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Chloride and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on June 9, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2447; A Landing A Day blog post number 883.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N33o 12.424’, W107o 36.585’) puts me in SW New Mexico:

My local landing map shows that I landed out in the boonies, but not terribly far from many teeny towns, and one slightly-larger town (T or C):

I’m not going to bother with my usual streams-only StreetAtlas map, because it gave me precious little information.  So, off to Google Earth (GE).

I’ll start with a very local oblique look at my landing:

And then zooming quite a ways back, I’ve identified my local streams as follows:

I used the GE hydrographic feature so that Icould  figure out I landed in the North Fork Palomas Creek watershed; on to Palomas Ck.  Zooming back, you can see that the Palomas discharges to the Rio Grande (52nd hit):

I sent the Orange Dude to a road that crossed the Palomas just before it discharges to the Rio Grande:

Here’s what the OD sees looking upstream:

And downstream:

Speaking of downstream, I had the OD head down the Rio Grande some number of miles before he could get a good look.  Here ‘tis:

As is my wont, I checked out all of the little towns north and east of my landing.  They are all nearly defunct mining towns, with only Chloride having a significant internet presence.  From Wiki:

Chloride had its start in 1881 as a mining community when chlorargyrite (silver chloride) ore was discovered along the streambanks.  A post office was established at Chloride in 1881 and remained in operation until 1956.

And this, from WesternMiningHistory.com:

Beginning as a tent city in 1880 when silver was found in the canyons and mountains to the west, Chloride soon grew to 3,000 souls, mostly hard working, hard drinking, hard rock miners.

Chloride in 1884

A robust boom town, Chloride had all the required establishments: nine saloons, two general merchandise stores, butcher shops, hotel, boarding houses, an assay office, blacksmith shop, drug store, law office, livery stable, Chinese laundry, ladies millinery store, a photography studio, a candy store, and of course, a red light district, but no church.

I found a couple of videos.  First this, a quick travelogue:


And this more substantial video from NM True TV that features an interview with the gentleman who keeps the ghost town more-or-less alive:


It’s time to tell the Truth or accept the Consequences.  From Wiki:

In 1916, the town was incorporated as Hot Springs, due to the presence of numerous flowing hot springs nearby. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937.  By the late 1930s, Hot Springs was filled with 40 different natural hot springs spas– one spa for every 75 residents at the time.

The city changed its name to “Truth or Consequences”, the title of a popular NBC Radio program. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show.

Hot Springs got in touch with the show, and committed to the name change.  The town officially changed its name on March 31, 1950, and the 10th anniversary program was broadcast from there the following evening.

In the early 50s, the radio program migrated to television, with Ralph Edwards continuing as host. Here’s what Wiki has to say about the show’s premise:

On the show, contestants received roughly two seconds to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly, or a bad joke).  If (as nearly always happened) the contestant could not complete the “Truth” portion, there would be “Consequences,” usually a zany and embarrassing stunt.  Ralph was ready to extend the question to two or three parts in the rare time that a contestant could actually answer correctly.

On December 31, 1957, Ralph stepped down as host and handed the baton to Bob Barker.  This was Barker’s first game show hosting gig.  He is best known as the host of “The Price is Right” for 35 years (from 1972 to 2007).

If you have the time (and are so inclined), here’s a video of the entire 12/31/57 show that started out with Ralph Edwards and ended up with Bob Barker.  It’s really a time capsule . . .


I’ll close with this lovely shot of the Rio Grande near Truth or Consequences by Harish Makundon:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day


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Ferriday, Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on June 3, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2446; A Landing A Day blog post number 882.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N31o 28.689’, W91o 47.643’) puts me in east central Louisiana:

My local landing map shows my proximity to numerous small towns; none of which are titular:

Zooming back, here’s my slightly-less-local landing map, which does, in fact, show the titular Ferriday:

I’m going to zoom back a little further to show you how close I landed to my latest Libuse & Kolin landing:

This is my 66th double (i.e., the same state two landings in a row); the second for Louisiana.

Here’s a very local streams-only map:

You can see that I landed adjacent to Black River Lake (which is an oxbow lake, or cut-off-meander lake, associated with a previous Black River stream channel).  I’m not sure of the exact route, but I’m sure that runoff from my landing location eventually ends up in the Black (15th hit).

Zooming way back, you can see that the Black flows to the Red (66th hit), through the “Area of Hydraulic Uncertainty” (discussed in my most recent previous post) on to either the Atchafalaya (my choice, 73rd hit), or to the Mississippi. 

Moving on to Google Earth – here’s a shot showing that the two ends of Black River Lake have been engineered:

You can see where I asked the Orange Dude to set up (a little less than a mile from my landing).  Here’s what he sees:

I asked the OD (politely) if he wouldn’t mind going about 10 miles upstream to Jonesville to get a look at the Black River.  Somewhat reluctantly, he agreed.  Here’s what he saw:

Of course, I checked out all of the (mostly teeny) towns you can see on my local landing map.  The only one that caught my eye was Ferriday.

From LouisianaTravel.com:

Along the Mississippi River in Ferriday, Louisiana, lies the Delta Music Museum and Hall of Fame.

At the museum’s entrance, sculptures of Ferriday’s three most famous (and infamous) first cousins—Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart greet visitors.

Jerry Lee Lewis, known as “The Killer” for his piano-pounding rockabilly music, became a national celebrity in the mid-1950s. With no formal training, he started playing piano at age 9 by listening to the radio and sneaking into Haney’s Big House, the famous Delta blues juke joint. Lewis earned multiple gold records and GRAMMY® Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. The 1989 film Great Balls of Fire profiled his life. In 2009 he performed at Madison Square Garden for the Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert.

Mickey Gilley earned his country stardom with dozens of Top 40 hits. Mickey left town as a teenager and found success in the Houston area where he opened Gilley’s nightclub in 1971. He had a string of country hits including Room Full of Roses and Stand By Me, which he sang in the movie Urban Cowboy —filmed in part at his bar. The bar was so successful that it was extended to hold 6,000 customers, nearly twice the population of Ferriday. Now in his seventies, he entertains in Branson, Mo., occasionally making visits to Ferriday.

Jimmy Swaggart began as a gospel musician before becoming one of the most recognized television evangelists in the country. He has recorded 50 albums and sold an estimated 13 million copies worldwide. He preaches weekly on a national radio show with television stations carrying his revivals.

Did you notice the parenthetical “and infamous” inserted into the intro? And then, there’s nothing “infamous” about the descriptions of the three native sons.  Well, I can’t let that go, but first, a little YouTube action.

Jerry Lee Lewis had two huge hits back in the 50s:  A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, and Great Balls of Fire.

First this from the Steve Allen Show:


And then this, when he was quite a bit older:


And I’m a sucker for this stuff:


And how about Jerry Lee’s cousin, Mickey Gilley?  Well, he’s also quite the piano player (it must be in the genes!):

Jimmy Swaggart (yes, another cousin!) is actually a pretty good piano player, but is best known (of course) as a tele-evangelist.  I can’t do Jimmy on YouTube.  I find him . . . um . . . unwatchable.

To check out the darker side of Jerry Lee Lewis, I’m headed right back to YouTube.  This is a little long (about 10 minutes), but worth the view:


As far as I can tell, Mickey Gilley doesn’t have a dark side (at least a public dark side).  Way to go, Mickey! But Jimmy Swaggart?  Check out this actual Dallas TV news story about Jimmy, after he got busted about an affair with a  . . um . . . a lady of the evening:


Oh, and three years later, he did it again . . .

I know I’m going against ALAD doctrine about not discussing religion (although I’m not discussing religion.  I’m just discussing Jimmy Swaggart).  If I have Jimmy Swaggart fans who are regular ALAD readers (and I just lost them), oh, well . . .

So, there’s a 2012 book:  “Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley” by J.D. Davis.  Here’s what Amazon has to say about the book:

Three cousins, inseparably bonded through music. Each became a star; their story would become a legend. J. D. Davis’s enthralling new biography of famous cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley, born within a twelve-month span in small-town Louisiana during the Great Depression, draws from exhaustive research and personal connections with friends and family.

