Saturday, September 30, 2006





Thursday, September 28, 2006

A matter of balance

"The Woolen Mills, though it feels like city in the country, really isn't. It started out as an industrial community and it is completely embedded in an industrial network, to the south, to the east, to the north." -Vice Mayor Kendra Hamilton

I respectfully disagree.

The woolen mill was located at the juncture of Moore's Creek and the Rivanna River. The lion's share of the Mill's real estate holdings throughout the residential mill village functioned as the village commons. You could keep a cow on the mill land, you could play baseball, you could go rabbit hunting.
Above, Emma Baltimore Amiss sits in the side yard of 1709 East Market. The hedgeline in the distance, to the north, marks the edge of Riverview cemetery. When this picture was taken the "industrial community" had been running full tilt for seventy years.
Having neighborhood industry doesn't necessarily destroy quality of life. Industry and an agrarian ethic can thrive together as this picture clearly illustrates.
Quality of life is a carefully maintained balance.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Woolen Mills dam, c. 1930

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ray Hudson

road trip, 1.3 miles west of her house on Woolen Mills Road


Monday, September 25, 2006

Green Pond, SC

where Ken Mayes works


Sunday, September 24, 2006

day of rest

contact the artist:


Saturday, September 23, 2006


tobacco in bloom, Figsboro Road, Franklin County

1) destroy industry and agriculture
2) decapitate leadership, silence opposition, disenfranchise populace
3) change place names
4) establish olfactory, auditory and vehicular irritants


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Woolen Mills Police

At points it was rumored that the Woolen Mills might incorporate as a town. There was a school, a church, trash pickup, health insurance, a police force, a park, a store and an employer. There was agricultural production. Hogs were raised and killed, cows milked, vegetables canned.
The people of the Woolen Mills nursed their sick, buried their dead.

The Woolen Mills was a community of people that migrated to the foot of Monticello in response to socio-legal and economic pressures. They came to the S-bend of the Rivanna in search of a better life. On Woolen Mills Road they built a remarkably stable family village.

Upon first glance it is possible to conclude this was an "industrial village". It is a logical assumption. There was one industrial employer.

But what made this village endure were multilayered ties of family and the habit of agrarian self-sufficiency.

Woolen Mills Road- Photographs, Maps and Legends on display now at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Coolest thing yesterday, I received a huge beautiful print from South Carolina A.C.E. Basin artist Ken Mayes. BAM! Showed up. And so it is with the gifts from God.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

where are they now

Emma is in Senegal teaching English to French speakers.
Line is behind my kitchen door, powering an acer palmatum.


Sunday, September 17, 2006


?verb (used with object), -cat?ed, -cat?ing.
1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
3. to darken.

I am surprised to find myself advocating that the City of Charlottesville hire more employees, but here it is. The City desperately needs to establish a new position in Neighborhood Development Services. Call the new position:

1) Neighborhood Advocate (?)
2) Fact Finder (?)
3) BS detector (?)

Currently available on the Internet is the background information which City Council is receiving regarding Franklin Street. This "background information" is a case in point for the utility of the new staff position.

The upshot of the "background material" is that there is no problem in the Woolen Mills regarding cut-through traffic. Indeed, in the entire report, the phrase "cut-through traffic" is never mentioned.

The "study" being delivered to Council is as relevant to the Woolen Mills cut-through issue as a study examining what music the drivers listen to when thundering through the Woolen Mills. The study is sleight of hand.

The report places the Councilors in the unenviable "garbage in, garbage out" position. They are receiving information from staff that does not help them make an intelligent decision.

I am reminded of the RWSA approach.
RWSA personnel visit the Woolen Mills, meet with the neighbors and tell us that the neighborhood doesn't smell. That we are responding "subjectively". In the same way, the traffic study carefully examines the wrong issue (speed) and concludes that the danger to pedestrians on Market Street and the erosion of our quality of life are imaginary. Hey- we only live here.

The BS detector employee wouldn't put council in this position.

Obfuscate. adumbrate, becloud, bedim, befog, belie, blear, blind, block, block out, blur, camouflage, cloak, cloud, con, conceal, confuse, cover, cover up, darken, diddle, dim, disguise, double-talk*, eclipse, equivocate, falsify, fuzz, gloom, gray, haze, mask, misrepresent, mist, muddy, murk, obfuscate, overcast, overcloud, overshadow, pettifog*, screen, shade, shadow, shroud, stonewall*, veil, wrap

What they should have studied

Background info
New urbanism
First Priority of the City
66,000 pounds, 48 times per day
WINA Interview
Camel's nose

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Jimi Hendrix heads home.


Friday, September 15, 2006


I wonder if UVA was a party school back in the 50's?


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Photographs, Maps and Legends

Woolen Mills School Class, 1933-34. The school was located across the street, this photo made in front of weaving supervisor Ryalls' house, 1618 Woolen Mills Road

This textile mill village was rooted at the confluence of Moore's Creek and the Rivanna River at the foot of Monticello mountain. With Woolen Mills Road as its axis, the village grew west toward Charlottesville.

For more than one hundred years this was the Place, home to ?the woolen factory? and its community of workers. A community unified by kinship, workplace, church, and agrarian traditions in a rapidly evolving industrial world.

The exhibit is a scrapbook of stories and images from the Place.

