Sunday, November 29, 2009

Important: 4200 Cold Springs Road Update

Thinking about walk scores reminded the blog to return to its favorite lake front home, the one at 4200 Cold Springs Road that has a walk score of 2. No longer on the market, but also not sold! Asking price this summer was $789,000; current Zillow estimate: $574,000.

Zillow still notes that this home can be viewed by appointment.

Crittenden Court

There is a little cul de sac just beyond the southbound Robin Hood Road entrance ramp to Silas Creek Parkway. The blog had not previously walked there because it is extremely difficult to access on foot. We took advantage of the good weather and the reduced traffic on the parkway on Thanksgiving to check it out: here's the path. We minimized time spent walking on the parkway by cutting through the parking lot of the Burkhead Methodist Church (which like many churches offers no history or information about its buildings on its website). This little community of 8 houses is truly isolated, but there is evidence, visible now that the leaves have fallen, that a walking path once connected the backyards of Crittenden Court to the backyards of Paddington Lane...Susan is hoping to have found a location off Silas Creek Parkway with a lower walk score than Ashley Forest, but hasn't checked yet. The photo is of the branch of the creek we intrepid explorers had to cross to get to our destination.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks, Riley!

As Deacons fans get ready for the last game of the season (away, at Duke), the blog looks back at a successful season of tailgating with a few photos taken two weeks ago on Senior Day (L 41-28, Florida State). Today is also quarterback Riley Skinner's last game. Jon captured Riley preparing to shake hands with Coach Grobe and Athletics Director Ron Wellman. Riley holds the ACC record for single-season completion percentage, plus 11 Wake Forest records, including Most Career Passing Yards, Most Career Completions, and Most Career Touchdown Passes. Not bad, considering that Wake Forest has been playing football for 107 years. And here's hoping that Riley's example of consistency inspires Ian Eastman-Mullins to consecutive seasons of being the cutest tailgater ever. He's off to a strong start in his first season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving thanks for...

1. the patented turkey lifter

2. pumpkin pie, especially when it can be photographed against a background of Corian

3. pumpkin-turkeys

4. Jon's kitchen!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Early warning signs

Some citizens of Winston-Salem took advantage of warm weather just before Thanksgiving to get a head start on their holiday decorating.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling very, very Neo-Georgian

Construction has not started, but white tape marking the foot print of the new Wake Forest Welcome Center is now visible in the woods alongside the entrance drive. The new building will be Neo-Georgian, which refers to a late 19th and early 20th century style of English and American architecture inspired by an 18th century style of English domestic architecture referred to as Georgian (as in George I, George II, George III etc.). Typical features are brick fa├žades with rubbed-brick dressings, sash-windows, and door-cases with fanlights. It's been noted that Neo-Georgian architects often mixed Colonial in with true Georgian (on both sides of the Atlantic), and that unpretentious vernacular elements were frequently paired with Classicism. The term Neo-Georgian is especially used to describe English architecture of the reign of King George V (1910–36). When I think of true Georgian I think of, for example, the Royal Crescent in Bath, England. Given the context of 21st century Wake Forest, I think it's a good thing that Neo-Georgian is a whole lot more subdued than Georgian!

When will the new building be finished? It seems as if bets are being hedged. The sign for the construction mentions October 2010, but spaces in the graduate student parking lot have been commandeered for admissions folks through December 31, 2010.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A sign of thoughtfulness

Walkers are welcome in the Ardmore section of Winston-Salem...

Japanese maple dreams

Susan has developed an obsession with Japanese maples, but is either too cheap or too fearful of commitment to plant any of her own. But she dreams of planting an entire GROVE of Japanese maples!!!!!! This Japanese maple, photographed last week, stands delicately at the edge of the main quad at Wake Forest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Abandoning the entire concept of garage...

Most houses in Ashley Forest (Susan's neighborhood) are NOT examples of garage-centrism. By and large, they have proper driveways that lead to attached garages on the side of the house. This house on Good Hope Road used to be an exception to that rule. But the above photo shows the response of the homeowners to the damage caused by an unattended pork roast last New Year's Eve. It was a puzzle why they were waiting so long to rebuild, but now the answer is clear - they were working up the courage to abandon the entire concept of garage.

