Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2021-2022

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

A welcome snow day in Staunton

3 January 2022

But first, a little context. The preceding day, 2 January 2022, quite a warm day though overcast, we had ourselves a pleasant walk up to the Gospel Hill historic district of Staunton, for the healthy exercise but also with a particular purpose in mind.

In the great flood of summer 2020, somewhere in town a retaining wall had collapsed onto the street, on town property -- the resulting damage began to spread to the houses fronting on the collapse, and the town responded that the wall would soon be repaired.

We've followed the case for the next 18 months in the Staunton News Leader, as for various reasons the repairs kept being put off with promises and the homeowners became more and more desperate.

Recently, however, we learned that the work had been completed at some point, and that it all took place on the elegant Berkeley St at the top of our E Frederick Street, and we've come to have a look.

That in fact is the newly repaired wall. And a good job it appears to be indeed.

And that's the newly repaired sidewalk running along about 2 meters above Berkeley Street, like this:

'Fast Forward', as they say, to the next morning, as we awake to . . .

. . . this.
3 January 2022 -- the first proper snowfall we've seen since coming to the USA, and though it's not what we expected, here in the American South, it's very welcome and brings back pleasant memories of colder climes.

But it's also significantly cold, and the other members of our party will not be joining us today as we revisit the Berkeley St and E Beverley St neighborhoods to memorialize their snowclad charms.

We've had one pretty snowfall since we arrived here, on 7 January 2020, but this one is better.

We take a break for some tearful nostalgia: Dieter the trusty Volkswagen, Bassins, Switzerland, 2008

Now we're off on our snow day photo walk; this is taken en passant from behind the synagogue.

Downtown Staunton, the main drag Beverley Street, fairly desolate and mournful

Likewise. Property owners are meant to have their sidewalks shoveled off by noon after the snowfall ceases, so some of these folks have got 36 minutes left.

Back up N. Market St towards Frederick, to begin our Gospel Hill investigations

The Frame Gallery on N. Market

Our street, E. Frederick, but this is looking up towards the eastern end of it, from the corner of N. Market

Continuing up E. Frederick

That's a good length of E. Frederick -- beyond the Presbyterian church and our Old Y, it becomes W. Frederick and continues over the hill in the distance and plummets down to join W. Beverley at the Thornrose Cemetery. A very nice street, all things considered.

Off E. Frederick and onto N. Coalter, that's the blocky Woodrow Wilson birthplace and library.

And that's his museum, just alongside, with . . .

. . . his original, authentic automobile, OMG!

The front length of Mary Baldwin University, facing onto E. Frederick

This is Berkeley St, still awaiting the city's snowplow ministrations.

That's the Berkeley House B+B, a 4-star hotel with free wifi, starting room prices ca. $199 but classy.

Another photogenic specimen, just across the street

Picture Mussolini on that beautiful balcony, arms waving, spittling saliva, rallying the nation's deplorables crowded and rapt in the piazza below. (No, can't picture it, sorry.)

We think that every one of these houses is interesting in its own way -- like the demi-lunar balcony on the left one, the little Romeo-and-Juliet balcony on the middle one, etc. The newly repaired sidewalk above the descending street begins just there, where it's already been cleared of snow.

We're proceeding along that newly repaired sidewalk, appreciating the architectural wonders, like the balcony on this one.

And the fixings on this one. These (we guess) are the two houses that were having such troubles getting the city to move forward on repairing the walkway above the street, before their basement walls began to migrate down the front yards.

Below the sidewalk wall above the street now, and we're ready to lose some altitude.

The classy Berkeley St drops down here onto the downtown's main artery, Beverley St, which has extended off on its own now to meander way way up northeastwards to rejoin N. Coalter, which then continues way up northeastwards to rejoin N. Augusta. Which then continues northeastward for another kilometer to join Rte 11 towards Verona (not the original Verona, just a local appropriation of the name).

That's the same building seen just above, the beautiful Gospel Hill Manor B+B.

This is the side of an interesting house on the corner of Berkeley and fronting onto E. Beverley, and . . .

. . . here's a three-quarter view of the same.

Just across the street from the bottom of Berkeley, that's a ca. 1908 'Colonial Revival' residence (according to the town's helpful brochure).

Another interesting profile, just back up E. Beverley from the B+B

This is 'The Oaks', built in about 1840 but subsequently improved by Jed Hotchkiss, the Civil War-era mapmaker to the stars.

All good citizens should have a delicate little balcony on top of their veranda. (And many do.)

One of the entrances to the campus of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind

This attractive but way overdone edifice is 'Oakdene', built in 1893 by the later Lt. Governor of Virginia, E. Echols, said to be in a 'Queen Anne' style (though it looks as though it's got a little bit of everybody's style).

A wistful photo of Oakdene through the branches

And without the branches, and . . .

. . . don't forget the Owl on top. A Snow Owl, in this case, wandered far south from his or her own home ground.

A little of the campus of the School for the Deaf and the Blind

Pride of place on E. Beverley goes to the house set farthest back from the street (more driveway to plow).

We're turning back down the hill before we freeze half to death.

317 E. Beverley, magisterial

A massive battleship of a building, seen three-quarters on, but . . .

. . . it's actually a nicely symmetrical two-family home, each with its own tower. On the downslope corner of E. Beverley and N. Coalter.

This may not be an immediately stimulating snow photo, but it's included here because it's a genuine product of the mind of Sam Collins, son of the legendary T J Collins, made in what the brochure describes as a Georgian Revival residence built in 1912 (tho' it looks a bit like a dormitory at a midwestern university).

That's 301 E. Beverley, on the uphill corner with N. Coalter

The Woodrow Wilson architectural parade, looking up N. Coalter Ave

Looking down E. Beverley, into Infinity. Actually, into W. Beverley.

We're passing the lovely 232 E. Beverley, descending into the metropolis.

A worthy snow day photo, we believe

214 E. Beverley, we're almost home.

The By and By Café, E. Beverley and N. Market, next to the Shakespeare Theatre

The 100-block of E. Beverley, on a persistently grim and wet day

One more sobering view of our beautiful town before it gets finished tidying things up

A disconcerting monument to community cinema traditions, awaiting the eventual completion of the Arcadia Project, reviving a community arts centre in this long disused theatre building.

The New Street intersection with Beverley -- pull the cord, this is our stop.

De-snowing our cute Volvo, with chilly hands. We'll need to look into buying one of those handy car-scrapers.

We do love our snowy days, although this is all a bit of a simulacrum. To recall the real thing, so to speak, we go back to this pathetic photo of . . .

. . . this librarian at dawn trying to remove enough snow from the library's front porch to prevent it from collapsing on the students thirsting for knowledge, Leysin, Switzerland, 1980s.

What's next, then? Another Staunton walk, in the Newtown District

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 18 January 2022.

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