During the pre-Christmas snowstorm we were fortunate to have professional photographer, Charles Blackburn, visiting from Seattle. He captured what he saw and then posted several of his photos on Facebook where they quickly went viral.
High Street Beat (HSB) contacted Charles Blackburn (CB) to find out more about him and his connection to Mineral Point. Here’s the exchange:
HSB: How did you find Mineral Point?
CB: About 4 years ago I started photographing for the Lands’ End catalog. They gave me several choices of where I could stay, but I preferred to stay close to Dodgeville and not make the commute every morning from Madison. I chose Mineral Point without knowing exactly what I was getting into. On my first visit to MP I flew in from Seattle arriving in Madison late afternoon. Driving into the town at dusk was quite the experience as I drove past the cemetery overlooking the valley and not quite knowing where the Brewery Creek was located I stopped at the Kwik Trip by the Dairyland Motel to ask for directions. The clerk pointed me in the right direction. Driving past the old houses and into the lower area of town I felt like I was in a 1970’s Horror movie… You don’t have to print that… lol. Arriving at the Brewery I noticed that all the lights were off and I thought to myself… Great… What now? So I walked up to the front door and there was a note with my name on it telling me to go around to the back door where the yellow light is and there will be a key in the lock box outside. So I pull into the parking lot just across the street from (at that time) the empty Walker House. As I walked past the Walker House I knew there was something different about it as all the hair on my arms stood up. I got into my room that night safe and sound and as amazing as it is I’ve stayed there ever since. Jeff and Deb of the Brewery Creek treat me well and have taken great care of me on every visit.
HSB: What do you like best about Mineral Point?
CB: All my life I’ve been drawn to small towns where the history, culture and people fascinate me. I am a frequent visitor to Tony’s Tap where Tony told me he was the second worst quarterback in Pointer history and also the Midway Grill where I can count on a great Pepperoni Pizza. I’m a big fan of the old street signs but disappointed that the corner of “Front and Center” had been replaced with new ones. I would have loved to photograph that with the faded old signs…lol. But what I like most about the town is that on a long summer day the light streams beautifully through the streets. After a day at the studio I can take a long walk through town with my camera and chase the light as it disappears to dusk.
HSB: What are your favorite things to do when you visit?
CB: My favorite thing to do here is to photograph the town, its surroundings and explore new places. I’m always drawn back to this place. For example, I drove one evening to Darlington and on the way back I saw a hillside I wanted to photograph. I took a side road and as I got to this view I kept going further on this road, winding and turning my way through the farmlands not knowing where I was and really not caring at that point. It was about dusk as the light had diminished and I took a right onto a dirt road. This dirt road led me to the back side of MP. I was home and the town brought me safely back.
HSB: Why do you keep coming back to Mineral Point?
CB: I’m drawn to this town and the history that surrounds it. The only time that I’ve been able to actually shop the stores in town has been when I was snowed-in here in the last two snowstorms as the studio had closed due to dangerous roads. There were several amazing shops in town that I loved. In the last storm I met an amazing woman who owns the Mineral Point Collection. Catherine made me tea and served me cake as I asked her questions about the history of the town. She wanted to send me off with a Pasty as well but I told her I was flying out that day and could not eat it. I keep coming back because I’m drawn to the historic presence of the town.
Thank you Mr. Blackburn! Your photos captured the historic presence and beauty of Mineral Point. For more of Mr. Blackburn’s work, visit his website at this link.