Hometown Junket

If you live in Richmond, here's the new site you should be reading: Hometown Junket. This project, conceived and edited by Phillip Gravely (who between the hours of nine and five is UR's Director of Web and Editorial Strategy) aims to "put the voice of the community back in the hands of its storytellers, calling them to arms and giving them a unified charge—tell the story of your hometown."

I'm currently in the middle of working on a piece for HJ, and I'm stoked to see how many amazing stories people have turned up right off the bat. Briget Ganske's short video on Mrs. Yoder's Doughnuts and Jason Hatcher's account of his life as a CSX train conductor are particularly great snapshots of life in and around the River City today.

A snippet from the latter:

Railroaders may see some bad things from time to time, but they also see a lot of beautiful things. My favorite is taking the trains from Clifton Forge into Richmond. We take ‘em down the mainline on the James River Subdivision, which becomes the Rivanna Subdivision at Gladstone and Melton’s Lock. It’s a long ride — usually about a 12-hour shift — but I see the countryside and the mountains, all the way from J.D. Cabin and Iron Gate, down the James, and on into Richmond. Although I’m focused on being in charge of that train, I realize how beautiful of an “office” it is.

I like it when we get down to about Nine Mile Lock, Westham, Korah, Pump House, and all that, because I know we’ll be in Richmond soon, and we’ll either tie it down past Hacksaw Bridge and Texas Beach at Brown’s Island, or we’ll talk to the Fulton Yardmaster and take it on in past D.X. Cabin and Rivanna Junction, into Fulton Yard.

I don't even know where half of these places are—yet. But Mr. Hatcher's story offers a window onto the city and Central Virginia that I've never looked through, and it's to Phillip and Hometown Junket's credit that so many people now have access to that view.