Thursday, July 10, 2008

Historic Wytheville, Part 2

It was 60+ miles to Stuart, VA for the Wayside Bluegrass Festival, but the weather report called for rain all day. It was cloudy at the campground, and we were reluctant to plan any outdoor activity. It was a day for reading.

Since I had taken several photographs on my walking tour of historic Wytheville a couple of days ago, I would like to talk some more about this town.
My tour began at the Rock House, built in 1823 by Dr. John Haller, the town's first resident physician.
In 1863, Gen. John T. Toland attacked Wytheville with the intent of destroying a railroad bridge spanning Reed Creek to disrupt the supplies to Confederate troops. Gen. Toland was shot and killed in this battle and a bullet hole is visible in the window frame of the front parlor. This is now a museum.

At the main intersection of downtown Wytheville sits the building that served as the town's post office for 85 years. In 2000, the current owners (Reed House Interiors) found marble floors, ornate ceilings, and storage vaults during restoration.

Near homes with white columns and porticos is the Rich House. In 1876, William Rich advertised his ability to perform custom work for hotels and "watering places." Mr. Rich had his residence and furniture-coffin factory at this site. I would feel more comfortable in this home than in the more manor-like homes.

There is a saying that I really like: "Eat at diners, Ride trains, Shop on Main Street, Sit on your front porch." Breakfast at a diner, a visit to the Mom and Pop store, and an iced tea on a nice wraparound front porch are as good as it gets. So when I saw the M.L. Harrison House with its large porch, curved projection, and round stained glass windows, I wanted to knock on the door and ask for an iced tea. (The wraparound porch was there but it was in a state of renovation and clutter.)

Further down the street, I spied this newer-looking house. The home, the tree, and the lawn went perfectly together. I enjoyed mowing and maintaining my lawn, and this lawn was beautiful. The shape of the tree (which framed the house nicely) just called for the shutter to snap on my camera.

Lastly, I stood for several minutes staring at this vacant building downtown. To me, it seemed full of character and was ready for occupancy.

I wonder . . . if "someone" were to purchase it because of its character . . . and nearness to Skeeter's . . . what might that person do with this building? Something food related? A food cooperative? An old-fashioned soda fountain? A coffee house? A peanut butter and "jam" (session) cafe?

I wonder what it looks like inside.

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