Category Archives: Legends

James River Steam Brewery Cellars; Underground Richmond Rediscovered

Great things have been accomplished in pursuit of drink. The Pilgrims made an early exit from the Mayflower because their beer was running low. New England may be the most prominent example of landmarks that exist because of the need for strong drink, yet there are other extraordinary rock piles carved into the landscape because … Continue reading

Posted in Earthworks, Ghost towns, Legends, Military | 2 Comments

Aiden Lair; The First Stop in a Remarkable Presidency

Teddy Roosevelt slept here. Or might have were he not the home-schooled, mountain-climbing, really-big-game-hunting, rough-riding-war-hero and boxer of a man he turned out to be. “Sleep when you die,” you can almost hear him bellowing. “I’m pressing on.” Despite that missed opportunity, Roosevelt’s arrival at Aiden Lair makes the lodge’s present condition all the more … Continue reading

Posted in Ghost towns, Legends | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Prithee Go Not to the Abandoned Virginia Renaissance Faire

It’s a stretch to imagine that this country village was once animated with knights, maidens, minstrels and jesters. The music of penny whistles and steinfulls of ale made day and night merry. Now, fifteen years later, a ghost town is all that testifies to a short-lived effort to recreate Renaissance England in the Old Dominion. … Continue reading

Posted in Ghost towns, Legends | 27 Comments

St. Mary’s College and Chapel, or, Hell House; The Wages of Time and Mischief

St. Mary’s College and Chapel had a good run but, in the end, never had a prayer. The imposing structures were too big to survive disuse, the old grounds too perfect a milieu for mischief. Now all that’s left are scattered remnants and living proof that nature reclaims even the sturdiest foundations we build on … Continue reading

Posted in Ghost towns, Legends | 5 Comments

Pilgrims to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Grave; The New Poe Toasters

Most folks figure that the Poe Toaster is stone, stone dead. It’s getting on three years now he’s been a no-show for the macabre middle-of-the-night tributes to Baltimore’s most famous decedent. If the idea toasting tortured authors is your thing, though, you can still find literary pilgrims making clandestine visits to an urban cemetery, leaving … Continue reading

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Valentine’s Meat Juice; An Odd Tonic Trusted the World Over

There’s nothing like those tried-and-true remedies when life throws an ailment your way: plenty of rest; chicken noodle soup; a tonic of meat juice in your rear end. Okay, maybe those first two have survived the ages, but that last one, believe it or not, was a recommended application of a product that was all … Continue reading

Posted in Industry, Legends | 1 Comment

Richard Baynham Garrett and the Unwanted Celebrity of an Assassin Come Calling

You’d not think to look for traces of John Wilkes Booth in Portsmouth, Virginia. Sure, the city has witnessed its share of extraordinary episodes, but the bustling port town is a long way from Washington D.C. and the quiet, rural community where the most famous manhunt in U.S. history came to a violent end. For … Continue reading

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Robert Frost; A Dismal Stab at Ending His Life

It’s not too often that a bona fide celebrity comes to town, and even rarer that one shows up to kill himself. In 1894, however, Robert Frost—yes, that Robert Frost, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate who penned “The Road Not Taken”—arrived in Norfolk with the intention of walking into the Great Dismal Swamp and never … Continue reading

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The Charles Wilson Treasure; A Legend Buried in Shifting Sands

The treasure buried by Charles Wilson would be worth ten million dollars today–ten chests filled with precious gems, silver and gold bullion that have never been found, despite that Wilson wrote explicit directions to the stashed riches. As alluring as that hidden cache is, however, the fortune may never turn up; it probably doesn’t exist. … Continue reading

Posted in Bay Islands, Ghost towns, Legends | 12 Comments

Reagan National Airport and the Mother of All Weeping Willows

The way Benson Lossing tells it, the Abingdon willow really got around. Well, the fruit of her loins did anyway. The remarkable tale of the promiscuous weeping willow of Abingdon Plantation isn’t as much the story of lost structures as it is forgotten lore. In fact, the scant remains of the plantation home on the … Continue reading

Posted in Legends | 5 Comments