Tag Archive: Stowell


Artist, Architect, and Mayor of Harpers Ferry

Trip-Kip cover

Kip was born ‘Walton Danforth Stowell’ in Massachusetts. He lived a long life as an artist, architect, and politician; settling in Harpers Ferry, WV. This biography spans 73 years of Kip’s life, from 1936-2009; and is a summary of people, places, and art related to him. As an architect he worked for the National Park Service, but also maintained private practice. Kip loved entertaining people, and was loved for his enthusiasm for design. Among his most famous designs are the Charles Town War Memorial, Turf Race Track Hotel, Bolivar Community Center, and Harpers Ferry Town Hall. His greatest contributions to Historic Preservation may have been to protect the Town of Harpers Ferry and the Peter Burr House for all time and for all people. Kip saw Architecture as Art you live in; Sculpture that provides shelter.

Please purchase Kip’s Biography as sales help to preserve his legacy:

Paperback book on Amazon

Kindle Ebook on Amazon

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Tristate Mentors (concept)

Tristate Mentors Concept Proposal for Grants

This month I founded ‘Harpers Ferry Mentors’ for low income families & unemployed neighbors. This project is to expand upon local area efforts underway now. The goal is to fund grassroots teaching, learning, and community spirit in the Tristate area (WV, VA, MD). I am doing this for the same reason I do all my projects (see SCOD), because it is how I choose to live as a Veteran Environmental Architect with a Masters Degree.

Tristate Mentors will work with local teachers and professors around the USA to empower the human children of Earth (of all ages and abilities) to be cooperative partners in a progressive future. Tristate Mentors will build from alternative networks established by SCOD (Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development) and Harpers Ferry Mentors; to raise awareness of patterns and cycles of life that have various values, share information and knowledge about various subjects, and encourage wise decision making skills. Mentor wisdom will aid children in utilizing their awareness and knowledge through-out the rest of their lives. Mentors will teach compassionate ethics, environmental sustainability, community consciousness, individual wellness, social justice, and multi-culturalism regarding various common subjects.

I have always been extremely passionate about these issues because of my own education, so I am convinced that if others know what I know, there would be more of us.

The Tristate Mentor project will use multimedia, but will primarily be old-school tutoring. The focus of the project will be paying and giving gifts to students and adult teachers, to sit down with eachother and share what they know. The mutual exchange between mentor and student will focus on positive aspects of progressive living (compassionate ethics, environmental sustainability, community consciousness, individual wellness, social justice, and multi-culturalism). The subjects taught will be Reading, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Studies, Local Regional History, US History, World History, Physical Fitness, Psychology, Philosophy, Visual Arts, Video Film-making 101, Performing Arts, Architecture, Art History, Wood Working, Drawing, Gardening, Harpers Ferry History, Martial Arts, Musical Arts,

and more….

To teach others Tristate Mentors must be FREE and AVAILABLE at least to the poorest members of our communities. When students and mentors get gifts and money, they will promote these values. Tristate Mentors can potentially reach thousands of people, and will affect hundreds directly. Since 2000 I have been building up to this point.

Conclusion:

WITHOUT GRANTS, MENTORS CANNOT TEACH FOR FREE OR EVEN TRADE. Exceptions include barter gifts of $20 an hour utilitarian equivalents like $20 in gasoline, $20 in something else agreed on but reserve right to decline unless the tutoring is for a life-saving subject.

My childhood friend, Fritz, had a Grandfather named Ganst (short for Ganstas), and a Grandmother named Ganny. Ganst was Mayor of Harpers Ferry; but he found time to play games and tell stories with us kids. Although I was not related to Fritz, these neighbors were like family to me; because my own grandparents had lived far away, and all but one had passed away; in fact all of my family relatives lived far away. We had neighborhood parties, and everyone had a lot of fun back then.

