Andrew S. Turnbull

Andrew is originally from Athens although he now calls the Midwest his home. He enjoys documenting the past and taking pictures of everyday things that other people might not think of until it's too late. Recurring themes are signs, vehicles, transportation infrastructure, commercial buildings, and retail archaeology. A selection of Andrew's photographs shown here begins with a self portrait, followed by old cars, Athens neighborhoods and town, the Concord campus, and a few familiar shots from Princeton. Several of Andrew's other photos are used with his permission elsewhere on this site. We're hopeful that others have taken photographs or snapshots of everyday places and events in and around Athens, and this space can be used to showcase the community over the years.

« Back

Self portrait in Athens with a borrowed Pentax K1000 camera. I happened upon this long-abandoned 1950 Oldsmobile 88 quite by accident in a wooded spot near Athens. The car is slowly returning to the earth. The steering wheel and dashboard adorning the interior of the car. Little doubt about the make and model of this car. This pile of doors and bumpers salvaged from ancient cars appears next to the abandoned 1950 Oldsmobile.
This truck was an emergency vehicle of some kind. Dating these trucks is difficult since the same body was used (with minimal trim variation) from 1957 to 1990. Rather exquisite detail with stylish chrome. For some reason, our old house had a 1960 West Virginia license plate embedded in part of the exterior wall. Why is it there? How did it get there? The remnants of a backyard bomb shelter used to sit on a hillside lot across from the Concord Towers dormitory. Although long-abandoned and crumbling by the 1990s, the shelter was built with integrity: The concrete walls and ceiling were about four feet thick! One year after I took this set of photos in 2003, both the shelter and the house it stood behind were demolished to leave room for a new parking lot. During my years in Athens this house always seemed to be in the midst of remodeling and repair. At the time this picture was taken back in 2000, the front porch boards had been pulled up and the front walkway had been obliterated by some landscaping work. Since then, the windows, siding, and roof shingles have all been replaced.
Scanned print from my high school photo days. In Athens, about 2000. Athens streetlight. Old storefronts lining Vermillion Street. Just a few weeks after I took this photo, the first and second buildings from left were demolished. Another photograph of a classic small-town storefront that no longer exists. Together with the tacky fake-stone-facade expansion at right, the building at left had managed to hang on to life and house a number of businesses. Some of the upper-story space had been used as apartments as recently as the 2000s. Unfortunately, shortly after being vacated, both buildings fell into disrepair and were demolished in 2006. This unique building houses the local government offices of Athens. In spite of rumors (and the unfortunate tendancy for the buildings I photograph in this town to be demolished short weeks later), the Town Hall remains intact as of 2009. It's anyone's guess if it's still there now.
From what I've heard, this building once housed a telephone operator's switchboard on the second floor.
I grew up in a house just down the street from this brick-and-concrete shop, with its strange amalgamations of windows and doors tacked on all sides. Although formerly an auto repair shop, the structure has housed a small machine shop in my lifetime. Given how many older commercial buildings in this town have kissed the wrecking ball in the last decade and a half, I wonder how much longer this one will last. Vintage Goodyear Tires sign on the side of the auto repair shop wall. The Mountain Lion Motel was located on the outskirts of Athens. Although the property was later converted to residential apartments, this sign remains visible at the back of the building. Wall shot by the front of the post office in 2000. Nowadays, the corners of Vermillion and State Streets in the small town of Athens are dominated by a CVS pharmacy built in 1998. Had I taken this nighttime photo three years earlier, three houses and a long-closed Gulf gas station would have been visible where the parking lot is now. To the right in the photo are the town hall and a masonic lodge.
At one time vehicles in West Virginia's state car motor pool were issued license plates stamped with the name of their agency or entity. This practice was discontinued years ago, and license plates bearing these extra captions and their vehicles are rare. Located across Vermillion Street from the Concord campus is the president's house; built in 1932 on state property with borrowed funds. Although occupied at the time this photo was taken, the building was under renovation. Pineapple fountain behind the Concord president's house. This monument with the names of philanthropers was added below the bridge between the library and administration building. A light show.
This section of pine trees is part of a tract that once extended from the library and administration building towards McComas Hall. So synonymous were the trees with the college that the official Concord yearbook was named The Pine Tree for many years. Another view of the Pines. When the College Center was built in 1960, the pines located on the part of the tract used for construction were harvested and used on the interior of the new building. Sarvay Hall is Concord's oldest surviving dormitory. Sarvay was fitted with the salvaged majestic porch from McComas Hall, which was demolished. Wooddell Hall is visible in the background. In the upper-left corner are the numerous College Courts apartments, which have since been demolished. Here's a close-up of Concord's iconic 48-bell carillon tower added in 1997.
The Science Hall. Joseph F. Marsh Hall, Concord's Administration Building, has undergone many changes over the years. This Fallout Shelter sign, an artifact of an early 1960s renovation, used to be on the side of the Concord administration building but is gone now. Sign at the Science Hall entrance. Identical signs were also once located on the College Center and Administration Building, but as far as I know this may be the only one still there. Inside the Marsh Hall Administration Building is this sun-lit staircase.
The half-lit basement here is empty with neither the crowds nor the noise inherent to academic hours. The basement snack bar has undergone remodeling within the last decade. Since the building is built into a hillside, half of the basement is in fact on ground level. White Hall before demolition began, photographed in 2000.Constructed with slate roofs, multiple stairway entrances, and a courtyard, John Baker White Hall served as a men's domitory for many years. The courtyard shown here was salvaged as part of the construction of the new Rahall Technology Center that now occupies the site. The courtyard itself was converted to an enclosed room with skylights. The three-story tower behind it, though, has become history.This cornerstone of the John Baker White Hall was located in the courtyard portion of the building. The stone was spared from demolition in 2004 and is still visible as part of the present Rahall Technology Center building.
These last photos were taken in the neighboring community of Princeton, West Virginia. This vintage sign promoting the wares of Lynch's Men's Wear, a local business, has been painted on the side of a building in the downtown area for decades. Unfortunately, the business closed in 1997 after 89 years. Ghost signs on the side of a building in Princeton. Since 2000, parts of downtown Princeton have undergone a bit of renewal with brick-lined crosswalks, angled parking, and the like, and no longer looks as run-down as it did then; even if the storefronts remain bare.This faded soft drink sign used to be visible on the side of an old brick building adjacent to the old Kroger superstore in Princeton. The building has since been razed, and a new Walgreens pharmacy was recently built on the site.