Davis recreates the irresistible and life-changing power of music that surrounded the cousins as boys and shaped their engagingly distinct paths to fame. With three personal journeys set alongside important landmarks in pop-culture history, Davis presents a unique tale of American music centered on the trials, tribulations, and achievements of three men who remain truly Unconquered.

ALAD editorial:  The fact that three cousins from a very small Louisiana town were all:

  • Musically talented
  • Extremely creative
  • Ego driven to be out in front people and adored
  • Incredibly successful

is simply amazing!

Time for some local GE photos. First this, by Jeff Lowen:

And this, by CW Baker:

I’ll close with this, by Charles Klock:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Libuse and Kolin, Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on May 24, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2445; A Landing A Day blog post number 881.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N31o 18.186’, W92o 24.315’) puts me in central Louisiana:

My local landing map shows I landed just outside the major Louisiana city of Alexandria:

I’ll jump to Google Earth (GE) to get a look at my very local drainage:

I landed in wetlands associated with Maria Bayou (and, of course, in the Maria Bayou watershed), on to the Red River (65th hit).

As you can see, I’ve doubled up on the above map, showing where I put the Orange Dude to attempt to get a look at my landing.  I said “attempt,” based on the limited view at the end of the street:

Here’s a streams-only StreetAtlas map:


As most of my readers know, the Red River (of the South) more-or-less discharges to the Atchafalaya.  OK, so sometimes, the water from my landing might end up in the Mississippi, due to man-made engineering in the “Area of Hydraulic Uncertainty” (my term).  Curious?  See my Feb 2014 Winnfield LA post for details.

No StreetView for the Bayou.  But of course, here’s a shot of the Red on one of the Alexandria bridges:

So, what about Libuse?  Wiki:

It was founded in 1914 by Czech immigrants, and named after Libuše.

Libuše?  What or who is that?  Well, Libuše was Wiki-clickable:

Libuše (Libussa, Libushe or, historically Lubossa) is a legendary ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty and the Czech people as a whole. According to legend, she was the youngest of three sisters, who became queen after their father died.  Their father was the equally-mythical Czech ruler Krok.

[In the Czech language, Libuše is pronounced something like “lee-BOO-sha.”  I have no clue how the Louisianans pronounce the name of the town, but if forced to guess, I’d say “lih-BUSE”].

The legend goes that she was the wisest of the three sisters, and while her sister Kazi was a healer and Teta was a magician, she had the gift of seeing the future, and was chosen by her father as his successor, to judge over the people.

Although she proved herself as a wise chieftain, the male part of the tribe was displeased that their ruler was a woman and demanded that she marry.  Unfortunately for Libuse, she had fallen in love with a plowman, Přemysl.

She therefore related a vision in which she saw a farmer with one broken sandal, plowing a field. She instructed her councilmen to seek out this man by letting a horse loose at a junction; they followed it to the village of Stadice and found Přemysl exactly as she had said (with one sandal and plowing a field).

Přemysl was brought back to the princely palace where Libuše married him, and Přemysl the Plowman thus became ruler. They went on to have three sons: Radobyl, Lidomir, and Nezamysl who continued the Přemyslid dynasty in the Czech lands.

She commanded her councilmen to found a city at the place where they found a man making the best of use of teeth at midday. They set off and at midday found a man sawing a block of wood (using his saw’s teeth) when everyone else was eating.

When they asked him what he was making he replied “Prah” (which in Czech means “threshold”) and so Libuše named the city Prague (Czech: “Praha”).

The story of Libuše and Přemysl was recounted in detail in the 12th century by Cosmas of Prague in his Chronica Boëmorum.

I bet that most Czech children know this story.  Here’s an illustration from one (I think):

Here’s the cover of one:

OK, OK.  So this one is for English readers.  Note the pun in the subtitle . . .

While doing some more clicking, I stumbled on the fact that the Přemysl Dynasty ruled the Kingdom of Bohemia, which is the predecessor to the modern Czech Republic.  Of course, Bohemians are from Bohemia, and I assumed that a bunch of cool artsy beatnik-like people must have lived there.  However, a little research shows that it’s not that simple.

From Wiki (under Bohemianism):

Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits.

This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the 19th century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities.

The term bohemianism emerged in France in the early 19th century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, Romani neighborhoods. Bohémien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who were mistakenly thought to have reached France in the 15th century via Bohemia (the western part of modern Czech Republic).

Geez.  Now I have to find what who the Romani people are.  Well, it was Wiki-clickable:

The Romani, colloquially known as Gypsies, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group, traditionally itinerant, living mostly in Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern Indian subcontinent.

[Gypsies are Indian?  I never knew . . .]

Genetic findings appear to confirm that the Romani “came from a single group that left northwestern India about 1,500 years ago.” Genetic research published in the European Journal of Human Genetics “revealed that over 70% of males belong to a single lineage that appears unique to the Roma.”

They are a dispersed people, but their most concentrated populations are located in Europe, especially Central, Eastern and Southern Europe (including Turkey, Spain and Southern France). The Romani originated in northern India and arrived in Mid-West Asia and Europe around 1,000 years ago.

Since the 19th century, some Romani have also migrated to the Americas. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States; and 800,000 in Brazil.  In migrations since the late 19th century, Romani have also moved to other countries in South America and to Canada.

The Romani language is divided into several dialects which together have an estimated number of speakers of more than two million.  The total number of Romani people is at least twice as high (several times as high according to high estimates). Many Romani are native speakers of the dominant language in their country of residence or of mixed languages combining the dominant language with a dialect of Romani; those varieties are sometimes called Para-Romani.

As you might expect, the Romani have an incredibly rich internet presence, including a very lengthy Wiki entry.  So, if I’ve whetted your appetite for more things Gypsy, go for it.

Moving over to Kolin.  From Wiki:

Along with the nearby town of Libuse, it was founded in 1914 by Czech immigrants, and named after the town of Kolín, Czech Republic.

I have nothing (absolutely nothing) to say about Kolin LA. 

Moving across the big pond, here’s a GE shot of Kolin, Czech Republic:

And check out at the GE StreetView coveage of this small Czech town:

So, I had the Orange Dude take a look around.  Here’s his view of the main town square:

I had the OD head over to the opposite side of the square and take a look:

What a cool place.  And then, he wandered over to the old Catholic Church:

Staying with the Church, here’s a GE photo by Brdy46:

Here’s a GE shot of the river that flows through town – the Elbe –  by Ke Limek:

Although it only has a population of 3,000, Kolin is Wiki-clickable.  Wiki doesn’t have much to say except that it has been around for a very long time – it was mentioned in Ptolemy’s 2nd century world map.

Here’s Ptolemy’s map (actually, a 15th century reconstruction based on Ptolemy’s very detailed notes):

I added labels for SE Asia, China, and Sri Lanka reference.  Yo Ptolemy – you made Sri Lanka way too big.

A little more about the map, from Wiki:

The Ptolemy world map is a map of the world known to Hellenistic society in the 2nd century. It is based on the description contained in Ptolemy’s book Geography, written c. 150.

Significant contributions of Ptolemy’s maps are the first use of longitudinal and latitudinal lines as well as specifying terrestrial locations by celestial observations. The Geography was translated from Greek into Arabic in the 9th century and played a role in the work of al-Khwārizmī before lapsing into obscurity.

[al-Khwārizmī was quite the dude.  He greatly influenced Western thought.  Stay tuned.]

The idea of a global coordinate system revolutionized European geographical thought and inspired more mathematical treatment of cartography.

Ptolemy’s work probably originally came with maps, but none have been discovered. Instead, the present form of the map was reconstructed from Ptolemy’s coordinates by Byzantine monks under the direction of Maximus Planudes shortly after 1295.

al-Khwārizmī was (of course) Wiki-clickable.  Read this carefully, especially if you’re technically-inclined:

Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (c. 780 – c. 850), Latinized as Algorithmi, was a Persian scholar who produced works in mathematics, astronomy, and geography.  Around 820 AD he was appointed as the astronomer and head of the library of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.

Al-Khwarizmi’s popularizing treatise on algebra (The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing) presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. One of his principal achievements in algebra was his demonstration of how to solve quadratic equations by completing the square, for which he provided geometric justifications.

