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.

Sure, It’s COLD up NORTH, but ……

Cold means something different to a Floridian.
OK, don’t get mad …… yet. You haven’t even read my opening sentence!

Let me explain.

I now live in Florida, south of Tampa and in a normal Winter, we just don’t get cold.

Not Cold like it was in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia where I grew up and spent the first thirty or so years of my life.

And we don’t get anywhere like the Cold weather you people in the northern states have to suffer through.

To us, our winter consists of sporadic spurts of uncomfortable weather that is driven down to us by strange happenings with cold fronts and such other winter weather things that you people who live “up there” know more about that us Floridians.

If you noticed, I said “uncomfortable” weather. To us, uncomfortable means we had to play golf with a pull-over on instead of just in a golf shirt.

Uncomfortable means rooting through your closet for a pair of long pants to wear that day instead of the year-round wardrobe of shorts.

Uncomfortable is putting the convertibles top UP for the trip to the supermarket.

Uncomfortable means wearing a pair of shoes and socks instead of your favorite flip-flops.

Hopefully you get the point. We Floridians are just not exposed to such horrendous weather as you people UP there accept as the winter norm.

Winter is tough on pretty much everyone.
No, Really! Some Winters are hard on everyone in the country depending on Mother Nature. And honestly, we Floridians aren’t so isolated that we don’t see how hard the weather has been on other people.

We might be Southerners, but we also have TV, just like you people who live up North. We watch the same “news-less” news shows that you do.

And we get just as bored as you do when they spend hours showing the same news people standing in front of enormous snow banks explaining to us all, for the umpteenth time, how much snow has fallen on some in the far reaches of the North.

And, when we go to our favorite Tiki Bar, we have the same conversations as you do. You will hear such things as;

  • Damn, I need to go on a diet. I haven’t had these jeans on for three years and I could barely button them.
  • Did you notice the traffic on I-75? It looks like a parade cars with license plates from up North. I hear you can’t find an empty hotel room anywhere around here.

No offense to Canadians but I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much French being spoken around me wherever I go. I mean really, after a few days of hearing so much French being spoken, you wonder “is there anyone left in Canada to take care of things?”

I even hear that all of the cheap Airlines are losing their Butts. Every plane coming down is packed, and no one is flying back. Once they get here, they end up flying back with partial loads.

The other night, in my favorite Tiki Bar, someone even told me that if this keeps up the whole state of Florida could be put on rationing for Vodka and Tequila.

The SnowBirds are drinking so much of the stuff that the Distilleries are having trouble keeping up with demand.

Anyway, the funny rumors you hear down here go on and on, just because of the weather we see repeatedly blasting the Northern reaches of the continent.

But, you should all look at the positive side of being Snowed in.

Really. There is an old adage that says something pithy about taking the bad and making something good from it.

You know, try to be positive and maintain a good attitude, and all of that. You know, let’s make lemonade from all of these lemons thrown at us.

So ….. just to help those SnowBirds who went glassy-eyed over the continually sorry weather here are a few things you can do to improve your mood.

  • Having your car, sitting at the curb, covered with several feet of Snow is admittedly bad. But, look at the positive side. You haven’t had to buy gas for over a week now.
  • Having the roof of your house covered with a foot of Snow is bad when ever it starts to melt. But, right now it provides an extra layer of insulation for your whole house and eases the load on your furnace slightly.
  • Spending several hours a day shoveling the new snow in your driveway and on your sidewalk is bad. But, look at the Calories you have burned doing this instead of sitting in front of your TV for endless hours.
  • Not being able to get to work is Bad. But, the Boss can’t get to work either so you just need to took at the time off as a surprise unpaid holiday.
  • It may be punishing for you to get out and walk your dog. But, your Dog can now Poop and Pee in less than ten seconds before he drags you back into the house. No more sniffing everything in sight, making you miss part of your favorite game.
  • It may not be easy to get out for more. But, you are now digging out cans and boxes of foods from your pantry that have been sitting there for months. And by now, you have become very creative in making meals from all of those strange packaged foods you never touched before.
  • And sure, you may have run out of Beer two days ago, and thats really bad. But, you have found enough tea bags for at least two more days. And your Liver probably needed a few days of rest.

These are just a few examples of things that might seem bad about the continually sever winter you are experiencing, but as I have shown, you should look at the positive side of each of these and other set backs Mother Nature has thrown at you this winter.

And, there is one more thing you can try.

All of the major North/South Interstate highways are typically kept clear throughout the Winter.

So, Get in your car and COME ON DOWN! It might be Winter down here, but it’s a Tropical Winter.

by Don Bobbitt, 2015

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Copyright Don Bobbitt, 2015, All Rights Reserved

You the readers are free to enjoy and share this article with your friends, but if you wish to use it commercially then you must have the author’s 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

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.

A Floridian’s Winter perspective

Cool Title, Huh?

