Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cone Mills: 1950's and 60's

Proximity Mill circa 1940's

In November 1951, Cone made its largest organizational shift to date, selling stock to the public for the first time. In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the company's shares were valued at $28.58. In the wake of the company's debut as a publicly traded enterprise, Cone moved to further consolidate its similar operations, and to diversify its activities to protect itself against weakness in demand for any one product. In 1952, the company purchased the Union Bleachery in Greenville, South Carolina. In doing so, Cone gained the first license for the "Sanforizing" process granted in the United States.

Despite the fact that denim pants were beginning to be worn by teenagers as fashion statements, as opposed to being worn exclusively by manual laborers, the demand for denim began to drop in the mid-1950s, causing Cone to look to development in its other areas of business for growth. The company began to emphasize its dyeing, printing, and finishing operations. Its flagship Proximity Cotton Mills was converted from the manufacture of denim, which was no longer in high demand, to the production of poplins, twills, and corduroy.

In 1957, Cone purchased three converting companies, and also moved further into the synthetics field, forming Spinco fabrics for blended and synthetic goods. Increasingly, the company found its market share threatened by products from other nations, where labor costs were lower. In response to this threat, in the following year, Cone stepped up its marketing efforts, and streamlined its manufacturing operations further, forming a finishing division to coordinate its various activities in that field. In addition, Cone inaugurated a Research and Development Department, to facilitate innovation in textile production. Overall, despite these efforts, the company's financial results throughout the 1950s were somewhat uneven.

In the 1960s, Cone began to diversify its operations further. In the first year of the decade, the company branched out into the decorative fabrics field, purchasing a controlling interest in John Wolf Textiles, which marketed fabrics for use in home furnishings. In the following year, Cone strengthened its presence in the furniture industry by organizing Olympic Products, which made polyurethane foam cushions and other foam products. This marked the company's first step outside the textile industry. In addition to this expansion in its activities, Cone broadened its geographical scope in 1961, buying an 11 percent interest in Fabrica Argentina de Alpargatas, which manufactured fabric, shoes, and other consumer goods in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.

As a result of cotton pricing structures imposed by the federal government, Cone found itself losing its competitive edge in pricing for all-cotton fabrics to foreign producers. To combat this trend, the company began to increase the amount of synthetic fibers that it used in the fabrics it wove. These synthetic blends resulted in the introduction of stretch fabrics in 1962, and permanent press fabrics in 1964. In the following year, the company made a major shift in emphasis from all-cotton products to those made from a mix of cotton and synthetic fibers. These fabrics, which were used for newly fashionable casual and leisure-wear clothes, brought a higher price than simple cotton. Cone eventually offered more than 170 different blended cotton and synthetic products.

By the end of the decade, however, Cone had also seen a resurgence in the demand for its first product, denim, as jeans became a staple among the baby boom generation, evolving from functional work clothes to a fashion item. The extent of denim's domination of the youth fashion market was demonstrated in 1969, when Cone's denim warehouse at its White Oak plant was flooded after a torrential downpour fell on Greensboro. Faced with the task of washing and dying vast amounts of fabric, the company decided, at the suggestion of one of its marketing employees, to run the damaged fabric through a bleach solution while restoring it, to randomly remove its indigo dye. The resulting product, dubbed "pinto wash" denim, touched off a fashion fad. As further evidence of denim's popularity, Cone's Proximity Cotton Mills were converted back to their original function, the manufacture of denim, in 1970, to meet the rising demand. In addition, the company was producing a growing quantity of corduroy, as this fabric became a popular fashion item.

Proximity Mill. Looking towards the retention pond.

Proximity Mill. Looking towards Fairview Street

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Early Years of Proximity Mills

Aerial from early 1940's. Looking south towards downtown Greensboro

Just three years later, the Cones opened Revolution Mills, a modern facility to weave soft cotton flannel. In 1902, a second denim plant was under construction. Called White Oak, it was named for the enormous tree that grew on its site. With ten different warehouses for cotton and its own power plant, the mill began turning out indigo blue denim by 1905. Moses Cone died at age 51 in 1908, and his brother carried on the company, opening a fourth mill, the Proximity Print Works, in 1912. This facility was designed to "finish" or print cotton with multiple colors, creating a type of cotton product new to the South.

More than just a workplace, the Cone mills became an entire world for their employees, who were cared for in a paternalistic, and some would say totalitarian, system by the mill owners. The Cones built housing near their mills, both boarding houses and single family homes, which made up segregated Cone villages. Stores sold dairy products and meat produced on company farms. For each village, the company built a school and donated land for churches. Two mill YMCAs were built to provide outlets for recreation, and the company also instituted a Welfare Office, with social workers and nurses to look after its employees.