Because he was the first to treat algebra as an independent discipline and introduced the methods of “reduction” and “balancing” (the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation), he has been described as the father of algebra.

The term algebra itself comes from the title of his book (specifically the word al-jabr meaning “completion” or “rejoining”). His name gave rise to the terms algorism and algorithm.  His name is also the origin of Spanish guarismo and of Portuguese algarismo, both meaning digit.

In the 12th century, Latin translations of his textbook on arithmetic (Algorithmo de Numero Indorum) which codified the various Indian numerals, introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world.  His book on algebra, translated into Latin by Robert of Chester in 1145, was used until the sixteenth century as the principal mathematical text-book of European universities.

In addition to his best-known works, he revised Ptolemy’s Geography, listing the longitudes and latitudes of various cities and localities.   He also made important contributions to trigonometry, producing accurate sine and cosine tables, and the first table of tangents.

Wow.  And I’ve never heard of him . . .

Here’s a picture of al-Khwārizmī from MAX – the Muslim Awards for Excellence:

Phew.  Talk about a meandering post – a classic internet browse.  Anyway, it’s time to put a wrap on this post:

I was searching far and wide for a decent GE photo in the greater Alexandria area and pretty much came up empty.  Finally, I found this, by Tom Wilmore, strangely entitled “Sue Wilmore”:

Very cool art.  I’m not even sure it’s a photo – if it is, it’s quite doctored.  The GE photo icon was right at a house location, which, after a little Google Maps research, I discovered belongs to Tom & Sue Wilmore. . . .


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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New Richmond, Somerset, Hudson and Hammond, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on May 16, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2444; A Landing A Day blog post number 880.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N45o 4.339’, W92o 37.086’) puts me in west central Wisconsin:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Willow River (2nd hit); on to the St. Croix (6th hit), which shares State Line duties with the Mighty Missipp (948th hit).

So, this was my second landing in the Willow River watershed.  A quick Landing spreadsheet search reveals that my only other Willow River watershed landing was Landing 254 way back in July 2003.

A quick A Landing A Day review is likely needed for some of my readers.  Landing #1 was April 1st, 1999, with a landing in the UP of Michigan.  But that wasn’t really my first landing. . . 

From “About Landing:”

Sometime in the mid 1990s, I got an idea in my head:  for no good reason, I thought it would be cool to be able to randomly select a specific latitude/longitude location in the United States every day; keep track of the state and the watershed for each location, and see what town or city or interesting geographical site might be nearby.  I am a mathematical kind of guy and knew that I could use a programmable calculator along with a computer-based map program to make it happen.

So I used my programmable calculator to calculate a random latitude/longitude (lat/long) somewhere in the lower 48, at the push of a button.  For simplicity, I ignored Alaska and Hawaii.  Also for simplicity, I just programmed in that the random lat/long would be somewhere in the large rectangle that would include all of the land and water ranging from northeast Maine to the Florida Keys to southwest California to northwest Washington State.  I knew that often, a random lat/long location would be in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and Canada, but figured I would just ignore those.  (Check out a map of North America, and you’ll see why the large rectangle that would include all of the U.S. would also include large areas of land and water outside the U.S.)

For the mapping portion of the exercise, I used the program StreetAtlas.  StreetAtlas allowed me to enter in lat/long info, and it would jump right to the location specified.  I enjoyed being “zoomed in” as much as possible when I went to the specified location.  I might see just a little bit of a street and maybe a stream; or maybe see no features at all.  Then, I’d zoom out one click at a time, and various map features would begin to appear on the map:  the roads, towns and streams in the vicinity.

StreetAtlas had a lot of detail on streams, so I could see what the nearest creek was, and follow it downstream until I hit another creek or a river, etc., etc., eventually to an ocean.

In my head, I called the process “landing.”  So, every day, I could “land” somewhere.  Knowing that I have a somewhat-addictive personality, I made a rule:  no more than one landing a day.

For a while, I kept track of the states and watersheds where I landed on a piece of paper and plotted my approximate landing locations by hand on a blank U.S. map.  But then I realized that I should be keeping track of my landings on a computer spreadsheet.  In addition, I transferred the landing process from the programmable calculator to Excel.

[Plus there’s that whole business of ALADus Obscurus, which is fully addressed in “About Landing” and “About Landing (Revisited).”]

So why do I start each post with “Dan?”  Well, Dan was a next door neighbor (his parents still live there), and when Dan was a high school kid, he was good buddies with my son Jordan, and so hung out at our house a lot.  He saw me landing a number of times, and began to enjoy watching me land.  When Dan went off to college, he asked me if I could email him and let him know where I landed.  Of course, I complied.

My emails to Dan began getting more robust, as I began doing more and more research about my landing location.  Dan emailed me one day, saying that essentially, I was writing a blog but with only one reader.  He was becoming computer savvy and, as a journalism major, also was familiar with WordPress.

He suggested that he’d come over on Thanksgiving break, and help me set up A Landing A Day, which happened on November 25, 2008, with landing 1583 near Yellow Pine, Idaho.  As mentioned in italics at the very beginning of this post, today is landing 2444 and blog post 880 . . .

JFTHOI*, here’s Excel’s rendition of all 2444 landings:

*Just for the heck of it

And JFTHOI2, here’s the rendition of just my blog post landings:

Enough!  It’s way past time to move on to Google Earth (GE).  I have no decent Street View coverage for my landing, but I can get a look at the Willow River not far downstream from my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

And what about all of those titular towns?  Well, none of these hooks are great, but hey – they’re all worth a visit.  Let’s start with New Richmond. 

This is a little grim, but a terrible tornado leveled the town back in 1899.  This tornado actually has its own Wiki page:

June 12, 1899, was the day of the Gollmar Brothers Circus, which drew hundreds of visitors in addition to the town’s 1,800 inhabitants. Around 3:00 p.m., clouds began to build, and the sky became quite dark. As the circus ended for the day around 4:30 PM, a heavy rain, with some hail, began to fall. The rain let up around 5:00 PM, and people began to head home for the day. By 6:00 PM, the streets of New Richmond were full of tourists, travelers and residents.

Meanwhile, the impending disaster which was to befall the region was just beginning to unfold. The tornado was reported to have first touched down around 5:30 about five miles south of Hudson and began moving off to the northeast. The tornado swept away several farms near the rural communities of Burkhardt and Boardman as it traveled northeast. Four fatalities were reported at Boardman

[It must have gone right by my landing location.]

There was little warning in New Richmond. The tornado was completely illuminated by lightning, but it was visible for only a few minutes before it reached the town, as the view was largely obstructed by buildings and large trees. Initially, several of the town’s residents recalled hearing a faint rumble in the distance which many mistook for the sound of a passing train.

Before long the tornado became more visible, and those who did come to realize the danger approaching began to alert those around them, and panic ensued in the streets as people scrambled to take shelter. Despite the best efforts of the storm’s early spotters, a great many of the town’s residents were not fully aware of the oncoming storm until it was almost upon them.

Shortly after 6:00, the tornado tore into the southwest corner of the city. Within a few moments, as many as fifty homes were leveled in this area.

The greatest destruction caused to the city by the tornado was to the town’s business district, a three-block stretch of Main Street between First and Fourth Street lined with stores, offices and tenements built of brick and stone. It was here that a large majority of the fatalities occurred, as many of those who thought they would be safe within the confines of the reinforced structures were killed by cascades of falling debris as the buildings on Main Street were swept away.

A 1.5-ton safe from the city bank was thrown a full block away. Probably one of the greatest demonstrations of the tornado’s strength was seen at the Nicollet Hotel, a newly constructed three-story brick building located adjacent to the Willow River. The tornado swept the building clean down to the foundation, killing at least five people.

Almost simultaneously, the town’s Methodist Church was completely obliterated, the only remnant being the 1.1-ton cast iron bell, which was found nearly 200 feet from the church foundation. As the tornado cleared Main Street, it tore the iron-frame bridge spanning the Willow River from its fitting and onto the adjacent riverbank in a twisted heap. The City Hall was completely flattened, the adjacent water tower sent toppling to the northeast and dumping its contents into First Street and transforming it into a muddy deluge.

