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The header picture shows a beautiful DAY LILY in our yard named PERSIAN MARKET.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Walk Down Memory Lane in BRISTOL (Genealogy Post)

Four of my Great Aunts who lived in Bristol,  VA (photo taken in the late 1940's or early 1950's);  From left to right:  Nannie Ballard, Eunice Ballard, Aileen Ballard,  Lura Ballard
On June 22, 2014,  on our way to West Virginia for our Anniversary Vacation,  we made a stop in BRISTOL (VA and TN) so that I could do some Genealogy Research on the family home of my Grandfather Ballard's family  (James Franklin Ballard) ---who was my Mom's father. Grandfather Ballard died in 1936.

When I was born,  none of my Grandparents on any side of the family were alive.  BUT--I do remember many in my Grandfather Ballard's  family,  all living in or near Bristol, Virginia.  Bristol was about 60 miles from my hometown ---and my parents and I would visit that family in Bristol quite often when I was a youngster.  The photo above is of 4 of my Great Aunts (my grandfather's sisters). 



The beautiful Ballard home in Bristol,  VA
These four sisters lived in a gorgeous old home in Bristol.  As a little girl,  I remember that home and thought of it as a mansion at the time.  Above is a photo of that old home taken many years ago.


The NOT SO BEAUTIFUL Bristol Home on June 22, 2014
WELL--to make a long story short(er),   we went back to Bristol on June 22, 2014 in order for me to see that beautiful home.... SHOCK!!!!!  The house has changed so much and looks horrible now (and obviously not well-taken-care-of)!  The 3rd floor is gone and so is the chimney.  The entire neighborhood is run down and I could have just cried...  Why did someone let this happen to such a beautiful old home???  I was terribly disappointed.



The old home of Bland Ballard and family
After getting a few pictures,  I walked down the street to what (in my memory) looked like the home of my Great Uncle Bland Ballard  (and wife Myrtle).  Bland was my Grandfather's brother.   Again,  I was disappointed since I do not remember this house looking at all like this... SO---in this case,  I'm not even sure I chose the right house...




Here are a few old photos (taken before I was born).
Some of the Ballard Family;  Bland and Myrtle Ballard were the 1st couple on the left. They are the ones who lived in the house in the photo above. My Grandfather Ballard is the 3rd person from the left. This photo was taken at Grandfather Ballard's home near Abingdon, VA. I think.


Here's a sweet picture of my mother and her Papa (as she called her father).  Mom was in her early 30's when this photo was taken.. (She was 42 when I was born.)



Here's another good picture of Mom and Dad (Simon and Edith Banks) and my brothers.  Raymond (who was 20 years older than I am) was in the middle and Jimmy (who was 12 years older than I am) was being held by Dad.  This photo was taken at the home of Mom's father (near Abingdon, VA) in about 1931.. (I was born in 1942, and am the only one left in that family.)

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A sign across State Street in Bristol,  showing drivers which side belongs to the state of Virginia and which side belongs to Tennessee
OKAY ---moving on!!!!  Here are three other things I remember about Bristol.  First is State Street... Bristol is an interesting little city since part of it is in Virginia and part in Tennessee.  The main street of town divides the two states.. Each state has its own government... Bet they struggle at times deciding which responsibility belongs to which state.... Interesting,  I'll bet!!! Above is a big sign across State Street showing which side of the street is in Virginia and which one is in Tennessee.


STATE STREET in Bristol,  VA
Secondly,  I have HUGE memories of being on State Street when I was young.  The small town we lived in didn't have many large stores... SO---my parents and I would go to Bristol (when visiting the Ballard Family) and we would always shop.. The stores I remember are King's Department Store,  Woolworths (a Five and Dime store),  and Cole's  Rexall Drug Store --where we ate at their lunch counter... I thought I was in the BIG CITY when we were there.... I loved going to the stores on State Street... I have TREMENDOUS memories of those visits.


The side of the Bristol Union Railway Station
Thirdly,  I also have lots of happy memories at the Railroad Station in Bristol.  My Dad worked for the railroad --so  our family did lots of traveling by TRAIN (since he got free passes at times).  And---we always started our trips from this railroad station in Bristol.  I even took the train to and from my college in Tennessee--since most kids back then didn't own cars while in college.   Even though there are no longer any passenger trains here now,  I loved revisiting this station. It still smells like I remember way back when.  Do you have certain smells you remember? 


The sidewalk at the Bristol Union Railway Station
Many years ago,  this was a BUSY passenger railroad station.  Trains would pass through here going as far south as New Orleans or as far north as New York City--stopping at places along the way.  The railroad first came to Bristol in 1856.   This particular station was opened in 1902--and in 1980 was listed on the Virginia Landmark Register and the National Register of Historic Places.  I was thrilled to see this Railroad Station in SUCH great condition.  Bristol is trying to get Amtrak service --which would bring passenger service back to that area.. The last passenger trains in Bristol were in the late 1960's.


The Bristol, Virginia Union Railway Station
Here is a photo showing the entire station.  (You can see our Prius there in the picture.)  I was so glad that we saw this station but grieve the fact that we no longer have passenger trains (other than Amtrak)..  I miss them ---but I'm one who loves trains with all my heart...

Thanks to my Honey for letting us take this little side trip --as we were on our way to West Virginia.  I was disappointed when I saw the condition and change of the Ballard Home --but was thrilled to visit State Street and the Railroad Station... As you can imagine,  I talked to George for hours about my experiences in Bristol...  Such great memories!!!!

Since we are SO SO SO SO busy these days, and for other reasons,  I am changing to 2 blog posts a week for awhile,  Mondays and Thursdays.  I love blogging and always have something to blog about.  BUT--I feel badly when I cannot visit YOUR blogs as much as I wish I could...

Hope you have a good day/week --and I'll see you on Thursday.  And thanks to those of you who have stuck with me through all of this. I still love comments and they mean the WORLD to me!!!

Hugs,