Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coal Dust, Rust & Saw Dust (and more!)

Howdy! It's been a while since my last post - I've had some concerned readers email recently to check in on me - I've been busy! One humongous project I had been working on for the past 6 or 8 months is the book Coal Dust, Rust & Saw Dust - it was finished at the end of February. Coal Dust, Rust & Saw Dust is a collection of essays and songs written by my good friend, musician, historic interpreter and teacher, Van Wagner. The collection spans a number of subjects including the Pennsylvania frontier, coal mining, logging and log rafting, iron manufacturing, charcoal production and local life, accompanied by the lyrics of 28 of Van's original songs that follow the subjects of each section. There is a special tribute section to Danville, PA, Van's hometown.

There are a number of photos documenting Van's various pursuits throughout the book. Also included are several of my own photos from local ghost town areas like Fall Brook, Landrus, McIntyre and Masten, PA. I designed the layout as well as the wrap-around cover image, based on the log raft re-enactment that was performed by Van and his crew in 2003-2004.

The book is now available for sale! The cost is $20.00 and this includes the book (128 pages), plus 2 CD's with all the songs contained in the book! It's a wonderful book for an awesome price! You can order the book directly from Van on his website www.vanwagnermusic.com - or, you can order it directly from me if you're in the area of Mansfield, Blossburg or Wellsboro, PA and I'll deliver a signed cop
y to you personally - just email me - sarah [at] insanart.com.

Otherwise, things on the Insan Art front are the same as usual. I'm busy researching local history and of course, I'm still working on Landrus projects - the website is being built, very slowly. I recently laid out a trail that makes a hiking loop up the old inclined plane to the mines and then back down into the center of town. Please email me if you're interested in taking a guided hike.

I recently went out to Klondike, PA and finally got some nice photos of the foundations up there. You can see them here in my photo gallery.

I've been researching local iron furnaces and I recently found another one south of Ralston, PA that is absolutely amazing. It's almost like a castle or cathedral in the middle of the woods. This furnace south of Ralston is much more intact than the other furnace north of Ralston (even though it was apparently used more/longer than the north furnace). You can see my photos of the furnace south of Ralston here (the north photos are in the same parent album).

Finally, I've recently had a boost in excitement over my property here in Blossburg, PA. In some of my recent research, I found a photo of Blossburg from 1874 that shows my house! Now, I knew that my house was OLD - it's a one of those "salt box" type coal mine houses, and it is in pretty bad shape. We've got original lathe exposed in the upstairs, a bathroom (watercloset) floor that's about to cave in, windows and doors over a hundred years old and virtually no heat or insulation. The deed lists this house as 1900, as is common with houses built before 1900. With this photo, I can now date it to at least 1874. This weekend, my husband took apart our old kitchen door to repair the latch and the latch plate had a date of 1871! What makes me most interested in these recent developments is the fact that we have an old outhouse hole on our property - this hole COULD date back as far as 1840! I now have an archaelogical dig site right in my back yard! I'll keep you posted with what I find in there as it gets excavated!

1 comment:

wandergirl said...

what an interesting iron furnace, lovely picture!