The tornado then moved into the east side of New Richmond, where many of the city’s working class residents lived. As many as forty homes in this neighborhood were completely obliterated, leaving the neighborhood virtually unrecognizable. Within a period of roughly seven to ten minutes, over half of New Richmond was laid to ruins.

Here’s a Wiki shot of the damage (with a horse that didn’t make it):


In total, 122 people died; 117 of them (and at least one horse) in New Richmond . . .

Moving counter-clockwise to Somerset.  From Wiki:

Somerset has a lengthy and colorful history. Before the turn of the century, Somerset was bordered on the south by cranberry bogs. The terrain naturally lent itself to the production of cranberries as a result of the hilliness of the area, which is dotted with ponds, sloughs, swamps and bogs.

These wet areas became of greater interest to the local population during Prohibition. These same low spots where water collected became ideal for collecting water for the production of moonshine (homemade alcoholic beverages).

Indeed, Somerset already had a history of being a rough logging town, and it was only a natural progression to become the supplier of bootlegged alcohol to the twin cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. After Prohibition ended, the citizens of Somerset returned to the more humble activities of logging and farming.

I’m not so sure about the importance of ponds and bogs to moonshine making, but the bootlegging history is well-documented.  From a Patch.com article:

A history of Somerset was prepared by Father John T. Rivard, a Somerset priest from 1946 to 1969.  In it, he went so far as to call Somerset “the Moonshine Capital of the Midwest.”  Most local old-timers know some of the tales of “Somerset Moon.”

Moving down to Hudson, right there along the St. Croix River.  From Wiki:

On August 30, 1917, a violent mob of 1,000 held a night rally in front of the armory protesting the attempt by the pacifist People’s Council of America to hold a conference in Hudson. The crowd then moved on the four organizers in the lobby of their hotel and threatened to hang them. Only after the pleadings of county attorney N. O. Varnum were the four allowed to leave town at once and unharmed.

Geez.  So what’s so threatening about the People’s Council of America (after all, they’re a bunch of pacifists)?  Well, here’s what Wiki has to say about the group:

The People’s Council of America was an American pacifist political organization established in New York City in May 1917. Organized in opposition to the decision of the Woodrow Wilson administration’s to enter World War I, the People’s Council attempted to mobilize American workers and intellectuals against the war effort through the publication of literature and the conduct of mass meetings and public demonstrations. The organization’s dissident views made it a target of federal, state, and local authorities, who disrupted its meetings and arrested a number of its leading participants under provisions of the Espionage Act.

The People’s Council frequently saw its gatherings banned or disbanded, particularly during the August – September 1917 time period.

On August 24, 1917, a meeting of the organization in Philadelphia was disrupted and shut down by a mob of soldiers and sailors.  That same day, city authorities in Memphis denied the group use of a public hall for its meeting.  On August 28, a People’s Council gathering in Fargo, North Dakota, was quashed by the coordinated mass singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

On August 30, 1917, a mob of 1,000 gathered in Hudson, WI . . .  [as discussed above.] 

Effort was then made to hold a national conference in Minneapolis on September 1, but the organization was denied use of a hall in the city. When the alternative of meeting in a circus tent was advanced, Minnesota Governor Joseph Burquist intervened to ban the People’s Council from gathering anywhere in the state on the grounds that it would give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States.

The People’s Council scrambled and attempted to hold its convention in Chicago, but the event was broken up by the police.  When Chicago Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson attempted to reverse this action, on the grounds that “pacifists are law-abiding citizens” and that he would not “have it spread broadcast that Chicago denies free speech to anyone,” Illinois Governor Frank Lowden responded by sending four companies of the Illinois National Guard to Chicago the next day to make sure that the People’s Council could not gather.

Bottom line.  The group garnered a lot of attention, but was singularly unsuccessful . . .

My last stop is Hammond.  Nothing much going on there, but Wiki had this intriguing comment:  “Hammond was home to the Running of the Llamas.”

“Running of the Llamas” was not Wiki-clickable, but I did a quick copy and paste into the Google search line.  I found out that there is a runningofthellamas.com:

For 20 years, The Running of the Llamas was a unique community in Hammond, Wisconsin. The final Running was in 2016, this is now an archival site. We would like to thank the llamas, their owners, handlers and fans for making this an extraordinary community event that will be remembered fondly for years to come.

Here’ a quick YouTube video (the trailer for a 30-minute documentary by Heidi Freier):

The New Richmond news published a story about the final Running, in 2016.  Here’s a pic:


From the article, here’s the obit:

If you’ve never attended the Running of the Llamas in Hammond, an annual event that will celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend, you best get there this weekend because the end is here.

Sheila Fugina, the organizer behind the event, said that this year’s finale will be everything it has been in the past, but is coming to an end because it’s been coordinated by only a handful of volunteers who love it, but can’t do it alone anymore.

Time to move on to some pics.  Just a few miles SW of my landing, the Willow River cascades down some sort of change in the bedrock at the Willow River State Park.  Here are some GE pics.  First this, by Adrian Jiminez:

Another shot, by Dawne Olson:

And this artsy one, by Douglas Feltman.

And yes, the falls are there in the winter (by Jared Morton):

I’ll close with this good ol’ barn shot (very close to my landing), by Haley Kelliher:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Pioche and Panaca, Nevada (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on May 9, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2443; A Landing A Day blog post number 879.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N37o 53.783’, W114o 19.148’) puts me in southeast Nevada:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Meadow Valley Wash (8th hit).  I generally don’t keep track of “washes” or “creeks:” only “rivers” and the occasional “bayou.”  But this watershed is so big (and I’ve landed in it so many times), I couldn’t help but keep track of this one.

Anyway, as you can see, the Wash ends up in the Muddy River (9th hit); to the Virgin River (15th hit); on to the mighty Colorado (186th hit).

Most of Nevada is in the Great Basin Watershed.  Here’s a map showing the vast area that is internally-drained:

You can see that the Meadow Valley Wash (with drainage south to the Colorado) is a notch carved out of the Great Basin.  FYI, the other “notch” just west of my landing is the White River watershed, which also drains south to the Colorado.

Just outside of Panaca, the Google Earth (GE) Orange Dude was able to get a look at the not-so-mighty Meadow Valley Wash:

And here ‘tis:


I suspect that there’s no water because the agricultural operations take it all. 

JFTHOI, I went another 15 miles south to the town of Caliente, where the OD could get another look at the Wash:

While I’m in GE, check this out:

Well looky there.  Just 245 landings ago, I landed a mere 6 miles west of this landing.  Given the paucity of towns, you’ll never guess which two were titular back then?  Yup.  Pioche and Panaca (thus “revisited” in the title).

Funny.  My mind went past “scarcity” and “dearth,” and for no particular reason, it settled on “paucity.”  Well, the good ol’ internet addresses these more-or-less synonyms head on.  From EnglishStackExchange.com:

Words:  paucity vs scarcity vs death

I see these words used interchangeably in various contexts. Is there a formal difference or preference?

Please supply relevant examples.

You have probably already checked the dictionary for definitions of paucity, scarcity, and dearth. They all basically mean “a lack of something,” and the fact that each definition references the others attests to their interchangeable utility. However, if there weren’t subtle distinctions in meaning, we probably wouldn’t bother to have three formal words for the same thing, so your question is a good one.

If I were to order them from least lacking to most lacking, I would say paucity->scarcity->dearth, based on their respective definitions.

Paucity: smallness of quantity

Scarcity: rarity or shortness of supply

Dearth: an inadequate supply

Since a small number of towns has nothing to do with the “supply” of towns, I guess “paucity” was the correct choice!  Back to the website:

If you have a paucity of pumpkins, you would have just a few (but your neighbor might have many). A scarcity of pumpkins would mean that pumpkins are quite rare, perhaps due to green-oozy pumpkin disease (that is a made-up disease), and you might reserve one for a special occasion. Finally, a dearth of pumpkins suggests that pumpkins are nowhere to be found, and there will certainly be no jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.

