Friday, October 22, 2010

A Troubadour Tramps Through the Mountains - 10

Vachel Lindsay wandered, lost, into Jackson County, the dramatic terrain helping to clear his mind of political disagreements and debates between Science and Art.

Wagon road from Highlands to Whiteside Mountain, ca. 1897, Henry Scadin photograph

From A Handy Guide for Beggars:

I turned to the right once too often, and climbed Mount Whiteside. There was a drop of millions of miles, and a Lilliputian valley below like a landscape by Charlotte B. Coman.

I heard some days later that once a man tied a dog to an umbrella and threw him over. Dog landed safely, barking still. Dog was able to eat, walk, and wag as before. But the fate of the master was horrible. Dog never spoke to him again.

Having no umbrella, I retraced my way. I stepped into the highway that circumscribes the tremendous amphitheatre of Cashier's Valley.

I met not a soul till eight o'clock that night. The mountain laurel, the sardis bloom, the violet, and the apple blossom made glad the margins of the splendidly built road; and, as long as the gingerbread lasted, I looked upon these things in a sort of sophisticated wonder.

R. Henry Scadin (1861-1923)

The first time I read this passage, I half expected Vachel to encounter a local photographer and fruit grower by the name of Henry Scadin. I even consulted Scadin’s own voluminous diaries, but found no mention of Lindsay among the entries in April and May of 1906.

Henry Scadin created what is (as far as I know) the most significant photographic record of southern Macon, Jackson and Transylvania counties at the turn of the twentieth century.

Dry Falls

Waterfalls were a specialty for Scadin and he photographed them with considerable artistic and technical ability.

Tea at Grimshawes

I knew that Scadin spent many days walking the roads between Highlands and Toxaway, which fueled my hope that he had crossed paths with Vachel Lindsay. Even if that meeting never occurred, the photographer has provided a window on the same world that the troubadour viewed while tramping through these mountains.

Horse Cove Falls

Photographs by Henry Scadin. From Henry Scadin Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Lake Toxaway



Anonymous said...

What happened to the entry on the 20th?

GULAHIYI said...

This is it. I assume you saw something listed for 10/20 on Google Reader or a similar service. If I inadvertently post the rough draft of a story and then retract it, Reader continues to show it as published for the date in question. That's what happened this time.