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f I A NT N U I a J a ,b' UNI *



ei[^ JO



THE



Virginia Tourist.

SKETCHES OF THE
SPRINGS AND MOUNTAINS OF VIRGINIA:



CONTAINING

AN EXPOSITION OF FIELDS FOR THE TOURIST IN VIRGINIA; NATURAL

BEAUTIES AND WONDERS OF THE STATE; ALSO ACCOUNTS OF

ITS MINERAL SPRINGS; AND A MEDICAL GUIDE TO

THE USE OF THE WATERS, ETC., ETC.



BY

EDWARD A. POLLARD,

Author of " The Black Diamonds," " The Lost Cause," etc. etc.



ILLUSTRA TED BY ENGRA VINGS FROM ACTUAL SKETCHES.



y

PHILADELPHIA

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

1870.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.



.?^^



Lippincott's Press,

PHILADELPHIA.



ANNOUNCEMENT.




HE Author comes before the public, this time,
humbly bearing what may be described to many
readers in America as the discoveries or revela-
;ions of a New World !

So little known, even among his own countrymen, is
Iransmontane Virginia; not now referring to its unde-
veloped industrial resources, but to its unappreciated
wealth of natural scenery, its unknown rivers and its
unexplored mountains ; the beauties and wonders which
designate this region as the richest field, the most abun-
dant area of adventure and discovery, yet remaining for
the American Tourist; and, added to these gifts, the
curious and magnificent dowry that Nature has bestowed
in the distribution here of Mineral Springs unequaled in
the world.

It is believed that the many interests contained in this
work will embrace many classes of readers. In brief, it
is designed to be a Traveller's or Tourist's Guide, a
Medical Guide, a Sketch Book and an Artist's Portfolio
of the Great Mountain Belt of Virginia; a region in which
is displayed a Scenery that, positively, when known, will

3



4 ANNOUNCEMENT.

admit no rivals on this continent, and in which is provided
the additional and illimitable attraction of the great Sani'
tarium of America.

The author has told the unaffected story of a real tour,
but he has attempted something more than a slight or a
temporary work. He has designed, not without some
pride in the undertaking, a great patriotic contribution to
the State of Virginia, developing a source of prosperity
as fruitful and real as that of her fields and mines ; and
he has aimed to lay a worthy literary offering on those
high altars of worship which he has found in some of the
grandest scenes of Nature.

Among the few persons he has to thank for any favors
the author would testify here his gratitude to his artist
friend, Warren C. White, Esq., whose assistance in sketch-
ing some of the scenes of the work not only deserves
acknowledgment, but whose affectionate companionship
on the journey is remembered in another sense and with
a tenderer gratitude.

The author has but little else to be thankful for in the
way of encouragement of his work. However, he is ac-
customed to submit his writings on their merit alone ; and
he is proud to say that, however the envy of criticism may
have interposed and expostulated, the favors of the reading
public have never yet failed to give him signal rewards.

Edward A. Pollard.
Home in Virginia.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

PAGE

Neglect of the Natural Scenery of Virginia — A Glance over its
Beauties and Wonders — The Natural Structure of
Virginia — Design of our Work — " Old " Virginia — Natural
Divisions of the State — Piedmont Virginia — The Valley of
Virginia — Husbandmen of the Valley — South-west Virginia
— Picture Galleries constituted by the Mountains — Three
Notable Pictures — Virginia as a Recent Discovery — THE
Springs Region of Virginia — The Sanitarium of
America — The Boundaries of this Region — Its Relation
to the Mississippi Valley — Hotel Accommodations at the
Springs — Their Defects — Investments in Springs' Property —
Guide to the Virginia Tourist — The Angle which
measures the Springs Region — How it may be Traversed —
Stage Routes over the Mountains — Table of Routes in
and about the Springs Region—A Topographical Coup
d^ (Kil oi 2l Tour in Virginia 13

CHAPTER II.

LYNCHBURG AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.

