My Photo Walk: Grafton, WV
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14 - Grafton 7An old truck near Grantsville, MD 14 - Grafton 8A Western Maryland barn For more than 30 years, I drove a dual lane highway to work and back, along U.S. Rt. 50. It was a relatively easy commute, with few traffic lights and long, flat, straight stretches. Today, however, I drove a very different Rt. 50, from Redhouse, MD, which is south of Oakland, on into Grafton, WV.
It was a hot, sunny July day, with temps in the 90's at home, but along the twisty, uphill and downhill, shady portions of Rt. 50 in WV, the temperature dropped to 81, and I put the top down on the Audi. It's a good thing my car loves those curves and hills and switchbacks; I love the guardrails that kept me from going over the edge!
14 - Grafton 1Lichen covered Case tractor 14 - Grafton 2A caboose at Cool Spring Park in WV I'm on a road trip to St. Louis to meet my daughter, Lauren, who flies in on Sunday. We'll be house hunting for her there, but I decided to combine a trip of necessity with one of pleasure. I adore a road trip along back roads, taking the scenic route. And today, as I worked my way through Western Maryland and eastern WV, I saw plenty of Queen Anne's lace bobbing in the breeze, admired wind generators twirling on the tops of ridges, and smelled fresh manure spread on fields. What a great way to spend a summer day!
Old tractors at Cool Spring Park 14 - Grafton 4One of the wall murals in Grafton In places, Rt. 50 totally lost its center stripes. For long stretches, I wasn't even sure I was still on the right road, when faint lines would appear again, only to disappear once more. Reassuring Rt. 50 signs every now and then were a welcome sight.
I emerged from some of the twistiest roads to cross the Cheat River, and soon after stopped at the Cool Spring Park, which has a collection of old rusty farm implements, tractors, milling equipment, and train stuff. What amazed me about this park was the total lack of "Do Not Play on Equipment" and "Do Not Touch" signs. One couple was climbing up on everything, and even boarding the crumbling red caboose. Burrows and turkeys were roaming the grounds. Everything was covered in rust and decorated with lichens.
14 - Grafton 5Old advertising on the side of a building in Grafton 14 - Grafton 6The old Willard Hotel and B&O Railroad station in Grafton. Next I found Grafton, an old WV railroad town. Grafton played a role in the Civil War, and soon after became a railroad hub. The now defunct Grafton B&O Railroad station and the adjoining Willard Hotel were the center of activity in the early 1900's, when as many as 33 passenger trains came through daily.
Grafton is also the home and birthplace of Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day. The first official Mother's Day service was held in a Grafton church on May 10, 1908.
14 - Grafton 9Stairway to nowhere. Not much was happening in Grafton today. The downtown is quiet, with many closed and empty storefronts, which is typical of so many small towns. The pool hall had a few talkers sitting on the bench out front. As I walked the town, there were lots of sets of concrete steps leading uphill from Main Street, but they did not seem to have a particular destination at the end. Maybe old homes or hotels were at the top one time, but it was odd to see so many stairways to nowhere.
I'm spending the night at the Tygart Lake Lodge, before continuing my drive along old Rt. 50. More on my adventure tomorrow!
All photos in “My Daily Photo Walk" are for sale upon request.
The stairway to nowhere is actually the steps to the old Middle school. When I went there we counted 1153 steps to get into the auditorium before school. They let us off the bus on main street and we walked up them every day, then down again when school let out. The school was near the top of the hill overlooking Grafton. It was the High school until the new one was built in the late 1930's. I think.
So many fond memories of Tygart Lake and Lodge - my parents visited many times celebrating their wedding anniversary, I got to bring a friend and we could stay in a separate room, I practiced swimming out to the floating dock and diving.
If you think that was interesting, I highly recommend traveling the "Loneliest Road in America; US 50 through Central NV. Some towns are busy other practically deserted.
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