Naming Lafayette Flats came easy to us, but we’ve struggled with naming the individual flats. Old mine town names felt too lonely; local celebrity names already garner plenty of attention, and names of natural elements don’t quite capture the spirit of the Gorge.
In an effort to respect the past while looking toward the future, we asked ourselves, “What makes the New River Gorge such a special place?” While the river and rocks are certainly defining characteristics, we feel that the Gorge is so much more. It’s about communities and connections; historical relevance and strength; the past and the possibilities; AND, of course, the unparalleled natural beauty of a landscape that is and always will be uniquely ours.
We feel that the following four names capture this sentiment:
Flat No. 1, Nuttall
The cliff and canyon walls of the New River Gorge are old and strong. The wearing and weathering of the Nuttall Sandstone has only exposed its beauty and strength, and today, it serves as a siren call to people from across the globe who are yearning for a true climbing experience. The slow and steady aging of the Gorge continues to enhance its dramatic presentation.
Flat No. 2, Corten
If the mountains are the skeletal structure of the New River Gorge, then the bridge is the heart of the circulatory system. Connecting people and communities by spanning the river and railways, the bridge is a source of transportation, celebration, and deep pride. It was built using Corten, a weathering steel that adjusts to the natural elements and stands as strong as our people.
Flat No. 3, Quinnimont
Derived from Latin, this beautiful word means “five mountains.” What a powerful, fitting name to describe the Gorge and an appropriate label for one of WV’s earliest mining towns. The mountains protect and sustain us, creating a formidable front but exposing a hospitable heart.
Flat No. 4, Eddy
The water brings life and the river flows continuously, but every now and then, an eddy is formed. These eddies can be respites, but more importantly, they are tools used by guides to safely navigate the river. As the water swirls and the currents pull, just as in life, we must acknowledge the experience and right ourselves for the waters ahead.
Stained Glass Interpretation
The beautiful illustrations you see above are the sketches our friend, Chris Dutch, provided after we asked him to interpret our individual vacation rental names into stained glass transoms for the top of each flat door.
Chris is a Maine native that’s been living and working in Charleston, WV since 1982. He studied Civil Engineering before turning to a full-time pursuit of art and craftsmanship. Chris attended the Haystack Mountain School, the Pilchuck Glass School, and he studied glass and church art in Europe for three years in the 1990s. You can find work by Chris throughout West Virginia including Tamarack Marketplace, Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston, and the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia.
UPDATE: Here’s a beautiful example of how the project turned out.