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Archive for July, 2009

Trotters, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on July 31, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – Well, here’s a classic WB OSer . . . ND; 49/41; 6/10; 4; 155.1. For the seventh time, I landed in the Little MO R watershed, on to the MO (330th hit); on to the MM (697th hit).

Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Trotters:

landing

Here’s a broader view:

trotters

Well, let me tell you, Trotters is perhaps the smallest, most nothing little town (that still somehow warranted bold print on my StreetAtlas map).

I believe that there are three structures, all abandoned, that make up the town of Trotters.  Here are pictures from “afiler” on Flickr.  I’ll start with “Welcome to Trotters” shot, showing an abandoned church and some sort of small barn in the distance:

welcome to trotters

Here’s a close-up of the church:

church in trotters

Here’s the former store/gas station (maybe located beyond the rise in the “Welcome to Trotters” picture above:

gas station in trotter2

Note the gas pump in front of the store. Here’s a close-up:

gas station in trotter

Down the road a piece, you’ll find this collection of mail boxes:

mailboxes near trotter

I mentioned above that I landed in the Little MO watershed. But more locally, I landed in the Prairie Dog Ck watershed, on to the Beaver Ck. Here’s a picture of Beaver Ck, from the Highway 16 bridge south of Trotters:

beaver_creek_trotters1

I love Trotters, but it makes me sad.

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Kosciusko, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on July 29, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – The run continues, as I landed in the good ol’ US Southeast once again. After VA and NC comes a record low Score thanks to . . . MS; 26/28; 6/10; 3; 154.7. Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Kosciusko (pronounced Kah-zee-ESS-ko):

landing

Here’s a broader view:

kosciusko

For the fourth time, I landed in the Pearl R watershed, on to the G of M.  More locally, I landed in the Cobbs Ck watershed, on to a stream with a strange name – Lobutcha Ck.

Here’s a shot of 1979 flood damage caused by Lobutcha Ck. I’m glad somebody noticed that this bridge was in trouble . . .

Problem at Lobutcha Creek!

So, on to Kosciusko (remember, Kah-zee-ESS-ko). From Wiki:

Kosciusko is a city in Attala County, Mississippi. The population was 7,372 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Attala County.

Kosciusko is named for the Polish general Tadeusz Kościuszko, who assisted United States military efforts during the American Revolution. Kosciusko was originally named Red Bud Springs for one of three natural springs that were present in the city.

Kosciusko is the birthplace for several notable people, including James Meredith and Oprah Winfrey. I think I’ll just highlight a little of Oprah’s early days in Kosciusko. I didn’t know anything about her early history, so I found this very interesting. From Wiki:

Though there are conflicting reports as to how her name became “Oprah”, Winfrey was originally named Orpah after the Biblical character in the Book of Ruth. In an interview, Winfrey claimed that her family and friends’ inability to pronounce “Orpah” caused them to put the “P” before the “R” in every place else other than the birth certificate. However, there is the account that the midwife transposed letters while filling out the newborn’s birth certificate.

Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi to unmarried parents. She later explained that her conception was due to a single sexual encounter that her two teenage parents had; they quickly broke up not long after. Her mother, Vernita Lee, was a housemaid, and her father, Vernon Winfrey, was a coal miner and later worked as a barber before becoming a city councilman. Winfrey’s father was in the Armed Forces when she was born.

After her birth, Winfrey’s mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her ability to recite Bible verses. When Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would take a switch and would hit her with it when she didn’t do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.

At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, due in large part to the long hours Vernita Lee worked as a maid. Winfrey has stated that she was molested by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first revealed to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show, when sexual abuse was being discussed.

Despite her dysfunctional home life, Winfrey skipped two of her earliest grades, became the teacher’s pet, and by the time she was 13 received a scholarship to attend Nicolet High School in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wisconsin, but she ran away from home, became pregnant (her son died shortly after birth) and then her mother sent her to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vernon was strict, but encouraging and made her education a priority. Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, and placed second in the nation in dramatic interpretation. She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. She also attracted the attention of the local black radio station, WVOL, which hired her to do the news part-time. She worked there during her senior year of high school, and again while in her first two years of college.

Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV.

And the rest is history . . .

James Meredith was also from Kosciusko. From Wiki:

Meredith was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. He enlisted in the United States Air Force right out of high school and served from 1951 to 1960. He then attended Jackson State College for two years. He applied to the University of Mississippi, but was denied twice.

On October 1, 1962, he became the first black student at the University of Mississippi, after being barred from entering on September 20. His enrollment, virulently opposed by segregationist Governor Ross Barnett, sparked riots on the Oxford campus, which required federal troops and U.S. Marshals, who were sent by President John F. Kennedy. The riots led to a violent clash which left two people dead. Bob Dylan sang about the incident in his song Oxford Town. Meredith’s actions are regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States. He graduated on August 18, 1963 with a degree in political science.

Here’s a picture of Meredith being escorted on his first day of classes at the University of Mississippi:

300px-James_Meredith_OleMiss

Many students harassed Meredith during his two semesters on campus. Though the majority of students accepted Meredith’s presence, according to first person accounts chronicled in Nadine Cohodas’s book The Band Played Dixie, students living in Meredith’s dorm bounced basketballs on the floor just above his room through all hours of the night. When Meredith walked into the cafeteria for meals, the students eating would all turn their backs. If Meredith sat at a table with other students, all of whom were white, the students would immediately get up and go to another table.

He led a civil rights march, the March Against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi in 1966 and was wounded by sniper Aubrey James Norvell on June 6. This photograph of Meredith after being shot won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1967.

meredith-jpg

A novice photographer for AP, Jim Thornell was on the scene for the voter registration march and he took two rolls of pictures. Minutes passed before an ambulance reached Meredith, who lay in the road alone, shouting “Isn’t anyone going to help me?”  The photo (and the event itself) was a flash point in the American civil rights movement. It united and galvanized the scattered civil rights movement.

So, what about Kosciusko himself?  Well, he was quite the dandy:

493px-Portret_Tadeusz_Kosciuszko

Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was a Polish military leader. He is a national hero in Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, and the United States. He led the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising against Imperial Russia and Kingdom of Prussia as Supreme Commander of the National Polish Armed Force. Prior to commanding the 1794 Uprising, he had fought in the American Revolutionary War as a colonel in the Continental Army.

As a national hero in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States, Kościuszko has given his name to many places around the world.

Feel free to skim the following paragraphs.  You’ll get the idea . . .

He has given his name to Kosciusko, Mississippi and Kosciusko, Texas; Kosciusko County, Indiana; Kosciusko Island in Alaska; New York State has two Kosciuszko Bridges (one upstate and one between Brooklyn & Queens); a street in Queens, Kosciuszko Street (BMT Jamaica Line); the Kosciuszko Bridge that crosses the Naugatuck River in Naugatuck, Connecticut; Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn, New York; Kosciuszko Street in Manchester, New Hampshire; Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania; Kosciuszko Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Kosciuszko Park in Stamford, Connecticut; Kosciuszko Street in South Bend, Indiana, Kosciusko Street in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Thaddeus Kosciusko Way in downtown Los Angeles, California.

Monmouth, Illinois, was to be called Kosciuszko after that name was drawn from a hat around 1831. It was decided that Kosciuszko would be too hard to pronounce, so Monmouth was selected as an alternative.

There is a Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument in Detroit, Michigan. There is an equestrian statue of him at Kosciuszko Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, across from the Polish Basilica of St. Josaphat, and other statues, in Boston Public Garden; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Chicago’s Museum Campus on Solidarity Drive; Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C.; the United States Military Academy at West Point; Williams Park in St. Petersburg, Florida; and Red Bud Springs Memorial Park in Kosciusko, Mississippi; in Kosciuszko Park in East Chicago, Indiana; and (with Kazimierz Pułaski) in Poland, Ohio, a village named in honor of the two heroes of the American Revolution.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his Revolutionary War home is preserved as Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial and a monument to him stands at the corner of Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 18th Street. Hamtramck, Michigan, has a Kosciuszko Middle School; Winona, Minnesota has Washington-Kosciuszko Elementary School; Chicago, a public park named for him in Logan Square; and East Chicago, Indiana, a public park (with statue), a school and a neighborhood, all bearing Kosciuszko’s name. There is a Kosciusko Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Who’d a thunk?