By 1913, the Proximity Manufacturing Company owned all or half interests in seven cotton production facilities. During the following year, the company paid both its first dividend, and its first income taxes. In 1915, the company began to produce denim fabric for Levi's jeans, opening up an important new market. With the coming of World War I in 1914, Cone products continued to be in demand, both by the allies overseas, and then, after 1917, by the American armed forces. In March of that year, Caesar Cone, the company's only living founder, died after a brief illness, and leadership of the company was turned over to his younger brothers, Julius and Bernard.

With the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, the Cones refrained from any further expansion throughout most of the 1930s. The company did introduce two new cotton fabrics, a light-weight flannel called "flannelette," and a crepe called "Proximity Plisse." Despite the popularity these products enjoyed, the company was forced to curtail production at its plants as the Depression wore on. In a move that would bode well for the future, however, Cone introduced "deeptone" denim in 1936, a smoother, darker indigo fabric that was designed to appeal to wearers more than the earlier, rougher fabrics.

By 1941, Cone was on more secure financial footing, and the company acquired the Florence Mills and its subsidiary, the American Spinning Company. Further expansion was halted with the American entry into World War II, when wartime production goals were implemented. In addition to an accelerated output of denim, Cone found itself producing such unfamiliar items as camouflage cloth, tent cloth, and osnaburg, for use in sandbags.

Seventy percent of the output of the fabric mills of North Carolina was diverted to the defense effort during the war, and at its end, it was clear that the Cones' operations needed to undergo a reorganization to thrive in the newly competitive civilian market. Accordingly, in 1945, the company merged all its separate mill properties into the Proximity Manufacturing Company, and also dissolved the old Cone Export and Commission Company, replacing it with a similar entity under the control of Proximity.

Proximity Mill, early 1950's

And here is an aerial from Bing maps of the same area. As you can see, just one warehouse is left from the Proximity Mills site (White Oak Mill is shown in at the bottom and is the only mill still manufacturing denim). 

New houses have been built on part of the site (upper left corner) and from looking at Register of Deeds website, Proximity was sold to a local salvage/demolition company during Cone Mills' bankruptcy back in 2004. They razed the mills, warehouses and office buildings and then sold the land to the real estate developer. My guess is that the reason the last remaining buildings haven't met the same fate is due to the extreme depressed state of real estate here in North Carolina.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Beginning of Proximity Mill and Cone Mills Corporation

Spinning Room, Proximity Mill, early 1900's

Finishing Room at Proximity Mill, circa 1920

Aerial View of Proximity Mill, early 1930's

Cone Mills was founded by Moses and Caesar Cone. They were the two eldest sons of a Baltimore wholesale grocery merchant, Herman Cone, who had immigrated to the United States from Bavaria in the 1840s, changing his name from Kahn to what he considered a more American spelling. In their teens, Cone's sons worked with him in his store. By 1876, the business had expanded to include tobacco and leather goods, and Moses and Caesar had begun to travel the American southeast, taking orders from merchants for their father's goods.

In their travels, the brothers had an opportunity to observe the textile industry of the south. Beginning in the late 1880s, the Cones made investments in three Southern cotton mills: the C. E. Graham Manufacturing Company of Asheville, North Carolina, the Salisbury Cotton Mills, and the Minneola Manufacturing Company. All three of these factories used outmoded equipment to produce coarse, low quality plaids and sheeting. The fabrics enjoyed a vogue as a result of their low cost, yet in competition with the products of more modern Northern mills, they sold slowly.

Convinced that there was a glut of coarse plaids on the market, the Cone brothers convinced their own business partners, as well as other Southern mill owners, to diversify their offerings. The Cones assigned brand names to key products, and published guarantees of quality. With these steps, sales began to rise. By 1890, the Cones had convinced 38 of the roughly 50 southern mill owners that they could benefit from hiring a selling agency to market their products. Faced with declining profits in their grocery business, Moses and Caesar, along with their father and another brother, Julius, liquidated H. Cone & Sons, in order to form the Cone Export & Commission Company in 1890. The enterprise was known facetiously by its competitors as the “plaid trust.” The brothers signed five-year contracts with the mill owners to market their goods, at a five percent commission.

