Saturday, October 18, 2014

Unexpected Finds

 Appomattox, VA   High 59  Low 48  Rain and more Rain

robotic arm Main Street in Appomattox is full of shops and small restaurants. The Jefferson Galleries is located in the old Bank of Richmond. They sell craft supplies and miscellaneous items.

But in the back of this store, in a massive bank vault, is the very first robotic space shuttle arm made in the United States. Definitely not what you would expect to find in Appomattox.

The store owner’s (Betty Oehrlein) husband bought the arm from a government auction because he is a NASA space buff. Betty told us that she got tired of having it in her living room and told him he needed to put it in the vault and let the public see it.

robotic arm vault door

The vault door is a foot thick and is so heavy that when they originally tried to move it from the train to the bank by crane, the cables snapped and it laid in the alley for two weeks until they could get the crane fixed.

Joel SweeneyJoel Sweeney is a musician who claimed to have learned to play the banjo from local African-Americans and is the earliest documented white banjo player. In addition, he is the earliest known person to have played the banjo on stage. It is also believed that he added the fifth string to the banjo. He is buried not far from Appomattox.

I really wanted to see the largest stein collection in the world but the tours are by appointment only and they were not available during the three day week-end. Next time.

And how about a Skittlez hogging the heat vent.

skitz and heat


  1. The things you find.

    In our little former suburb, there is a fancy eating place called the Vault. It is in the former building of my bank. You can reserve the vault for dinner.

  2. I continue to enjoy your history tour as I have not been to this area.

  3. Very interesting about the odd things you run across in your travels. We like to discover these places and investigate them. Geocaching gives us the opportunity to run across places that we would never know existed.

    How long will you be in the Richmond area? We hope to be there Thursday of next week for a night on our way to Charlotte, NC.

  4. Skittlez is no dummy. Our kitties always seem to find the warm areas too.

  5. You need to get Skittlez back to the desert. I forgot how nice it is to walk outside without everything being wet.

  6. You need to write for Roadside America. You find some cool odd places to visit.

  7. Cool stuff, and I like cool stuff. I guess I need to follow you everywhere in order to see the cool stuff. ;c)

  8. I'd like to see the stein collection too, but also to test some of the steins as well!

  9. Terrific post, by my favorite is that last photo - Ha! Very cute.

  10. Sounds like you still had another great day on the road.

  11. Skittlez needs her blankie and the heat vent.


Thanks for visiting today. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a beautiful day.