Saturday, April 5, 2008

Roadside iconography - Coffindaffer crosses

Nestled up in this field beside I-77 in West Virginia is a set of Coffindaffer crosses. You’ve probably come across a similar set of crosses if you’ve traveled in the South, as it’s the most ambitious effort at roadside iconography that I’ve found. Called “Caffindaffer Crosses,” these were originally envisioned by Bernard Coffindaffer, a West Virginia native and Methodist minister. He had a calling in his mid-40s after several heart operations, liquidated his $3 million fortune, and began erecting these sets of crosses across the U.S. and the world. Eventually he set up 1864 crosses, including 352 in West Virginia, 131 in Virginia, and 106 in North Carolina. Coffindaffer died in 1993, but his crosses project continues under the auspices of Crosses Across America.


we_be_toys said...

I've always wondered what the story was on those. I've seen them all over the place, but I figured they were put up by different individuals, for Easter or something.
Who knew?

Bantering Bibliocrat said...

Hi Becky! I've been intrigued with Appalachian iconography for years. Dabbled with an academic study of it, but that was too much work! Coffindaffer's one of my favorites, and they are EVERYWHRE!

Anonymous said...

The man was insane-left his family-blew his FORTUNE on the crosses. Had the audacity to place one at the exit of his son's ramp from work after leaving him and his mother. Sad man-sad story. Puzzled