(above) The Jefferson County Museum has an exhibit documenting natural and man-made disasters in Jefferson County. Pictured here, from 1951, is a Citizens Fire Company truck in front of the remains of the Bates house in Halltown, which was destroyed when a truck carrying 15 tons of dynamite exploded after a broken tire chain created a spark. Mr. Bates perished in the explosion, which left an eight-foot-deep crater in the roadway. Photograph by Edwin A. Fitzpatrick, Jr.
First it’s the daffodils. Then it’s the forsythia. The wind still blows cold, but springtime is in the air. Doug Pifer explains that some of the haze we see around this time is quite natural — just trees doing what trees do. Local garden club leaders have been eager for spring too. For some, it’s been a four-year wait to stage their annual home and garden tour. It’s quite a show, and it raises money for beautification projects around the Eastern Panhandle.
These are some serious gardeners that organize this tour and prepare the floral decorations, but if you’d like to try a little gardening yourself, that’s certainly encouraged too. Especially if you visit Dogwood General in downtown Shepherdstown which hopes to become a hub for backyard gardeners and food growers with larger ambitions as well. Likewise, the Jefferson County Development Authority is looking to help make connections between local producers and customers with its new “Agriculture at Home” program. When we say Jefferson County is growing, it’s not just houses.
The Jefferson County budget is also slated to grow next year (it’s an annual trend, despite the pruning that’s often applied by the Commissioners). Since it’s not easy for many citizens to make it to the county meetings, The Observer will be looking at the county and school system budget numbers over the next months.By Steve Pearson