The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #174


A reader writes:

Based on the types of cars in the parking lot and the shape of the license plates, it’s got to be the US. And I’m just taking a wild guess here, but the proximity of the railroad tracks simply reminds me of a business trip I took a few decades ago to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The city had a large cereal plant in the center of town and you could always tell from the smell, which breakfast cereal they were making, so we renamed Cedar Rapids – whose slogan is “the City of Five Seasons” – the City of Five Smells.


Hensall, Ontario, Canada? Sure looks like Canadian license plates; train tracks seem like the town of Hensall.  I was there many years ago.  They had a grain silo in town.


Battle Creek, MI? As a native Michigander, I recognize the landscape of trees and shrubs. Additionally, Battle Creek is along the railway with numerous small factories nearby. (Battle Creek is home to Kellogg’s Cereal and the trains come through frequently). Also, notice how the cars don’t have front plates? It’s not required in Michigan.


This VFYW contest is hard. I think I make out both Florida and Georgia license plates. Neither state requires front license plates. I’ll choose Valdosta, GA because Valdosta has railroad tracks. And cars. And sun. That’s the best a parent of two small children can do at this time.


No idea. I was going to ask my brother-in-law (who works in law enforcement) as a favor to run the personal information off the two clearly visible plates.  I figure “Cowgirl” would be thrilled to have a random dude call her to see if I could get her e-mail address, send her a picture of her car I got on a public website, and have her tell me where exactly she parked. Instead I decided not to risk the offer of tagging along on a meth lab raid next time my brother-in-law gets the opportunity.

Another gets on the right track:

I am thinking that this outside a major city of Georgia based on the GA license plates that on the cars in the lot. Too bad I can’t run them without paying. I am also thinking that this place is near a Walking Dead film site. (The show premiers October 31, as usual.) Did you know there’s a WD Google Map?

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.27.21 PM

In fact there a several, and they were WAY too detailed for me to spend time looking for nondescript buildings. I’ll choose Grantville because it’s one of the main sites for filming, but I can’t spot dual train tracks near there.


That is small town Georgia, for sure. Somewhere along the CSX line. One is right behind our home. Let’s see, Lee county is using PH in its tag sequence. Your submitter shows a PIA, so must be in Southern, or SW GA. The county name is large, so a few guesses there. I have seen a couple of readers from Tifton and from Tallahassee, so must be from somewhere around there.

Another quotes one of our grand champions:

What are the most common red herrings?

Mike: License plates.

There are so many, and they change so quickly. It’s easy to look at a plate and think you know where it’s from (or even to look it up on a license plate site), only to discover that it hasn’t been used for years, or even worse, that the same design is used in myriad countries or states.

But I’m no expert and the license plates are all I got here. I followed the red herring to a license plate site. These look like Georgia, which, according to the possibly-outdated plate site, also does not use front plates. I say this is Georgia. I have no idea where in Georgia so I’m saying Atlanta. Some very specific window in Atlanta.


I’m pretty sure at least three of those license plates are from Georgia. And it certainly looks like Georgia, specifically one of the towns centered along the railroads radiating from Atlanta (I should know, since I grew up in one of them).  In other words, one of about a hundred towns in the northern half of the state that look more or less exactly alike. Aw, what the hell …


This one was ridiculously difficult. I could narrow it down to the state of my birth, Georgia, because most of the cars have Georgia plates and it looks like a typical small Georgia town. The presence of the Range Rover from Florida made me think it’s in South Georgia near the Florida line, except the hill with the large red brick building threw me. South Georgia isn’t very hilly. It’s impossible to read the name of the business in the building with the red facade, and all I can make out about the billboard to the far left is the word “Pain,” which this contest certainly is.

So, for no good reason I’m going with Tifton, Georgia because Tifton is a small town and I’ve decided that the red building on the hill is part of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, otherwise known as ABAC. It’s located at 119 Love Ave. It’s in need of a paint job, but establishments like those are struggling these days, especially in small towns.


I got Georgia from the license plates and Calhoun because it came back in the first page of search results for both “cement plant Georgia” and “Oxycodone Georgia” (note billboard with the word “PAIN” in the background).

On the other hand, “The sign advertising pain (bread) and the cars point me to the province of Quebec.” Another reader:

I’ve viewed every cement depot in Georgia (number plates) that is within a mile of a railway line, going over the same ones twice if they were within 50 miles of a KIA dealership and 10 miles of a McDonald’s, and short of making enquiries of the DMV, I’m completely out. I’ll go with College Park, Georgia, although it could have been any number of towns. Would love to know *how* the pro-bowl VFYW players get this one.

