Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the category “HISTORY”

Small Towns

I had a photography project in mind as I prepared for an upcoming show with my artists’ group.  How about photographing a small town near my home and putting the images in an old window instead of in frames?  I headed out early one morning to start gathering the images.  There are a lot of quaint older buildings in this town, many of which are empty, and I had no trouble finding some I wanted to document.  A beautiful old hotel with balconies and interesting stairs caught my eye.  But, then, the scourge of photographers appeared in my viewfinder…..power lines.

Small towns have a lot of power lines.  Big power lines, little power lines that are crisscrossing the street and each other.  Now I have a problem.  I cannot photograph these beautiful buildings without having a power line in each shot.  Here’s what I was seeing.

Poles and LInes 3Poles and LInes 2Poles and LInes 1

But, as luck would have it, as I walked and shot, going down the street on one side and returning on the other, I started seeing reflections in the windows along Main Street.  Beautiful reflections, distortions of reflections, and distortions in the old glass. You can even see distorted face shapes in these windows.

Reflelctions 1Reflelctions 2Reflelctions 3

So, I kept shooting, excited about what I was seeing and how I could use them in my art piece.  This is the result of many hours of shooting, planning, re-sizing, moving images around, printing more images to try out, on and on.  I like it.

Reflections on Main

As I was returning home on one of the trips from my small town photography jaunt, I again noticed the scourge.  I was traveling southwest toward a beautiful mountain view, but as in the town, my view was marred by the signs of civilization.

Big poles and lines

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

We left the Mighty Five Parks in Utah, heading out for our return trip to Virginia. We took the southern route back, and there were several things we wanted to see along the way.  But, at the beginning of our trip, soon after we entered Colorado, we noticed another National Park not far from our route. So, we stopped in the town of Cortez to inquire at the Visitors Center about Mesa Verde. On the map, it is a relatively small park, especially compared to the huge Canyonlands Park we had just left. When I said that to the volunteer, she raised her eyebrows at me and said, “Well, to see even the best part of the park will take you four hours.”  Wow. She was right. We spent just about that much time in this park and could have spent more.

Mancos ValleyBecause this is such a fascinating park, I am going to give you more facts, all lifted from the official brochure you receive at the visitors center.

Mesa Verde is Spanish for “Green Table.”  Ancestral Pueblo people settled in this area in A.D. 500.  They farmed, hunted wild animals and gathered edible plants.  They also made tools from stone, wood, and bone, and built pit houses for homes.  Pit houses were often clustered as small villages on the mesa tops. In the second photo below, you can see that they designed a system to keep their fires burning inside the pit.  Placing a stone in front of the opening below created a draft to pull air through and out a hole on the surface above.

Pithouses 1

Pithouses 2

In about A.D. 750, the Pueblos began building houses above ground using poles and mud.  By A.D. 1000 their skills had advanced to stone masonry.  Walls of thick stone often rose two to three stories high and were joined as units of 50 rooms or more.  Some of these homes were built in cliff alcoves that had once served their ancestors as sheltered areas.  The cliff dwellings are what made Mesa Verde famous.

Cliffdwellings 5A

Cliffdwellings 5B

Cliffdwellings 5

Most of the cliff dwellings were built from the late 1190s to late 1270s.  They range from one-room houses to community centers of about 150 rooms.  Builders fit the structure into the available space.  Notice the gorgeous stone around the cliff dwellings.  It’s a part of the beauty of the space, much as our land accentuates our property.

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As we looked with binoculars across the canyon to the cliffs, we wondered how the Pueblos moved from one house to another, or from their home on the cliff to their gardens above.  It was a hard life.  They lived in the cliff dwellings for fewer than 100 years, and by 1300 Mesa Verde was deserted.  They joined other Ancestral Pueblo who moved south into what is now New Mexico and Arizona.

Local ranchers first reported the cliff dwellings in the 1880s.  Archaeologists have studied, excavated, analyzed and restored pit houses and cliff dwellings.  The history reveals people adept at building, and skillful at making a living on difficult land.   The evolution of their skills is evident in the various structures seen in the park.

Cliffdweller statue




Hoffman Weigh Station

I live in a rural area and pass many photogenic scenes every time I travel anywhere. This shed is along a secondary road that is on my regular path to many of my activities. I photographed it first on March 25, 2015, after a light dusting of snow made it even more interesting than it already was. I love the trees growing out of it, the turquoise colors on the wood.

Cow shed without cows

A month or so ago, I visited with my friend Joyce who lives on the farm across the road from the shed.  I asked her about it and got some wonderful history.  Her grandfather, Theodore Summerville Hoffman (1874-1963), owned the farm where she has resided off and on for much of her life, and as the owner for the last 36 years. At one time that shed was located on the farm. That parcel was sold several years ago and there is a power transfer station up the road from this shed, behind the trees.

“T.S.” Hoffman, as he was known, raised livestock on his farm.  He also bought livestock from others in the community for a purchaser who lived in Baltimore.  This little shed was the “Weigh Station” for the livestock.  When the cattle were going to be taken to market, they were weighed and measured there, then transferred to the town of Gordonsville, 20 miles away.  In the late 1930s, when my friend Joyce was a child, the cattle were driven by men on horseback to Gordonsville, and then they were put on a train to be taken to Baltimore.  She recalled that after a road was built in the late 1930’s, the livestock were loaded on trucks for transport.