One final thing about him. He was born in Mereczowszczyzna. There’s a Polish woman in our office, and I asked her to pronounce this for me. She laughed, and laid it on me. I kind of tried to get a phonetic spelling, but it wasn’t really worth the effort for an anglo-centric like me  . . .

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Hiddenite, North Carolina

Posted by graywacke on July 27, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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! By the skin of its teeth, I landed in a State that was still a USer (although now it’s a PSer) . . . NC; 31/31; 5/10; 2; 155.4. As you can see, this landing resulted in a new record low Score. Here’s my landing map (today’s landing is the more northeasterly one):

landing

You’ll note that there’s a nearby landing, which happens to have occurred fairly recently (April 2008).

Here’s a broader view, featuring Taylorsville:

taylorsville

For the 2nd time, I landed in the S Yadkin R watershed; on to the Yadkin (4th hit); on to the Pee Dee (6th hit). My first landing in the S Yadkin was, unsurprisingly, back in April of 2008.

Speaking of April 2008, by then I was writing you robust landing emails, and perhaps you’ll remember my email that featured Hiddenite.  Hiddenite, as you remember (or will learn below) is a mineral. I’ll start with some pictures, all of crystals found near Hiddenite. Here’s a beautiful specimen that is being sold as is; i.e., will not be cut (the Hiddenite is the vertical green crystal which grew along with other crystals:

EmeraldHiddenite01

Here’s a Hiddenite crystal cluster:

hiddenite cluster

And here’s a cut specimen:

cut hiddenite

Being lazy, I’ll reproduce some of my 04/08 email, starting with this from the Emerald Hollow Mine website:

The Emerald Hollow Mine is the only emerald mine in the United States open to the public for prospecting. Nestled snugly in the foothills of the beautiful Brushy Mountains, this North Carolina Emerald mine is located in the small town of Hiddenite, North Carolina. This locality is recognized as one of the most unique and interesting geological locations on the North American continent.

Host to more than sixty three different types of naturally occurring gems and minerals, a virtual treasure trove of gemstones can be found at our gem mine! Many of these are very rare including: emerald, aquamarine, sapphire, garnet, topaz, amethyst, citrine, rutile, tourmaline along with an abundance of world class smoky and clear quartz crystals. Hiddenite is also famous as the only place on earth where the very rare gemstone “Hiddenite” can be found!

Each year, thousands of rockhounds, tourists and educational field trip participants flock to this popular North Carolina attraction to experience the thrill of finding rare gemstones in the rough. Whether a serious or amateur prospector hoping to fulfill dreams of finding hidden treasures, a student experiencing an enriching “hands on” learning experience or a family seeking quality outdoor recreation, a trip to the Emerald Hollow Mine guarantees a fun and exciting adventure for people of all ages!

From my 4/08 email to you:

Get this – Hiddenite the mineral is named after a geologist, William Hidden, and the town is named after the mineral!!  William Hidden was sent to NC by Thomas Edison to look for platinum (a task at which he failed), but instead, he found Hiddenite!

From Wiki:

The first specimens of the hiddenite variety of spodumene were recovered about 1879 near the tiny settlement of White Plains, west of Stony Point, North Carolina. According to contemporary accounts, a young man named Lackey brought them to the attention of J.A.D. Stephenson, a local merchant who was also an ardent collector of minerals.

Stephenson brought the discovery to the attention of exploration geologist William Earl Hidden, who had been commissioned by Thomas Edison to search for any sources of platinum in North Carolina (an effort that was, in and of itself, stunningly unsuccessful). Hidden sent samples of the odd green material to John Lawrence Smith, a prominent chemist and mineralogist of Louisville, Kentucky.

