A few days ago in Northern Virginia, everyone made believed it snowed. We hadn’t been belted with a good storm for a couple of years, so when there was a threat of getting 12 or more inches, everyone opted to stay in bed and play hookey. Schools were closed. Governments were closed. Even businesses shut down.
Trouble is, it didn’t snow very much. Sure, there were a few big wind gusts and some heavy rain, but it wasn’t anything that should have created a regional holiday.
So as I made my way south to Mineral in Louisa County for a small race to benefit the local youth swim team, I was surprised to see some white stuff along the road. While we took a day off, they got pounded with a foot and a half of snow and very harsh winds. Four days after the storm, snow still covered the ground and many people were living without power.
With the biggest park in the small town still covered with snow, the race start was moved to the firehouse, by far the grandest building in Mineral. There were 100 or so participants in the 5K that meandered through a couple of small neighborhoods.
As you might expect from its name, Mineral used to be a mining town. In fact, in the early 1900s, there were 15 gold mines near here. Today, people still pan for gold in the area, although any thoughts of striking it rich are more fantasy than realistic.
It made the national news in August 2011 when it was the epicenter of a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. The roof of Mineral’s town hall collapsed, and three Louisa County schools suffered heavy damage. Ultimately, the high school was condemned and had to be demolished. Classes are now held in temporary trailers, with the new school expected to be finished in 2015.
Louisa County’s most impressive historical factoid: It is where Patrick “Give me liberty or give me death” Henry started his political career. He represented the county in Virginia’s House of Burgesses beginning in 1765.
Louisa, with a population of 30,000, is about 30 miles east of Charlottesville. It has seen a good amount of growth in the last five years with the increased popularity of Lake Anna. The man-made lake, about 17 miles from tip-to-tip, covers the northern part of the county.
42 runs down, 92 to go.
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