Another gets this one:

I thought this week’s contest would be easy because of the Georgia license plates on the cars and railroad tracks.  Well, it turns out that there are lots of railroad tracks in Georgia to search and the contest took longer than I thought it would.  But I have the time.  I’m furloughed.

This week’s photo was snapped in Dalton, Georgia.  The window could be in one of several neighboring brick buildings in downtown Dalton to the west of the railroad tracks.  I think the window is most likely in the upper floor at the rear of 222 North Hamilton St.

Another notes the place of business:

That’s 3 Divas in the Attic, and I even creeped a photo of their building off their Facebook page to verify their address. It’s of their ribbon-cutting earlier this summer, the submitter is probably even pictured in this photo:

3 Divas front

Internet, you scary.


As a long-time reader, subscriber and lurker on the VFYW pages, I am happy to jump in this week. I believe that the picture is taken from the back of the 3 Divas in the Attic interior design shop in Dalton, Georgia. Exact address is 222 N Hamilton St Dalton, GA 30720. I believe that it is taken from the 2nd floor middle rear window.

One other thing: I have been meaning to write to you about After Tiller. It is kind of an amazing feeling to have two disparate parts of ones life come together. My partner and I did the post-production sound for the documentary. It is a project that we have loved and championed in our own tiny way. I can remember talking to Lana and Martha when we mixed the film and hearing their disbelief that the film would get into Sundance or have much of a life. So, as an avid reader of the Dish and Andrew’s writing, I was so happy to see Martha and Lana on the Dish. After Tiller really is a special and wonderful film.


This is one of those weeks where random knowledge comes to the rescue. I spent much of my early search near Georgia’s major cities but I wasn’t finding much. Then, while focusing on the railroad tracks, I remembered that during the Civil War there was a major rail line between Chattanooga and Atlanta which became the central axis of Sherman’s march. A quick look at the state’s northwest corner not only found the rail line, but our location as well: the 2nd floor of 222 N. Hamilton Ave.

I’ve attached an image that compares an 1865 map of Dalton to a present day satellite image:

VFYW Dalton Comparison - Copy

The red arrows not only point in the direction your viewer was looking, but also roughly in the direction of a Confederate attack which took place on August 14th, 1864. The Second Battle of Dalton, as it is called, was one of the final battles in Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. Despite the Confederate desperate and repeated cavalry attacks on the Union fortifications to the east of town (visible as the blue boxes in the civil war map), the Union positions held; two weeks later Sherman’s troops marched into Atlanta.

Today there’s not much left of the Union fort, but its location can be seen in the upper right of your viewer’s image, where a red brick junior high school sits on the same hilltop site.

Another bit of history:

The stretch of tracks in the photo lay on the Atlanta to Chattanooga line that was the scene of the Great Locomotive Chase in 1862 when Union soldiers captured a passenger train and damaged telegraph wires, bridges and tracks as they travelled north towards the Union lines in Tennessee. They ran out of fuel and didn’t make it to Chattanooga.

About a half-dozen readers correctly guessed 222 N Hamilton, but the following reader breaks the tie because he has entered the most contests without yet winning:

Wow. This might be my finest moment in Contest history. Well, luckiest anyway. I got this window on my first random, semi-blind stab, despite the fact that I’ve never even been within 500 miles of the locale. First the license plates. The orange blob in the middle, plus the alphanumeric sequence, plus the fact that they are rear only plates put me in Georgia. On a railroad track. With nothing else to go on. So I pulled up a railroad map. There are a lot of railroads going through a lot of small towns in Georgia. Because there seems to be several tracks here, I decided to start with places where two or more lines share the same right of way. So I started at the top of the map. Dalton, Georgia. BINGO! There was a big white hopper or silo, there was a parking lot right on the tracks, there was a white cement truck. First try. A semi-educated stab in the dark!

The StreetView of the town is very low quality. I can’t get a good image of the area to find a street number. I can’t even make out business names in the shots to help zero in, so I’ll go with StreetView’s best estimate of the address: 222 N. Hamilton St. Dalton, GA 30720. Second story rear window. I’ve made a picture to help:

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.07.16 PM

Details from the photo submitter:

The address is 221 Depot Street, Dalton, GA. The GPS coordinates are 34.773016, -84.967386

222 N. Hamilton Street could also be considered accurate as it does identify the correct building but the wrong entrance. The window and entrance to access the window are on the rear of the building. The correct address for that rear entrance is Depot Street, but many people are unaware of the rear entrance or the name of the street. The front of the building is 222 N. Hamilton St.

I am always amazed at how precise the winning entries are, so here is a shot of the window (circled in red) courtesy of Google Earth:


You can also see downtown Dalton and Rocky Face Ridge in the background. Thanks for using my photo!