So anyway – as I just mentioned, I’ve featured Pioche and Panaca already.  OK, I could do a copy and paste, or simply put a link to that post HERE.  Don’t bother clicking – I didn’t link it.  Here’s what I consider the highlight of the history of the two towns:

Panaca was founded by Mormons, and is still pretty much a Mormon community – no booze, no gambling.  (Oops.  I forgot that the head of the Mormon Church put out a directive saying that Mormons shouldn’t be called Mormons anymore.  I think they’re supposed to be called “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.”  Oh, well . . .)

Mormons espouse a very clean lifestyle – no booze, no sex (except between a married man and woman), no cigarettes, no caffeine, no R-rated movies.  So back in the day (except for the R-rated movie thing), Panaca was a clean living town. 

The Mormons were agricultural-based, but there were various mining operations nearby and many miners lived in Panaca.  But hey – you know about them miners – they want all of the things that the Mormons wouldn’t let them do in Panaca.

So, there was this nearby town – Pioche.  And Pioche wasn’t Mormon.  So, the underbelly of Panaca moved up the road to Pioche.  OK, so many new mining claims were opened up near Pioche, giving them additional incentive to move . . . 

From StGeorgeUtah.com:

Just under two hours drive from St. George is the “living” ghost town of Pioche, Nevada. Today Pioche is a friendly town, but it began as a miner’s camp in the 1860s with wild roots quickly gaining a reputation as the roughest, toughest town in the entire West, rivaling even the more well-known gun slinging towns of Tombstone, Arizona, and Deadwood, South Dakota.

In 1873, the Nevada State Mineralogist reported the following to the state Legislature regarding the violence in Pioche :

About one-half of the community are thieves, scoundrels and murderers. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of 20 a day to fight mining claim encroachments. The sheriff’s office could count on about $40,000 a year in bribe money. It was so bad 75 people were killed before one died a natural death.

The story of Pioche begins with William Hamblin, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormons). William Hamblin was introduced to silver deposits in the Pioche area by a Native American Paiute in 1864.

Hamblin sold his claim to the mine, but in 1872, he was called to testify in a court case related to ownership of the mine. However, before he could testify, he was given a lethal drink. Realizing he had been poisoned, he started for home in Gunlock but died before he could make it.

At its height, Pioche had at least 6,000 residents (some say 10,000) along with 72 saloons, three hurdy-gurdy houses (dance halls) and 32 “maisons de joie.”  If you don’t what that means, check out a French-English dictionary.

Here’s a shot of Pioche back in the day (1885):

It’s time for some pictures.  Let’s start with Cathedral Gorge, just west of Panaca.  Here’s a shot by Spencer Baugh:

And this, by Geocheb:

And this, by Vitaly Korolev:

Moving up the Meadow Valley Wash, to the Echo Canyon area just north of my landing.  Here’s one by Nevadadcnr:

Another by Vitaly Korolev:

Staying with Vitaly:

I’ll close this one by (get this name) kat n dog named thirsty:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Willard (and Dulles Airport), Virginia

Posted by graywacke on May 2, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2442; A Landing A Day blog post number 878.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N38o 56.884’, W77o 34.088’) puts me in northern Virginia:

Here’s my local landing map:

Looks unremarkably rural, eh? And where’s Willard?  Where’s Dulles Airport?

First, let’s zoom back a bit to put my landing location in its proper context:

Still no Willard, no airport.  Before getting a closer look with Google Earth (GE), here’s my very local streams-only map:

You can see that I landed in the Lenah Run watershed; on to the Broad Run.  I’ll need to zoom back:

The Broad Run heads northeast, where it runs in to (what else?) the Potomac River (13th hit).

As promised, here’s a GE shot of my landing’s neighborhood:

Hmmm.  Not as rural as my local landing map would have you believe.  But the development around my landing is Johnny-come-lately.  Here’s a 1989 air photo:

Zooming back a little (and getting back to the present) you can see that I landed in the backyard of the Dulles International Airport:

I could tell by my local landing map that I practically landed on US Route 50, which is a 100% shoo-in for GE Street View coverage.    Let’s take a look:

And what-the-heck, I’ll zoom in even closer and look from a different angle, so I could locate my landing relative to the nearby bushes:

And here’s my landing, located extremely accurately:

While I’m GEing it, here’s where I sent the OD to look at Lenah Run:

And here’s what he sees:

Gee –  I could be out in the boonies!

Since I landed so close to Route 50, I’ll briefly feature it.  Here’s a Wiki map showing that it goes coast to coast:

It pretty much splits the country in half! 

I’m somewhat familiar with the road; back in the day, I worked for Mobil Oil, which had its headquarters east of my landing in Fairfax, just off Route 50 (although I worked in Jersey).  Also, I’ve crossed (and sailed under) the Route 50 Annapolis Bay Bridge numerous times.  Here’s a Wiki pic:

Here’s a very cool road sign near the western end of Route 50 (Wiki):

In this blog, I’ve featured Route 50 as it crosses Nevada, and is known as “the loneliest road in America” (Wiki):

Moving right along . . . the various “towns” shown on my local landing map don’t amount to anything; as you can see, the Northern Virginia suburbs are taking over all of the local real estate.  But I did stumble on a town that isn’t on any map:  Willard.

From Wiki:

The former unincorporated community of Willard (also known as Willard Crossroads) was located in what is now a part of Washington Dulles International Airport.

The village was named after Joseph Edward Willard, a delegate to the Virginia General Assembly from 1893 to 1901, then Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.  His father was Joseph Clapp Willard, the owner of the famed Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Willard was surrounded by extensive farmland, housing, schools, places of worship, the Willard store (until 1907), and Blue Ridge Airfield (1938–1951). Willard was regarded as a crossroads and a distinctive community until construction of Washington Dulles International Airport began in 1958.

This map, showing the airport surimposed on a 1940 road map of Willard, was part of the Wiki article:

And here are some excerpts from a 2002 Washington Post article by local historian Eugene Scheeler.  It’s a little long, and it rambles a bit, but it provides some cool vignettes into early 20th Century life:

Dulles International Airport celebrates its 40th anniversary today. Unlike its other significant birthdays, there will be no celebration. But the day reminds me of the airport’s 10th anniversary, a gala called “Transpo.”

One of the hostesses then was a young African American woman, and as guests milled about, one asked her, “What was here before Dulles?” She paused, smiled and said, “Why, Willard, of course.”

I mention her race because Willard was largely a black community, and it’s doubtful that a young white person would have given that answer. He, or she, most likely would have said Chantilly, for mail leaving the airport then bore a Chantilly postmark.

Near the Willard crossroads were the small family spreads of former slaves and their descendants — Nathaniel Corum, Joe Johnson, Joe Holmes, Charles Newman, Lafayette and Henry Robinson, Eldridge Smith and Arthur Thomas.

These men farmed on a sustenance level on their few acres, which included a patch of corn, a large vegetable garden, chickens and hogs, a milk cow, a heifer and perhaps a steer. They also cut firewood and fashioned the finer pieces into barrel staves, railroad ties and ax and hatchet handles.

The focus of black Willard was Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church, a small weatherboard building built by its members in 1899.

Flora Croson lived about a half-mile west of the Willard Church. Miss Flora was the last of the home switchboard operators of Gales Hutchison’s Prince William Telephone Co.

Flora’s house was called “The Central,” and one ring brought her to the switchboard. Then she connected the caller to the subscriber, who paid S5 a month for the service. Each subscriber had a special series of rings — perhaps two shorts and a long — that brought him or her to the phone. But every subscriber heard the rings. To eavesdrop, one had to remove the phone very gently so as not to create noise on the line.

Black and white Willard came together each summer when the “medicine show” and minstrel men came to the crossroads. They set up on a field, built a planked platform and draped it and a backdrop with canvas.

Holding sway on stage was the medicine man, who was sometimes a singer and comic and sometimes a pitchman for patent medicines, often laced with alcohol. Between acts, minstrels strolled among the crowd, playing fiddles and banjos and hawking “New Life” and “Golden Oil,” names for pills and elixirs extolled by the pitchman.

In January 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower selected Willard as the location for the new airport.

