Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sometimes in the rush to get from here to there and back again you discover something that makes you want to stop and sit a spell. You want to learn more about what you've found, but you can't.
Such as the case when I was in Racine, Ohio, this week. It's a small incorporated village a few miles up the river from Pomeroy. The state road makes a sharp bend to the left, but I saw something off to the right that needed investigating. Namely, I was looking for a spot directly across the Ohio River from AEP's Philip Sporn power plant. I didn't find that spot, at least the one I remembered with an unobstructed view of the plant, which is built on the river's edge. But in the process of looking for that, I found this.
The old Cross Grocery is out of business, at least in this building. Racine, like other towns, is a mix of convenience stores and chain stores geared to small towns (think Dollar General). The fact that this building looks so good on the outside intrigued me. And that "Established 1860" didn't hurt either. It's close enough to the river that it must have been visible from the water.
As I looked around in my five minutes in Racine, I saw other old buildings of a like sort. It made me wonder what Racine was like a few generations ago. The town must have faced the river and had some sort of river-based commerce. If only there were a local historian or storyteller who could tell what the town was like a century ago when my grandparents' boats traveled up and down the Ohio.
It will be a while before I can get back to Racine. Now I have many more reasons to.
P.S. This is like an old, long-closed general store I found in Golconda, Illinois, back in 1986. That old store had a couple of antique gas pumps out front. I would have liked to have found the people who ran it, too. But that opportunity is -- more than likely -- long gone.