Lynchburg recommended as a Starting-point of a Tour in Vir-
ginia — Superior Attractions of South-west Virginia for the
Tourist — Obscurities of this Part of the State — Description
of "the Hill City " — Mountain Scenery around Lynchburg —
A Royal Peculiarity of the Blue Ridge — Ancient Memories
of Lynchburg — The James River and Kanawha Canal —
1* 5



6 CONTENTS,

PAGE

George "Washington's Vision — The Great Water Line
OF Virginia — A Vision of Romance as well as of Empire —
The Boast of New River — An Heraldic Ensign for " New "
Virginia 37

CHAPTER III.

FROM LYNCHBURG TO THE NATURAL BRIDGE.

Recent Neglect of the Natural Bridge by Sight-Seers — Directions
of Route to it — On the Banks of the James — Balcony Falls
— Views from the Stage Road — Scenery on North River —
The Natural Bridge — First Sight of it — Curious Propor-
tions of Art in its Structure — The Angle of Ascent — View
from the Creek below — A Strange Imagination — Gates of
Hell — The Natural Bridge compared with Niagara Falls —
Two Illustrations of the Sublime in our American Schools
of ^Esthetics — Climbing the Natural Bridge — Testi-
mony of an Eye-witness 48

CHAPTER IV.

THE PEAKS OF OTTER.

Journey to the Peaks — Experiences by the Wayside — Panoramic
Views — Picture of a Feudal Proprietorship — Grape-growing
in the Mountains — Toilsome Ascent — On the Peak — Stand-
ing up in the great Hollowness of the Sky — Peculiar Sublim-
ity of the Peaks of Otter — A Religious Reflection on the
Scene — Bird of the Mountain — The Sublime Effect of a
Striking Contrast — The Little Earth and the Great Heav-
ens , ..„ 60

CHAPTER V.

ALLEGHANY SPRINGS AND SURROUNDINGS.

Route to the Alleghany Springs — At the Heart of the Mountains
of Virginia — Access to the Springs North and South — The
Water sui generis, and the most elaborate in the World — •
Analysis of the Water — Medical Guide to its Uses — Wonder-



CONTENTS. 7

PAGE

ful Effects of the Water — The Scenery around the Springs
the most Remarkable in Virginia — Puncheon Run Falls —
Romance of its Discovery — Climbing the Mountain — A
Rough Journey — Sublimity of the Falls — Descent Two
Thousand Feet — Scenes on Puncheon Run — " Purgatoiy" —
The Deserters' Fortress — Fisher's View — Looking from
the Mountain's Top — Characteristics of Mountain Views —
Sublime Effect of a View of and beyond the Alleghany 70

CHAPTER VI.

A WEEK IN SOUTH-WEST VIRGINIA.

Going to the Natural Tunnel — X Seat of Empire — Bristol and
its Surroundings — A Ride through Two States — The
White Ships of the Mountains — Estillville — A Glance at
the Mineral Wealth of the Country — " Boone's Trace " —
Indian Relics and Traditions — The Natural Tunnel —
First View of the Tunnel — Its Dimensions — Frightful Pass-
age through it — Sublime View from the Lower Entrance —
Speculations as to the Cause of this great Natural Wonder —
The Tunnel seen by Sunrise — Sublime and Picturesque Ef-
fects — Association of an Indian Story — The Tragedy of
Masoa — The Adventure of Dodson — A Battle with an Eagle
— The Cave of the Unknown — Almost Lost — A Cavern-
ous Country — BLOOMING Rocks — A Poetical Country-
man — The Holston Springs — Analysis of the "Hot
Spring" — Attractions of the Place.. ......,..,..„, ..,,„....„,.,, 91

CHAPTER VII.

THE MONTGOMERY WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, AND THE YELLOW
SULPHUR SPRINGS.

Locality of the Montgomery White Sulphur Springs — Beauties
and Attractions of the Place — Medical Description of the
Water — Reputation of the Springs for Social Gayeties — A
Criticism on Southern Society — A Gala Day at the
Montgomery White Sulphur — Description of a "Grand"
Tournament — "Gander-pulling" — A Knightly Defence of



8 CONTENTS.

PAGE

the Tournament — A Beautiful Illumination in the Moun-
tains—A Night Picture— The Yellow Sulphur Springs
— Analysis and Virtues of the Water — Within Sixty Feet of
the Alleghany Summit 119

CHAPTER VIII.

