On Friday, August 12th, at 3:00 pm the Lynchburg Museum will host a lecture presented by Howard Gregory. His topic of discussion will be the Wreck of the Old 97.
What was the Wreck of the Old 97? It was an American rail disaster involving the Southern Railway mail train, officially known as the Fast Mail, on September 27, 1903. The train was en route from Monroe, VA to Spencer, NC. The train consisted of two postal cars, one express and one baggage car for the storage of mail. 18 men were on board. Due to excessive speed, in an attempt to maintain schedule, the train derailed at the Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, where the train careened off the side of the trestle bridge, killing eleven and injuring seven others.
On the day of the accident the Old 97 was behind schedule when it left Washington, DC and was an hour late when it arrived in Monroe. At Monroe the engineer was instructed to get the Fast Mail to Spencer, 166 miles away, on time The scheduled running time was four hours, fifteen minutes, at an average speed of 39 miles per hour. The route between Monroe and Spencer was rolling terrain with numerous danger points due to the combination of grades and tight radius curves. Engineers were warned to watch their speed. However the engineer was unable to sufficiently reduce speed as he approached the 45-foot high Stilljhouse Trestle. Approaching the curve leading to the trestle at about 70 miles per hour caused the entire train to derail and plunge into the ravine below. A huge fire erupted and consumed all of the jagged debris from the wooden cars. Nine of the eleven men who died were killed immediately.
Although the Vice-president of the Southern Railway placed the blame of the accident firmly on the engineer, the railroad was at least partially to blame, as they has a lucrative contract with the U.S. Post Office to haul mail. The contract included a penalty clause for each minute the mail was late into Spencer.
The accident became a sensation with thousands of spectators at the scene, newspaper stories and a series of ballads written about he wreck. The most popular ballad was an early country hit and the first million-selling record in the United States when recorded by Vernon Dalhart for RCA Victor Records in 1924.
The lecture will take place at 901 Court Street, starting to 3:00 pm. Tickets are $10, unless you are a member of the Museum. Once the lecture is finished don’t forget to tour the special museum exhibit A Great Change in the Situation of Man: Lynchburg’s Railroads, found on the lower level of the museum. This exhibit is free.
Mike and I have discovered an easy way to make omelets, especially if you are cooking for a full house, as we often do at The Carriage House inn Bed and Breakfast. We use a waffle iron!
- 2-3 medium eggs (depending on the size of your waffle iron)
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 tablespoon shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon diced red pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped broccoli
- 1 tablespoon cooked, bulk sausage
- 15 baby spinach leaves cut into small pieces
Preheat waffle iron and spray with cooking spray on both top and bottom. Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. When waffle iron is hot, slowly pour in egg batter. Be careful not to fill up too much. There should be a thin layer of egg batter across the entire surface of the bottom iron. Depending on the depth and size of your waffle iron, you may have a little liquid left over. Makes one omelet. Sprinkle cheese on it after if is removed from the waffle iron.
*You can add any additional ingredients to the omelet that you enjoy eating. We have added diced mushrooms, spinach, diced squash or zucchini, diced asparagus and kale. Based on your dietary guidelines you can add or delete what ever you want.
**We use a large, Belgium waffle iron so we need 3 eggs to make a whole omelet.. We serve each guest one half of the omelet along with two side dishes such as roasted country potatoes and a cucumber-tomato salad dressed in a oil and Balsamic vinegar dressing (shown above).
Your Lynchburg Bed and Breakfast hopes you enjoy this recipe. Check back often for new recipes.
Lynchburg unexpectedly became a major “hospital city” during the Civil War due to it’s railroads, availability of “rooms” and it’s remoteness. In fact, in terms of numbers of Confederate Hospitals no other city had more hospitals except for Richmond, Virginia.
Three rail lines terminated in Lynchburg, the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad (from the southwest), the Orange & Alexandria Railroad (from the north) and the Southside Railroad (from Richmond).
Before the war Lynchburg had 39 tobacco manufacturers and another 41 businesses that were manipulators and shippers of the plant. These warehouses were converted to hospitals, along with hotels, a college (Lynchburg College), meeting halls, stables and individual people’s homes. College Hospital admitted more than 20,000 Confederate casualties during the four years of the Civil War.
Lynchburg was considered remote since it was far removed from the eastern part of the state where much of the fighting took place. Warfare took place mostly on flat land, which Lynchburg is certainly not. The James River borders the city on one side, much like a moat.
