Tag Archives: school

SECESSION

Welcome to Parkersburg, WV

Welcome to Parkersburg, WV

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Paddle boat on the river in Parkersburg

Paddle boat on the river in Parkersburg

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My mind is wrapped around the civil war with my hero and heroine, Rork and Leila, who are stuck right in the middle of it. They ended up on the Ohio River, on a steamer, trying to get to Parkersburg, a city that supplied critical provisions during the war, like transportation, oil and gas. I had an opportunity to discover the town when I visited my editor, Sandy Tritt, of Inspiration for Writers, Inc., and decided to poke around town before we left on our way to Nashville.

Ohio and . . . Rivers, Parkersburg

Ohio and . . . Rivers, Parkersburg

So, where is Parkersburg? Do you know what state it’s in? It was part of Virginia until the secession and then it became the thirty-fifth state, West Virginia. There wasn’t always a West Virginia, at least not until June 1863, when a group of citizens were determined to break away from the southern slave states south of this part of Virginia.

P1070226 P1070213 P1070205 P1070193According to David L. McKain’s book “The Civil War and Northwestern Virginia,” many voters favoring the Union felt intimidated by radicals favoring secession from Virginia. However, Virginia declared itself part of the Southern Confederacy and the Northwestern counties, not wanting to join that infamous cause had decisions to make. That’s when in May 1861, the area got bombarded by the Confederate troops and guerillas and burned the B&O Railroad facilities and bridges between Parkersburg and Grafton. Railroad President Garrett was forced to declare that the B&O would not carry Union troops.

Within days tens of thousands of union troops began to pour into and through Parkersburg and the city became a crucial route for transporting troops. The Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad and the river steamers transported troops. I could see the whole town below as I stood on top of the hill in Fort Boreman Historical Park and saw the B&O train go by. This town has a long, wonderful history, but during this time of the civil war, the people were split in their views of slavery. Disagreements split families, marriages, brother pitted against brother, father against son.

Slaves escaping the interior of West Virginia could follow the Kanawha River to Point Pleasant. From there they could follow the Ohio River north to Parkersburg. Across the river from Parkersburg was the Ohio town of Belpre where a Col. John Stone acted as an agent for the railroad. Fugitives were hidden at Parkersburg by a black woman called “Aunt Jenny” until they could cross the river. The first school for blacks was founded in Parkersburg in the 1870’s.

Little did I know about this amazing state. It’s packed with history, has charm, has paddle boat tours and if you want a beautiful car trip, take a ride on route 78, anytime of the year, but especially in the spring or the fall. To get there, you will pass Shenandoah, one of the sites where civil war fighting took place.

Do you know your American history?

GRAND STAND

Bauhaus Art by the group at the school

The Grand Stand of design happened in the early 20th century. The guilty? The Bauhaus. So, what came before? Gradual economic and social changes in the 18th and 19th century caused by the Industrial Revolution. Because of those events, the  Bauhaus, a school of different ways of thinking, changed how we viewed and developed art and technology. We are talking about, let’s say for an art example, a painting, and for technology, the Bauhaus balconies or a chair or a teapot and more stuff than you can imagine.

László Moholy-Nagy
‘Bauhaus Balconies’
1926
Silver gelatin photograph

The idea for the school was the gestalt of a learning atmosphere for all, the teacher, the student, and the creator. They all were involved with the process. Triggered by 19th century technological-industrial development, there was no gap between artistic conception and realization. It became easier to design and develop because everyone worked together.

Bauhaus "Wassily" Chair by Marcel Breuer

For example, another member of the staff at the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer, looked at the tubular form of the bicycle handlebars and made a chair using the concept. No, it wasn’t a chair with pedals. It was a chair with tubular steel supports.

Wassily Chair
Designed by Marcel Breuer, produced by Knoll®
In spirit and stature, Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair (1925) from Knoll has few equals. Believed to be the first bent tubular steel chair design, the Wassily Chair distills the traditional club chair to a series of strong, spare lines, executed with dynamic material counterpoint. The gleaming chrome-finished tubular steel frame, inspired by the graceful, curving handlebars of the Adler bicycle, is seamless in its assemblage. Thick cowhide leather slings create the design’s seating surfaces, which maintain their crisp tautness for decades. Named for Wassily Kandinsky, the father of abstract painting and a colleague of Breuer’s at the Bauhaus, the Wassily Chair is a symbol of the industrial heroism and engineering invention of the early 20th century. Made in Italy, each piece is stamped with the KnollStudio logo and the designer’s signature. The Wassily Chair is a registered trademark of Knoll, Inc., manufactured by Knoll according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. The outcome of the grand stand school of design, the Bauhaus.