Sunday, February 18, 2018

Washington Court House: A City in Decline - Part 3

The direction we are headed.
All is not lost.  Yet.

(All photos not credited are those of the author.)

(Part one dealt with some of the not-so-positive changes our town has gone through over the last several decades.  It can be seen, here.  (Part two discussed what other cities have done to develop and capitalize on their waterfronts.  It can be seen, here.)

What sort of attractions might we offer visitors?

Glass furnace. Photo by author
Provincetown, Massachusetts, located at the tip of Cape Cod, has an attraction featuring local artisans such as blacksmiths and glass blowers.  Visitors can listen to craftsmen describe their art as they create their wares and then have the opportunity to purchase them.

There are craftsmen and artisans, here, too and given the right environment, they can be courted, and others from around the region, to set up shop along our creekfront.

There could be, like in Provincetown, glass blowers and blacksmiths.  Horses are a large part of our local heritage.  People, especially "city folks", might find it fascinating to see a horse being shod.  The late Bill Thompson had a tack shop out on Wildwood Rd.  It was interesting to watch him create his leather work, from belts to saddlery.

There is an increased Amish influence in Fayette County.  They are a very talented and creative people.  There baked goods and foodstuffs are in demand and Amish made furniture is quite desirable.  Shops where people can watch these and other things being made will attract visitors.

Photo from Only in Your State
In addition to boat tours and gondola rides, (touched on, previously), visitors can have the option of taking a quiet, open air carriage ride, or in winter a sleigh ride along the creek and adjacent areas.  The Amish might want to get in this action, too.

A heated greenhouse in operation year round might provide fresh flowers, herbs and produce to visitors and local businesses.
Photo from The Morris Agency

Roaming jugglers, mimes, and mariachi or bluegrass bands (for example) are popular, everywhere.

Corning Fountain, Bushnell Park, Hartford CT
Eye appeal is critical.  There must be landscaping, fountains and monuments to the community founders.  Landscaping can be in many and varied forms so there is something in bloom throughout the seasons.  They can encompass everything from daffodils and crocus, to catalpa trees and mountain ash; from fruit trees to conifers to rose bushes and aromatic herbs.  Fountains create an air of calm and monuments instill a sense of history and arouse the observer's curiosity.

We too, can build bridges across our creek that are architecturally pleasing to the eye.  Perhaps arched brick with alcoves to accommodate lantern lights.

Today, there is an abandoned trestle crossing Paint Creek behind the Blue Lions football field.  The railroad being an important part of our heritage, this bridge should be preserved.  It will need a few safety enhancements, but that is all.

At one time, Washington Court House was a major transportation hub.  The steam train helped make this community what it once was.  While the coal tipples and depots are long gone, the basic infrastructure still exists in the many miles of track winding through the county.

Essex, Connecticut is home to the Essex Stream Train and Riverboat.  Tourists and locals alike can enjoy scenic rides along the picturesque Connecticut River.  Train rides have seasonal, holiday and children's themes. 
Photo from Essex Steam Train

There are lunch and dinner trains.  Trains can be reserved for private events,
including school trips.  ESTR offers a Hands on the
Photo from Essex Steam Train
Throttle, "HOTT", training program.  Registrants go through and pass the training course, get to operate a steam train for one hour.

There is nothing to stop is from doing something along this line, here.  We can work in cooperation with the railroads and get our old steam train back in operation.  Over time, more cars and locomotives can be acquired.  The perfect place to erect a train station and railroad museum, complete with an 1800's style depot, is the old Cudahay lot.  A train tour around the city and county would be relaxing and breath taking when the corn is high, the autumn leaves are turning, snow covers the landscape or in the spring when the world again begins to awaken.

This series of articles began as a reply to a Face Book post.  It didn't take long for that to evolve into a series and the series has since morphed into more than anticipated.  Future installments will deal cover such things as business, education, sports, entertainment, the fair grounds and our most valuable resource - the people of Washington Court House.

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