A TRIP TO NEW RIVER, SALT POND, BALD KNOB AND LITTLE

STONY CREEK.

Plan of a Trip into Giles County — Crossing the Mountain — A
Ride through a Night-storm — The Adventure of a Lost Hat
— Benighted in the Woods — Singular Experience with a
Mountaineer — One of " Nature's Noblemen " — Eggles-
ton's White Sulphur Springs — Scenery of New
River — " Pompey's Pillar " and " Caesar's Arch " — " The
Narrows" — " Hawk's Nest" — New River compared with
the Rhine — Little Stony Falls — Terrific Leap of the
Water — Salt Pond — A Lake of Fresh Water suspended
among the Clouds — A Submerged Forest — Part of the Lake
Unfathomable — An Old Lady's Theory — An Emigrant
Company of East Tennesseeans — Talks with Them — A Pic-
ture of Solitude — Bald Knob — Looking into Five States
— Effects as compared with the View from the Peaks of
Otter — Cloud-ships — A Fog-ocean — A Hospitable Rest 130

CHAPTER IX.

TAZEWELL COUNTY THE SWITZERLAND OF VIRGINIA.

How to go to Tazewell County — Description of the Route — Salt-
ville — The Alps of Virginia — " The Peak " — An Indian
Battle-Field — Dial Rock — Climbing the Cliffs — Valley of
the Clinch River — View of it on a Summer's Evening —
Burke's Garden — Abb's Valley — The Flora of South-west
Virginia — The Tazewell Historical Society — Was Tazewell
County ancient Xuala ? — Social and Literary Culture in the
Mountains — Romance on Horseback — A Ride through
the Mountains — Homes of the Mountaineers — Com-
parison of the Mountaineer and the Lowland Rustic — Dia-



CONTENTS. 9

PAGE

lect of the Mountains — Traditions of the Early Commerce
of South-west Virginia — "Uncle Billy" — Isolation of the
Mountaineer's Home — An Observation of Mr. Horace
Greeley — Simplicity of a Primitive Society — A Comedy in
THE Mountains — " Sal's" Courtship — The " beatingest "
Dog — A Lock of Hair — Reflections on the Mountain Maid
— A Vision of Beauty I54

CHAPTER X.

LEXINGTON AND THE VALLEY OF VIRGINIA,

From South-west Virginia to Lexington — Coyner's Springs —
Reputation of the Water — Lexington and its Surround-
ings — " The Athens of Virginia " — Its Educational Institu-
tions — General Lee's Professorship — The Grave of
Stonewall Jackson — A curious letter from a former
Governor of Virginia — The Rockbridge Baths — A Buoy-
ant Water — The Rockbridge Alum Springs — Mountain
Views — A Remarkable Advantage of the Watering-Places
of Virginia — Testimony of Dr. Cartwright — The Valley
OF Virginia — Its Physical Geography — Peculiarity of
Minor Formations — The Luray Valley — View from Thorn-
ton's Gap — A Recollection of the War — Mineral Springs
on the Flanks of the Alleghany — The Valley of Virginia, as
a Fancy and as a Reality, , i8o

CHAPTER XL

a romance of the valley OF VIRGINIA.

Geographical Fables of the early Virginia Colonists — Mr. Jeffer-
son's belief in the Mastodon — A Curious Indian Myth —
The Barrier of the Blue Ridge — Influx of Pennsylvania
Germans into the Valley of Virginia — The Adventures of
John Sailing — The Lewis Family — Remarkable Result of a
Buffalo Hunt — Burden's Grant — Andrew Lewis' Explor-
ations on Greenbrier River — The Shawnees — Death of
Cornstalk — Relations of the Germans and of the Scotch-
Irish in the Valley—Characteristics of the Scotch-Irish —



lO CONTENTS.

