Lynchburg Virginia, A short Walk on Main Street

Lynchburg, is it just another Southern university town?

Lynchburg Virginia is actually just another small town in the South that is searching for an identity and a path for it’s future growth.

It’s even a little funny, when you think about it, but many of the local residents have kept their head in the sand over just what Lynchburg is today.

You see Lynchburg is the home of one of the major universities in the country; Liberty University.

I really don’t need to get into this fact too far other than to say that this popular university has tens of thousands of students, that attend the school on site, along with probably just as many that study through the school’s excellent online study and degree programs.

So, if you stand back and take an unbiased view of Lynchburg today, it’s a “College Town”, pure and simple. It’s quite noticeable that the town’s population, is split essentially into two factions; the locals, and the young university students residing most of the year around the town.

This phenomenal growth of Liberty University over the past several decades has sparked a lot of growth in construction; of roads, of apartments, of homes, of restaurants, and all of the other support industries that a young and active population demands.

This growth has sparked changes that, although good for the immediate economy, can be destructive to some of those things that make a small town an enchanting place to live.

And, lest I forget, Lynchburg is home to a number of higher eduction facilities including, a thriving Community College (CVCC), Lynchburg College, Randolph Macon College along with several small specialty colleges, So, if you live in Lynchburg the options to further your education are abundant.

Lynchburg Academy of Arts

Absence does make the Heart grow Fonder

Lynchburg is also my hometown.

I haven’t actually lived here, in Lynchburg Virginia, for over twenty years now, but I do have family there and a few remaining friends who are still kicking around.

So naturally, I end up traveling back to town a couple of times each year to; see my family, recharge my batteries as a Southern boy, and honestly, to just go see the remaining memories of my childhood.

The interesting thing is that over the past twenty-plus years, and after moving further and further away from these roots of mine, I have found that my personal perspective on the town, it’s history and it’s people has evolved.

This evolution has been more obvious to me, I guess, because I am rarely here and the changes are so visible to me, when I do make a return trip.

Old Bank Building on 9th and Main, Circa 1865

Planned Change versus Change for the sake of Change

Because I only visit once or twice a year, I am see some things which I always felt were unique and even beautiful jewels unique to my old hometown that are disappearing with almost every visit I make.

Sure, in the eyes of the casual observer, some of these, what I would call jewels, are just seen as old buildings, or expensive facades, or cobblestone streets that require too much money to maintain.

I understand that the once vibrant parks, statues and other such attractions need to be cleaned up but they are often just eliminated to allow for the future commercial growth of the area.

Also, sad as it is to say, some of the now missing sights, in this hometown of mine, are, or were, in their own way, very unique and you would have thought they were also important enough to the area’s history to be worth preserving for posterity.

Oh, I’m sure there are some dedicated preservation committees and other groups who work very hard to preserve what is left of Lynchburg’s architectural uniqueness. And we should not only applaud them but give them our support, in their endeavors.

Of course, the problem with too many of the local residents who are going about their daily lives, is they are heedless of the changes and just don’t seem to pay a lot of attention to the subtle losses of their historic inheritance.

That is, unless the changes are harmful to them, personally.

Period buildings along Main Street

Things I love about my small Hometown

One old habit of mine is, whenever I come back to town, I will often take a day or two to explore sections of the old downtown area and some of the surrounding neighborhoods, just looking to see what is new, what has disappeared and what is being repaired.

I may not be a resident, but I spent the first thirty or so years of my life growing up here and I do have a fondness for so many of the small things I feel should be around for others to enjoy, years from now.

I love the things that were built to last.

I love special architecture that someone took the time to design and build just for it’s uniqueness.

I love hand laid stones and walls of handmade bricks, built to do a job and also stand the test of time against the elements.

i love buildings, the beautiful and the ugly, that have stood against the vagaries of time, weather and politics and still stand on their firm foundations and say; “look at me”.

As a kid I loved riding the city bus to downtown theaters for the Saturday Matinees, where old Westerns and Tarzan movies were my favorites. There were three theaters that I remember going to and they were; the Warner, The Paramount, and the Icies just on Main Street. Today, they are all gone.

