Category Archives: Americana

Train Photography

September is my birthday month and in honor of me, I decided to share my favorite images. I previously share my favorite simple images and my favorite window photos. This week, I thought I would share my favorite train photography.

Steam Engines

Like many photographers, I love steam trains. There is just something about the smoke rolling from the stacks. My favorite is just before take off when the smoke releases from below.

Steam engine just before take off
Steam train just before take off
Steam blowing up into a cloudy sky as the engine crosses the trestle.
Train crossing the trestle with steam blowing
The steam engine, releasing steam at take off.
Releasing steam

On the Train

When we visited New York City, we took the train up. These are some photos that I took on that trip.

Train corridor
The sleeping car on the Crescent Route with Amtrak.
Dining car on passenger train
The dining car on the Crescent

Train Stations and Depots

The train stations and depots have their own charms. Some are beautiful, historic buildings currently still in use for passenger trains. But many have been repurposed as visitor’s centers or craft shops.

Main Street Station in Richmond, VA
Main Street Station in Richmond, VA
Ashland Train Depot is also the visitor's center
Ashland Train Depot is also the visitor’s center
Greenback Depot in downtown Greenback, TN
Greenback Depot in downtown Greenback, TN
The visitor's center in Loudon, TN.
The visitor’s center in Loudon, TN.

Yes, I am slightly obsessed with trains and train depots. That feeling of nostalgia when you step inside. Of course, I have not doubt that original passenger trains were uncomfortable rides. But it’s nice to imagine having the time and money to take the train across the country. Some day.

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East Tennessee Day Trip

While looking for a new subject for my podcast, I came across the Birthplace of Sequoyah Museum. I also noticed they were having a Cherokee Fall Festival. It would make the perfect East Tennessee day trip. So, we made our way from Knoxville, TN to Vonore, TN.

Greenback TN

The Greenback Drugstore and Diner in downtown Greenback, TN.
Greenback Diner

When I travel, I like to stop at local places to eat, so I searched for diners between Knoxville and Vonore and found the Greenback Drugstore and Diner in downtown Greenback, TN. It’s more diner than drugstore. But it’s a great little spot for a quick breakfast. Right across the street from the diner is the historic Greenback Depot, home to several small shops. None of which were open when we came through town.

The historic Greenback depot in downtown Greenback, TN.
Greenback Depot

Birthplace of Sequoyah Museum

At the Cherokee Fall Festival, we were surprised to find Civil War reenactors. I am famous for not reading descriptions all the way through. Apparently, the reenactment is because a troop of Cherokee joined the Confederates for several major battles. We did not stay for the reenactment, battle isn’t my thing. But I did get some cool shots of the actors and their camp.

Civil Ware reenactors are presenting the flags during the opening ceremony for the Cherokee Fall Festival.
Presenting the flags
Tents in the Civil War encampment.
Civil War Camp

The festival was held on the grounds of the Birthplace of Sequoyah Museum. Sequoyah created the first written language for the Cherokee Nation. He is also believed to be the first person to create a written language without ever knowing how to read or write another language. Listen to the episode to find out more about Sequoyah.

Maryville, TN

On the return, we spotted this abandoned grocery store. The signs on the outside were new. The soda machines out front seemed to be working. There were items inside, but it was early Saturday afternoon and the place was locked up tight. So, I am assuming it is closed for good. I had to stop and take pics.

Abandoned Super Market in Maryville, TN
Super Market

For lunch, we stopped at Jake’s Place on Highway 411 in Maryville, TN. Jake’s is a country cookin’ joint. We BBQ sandwiches. Hubby got fried okra on the side, made with fresh okra, not frozen. I had onion rings because it’s been years since I’ve had them. They were good, just enough breading without being overwhelming. The pulled pork was perfectly smoked without being overwhelming.

Jake's Place on Highway 411 in Maryville, TN.
Jake’s Place Menu

Sometimes it’s difficult to go on a real vacation. A quick day trip usually isn’t hard to find. Our travel time was about an hour each way. We ended up being out of the house for about 7 hours. I’d love to hear about your own day trip! Tell us about it in the comments or share the link to your blog!

Prints are available of the photos in this blog, just click on the pic.

Downtown Danville, Kentucky

For a recent episode of my podcast, Tourist in your Town, I visited my hometown of Danville, Kentucky. Growing up, my time spent downtown was spent at the library or shopping. I paid very little attention to the historic aspects of my small town. So, I decided to be a tourist on my most recent visit.

