Monday, May 11, 2015

...glorious views and history via the train...

One of the many aspects of my commute that I enjoy is all the interesting things that I see from the train.

Today I boarded the Amtrak from my town (instead of driving 35 minutes to the commuter rail). Since I’ve been taking the Amtrak now and then, I see interesting sites that are south of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

One example, is Squashapenny, which to simply write that it is an antique store does it a disservice. The last time I was there, there were two coffins! One was a child-size model from the Victorian period that was used as a model for a funeral home so it’s not like there was any grave-robbing. Squashapenny doesn’t allow photography so I have no idea how this blogger was able to take pictures. You’re not even allowed to carry in a handbag! And, the owner doesn’t use computers. But the place is amazing! 

Squashapenny was originally built in the 1860′s as a general store. It became an antique story in the 1990s.  

No cameras or purses allowed. Suzanne was an incredibly friendly owner and explained that she prefers people to look instead of bring their technology in. The no bag rule is simply because there is hardly any space to move around and a handbag over one's shoulder could cause some damage. She seemed totally reasonable and one can tell this is a labor of love! There is an overwhelming amount in the place and I doubt I actually saw and processed what I was seeing. Great finds include a child coffin (1880's model from a funeral home), medical and other macabre antiques. I scored an old Richmond Tour Old Stone House sign and a Funeral Coach metal plate along with a few other knickknacks. Prices are reasonable (some items are expensive but you're paying for one-of-a-kind treasures). 

I found a pretty interesting article about the place in Virginia Living.

Why the name Squashapenny? “When I was a little girl I used to put pennies on the railroad track and flatten them,” she says. “I thought that was the coolest thing in the world.” The fact that Doswell still has active rail tracks not more than 200 feet from the store also influenced her choice of name (Virginia Living).

Last week I noticed and this week I captured a shot of a mysterious pyramid in the middle of the field. Guess what my Google search included as keywords? “Mysterious”. Guess what I found? An article about a mysterious pyramid.

The pyramid isn’t so mysterious anymore. The Confederate Memorial Literary Society contacted Virginia railroad executives in 1897 requesting historical markers to be erected on significant sites. Instead of a sign that could go unnoticed, a 23 feet tall stone pyramid, modeled after the one in Hollywood Cemetery, was constructed.
The Confederate monument was called the Southern Memorial at first but then later became known as Meade's Pyramid since it marks where Union General George Meade led his troops across the tracks to attack the Confederate line in December 1862. The Federals were ultimately driven back resulting in numerous casualties.

The pyramid isn’t accessible without committing a few crimes in the process which apparently others do since I found a few pictures online. The best way to see it in my opinion is via the train.


  1. One of the things I miss about DC is the Metro. Commuting by car sucks. :P Colorado has some gorgeous mountain views, but it's hard to really enjoy them while driving. It is so much nicer to just sit back and look out the window.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I could be on a train in hours and it would feel like minutes. The scenery is very distracting in a good way... in a way one shouldn't be distracted when driving.

  2. I love seeing interesting things on trips! Squashapenny sounds wonderful and I love the mystefious pyramid!

    1. It's a super neat place. I love a good mystery... especially when I did a keyword search Mysterious Pyramid and that's exactly what popped up :D