Fritz always loved vehicles, he could name any car on the road; and we often played many games involving ‘driving’. We both loved ghosts and monsters; and Ganst was always willing to play the ‘monster’ that chased us around the neighborhood, yards, and houses; in a sort of horror hide-and-go-seek. It was amazingly fun!

One evening Fritz and I had just watched the movie Amityville Horror, at his house. We had wandered around his mansion and property; running, playing, and even going so far as Harper Cemetery, and the old town well, by the junk car parts and old VW Beetle covered in ivy vines. Now his mother, Freddie told us to get in the jeep (Cherokee) and she would drive us up the street to Ganny and Ganstas house.

We knew that visits with Ganst meant playing ‘Monster’, and hearing spooky mysterious stories. Playing Monster was (as I said) like hide-and-go-seek, but Ganst would make monster sounds, and we hid and ran in terror. Sometimes we had to attack the monster, because he had found or caught us. But no amount of hitting, punching, kicking, or biting would stop the Ganst the Monster for very long. Although sometimes we would land a good strike, and we would hear “Ouch, dammit you little shits!” or something like that, which was as close to victory as it got! There was a real thrill from the fear I felt hearing the monster noises, voices, and being pursued and gripped by a giant white polar-bear (or whatever else we pictured him as)!!

Time playing with Ganst was one of our favorite things to do in town, besides exploring, messing with toys, and watching movies. We also loved stuffed animals. Fritz had a favorite one that he kept with him as a ‘security blanket’, named Clowny. We both had enough stuffed animals that sometimes we slept in piles of them. When we grew up we knew we would be ghost-busters, so we did what we could with what we had at the time.

Ganst was in his back yard, watering the lawn, plants, and flowers with the hose. We begged the mighty Ganstas to tell us a story. Ganst said “Oh you don’t want to hear a story do you!?” And we would say “Yes, yes please!!” And so he would say “The Ganstas will now tell you a story. Are you ready to listen?”

And so our story began…

Fritz has a four wheeler, and Walton has a three wheeler. They are driving down the dark highway at night. It starts to rain. Lightning strikes, and thunder booms!! Soon they come to the edge of a cliff, overlooking a huge sprawling Haunted Mansion. They decide to race down the cliff, and up a jump on the other side of the cliff. They full-throttle their vehicles!

They woosh down the slope, and pop up on the other side. Clowny goes flying high above their vehicles, and suddenly the ramp opens up under the boys, and a Giant Coo-coo (Cuckoo) bird swoops in and nabs Clowny! The bird carries Clowny up and away, before the boys can do anything! The Coo-coo bird then flies into the highest tower of the Haunted Mansion. Fritz and Walton fall into the opening in the ramp. The pitfall becomes a slope underground, leading towards the basement of the Haunted Mansion.

The boys manage to regain control of their steering, and the underground slope levels out into a long tunnel. The tunnel is miles long, so they drive and drive. Their headlights work well, and they avoid traps of all kinds; dodging this way, and that. They come to a parking garage, and come to a halt. They stop their vehicles, and turn off their ignitions. Using their flashlights, they find a set of old stairs.

Eventually they climb all the way up the old stairs to the Mansion. The see a closed hatch above them, and hear a rocking-chair rocking above them, and a cold wind blew past them. Then the strangest thing happens! An old lady in white descends the stairs, and she passes right through them!! “A ghost!!!” They yell, and push open the trap-door hatch quickly, and rush into the front hall of the Mansion.

All the windows are boarded up, and there is a thick layer of dust and cobwebs on all the antique furniture. Walton sees a stairwell leading to the high tower, but Fritz stares frozen in terror, as he spies a Coo-coo Clock on the wall; and it is about to strike Midnight!!!

The tiny arms click into place, and the small clock chimes. The doors swing open on the clock, and the enormous Coo-coo bird that stole Clowny comes out! The giant bird flies out towards the boys, with a dreadful cry; “Cuck-coo Kuck-koo”!! The boys do not stop to think about how such a large bird could fit in such a small clock; they run and scream for their lives!