Smith correctly identified the specimens as being a variety of spodumene, and named them “Hiddenite” in honor of Hidden. The community in which the gemstones were first found would later be renamed “Hiddenite”.

Hidden recognized the value of the emeralds and the potential of the new gemmy green spodumene. He acquired a tract of poor quality land, which was either the site of the initial discovery or near to it, for $1500. The Emerald and Hiddenite Mining Company was organized and excavations on the site quickly recovered loose hiddenites and emeralds in the red, gravelly clay.

In addition to the North Carolina locality, Hiddenite has also been found in Brazil, China, and Madagascar. Green spodumene found in Afghanistan and Pakistan has excited modest amounts of controversy in the mineral and gemological communities with debate over whether or not it should be truly considered “hiddenite.”

From my 4/08 email:

I note where the for-profit gem prospecting company claims that Hiddenite NC is the only place on earth to find hiddenite; but that Wikipedia mentions Brazil, China and Madagascar. I’d probably put my money on Wiki . . . .

Here’s a picture of folks looking for Hiddenite.  I guess the stuff is pretty well hidden . . .

looking for hiddenite

I’ll close with this shot of sunset over Stony Point (just east of Hiddenite):

sunset in Stony Point

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Head Waters, Virginia

Posted by graywacke on July 25, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 –   Today I landed in the third most OS state (behind TX and FL) . . . VA; 13/25; 5/10; 1; 156.0.  This puts me only 0.2 away from a new record low Score.

But the big story on Action News is a totally different kind of record.  What might that be, you’re wondering.  Well, today we have four, count ‘em, four new rivers!!  Oh my!!  I landed in the N Fk of the Little R; on to the Little R; on to the North R; on to the Shenandoah!!  Those are my 1022nd, 1023rd, 1024th and 1025th rivers!   The Shenandoah flows into the Potomac (10th hit).

By the way, this makes the 12th “Little River” watershed in which I’ve landed.  Just so you know I keep accurate track of such things, here’s my list:

State………. Little River Flows into the:

1.  SC                          Savannah R

2.  GA                         Withlacootchee R

3.  NC                         Neuse R

4.  GA                         Talapoosa R

5.  NH                         Merrimack

6.  AR                         Red R

7.  LA                          Atchafalaya R

8.  TX                          Brazos R

9. GA                          Ochlockonee R

10. OK                        Canadian R

11. MA                        Westfield R

12. VA                         North R

Here’s my landing map (FYI, the yellow boundary line is between VA & WV):

landing

You can see my proximity to a bunch of teeny “towns,” two actual small towns (Bridgewater & Dayton), and one small city (Harrisonburg).  Here’s a broader view, featuring Bridgewater:

bridgewater

Being a river/watershed kind of guy, the teeny town of  “Head Waters” (see landing map above) caught my eye.  From Wiki (with some additional information provided by me):

Headwaters is an unincorporated community in Virginia.  The head waters of the South Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River,  the Cowpasture River (which flows to the James) and the Calfpasture River (which flows to the Maury and then also to the James) are north of Headwaters, hence the community’s name.

Here’s a map:

head waters

You have to look closely, but you can find all of the head waters.  By the way, I wonder why the fixation on pastures?  Not only Cowpasture and Calfpasture Rivers, but also Bullpasture Mountain (not shown on my landing map, but it’s also north of Head Waters).

I stumbled on an interesting post from the Talking Proud! website, which is kind of a patriotic travel blog (I think):   http://www.talkingproud.com.  The writer of the post (like me) enjoys knowing about watersheds.  From the post:

Return us our individuality!

MillersStoreHeadWaters

Miller’s Store, Head Waters, Virginia 24442. We found Head Waters, Virginia, in Highland County, said to be the county with the highest elevation east of the Mississippi. This store includes a gas station and US Post Office. It is on US 250 northwest of Staunton. We came to this town looking for the “head waters” feeding the James River, Virginia’s longest. We started here with Shaws Fork, just outside this photo to the left, and tracked our way south through the James River Watershed.