The five hotels in Lynchburg were all used as hospitals at some point during the war. The Warwick House, located at 1003 Main Street, was the first permanent hospital. The Union “City Hotel” became known as the Ladies’ Relief Hospital. Five hundred women formed the Ladies’ Relief Society, similar to our American Red Cross today. These untrained women were married to wealthy entrepreneurs but they willingly learned medical techniques of putting on tourniquets, cleaning lacerations and ministering to the terminally ill. The Ladies’ relief Hospital death rate in the four years of the war dropped from 93 deaths during the first two years of the war to 36 deaths during the last two years of the war, with roughly the same number of admissions.
The “Tobacco” Hospitals served a great need as the smaller hospitals were occupied to beyond capacity. The hospital names reflected the names of the tobacconist owners who sacrificed their commercial buildings for the sake of the war effort. These building were the antithesis of what we consider a modern day hospital-dingy, poorly lit, cramped and filled with strange odors. Two permanent tobacco hospitals were located on Dunbar Street near Twelfth Street. Both buildings were four to five story rectangular red brick structures, timber framed with stone underpinning, stepped parapet walls and gable roofs.
Prior to the Civil War the wounded in battle were treated on the battlefield or in tent hospitals. The hospitals cared for thousands, but often the patients died not from their wounds but from the treatment or rampant epidemic diseases that spread throughout the close quarters of the hospital buildings. Smallpox, measles, malaria, typhoid fever, dysentery and acute diarrhea killed many. Cleanliness and good hygiene would have prevented many of these diseases from spreading or spreading so rapidly. It is estimated that over 245,513 soldiers, from both armies, died from infection.
The City of Lynchburg in the four years of the Civil War became a living hospital laboratory, testing the efficiency of an overwhelmed, untrained medical system to see if the hospital concept could progress from its reputation as a place where people went to die to a place where people went to recover and return home. Thankfully we have the hospital system today that works efficiently and to the patients benefit.
Interested in the Civil War? When visiting our Lynchburg Bed and Breakfast, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we can point you to many Civil War sites. For reservations call us at 434-846-1388 or book on-line.
At The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we serve this chilled cantaloupe soup as a fruit course during the month of July, when Halifax cantaloupes are plentiful at the Community Market in downtown Lynchburg, VA. Fresh herbs, either grown in our garden or from a vendor at the market, brighten up the flavor of everything. The aromatic leaves also have nutritional value offering potent small doses of antioxidants. Enhance a healthy diet and protect yourself against cancer and heart disease by eating more fruits and fresh herbs, especially during the summer months when they are fresh and plentiful.
- 1 large ripe cantaloupe (about 4 pounds), seeds and rind removed, cut into chunks, plus thin wedges for garnish
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- pinch of kosher salt
- pinch of cinnamon to sprinkle on top–optional
- dollop of whip cream–optional
- fresh mint sprig–optional
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 sprigs tarragon
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
To make the soup: Working in two batches, puree cantaloupe, sour cream, honey, lemon juice and salt in a blender until smooth. Press through a fine sieve into a bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
To make the syrup: Bring sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until syrup has reduced to 2/3 cup, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add tarragon. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
Puree syrup, tarragon and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use; stir just before serving.
Divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with tarragon syrup; garnish with cantaloupe wedges and tarragon sprig.
The Annual Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is held on at the Berry Hill resort in South Boston, VA. Bring a chair, blanket and a friend for an evening of fun, delicious food, beverages and live music. A summer picnic menu will be prepared by the chef of Berry Hill resort. Adult and regular beverages will be available. Live music is performed by local bands. All festival goers receive a voucher to be presented at either Hudson Farm or Reese’s Farm to receive their Virginia cantaloupe. Tickets can be purchased through the South Boston Chamber of Commerce.
A new food truck, Jacked Rabbit, has been added to the ever increasing selection of food trucks found in and around Lynchburg, VA.
Jacked Rabbit can’t be missed, either at the corner of Main and 12th at the Lynchburg Community Market or in Miller Park on Thursdays with the other local food trucks that participate in Food Truck Thursdays. Painted with bright pinks, oranges, teals and abstract designs you know you have found something a bit different, especially for Lynchburg. And it is…..Lynchburg’s first vegan food truck and one of the few vegan options in the city. Serving a vegan/pesco-vegetarian menu the food served combines flavors from Peru, Asia, the Caribbean, Spanish cultures and the American South. The chef, Loralee, attended CVCC’s culinary school. She worked for awhile at MachuPichu. International cuisines allow her to create interesting dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in Lynchburg. And customers are glad she is here.