With fundraising for the new business complete, Moses Cone went to New York in 1891 to set up an office. Although as a southerner he met with some hostility, he soon was able to establish his place in the business community, and the company was able to move to Worth Street, in the heart of the textile industry. Soon, the Cones were able to sell more fabric than they could provide, as mill owners left their selling syndicate.

The Cone brothers vowed to go into the fabric production business themselves. Their plans to build two mills, one for denim and one for flannel, were delayed by a financial panic in 1893, but within two years, the Cones had moved ahead, constructing a denim mill on land they owned in Greensboro, North Carolina. Since the plant was near its supply of raw materials, the cotton fields of the South, the Cones named their new factory the Proximity Cotton Mill, and set up a holding company for this plant and the others in which they held an interest called the Proximity Manufacturing Company. In 1896, the first lengths of fabric rolled off the big looms at Proximity. Caesar Cone felt that denim, a sturdy fabric for use in work clothes, would be in constant demand as the United States expanded and industrialized.

 Keep in mind the last photo, the aerial view of Proximity taken in the 1930's. Tomorrow I'll have aerials from the 1950's and the 2000's. I think you'll find the change amazing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Life and Death of a Textile Mill

"For from $2 to $5 a month, a man working in the Proximity Mill in Greensboro, N.C. can rent a house and half an acre of land. He can get free seeds from the mill for his garden and, if he is more successful than his neighbor in their use, he will receive a money prize. He can send his children to a free school or kindergarten for nine months in the year. His daughter may attend a sewing or cooking class on Saturday afternoons. Four or five times a year his wife is invited to small meetings at the house of the social secretary, which is one of the regular mill tenements kept as an object lesson to the women of the community. The mill company pays all these bills except about a third of the cost of the school, which is borne by the city of Greensboro. The company also spent about $1,000 for instruments for the Proximity Band, and each year it gives its 700 or 800 employees a picnic.

"For their work among its people, this mill received a gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition. One of the owners of the mill said that, aside from any question of philanthropy, they believed that it was the best policy from a purely business standpoint. It would free them, he said, from reliance upon a constantly shifting population of improvident and illiterate employees and enable them to promote to positions of responsibility men from their own forces. As an example of this policy, he cited the fact that the superintendents of Proximity, White Oak, and Revolution, the three mills controlled by the same management, and the general superintendent of all three, began as simple employees and were gradually promoted to their present positions.

"The Proximity has done more work among its employees than most of the other mills, but almost all of the mill men believe with the Proximity owners that the better educated the employees are, and the better they live, the more profitable workers they will become. The pressure of economic conditions is lifting the mill operatives to a higher plane of living and the employers are aiding that advance because they realize that it is for their advantage. On the farms from which these people came, there was little social intercourse and little to stir them to progress. In the mill village there is plenty of social intercourse; they are in touch with the world. Their dormant ambitions are aroused. And their own ambitions are the strongest force that can be brought to bear to make them better workers and better citizens. Such is the transformation which, with some abuses and some delays, the mills are working among the purest American stock and at the same time the people who have had the smallest opportunities of any, in the United States."

The World's Work: A History of Our Times
Walter Hines Page, 1907

I have been fascinated by the ruins of the Proximity Mill which sits only six miles from my house. Not quite the ruins of Detroit, but a visible monument to the death of the textile industry here in North Carolina. At one time, Proximity Mill and its owner, the Cone Corporation, was one of the largest suppliers of denim in the world. All that has changed and I’ll explore the growth and demise of our homegrown industry in my next few postings.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunset, September 25, 2010. Greensboro, NC

Grace At Evening

For all the beauties of the day,
The innocence of childhood’s play,
For health and strength and laughter sweet,
Dear Lord, our thanks we now repeat.

For this our daily gift of food
We offer now our gratitude,
For all the blessings we have known
Our debt of gratefulness we own.

Here at the table now we pray,
Keep us together down the way;
May this, our family circle, be
Held fast by love and unity.

Grant, when the shades of night shall fall,
Sweet be the dreams of one and all;
And when another day shall break
Unto Thy service may we wake. 

Edgar Albert Guest 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baby Austin Rose

Baby Austin Rose
I've learned from other bloggers that roses are some of the last blooming perennials for year. I purchased three different container roses from Rogue Valley Roses in Oregon this year and just when I thought their blooming season was over - Voila! - more buds. Besides this Baby Austin bush, I also have  two other varieties called Brown Velvet and Incantation. Their buds haven't bloomed, but when they do I will post pictures.