Without public hearings, the federal government sent condemnation letters to all 87 Willard area landowners early in September 1958, and the letters came like a bolt. Many landowners formed a citizens association, but it disbanded, and everyone followed separate courses. Several hired lawyers, who took one-third of anything over the condemnation price.

The government paid an average of $500 an acre, and more than 300 buildings were bulldozed. Between January 1959 and April 1961, the 87 property owners deeded 9,800 acres to the government.

As per usual when I wind down a post, I check out the GE photos around my landing.  Give me a break, people!  There are hundreds of photos posted on GE, and they are nearly all just ordinary houses!  I mean, really!  Google Earth should be used to post photos of general public interest, and trust me, your house is of no interest to anyone but you!

So, I’ll close with this Wiki shot of the main terminal at the airport . . .


That’ll do it . . .




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Sayre, Erick and Texola, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on April 25, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2441; A Landing A Day blog post number 877.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N35o 2.625’, W99o 39.927’) puts me in southwest Oklahoma:

Here’s my local landing map:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of that ever-popular Principal Stream Perennial (PSP):

And the PSP flows to the Haystack Creek; on to the Elm Fork of the Red River (2nd hit); to the North Fork of the Red River (5th hit, making the North Fork the 172nd river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits),  As shown below, the North Fork discharges to the mighty Red itself (64th hit):

Although not shown, the Red ends up, more-or-less, discharging to the Atchafalaya (71st hit).

(I say “more-or-less” to the Atchafalaya because of the complex interaction between the Red, the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi – discussed more than once in this blog.)

Going over to Google Earth (GE), I discovered that I was in the middle of an immense Google-Street-View-Free zone:


But I could talk the Orange Dude into getting a look at the Haystack Creek about 12 miles from my landing:

And here’s what he sees:

So – I’ll start with Sayre.  There’s not much here, but good ol’ Route 66 used to pass through town back in the Depression / Dust Bowl days.  While few of us know any actual Okies (no offense intended!) who escaped the dust bowl to seek their fortune in California, most of us know the fictional Joads, thanks to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. 

Wiki tells me that in 1940, Director John Ford used the Beckham County Courthouse in Sayre to shoot a scene of Grapes of Wrath movie. 

Here’s a shot from the movie showing the courthouse:

I assume that’s the Joad’s overloaded truck in the foreground.  Just to be sure, here’s a shot of the truck from the movie:

Yup.  Same truck.

And here’s the courthouse today (GE shot by Austin Fugate):

Speaking of Route 66.  Head a few miles west of Sayre, and you come to the town of Erick.  Wiki has this to say:

Erick prospered in the post-war heyday of Route 66, with various roadside businesses catering to motorists. Guidebooks promoted the tiny city as “the first town you encounter, going west, which has a true ‘western’ look with its wide, sun-baked streets, frequent horsemen, occasional sidewalk awnings and similar touches.”

Efforts to put “Historic Route 66” back onto maps as a tourist attraction date to the late 1980s, with the first Route 66 Association established three years after the last section of original highway (in Williams, Arizona) was bypassed by Interstate highway in 1984. Various local businesses and attractions cater to seasonal tourists attempting to find what remains of the old road.

The former City Meat Market building (now the Sandhills Curiosity Shop) was one of the many Route 66 fixtures that showed up on Pixar’s 2006 animated film Cars.

Of course, as all of you regulars recall, I featured the movie Cars when I landed near the Arizona town (Peach Springs) that was used as the model for the movie.

And, from RedDirtChronicles.com, I found this in a piece entitled “Red Dirt Rambler, Erick, Oklahoma” by Red Dirt Kelly (seems like there’s a common thread here):

Wow.  Roger Miller, one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters, along with Sheb Wooley who wrote and performed “It was a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater,” which I well remember as a song on the radio from my youth. 

I’ve never heard of Sheb Wooley (although I must have heard his name when his song was being introduced). 

Well, here ‘tis:


Moving over to Roger Miller.  Here’s a duet with Glenn Campbell:


And a live medley of a bunch of Roger’s hits:


The last song of the medley was probably Roger’s biggest hit:  “King of the Road.”  It’s a hobo-railroad song with many great lines, one of which is:

I know every engineer on every train
All the children and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain’t locked when no-one’s around

Whenever I hear this verse, I’m reminded of a story my mother (who was born in 1920 in Belvidere, NJ) used to tell.  Railroad tracks run a few hundred yards behind the family homestead.  During the Depression, a particular hobo would stop by, and my grandfather would give him some chores to do so he could get some pocket change.  He’d be invited in for a meal.

During one of these visits, he must have noticed a series of “Great Literature” books on the bookshelf in the living room.  Evidently, he asked if he could borrow one, to be returned the next time he stopped by. 

This ended up being a regular occurrence.  The family was also visited by other hobos, and my mother learned that the hobos left a mark down by the tracks that evidently let everyone riding the rails know that a friendly home was nearby.

Moving on to Texola.  Here are some excerpts about the town from an article posted on TheRoute-66.com:

Texola (pop 36) is the westernmost town in Oklahoma along Route 66. Its tiny stone Jail and the Magnolia Service Station (a Historic Place) are its best-known landmarks. Now it is almost a ghost town.

Texola is a town barely one mile east of the Texas state line. Its nickname is “Beerola” and its unofficial motto is “There is No Place Like Texola”.

Old Bar & Diner in Texola, Oklahoma

Its location is very close to the 100th meridian, which marks the border between Texas and Oklahoma.  The state line was surveyed on eight different occasions and it regularly was moved back and forth, moving the town from Oklahoma to Texas.   Finally, the residents found themselves in Oklahoma.

Before Texola, the townsite had two previous names before deciding on “Texola”: Texoma and Texokla.

Route 66 was aligned through the town in 1926 (5th Street, a dirt road).  The road was later paved and drew a growing flow of travelers. The Great Depression in the 1930s plus the Dust Bowl led to an exodus of dispossessed farmers from the region (see Grapes of Wrath), this however helped the local economy unit the early 1970s, when Interstate I-40 bypassed the town.

The population has dropped from a peak of 581 in 1930 to less than 50 after 1990, and now stands at 36; the place is almost a Ghost Town.

Here’s a Wiki shot of the erstwhile Magnolia gas station, which is a not-so-well-preserved historic landmark:

I’ll close with the GE shot, taken (and enhanced by) G. Smallwood, just a few miles SW of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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New Harmony, Indiana (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on April 23, 2019

Dan –  I’m sure that you just read (and enjoyed) my most recent post for New Harmony, Indiana.  But just in case you (or other readers) missed it, you can check it out before reading this “revisited” post.  Regardless, here’s a quick summary:

A fellow named George Rapp led a group of renegade Lutherans who held some far-from-the-mainstream religious and spiritual beliefs.  They were persecuted by the Church in Germany and decided to come to America to set up a socialist utopian community.  They arrived in Indiana in 1814 and founded the town of Harmony.  It didn’t work out.

So then Robert Owen showed up and offered to buy the property in order to set up his vision of a socialist utopian community, which he did in 1825.  Owen believed in a much more secular socialism, where the worker’s rights and privileges were highly valued.  He called the town New Harmony.

His utopian community also failed, but it attracted national attention.  

So here’s the reason for this post:  I have long been a Jeopardy fan, but have recently been seriously sucked in by the exploits of James Holzhauer, who is an amazing champion.  He has won something like a dozen straight games and is rapidly approaching $1,000,000 in winnings.  He’s winning money at a clip never before seen on Jeopardy – way more per game than the famous Ken Jennings (although James has quite a way to go to match Ken’s record 74 game win streak or his total winnings of $2.7 million).

Anyway, my wife Jody and I were watching Jeopardy last night, when I jumped right out of my chair upon seeing this Jeopardy clue:

I was so excited, that I didn’t read the question carefully, and failed to come up with the correct answer.  The answer was correctly answered by someone other than James:

A lot of good that did Rob.  This was right near the end of Double Jeopardy, and in spite of his inability to answer this question, James won in a runaway (as can be seen by the scores in the above screen shot).

By the way, the answer was of course “kindergarten.”  