While Fritz is busy being chased around the house, Walton hides and looks at the Coo-coo clock. The doors on it are still open, and Walton is small enough to fit inside. So carefully, he sneaks from behind some curtains, and climbs onto a chair to reach the clock. Once inside the clock, he realizes it is bigger on the inside, than on the outside. Inside the clock is a large nest, with many stolen items; including Clowny! So grabbing Clowny, Walton climbs back out of the clock, and calls to Fritz.

Hey Fritz! Jump down into the trap door, I have Clowny!” Walton shouts. Fritz is relieved to hear that, as the Coo-coo bird nips his sweater. “Let’s get out of here!! The front door is locked from the outside, I already checked it!” So they jump back down the hatch, as the Coo-coo pecks after them. As they tumble down the steps to the parking lot, they hear the echoes behind them; “Coo-coo Coo-coo”!

They had gotten Clowny from the old Coo-coo Clock, so they run back to their vehicles in the basement, to try to drive back the way they came, and escape. Fritz and Walton start their vehicles, ‘vroom, vroom’; and begin driving back through the tunnel. All the while they hear the Coo-coo bird coming behind them “Coo-coo Coo-Koo”!

The tunnel begins to slope upwards again. Fritz floors it; petal to the metal! Walton floors it! ‘VROOOOM! VROOOOOOOM!’ The slope gets steeper, and steeper. The floor becomes a wall, and they are now driving straight up the wall! They make it out of the pit, just as the giant Coo-coo bird swoops from out of the darkness!!! The ramp opening closes, but the kids have made it out. They drive up the canyon road to safety, and the boys go home to bed. Some nights they still hear the echo “Coo-coo Coo-coo!”

The End

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Lake Sunapee

Biography & Geography based on an English Class assignment in 1989

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There is a place in New England where I went every summer since I was born, until I finished college. The name of it is Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire. Lake Sunapee is a very unique place; and I have interesting experiences, feelings, and memories associated with it, accumulated over the years. Let me explain to you the rare treasures of Sunapee that are familiar to me; the ideal mountain vistas, the gorgeous and thrilling waters, the beautiful vegetation and geology, the pine scented air, great old boats, and metamorphosis of seasons.

My father (Kip) and his two brothers owned our family cabin, which was really a small house that we affectionately called the ‘Camp’. They inherited Camp from their parents, who originally bought it from their friend, Marion Savory, in 1960. The official title of Camp is ‘Summer Savory’, which is a pun of Marion’s last name, the sweet summer herb, and the adjective savory (morally pleasant). Camp was built in 1903, on a small lakeside wooded lot. Under the seclusion of the trees, while resting in a hammock, you can glance around and see several types of trees, animals, ferns, lichen, moss, and rocks.

The grey rocks are formed so smoothly, they encourage soft relaxation. Every rock is blended into the leaf-covered surroundings, as though arranged by ancient pagans. The rocks are familiar to me, each with their own characteristics. When I was four years old, I named them all. Some look like chairs and tables, some look like animals or vehicles. A large rock I played on by the Camp as a kid, was named ‘Ship Rock’. Most of the rocks are down by the water; Computer Rock, Frog Rock, Boat Rock, etc.

If you follow the path down to the water, you use steps made from the old train-tracks that were on the terrace landing, between the Camp and the Lake. Down by the water’s edge are a series of wharfs and docks. Uncle Chan and his family keep boats, canoes, and other aquatic devices there. Uncle Chan was a police officer on the Lake, and he kept his police boat there too. Uncle Jay did not actively use the Camp, but he had his own place on Great Island, where he had a collection of antique boats.