The Baby Austin is called a micro-mini rose. This bloom is just the size of my thumbnail.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Poplar Forest. Lynchburg, VA

Poplar Forest

This is the front entrance of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest near Lynchburg, VA. This was his retreat from Monticello after he left the presidency in 1809.

I have a software program that allows me to change photographs to how they would have looked like using various types of cameras. This was changed into a daguerreotype, the first popular type of photography which came into being from 1839 to 1855.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Blog of His Own


This is a cat who will never have his own blog, because we can’t compete with these wonderful blogs: Isn’t It Dinnertime Yet?, The Libe ob Don Estorbo De La Bodega Dominicana, We Three, Ginger Cats Tales and the all-time hands-down way too cute The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.

Plus I have no idea what goes on in that teeny tiny little brain of his outside of “Feed Me” and “Clean My Litter Box”.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upper Cascade Falls at Hanging Rock State Park, NC

So while I was up in the Sauratown Mountains on Saturday at Hanging Rock State Park, I decided to walk down the trail to Upper Cascade Falls, a walk that was promised to be “easy”.

Here’s the beginning of the trail. Looks nice and easy, doesn’t it?

Beginning of Upper Cascade Falls Trail

However, three-quarters of the way to the falls it became quite steep with loose gravel underfoot. I held my breath and walked carefully down to the observation deck.

Here is the Upper Cascade Falls. Supposedly you can climb (or in my case, clamber) down the side of the hill to where it pools in a small pond. I didn’t try it; I’m quite accident-prone plus I didn’t have my cell phone with me and I was by myself (not smart).

Upper Cascade Falls

I found a picture by Dave Cook of the area where Cascade Creek goes into Cascade Gorge about a quarter-mile from where I took this picture. The accompanying information about this photo says: Cascade Creek deep in the Cascade Gorge. The Cascade Gorge is a treacherous place of steep canyon walls, slick rocks, and dense rhododendron thickets. Anyone entering needs above average fitness and dexterity, and should be skillful at wilderness navigation. Getting in, out and traversing is extremely difficult.

Dave Cook  ©2010 

See why I stayed on the trail? And this was someone else’s idea of an easy path, not mine.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sauratown Mountains, North Carolina

North Carolina has more mountain ranges than just the Appalachians. In fact, we have fifteen named mountain ranges. They are: Bald, Black, Blue Ridge, Brushy, Cane Creek, Caraway, Great Balsam, Great Smoky, Iron, Plott Balsams, Sauratown, South, Unaka, Unicoi and Uwharrie Mountains.

One of the most easterly mountain ranges in the state, the Sauratown Mountains are often called “the mountains away from the mountains” because they are separated from the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Prominent peaks in the Sauratown range rise from 1,700 feet to more than 2,500 feet in elevation and stand in bold contrast to the surrounding countryside, which averages only 800 feet in elevation. This mountain range is only about 45 minutes from my home.

Peak in the Sauratown Mountains

Named for the Saura Indians who were early inhabitants of the region, the Sauratown Mountains are the remnants of a once-mighty range of peaks. Over many millions of years, wind, water and other forces wore down the lofty peaks. What remains of these ancient mountains is the erosion-resistant quartzite.

Closer Look at the Erosion-Resistant Quartzite

The Saura Indians were of Siouan linguistic stock, and are first mentioned in the journals of explorer Ferdinand DeSoto, who in the year 1540, came upon a small band on the banks of the Pee Dee River, near the present North-South Carolina boundary. These Indians were called Saro and their village was known as Xualla. Throughout the years after DeSoto’s contact this tribe has been known by the names of Saro, Sauli, Juara, Sara, Sarrah and Saura.

John Lederer, a German, made three expeditions into the wilderness of Western North Carolina. On his second expedition in 1670, he reported visiting Saura villages along the Yadkin, Catawba and Dan Rivers. In 1728, Colonel William Byrd surveyed the boundary line between North Carolina and Virginia. Colonel Byrd reported in his journal of finding the upper and lower Saura villages on the Dan River, but they were deserted. The Saura left no written history. All that is known of these people is found in the few records of the wilderness explorers, and what modern archaeologists have been able to uncover from their village sites.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Daylily. June 2010

From the old point and shoot camera. I have no idea the name of this variety of daylily. I bought 60 lost tag fans from a garden center in Indiana and planted them this summer. I really thought I wouldn't get any blooms until next year after they had become established. I was surprised to have a few bloom, just as this one did.