A few of her most popular dishes are: Tostones, Puerto Rican twice-fried plantain slices that are covered with a Peruvian-style salsa and citrus-onion salad, the Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich, which is made from a cooked down Asian Jackfruit, topped with fried pickles, slaw and onions on a bun or the Big Fat Banh Mi sandwich which is a a play on the traditional Vietnamese dish. Instead of pork Loralee cooks tofu three ways which changes it’s texture and gives the eater a sense of eating cooked pork. Now that it is summer she is offering ceviche and seafood. She would like to add tropically flavored cold-pressed juices, like berry-basil and mango-pineapple-orange-kiwi in the near future.
As you travel around Lynchburg be on the lookout for a rabbitized version of Rosie the Riveter. When you find a rabbit wearing the classic blue shirt pulled up to expose a bunny skull tattoo on her flexed arm and the famous polka dot bandana tucked around her long ears you will know you have found it. Give it a try, you just might be pleasantly surprised and thankful to have been exposed to something new and different to eat.
Guests staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast often tell us they don’y need lunch, after eating one of our 4-course breakfasts, but it’s nice to know there is another option for lunch or an early afternoon snack, if you need one.
The graves found in the Old City Cemetery represent the diversity of the citizens of Lynchburg buried there. This diversity also allows for a large variety of gravestones or monuments. Due to lack of maintenance of the cemetery grounds for many years, the passing of time and hand-hewn gravestones, plus the lack of record keeping, many of the grave markers are missing. Those surviving represent a variety of funeral art. Some were handcrafted with primitive tools, others created in workshops by professional stone cutters. All are a distinct form of American expression.
Gravestones mark the grave. They are often made up of a headstone (a memorial stone set at the head of the grave, often with a raised top) and sometimes with a footstone (marking the foot of the grave). More wealthy citizens might have had table tombs, box tombs, obelisks, or pedestal tombs. A mausoleum is a large, stately tomb, most often built entirely out of the ground. During the last half of the 19th century all gravestones became thicker and more massive. Victorian influences added symbols. Symbols found in the Old City Cemetery include: angels-both flying and weeping, birds-symbolizing eternal life, candles and flames, crowns-representing glory after death, doves, wreaths, open Bibles, the hourglass-time’s inevitable passing, and sleeping lambs-symbolic of the many children taken too frequently by the epidemics or simple illnesses that plaqued children long ago.
Let’s take a quick “tour” through the cemetery and discuss some of the unique gravestones.
- Just inside the entry gate, at Fourth Street, you will find Terriza Wallace, Jan 10th 1807 April 29 1808. This hand-chiseled round stone of local granite has been preserved. Not the first burial in the cemetery, but the oldest, original marker remaining.
- Next to Terriza is Katie Vernon Metcalfe (1836-1858). Her intricately carved marble headstone bears the classic Victorian motifs of willow, an urn, flowers and obelisk.
- Nearby is R.B. Gaines (died 1811). He was buried in a barrel-vaulted tomb of handmade Virginia brick which is capped at head and foot with Lynchburg greenstone.
- The marble tombstone of Judge William Daniel, Jr. (1806-1873) is a well-preserved example of an epitaph with Biblical and biographical messages, as well as the symbolism of God’s hand descending from Heaven holding the scales of justice. Judge Daniel was Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia from 1846 until 1865 and lived at Point of Honor.
- A wrought iron enclosure holds the graves of Maria Ball Carter Tucker (died 1823) and her young daughter Rosalie (died 1818). Maria Tucker was the great niece of George Washington. A marble false crypt rests over one grave. An antique rose, referred to in the poetic inscription on the lid, has survived all this time within the enclosure.
- Further down the hill you will find the life-sized cut tree trunk monument to Sophia Rhodes (died 1889). This carved limestone monument is typically Victorian and symbolic of her life cut short.
There are many other interesting gravestones and monuments found throughout the cemetery. A walk through the cemetery is always pleasant and sometimes educational. Each Saturday morning between now and the end of August tours of the cemetery are given at 10:00 am. They are conducted by various people who work at the cemetery, so attending more than one usually imparts different information and stories than another. The tours typically last about one hour. No reservations are required. The is no admission fee.
If you are staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and would like to take advantage of one of these tours let us know. We will be sure that you are served your breakfast with plenty of time to allow you to get to the cemetery for the beginning of the tour.
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