Downtowns all over the world offer unique slices of history. From charming antique stores, vintage dress shops, cozy restaurants, trendy coffee houses and used book stores, these restored sections of our past evoke the nostalgia of childhood and a simpler life.
Such was Cass, West Virginia, for me.
Tucked into the heart of Appalachia, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is a place dripping with nostalgia. This West Virginia logging town, restored to the way it looked at the turn of the 20th century, managed to hold onto the charm and romance of the days when Shay engine trains ruled the logging rails.
I was fortunate to call Cass home for two days.
On vacation with my Father and my husband, Dan, I began my visit into the past by spending two nights in one of Cass’s renovated company houses.
Of the original 52 homes, 20 were refurbished and are used by visitors today. Rows of straight narrow streets, now lined with gravel, provided access to individual white, two-story, wood homes. Each home faced a wooden sidewalk and had a white picket fence surrounding a small front yard. These homes once belonged to the residential section of Cass.
After I crossed the threshold of our house, I was immediately pulled into another time and place. That feeling remained with me until I left Cass.
There was nothing fancy about house #229. Grey steps led to a small white front porch, supported by a grey lattice. On the porch was a swing. Two windows and a door opened the way to the interior of the house.
Inside, wood floors spread from a modest living room to a little kitchen, which once held a wood stove, and ended in the dining room. A narrow passage of stairs led to three connecting bedrooms and one tiny bathroom upstairs. Perhaps the compactness of the house was for saving space so that it could be heated more efficiently during the cold West Virginia winters.
The place felt old, yet comforting. It reminded me of visits to my Grandfather’s house when I was a little girl.
The backyard, like the front, was also fenced. Here, however, there was a picnic table and a fruit tree. We ate our breakfast outside both mornings and discussed life in the early 1900s.
North, just a short walk down the hill from the residential section, was the business section of Cass. Our car remained parked in front of house #229 as we explored Cass by foot that first day.
To be continued next Wednesday…