Three thousand and counting! That’s the number of people who tapped “Follow” on the new Facebook page, Adams County Rural Living, in its first week online. The page, created by Robin Bayless and Larry Heller, has taken the local Facebook community by storm.
In less than three weeks, the site, has gained more than five thousand followers.
“Larry and I have always enjoyed putting our landscape and nature photos on Facebook,” said Bayless, “I thought it would be neat to create a page where we and other people could post our pictures.”
The page may have began as an album for photography buffs who shared Bayless and Heller’s love of nature and picture- taking, but it has developed into something much more far-reaching.
Friends to the page have uploaded both a gallery of landscapes, and a virtual library of historical photographs dating back to the late 19th century.
“It’s kind of like a history lesson, you can learn quite a bit about the county from the older photographs,” said Heller.
There are portraits and casual shots of family members, photos of towns and homesteads, pictures of events such as the great flood of 1937 and the blizzard of 1950, to name only a few. The site has become a treasure trove of memories, as well as a testament to the aesthetics of Adams County.
Bayless believes the page has brought the community together, “Everyone’s talking about it, people really like the old photos and seeing their family members. The page is bringing history alive and tying the community together by creating connections between people and allowing them to rediscover their roots. They’re finding relatives they didn’t know they had.”
The page’s following isn’t only limited to Adams County.
“We have people from Arizona, Florida, and New York who grew up here and left, the page is giving them an opportunity to reconnect,” said Heller, “Some of them even want to come back.”
Every weekend Heller and Bayless travel the roadways of Adams County, stopping to take photographs of compelling landscapes and scenes. Heller uses his cell phone camera, and Bayless, a Samsung Galaxy Smart Camera.”We just drive around and look at the scenery, and if something catches our eye, we pull over and take a picture.”
They divide their time between different sections of the county. Heller explains, “One week we go to the southeast and shoot photos in Shawnee Forest, Blue Creek, and Lynx, another week we’ll drive north around the Peebles and Seaman area, and so on. People see the photos, and want to know where they were taken, then they go out and try to find the landscapes.”
Bayless admits she has a weakness for rustic homesteads and barns, but doesn’t limit herself to that subject matter. “I like shooting little streams, waterfalls and sunsets, I just love to photograph the beauty of nature.”
The couple is selective about the photos they post. “We take hundreds of pictures,” says Heller, “but we will only pick three or four to put on the page.”
As the year progresses they plan to do seasonal shots of the same landscapes. “Spring is going to be great,” they agree, “We’ll be shooting a lot of photos of flowers.”
They’re also very excited about getting more kids and teachers involved with the page. “Young people are always posting photographs, they’re really excited about it.”
There’s even talk of putting a book together, “We’re looking at that, but right now, it’s just a day to day thing. We’re really enjoying it, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”