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Signs of Yesterday | by emtbkim
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Signs of Yesterday

Taken in what may be my favorite place on Earth. I believe that Burke's Garden is the land time forgot.


Burke's Garden is a small community in Tazewell County, Virginia, located in the bowl of a large valley known for its fertile land. The valley, also called Burke's Garden and sometimes referred to as "God's Thumbprint", is the bed of an ancient sea. The oval shaped valley resembles a large volcanic crater from satellite photographs; however, the valley formed when underground limestone caverns collapsed beneath it. The valley is the highest in Virginia at 3,000 feet above sea level; it is completely surrounded by Garden Mountain.




Burke's Garden was first surveyed in 1748 by a team of surveyors working for local landowner James Patton. One of the party, James Burke, is said to have thrown away some potato peelings while cooking. A year later, when the party returned to the area, they found potatoes growing in the area where the peels had been left. The area was dubbed Burke's Garden as something of a joke, but the name stuck.


The area has remained isolated throughout its history. In the late 1800s, agents for the Vanderbilt family contacted local farmers about selling land so that the family could build a large estate there. Nobody wanted to sell, and the Vanderbilts instead constructed the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina. In the 1990s, a small number of Amish families moved to Burke's Garden but later moved out after being unable to purchase enough land and attract enough other Amish families to form a viable community.


The county's oldest church, the Central Lutheran church, is located in Burke's Garden. In 1952, the community was terrorized by the "Varmint of Burke's Garden", a large coyote which killed many local sheep and caused much damage before being killed.




A special thanks to my great friend Jim Semonik for teaching me how (twice) to do this technique. Please help me repay the favor and view Jim's awesome landscape photos on youtube at:

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Taken on June 8, 2009