As promised, here are a few pictures from Portsmouth, Ohio. I was there for the Appalachian Studies Association conference, giving a presentation on my research into Latinization of Appalachia. Portsmouth is about as far away from here as you can get and still be in southern Appalachia. It is right on the Ohio River near Ashland, Kentucky. (where we stopped by and saw the house locations of legendary old time fiddlers JW Day and Ed Haley) It is right in the area where there are some magnificent indian mounds. We saw one, the more spectacular ones were a bit more of a drive.

The conference was at Shawnee State University, which has a very nice and well set-up campus. Here is a view of the Ohio with the Kentucky hills on the other side. The campus was at the base of this bridge over to the left.

The flood wall (the town was massively flooded in 1937) along the river has a mural painted on it which is designated the longest piece of art by a single artist in the world. This is a very Midwestern style claim. I can confirm that this mural was indeed very long.

Here is a panel of it, featuring Great Ohioan Roy Rogers, who was born with the less melodious name of Leonard Franklin Slye just down the river in Cincinnati and raised in Duck Run.

here is the end of the wall at the gate:

Portsmouth is definitely among the most economically ravaged towns I have ever seen. Even by Rust Belt standards this place was downtrodden. It sits right where the Big Scioto River meets the Ohio and was once evidently a prosperous and lively town. There are a lot of sell built and even beautiful old buildings stretching back to the Antebellum period. But prosperity has totally left this place. The town is mostly abandoned and boarded up, some it rather dramatically so. The houses in the town are all very run down as well.

I didn't have a good camera with me and I was walking around at dusk, but these pictures give you a bit of a taste of the place.

Some of the buildings were nice old ones and well kept

or this 1830 house, which was a coffee and tea shop (now failed):

this was the scene along the old main street in the town, parallel to the river,

the wildest one was hard to photograph because of the way the cars were parked. But it was a building with a normal looking facade and a big window, but when you looked through the window there was no building behind it, just a big lot and a parked truck.

but there were ways to be happy in town.


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