Posted by graywacke on May 19, 2010
First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (now pretty much an every-other-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Dan - Phew. After an 0/4 run, I’ve landed in a US state I haven’t seen for almost a year. . . IN; 16/22; 4/10; 3; 151.2. Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Charlottesville and Knightstown:
Here’s a broader view:
I landed in the Sixmile Ck watershed (my 34th “x-mile” watershed, my 3rd “Sixmile Creek”); on to a new river, the Big Blue (there’s another Big Blue R in Kansas, which is a much bigger Big Blue – I’ve landed there 11 times already); on to another new river, the Driftwood; on to the E Fk of the White R (4th hit); to the White (8th hit); to the Wabash (21st hit); to the Ohio (119th hit); to, of course, the MM (742nd hit).
Here’s my GE shot, showing I landed right on the fence line between two farm fields:
I couldn’t find a closer Street View shot, but here’s a shot looking towards my landing, which is a little over three quarters of a mile away:
So, I landed near Charlottesville. But before I address Charlottesville, let me mention the larger town to the east, Knightstown. For all of you “Hoosier” fans (I’m speaking of the classic basketball movie), the old gym where the movie was shot is in Knightstown. From the Hoosier Gym website, here’s some history:
In 1920, the Knightstown Community School had no gymnasium. Basketball games were held in Bell’s Hall above Jolly’s Drugstore and in the basement gym of the Presbyterian Church. It was clear: the school needed a gymnasium of its own.
In February of 1921, a half dozen Knightstown businessmen met to discuss the situation. They were aware of the fact that Knightstown was lagging behind other towns in the development of a children’s athletic education and believed that area young people were entitled to physical education.
After much debate, a plan was developed and approved. A new gym would be built. Within weeks, their campaign raised more than $14,400 with donations from more than 250 private citizens and several local businesses.
Finally, on December 1, 1922, construction of the gym was completed. They had done it. At 105 feet long and 80 feet wide, the new gym was big enough to not only accommodate basketball games and spectators (with bleacher seating around the sides and end of the playing floor), but also many civic and community oriented events.
Here’s a shot of the inside of the gym:
On to Charlottesville: A quick Google perusal shows that precious little information about Charlottesville is out there. I did find that there’s a miniature horse and donkey farm, called Miss Kitty’s Minis. Here are a couple of pictures from their website, http://www.MissKittysMinis.com:
From their website, here’s some interesting history about miniature horses:
The Miniature Horse has a unique and fascinating history. Ancestors of the true miniature horse of today were first bred in the royal courts of Europe during the 16th century. As the great kingdoms of Europe began to decline, the miniature horses found their way into European traveling circuses. The breed almost became extinct. Fortunately, a few of the finest miniatures managed to survive and were scattered throughout the world.
In the 18th century, Miniature horses in the English midlands and in Northern Europe pulled ore cars in shallow-seamed coal mines. These coal veins were very narrow and only about four feet high, so miniature horses were used. These miniature horses were of the draft type and extremely powerful for their height.
The first herds of miniature horses brought to the United States in the early 1930″s were from Europe. Electric motors were not yet available, so they were also used to haul coal cars up from the depths of mines in Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. Miniature horses were still working in some mines here in the United States as late as 1950.
Then I found some Flickr photos from “OldOhioSchools,” who evidently occasionally wanders over state lines. Here are a couple of pictures of the erstwhile Charlottesville High School:
Just to make sure that the kids knew they were going to high school . . .
OldOhioSchools also took some shots of old motel signs along US Rt 40 in Indiana. Back before interstate highways, there were thousands of mom-and-pop motels on major roads like Rt 40. Here’s the sign for the erstwhile Gem Motel:
And this, from the R & R Motel:
I used to live near Route 40 (in Zanesville OH) and have memories of trips to New Jersey when we had to go from Zanesville to the PA Turnpike on Route 40 (I-70 wasn’t built yet). We’d travel on Route 40 from Zanesville to Cambridge OH to Wheeling WV to Washington PA. I remember following slow trucks on the two-lane road, waiting for that rare opportunity to pass. . .
Speaking of Route 40, it for the most part follows the old National Road (and, in fact, went through Charlottesville). From Wiki:
The National Road or Cumberland Road was one of the first major improved highways in the United States to be built by the federal government. Construction began in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland, on the Potomac River. It crossed the Allegheny Mountains and southwestern Pennsylvania, reaching Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) on the Ohio River in 1818. Plans were made to continue through St. Louis, Missouri, on the Mississippi River to Jefferson City, Missouri, but funding ran out and construction stopped at Vandalia, Illinois in 1839.
The approximately 620-mile (1000 km) road provided a connection between the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and a gateway to the West for thousands of settlers. It was the first road in the U.S. to use the new macadam road surfacing. Today the alignment is mostly followed by U.S. Highway 40 (and now, more generally, by I-70).
I’ll close with this old National Road mileage marker, located 11 miles west of Columbus OH:
That’ll do it. . .
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