Local History & Legends
The Appalachians are among the oldest mountains in the world, ~480 million years old, formed during the Ordovician Period before there were even plants on land or bony fish in the sea. The mountains were once part of the massive Central Pangean Mountains at the time of earth’s supercontinent. When the continents broke apart, fragments of the Pangean mountain range drifted to different parts of the world. Our mountains’ “other half” are the mountains found in the Scottish highlands. In the process of shifting and colliding continents, the Iapetus Ocean was driven deep underground– there is still an ancient saltwater sea below West Virginia today; the state had a thriving salt industry in the 18th century!
Our home lies in what’s known as the Appalachian Basin, an area known for its temperate climate and rich soil. After the most recent Ice Age, much of the plant life in eastern North America was reseeded from plants that survived in this area. Here in the Allegheny Plateau, where the terrain makes human industry difficult, we have some of the best biodiversity to be found in this part of the world.
Our area was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Shawnee tribe. Today, an abundance of herbs, roots, trees, and berries can still be found growing wild among the hills, remnants of what was likely a well-managed food forest in the days before European colonists arrived.
Calhoun County, like much of West Virginia, saw an economic and population boom in the 1800s when the discovery of oil, coal, and natural gas led to an influx of local industry. Nearby Burning Springs was one of only two oil fields in the U.S. prior to the Civil War. Through most of the 20th century, West Virginia was the nation’s leading producer of natural gas. The Great Depression hit the state hard, and brought major changes and challenges to coal and other mining operations– as mining and drilling companies folded, so did much of the economic momentum that had vitalized the state. West Virginia has suffered from population decline and infrastructure stagnation, as young and working-age people leave the state for financial opportunities elsewhere. To preserve the natural beauty and resources of the state, as well as the lessons of its history, it is necessary for individuals to care for its land and communities that have been widely neglected by people in positions of political and economic power.
West Virginia has its share of cryptids and folktales, with Mothman in Point Pleasant being the most commonly known. You may also hear tales of the Flatwoods Monster and UFO sightings in nearby Braxton county! We have had reports of unexplained lights in the sky or near-ground on and near our property. These may be earth-lightning caused by subtle seismic activity within the mountains, or ball lightning, which are no less cool and interesting!
On our own property, there have been sightings of the Not-Deer, a lesser known cryptid that’s been seen throughout Appalachia.