By Joe Obidzinski
Something that is often heard on a tour of the Blaker Gristmill at Jackson’s Mill is how much fun a job like ours would be to do day in and day out. This is very true, but often people do not understand just how much work goes into getting our mill ready to run. Here is just a brief snippet of some of the tasks necessary. Think of this as an episode of Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, only without the trademark and host, and our subject being a 220+ year old machine that was disassembled from its original location in Greenbrier County and moved to its present location at Jackson’s Mill.
The North Bend Rail Trail is a recreational trail for cyclists, hikers and equestrian enthusiasts. It is operated by West Virginia State Parks and at one point passes through North Bend State Park near Cairo in Ritchie County. Once simply an abandoned railroad, the trail is now part of the 5,500 mile coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail. Stretching 72 scenic miles, the North Bend Rail Trail passes through thirteen tunnels and crosses 36 bridges. The trail runs from Wood to Harrison counties and traverses the full east-west length of Doddridge and Ritchie counties. Since the North Bend Rail Trail is one of our largest regional attractions and given the fact that I am also a North Bend Rails to Trails Foundation board member, I take a particular interest in the trail.
My name is Charlotte Riestenberg, and I am the half-time Preserve WV AmeriCorps Member for the Harrison County WV Historical Society. I am from Clarksburg, WV but was born in West Palm Beach, FL. I graduated from Robert C. Byrd High School in 2015. During my time in high school I was a member of the Robert C. Byrd show choir Vocal Intensity, a member of the theater department, president of the RCB FFA Chapter, and co-captain for the colorguard. In the fall of 2015, I started my college career at Fairmont State University. For my first semester I was an Undeclared Major. I was struggling to find a major that I was interested in. I did not want to be one of those students who constantly changed their major. While I decided on a major, I decided to join the Collegiate Singers and Fairmont State Marching Band as a color-guard member because these were things I knew and loved. This made my first semester easier. Finally, by spring of 2016, I decided on majoring in history with minors in folklore studies, outdoor recreation leadership, and museum studies. I started getting more involved in the activities at the Frank and Jane Gabor Folk Life Center at Fairmont State. I and other students collected and edited stories for the Traditions Magazine that the Folk Life Center produces every year. We gathered stories from the Ruth Ann Musick collection. I started gaining interest in archival work and preservation.
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