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Couple travels 2000 miles to see John Henry Park

Hinton News
Hinton News
 2022-08-17

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One couple recently traveled from Lexington, Massachusetts to Talcott, West Virginia, to see the famed John Henry statue and John Henry Park. After reading a novel titled John Henry Days, Stephen and Peg Senturia made the 2000+ mile journey to see the legendary tunnel in person. According to Stephen, he and his wife participated in a class on the novels of Colson Whitehead, one of which was John Henry Days. The story revolves around the first festival of the same name and features a journalist covering the event. He said, "We really enjoyed the novel. We found it fascinating. And that got us interested in the John Henry story." Earlier this year, the two were on a trip to visit their daughter in Virginia. While there, they decided to drive up to West Virginia to see John Henry Park. Due to COVID-19 concerns, they did not stay for the festival, which was only a short time in the future.
RELATED: Click here to see more stories on John Henry Days Stephen spoke passionately about their enjoyment while in Talcott and Hinton. He said, "The notion that one can push a button and have Johnny Cash, singing 16 verses of the ballad [is facinating]. [We saw] the display board and the picture of the steam drill and the fact that the tunnel is right next to another tunnel that's still active. All of these things were terrific. There's a Visitor Center building of some kind there that was being worked on at the time we showed up, so we didn't go in that, but the site looks just terrific. Even having the geological strata exposed was terrific because I have a hobbyist interest in the geology of the area. So I liked it a lot." While in the area, the Senturia's explored Hinton's Historic District, the New River Gorge National Park and enjoyed lunch at the Market on Courthouse Square. When asked if they would recommend John Henry Park to others, Stephen said, "Absolutely. No question about it. Anyone with an interest in the John Henry legend should go there." Stephen noted that the class that initially sparked their interest will be held again in the fall. They plan to send a series of photos they took while at the park to "enliven the class." Stephen went on to say, "Instead of just having the description in the novel, they're gonna see pictures of the place that the novelist is talking about." To learn more about the Colson Whitehead novel featuring the local festival, go to the Penguin Random House website. For more information about the famed festival, visit John Henry Days on Facebook or stop by the museum on Saturdays.

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