Today I drove by the shed, as I have done many, many times before, and there were cows in the field.  I had to stop to get “the rest of the story.”

Cow shed with cows

Highland County, Part 2: Doe Hill and Bolar Springs

On my second day in Highland I covered a lot of ground. I started the day following the fog in the Bullpasture Mountain region, up Doe Hill Road and across Jack Mountain. The fog was so amazing. The ride across Jack Mountain was on a narrow, gravel road, but there weren’t many views of the valley below because of the trees. That’s a trip for another season.

As I proceeded up Doe Hill Road, I found an old cemetery and that held my attention for quite a while. The tilted headstones, the fog in the background, even the power lines were beautiful. I entered Pendleton County, West Virginia briefly, but my quest was the fog of Virginia, so I turned around.

Barn at sunrise

Driving up Doe Hill Road as the sun tried to make its way through the fog.

Barn at sunrise in fog

The sun’s rays through the fog provide a special mood to this photograph.

B&W Cemetery 2

The old cemetery on Doe Hill Road.

After I crossed Jack Mountain, we were on Route 220, so we headed south to Bolar Springs. My travel companion and guide was an old friend who has been living in Highland County for a year, growing veggies in a new greenhouse and learning the ways of the Highland County bureaucracy as he starts his new business. He told me that Henry Ford created a camp community around the natural springs in Bolar. A talk with locals earlier that morning had revealed to me that the springs have healing power. They are always at 73 degrees, and even thought the algae and undergrowth in the pool is not appealing, apparently it is good for what ails you. One of the locals said he got in the pool to take care of the itching and blistering of poison oak and it did indeed work. My travel companion soaked a wound on his foot that wouldn’t heal and three days later, he had scabs and the wound cleared right up! The camp is not used anymore, but the folks who live in Bolar keep it mowed and tidy.

Bolar Springs 1

Old buildings in Bolar

Bolar Springs 2

The spring comes in at the top of this image and fills a man-made pool, then overflows into a creek. There is a lot of water coming in from that spring.

Bolar Springs 3

This is the entry into the natural springs pool.

Woodberry Forest School, Upcoming Art Show

On September 5th, the artists of Firnew Farm Artists Circle will open their show “New Beginnings” in the Walker Fine Arts Building on the campus of Woodberry Forest School. A reception will be held from 5-7 pm and promises the attendees wonderful art to explore and local food to taste.

Reynolds Family Dining Hall

I have three photographs in this show that were taken on the campus of Woodberry Forest School this summer.  Most of you know by now that I look for and love to find coincidences and connections between my current life and something in my past.  Well, I found it at WFS.  I took this photograph of the dining hall, a beautiful, quaint room with warm colors, Clore furniture handmade in Madison County, and plenty of history.  As I was trying to determine a name for this photograph, I had to ask for information about it from a faculty member. I learned that the dining hall is called “Reynolds Family Dining Room.” I had previously learned that Bowman Gray, Jr. had attended WFS.  He was a former president of Reynolds Tobacco, but that didn’t tell me about this dining room. Of course I did an online search and found a more direct connection between the Reynolds family and WFS.  But, before I tell you that connection, let me tell you about my own, somewhat weak, connection to the Reynolds family.

I grew up in Patrick County, Virginia.  A little community in my county is Critz, and it is the location of the Reynolds Homestead.  Hardin Reynolds was the patriarch of this family who lived in Critz, and two of his sons were responsible for founding Reynolds Tobacco Co. and a third founded Reynolds Metals and Reynolds Aluminum.  My nephew is currently teaching at Hardin Reynolds Elementary School in Patrick County.

The member of the Reynolds Family who attended Woodberry Forest was J. Sergeant Reynolds, son of the founder of Reynolds Metals.  “Sarge” went on to become Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the late 1960s.  Sadly, he developed a brain tumor and died at age 34 in June 1971 (coincidentally, the month I graduated from college).  He is buried at the Reynolds Homestead.  Virginia lost a rising star when he died.

There’s the connection.  My photograph of the Reynolds Family Dining Room took me back to my roots in Patrick County.  I suppose as a lifelong Virginian, I should not be surprised when I find links to other Virginians, but it continues to delight me, no matter how tenuous the link might be.

Harper’s Ferry

St Peter's ChurchI recently had the good judgment to choose to attend a photography workshop in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  We spent several hours walking the old streets, climbing stone stairs to the Harper Cemetery, going inside St. Peter’s Church, and walking along the river banks where there were spectacular views and ruins of times gone by.  At the convergence of the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River, this is a place whose history scans many years and many different and significant events.  Below is a summary provided by the National Park Service.  If you want more, please visit their website at

THE HISTORY OF HARPERS FERRY HAS FEW PARALLELS IN THE AMERICAN DRAMA. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered – involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation’s history.  Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.


Young Re-enactors

Water Tunnels



Train Station

Ruins with New Life

The Bridge in Early Light

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