Ephram McDowell Museum

The home of McDowell and the location of the first successful abdominal surgery. The surgery was performed on a woman named Jane Todd Crawford. Want to know more, listen to the story here.

Ephram McDowell House Museum

The Pioneer Playhouse

An outdoor summer stock theatre. Founded in 1950 by Eben Charles Henson, the theatre is an intense summer program for up and coming actors. The Playhouse puts on 4-5 plays every summer. To hear more, listen here.

One side “Main” Street at the Pioneer Playhouse
The other side “Main” Street at the Playhouse.

Constitution Square Historic Site

The site is considered the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood. In 1785, Danville was the first seat of government. The square has the meeting house and several other buildings, mostly reproductions.

Prints are available. Visit my gallery for details!

Artist Collaboration

I recently traveled to my hometown of Danville, Kentucky. While there, I wanted to get some photos of the places that were important to me when growing up. One of the most important places was the public library. I spent many days after school at this magical place. So, while in Danville, I swung by and took a quick photo.

This is now a small part of the library. But it was the whole library when I was growing up. It did have a lower floor, so it’s bigger on the inside (some of you will get that). When I got home, I uploaded the pic to my Pixels account where I sell prints. Not long after uploading, I received an email from a man wanting to use it as the basis for a charcoal, pen & ink drawing. Of course, I said yes! Because I love nothing more than artist collaborations! So, without further ado, here are the 2 images. Both are available as prints. If you click on the pic, it will take you directly to the page for purchase.

Photograph by Sharon Popek

Drawing by Jonathan Broyles

Evelyn Hazen: A Story of Sex, Lies, and Love Letters

Evelyn Goes to College

Evelyn Hazen entered college at the young age of 14. She was a young, naive girl, raised by a very proper victorian woman. She falls in love with a man named Ralph Scharringhaus.

Sex

For over 15 years, the two have a relationship. They start having sex early on. She agrees with the promise of marriage. There are several love letters where he talks about when they will get married. But he continually delays marriage with excuses and lies.

The Lawsuit

When Ralph breaks it off with Evelyn, she feels lost and afraid. She is in her early 30s and her reputation is in tatters. So, she files a lawsuit against Ralph for breach of promise of marriage and seduction. Image what it was like for her in the 1930s, to have the whole world know that she had sexual relations outside of marriage. She was embarrassed and devastated. But stood up for herself and did what she had to do. Want to know more? Listen to the podcast on touristinyourtownpodcast.com

Prints of the above images are available, just click on the pics!

Photography from Cincinnati Ohio

Downtown Cincinnati

I recently traveled to downtown Cincinnati Ohio for an episode of Tourist in your Town, my travel podcast. While there, I managed to capture a few photos. Prints are available, just click on the image and it will take you straight to the page!

Ezzard Charles

Ezzard Charles, also known as the Cincinnati Cobra, was an American boxer and former World Heavyweight Champion. Some say he is the greatest boxer of all time. I don’t know a thing about boxing, so I’m not the one to ask. I do know that this mural is a great tribute to a local hero.

Ezzard Charles Mural
Ezzard Charles Mural

The Skystar Ferris Wheel

This ferris wheel is located right on the banks of the Ohio River. This view is from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. You can see Northern Kentucky just across the river.

Skystar Ferris Wheel
Skystar Ferris Wheel

Empty Warehouse

This image was taken as we walked through the warehouse to enter the underground tunnels on our walking tour.

Inside a local warehouse
Inside a local warehouse

If you want to know more about my visit, be sure to listen to the podcast. You can find it anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can also visit the website, Tourist in your Town.

If you are looking for travel photography, be sure to visit my gallery.

Asheville North Carolina Courthouse

I recently started a podcast called Tourist in Your Town. The most recent episode is Asheville, North Carolina. While there, I got the chance to take some great photos of the area and learn about the rich history of the town.

Courthouse and City Hall

We all know that I have thing for courthouses. The Buncombe County Courthouse and the Asheville City Hall stand side by side in the Historic district. The City Hall was originally built to be the courthouse, but it was never used for that purpose. The art deco architecture of the city hall is so detailed and beautiful. The courthouse is a much more utilitarian building with an overlay of Neo-Classical ornament applied. 