PAGE

Their Churches and Schools — Three Generations in the
Valley — The Progress of America in Miniature 198

CHAPTER XII.

THE GREENBRIER WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS.

The Railroad through the Mountains — vSite of the White Sul-
phur Springs — Pleasing Scenery — The Springs in 1 7 72 —
Hotel Improvements — The Grounds — Analysis of the White
Sulphur Water — Remarks on the Use of Mineral Waters —
Popular Errors on the Subject — Debauchery in Mineral
Waters — A Guide to the Use of the White Sulphur Water
— The Theory of Fresh vs. Stale — The Bathing Establish-
ment — Life at the Springs — " Jenkins " in Virginia — A
Ball-room Conversation — A Southern Editor on Society
and Comfort at the Springs — Why Virginians " can't keep
Hotels" — An Anecdote of Boniface — The White Sulphur
Hotel a Superior one , 222

CHAPTER XIII.

THE SPRINGS OF MONROE AND BATH COUNTIES.

The Springs Region described from the White Sulphur as a
Centre — Surrounding Scenery — View from Dry Creek —
The Old Sweet Springs — A Ride through the Rain —
An Aristocratic Resort — Medical Description of the Old
Sweet Water — The Salt Sulphur Springs — Observa-
tions of Dr. Mutter — The Red Sulphur Springs — Re-
ported cures of Consumption — The Blue Sulphur Springs
— Analysis of the Water — Routes from the Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs into Bath County — The Cascade
OF THE Falling Springs — Views through a New Atmos-
phere — The Blowing Cave — Thomas Jefferson's Descrip-
tion Incorrect — The Warm Springs Mountain — Look-
ing from "Flag Rock" — The Hot Springs — Virtues of
the Thermal Baths — The Warm Springs — An Indian
Tradition — The Healing Springs — Beauties of Scenery
— Pleasures of Trout-fishing — Dr. Burke on these Springs



CONTENTS. 1 1

PAGH

— The Bath Alum Springs — Effects of the Water —
Painful Aspects of Invalidism at the Springs 239

CHAPTER XIV.

FROM STAUNTON TO WEYER's CAVE.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad — Looking to the Occident
— A Wilderness of Riches — The Town of Staunton — A
Glance at its History — Views of the Surrounding Country
— The Virginian "Apology" for Roads — Weyer's Cave
— A Subterranean Diorama — " Formations" and Curiosities
— Peculiarities of Subterranean Nomenclature — "Washing-
ton's Hall " — A Flight of Fancies — Dimensions of the
Ca\e — Estimate of it as a Natural Wonder — Age of the
Stalactites — The Sublimity of Nature as a Workman.... 260

Practical Hints to the Virginia Tourist 273



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



MAP OF SPRINGS REGION frontispiece.

PAGE

SCENE ON NORTH RIVER • 5°

PUNCHEON RUN FALLS 77

" PURGATORY"— VIEW ON PUNCHEON RUN • . 85

FISHER"S VIEW— THE ALLEGHANY SPRINGS................. 89

THE NATURAL TUNNEL— THE INTERIOR.. 103

" " « —LOOKING OUT.... 106

LITTLE STONY FALLS.... 143

VIEW FROM THORNTON'S GAP— THE LURAY VALLEY 195

VIEW ON DRY CREEK. 240

TROUT POOL.... 256

12



The Virginia Tourist.



CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY. '

Neglect of the Naiural Scenery of Virginia — A Glance over its Beauties and Won-
ders — The Natural Structure of Virginia — Design of our Work — "Old"
Virginia — Natural Divisions of the State — Piedmont Virginia — The Valley of
Virginia — Husbandmen of the Valley — South-west Virginia — '"icture Galleries
constituted by the Mountains — Three Notable Pictures — Virginia as a Recent
Discovery — The Springs Region of Virginia — The Sanitarium of
America — The Bnundariel of this Region — Its Relation to the Mississippi
Valley — Hotel Accommodations at the Springs — Their Defects — Investments
in Springs' Property — Guide to the Virginia Tourist — The Angle which
measures the Springs Region — How it may be Traversed — Stage Routes over
the Mountains — Table of Routes in and about the Springs Region —
A Topographical Cotip cVCEil oiz. Tour in Virginia.




