The McKees Creek Artifact

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Archways” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The days are becoming more gentle and I have the urge to pack up my gear and head into the landscape. I want to smell the moss and listen to the birds singing. The path in tonight’s feature image is the trail at McKees Creek in the Salmon Run area of Summersville Lake. The trail winds through some of the old homestead properties where you can see some of the old cut stone foundations. In the mid 90s my friend Paul lead me to huge moss covered stone that was well off of the trail. I could tell that the stone was cut into a rectangle by the sharpness of the edges. He asked what I thought it was. I don’t really remember what my exact reply was but I remember thinking that it was probably just piece that was being sectioned out when the work stopped. That is until he rolled the moss back like a rug and revealed the details underneath. The work was indeed unfinished but what I saw was the beginning of what would have been a beautifully detailed fireplace mantel. Long graceful arches would have given the impression of brackets. There was even a French curve carved into the face. It had not been polished. Just roughed out. It must have weighed a couple of tons. It would have taken a team of draft horses just to pull it out of the landscape. Positioning into place in the wall that it was intended to occupy would have required several men with crib blocks and levers. I have done similar work on construction sites where the ground wasn’t stable enough for heavy equipment. It can be nerve-wracking to have a large heavy object resting on a tower of unfastened wooden blocks. In the case of the stone mantle the most dangerous part would have been sliding it from the cribbing into place. It’s possible that a block and tackle would have been used with the horses. If that was the plan then the scaffolding would have been enormous.

Perhaps the reason it was never completed was that the builder realized what an effort it would be to utilize the piece and opted to cut his losses. Whatever happened it resulted in another interesting artifact that was left behind in the Appalachian woodlands. I have never been able to find that spot a second time either. I’ve made several trips down the pathway and through the high arches formed by the trees. There’s several cut stones here and there but the stone mantle has eluded me.

I do have a question for my readers concerning upcoming posts. I have a deep interest in wild edible plants that are found in the Appalachian Mountains. Some are native to my area and some cultivated plants that have escaped. Others are plants that we might have as part of our landscape but never really considered to be edibles. Is that something that you would enjoy reading about? Please let me know by commenting either here on my blog or on Facebook. ( link to my Facebook is below.) For now I hope that you find a chance to get out and find some time to declutter the mind in nature. Be blessed and have a great day!

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4 thoughts on “The McKees Creek Artifact

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