Asheville City Hall
Asheville City Hall
Buncombe County Courthouse

In the Subway

As a person who lives in a place with little to no public transportation options, subways fascinate me. I have to admit that I find them a bit confusing sometimes. Take the blue line to the yellow line, then go to the green line, then back to the blue line.  When I was in New York, I bought a metro pass intending to use the subway more than I actually did. However, there was construction going on and trying to figure out what detours and where was more than I wanted to do. So, I walked just about everywhere. I would leave extra early and stop for a snack or a beer when I got tired. It did give me the opportunity to take lots of pics. Anyway, here are some pics from the little bit that I did spend in the subway. 

I feel like this person may have been on the wrong platform. Everybody was standing on my side of the platform. But there was this lone person way across the tracks. Maybe he was waiting for someone. But it adds a little mystery to this photo. It is definitely one of my favorites from the trip.

Waiting for the train at Penn Station by Sharon Popek
Waiting for the train at Penn Station

The mosaics in the subway were a favorite subject. Everybody around me was ignoring them and fighting their way out of the station. Don’t worry, I didn’t hold anybody up when taking these photos!

To Penn Station by Sharon Popek
The platform at Penn Station
Pennsylvania Station mosaic sign
The platform at Penn Station
W is for Wall Street by Sharon Popek
At Wall Street Station

And sometimes the entrance to the station is just as cool. This is the Bowling Green station entrance. The head house was constructed in 1905. Look at that clock! You know I love street clocks and interesting doorways. This station entrance has it all!

Bowling Green Head House
The exterior of Bowling Green Station

Always be patient when traveling. Sometimes plans change, but you can make that work for yourself. Leave early, take your time, and have fun!

Danville Kentucky

I grew up in Danville, Kentucky. Danville is located in central Kentucky, south of Lexington. It’s a small town loaded with history. Of course, growing up, I never paid attention to any of these things. Now, when I go back to visit family, I can’t help but seek these places out. I want to share with you some of the historic places and the places that hold meaning. 

Constitution Square

Constitution Square Historic Site was the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood. The site originally had a meeting house, jail, and courthouse. The cabins currently on the site are replicas of the originals.

Meeting house in Constitution Square

Ephraim McDowell House

McDowell House Museum was home of the “the father of ovariotomy”. McDowell was the first to person to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. The story is fascinating. I recommend reading about it. Visit their website for more info.

Vintage apothecary bottles
A shelf full of McDowell’s potions.

Burke’s Bakery

While not technically a historic site, it’s definitely a landmark. Burke’s opened in the 1970s and is still going strong. With donuts, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, and more, there is sure to something to make everyone happy. I’m a big fan of the gingerbread men. My mouth is watering just thinking of them.

Burke's Bakery and Deli in Danville Kentucky
The sign for Burke’s Bakery and Delicatessen

Courthouse

The courthouse was finished in 1862. The Italianate style building was erected to replace the original courthouse, which burned down. The large clock tower can be seen from just about every angle in town.

Boyle County Courthouse in downtown Danville Kentucky
The courthouse in downtown Danville, KY.

Danville Office Equipment

Another local landmark, Danville Office Equipment has been in it’s current location since 1975. They sell everything from pens to computers. They also have a service department that started out repairing old typewriters, but now offer service for copiers and printers. My father worked here for over 40 years. I worked there for several years myself. 

Danville Office Equipment in downtown Danville Kentucky
Danville Office Equipment on Main Street

I have been to many small towns in the south. See my Tuesday Trekkin’ blog for just a few of them. Danville is one of the few that still maintains that active hometown feel. Many towns are empty with closed up and shuttered shops and restaurants. It’s great to see a small town maintaining a vibrant, active downtown. 

City Reflections

Most photographers love reflections. I am no exception. A great deal of my photos are street photography from cities and small towns. My favorite thing is take photos of window reflections. The images are a mix of what’s inside and what’s outside, giving it a sense of place and time. 

Macy's shop window reflecting tables and chairs in Herald Park.
Macy’s shop window reflecting tables and chairs in Herald Park.
A silver dress with red and orange leaves on the inside. City life on the outside
A silver dress with red and orange leaves on the inside. City life on the outside
A colorful tableau in Budapest, featuring a yellow and green phone booth and a well dressed mannequin.
The window of Cafe Gerbeaud in Budapest, Hungary
The window of Cafe Gerbeaud in Budapest, Hungary