I loved it when Dad would take all of us on a Sunday drive through the rich sections of town and my Dad telling us, “If you work hard, you can own a home like these, yourself!”.

I love knowing that the streets I drive on today still have the tracks of a once vibrant city’s trolly cars.

I love knowing that there was once a corduroy highway built between Lynchburg and Bedford, that was called corduroy because it was a highway of tree trunks laid down for a road bed.

I love that during the Civil War, Lynchburg had a hospital that treated the wounded of both the Confederate and Union armies. And there is a beautiful Confederate Cemetery within the Old City Cemetery off of 5th Street, that contains the graves of hundreds of soldiers.

i love that my city was once famous for it’s parks, like Miller Park; with exotic flower beds, with picnic areas and fancy gazebos , with manicured paths put there simply for the joy of the walk through the park and even with the occasional rare animals displayed for the families of the town to walk past and show their children.

I just love such things that are still in Lynchburg as well as those that are long gone, not for any reason other than because they are or were unique and special to others, now long gone.

And I not only have my personal memories but I have the stories of my family, parents, aunts and uncles, who remembered the great things that were already gone when I was a child, but they were so proud of showing me, while they existed.

Old Irish Pub remodeled and re-opened by Kegney family on Main Street

If you slow down and look you will see many great facades on the buildings along Main Street

A short walk on Main Street

So, I’ll end my ramble right here and because I am in town, and it being a really nice day, my wife and I took a walk on Main Street.

Oh, we didn’t walk the full length of what is officially labeled as Main Street.

No, we walked along a short length of Main Street, between 5th and 12th streets, which was once considered the heart of old Lynchburg and really the whole Central Virginia area.

You see, when I was a child, back in the late fifties; the city blocks from Twelfth Street all the way to Fifth Street were the commercial center where everyone went to shop.

I know this doesn’t sound like much of a walk, eight short city blocks, but I did spend a couple of hours on this little excursion of mine.

And, you might ask what was my purpose? Why did I take this walk, anyway?

You see, when I was a child, Lynchburg had no giant indoor malls, no short strip-malls along the streets filled with cheap shops, no restaurant row, no giant supermarkets or especially enormous gas stations with a dozen or more gas pumps.

Back then, Lynchburg had Main Street, and Main Street had; the department stores, the furniture stores, the jewelry stores, the movie theaters, the pawn shops, the pool halls, the banks and the Doctor’s offices, that if you needed such things, you went downtown to use.

Well, I had my handy Nikon and I wanted to take some pictures of what was left of my memories.

So you ask again? What was left? Well, as a town changes, a lot of the architectural uniqueness changes with it.

The whole purpose of my walk was to just get some shots of anything visibly interesting left of the buildings, the doorways, the windows, the stained glass, the wrought iron, just anything unique that has survived so far.

I’m no historian, of course, and especially not any kind of architectural historian, but I can tell when something seems to be grand and has the look of craftsmanship that is hard to find in very many places today.

So, again, my wife and I took a walk, and along the way, I saw a few things I believe someone might think are worth a walk to see for themselves, while these things are still around to enjoy.

Along the way, I took some pictures and here they are for you to enjoy, or not.

A view of Monument Terrace from Main Street

The popular City Market right on Main Street and 12th.

Old Wrought Iron remnants can be found throughout the downtown area.

Original Cobblestone street between Church and Court Streets

The Piano’s on Main Street

One of the more entertaining things you will find when you do go downtown in Lynchburg is the number of decorated Pianos along your walk.

Yes, I said Pianos!

I don’t have the details, but a number of the local schools took some old upright piano’s, painted them with some relatively unique artwork and placed them in front of some of the business’.

They are kept functional, and if you go downtown on a busy day you can often find someone who has just stopped and started playing one of these beauties.

Now, that’s what I call an attempt at rejuvenation of a town; artistic displays of local school student art that is also a tool for musicians to exercise their skills, all for the entertainment of anyone who is walking by.

SO, below you will find pictures of a few of the pianos I found, just standing there waiting for someone to enjoy.

 

 

 

Who am I to do this?

Hopefully, this little sampling of the pictures I took on my walk that day are entertaining and of some interest to you.