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Presbyterian Church. Greensboro, NC

Greensboro is only 202 years old and so we don’t have the type of historic architecture like that in Europe which has buildings dating back hundreds of years. I think we are somewhat jealous of that entire heritage. So we borrow and borrow heavily from those ancient buildings in England and France.

Here is one example in Greensboro; First Presbyterian Church on North Elm Street is modeled on the  cathedral in Albi, France. This picture is of the back of the church, which was built in 1928, and is highlighted by a rose window. There is a matching rose window at the front of the church. This type of architecture is called Norman Revival. I don’t know of any other example of this style in Greensboro.

First Presbyterian Church. Looking at the Rear

Rose Window at the Rear of the Sanctuary
I would have taken a picture of the front of the church, but it is obscured by huge old oak trees. Perhaps this winter when the leaves are gone.

I also found a picture of the Albi cathedral so that you can compare it to First Presbyterian. The cathedral was built between 1282 to 1480 and is considered the largest brick building in the world.

Cathedral in Albi, France

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Greensboro Got Its Name

General Nathanael Greene

A little more than three-quarters of a mile from my house is a National Park commemorating the Battle of Guilford Court House and the General who led the Revolutionary forces, General Greene, after whom Greensboro is named.

About the statue of Nathanael Greene:

As early as 1848 there was an effort made by citizens of Greensboro to erect a monument to Greene on the battlefield. An organization was formed and funds raised in 1857-59, but this effort was dropped during the Civil War. In 1888 the first of a series of bills to erect such a monument was introduced into the United States Congress and in 1911 a bill to appropriate $30,000 ($660,639.39 in 2010 dollars) for the purpose was passed. Work was begun in 1914 and the monument was unveiled with appropriate ceremonies on July 3, 1915.

Francis Herman Packer was the sculptor.

From Wikipedia about the Battle of Guilford Court House:

The  battle  was fought on March 15, 1781 in  Guilford County, North Carolina, during the American Revolutionary War. A force of 1,900 British troops under the command of General Lord Cornwallis defeated an American force of 4,000 under Rhode Island native General Nathanael Greene.

Despite the relatively small numbers of troops involved, the battle is considered decisive. Before the battle, the British appeared to have successfully reconquered Georgia and South Carolina with the aid of strong Loyalist factions, and thought that North Carolina might be within their grasp. In the wake of the battle, Greene moved into South Carolina, while Cornwallis chose to invade Virginia. These decisions allowed Greene to unravel British control of the South, while leading Cornwallis to Yorktown and surrender.

The final battle at the end of the 2000 historical epic The Patriot drew its inspiration from two specific battles from the American Revolution: Cowpens in South Carolina and Guilford Courthouse. The Americans used the same basic tactics in both battles. The name of the battle, as well as the winning side, were taken from the Cowpens battle. However, the size of the armies, as well as the presence of Generals Greene and Cornwallis, come from the Guilford Courthouse battle. The scene where Cornwallis orders his artillery to “concentrate on the center,” killing both continentals and his own troops, actually took place at Guilford Courthouse.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A & Y Greenway. Greensboro, NC

From the A&Y Greenway
I keep hoping that fall has come; see the trees are turning yellow! But the temperatures this week has been and will be up in the 90's, not fall-like at all. And I think the trees are turning yellow more due to the heat and drought than due to anything else.

What an odd summer - our hottest ever. Wonder what the fall and winter will bring?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don Drumm Compound. Akron, Ohio. April 2008

When I posted the two pictures of Don Drumm's compound in Akron yesterday, I thought those were the only two I still had from a trip taken in 2008. After all they came from a long deceased Nikon Coolpix (which fell to pieces in my hand) and had been downloaded to a long gone computer.

But I found these on a flash drive and so I wanted to share them with you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Akron, Ohio. April 2008

Don Drumm Studio Compound

When I go back to Ohio, I always try to make a trip to Don Drumm's studio in Akron. He has long crafted and sculpted in aluminum and his art can be found around the country. Here's a link to his website so that you can see his amazing and creative offerings:

He has a compound of four houses plus his gallery located on a side street near the University of Akron. The rest of the houses on the street are typical 1920's houses, which have been chopped up into student apartments. Those houses are in various states of repair and disrepair. And then you come to the end of Crouse Street and Don's houses. What a treat in an otherwise slummy setting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Frick and Frack.

Actually Joe and Zoey

This is how to spend a Sunday. I plan on joining them later (except not on the floor. . .)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blue Ridge Parkway. 1935-2010

Today is the 75th anniversary of the beginning of construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the longest national park in the US, over 400 miles. On September 11, 1935, construction of the first 12.5-mile section began near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina. 

