Saturday, July 28, 2007
My Kind of Town
This blog is my homage to my adopted hometown. I was born in New York, went to college in Virginia, got married and settled in Fredericksburg almost 30 years ago. Except for the first few years, when a swinging twenty-something needed more to do on a Friday night than listening to the country band at Shakey’s Pizza (though the Mojos were good), the place has had an undeniable appeal. It’s the small-towniness that I love. Yes, I know that with a population of 20,000, and a total population of over a quarter million in the Greater Fredericksburg Metropolitan Area (Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George counties), it’s not really a small town. But from the vantage point of someone who grew up in a relatively urban environment (or at least aggressively suburban), it still retains a lot of small town charm.
Now the locals will complain that the area is being overdeveloped (absolutely true), that the traffic congestion is miserable (it is), there’s a Wawa on every corner (but that’s America, isn’t it?), and we’re well on our way to becoming just another indistinguishable D.C. suburb, filled with big box stores and plastic menu restaurants. But on the other hand, you’re never more than a couple of months away from a cheesy, yet earnest, parade, there are outdoor concerts in the park all summer, people stroll around downtown and sit for hours at the local coffee shop like Europeans (though you’re on your own in the crosswalks, American-style), and if there are six degrees of separation between me and anyone else on the planet, there are only two degrees of separation between me and most Fredericksburgers.
So to start, I give you a photo of the Purina tower, an iconic image of Fredericksburg. It was built in 1919 as a grain elevator (a term I first heard from my college roommate from Delphos, Ohio, but to this day still don’t fully understand), but I have no idea what it’s being used for now, other than not grain. Not all of my photos will be goofily photoshopped like this one, but it’s such an over-photographed building that I couldn’t resist.