Grayson County/Fries Hydroelectric Dam

Over the Thanksgiving holiday while visiting with family, I found myself in Grayson County and did a little exploring. Ended up in Fries (pronounces “freeze”) and had the chance to check out an early 1900s hydroelectric dam. Very interesting to see a town that was built out purely because of industry. Had time allowed for it, could have spent many more days exploring the area. Scroll down or click the link for some photos.

Fries was named after North Carolina cotton mill owner Colonel Francis Henry Fries. Jim ‘Pipe’ Carico (of Stephens Creek, Virginia, the nearest incorporated town) contacted Fries in 1900 and proposed Bartlett Falls on New River as a site for a hydroelectric dam that could power a cotton mill.

Fries purchased the surrounding rural farmland then hired a local labor force to build a dam, a cotton mill and a full-service company owned town. By 1901, the New River Train was extended to the mill site and Fries petitioned the Virginia State Legislature to incorporate the new town of Carico, VA in honor of Jim ‘Pipe’ Carico. For reasons that are not well documented, the town name was instead legislatively changed to Fries, Virginia and officially incorporated in 1902.

More on the area and history from Wikipedia here.

St. Patrick’s Tower

Today, a couple of our teams from Automattic got together and co-worked at the digitaldepot in Dublin. Super nice facility, decent coffee and great sandwiches! This giant tower was looming just outside the building and being the curious sort, I had to look it up. The history is pretty interesting!

This former windmill, now known as St Patrick’s Tower, was the largest smock windmill in Europe and was used to power the Roe Distillery on Thomas Street in Dublin. George Roe and Company had it’s beginnings in 1757 when Peter Roe bought a small distillery here. By 1887 it had expanded into the largest distillery in Europe. At that time the Thomas Street Distillery covered 17 acres and was producing 2 million gallons of whiskey annually.

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Rememberance Day Parade Photos

As I mentioned yesterday, a few of us here climbed up into the scaffolding to watch the Parade, here are a few of those photos. Wifi in our hotel is pretty bad, so I’m not able to upload them all in a reasonable amount of time.

Hands down, this was the best view for any parade I’ve ever been to. By the end of the parade, we had scaled all the way up several floors.