r is a subject of complaint, and a sore reflection
with Virginians, that the natural scenery of their
State, which they claim excels in interest any
equal area of the Union, and surpasses that of Europe in
the breadth of its panoramas and in many other effects,
has been so long neglected, obtaining hitherto so small a
patronage of the traveler and the artist. Certainly no
other State in the Union can make the same number of
exhibitions of the sublime and curious in works of the
wonder and cunning of Nature. Yet these are but little
known north of the Potomac, and a population unskilled
2 . 13



14 THE VIRGINIA TOURIST,

<,

in advertising the attractions of their neighborhood see
them neglected, while inferior scenes and ■ resorts in the
North are attended every convenient season by tens of
thousands of visitors, are displayed in illustrated papers,
written of, ostentatiously described, and made objects of
curiosity and of interest to the whole world. The writer
was recently shown a book entitled Summer Resorts of
America, in which not a single place attractive to travelers
for health or pleasure was noted south of Cape May. Yet
here, in this wonderful State of Virginia, we have a well-
defined belt of territory containing more than twenty
mineral springs, in the variety and efficacy of their waters
certainly unequaled in the whole world, and offering the
remarkable double attraction that these fountains of
health and pleasure are set in a scenery unsurpassed, and
wherein stand numerous wonders of Nature, which have
been sometimes esteemed by the few foreign travelers
who have penetrated to our mountain lands as, indeed,
the greatest sights of the American continent.

In years before the war these scenes were visited from
abroad to some extent. This awakening interest must
have been cut short by the war, or, for some other reason,
curiosity has resiled from the mountains of Virginia j for
it is certain that scenes among them, once referred to as
wonderful and interesting, have fallen into comparative
obscurity, and have for years since the war failed to make
their appearance, even in the advertisement columns of
the newspapers. Yet what beauties and wonders may be
swept by a glance of the eye across less than half the
breadth of the State !

Take the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge county, its arch
fifty-five feet higher than Niagara Falls, its mystic rocks
rising with the decision of a wall.



INTRODUCTORY. 1 5

The Peaks of Otter (Bedford county), 5307 feet above
the sea-level, where John Randolph, once witnessing the
sun rise over the majestic scene, turned to his servant,
having no other to whom he could express his thoughts,
and charged him "never, from that time, to believe any
one who told him there was no God ! ' '

Hawk's Nest, or Marshall's Pillar (Fayette county), the
latter name in honor of Chief Justice Marshall, who, as
one of the State commissioners, stood upon its fearful
brink, the entire spot not affording standing-room for
half a dozen persons, and sounded its exact depth to the
river margin, which exceeds one thousand feet.

The Natural Tunnel (Scott county), passing one hun-
dred and fifty yards through the solid rock, making a huge
subterraneous cavern or grotto, whose vaulted roof rises
seventy to eighty feet above its floor, and facing the en-
trance to which is an amphitheatre of rude and frightful
precipices, looking like the deserted thrones of the genii
of the mountain.

Weyer's Cave (Augusta county), which has been com-
pared to the celebrated Grotto of Antiparos, traversing in
length more than sixteen hundred feet, its innumerable
apartments filled with snowy-white concretions of a thou-
sand various forms, among which stands "the Nation's
Hero," a concretion having the form and drapery of a
gigantic statue.

A mountain scenery, of a portion of which an English
traveler, passing through the Kanawha country to the
White Sulphur Springs, has written: " For one hundred
and sixty miles you pass through a gallery of pictures
most exquisite, most varied, most beautiful — one that will
not suffer in comparison with a row along the finest por-
tions of the Rhine."



1 6 THE VIRGINIA TOURIST,

Again, on the very waters of '' the Rhine of Virginia,"
beautiful, wonderful New River, cutting with its steel-blue
blade into the very rock, and, even at the base of its
cliffs, passing one hundred and fifty feet deep through
glittering banks of the mineral wealth of the State.

