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      11-20-2009, 05:24 PM   #1
Rick F.
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In Search of the Lost and Forgotten

The U.S.—and the East Coast in particular—is positively littered with old, abandoned, and mostly forgotten houses, barns, churches, cars, and other things that, in their gradual state of deterioration, can be scenic, historic, or sometimes merely poignant. On Sunday, November 8, I set off for Western Maryland and Pennsylvania to see what I could find. And, of course, there's no better vehicle than a BMW (motorcycle or car) to maximize the fun of the search.

To find old stuff, naturally, it helps to get well off the beaten path. Highway 26 runs north from Piney Grove, Maryland into Pennsylvania, providing a perfect venue of smooth, rural pavement. I followed it through such notable metropolises as Five Forks, Clearville, and Hopewell before turning off at Riddlesburg. Along the way, it provided numerous vistas such as this one, looking east into the new morning sun:



Soon enough, lost and forgotten structures began to appear. This one must have been a small store in its prime.



The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church has survived the elements nicely ever since shortly after the Civil War, holding services throughout this period, I believe. (This Sunday morning, however, there was no one around to tell me where to park properly...)



As the Z4 climbed into the mountains, the abandoned houses began to arrive in force. This once-proud home stood open for inspection, without even the usual "No Trespassing" sign.



Visitors should be sure to watch that first step, however...



This barn looked for all the world as if someone had exited the road at a high rate of speed and subsequently entered the barn the hard way.



The town of Everett, PA appeared at the intersection of Highway 26 and Route 30—the famous "Lincoln Highway" of days gone by. This nifty mural commemorates the early days of motoring in Everett. The town was originally named "Bloody Run," after a creek that was the scene of a battle between settlers and American Indians in the early 1700s.



Everett featured many exceptional homes, with this one being my favorite:



Outside of town, there were numerous huge barns, some rather more decorative than average.



It was a beautiful day, by the way, just perfect for sightseeing—or fishing, if one preferred.



Did I mention the pretty vistas? This one offered a pleasant surprise in the form of the Hall's Mill Covered Bridge.



Even at 11:00 am, the trees were casting long shadows. A bit mournfully, I realized that winter was coming after all, despite the pleasant weather.



I quickly put that thought out of my mind, however, and continued to enjoy all the beauty around me.



The tiny town of Hopewell was fascinating in its austerity. I suspect this small building used to be the train station. The tracks are long gone, replaced by a narrow roadway that was just the right width for a Z4. (Hmmm, I hope it wasn't intended to be just a biking and hiking path!)



At Riddlesburg, I stopped for a picture of the (usually) mighty Juniata River. This day, however, the water level was low enough to allow a family to go exploring on the rocks.



Nearby, I found the remains of a coke oven, originally owned by the Kemble Coal and Iron Company...



...and an impressive pile of slag that was apparently left over after the facility ceased operations.



This is about all that's left of the Rockhill Mine No. 6, once a huge coal mining operation on the outskirts of Woodvale, PA.



Along Route 994, in the proverbial middle of nowhere, I encountered another lost and forgotten family farm. The farm house was still in decent shape, perhaps because of its stone structure.



The outbuildings were gradually disappearing, however.



Across the road, the main barn looked to be in surprisingly good shape, although the nearby shed was succumbing to nature.



Inside the shed were various Implements o' Farming, all in sad shape. I guess when the folks get too old to continue, and the kids aren't interested, and no yuppies move in, then it all goes downhill pretty quickly.



As I approached Huntingdon, PA, I began to notice some unusual buildings. A small, octagonal barn first got my attention. When I saw these walls and turrets, I (finally) realized that this was a Major Prison. It wasn't until after I'd taken this picture that I saw the sign with strict warnings against trespassing on this property and especially against taking pictures...



Huntingdon is definitely a place that I want to return to. I only had time to stop briefly, first at the Juniata River and the old Broad Top railroad bridge...




...and later at the ritzy part of town. Wouldn't it be great to live in a house like this?



Or maybe this one, even if it appears to be a duplex.



Here's one of the more unusual garages I've seen. I'm guessing it was a carriage house or entry-way, sometime back in the days.



As I continued north, the Greenwood Furnace State Park loomed into view. The furnace itself was in pretty good shape, although the rest of the iron-making facility was in ruins. It had operated nearly around the clock from 1834 through 1904.



Although visitors were welcome, the furnace was heavily guarded by several thousand ladybugs. By the time I'd walked to the furnce, there were easily 20 or 30 of them on me. Fortunately, they don't bite and are generally friendly creatures.



As the sun was starting to go down, the shadows got even longer, and the light began to turn its unique, late-fall color. It all served to give the dam and spillway a dramatic appearance.



Turning south, I soon found myself in Amish country again. Driving along, squinting into a low-horizon sun, it was doubly important to keep an eye out for their slow, horse-drawn buggies. Contrary to what you might expect, many of the Amish farms are major operations, as large as the one pictured here.



Not every farm in the area was quite so large, however. It's just that they were all scenic and demanded a stop for a picture.



The tiny town of Mapleton featured a reasonably spooky graveyard and abandoned railroad depot.




Although only 4:00 pm, the sun was rapidly descending, with continuing dramatic effects—this time on Aughwick Creek. But it was getting colder and I still had a long way to go.



Of course, every time I resolve to press on and cover some miles, I almost immediately spot another lost and forgotten structure that just has to be photographed...



...and then another one a few miles further on. It's hopeless!



But the beauty was everywhere, and the urge was irresistible.



I finally stopped for one more picture, as the sun was setting and the geese were leading the way south for me. It was time for me to fly home, too. (Note the Sideling Hill "notch" in the background.)



The temperature had dropped to about 45 degrees by now, and I was facing a 100-mile Interstate drive back to Catonsville, MD, so I put the top back up. Or at least I tried to—it would unlatch, but it wouldn't budge otherwise. After several tries, complete with some manual boosting, I realized it was hopeless. Moreover, I couldn't remember the emergency manual process for raising the top. So, I put on my sweatshirt and leather coat, rolled the windows up, turned up the heat, turned on the seat warmer, and drove on home. It wasn't all that bad, thankfully, although little bits of paper had an annoying habit of rising up out of the cockpit in the swirling air at freeway speeds. I managed to snare most of them before they escaped, and I escaped any littering charges for the other couple.

And all in all, I felt much more comfortable than this fellow, who was merrily flying home in his ultralight aircraft, complete with strobe light, after the sun had completely set. I've always wanted to fly one of these—but not so much after dark!



All told, the trip was 397 miles, took 10 hours and 40 minutes, and featured terrific motorcycle / sports car roads throughout. I was only "lost" a couple of times, and the trip will not be "forgotten" any time soon.

Rick F.

Last edited by Rick F.; 09-22-2015 at 01:10 PM..
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      11-20-2009, 06:39 PM   #2
acvr4
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Another great post Rick. My hat's off to you.
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      11-21-2009, 03:41 AM   #3
Matty C
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Rick,
You really take some nice drives. Another great post.
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      11-21-2009, 08:57 AM   #4
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fantastic pics, love your threads
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      11-23-2009, 05:48 AM   #5
rc'Z
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I hate my weekends after seeing what you do! BTW, the old farm tools in the barn were pulled by horse/mules. I'd think you have a coffee table book in the making. Another great job.
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