers Lived

Cornwall Furnance PA
I am thinking lemonade on a hot summer day.

Cornwall Furnance PA
Where the Owners Lived

Next stop was in Catasauqua. George was a signed of the Declaration of Independence, giving the home Landmark status. Nothing really special about the house other than it is old.

Heading out of Catsauqua we stopped at this oversized root beer barrel. This would be a good place for a tag in a game.

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We turned north and headed into Bethlehem PA. When we got here I realized that I had not Waypointed the primary place to visit. Lucky for me I had another place marked or we would have blown right past the place and would not have realized it until we had reached a point that would have been too far to go back.

To get our bearing pulled over to these train depots and just had to snap off some quick shots.

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The 3 people standing there were taking pictures for an ad or maybe some wedding pictures. 

I had been looking forward to visiting the Bethlehem Blast Furnaces since I planned this trip. I was not disappointed when we got there. I did have to stop and ask a policeman how to get here. The blast furnaces now not operating is a backdrop for an entertainment complex. Bethlehem Steel was the second biggest producer of steel in the US. The failed because they didn’t modernize and thirsted for short term profits over sustaining the company. The company made steel at this location for 140 years. I was quite surprised to find downtown Bethlehem quite nice. During its heyday it must of smoggy, sooty and just plain dirty.

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Steel Stacks

Bethlehem Steel Steel Stacks
I overhead one of the guys giving a tour of the place. Apparently this is the oldest riveted blast furnace left in existence today. This is the oldest of 5 furnaces

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Yea the stacks don't really sway in the wind, at least not yer

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Memorial Sculpture with the ships, bridges and buildings that Bethlehem Steel provided stell

Bethlehem Steel

After we visited the steel we headed into town to pick up one more NHL, which was an residential housing for the Moravian Church officials. It is now a museum, but still owned by the Moravian Church. For those that are curious the Moravian Church is a Protestant denomination with roots in the Czech Republic.

Gemeinhaus-Lewis David De Schweinitz Residence - Bethlehem PA

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Last stop of the day was Dingman Falls. I didn’t tell MeAsWe we were going to stop here. This was one of the places we visited on our first overnight trip on the motorcycle. It was 5 years to the exact day that we were hear. The falls have not changed and we still need to come back here when the rhododendrons are in full bloom, it just has to be spectacular.

Dingman Falls
The walk to the Falls

Dingman Falls
The view on the walk

Dingman Falls
The Falls 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Stonewalling in Camp David

We spent the night in Waynesboro, VA last night, staying at the Best Western. Waynesboro is the northern terminus for the Blue Ridge Parkway and the southern terminus for Skyline Drive. We drove the entire 105 miles of the Skyline today. The speed limit is only 35 MPH, but we were in no hurry today, so the speed was appropriate. In the scheme of things I actually preferred driving the Skyline over the Blue Ridge since it seems to be less curvy and more conducive to sightseeing. The drive was much clearer than yesterdays foggy ride on the BRP.

We saw  more wild life along the Skyline than the BRP, which is surprising, since the BRP is 5X as long. We did see a small black bear running down the road, but MeAsWe couldn’t get the camera fired up in time to catch a picture before it ran off on the side of the road. I visually marked where it ran into the woods and as we passed that spot, there he/she was sitting watching the traffic go by. MeAsWe missed this camopp too. Here's one we caught.


Big Meadows is about the ½ way point on the Skyline and is a contributing property on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also where the Harry F Byrd Visitor Center is located.

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We passed thru Front Royal, the northern terminus of the Skyline. Grabbed this building which appears to have been a hardware store advertising Bromo Seltzer. This is the tallest building in the immediate area and a great billboard canvas. The name, Bromo Seltzer came from the sodium bromide that was one of the ingredients. Bromides are a class of tranquilizers taken off the market in 1975 due to the toxicity. This ingredient made it popular for hangovers.

Bromo Setzer - Front Royal, VA

Moving north we stopped at Cedar Creek Battlefield and Belle Grove Plantation, both are NHL’s. The battle was fought in 1864 and was a surprise attack by the Confederates against Sheridan’s forces, of scorched earth fame. The Union troops were initially caught off guard, but rallied and counterattacked the Confederate forces. This battle marked the Union stranglehold over the Shenandoah Valley and protected Washington DC western front. Belle Grove Plantation was built in the late 1700’s and home of Major Issac Hite, Jr, a Revolutionary War veteran and brother in law to James Madison the President.

Cedar Creek Battlefield and Belle Grove - Middletown, VA

Cedar Creek Battlefield and Belle Grove - Middletown, VA

Winchester, VA is a stones throw from Cedar Creek. Targeted stop was Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters. The home was owned by Lt Colonel Moore and offered the home to serve as the Jackson’s HQ. The home was purchased and converted to a museum in 1960. Mary Tyler Moore, you remember her, Laura on Dick Van Dyke Show, contributed funds to restore the property. She was a relative to Lt Col Moore.

Jackson, Thomas J., Headquarters - Winchester, Virginia

Right around the corner from the Jackson HQ was this neat cottage style gas station. I did some research to try to figure out what was the gas company. One would immediately think Pure One or Phillips 66, but both of these company stations had chimneys on either end or next to the entrance. What I did find out this station is up for sale, has lost its grandfathering as a commercial site and must conform to the residential restrictions for the neighborhood. Nope can’t even be a convenience store.

Loudoun St Winchester VA

We headed downtown and passed Handley Library. This is a great example, especially in the US, of Beaux Arts architectural style building. Built in 1913, it was a gift to the city of Winchester by Judge Handley. It is listed on the NRHP.

