- Posted May 20, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Finding Walton's Mountain The Original Homeplace
I remember well watching the movie 'Spencer's Mountain' as a young child. Little did I know in December 1971, a Christmas Special called 'The Homecoming' would be the pilot for my all time favorite television series 'The Waltons'. CBS aired the series beginning in September of 1972.
At that time I was a brand new Mommy living away from my East Tennessee home and the surrounding Smokey Mountains. My husband serving in the Air Force often left me feeling very homesick. I would eagerly wait for a new episode every week, relating very closely to the family and dreaming of living in a country house just like theirs.
The Walton series ran for nine years. By that time I had five stairsteps of my own that were growing up watching The Walton Family as well.
CBS decided to cancel the Walton Series leaving many die hard fans very upset and angry.
NBC stepped in and aired three sequels in 1982 and three more in the 1990's.
We have long since moved away from the shadow's of the Great Smokey Mountains but are very close to the beloved Blue Ridge Mountains of Earl Hamner/John Boy Walton. We often travel to our East Tennessee homeland from the Washington DC area, through Richmond, Charlottesville, Shenandoah Valley, Roanoke and on to Tennessee. Last weekend while celebrating the wedding of my oldest grandchild in Lynchburg Virginia, I saw the signs for the Walton Mountain Museum.. Always planning to stop and check it out every trip, I made up my mind I was going to find Walton's Mountain, the old home place, Ike Godsey's Store and any other item I could discover about The Walton's and the inspiration family The Hamner's.
Mr Earl Hamner is the author of 'Spencer's Mountain and The Homecoming' as well as other books, teleplays, television series such as 'Falcon Crest', numerous Twilight Zone episodes, co-writing Charlotte's Web for movie, Lilies of the Field, The Wild Thornberry's for just a few. Much of his work is written from life experiences with his own siblings, father, mother and grandparents and neighbors as inspiration growing up in Schuyler, Virginia. (Pronounced Skylar Virginia)
I must say the drive from Lynchburg to Schuyler Virginia was beautiful, all surrounded by the gorgeous Blue Ridge. At long last we found our way around the mountain to the Walton Mountain Country Store.
We browsed around for a while listening to the store clerk tell us some of the history and advising us the old home was now open for touring. I was ecstatic. After purchasing autographed copies of Spencer's Mountain and The Homecoming, some of the Hamner/Walton's special recipes, to include The Baldwin Sister's 'The Recipe' :) We made our way to the farmhouse I so often dreamed of. It was just as I had imagined.
Old timey red roses graced the entrance to the porch and Rhododendron bloomed in the yard. My husband and I sat on the front porch in the rockers and for a moment were Grandma and Grandpa Walton.
My favorite room was the kitchen of course. I stood in front of the windows over the kitchen sink and pondered how many meals had been prepared in this kitchen, how may dishes washed in the sink and how many thoughts and issues were sorted out gazing out those windows...
James Hamner the youngest brother aka JimBob, lived in the house with his Mother Doris Giannini Hamner aka Olivia Walton until her death in 1990. He then remained until shortly before his own death in 2004. The house was sold at auction to an avid Walton fan. She renovated the home very close to it's original quality and has furnished it with appropriate furnishing for the depression era.
The entire house is lovely from the kitchen, livingroom, master bedroom downstairs.the girls and the boy's rooms upstairs. I loved the sewing machine in front of the window in the master bedroom. All the window's created a bright and sunny place to live. You could tell windows were an important aspect of the house.
Some might feel disappointed after seeing the television version of the big white farmhouse, huge front porch, yard and Walton's Mountain right out the back door. Although the majestic and mysterious Blue Ridge Mountains stand in the distance, much like my own East Tennessee home was only in the shadows of the mountains.
I so wanted to stay and see the sunset across the mountains. Leaving the house I turned around to gaze up at the bedroom window's . I could almost hear "Goodnight John Boy, goodnight Mama, goodnight MaryEllen, goodnight Daddy, goodnight JimBob, goodnight Grandpa......
When we arrived back home at the end of that long driveway I smiled as I admired our old two story farm house and was glad to be home.
Photography Janie Lambert
May 18 2014
1 original house of the HamnerWalton family
2 myself on steps
4 myself at kitchen window over sink
6 master bedroom down stairs
7 sewing machine in master bedroom
8 John Boy's glasses and tablet on desk (replica)
9 The girl's room
10 The radio in the living room with a photo of the