Camouflage Kitty

Animals often attempt to blend in with their surroundings. (From a Sunday morning walk in Ashley Forest.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Abandoned garage

The blog's first attempt at an explicit statement of the garage-centrism credo: 1. The garage door must be the first thing you see when you look at a house.

The photo of an abandoned Winston-Salem garage was taken by Jon this summer in the Washington Park neighborhood of Winston-Salem.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is what looks normal to me

As I refine the "Tenets of Garage-centrism," I have been researching the history of garages. National Public Radio distracted me with a feature on parking garages. But what I am really interested in is the origin of the attached garage. I am not the only one so interested...this photo was taken in Ardmore earlier this summer. It is an excellent example of how even small lots were once designed to accommodate a detached garage at the end of a driveway. Those who grew up in the suburbs might not realize how normal and even modern this looks to me, given that in Philadelphia the main alternative was row houses and back alleys.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winmor Mystery

Jon is so busy these days...good thing the blog has his downloaded photos to remember him by...these photos, taken this summer, are of an estate in the Washington Park section of Winston-Salem. The plaque (which is not old) reads Winmor 1929, but the internet is silent on the history of this house. Which is actually hard to believe, given the long and ever-growing tentacles of the internet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eagles and garages

One of the few arguments in favor of garage-centrism: provides an obvious place to hang your eagle plaque. A short history of eagle ornaments in America can be found here. Eagle plaques are neither common nor rare in Winston-Salem, just present at a steady background level.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obelisks of memory

A memory of a Massachusetts obelisk was awakened in Jon's brain by a note from his mother: Bloody Brook. This is an unusual obelisk because it commemorates an event, as opposed to celebrating a person. It shows how effective obelisks are in tethering memories to places: why else would I now be thinking of that long ago night in 1675? And trying to remember what little I once knew about King Philip's War?

Today's photos were taken at the entrance to Graylyn by Jon last Tuesday morning. Graylyn now has a blog of its own: Will they try to lure Jon to their new blog? They need some photos!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Unasked local interest question answered

During the summer the blog walked along the old Grandview Golf Course, in Pfafftown, Forsyth County, just off Yadkinville Road. It appeared to be closed, with evidence of suspended real estate development activity. The Pfafftown entry in Wikipedia (I can't make this stuff up) notes that the course, which opened in 1971, closed for business in 2007. It was hard to tell from what we saw if the golf course would be revived as an "amenity."

A question in today's SAM ("straight answer ma'am") column in the Winston-Salem Journal provides more information (SAM used to be a real person and an Ashley Forest neighbor of Susan; but the real SAM was fired in a cost-cutting move and now who or what constitutes SAM is a mystery). The 2007 development plan was for a subdivision of 130 acres with 241 residential lots. A revised plan with a smaller footprint was submitted and approved by the city's Planning Department in 2008. Two points to note: land currently for sale along Yadkinville Road was part of the initial plan. And the current plan includes the Grandview Creek Restoration Project.

Building activity is expected to begin within 3 weeks. The photo above is of a house that will be a neighbor of the new houses. It's a fine example of garage-centrism, and it will be interesting to see if the new houses also adopt the design principle of putting the garage (or more likely, garages) up front. In this case the water tower almost balances out the garage, but only a lucky few houses ever achieve the amenity of a backyard water tower.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The blog misses walking

As the remnants of Hurricane Ida rain down on North Carolina, the blog reminisces about walking...recalls a summer's day in Asheville...and wonders if there is such a thing as a Apparently not, but we do have something called "the beehive."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Signs of fall in the Triad...

...golden leaves, golden hair.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory of humanity"

These are the words spoken to the graduating class at Antioch College by Horace Mann just months before his own death. An alert reader drew the blog's attention to an excellent classically styled bust of Mann in the National Portrait Gallery. But the National Portrait Gallery does not appear to have a portrait of Wiley.

The photo has nothing to do with Horace Mann. Susan took it at the Dixie Classic Fair back in October. Before she became the bee lady she used to be a tobacco farmer (that is, she had to grow tobacco to rear the sphinx moth Manduca sexta, which has the common name of tobacco hornworm and is widely used to study metamorphosis). She never won any blue ribbons, though.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The blog's question is answered...