The clean fresh air in New Hampshire tends to be typical of New England; the wind is dry and cool, with an aroma of pine needles. When it rains, it is often just as beautiful as when it is a clear, warm day. Although thunder storms do knock hillside trees down, perhaps reminding us that nothing is forever. In the Winter the Lake freezes over so thickly, that trucks can drive over it. It can get very cold and windy. Camp was not winterized (insulated), and so we depended on the fireplace and thermal blankets.

In 1989 we went skiing with Uncle Chan. During the Summer I often participated in water sports with Cousin Chip; water skiing, water tubing, and swimming. The State Beach is nearby along the shore. The Beach has nice sand, and usually full of people having fun in the Summer Sun! Near the paddle-boats, there is a secret canal swamp to explore by canoe.

Mount Sunapee sits above, behind the Camp, and looks down upon the Lake. It has ski gondolas, ski slopes, and hiking trails. At the top is Lake Solitude. Other mountains nearby include Kearsarge, Ascutney, and Monadnock. All of the mountains have lush forests, with pine and deciduous trees. It is intriguing to watch the hang-gliders. We had many hiking adventures. On one such adventure, Dad and I hiked up Mount Sunapee without a trail, and got lost; so that by the time we reached the top, it was sunset, and we could barely walk down the ski slopes. Once we got down, we had to hitch-hike to our car on the other side of the mountain. I remember we did find ruins of a cabin on one of the bluffs I mapped out, we would never have seen if we had not gone our own route.

Lake Sunapee itself is a powerful 10 miles long, and at its widest part is 3 miles across. The navy blue-grey waters can be very deep. On Great Island, there are 18 summer cottages. Dad and I annually canoed to Minute Island (the smallest island), and then to Great Island (the largest island). The Native American name ‘Soonippi’ meant “Land of Wild Goose Waters”.

On cold days we sat in front of the stone fireplace, with its twin owl andirons, and roasted marsh-mellows. In the mornings we liked to sit on the porch eating breakfast, and watch the sail-boats and motor-boats plow across the Lake. There are two pleasure cruise ships that circle daily; the Dinner Boat and the Sight-Seeing Boat. One of our favorite things to do, was have my uncles drive us in their boats to go get ice-cream at the harbors. One of Dad’s favorite things was to get in the car, and explore around all day. Other favorites included going to St. Gaudens NHS, or the John Hay Estate NWR. At the Hay Estate, which is directly across the Lake from us, we loved to draw the gardens, and walk to Sunset Hill.

Dad and his brothers sold Camp to Uncle Chan’s daughter Kim, so I am glad that my cousin owns it. In 1989 we had a family reunion that saw more relatives than the Camp had in over 50 years, and we got it on video! The main reason I do not travel there every year anymore, is because of the massive distance. For tranquility and adventure, Sunapee is the place to go though!

Savannah, Georgia

Why I Loved Living In the Urban Utopia of Savannah

 

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. In sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers, and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

 

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

 

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

 

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

 

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging cockroaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

 

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

 * Additional Auto-Biography

I lived first at the SCAD Motel Dorms on the West Side. This is where they parked the British red double-deck buses, where to old railroad tracks came into town for the industrial roundhouse complex. The Visitor Center, Eichberg Hall, and the SCAD Art Museum were all renovated from the ruins of those railroad buildings.

My second SCAD residence was a beautiful apartment on Park Avenue, diagonally across from Forsyth Park. Every week I practiced martial arts, jogged, and played music in a hippy drum circle there. I also passed through it every day to get to classes.

My third SCAD residence was on Duffy Street, in a small 2-story brick carriage house apartment. The walled gate opened from the street to a small alley courtyard. It actually had a garage, but I had no car, so I used it for my bike.

I paid about $15 a week for groceries from Kroger (a few blocks away), or the Health Food Store (one block away). I was mostly vegetarian during this time, so that helped keep my costs down. My room had a strange glass door that opened into a brick oubliette, which functioned as a skylight.

Everyday on the streets I was asked for money by bums of all types, but I was only mugged once during my three years at SCAD.