I am lucky enough that the BRP is only an hour and a half drive from my house, so I take every opportunity I can, especially in the fall, to drive up there.

I found pictures in the Library of Congress’ American Memories website of how Mabry Mill, the most photographed site on the Parkway and a place that I stop at every time I go, looked at the start of construction in 1935.

Photos from the Library of Congress:

This last photo shows the BRP being graded in preparation for paving. All these photos were taken by photographers from the Works Progress Administration, WPA.

One of the best articles that I've read about the Mabrys of Mabry Mill can be read here:

And this is what Mabry Mill looks like today:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Greensboro, NC. September 2010

The intersection of  Lake Jeanette Rd and Bluff Run Drive

Here’s a reason to keep your camera with you.

I was on my way to the grocery store when I caught this view of the sky. I stopped at a fire station at the top of a hill to take this picture. When I came back home, I checked and, yes, this is the leading edge of Tropical Storm Hermine which should reach us late Saturday.

I certainly have a thing for clouds, storms and sunset. See here, here and here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Greensboro, NC. September 2010

Lake Brandt from the A&Y Greenway

Greensboro is developing a long abandoned railroad track, the Atlantic and Yadkin line, into its only Rail to Trail pathway. This portion runs along the northern shoreline of Lake Brandt, about six miles from my house.

Here's a little history of the A&Y railroad:
The Atlantic-Yadkin Railway's lifespan covered 1899 to 1950, but some of the rails were laid in the 19th century as part of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railway (CF & YV). The CF & YV ran from the Atlantic port of Wilmington, NC to Mount Airy. This railway transported mostly granite and at one time took travelers to visit the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Groundhog Mountain, Virginia. September 2010

Post and Peg Fencing along the Blue Ridge Parkway

I resurrected this photo out of my recycle bin after I found this info online:

Traditionally, farm fences had four to six horizontal members of approximately 11 feet. Soft, second growth wood was expected to last around 5 years. Early farmers, building for the future, insisted on virgin wood. Old growth chestnut was plentiful in the Appalachian Range and was the wood of choice.  Other parts of the country relied on cedar and locust.  Today, the replacement wood rails and posts along the Blue Ridge Parkway are treated poplar.
Post and Stake (Also called Virginia Stake and Rail):  This fence is built with two upright members of different sizes planted firmly in the ground in intervals to accommodate the length of the rails. Uprights hold the ends of the horizontal split rails that can be wired together for additional strength and longevity.  This fence is often the style of choice on uneven or sloping terrain.
Post and Peg:  Post and Peg requires two vertical stakes (as in the post and stake style) ) secured by a hand hewn “peg” for each horizontal rail to rest upon.  It is no longer used. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chincoteague Island, Virginia. October 2009

City Marina

Like all young girls, I fell in love with Marguerite Henry and her horse books especially Misty of Chincoteague. I read and re-read the story of the Beebe family, Pony Penning Days and, of course, Misty.

I am fortunate enough that Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are just seven hours away from Greensboro. I’ve been there three times – always during the off-season when the island is quiet and peaceful. To stand on the sidewalks of the small downtown area is to go back to how it must have been when Marguerite Henry first visited in 1946. With the exception of the drawbridge, it remains the same.

Chincoteague Island’s residents still earn their living mostly by fishing. City Marina is where all the commercial boats tie up at night after being out on the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Greensboro, NC. September 2010

Nasturtium (literally "nose-twister" or "nose-tweaker"), as a common name, refers to a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Tropaeolum.
They have showy, often intensely bright flowers (the intense color can make macrophotography quite difficult), and rounded, peltate (shield-shaped) leaves with the petiole in the center. The flowers have five petals (sometimes more), a three-carpelled ovary, and a funnel-shaped nectar tube in the back.
 I found it interesting that the article says that photographing it using a macro lens is difficult. Maybe this turned out OK as the color is orange and not the bright red of my other nasturtiums. 

This photograph is for Carolina in the Netherlands, a new blogger friend, who posted a wonderful picture of a yellow rose which you can find here - Brinkbeestphotos. She also has another blog where she writes about her life and about a country that I visited for a week and fell in love with: Brinkbeest in English. I thought I had a yellow rose photo to compliment hers, but the best I could do was the orange nasturtium.

And as for the photos from the Blue Ridge Parkway? Well, now I understand why professional photographers go on and on about light. The light was hard and harsh and so all 164 photos ended up in the recycle bin.