(on view until January 15, 2007 at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, 200 Second Street, Charlottesville. ACHS is next-door to the Charlottesville Public Library. 434-296-1492)


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

God's Poem Writer

God's Poem Writer, Harold Jerome Arnold


Monday, September 11, 2006

boots on the ground

Five years ago Emma and Helen were hiking a hundred miles north of Hartsfield airport in Atlanta. From the sanctuary of the eastern Appalachians the attack was invisible event. In retrospect they commented on the disappearance of air traffic. Days later they got details.
Five years on, USMC issue footwear.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

day of rest

Union Chapel, Woolen Mills Road

For the majority of adults in the village, life was closely channelled between work and worship. Six days a week, work at the mill for the mortal masters, on the seventh, go to church, go to God. Church service in the morning, Sunday school in the afternoon. Monday, back to work.

Installation of Woolen Mills village display at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society is 80% complete and open to visitors, M-F, 10-5PM, Saturday 10-1PM.
The exhibit is located in the McIntire Building | 200 Second St., NE | Charlottesville, VA 22902-5245


Saturday, September 09, 2006

big stick

Right here let me make as vigorous a plea as I know how in favor of saying nothing that we do not mean, and of acting without hesitation up to whatever we say. A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick - you will go far." If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power. In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting, and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words, his position becomes absolutely contemptible. So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power.
September 2, 1901 Teddy Roosevelt

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Franklin Maw

By now you might recognize the intersection of the footpath with Woolen Mills Road.

A few years back former Woolen Mills neighborhood president Roy Baltimore spoke on tape about the path (Franklin Street) which leads under the railroad tracks. When Roy was a boy the path was utilized by neighborhood residents to access the Woolen Mills Park (a neighborhood built and designed recreational area which boasted shuffleboard, and a baseball diamond. Woolen Mills Park is now the location of the industrial "park" on Broadway from which much of the cut through traffic originates.) Culvert Road either (Franklin Street) that was a cow path, you couldn?t drive a car through there to save your life, you could hardly get a cow through there. I used to have to go after the cows and it was rough walking getting a cow through that area, rough, stones all in the road.
-Roy Baltimore

So yesterday, when this enterprising driver was shaving 60 seconds off his day by making a turn in the yard of 1609 Woolen Mills Road my neighbor Steve suggested to the driver that he use an appropriate route. The driver didn't appreciate Steve's suggestion: "I always go this way."

In the City's study of Woolen Mills traffic they won't find this driver speeding. His rig will count as one vehicle.

In the background: work has begun on the repair of the 116 year old house of Woolen Mills weaver Ethel Scruggs (struck by a north-bound vehicle 7/23/06).


Tuesday, September 05, 2006


"Can't sleep, clowns will eat me."

There is something about a stop sign that motivates people to take their happy meal and pitch it out of the car window. Fries, burger, everything on the street complete with the red white and yellow bag.
Sophie's morning walk takes us past two popular ejection points. Add rain and vehicular traffic and the "I'm lovin' it" product metamorphoses to an organic calorie rich spooge. In dry weather the "food" makes a dark greasy spot on the asphalt. In wet weather it stays "ready to eat" much longer. Sophie loves it.

Why would a corporate entity admit to having a clown on the payroll?

On this blog the other day a reader characterized some very well meaning civic minded Central Virginia leaders as clowns.
I think calling someone a clown is the ultimate insult. In the politically correct environment of today I reluctantly admit that there are "good clowns" out there. People dressing up, tying balloons for children on the cancer ward, donning squeaky noses. But honestly, I'm a borderline coulrophobic, my mom raised me never to trust a Clown. To me, "good clown" is an oxymoron. (for some interesting educational musings on coulrophobia read Joseph Durwin's piece Coulrophobia and the Trickster.)

Memo to Mickey D customers: keep that trash in your belly or in your car. The Woolen Mills is a clown-free zone.

Scary Clown Plaza
John Wayne Gacy

Labels: , ,

Saturday, September 02, 2006

downtown maul

One of the tenets of the "new urbanists" is:

Streets and squares should be safe, comfortable, and interesting to the pedestrian.

We have asked our City to lift the burden of the commercial cut-through traffic abusing our residential neighborhood. The City has responded by instituting a study, They are looking at the speed and volume of traffic.
Speed and volume can be quantified with cables across the road, speed and volume can be measured inexpensively.
I suggest, rather than speed and volume that the City study the origin and destination of the traffic and the tonnage of the traffic. (see excerpts from the City manual)
How might this be done? Alas, it requires human-beings on site, stationed at the entry and exit points of the neighborhood and armed with radios and note-pads.
Perhaps, in lieu of a formal study, someone at the City could send a family member with a baby stroller to walk the 3/10ths of a mile on Woolen Mills Road between with Franklin Street and Meade Avenue? Or, in the alternative, send children on bicycles.

Origin-Destination (O-D) Studies: O-D studies will be conducted when the basic traffic problem relates to excessive cut-through traffic on a particular residential street, or when the problem relates to truck movements through the area. ..It is necessary to use a sufficient number of surveyors to observe all gateways to the neighborhood simultaneously, if a full understanding and documentation of the through traffic problem is to be gained.
(PG 9, City of Charlottesville Traffic Calming device Implementation Guidebook)

Labels: , ,