Posts Tagged ‘history’

The Wayback Machine: Our Earliest Websites Revealed

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Wayback MachineBy Jay Young

In 2007, Mountain River Tours, Class-VI River Runners and Rivermen joined forces to create Adventures on the Gorge. In 2011, we also welcomed Songer Whitewater to the family. But long before any of these mergers occurred, each company was a thriving river outfitter with its own style of doing things and its own personalities working there.

I recently dug into the Internet Wayback Machine, web.archive.org, to find out what some of our early websites looked like. Here’s what I found:

Rivermen, circa 1998

Mountain River Tours, circa 2000

Songer Whitewater, circa 2001

Class-VI River Runners, circa 2002

(In the case of Mountain River Tours, our history officially goes as far back as 1972, but the kernel of the idea that become MRT really starts with the Turkey Raft. Check it out!)

Gad, West Virginia: Population 0

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

By Jay Young

“Anybody want to go to Gad?” I asked among the office folk at AOTG.

Summersville Lake was drained to its ten-year low for the dam inspection, and I wanted to see the town that got flooded when the Army Corps completed Summersville Dam. To an amateur historian like me, Gad seemed enigmatic… maybe even a little romantic… Visions of half-weathered homes and churches filled my mind, populated by the spirits of giggling children and stern-faced old men on tractors. The chance to form a tangible connection with them was too much to resist, and since I needed blog content anyway, it was full steam ahead.

Before I could go to Gad, however, I had to know where it was. I Googled various words and phrases until I finally found historical maps of West Virginia. A scan of Nicholas County from 1920-ish showed me Gad, and comparing that to a modern Gazetteer, I narrowed her probable location to a patch of lake bed the size of a few football fields. And good news! It was right next to Summersville Marina. I could probably see it without even getting out of my truck.

I pulled into the Marina and immediately began to scan the lake bed for buildings, foundations, old buses, whatever—as though the ghosts of Gad might call out, “Hey! We’re here! Gad is here!”

I saw little but mud and rocks.

I parked and got out. The Marina was desolate. Floating docks rested in the silt, and every boat was gone for the winter. Empty as the lake itself, Sarge’s Dive Shop sat a silent vigil over nothing.

I scanned the lake bed for any sign of Gad. I saw boulders… mud… a bit of trash… an old NPS road gate…

Wait—what? This isn’t NPS property, and just what is a road gate doing in the middle of the lake? I grabbed my camera and trotted out into the muck.

When I got there, the “road gate” was something else entirely—I’m not really sure what. Nonetheless, welcome to Gad… population me!

There’s little left of the town. In fact, I think what I did find—one foundation next to a strange steel something or other—is high enough up the hill that it probably breathes air every winter. Any lower and it might have been covered in silt.

AOTG marketing guru, PJ Stevenson, can clearly recall visiting Gad when she was in her teens and seeing much more than what I saw. Well, decades of silt buildup will do that to a town. And yet, I’m left wondering… what was Gad like when it was alive?

Hmmm…

Fayette Station: a Steep & Winding Bit of New River Gorge History

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Tunny Hunsaker Bridge above Fayette Station RapidBy Jerry Seymour and Jay Young

At Adventures On the Gorge we’re midway through a promotion we call Countdown to Crazy. Half sale, half contest, participants can enter to win a $1000 gift certificate by booking lodging and/or activities for the winter 2011/2012 season, or they can submit a blog post. Needless to say, the guest-authored blog content has been rolling in and some of it is quite good! Here’s one that Jerry Seymour, a guest of ours from way back, wrote.

My best adventure in/on the gorge was eons ago. The Bridge had just opened and a friend and I decided to go check it out. We slept in the car and drove down the old road to the old bridge and climbed all over the gorge and then drove across the new bridge. The new bridge was impressive, but the old winding road and riveted bridge were more fun. We had a blast! I’d love to make it back up for bridge day and some rafting soon.

The winding road and riveted bridge Jerry wrote about are Fayette Station Rd. and the Tunney Hunsacker Bridge, and as he can probably tell you, both are integral parts of our local coal history. In fact, if you’re at Adventures On the Gorge and looking for something fun, educational and free to do, a visit to Fayette Station is a great option. If you park before crossing the Tunny Hunsaker Briedge and walk upstream along the tracks (which is illegal), you’ll come to a great little set of ruins after about 200 meters. You can also listen to the fantastic Fayette Station Road Audio Tour as you wind in and out of the 900′-deep New River Gorge.