"So Beautiful An Arch"

What do you think should be done with Natural Bridge?

Poll ended at 2008 Feb 19 10:21

It should be a National Park.
6
67%
It should be a State Park.
2
22%
It should be a County Park.
0
No votes
Transfer it to a Public/Private Foundation.
1
11%
Nothing, I like it just the way it is.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 9

paxham

"So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2007 Dec 21 10:21

Image"So beautiful an arch," Jefferson wrote, "so elevated, so light, and springing, as it were, up to heaven, the rapture of the Spectator is really indescribable!" and since then, Natural Bridge, VA has passed into the national lore as one of America's heritage sites. I always imagined such a site as worthy of National Park distinction. I was surprised to learn that Natural Bridge is a privately owned tourist attraction packaged with other such grand attractions such as the Wax Museum & Factory Tour, Professor Clines's Haunted Monster Museum & Dino Kingdom, a replica of Stonehenge made out of styrofoam known as FoamHenge and The Toy Museum, the largest collection of childhood memorabilia on display in the world. I believe there is also a petting zoo somewhere close by. One of America's great natural attractions has been reduced to the status of a roadside zoo.

To see the rest, please visit my blog. As residents of Rockingham I'd be interested in getting your views on this national landmark that is hidden behind plywood walls. Would anyone consider putting plywood up around the Grand Canyon?

http://downtownrichmond.blogspot.com/2007/12/so-beautiful-ach-natural-bridge-va.html
naturalbridge2.jpg
Natural Bridge
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Last edited by paxham on 2007 Dec 27 22:16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1955
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby Wise One » 2007 Dec 23 09:52

Yours is an interesting and provocative posting, Paxham. From time to time I've had thoughts similar to those you expressed.

Although I was born and raised in Lexington, there was something kind of off-putting about Natural Bridge, the business enterprise, to my family so I never actually saw it until the day I was hired to work in the restaurant of the old Hotel, which later burned to the ground. Subsequently, I became the pool lifeguard, and remember that teenager summer fondly ... I even saved a life!

Yes, it should be accorded better treatment and respect than it has received over the years, and it should be open to all to see as the public treasure it is in reality, if not so on paper. A bizarre accident of history put US Rt 11 atop the bridge, a travesty that should be reversed so that the bridge becomes a destination for pedestrians rather than a thoroughfare for 18 wheelers.

:thum: Thanks for finding that treasure of a portrait of Natural Bridge ... stunning! :thum:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2007 Dec 23 15:04

Thanks for the kind words. I would have thought the governor might have some opinion on this, but he has his mind on other things like fiscal fiduciarity and universal Pre-K. I plan on continuing my one man campaign in some way or another. I rather do enjoy tilting at windmills.

And by the way, call me Paul. Season's Greetings.

Drop me an email. Next time I'm down Rockbridge way you can show me your favorite coffeehouse/saloon.

Paul

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2008 Jan 03 15:56

To continue this a bit farther. I dropped by the Richmond office of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. They are gearing up for the current legislative session. We had a chat about Natural Bridge and its no surprise that they too are appalled by the tacky treatment of a national landmark. Maybe I can get them interested in giving this a higher profile,

Paul
http://downtownrichmond.blogspot.com/2007/12/so-beautiful-ach-natural-bridge-va.html

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2008 Jan 15 22:49

This will be my last post on this, subject to future comments. I can only conclude this generates less local interest than I supposed. Regardless, I shall continue my quest for greater respect for this natural wonder and historic landmark. If it is of any importance to you, so will you.

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Wise One
Posts: 1955
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby Wise One » 2008 Jan 15 23:00

As Vinny said to Judge Chamberlain Haller, "I am widj you."

Don't let the leanness of my words of support detract from the emphasis they should have. You are right on target, and we should rescue this treasure from both US11 and redneck spectacle.

Wish I could be more eloquent, but I'll only say again, when you're right, you're right!

If we want to mobilize local attention and actioin, perhaps we should set up a picket line atop the Natural Bridge right on Rt 11! Call the Press! :dance14:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2008 Jan 16 08:17

beckonwood wrote: If it is in private hands how do you change that? Just curious,


The good news is Natural Bridge IS for sale and now is an opportunity to right an historic wrong. This is a national heritage site.

