Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Real Walton's Mountain

We set off over the hills and through the hollers to find the real Walton's Mountain.
 Earl Hamner Jr. was the creator of the fictitious Walton family, but he based his writings on his own large family and his hometown of Schuyler, Virginia.
 We did not take "Short Cut Road," but we did enjoy our ride through this rural countryside.
 We passed some interesting things like this old vine-covered house.
 This old church and the historical marker were interesting.

 A gate to nowhere...
 And a gate to somewhere...
 And an old country store/post office.
Nan told me this is an old kerosene pump on the porch.
 We were a little late…it is only open from 7:45 to 9:45 on Saturdays. The post office is in the back.
 Coming into Schuyler we come upon the ruins of the old soapstone plant, where Earl Hamner's father worked until it closed during the Depression.
 Some photos from when it was still in operation...
 Soapstone plant
Our first stop was at the Walton's Mountain Museum.
 Which is housed in what once was a high school, later an elementary school, and now a museum.
 Here we learned about the "real-life" John-Boy, Earl Hamner Jr.
The TV Walton family had 7 children.
 The real-life Hamner family had 8 children. Earl's mother lived long enough to see the success of his books, movies and TV series. She quipped that she could afford to raise 8 children, but CBS could only afford 7. They combined two brothers into one character for the show.
The house for the TV set had a longer porch than the Hamner home.
 Where Earl Hamner grew up during the Depression.
In the museum they have recreated the TV set for rooms in the Walton house. This was the set for John-Boys room with his writing desk by the window.
 In real life, Earl shared his bedroom with his brothers. But there was a desk by the window.
 The writing desk.
 And the view from his window.
The set for the kitchen...
 Very similar to the kitchen in the Hamner house.
The living room set for the TV show with the radio at the left.
 The actual radio used on the show is on display in the museum.

 The living room in the Hamner home with a larger floor-model radio in the corner.
 The Hamner radio.
Ike Godfrey's store and post office is recreated and also serves as the gift shop.
 The store was the only place in town with a telephone.
This is a picture of Snead's store in Schuyler, the basis for "Godsey's General Merchandise Store." It burned down in 1989 and has been replaced by another more modern store.
 The new Merchandise Store, built on the site of Snead's store.

In the gift shop you can buy a piece of soapstone.
 The museum also has a display of the Baldwin Sister's still.
 And the TV set for their parlor.
 The Baldwin Sister's "Recipe" used apricots instead of the usual apples.
Photo from the TV show.
The Baldwin Sisters characters may have been based on the wife and daughter of the manager of the soapstone plant.
The Hamner home once had a barn behind it and a sawmill that Earl's father built after he lost his job. 

 In front of the Hamner house is another building that once was a Country Store, but closed and remained empty. Earl used it as a quiet place to write.
 Today it houses a gift shop and sells Hamner's books and the movies and TV shows on DVDs.
 Standing in the store parking lot, on the left is the road we came in on, Rockfish River Road. The road to the right leads to the church the Hamner family attended.
 Schuyler Baptist Church

 The road leading out of Schuyler looks a lot like the one we came in on.
 We passed more farmhouses.
 And just outside of Schuyler beside the railroad tracks, we came to the old Rockfish Post Office.

 This tribute was on the porch…perhaps the former post master? Anyway, he died just last month.
 A peek inside the post office window.
 And on we went enjoying the rural and historic countryside.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very interesting place to visit. Looks like you had good weather too


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