So, I’m just another person who took a walk on Main Street and attempted to capture a few of my own old memories through a small piece of the pictorial history of Lynchburg.

by Don Bobbitt, 2016

Copyright, Don Bobbitt, 2016, All Rights Reserved

You are free to enjoy and share this article with friends, but if you wish to use it commercially then yu must have the permission of the author beforehand, in writing.

Sometimes you just need to press SHUFFLE!

I walked outside my RV earlier and stretched out in my chair.

I set my iPhone on the plastic table beside me and set it to run one of my playlists, specifically the one I call MY MUSIC -1.

I only have one MY MUSIC playlist so the list number itself is kind of dumb.

But, it is a very big list holding over 1400 different songs.

I know, that’s a little crazy and I should take the time to organize this personal mish-mash of songs by artists from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and, oh Hell, right up to today.

Sure I have several specialized playlists with a few hundred songs in each them, but they are all loaded with music of a very focused theme, such as; Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, R&B, and on and on.

They’re good to listen to on occasion of course, but this big playlist of mine is my favorite.

You see, when I just want to relax, I can select My Music-1, press the SHUFFLE button and each song that comes up is very often a surprise for me.

Some are so old that I am surprised to hear one of those songs which I haven’t listened to, in years. And the great thing about using SHUFFLE, is that one song will often be followed by something I placed in my playlist just a few weeks or months ago.

That’s the great thing for me; just sitting outside, staring at a Palm Tree, or a passing car, or maybe just an interesting cloud floating by and not really thinking about the state of the world’s affairs or whatever silliness is going on in Washington, but just listening while enjoying the act of being.

You see, the music, My Music, makes my heart beat faster, my eyes see more clearly, and my mind flush itself of the stacked up worries about the world stored there.

So, I press SHUFFLE.

I get a new song, unlike the last song, one after the other, with no real rhyme or reason what the next selection will be and the list of selections is so large I am confident that each song will only be played for me once, on that day.

Try it for yourself, in life, or with your music, just press SHUFFLE occasionally!

DON BOBBITT

Copyright, Don Bobbitt, December 12, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The reader is free to enjoy this article, and share it with friends, but if they wish to use it commercially then they must have the authors permission, in writing beforehand.

RamblingDon – It’s MY Turn to live MY Lifestyle

I have a few hundred articles on HubPages, which is a writer’s site designed for my fellow writers and I to exhibit our works.

Recently, I started a series of articles focused on my wife and my lifestyle of traveling in our RV.

I will also include our opinions and comments on not only the places we have seen, but on some of our fellow campers.

If the title looks interesting to you, click on the link below to read and, I hope, enjoy that specific article.

It’s MY Turn, MY RV, and MY Lifestyle

 

I hope you enjoy!

by Don Bobbitt, 2017

Things to Ponder today?

I am a Ponderer! OK, it may not be a real word, and even I know it’s will never make it as a popular vocation.

But, I’m a ponderer and I do ponder things. OFTEN!

Here is what happened to my Ponder List for today;

1- Watch the political news?    Decision? No, too phony and too depressing.

2- Read the newspaper? Decision? No, its just a dated version of what’s on the TV.

3- Write a Poem about the weather here in Florida to aggravate my northern friends? Decision? Hell NO, It’s actually COLD here today. 58F. Brrrrrrrrrr!

4- Take a walk? Decision? What the hell! It might be a little cool but I can just take it easy and burn off a few calories while I stare at the cloud formations. I love cloud formations!

Have a good Day, yourselves.

DON

The Beauty of Sunsets

Everyone loves watching a Sunset!

And it’s hard to find a person who will not stop in their tracks, even if only for a moment, to watch one that is exhibiting a beautiful and unique combination of colors and patterns.

So, I often think about just why Sunsets are so popular with people around the world and I come up with what I consider two great reasons.

First of all, there is the unmatchable and awesome beauty if a Sunset as it goes through the minute by minute changes of it’s dying phases, as it slowly drops below the horizon.

But, personally,  I think there is yet another reason for the popularity of watching Sunsets; and that is the fact that by the time of day the sun is setting over the horizon so many people are themselves just beginning to relax after their daily. And the act of watching such a fascinating event gives a strong sense of calm to the one’s watching.