Well, I thought so. A long time ago, in a land far, far, away, one of my English Teachers told me that if I wanted someone to read my writings, I had to grab their attention with the title, pull them into my story with the first sentence or paragraph and then the story itself should keep them “enthralled”.

So, here I go.

It’s only January the 8th, but today is the coldest weather we have had down here in SouthWest Florida this winter, so I feel this situation itself deserves some kind of comment.

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A Summer of Camping, Links to our ADVENTURE, Days 0 thru 49

Our adventures as campers this Summer are available online on my other site Rvandcamper.org..

My wife and I have been doing this for many, many years and we would like to share our experiences and knowledge with our fellow campers.

These are our personal experiences, of course, but we have also included a lot of TIPS for CAMPERS, as well as some useful information about the areas we visit and things we find to do. We provide these Tips to help you when you go camping.

As we travel, and camp, I am recording our travel days and what happens each day in posts on my blog RV and Camping. You can just click on this link and go directly to all of the articles about our camping adventure, or you can just scroll down this page and click on a link to a specific days story.

To make it easy to go to each of these specific blog posts, feel free to click on the appropriate days link and a page will open with the post on that specific day of our travels, what we do, and what we see.

I hope you like this approach and enjoy our travel dialogue.

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Camping Adventures, Days 0 thru 49 and the end of the trip.

 

High Points of our trip:

  • It must be Rainy season here, or so it seems with the constant showers.
  • I took my camera downtown and got a number of pictures of some of the remaining old architecture on Main Street Lynchburg that I used on a Hubpage article. Worth checking out, I think.
  • I get some writing done during the rains and we both read some books when the weather was at its worst.
  • I spent some time concentrating on cleaning up my Satellite TV connections in our RV.
  • More Days of Rain and the occasional storm, interspersed with July Fourth Fireworks,
  • cookouts at our campsite.
  • Visits from family, and a trip to the City Market for fresh vegetables.
  • Making Jalapeno Poppers,
  • A gathering of family and friends,
  • A visit to the Appomattox Surrender Grounds.
  • Much running around town, trying to get in those little things on our bucket list for our Lynchburg stay.
  • Alternating between; Just Chillin’ at our campsite, visiting friends, and doing a little research on the area we will be traveling to next.
  • Campgrounds a growing flock of Geese.
  • A great dinner with my brother and his wife; homegrown tomatoes and mayonnaise on white bread. Yum!
  • Preparing to leave Lynchburg the next day.
  • Travel to our next camping site near Williamsburg. Making our camper safe for the trip.Unhooking from our Lynchburg Campsite, dumping tanks and driving to our next campground.
  • Site selection at the Williamsburg campground, coping with a poor site selection, setting up in  one that was very narrow and poor satellite service.
  • Camping is often about making concessions, and making the best of what we had.
  • A day of exercise in the Pool and just being lazy.
  • Some experimenting with our satellite TV reception.
  • A fantastic Dinner before relaxing in our campsite.
  • Days of sporadic rains, and still searching for thing to do in the area.
  • Visitors to our Camper, entertaining them and seeing the sights.
  • Fresh Produce stands, and the lack of entertainment information.
  • Restaurants, Tiki Bars, Flea Markets, first visit to Old Towne Williamsburg VA.
  • Lazy days of just wandering around the Williamsburg area.
  • More heat and more things to do, in Williamsburg, VA, after some serious searching.
  • We finally figured how to take advantage of the heat itself and the very next day the weather changes.
  • And, we ended up spending one afternoon making a nice visit to a local Winery.
  • The last days in Williamsburg VA and our hops back to Florida.
  • Then, once at home, our shutdown  of the Camper before putting it into storage.
  • Then, of course, the beginning of our planning for our next adventure.

 

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I drove near Disney World and it was Traffic Hell!

 

It was an accident, or rather it was a mental slip on my part.

My wife and I were camping in a nice campground near Disney World. This had nothing to do with our wanting to go to that giant entertainment complex that eats up so much of Orlando.

In fact, we are old enough to have taken our children there many years ago, and we are old enough to have taken a number of our grand-children there, more recently.

So, I know what the place is like, and honestly, I recommend it for any family that has never been there.

But, we are RV people who just happened to be camping near there.

Well, my wife and I were planning a night out ad a good restaurant and she found a review of this place that sounded interesting. It was actually a restaurant attached to the Disney World complex.

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Hey SnowBirds! We Really Don’t Care!

Frog_01-1Snowbirds are a phenomenon that many people don’t really understand until they move here and become a resident, themselves.

There are so many people who live further North, even as far north as Canada, and eventually save enough money to spend most of their cold winters in Florida that they have this unique name, SNOWBIRD.

Well, Florida is a tourist state and much if its income is derived from what these winder transients spend while hiding form their cold winters, so its the rare public or political comment about how these people act towards the locals.

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