Monday, June 26, 2006

The Outhouses of Morgan County

While it might not have the literary appeal or big-screen potential of "The Bridges of Madison County," this story is nevertheless an intriguing look at the impact of urban sprawl on the rural countryside. The story revolves around the desire of the residents of Unger, West Virginia, to preserve the natural qualities that attracted them to the area in the first place from the despoiling influences of a proposed major new housing development. Tucked away in the western extremity of the West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, Unger is so isolated that I (an 18-year resident of the Eastern Panhandle) have never had cause to visit the town. The link to birds is the gigantic fiberglass eagle with a 12-foot wingspan that graces the front yard of George Farnham, the leading protagonist in this battle. On second thought, maybe this quirky story about an oddball protest with an eccentric cast of characters does have movie potential. A couple of things just don’t add up, though. Farnham, for example, is described as a 52-year former “burned-out” Washington lawyer who escaped to Unger 22 years ago; burned out at the age of 30? Hmmm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had something similar in Wheeling, on the river in an old historic part of town. Many had bought and restored homes there but between them and the river was this old plot of railroad land. The mayor was a partial owner and he and the others sold it to a developer who used tax credits to fund an unneeded housing complex that blocks the views and ruins the other's investments. It's always an shame and there is rarely anything one can do, but it is best to go down swinging. Maybe there is an endangered species there.

June 27, 2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

Unfortunately, it seems that the only thing currently "endangered" in Unger is the lifestyles of the eccentric artists and hippy-types who call it home.

June 28, 2006 8:22 AM  

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