Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gas boom

Drilling for gas in the Marcellus shale formation is a big deal in northern West Virginia. For an update on how big, check out this story about what's happening in and around the Ohio River town of New Martinsville.
Has it really been two years since the problems at the Markland Locks and Dam between Cincinnati and Louisville began? According to this story from The Associated Press, it has. But, the story says, everything should be back to normal soon.

Early last year you had big problems at both Markland and Greenup. The story notes that many of the locks on the Ohio have exceeded their design life and need work, but the money isn't there. That's the problem with infrastructure that people see as mainly benefitting bulk cargo carriers. A lot of people think they have no dog in this fight, so there's no urgency to find the money to work on these things. Until the things fail, that is.


Here's a piece that gives one or two paragraphs each on ghost towns in Indiana -- places that once existed or thrived but now are forgotten or nearly so. This particular piece talks about a town called Enterprise and the original Leavenworth. According to the article, after a flood the people of Leavenworth moved their town to higher ground and kept the name.

As I read this, it reminded me of some ghost towns in my area. Near the village of Athalia, Ohio, about 20 miles above Huntington, there was a community called Haskelville or Haskelleville or something like that. It was abandoned after a flood in the 1880s, I think. Today it's the site of a fruit orchard, I think. I have to phrase it that way because I'm not sure of the exact location.

If you've road "Afloat on the Ohio" by Reuben Gold Thwaites, you've read about how he wanted to photograph some crackers (his word) in the Gallia County, Ohio, community of Rosebud. If you know where to look, you can find some houses, singlewides and doublewides where Rosebud is/was.

I've been told of others along the Ohio -- not like Rosebud, but more like old Leavenworth -- that no longer exist, but in a quick Web search this morning I can't find anything about them. That may have to wait until another day.

But there are others inland, a few rides away from the river, that may have been communities in the days of horses and buggies but now are pretty much forgotten, such as Polkadotte (pronounced Pokey Dot) in Lawrence County, Ohio. And there are some that are near ghost towns, whose locations are marked by the remains of an old country store or a post office that has long since closed.


And a couple of bridges were closed for a few hours this week after being hit by barges during high water. The bridge at Cairo was hit on Thursday, and the one at Pomeroy, Ohio, was hit on Saturday. No structural damage was done in either case, and both are open again.