Things you can do.

Write a letter to the editor.
Write to the Governor, your state delegate or senator.
Talk to your friends and neighbors.
Start a petition.

Any one of these things will help. Actually the place to start might be with your local county commission and work up from there.

p.s. I heard you were ill. I hope you are on the road to recovery.

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Callyinva
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007 Nov 09 07:38

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby Callyinva » 2008 Jan 16 15:17

Nattural Bridge is in deed for sale. The mere asking price is 32.5 million. The bridge has always been in private hands. I have met many a persons that would love to visit Natural Bridge but refuse to pay the fee to get in. I would love to see the bridge become a Federal or State Park but I wonder about the financial burden that would also bring. Have any of you that refuse to pay the admission fee thought about the cost of upkeep. Just the insurance premium alone would be astronomical.

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Callyinva
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007 Nov 09 07:38

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby Callyinva » 2008 Jan 16 15:23

Oh and I understand the reasoning for the plywood wall since it is in private hands . But they could take them down and let the bungy jumpers have at it.

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2008 Jan 16 16:12

Callyinva wrote:Nattural Bridge is in deed for sale. The mere asking price is 32.5 million. The bridge has always been in private hands. I have met many a persons that would love to visit Natural Bridge but refuse to pay the fee to get in.


32.5 mil? That's chump change for Bill Gate. Maybe he'd donate it.

I have no objection to paying a fee. I pay fees to get into other national and state parks. I do object to the way this monument has been treated and I think the State should pony up, but the Governor is uninterested.

10thFO

You can get a free look now

Postby 10thFO » 2008 Jan 26 09:56

Just take a ride a 1/4 mile further up 130 East and turn right onto Shafer Lane. Then ride up the hill and start looking to the right, and you will see the Natural Bridge in all of it's glory without paying to go see it. The Natural Bride, or whichever company owns it decided to Clear Cut the entire property surrounding it. Lovely, but a travesty just for the money.

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2008 Feb 16 01:49

OK, I'm not done with this. This is your home. Wouldn't you be proud to treat a true national monument in your own back yard with the respect it deserves? If you don't care, then who should?

Are their local activiist, politicians and ordinary people (the most important ones) who care enough to hammer on this? I have my own local concerns. Can someone else champion this?

Paul
of Virginia

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Amy Probenski
Posts: 457
Joined: 2007 Aug 28 17:06

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby Amy Probenski » 2008 Feb 17 22:12

Yes! You are right! House Mountain achieved significant protection when many citizens banded together to buy and protect the land. We need to do the same thing for Natural Bridge, but it takes a nucleus of high energy citizens to start the ball rolling.

From http://organizations.rockbridge.net/racc/accomplish.htm
RACC wrote:House Mountain. The property near the top of House Mountain was put on sale several years earlier, but it was not sold at that time. When it was put up for sale again in 1987 RACC realized that a sale was likely. A committee was formed to explore the possibilities raising enough money to make the purchase and we embarked on a capital drive that succeeded in raising over $200,000 from nearly a thousand donors. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation provided the balance of the cost. The title is held by VOF and the property is managed by a group representing VOF, RACC, W & L, and VMI. The title will revert to RACC if VOF is discontinued.

paxham

Re: "So Beautiful An Arch"

Postby paxham » 2008 Feb 18 09:27

Amy Probenski wrote: We need to do the same thing for Natural Bridge, but it takes a nucleus of high energy citizens to start the ball rolling.

Do you know any hyperactive people with too much time on their hands or to whom time means nothing. I had hoped for a lift from Tim Kaine. I still do. I'm spread a little to thin right now, but I think this is something the whole state would ralley behind. There are foundations and individuals with millions. To paraphase Everett Dirkson (no doubt a first on the Rockbridge Forum), "A million here, a million there and pretty soon you are talking about real money." Wasn't the base of the Statue of Liberty paid for by pennies from schoolchildren?

Wise One, any ideas?

Paul