An alert and loyal reader discovered that Horace Mann DOES have an obelisk. It's on the campus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The photos I found online leave no doubt that it's a great obelisk. Too bad that Antioch College is in a state of suspended animation. At least Wiley's Winston-Salem "common schools" are still in business. But Mann's obelisk is on top of a small Indian mound, which is pretty special. The mound building people lived in Ohio from about 3000 BC through the 16th century...during the early years the Egyptians were busy building obelisks while the Ohioans were busy building earthworks...both types of monument persist, but I think it is fair to say that neither is very popular these days.

Garagecentric? No, the Wiley obelisk

The blog took advantage of a fine fall Saturday to photograph the Wiley obelisk. This obelisk is difficult to approach during the week because it stands next to Wiley Middle School and Reynolds High School, and all available parking spaces are always taken. But it was worth the effort! Calvin Henderson Wiley (1819-1887) was a founder of the public schools in Winston-Salem and the first superintendent of "common schools" for North Carolina. His biography states that "Wiley completely changed the concept of public education in North Carolina." This does not seem to be an overstatement. The following passage offers but a small sample of Wiley's many accomplishments as an educator: "Wiley promoted universal education, advocating acceptance and support of the common schools. During the Civil War he urged Governor John W. Ellis not to divert school funds to the war effort; Ellis supported Wiley's position and the schools were kept open. The annual report for 1863 showed that 50,000 children were enrolled in the common schools. The percentage of illiteracy within North Carolina's voting population declined from 29.2 in 1850 to 23.1 by 1860, with the decrease being attributed to the schools' movement spearheaded by Wiley." Wiley is often referred to as "the Horace Mann of the South." But does Horace Mann have his own obelisk?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Garage-ism, garageism, garageist

The blog frequently finds itself asking "Why is this house ugly?" The answer most often has to do with the prominent placement of the garage. The blog is thinking hard about this topic, and therefore needs a term to describe the phenomenon of "garage up front." The obvious terms for this architectural trend are given in the title of this post. A search of the internet reveals that garageism often refers to music produced by garage rock bands, that garageist is a type of wine (really), and that garage-ism is rarely used. So, garage-ism it will be.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Now it's over

For the record, the blog would like to thank the Phillies for a fabulous season. The blog does not feel "robbed." It admits freely that the team that played better won (which is not the same thing at all as saying that the better team won).

The blog is preparing to to spend a little time over the next few days on the subject of garage-ism. It is therefore posting a photograph taken this past summer of a house on a street just off Country Club Road to remind our faithful readers that, no matter how much the blog rants and raves, garages are a necessary evil.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The blog is distracted...

There was frost on windshields in Winston-Salem this morning, but the baseball season is not yet over.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Wasting electricity for McCain" OR The difference a year makes

Election day 2008 was tense. Susan's peaceful Ashley Forest neighborhood became a yard sign battleground, with top honors going to this McCain-Palin shrine, especially after the sign on the roof was added to the display. The best the opposition could muster was a handwritten cardboard sign posted on a utility pole that read "Wasting electricity..." This clearly heartfelt sign was taken down so quickly that the blog did not even have a chance to take a photograph. In contrast, election day 2009 in Winston-Salem is a non-event. Our Mayor is running unopposed for his third term (he also ran unopposed for his second term). We are also electing city council members today, the majority of whom are also running unopposed...what this state of affairs says about the Camel City is hard to say...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Buena Vista Halloween

The blog recognizes the display captured in these photos as the best Halloween decorations sighted in the Triad this season. The growing popularity of Halloween lights was duly noted. Non-Winston-Salem natives are often surprised by the Southern pronunciation of this neighborhood's name (Boo-na Vista). The oldest homes in Buena Vista were built in the late teens and early 20s of the last century, and the neighborhood is sometimes described as home to many leading "second and third generation" families. In Winston-Salem: A History, Frank Tursi notes that wealthy Winston-Salem citizens were happy to leave behind Victorian mansions on urban West Fifth Street for the "secluded enclaves of Country Club Estates and Buena Vista."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Strange sights in Winston-Salem

A very, very large bee at the Deacons-Miami tailgate, a living stick man and an evil knight helping themselves to too much free candy...Can Pedro's words really be correct? Is the reality the reality?