Creating fictional worlds is one of my favorite things. My 19-year-old, who is also a writer, says that his favorite part of writing is world building and BOY does he love world building. He has documents upon documents about his fantasy worlds, along with languages, cultures, histories, etc.
Now, I’m not too sure I go as in-detail as my son, but I sure do like to know about my fictional places. So instead of taking you on a book journey of a ‘real’ place, today I’d like to introduce you to the town of Ransom from my Mitchell’s Crossroads series.
Ransom is a small town in the southwestern part of Virginia. Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s located about 2 hours (give or take) any direction from a sizeable ‘city’. Ransom boasts somewhere between 7500-9000 people, depending on which old-timer you ask in the General Store.
Originally a lumber town, because of the Tali River, the town housed mostly hardy Scot-Irish immigrants and a few Cherokee until about the Civil War when wealthy southerners wanted to get away from their war torn lands and disappear. Businessman, Anthony Everett discovered Ransom when his northbound train broke down halfway to Richmond. With the benefits of the river, the somewhat temperate climate, and the abundance of natural resources and lumber, Everett bought property and built his country home he called Windermere House. The house was sold in the 1930s to the Adderly family, who soon turned it into an inn with a fantastic view of Canopy Falls and the Tali River.
Another famous person moved into Ransom’s vicinity. Timothy Crescent, an Englishman from a wealthy family, discovered Ransom when he was passing through on a hunting expedition with some of his friends. He immediately fell in love with the location surrounding Ransom and purchased one hundred acres of land from the surrounding Appalachian people to build The Havens, a sprawling estate passed down for generations. Now a tourist’s dream, the late 1900s Gothic Revivalist manor showcases a bygone age with beautiful gardens and a country house as lovely as any in Europe. Owned and operated by family, The Havens provides continued revenue for the town of Ransom and a historical experience for guests around the world.
The township of Ransom sits on a level property surrounded by mountains, with the Tali River wrapping around it on two sides. Houses are scattered throughout the mountains and forests surrounding the town, which is where you’ll find Mitchell’s Crossroads. Just take a left at the movie theater and follow the road out through the countryside. 😊
In my imagination, Ransom became a combination of two of my favorite towns near where I grew up. Wytheville, VA and Mt. Airy, NC (Mayberry). Ransom has all the modern conveniences, but Main Street keeps a sense of a “place out of time”. You’ll probably find a Wal-Mart back off the main road. A hospital tucked away from the town closer to the highway, and several schools in various locations outside of the downtown, but Main Street keeps its timeless appeal with a movie theater, ice cream shop, bookstore, etc. Tree lined streets and a fountain in the middle of the town make it almost iconic 😉 Hey, I’m the author, I can make it that way, right?
What do YOU think are some buildings that MUST be on Main Street in a small town?
Check out Ransom in Minecraft! It is hard having only blocks to build with, but this will give you a visual!