And by the way, if you think about it, all beautiful sunsets are not just the ones giving off so many great mixtures of the color spectrum; but rather, because of different weather conditions, they can often just be a subtle change in shading and light, taking the viewer from the brightness of daily light to the darkness of another night of rest.

The reason I mention all of this is the fact that I am sharing a recent picture I took of a Sunset that is as beautiful as it is simple.

The picture I share with you here, is one I took at a restaurant called Marker-88 in the Florida Keys, not long ago.

It was right after the Sun had set and the ambient light was quickly fading over the Gulf of Mexico providing me with a great shot of simple colors and shadows.

by Don Bobbitt, October, 8, 2017

Copyright, Don Bobbitt, October 8, 2017, All Rights Reserved.
The reader is free to enjoy and share this article and attachments with friends, but if it is to be used in any commercial way, the author must give permission, in writing beforehand.

Things you think about in the KEYS on the last day of MAY

I’m just doing a little “free-association” writing here.

Here are some of the things you think about when you are living in the Florida Keys when you realize it’s the last day of May and Summer is really here;

This the first day of the Hurricane Season, so for some reason, whenever the news people say there is a storm coming, those horrific news photos of Hurricanes striking land pop into your mind.

Continue reading

I love Sunsets

I love Sunsets.

I always have and I always will.

These random acts of Nature are one of those natural phenomenon we all see regularly, and far too often we just ignore them as we rush through our busy lives.

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Mardi Gras in Rubonia? Where the Heck is Rubonia anyway?

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My Wife and I attended the annual Mardi Gras Parade in Rubonia Florida.

It definitely is not a Mardi Gras like you would see in New Orleans and doesn’t come anywhere near as big and exotic as the famous Carnival in Rio.

But, we had a Ball. This little parade and celebration has been going on for decades in this little coastal town and even though you may have missed the one this year, you should mark your calendar and attend the next one.

Rubonia is literally a “one-horse town” along the Tampa Bay coast, just north of Bradenton. And actually, the rest of the year it is a time capsule of small town Florida from long ago. But, they blossom into a fantastic three-day celebration for Mardi Gras.  Continue reading

Link

Satellite in Space

Satellite in Space

There are many dozens of satellites circling the earth today and there are many more to come, according to sources.

The majority of them are simple data receivers and re-transmitters owned and operated by government, commercial and private science organizations around the world.

Some of them are; government spy satellites, some are privately owned by organizations who do not share their data, flying alongside other secretive data collection satellites.

But, there are also a number of these satellites that are busily circle the earth and taking extraordinarily detailed photography. And as I said, some of them are owned by governments and are used for spying.

We, the people going through our daily lives all know this and live with it.

Interestingly, there are a number of these that are either commercial or are not considered confidential that have a lot of information available about them. And a lot of this information could be used to not only track these satellite systems, but the types of data they collect, their planned orbits and the areas they are flying over.

In my reading I found this article that discussed a NEW iPhone APP called Spymesat that provides much of the data on these satellites. It presently only costs $1.99 via the iTunes store and I am so intrigued that I know I am going to check it out.

If you wanted to know who might be watching you as well as where and when they are watching, and be able to keep away from such prying eyes, you might want to get this APP for your iPhone.

If you want to read the article, click here; Spy Satellite Article.

Try it yourself by clicking on the site below to go to the APP in iTunes;

SPYMESAT

by DON BOBBITT

 

Storm over Tampa Bay

Storm over Tampa Bay

Storm over Tampa Bay

I was sitting at one of my favorite Tiki Bars, called the Sunset Grill, at Little Harbor last week.

It was late afternoon and my wife and I were relaxing over a glass of wine and trying to decide whether to eat there or go home and cook up something later.

We were Just Chillin

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This is How WE ROLL – in our Community

Wandering Elves, cup in Hand? Mysterious Mariachi Dancers? Confusion in the Night?

What can be Next at the riverside Club?

DON

Gator Food on the Golf Course

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Water Turtle

Water Turtle

You find these all over Florida in the small ponds and lakes. This one measured almost 18-inches along the shell. This time of the year, they are busy laying eggs to feed the larger birds before they go back into the water to provide a meal or the ever growing Gators.

Don