Tag Archives: West Virginia Road Trip

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 10

17 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 – 7/21/2021

Leaving Charleston, WV this morning I headed west 15 miles on US-60, along the Kanawha River, to visit the C&O Depot Museum located in St. Albans, WV.  This small museum is housed in the 1906 Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Depot, and displays rare railroad exhibits and artifacts related to the influence the railroad had on the city of St. Albans and the surrounding Kanawha County area, from the early 1900s until 1963 when railroad service to the depot was discontinued.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only a few miles west on SR-25, across the Kanawha River, where I visited the Nitro War Museum located in Nitro, WV.  I learned a very interesting story at this museum.  The building that houses the museum was the focus of a 1917 U.S. Government project to build “Explosives Plant C” and a town for 24,000 to support its operations.  From 1917 to 1919, the plant manufactured 350 tons of gunpowder per day until the end of WWI.  Nitro is short for “Nitrocellulose.”

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I took SR-25 north out of Nitro to pickup I-64 and headed 20 miles west, across the Kanawha River again, to visit the Blenko Glass Company located in Milton, WV.  The Company is known for its artistic hand-blown glass among other types of colorful glassware products.   The story goes that William J. Blenko (1853-1933) emigrated to America in 1893 to start a stained-glass business.  However, after three failed attempts he formed the Blenko Glass Company which has grown over the years to an internationally known and respected company.  It is said that even the White House has a collection of Blenko tableware (circa 1930s) which is used periodically.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued west 20 miles on I-64 to visit the Huntington Railroad Museum located in Huntington, WV.  This museum is situated in the Ritter Park Area and displays Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad artifacts and memorabilia, including one of the last Class 1 steam locomotives (#1308) built in 1949. The museum also has other restored rolling stock that was used mainly by the coal industry, some of which date from the early 1800s, until retired in 1956.

Photo Credit: https://visithuntingtonwv.org/company/railroad-museum

I jumped back on I-64 and drove approximately 65 miles west, across the Big Sandy River (Border), to visit the Rowan County Veterans Museum in the Freedom Park area of Morehead, KY.  This small museum displays military artifacts honoring the men and women who have served in all five branches of U.S. military services dating from WWI to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing west another 45 miles on I-64, I stopped to visit the Bluegrass Heritage Museum located in Winchester, KY but they were closed.  However, their website informs me that the museum is housed in the former home of Dr. John Ishmael, built in 1895, which displays exhibits and artifacts and the history of the Bluegrass area (not music) from the early Eskippakithikl (‘blue licks place’) Indian settlements (circa early 1700s), thru the Civil War era, and to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 25 miles west on US-60, around the city of Lexington, to where I visited the Aviation Museum of Kentucky located adjacent to the Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, KY.  This museum displays several restored aircraft dating from 1908, aircraft engines, as well as other aviation artifacts.  The museum also has a restoration and repair shop and is the home of the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was time to find my motel there in Lexington and get something to eat.  On my way to the motel, I noticed a Cracker Barrel restaurant and decided to stop for dinner.  Their special was a new item called Sweet & Smoky Glazed Chicken Tenders, served with green beans and fries.  I was impressed, and I’ll be trying that meal again soon.

Photo Credit: https://togo.crackerbarrel.com

With a full tummy, Greta (my Garmin) found the motel for me, where I got checked in, recorded my day’s activities, and proceeded to try to  watch some TV.  Of course, there was nothing worth watching, so I just went to bed in hopes of getting a good night’s sleep.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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