Posts Tagged ‘old buildings’

Like New Cars

Was this a Precursor of Today’s Used Car Lots?

I was driving to Staunton, Virginia (pronounced “Standtin” by the locals) on what was once a major north-south highway now displaced by the Interstate.

This stretch of U.S. Route 11 (known as Lee Highway here) is a country road now that slows for thriving little towns and interesting stops along the way, with farms and barns and majestic mountain views.

But what I love most is to see the remnants of a bygone era – abandoned gas stations, diners, pre-chain motels, and other businesses I actually recall as they were in their “haydays” in the 1950’s.

There are crumbling buildings as timeworn as I sometimes feel.    

Surely they have stories to tell of lives and lifetimes.

Would that we could get close enough

and remain still long enough to hear the echoes of the past.





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Phebe's Barn Built in 1885

I am told this picturesque Virginia barn was built in 1885.

 It was and is still well used

and belongs to my friends “down the road.”


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Once a Dairy Barn

Some things make me sad.  This was once a prosperous dairy in a rural part of my county.  Now it stands as a monument to  simpler times and natural spaces.  But, “that’s progress,” or is it?

Making Progress

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Once upon a time, there was a Grand Opening!Windowless


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I went for a ride with my visiting friend, Scott, this afternoon down a country road not far from home.

We drove to the end where we found a study in contrasts and he snapped two photos.

“Out with the old and in with the new,” I thought.  And then I thought again about the interesting comparisons on a working farm.

There is the old rusty truck.  Somehow I think it will still start up and still haul things, but it may be on the verge of settling into the weeds and soon into the soil.

Beyond the truck is a newer vehicle and a new barn or storage structure – obviously built to meet new challenges.

And there they stand together in a study of contrasts – old versus new.

But that was not all.

Beyond the new barn is the old barn, surely crumbling and ready to fall.  And as I look closely, there is another modern vehicle behind, and inside there is some equipment too.

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“This is the original American way,” I thought and “still working.”  These are the small farmers  who carefully save  (not only money but farm tools, equipment and structures), and hone all to greatest capacity to assure success.

Oddly enough, all these contrasts in one little area at the end of a road made me feel proud to be an American.

And though I didn’t voice this feeling to my friend, I think Scott felt it too.

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Crumbling Bldg

“They never tear anything down in our county.  They just let things crumble away.”

That was a statement made by my old friend, Viola, a local girl who loved to drive around the county to explore this part of the Shenandoah Valley.  And she would point out crumbling barns, rusting gas stations and collapsing homes.

And sure enough, she was right.  This area is just a treasure trove of disintegrating buildings. They are in various states of disrepair and every time I see another I imagine people there and I weave stories.

But here is this square little building I see almost every day and still have no idea what it might have been.  Perhaps it was a store before because it is not as welcoming as a home, or maybe it was a gas station, or a bank.  In the early stages of decay, it still seems so strong and sturdy, but each time I look, something else is crumbling away.

I feel sad about crumbling buildings.  They are like people giving up on life, just waiting to be rescued before the end.

Note:  Rumor around here is this building was a “weigh station.”  There was a quarry nearby and truckswith their loads of rock were driven onto a scale to determine prices.  The quarry expanded across the highway and a new weigh station was built.  What does this building look like to you?

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