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Photos of the Skyline Parkway Motel fire, and some other stuff

July 15, 2004, 1:56 PM

First of all, before I start showing you photos, guess who I saw on Tuesday afternoon at Wal-Mart. I saw Mrs. Kucs (pronounced “kooch”), my sixth grade math teacher at Stuarts Draft Middle School. That was a lot of fun. She’s retired now, so I don’t see her around SDMS when I go visit. Still, Mrs. Kucs was a great teacher. The one phrase that has stayed with me that I learned from Mrs. Kucs was “That will be fifty whacks with a wet noodle!” All in all, great math teacher, and it was great to see Mrs. Kucs again.

Anyway, after seeing Mrs. Kucs as I was leaving work, I headed out to Afton Mountain and then beyond. Going to Afton, I went by way of downtown Waynesboro, because I had a few other photo spots I wanted to hit on the way. For one, the “scar” on the mountain in Waynesboro:

The scar on the mountain in Waynesboro

The July 14 quote from my main page sums up quite well my feelings about Waynesboro’s progress on eliminating this bare spot on the mountain, this “scar”, if you will. More like what Waynesboro should build in the park they intend to construct up there.

After stopping downtown to take some photos of the bare spot on the mountain, I went up Afton Mountain via US 250 (vs. taking the Interstate) and made my way up to the ruins of the Skyline Parkway Motel, to get better and more detailed photos of the place. Nothing against the News-Virginian and the News Leader, but when you reduce a photo and then print it in the newspaper, you do lose a lot of detail. But that’s not the fault of the photographer or his/her equipment, but a byproduct of the process it takes to make a newspaper.

So here are the photos. First of all, the front of the place…

Skyline Parkway Motel, July 13, 2004  Skyline Parkway Motel, September 10, 2003

As you can see, the center area of the building suffered the most extensive damage, and the roof and center portico have collapsed completely. When I reviewed my photos afterwards, I found the “O” in “MOTEL” laying on top of the wreckage, bent somewhat out of shape. Compare this view at left to a similar view of the motel ten months before when I did my Afton Mountain photo set.

This new fire also did not really affect the previous fire seen in the third-from-right window on the main building. This new one was further on down the building, and it appears from the photo that the room in between the two conflagrations is still in decent shape, judging by how the curtains look. But who knows...

This new fire also did not really affect the previous fire seen in the third-from-right window on the main building. This new one was further on down the building, and it appears from the photo that the room in between the two conflagrations is still in decent shape, judging by how the curtains look. But who knows…

The new façade of the Skyline Parkway Motel is definitely not a pretty one, with the center of the building in ruins, and no more roof. I took these photos from just past Howard Johnson's, just before the yellow caution tape strongly recommended that I not go further.

The new façade of the Skyline Parkway Motel is definitely not a pretty one, with the center of the building in ruins, and no more roof. I took these photos from just past Howard Johnson’s, just before the yellow caution tape strongly recommended that I not go further.

And around to the back…

Around the back (viewed from The Inn at Afton parking lot), we can see that the rooms on the second floor amazingly still do have a covering on them for the most part.

Around the back (viewed from The Inn at Afton parking lot), we can see that the rooms on the second floor amazingly still do have a covering on them for the most part. This cover did not hold completely, having burned through in places, but it’s better than nothing. On top, we see what a door to the attic (now gone) led to, and it appears it was an access to some sort of tank in the attic. Also, it appears that the chimney was used not as a smoke-dispensing chimney, but actually to vent the attic, as I’m sure it could get quite hot in there. An outline of where the roof used to be can still be seen on the chimney.

It's really quite a contrast - the burned-out remains of Skyline Parkway Motel, next to the still-gleaming-but-closed-for-six-years HoJo's.

It’s really quite a contrast – the burned-out remains of Skyline Parkway Motel, next to the still-gleaming-but-closed-for-six-years HoJo’s. I actually hope the Howard Johnson’s one day opens again as a Howard Johnson’s, but who knows what time will bring.

This was rather mysterious. In my September 2003 photo set, the sign was blank. Now, it says "Nick and Adam" on it.

This was rather mysterious. In my September 2003 photo set, the sign was blank. Now, it says “Nick and Adam” on it. I first noticed this a few days before the fire, when I was going up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to get some quiet time for myself after work. Then a few days later, the building burns down, with the cause considered “suspicious”, meaning that it appears at first glance that the place was torched. Could this be the calling card of possible arsonists, who, days before torching the place, put their name on the sign, to show everyone their work? Who are Nick and Adam? Makes you wonder. And some people are dumb enough to put their names on their work, too. “America’s Dumbest Criminals” will prove to you that people are dumb enough to do that.

And as I like to say, “Never underestimate the power and speed of stupid.

After visiting the mountain, I headed on over to Charlottesville, where I went to pick up an order from Casual Male. Also spent some time around Charlottesville, which was fun.

Oh, and more proof that the HoJo’s needs to open back up? While I was returning to my car, I found a gentleman, probably a traveler, coming up to the HoJo’s and trying the front door. After I informed him that HoJo’s had been closed since 1998, he told me he was really just looking for a men’s room, and where could he find one. I sent him up to The Inn at Afton. Still, I’m told that a lot of people still think that the HoJo’s is open, especially with it saying “WELC OME” on the sign.