Monday, June 30, 2008

Historic Foster Falls Village

It seems that each day we visit Wytheville, we meet another helpful, friendly person. Today we met three people who have significantly helped us with our meeting with Gerald Anderson which we will report on this Wednesday.

In between periods of rainfall, we walked around some of the buildings at Historic Foster Falls Village, about 12 miles south of Wytheville on Route 52. During it heyday in the 1890's, the village centered around an iron furnace, a large hotel, and a railroad station. Today, only a few deserted buildings remain from the village of over 100 homes.

The village, located along the New River, supported industrial activity. Iron ore mines supplied the raw material for the iron furnaces in the village, and pig iron was shipped to St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Baltimore.

Located near the village is the Shot Tower where lead shot of varying size would be molded, sorted, and shipped down the New River beginning in 1807. This was an interesting process. Molten lead was poured through different size sieves, falling down a 150-foot shaft (75 feet in the tower and another 75 in a shaft dug into the hillside) into a kettle of water. A tunnel ran from the kettle to the New River which supplied the water for the kettle and the transportation route for shipping the shot to market.

The tower is one of only three in the United States, and may be the only one of is particular design in the entire world.

As we returned to the campground, we passed a field that caught our attention. Since the field was adjacent to a winding road with no shoulder, I had to stop on the road and jump a small gulley to take this photo. The hills around the areas we've toured seemed to be used for growing evergreen trees, grape vines, and material for these bales. We have seen livestock (cattle and goats) grazing on the hillsides. It seems to be difficult to work this land, but the scenery is certainly beautiful.

[Just for the record, the photographs are the work of both Chuck
and Kate, but we have decided not to identify the photographer
for each photo.]

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