The "York Hill" Series
Turnings From An Historic Orchard in Apple, Plum, Cherry, Black Walnut, And Pecan
(This series is dedicated to my dear friends Gordon and Cornelia Hockman, whose generosity and enthusiasm for my work have been vital to the success of the "Historic Places" project)
About Historic York Hill
Located along (Sandy) Ridge Road, in Shenandoah Junction, York Hill was established as a settlement-era farm circa 1750 by Samuel Darke, who produced subsistence goods and, perhaps, tobacco, before passing into the ownership of Col. James Hendricks, in 1762, who served in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War. Col. After the death of Col. Hendricks, in 1795, the farm passed through various owners until the Hockensmith Family purchased it in 1939, and greatly developed and expanded orchard operations that had begun earlier. The house is known as York Hill and owned by Gordon and Cornelia Hockman, who manage orchard operations and other activities (see below). View the National Registration of Historic Places Registration Form here for more details; the house and supporting structures were elected in 2006. see The Barn at York Hill below and link for a description of yet a new chapter in the history of this local gem.
An Orchard's Loss Is A Wood Turner's Gain
A few years back, when I was still figuring this thing out, Gordon Hockman invited me to harvest some plum wood from the orchard at York Hill (Twin Ridge Orchards). Several trees had been affected by blight, and he needed to destroy those to prevent the spread. Since plum wood in sizes suitable for wood turning can be pretty hard to come by, and there was nothing wrong with the wood itself, I jumped at the chance. Turns out, it was a LOT of plum wood, and I've been steadily producing finished work from York Hill ever since, including pens from the few chunks I have left. I've since encountered one other plum tree in my travels (it was pretty bug-ridden but I did get some artsy pieces from its burls), so between that and York Hill I've been really lucky to work with such beautiful wood...
The Barn at York Hill - This magnificent stone Pennsylvania bank barn was completed in 1812, at the height of the grain culture in the mid-Atlantic region. Today it stands not only as a stunningly beautiful reminder of the rich local history of the area, but is also a popular event venue complete with wedding planning services. See the link for more information, and be prepared to have your breath taken away.