 

 

 

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Articles in WV Encyclopedia by WDS2

Here is a link for the online version of the WV Encyclopedia articles based on my writings. They were later altered by editors, and may be changed entirely in the future. As of 2012 the articles are loosely based on my original essays.

http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/authors/383

Three Simple Mazes

These basic maze types are pre-historic, and simple enough anyone can draw and make landscape designs from. Circle Maze A1, A2, and A3 with the corresponding number of destinations upon entering.

The following is a list of the primary books I have published:

1.  MOSS – My Old School Stories  (compendium of fiction stories)

2.  Harpers Ferry Houses  (with Kip Stowell)

3.  Hoppers Furry Tale

4.  SCOD 2000  (Architecture Thesis version)

5.  Ten Consciencious Objections to War – Operation 10 COW

6.  BDU – Air Force Basic Training Journal Unauthorized

7.  Pitcher of Immortality – Byzantine multiple-choice fantasy

8.  Art Beyond Reality  –  my art portfolio 1  (1976-2012)

9.  Multiple Choice Adventures  –  Interactive Short Stories

10.  Art By Nena  –  Nena Stowell’s artwork  (1960-2012)

11.  Kip Stowell Biography  (Paperback) (abridged Kindle)

* this is not a full list of my books, nor does it note sales popularity; it is a list based on the major titles of my different series categories. Nor does it distinguish paperback from ebook.

Harpers Ferry Films

The following movie videos were made by Walton Stowell and friends (originally DTTE Corp.) in and around Harpers Ferry from 1989 onward….

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The GENERIC MURDER MYSTERY  I

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The GENERIC MURDER MYSTERY II

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PREDATOR VS HARPERS FERRY  (1990)

PVHF Full Film  (2007 ttr version)

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The ODD FELLOWS LODGE on Filmore Street (IOOF 1st VA)

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HARPERS FERRY HOUSES – based on Stowell Architect’s book

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STOWELL GALLERIES Youtube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/StowellGalleries

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SCOD FALLOUT 2020 http://www.youtube.com/user/SCODgreenhood#grid/user/706861D5307125B4

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HOPPERS FURRY Films

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“Walton / Drogo Interviews” by BackCreekDaddy Films of Hedgesville, WV

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Comedy Commercials:  Art Shell’s Boxers, Football Phone, Footbabble, Pepto Commercial, Tampon Ad, Encyclopedia World Book, ….

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Dream Sequences

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We made many more videos back in the day, just can’t list them all here yet! Will try to add more later….

Hopper’s Furry

Once there was a place called Hopper’s Furry.
It was a land ruled by furkins, before the coming of monkins.
Animals lived together on a hill between two rivers and two mountains.
This is their story, and the tale of old Hopper the rabbit.

The name “Hopper’s Furry” came about from my work on “Harpers Faerie Magic”. I had been writing about a magical Bard that played a Magic Fae Harp, and fairy folk… Thinking about the Mist in the Mountains and what not … I began to have problems transferring real-life stories to fantasy language, because all the humanoid fae were still so personal i was rethinking how to publish … so then i realized that removing the human forms, and using animals (like so many of our favorite childrens books), provides a freedom to tell real stories in a harmless but still personal way. A homophonic pun for an anthropomorphic version of our home town, in a fantasy past before humans.

At the same time, I began writing a Civil War fantasy story, “The Harper’s Fury”, but the animals won out for my attention. “Hopper” worked well since it was a separate word, but similar to the way my Dad (from New England) pronounced “Harper”, and “Furry” is a different word, but retains the double-R and keeps the letter count. “Furry” is similar to the way locals (West Virginia) pronounce “Ferry”. So the name works well in part because it combines a Northern and Southern pronunciation of the place, and is disarming all at the same time.

T-Shirts, Mugs, Clocks, etc… :  Hopper’s Furry Gift Shop

To order copies on Amazon.com : Hopper’s Furry Books