At the very last minute, I looked at the maps and knew I had to "go someplace" once again.
"There" was West Virginia, but this time MUCH further than a day trip would allow. I wound up booking a lodge room at LongFork Campgrounds and Resort about 40 miles NE of Charleston,
thinking it would be perfect, rustic, and close to what I was looking for -- rotting, abandoned houses.
It was all of that and more.
What I didn't know was that I was going to meet a very amazing man by the name of Danny Harris, who is the Office Manager/Events Coordinator for Longfork.
After checking in, I wound up talking with Danny about, my uh, penchant for abandoned houses. Danny assured me I was in the right area.
"Fabulous", I say. Thought so, could feeeeeeeel it from the maps.
"Dump the maps", Danny says, "they won't do you any good". Danny was right. Danny grew up in the hollows of Walton, WV,
and knows them all like the back of his hand. In fact, four generations of his family are from or were at one time located around Walton, WV.
I was extremely fortunate to have Danny personally accompany me to a set of 3 abandoned homes which are all close together,
completely isolated now, and which had been occupied by his family for at least 3 generations. All had been at one time - the last being
6 years ago (Bobette's House) - active and thriving homes up on a hillside close to Walton.
Danny was right about the maps. Useless. We snaked in the SUV for about 30/40 mins. across the intense ridge roads of the hollows.
He directed me to turn on to what looks like a cowpath, and continue driving to the creek. THEN IN AND UP THE CREEK. Which I do.
Once we emerged from the creek at the right spot, I see what I've captured in the images below, as well as a total bonus.
FOR ONCE, I would know "What happened to the people who lived here?" Danny most graciously shared his family's history,
stories from his father and other family, and memories from these amazing houses. Which will NEVER, EVER, BE FOUND.
Indeed, CANNOT BE FOUND (nor vandalized, more importantly) unless you know exactly where they are, and Danny Harris is the ONLY one to talk to about that!
I will make the briefest of notes on each image page, as my memory sucks (imagine!), and Danny can correct me on any mislabeling and I'll update the page.
I cannot thank Mr. Danny Harris at LongFork Campgrounds and Resort enough for his taking an entire day and sharing with me
not only his gracious and most excellent company, but also for his recollections of the lives, stories, events and defining moments
in HIS family's history since the early 1800s in the family houses you see below.