Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 14

OUR BLUE RIDGE TOWNS

It's a full house on
Main Street at the
beautiful Historic
Masonic Theatre.
CHUCK ALMAREZ, FIRE AND LIGHT GALLERY

By JOAN VANNORSDALL

RIDING THE ART TRAIN

Clifton Forge, Virginia

How does an out-of-the-way mountain town-pretty much left for dead a few decades back-
make a comeback? It's a long story that finally comes down to this: creativity and courage.

I

t's a familiar story: company towns dependent on
a single industry shriveling and, sometimes, disappearing when factories close up shop.
Mining in Appalachia. Textiles in South Carolina.
Steel in the Rust Belt. Railroad shops across the East.
Traveling the Blue Ridge, I've seen plenty of these
left-behind towns, their main streets lined with
empty storefronts. But I've also seen small towns that
have beat the odds, reinventing themselves with creativity, passion, and a lot of hard work. I call them Phoenix
Towns, the ones that rose from the ashes of what was into
the blue-sky possibilities of something new. It's time to
tell the stories of these towns-they'll open your eyes,
pique your curiosity, and make you want to see for yourself what hope and tenacity can do in these mountains.

14

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

If you lived in Clifton Forge, Virginia in the late 1940s,
odds are that the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway paid your
bills. Two thousand of the city's 5,800 residents worked
for the C&O. More than a hundred passenger, coal, and
freight trains rolled daily through Clifton Forge. In the
shops, steam engines were tuned up and then went on
their way. But with the advent of the more durable diesel
locomotives in the 1950s, the Yards grew ominously quiet
as workers were transferred or laid off.
What do you do with a railroad town when the trains
stop running?
In Clifton Forge-which reverted to town status in
2001 after a 40-percent population loss-the answer is,
well, artful.
"Art has been around this place for a very long time,"


http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover4
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