I need to point out the “kindergarten” is not mentioned in the Wiki article about the town.  However, the State of Indiana (the Indiana Archive and Records Administration) has a feature on Robert Owen.  From their write-up:

Believing that education was the key to a new and better way of life, the citizens of New Harmony made many contributions to society: the first kindergarten and infant school in America, the first trade school, the first public school system to offer equal education to girls and boys, the first free public library and the first civic dramatic club. The first women’s club was also organized in New Harmony.

Although I suspect most of my readers know this, “kindergarten” is literally “children garden” (or “garden of children”) in German.  

That’ll do it . . .



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New Harmony, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on April 18, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2440; A Landing A Day blog post number 875.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N38o 2.840’, W87o 59.114’) puts me in far southern Indiana:

Here’s my local landing map:

(At the end of this post I’ll explain why I circled the two islands.)

No need for a streams-only map to show that I landed in the watershed of the Wabash River (29th hit).  But I’ll still use a streams-only map to get the broader picture:

So, the Wabash (which is the boundary between Indiana and Illinois) flows south to the Ohio (151st hit).  Of course, from there, we meander along the mighty Ohio to the Mightiest of Them All (947th hit).

I fired up good ol’ Google Earth (GE) and found that this very-rural part of Indiana and Illinois has excellent Street View coverage.  I was able to put the Orange Dude within a few hundred yards of my landing:

But, as you can see, my landing is in the woods, so there’s no way we get a clean look at my landing.  But here’s what the OD sees:

I sent the OD to a nearby bridge to get a look at the Wabash:

And here ’tis:

I had the OD take a look at the bridge itself:

And what-the-heck.  Since we’re so close to the Ohio, I figured we might as well check it out.  The OD found a bridge about 10 miles downstream from the confluence with the Wabash:

It’s time for the titular New Harmony, which has a very interesting history.  From Wiki:

Established by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of George Rapp, the town was originally known as Harmony. In its early years, the 20,000-acre settlement was the home of Lutherans who had separated from the official church in Germany and immigrated to the United States.

These folks must have had some money.  Twenty thousand acres?  That’s huge – about a 6 mile x 5 mile hunk of land.  So, I had to take a quick look at Harmony Society.  It was Wiki-clickable:

The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy society founded in Germany in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government, the group moved to the United States, where representatives initially purchased land in Butler County, Pennsylvania. In 1805 the group of approximately 400 followers formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common.

“Theosophy” was Wiki-clickable:

Theosophy refers to a range of positions within Christianity which focus on the attainment of direct, unmediated knowledge of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe. Theosophy has been characterized as mystical and occultist.  Theosophy is considered part of Western esotericism, which believes that hidden knowledge or wisdom from the ancient past offers a path to enlightenment and salvation.

Wow.  I love that these guys were on the edge, and searching for the answers to fundamental questions, like the origin and purpose of the universe.    I wonder what they’d think about the Big Bang?   I often wonder why modern religious practice seems to ignore issues like the origin, size, and future of the universe.

Watch out!  I need to keep to my ALAD script . . .

So, Rapp and friends built a town on their 20,000 acres but left after only 10 years to head back to Pennsylvania.  One can only wonder what happened.  Since “all their goods” were held in common, it sounds like an attempt at a socialist utopian commune. 

As good as the idea of a utopian commune may sound, they never seem to work out.  Resentments and rivalries always seem to win out in the end.

Anyway, they sold their land to a guy named Robert Owen.  You guessed it, he was Wiki-clickable:

Robert Owen (1771 – 1858) was a Welsh textile manufacturer, social reformer, and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. Owen is best known for his efforts to improve the working conditions of his factory workers and his promotion of experimental socialistic communities.

Now wait a minute.  So Robert Owen bought up a failed socialist utopian commune to found a . . . socialist utopian commune?  OK.  Here’s A Landing A Day’s recreation of a conversation between Robert Owen and George Rapp.

George:  So you want to buy this place, eh?  What do you want to do with it?

Robert:  I have become a believer in socialist communal living, and I’d like to establish a community to prove that it can work.

George:  Good luck with that.  I guess that you hadn’t heard that that was exactly what I tried to do. 

Robert:  What went wrong?

George:  Human nature.  Right out of the gate, not everyone pulled their weight, but everyone was treated equally.  You’ll never guess what happened next.  Resentments flared up. Rival factions were formed.  Some men who thought I was doing everything wrong were planning a mutiny.  I expelled a few families, but it only got worse.  I’ll spare you some of the nastier details . . .

Robert:    Ouch.

George:  So what will you do to prevent our mistakes?

Robert:  I don’t have a clue, but I can’t back out now.  I have hundreds of people convinced that it’ll work, so I’ll try my best.

George:  I bet you don’t last 10 years.

Robert:  You’re probably right . . .

Back to Wiki’s piece on Robert:

In the early 1800s, Owen became wealthy as an investor and eventual manager of a large textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland.  In 1824, Owen traveled to America, where he invested the bulk of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, the preliminary model for Owen’s utopian society.

The experiment was short-lived, lasting about two years. Other Owenite utopian communities met a similar fate.

While operating his textile mill, Owen instituted the 8-hour day and coined the slogan:  “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest.”

Owen embraced socialism in 1817, a turning point in his life, and began making specific efforts to implement what he described as his “New View of Society.”

Owen proposed that communities of about 1,200 people should be settled on land from 1,000 to 1,500 acres, with all of them living in one large building that had a public kitchen and dining halls.

Owen also recommended that each family should have its own private apartments and the responsibility for the care of their children until they reached the age of three. Thereafter, children would be raised by the community-at-large, but their parents would have access to them at mealtimes and on other occasions.

Owen further suggested that these socialistic communities might be established by individuals, churches, counties, or other governmental units. In every case there would be effective supervision by qualified persons. The work and the enjoyment of its results should be experienced communally.

Owen believed that his idea would be the best form for the re-organisation of society in general. He called his vision for a socialistic utopia the “New Moral World.”

Somehow, I’m not surprised that New Harmony failed . . .

In spite of the town’s failure, its various residents were quite distinguished and have many accomplishments.  From Wiki:

William Maclure, president of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia from 1817 to 1840, came to New Harmony during the winter of 1825–26.  Maclure brought a group of noted artists, educators, and fellow scientists, including naturalists Thomas Say and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur.

Say has been called the father of American descriptive entomology [bugs] and American conchology [mollusks].  Say died in New Harmony in 1834 [well after Owen left.]

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur was a naturalist and artist. His sketches of New Harmony provide a visual record of the town during the Owenite period. As a naturalist, Lesueur is known for his classification of Great Lakes fishes. Many species were first described by both Say and Leseuer, and many have been named in their honor.

Gerard Troost, a Dutch geologist, mineralogist, zoologist, and chemist who arrived in New Harmony in 1825 later became the state geologist of Tennessee from 1831 to 1850.

David Dale Owen (1807–1860), third son of Robert Owen, finished his formal education as a medical doctor in 1837. However, after returning to New Harmony, he was influenced by the work of Gerard Troost.

Owen went on to become a noted geologist. Headquartered at New Harmony, Owen conducted the first official geological survey of Indiana. Owen led federal surveys of the Midwestern United States, which included Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and part of northern Illinois.

In 1846 Owen sampled a number of possible building stones for the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Smithsonian “Castle”) and recommended the distinctive Seneca Creek sandstone of which that building is constructed.

Owen became the first state geologist of three states: Kentucky, Arkansas and Indiana.

Richard Owen (1810–1890), Robert Owen’s youngest son, came to New Harmony in 1828 and initially taught school there.  He assisted his brother with geological surveys and became Indiana’s second state geologist.

After the Civil War, Owen became a professor of natural sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, where an academic building is named in his honor. In 1872 he became the first president of Purdue University.

Wow.  New Harmony has quite the distinguished alums.

There’s a good article by Jay Jones from the Chicago Tribune about New Harmony entitled “Indian’s Attempt at Utopia:  New Harmony.”  It is well worth the read.  Click HERE to check it out.

One other footnote about Robert Owen.  He was well published, and one of the people who knew (and approved of) Owen’s work was one Karl Marx.  One area where they differed:  Owen believed that a utopian socialist society could spread from seeds planted in many locations.  Marx believed that a political revolution by the working class was necessary.

