March 30, 2013
Jacqueline and I paid a visit to the Waltons Mountain Museum in the village of Schuyler, Virginia last weekend, and it was very rewarding. That's the town where the author whose writings launched the TV show grew up: Earl Hamner. The actual Hamner family home is just a block away from the museum, not out of town, as the Waltons' home was. We watched a video about The Waltons, with Richard Thomas (John Boy), Michael Learned (Ma), Ralph Waite (Pa), and other cast members remembering the years they were doing the show. The museum has several rooms made up to look just like the kitchen, parlor, and John Boy's bedroom, with period furniture, antique telephones, radios, etc.
I noted on Facebook that I didn't pay much attention to The Waltons when the series was first broadcast in the 1970s. "Being young and foolish, I thought those traditional values were silly and outmoded, and just failed to appreciate the high-quality drama, which has become almost extinct on TV." And of course, just like my generation did, the kids of today's world look down on history... "Some things never change." You can look up episodes of the show, the actors' names, etc. at the-waltons.com.
Goodnight, John Boy!
Then, we drove around Schuyler and saw what used to be Christ Episcopal Church, and later became a Mennonite church; it appears to be abandoned now. We also saw the Rockfish River Dam, and the adjacent mill ruins, as well as the soapstone ("Alborene") quarry where Earl Hamner's father once worked.
After that, we drove north into Albemarle County, first along the familiar Route 29, and snacked at the Crossroads Store in North Garden. Then we drove west on some back roads that were new to us, pausing briefly in the village of Batesville. But the main objective was the Miller School, one of the most prestigious prep boarding schools on the east coast. (See millerschoolofalbemarle.org.) I often heard about it when we lived in Charlottesville in the 1990s, but I never had any occasion to see it for myself. I was astounded by the size and the architectural excellence of the main buildings. Finally, we drove a few miles west to photograph Holy Cross Episcopal Church, and then we headed home.
Other recent photos, including some of government buildings in Lynchburg, can be seen on the Spring 2013 page.