The Bald Knob, with nothing but a broken crown of
rock on its scarred summit, from which we may look as
far as eye can reach, and watch the passenger clouds into
five States.

The Salt Pond, the mysterious lake hanging among the
clouds on the side of Bald Knob, unfathomable, or mea-
sured in places only by the submerged forest which we
see as if cast in bronze in the depths of the emerald
waters.

A little farther away "a new Switzerland," compassed
in Tazewell county, where *' Burke's Garden" smiles in
the shadow of ^'the Peak," and the swift streams dash
like arrows through the mountain sides.

And lastly — that the freshness of a recent discovery
may adorn the catalogue — the Puncheon Run Falls, dis-
covered near the Alleghany Springs, the water, hurled
from the brow of the mountain, descending at an angle
near the perpendicular eighteen hundred or two thousand
feet — a scene, in its union of the picturesque and grand,
unexcelled, yet which had never been noticed until the
summer of 1869, but by the rude and stoical mountaineers,
who had never thought of advertising it to the world.

But this is only an enumeration of scenes at random.
There is a remarkable system of distribution in the natu-
ral scenery of Virginia. There is an order in the exhi-
bition — a dioramic order in which its scenes pass before
our eyes ; a succession of galleries constituted by its rivers
and mountains.



INTR OD UC TOR T. 1 7

This by way of prefatory remark. In affording the
reader an introduction to the scenery loosely enumerated
above, and to other interests of our work, it will be con-
venient here to lay the foundation of the tour we propose
in some general remarks, and to indicate our plan under
some different heads.

THE NATURAL STRUCTURE OF VIRGINIA.

We are not going to write of the physical geography
of the State, its geology, or its agriculture. It is not the
design of our work to descant on the ''resources" of Vir-
ginia, to uncover her robes of field and forest, or to throw
curious and scientific glances into her beauteous bosom.
The author is simply a tourist ; he is traveling for pleas-
ure ; and he cannot pause to observe what there is of
scientific or commercial interest in the country he trav-
erses, unless such as falls obviously under the attention of
the ordinary traveler. Such "incidental mentionings"
may be not without value or interest. But the main pur-
pose of the author is simply to record the impressions of
a real journey from the stand-points of pleasure and rec-
reation. He is a tourist, not a scientific explorer, or
even a "commercial traveler;" he is to tell what there
is of the beautiful and the enjoyable in "the grand old
State" — and the task is plentiful enough. It is distinct
enough, too, though it may sometimes fall into reflec-
tions on "resources" of the State as seen from the way-
side, and mingle something slight of "the material" with
the aesthetic and luxurious.

The Natural Structure of Virginia constitutes those
remarkable divisions of scenery to which we have already
referred. They are divisions which have grown up on
2* B



1 8 THE VIRGINIA TOURIST.

differences of topography and soil, and to which the steps
are geographical. The common impressions of Virginia
which the larger mass of travelers passing hurriedly
through it obtain are those of the Atlantic slope, and
they are impressions by no means prepossessing. Pass-
ing from the Potomac through a series of dreary country
towns to the unclean city of Richmond, or floated there
from Norfolk on the tidewater of the James, or going
even for many miles on the railroads leading from the
capital of the State, the traveler on the ordinary routes
has but a sorry sight of "old" Virginia, in her galled
hills and old fields, worn to exhaustion by the plough
and hoe in the culture of tobacco and corn. It is a level
and barren picture. The old field pines, the broom
sedge and the persimmons are the memorials of "im-
provement" under the past system of slavery. The trav-
eler from the North thinks of his own populous land-
scapes, he compares what he sees along the low, scanty
banks of the historic rivers of Virginia with the valleys
of the Hudson, the Mohawk and the Susquehanna, and,
having seen the decays of Eastern Virginia, he carries


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Online LibraryEdward Alfred PollardThe Virginia tourist → online text (page 1 of 20)