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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TOURE DE CLIFTON FORGE VA - Part II - Walking The Town

I was so happy with my visit to The Club Car and anxious to explore a bit more as I made my way to one of my favorite stops...The Alleghany Highland Arts & Crafts Center.  Exiting The Club Car, I crossed the street to The Clifton Forge Antique Mall for a good browse.  You never know what you might find.


I felt a little magic about to unfold and looked for it as I searched the many items housed here.  Then I found it.  While there are plenty of things to look at, the magic was standing behind the counter in the form of owner Curtis Persinger, Jr.  Please chat him up when you visit.  He is delightful.  I am told in the summer you may find him sitting outside wearing a sombrero.  Today he put on his favorite hat for this photo.



Clifton Forge was chartered in 1906, but its history goes back to the 1700s.  Its growth took off in 1826 when the road, now Rt. 60, over North Mountain was completed. Clifton Forge has a rich railroad history.  It is the home of the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society, Inc. and the C&O Railway Heritage Center.  Lots of history here for railroad enthusiasts.  The town certainly suffered economically, but is seeing a rebirth. The architecture is interesting.

































A creek runs through the town. Some of the buildings were actually built on a bridge that runs over the creek.



The arts having been growing in this community and are helping to revitalize the town.  The Clifton Forge School of the Arts offers classes to adults and children.






Probably the most exciting transformation happening right now is the renovation of the Historic Masonic Theatre.  They have planned their grand opening for the July 1st 2016 weekend.  You should check out their website http://historicmasonictheatre.com.  You can read about the wonderful history of this building.  For instance, Lash LaRue rode his horse down the theatre aisle and Roy Rogers appeared there with Trigger!  I can't wait to see the fabulous restoration of this once magnificent building. Tickets for the Grand Reopening are on sale through their website!





Another structure that the people of Clifton Forge are proud of is the Amphitheatre.  It is located behind the Masonic Theatre and together they will make up the Masonic Complex. It was voted American-Architects Building of the Year in 2012. The architects were from the VA Tech School of Architecture & Design. There is some interesting information about its construction at http://www.archdaily.com/253283/masonic-amphitheatre-project-designbuildlab-at-virginia-tech/. My pictures do not do it justice.






I was starting to get tired so I headed for the Art Center. They always scratch my itch for art.  Their walls are filled with wonderful original artwork and the shelves are filled with handmade items.  You can also sign up for painting classes.  Currently on exhibit thru Friday, April 22, 2016 is a wonderful exhibit by Nancy Stark.  Check them out at http://highlandsartsandcraft.org/.  I was lucky enough to visit with the Director of the Center, Nancy Newhard-Farrar.  I was fortunate to show her work and the work of her artist-husband, Michael Farrar in the 2 galleries I owned...once upon a time.  It was a joy to see the works of other artists that I represented housed at The Center.  I am always satisfied when I leave.



Exhausted and satisfied, I need to head home.  Walking back to the car and standing on the corner next to The Club Car where my day of wonderment began, I car stopped to point out the engraved Farrar sign way above the front door.  I had not noticed it. This building used to house Farrar's Drug Store.  I had not noticed the RX on the floor matt at the front door.  Nor had I noticed the beautiful carving above a side door.  I was so happy this person pointed out these things.  Turns out he is Kara's husband!  Tiny little world, isn't it!















There is a lot to be proud of here.

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