Basically, Marx was more correct.  But Marxism failed because of that pesky bit of human nature discussed earlier . . .

Before I close this down, I need a quick word about two features highlighted on my local landing map:  Ribeyre Island and Greathouse Island.  They were both formed when large meanders of the Wabash River were cut off (short-circuited) during a large flooding event.

The funny thing is that the boundary between Illinois and Indiana was delineated before the cutoff event occurred.  And evidently, the river per se was not listed as the boundary between Indiana and Illinois; rather the line on the map was so designated. 

End result?  These large chunks of real estate remained with Indiana, even though they are physically on the Illinois side of the Wabash! 

Greathouse Island is for sale.  Here’s a sales video:


Speaking of the Wabash, I’ll close with two GE shots of the river near my landing.  First this, by Thomas Epley:

And then this, by Leica Carol:

That’ll do it . . .




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Courtland and Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Posted by graywacke on April 9, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2439; A Landing A Day blog post number 874.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N34o 39.375’, W87o 21.494’) puts me in northwest Alabama:

Here’s my local landing map:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Big Nance Creek:

As you can see, the Big Nance flows right into the dammed-up Tennessee River (34th hit).  Although not shown, the Tennessee makes its way to the Ohio (150th hit); to the MM (946th hit).

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), I saw that I landed right next to what appears to be a decent-sized airport:

But the town of Courtland is teeny, so such a robust airport makes no sense.  I zoomed in and could find just one little airplane on the entire facility.  Well, it turns out that it is the Courtland airport, but it was built as a training facility for WW II pilots.   

Staying with GE, I have an excellent Street View shot of my landing:

Here’s the Orange Dude’s look at my landing:

Staying with GE, I sent the OD on a mission to get a look at the Big Nance:


And here’s the shot he sent back:

The OD (who has a nose for big water) suggested that he head north.  He found a road that crosses the top of the Wheeler Dam across the Tennessee River.  He positioned himself on the north side of the dam:

It’s important to realize that the upstream side of the dam (to the right) is 40 – 50 feet higher than the downstream side of the dam.  This difference in elevation allows for the generation of hydroelectric power. 

So, here’s what he sees:

Hmmm.  What’s that frothy ring of white water?  Here’s a different angle, showing that I’m near the locks, which allow boats to traverse the 50’ elevation difference:

And here’s a close-up:

My guess is that when they’re lowering the water in the locks, it ends up coming up through the ring.  And it just so happens that there was a tugboat and barges in the canal, headed (I presume) downstream:

The Wheeler Dam cost $87,655,000 back in 1936.  Using an inflation calculator, one dollar in 1936 is worth about $18.20 today.  So that was one damn expensive dam, at about $1.8 billion in today’s dollars . . .

Moving on to my closest town, Courtland.  Wiki lets us know that a Notable Person from Courtland is Jack Shackleford, “one of the few survivors of the Goliad Massacre.” 

The Goliad Masacre was part of the Texas Revolution, back in the 1830s.  From Wiki:

The Goliad massacre was an event of the Texas Revolution that occurred on March 27, 1836, following the Battle of Coleto.  As ordered by General (and President of Mexico) Santa Anna; 425-445 prisoners of war from the Texian Army of the Republic of Texas were killed by the Mexican Army in the town of Goliad, Texas.

Under a decree pressured by Santa Anna and passed by the Mexican Congress on December 30 of the previous year, armed foreigners taken in combat were to be treated as pirates and executed. The local Mexican commander General Urrea wrote in his diary that he “…wished to elude these orders as far as possible without compromising my personal responsibility.”

Santa Anna responded to this entreaty by repeatedly ordering Urrea to comply with the law and execute the prisoners.  He also had a similar order sent directly to General Portilla, the Commander of the Goliad Post. This order was received by Portilla on March 26, who decided it was his duty to comply despite receiving a countermanding order from Urrea later that same day.

Colonel James Fannin – the commander of the captured Texian Army at Goliad –  asked for humane treatment for himself and his Texian soldiers but his request was abruptly denied.

The next day, Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, Portilla had between 425 and 445 Texians marched out of Fort Defiance in three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers; they were shot point blank, wounded survivors were clubbed and knifed to death.

Forty Texians were unable to walk. Thirty-nine were killed inside the fortHuerta of the Tres Villas battalion, with a Colonel Garay saving one, Jack Shackelford.

Nearly the entire Texian force was killed, except for Shackleford and 19 others who were saved by Garay and Francita Alavez (the “Angel of Goliad”) to act as doctors or interpreters.  Also surviving were 28 men who feigned death and escaped.


P.S.  Just one month later, the Texians won their war for Independence when Santa Anna was defeated at the battle of San Jacinto.

Moving right along . . .

As soon as I saw the town name “Muscle Shoals,” I wondered why it was so familiar to me.  Before solving that little mystery, just a quick word on how the town got its name.  Before the Tennessee was all dammed up by the TVA, it ran free through northern Alabama.  In fact, there were numerous rapids, including one named for the prolific number of freshwater mussels that were present.

Well, back in the day, the word “mussels” was sometimes spelled “muscles.”  And I suspect that most of my readers know that “shoal” is another word for “shallow.”  So, there you have it.

I happen to know a little about the lifecycle of freshwater mussels (at least those that live in the Delaware River).  The males send out a bunch of sperm that the females take in as part of their normal water-filtering lifestyle.  The female’s eggs are fertilized.  She then dangles a small protrusion outside of her shell – a “lure” that looks to an eel like something to eat.  The eel comes over, interested in a meal, but instead is blasted by a bunch of fertilized eggs that are in a sac that somehow attaches itself to the eel.  Tiny hatchlings develop while cruising around with the eel, and then drop off into sediment where the baby mussels can fully develop.

Incidentally, the eels themselves migrate out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, to the “Sargasso Sea,” which is a huge eddy current east of the Gulf Stream.  They mate and drop fertilized eggs to drift in the ocean for 1 – 2 years.  Somehow, these fertilized eggs / baby eels get carried close enough to the Delaware Bay, and then the baby eels know enough to head up the river, where they may eventually get faked out by some no-good mussel . . .

There’s a similar story for Tennessee River mussels, but it involves fish, not eels.

Back to why Muscle Shoals was familiar to me. It’s all about the song “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Here’s one of the verses:

Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers.
And they’ve been known to pick a song or two.
Lord, they get me off so much,
They pick me up when I’m feelin’ blue.
Now, how ’bout you?

As a listener to classic rock radio, I’ve heard this song maybe hundreds of times (although I’ve never owned or downloaded any Skynyrd music).  Anyway, the town of Muscle Shoals has a long tradition as a musical center.  From Wiki:

Muscle Shoals hosted the recording of many hit songs from the 1960s to today at two studios: FAME Studios, founded by Rick Hall, where Arthur Alexander, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and numerous others recorded; and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, founded by studio musicians known as The Swampers, which produced work for Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones and others.

As a longtime Neil Young fan, I have to mention Neil’s prominent place in the song’s lyrics.  From Wiki:

“Sweet Home Alabama” was written as an answer to two songs by Neil Young, “Southern Man” and “Alabama”, which dealt with themes of racism and slavery in the American South. “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,” said Ronnie Van Zant at the time.  Lyrics from the song:

Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ol’ Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow

In his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, Young commented on his role in the song’s creation, writing “My own song ‘Alabama’ richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record. I don’t like my words when I listen to it. They are accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue”.

What the heck.  Here’s Neil’s “Alabama” with the lyrics:

Yea, I guess so . . .

I had a “P.S.” earlier, and now it’s time for another one:

P.S.S.  There’s a live 1977 version of Sweet Home Alabama played by Lynyrd Skynyrd in Oakland.  Ronnie Van Sant (the lead singer) has a Neil Young t-shirt.  Here’s a screenshot from the YouTube video:

And yet another.

P.S.S.S.  Neil Young was a pall bearer at Ronnie Van Sant’s funeral.

I’ll close out this post with a GE shot from about 4 miles NW of my landing, by Frank Tuttle:


That’ll do it . . .




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