First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landin above.
Landing number 2228; A Landing A Day blog post number 656.
Dan: Fortunately, after four landings in TX (out of my last 11 landings since I fixed my random lat/long generation procedure), I didn’t land in TX again. Instead, it was . . . WV; 1480 (last Score); 1464 (current Score). No clue what I’m talking about? Check out my Grand Rapids post (use the search box if you’re interested).
Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I landed in the eastern panhandle:
My local map highlights the three closely-packed states in the vicinity of my landing:
Actually, zooming back just a little, it’s easy to make it four closely-packed states:
In a measley 20 miles, you can drive from PA through MD & WV, ending up in VA!
I believe that there is nowhere else in the U.S. where you can drive 20 miles and be in four states. OK, in Four Corners, you can spin around the monument on foot and do four states in a matter of seconds. But nowhere else can you travel 20 miles in a straight line and pass through four states. Based on my lengthy research, here’s the second-closest spot to accomplish the same thing:
Enough already! It’s time for my watershed analysis. As you can readily see on my local landing map, I landed right next to the Potomac River (12th hit). Here’s my streams-only map showing the Potomac making its way to the Chesapeake:
It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the eastern panhandle of WV:
I’ll zoom back a little so you can see “Burnt Factory:”
It took quite a bit of searching, but I finally found a brief discussion of how the town got its name. And yes, it does have everything to do with a factory that burnt down. Anyway, this is from FindaGrave.com in a post about the Burnt Factory United Methodist Church Cemetery:
In February of 1826 Jesse Calvert deeded land “for a place to preach and espouse the word of God.” Much of the land in the area was owned by Joseph Carter whose son, James, ran a paper mill located near where the church stood. The mill was converted into a wool mill which later burned, giving the name of “Burnt Factory” to the area.
Mighty strange way to name a town (and it is also the name of the entire area, as there is a Burnt Factory in nearby VA). By the way, the area in the above photo that looks sandy is, in fact, sandy (sandstone, actually). This is a quarry where the sandstone is comprised of very pure silica used for glass.
Anyway, moving along to Berkeley Springs. There’s actually a state park right in town. Here’s a write-up from the park website:
Long before the first Europeans discovered the warm waters of Berkeley Springs, it was already a famous health mecca which attracted Indians from the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada and the Great Lakes to the Carolinas. Those first settlers, who came in 1730, learned the uses and value of the springs from the Indians and began spreading the word of its benefits throughout the settlements of the east.
Perhaps the most notable and influential advocate of the curative powers of the springs was George Washington, who, at 16, visited them as a member of a survey party. As the party, which was surveying the western limits of Thomas Lord Fairfax’s lands, camped there for the night, young Washington noted in his diary, “March 18th, 1748, We this day called to see Ye Fam’d Warm Springs.”
For many years afterwards, George Washington visited the springs regularly, and it was largely through his efforts that its fame as a health spa grew throughout the colonies. At the urging of the Colony of Virginia and in the public interest, Lord Fairfax conveyed his land holdings at the springs and fifty adjacent acres to the Colony of Virginia in 1776.
Shortly thereafter, the land was offered for public sale. George Washington, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, four signers of the Constitution, seven members of the Continental Congress, and five Revolutionary generals were among the prominent colonists who made initial purchases there. Hence, the springs’ reputation as a health resort became firmly established.
Berkeley Springs State Park is located in the center of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The Bathhouse first opened in 1930. Since then, thousands have enjoyed the variety of baths and treatments in the warm mineral waters that flow from the springs at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
The springs discharge from five principle sources and numerous lesser ones, all within a hundred yards, approximately 2,000 gallons of clear, sparkling water per minute.
So, obviously, George Washington slept here. And bathed here. I don’t believe any of the old structures where George may have slept are still around, but we do have the actual bath tub (alledged?) where George (and others) bathed. Here ‘tis (courtesy of Travel Berkeley Springs):
Here’s the Samuel Taylor Suit “cottage,” built as a personal retreat by Mr. Suit in 1885. It overlooks the springs and the town and is known as the Berkeley Castle:
I’ll close with a couple of nearby GE Panoramio shots. Here’s one of “Devil’s Eyebrow” (just across the Potomac in MD, by Ian.Everhart). This is an anticline, where sedimentary beds are folded thusly:
The roof of the anticline is a hard sandstone; the indented portion is a soft limestone which has eroded. I’m familiar with the anticlines (and synclines) of Pennsylvania’s valley and ridge province – but there, each structure can be measured in thousands of feet (or miles) . . .
And here’s a shot of the Potomac right near my landing, by MidAtlanticRiverRat:
That’ll do it . . .
© 2015 A Landing A Day