Handley Library - Winchester, Virginia

Handley Library - Winchester, Virginia

We did hit Harper’s Ferry which is right on the border of WV and MD. This is a place one needs to spend some time at and take the bus from the NP visitor center to the town. Parking is extremely limited and difficult. Of course I grabbed some INK (National Park cancellation stamp) to add to my collection and a pin.

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When I planned the places we were going to visit the Martinsburg Train Yard, more formerly known as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops, brought some excitement to my brain. I just have a thing about old train sites and depot. It is the vision of steam engines crossing the countryside and pulling up to a depot. This place turned out very kewl from a visual standpoint but has far more significance from a historical perspective. This is the site for the Great Strike of 1877 where the first match was struck for laborers and factory workers. The strike at Martinsburg was the beginning of a nationwide uprising by workers and laborers across industry lines who had their wages cut after the Panic of 1873 by the Rockefeller's, Morgan's and Carnegie's. It was so broad and encompassing that some historians consider it to be akin to a class revolution in the US.

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops - Martinsburg WV

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops - Martinsburg WV

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops - Martinsburg WV

A little to the east of Martinsburg crossing back into Maryland is Antietam Battlefield. Arriving late in the day, I stopped in the VC to get my ink and pin and then we headed out for a drive around the park. This was the first major battle during the Civil War fought on Union soil and was the most bloody single-day battle in American history, with 22,717 dead, wounded or missing people. We spent about an hour driving around the area.

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We had one last stop Cacoctin Mountain Park. Having left Antietam after 5pm, I figured the place would be closed, but to our surprise the VC was still open. With the sequester I figured there is no way it was going to be open. Camp David, the presidential retreat is located in the park, and of course, is off limits for us citizens.

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On our way into Harrisburg, PA we stopped at a McDonalds, charged up the Acer notebook and made our last minute hotel reservations on Priceline. Another Best Western stay.

T 09 20 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Running to the Virginia Reaper

We spent the evening in Boone, NC in a Holiday Inn Express. HIE and Best Western is quickly becoming, at least for us, the upscale joints to stay in. One of the places I left out of yesterday’s report was lunch at the Pisgah Inn. This came from a recommendation from Giff and EasyEd on the NER forum and they were spot on with the recommendation. I had the chicken pot pie and it was wonderful. If you are traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway around Waynesville, NC this is a place worth stopping. I called Giff to tell him we did stop at the Inn and what a great recommendation it was. During this phone call he mentioned while we were in Boone, we should visit Mast General Store in downtown. We took him up on the mention and headed for the store, however it was too early for them. We took a pic and headed further up the BRP.

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We really do not have a lot of destinations except at the end of the day. We do have one diversion Mt Airy, which is the town that Mayberry was supposedly based on. Andy Griffith was born in this town. We did see the old Ford Galaxie Police car, but I did not take a picture. What did grab my eye though was the Art Deco Earle Theater. MeAsWe was quite impressed with the public restroom in the middle of the town. Lots of folks walking around being touristy and such.

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We made our way thru Roanoke, VA and the whole time we had lunch I was thinking snakes, brimstone and meth addicts. Getting closer to Waynesboro our destination for the night, we stopped in Lexington, VA for some historic sites. Stopped along the Blue Ridge for some camopps. The views are quite spectacular.

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In Lexington, VA our first stop is the Robert E Lee Chapel, a National Historic Landmark.  We spotted  right on the street the RE Lee Memorial Episcopal Church. I took a bunch of pictures, but something just didn’t seem right. I recollected that the Chapel was not on the street. Back to the car, looked at the picture we had and figured I had taken the wrong church.

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We circled back thru downtown and saw a sign and parking for the Robert E Lee Chapel. Out of the car and hiked up the hill. The chapel I was looking for came into view. Lee Chapel was constructed in 1867-68 at the request of Robert E Lee, when he was president of the University, and then known simply as Washington College. RE Lee attended Grace Episcopal Church, which was renamed R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in his honor.  Lee died in 1870 and he was buried beneath the chapel and remains there today. I tried the front door and it was locked.

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Turning 180 degrees around one finds themselves on the campus green of Washington and Lee University.

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Right next door to William and Lee U is the Virginia Military Institute. The Barracks is a National Historic Landmark. The Institute is a military college and the oldest such school in the US. West Point is a federally supported school, where VMI is state supported. All students are military cadets pursuing bachelor’s degrees. It has been called the West Point of the South from time to time.

Barracks, Virginia Military Institute

Barracks, Virginia Military Institute

Before we got out of town I went around the block to get this vintage Pure Oil  cottages style gas station that has been converted to a restaurant called Pure Eats. Love the blue tile roof. Pure Oil was founded in 1914 and started as a group of independent oil refiners to counter the dominance of Standard Oil Company in PA.

Pure Oil, Lexington VA

Last stop of the day was the birthplace of the Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the Virginia reaper.

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Sun going down took the last shot of the day capturing the rolling farm land right outside the McCormick Farm.

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Our destination was Waynesboro, the southern terminus of the Skyline Drive and Northern terminus for the Blue Ridge Parkway. I started to smarten up and stopped at a McDonalds to log on to Priceline to find a bargain priced motel. I put my bid in and turned to MeAsWe and said I bet it comes back Best Western. Ding ding ding. It seems that BW is willing to sell a room rather than have a vacancy. This is  smart to me. This BW had a restaurant connected to it, an Irish Pub, where I had a pretty strong brew. I only had one. Dinner was just all right.