Our question is, why can’t we force places like 7-Eleven to build their stores so they fit the architecture and ambience of the old time stores of our individual regions? Our bet is we could, if we cared enough to demand it. Places like 7-Eleven and all the rest of the “neon jungled” places of business and their strip malls are making every one of our towns look the same. We Americans love our heritage and our individuality, and we should start forcing our local representatives to set zoning directives that return our individuality and traditions to us.

Here Here!!

I’ll close with a couple of scenery shots.  First, this of the area near Head Waters:

View-of-Shaws-Ridge-779117

And this, from Bullpasture Mountain, north of Head Waters:

rainbow from bullpasture mt

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Tofte, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on July 23, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – Of course, you know Montana is the most OS state. But a fairly close second is . . . MN; 65/48; 4/10; 1; 157.3. Here’s my landing map:

landing

Here’s a slightly expanded view, showing my proximity to a previous landing where I referenced Grand Marais (January 30th post):

landing2

Remember this picture from Grand Marais?

800px-beaver_house_baitshop

Anyway, back to today’s landing:  a new river, the Cross (my 1021st river); on to Lake Superior (13th hit); on to the St. Lawrence (80th hit).

As you can see on my landing map, this area is pretty well unpopulated. There are two “towns,” Tofte and Schroeder. Let me tell you, they’re both GD.  Here’s a broader view, featuring Tofte:

Tofte_o

But this is mighty pretty country, so I’ll just put together a more-or-less a photo travelogue.  I’ll start with Carlton Peak, which you can see on my landing map just outside of Tofte. From Wiki:

Carlton Peak is a summit in the Sawtooth Mountains in northeastern Minnesota in the United States. In 1848 Reuben B. Carlton ascended the peak with Col. Charles Whittlesey, who was participating in a geological survey expedition. In appreciation, Whittlesey named the mountain in Carlton’s honor.

Here’s a shot of a birch tree grove on the trail to Carlton Peak:

birch forest, carlton peak trail

Here’s a close-up of some of the same birches:

trees, carlton peak trail

Here’s a shot of Carlton Peak in the fall:

carlton peak

And a couple of view from the top:

view from Carlton Peak

view from Carlton Peak2

As noted in the Wiki write-up, Carlton Peak is part of Minnesota’s Sawtooth Mountain Range (which, by the way, is one of 12 mountain ranges in the U.S. named “Sawtooth.”) From Wiki:

The Sawtooth Mountains rise from Lake Superior at angles between 8 and 20 degrees and drop off steeply on their north sides. They received their name as a result of their relatively uniform size, angles, and regularity of spacing; seen from Lake Superior to the east, “the visible crest line thus presents a remarkable profile, resembling the teeth of an immense saw.”

Don’t worry. After all of that geology for the Champlain Valley, I’m doing no research on the geology of the Sawtooths. But here’s a wonderful picture:

Sawtooth Range

Even though I didn’t land in it’s watershed, the Temperance River is nearby, and discharges to the Lake near Schroeder. Check out this shot of the mouth of the Temperance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this, where a river cuts through a rock formation and discharges right into a lake:

mouth of the temperance river

Here’s some Temperance River waterfalls near Schroeder:

temperance falls near schroeder

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Port Henry, New York

Posted by graywacke on July 21, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – Here’s an eastern state with a longstanding OS tradition . . . NY; 35/29; 5/10; 13; 156.3. Here’s my landing map:

landing

As you can see, I landed in a rather interesting location:  just east of the NY State Thruway, in the Adirondacks. The lake off to the east is Lake Champlain (which forms the border with VT). The most significant town in the area is Port Henry. Here’s a broader view:

port henry

A new river, the Schroon.  The Schroon flows south into Schroon Lake, thence to the Hudson (12th hit).

I’ll admit to being uninspired about Port Henry. It’s at a cool location, right on Lake Champlain, and the area is loaded with early American history, so I don’t know what my problem is.  But then I stumbled on a discussion of the geology of the Champlain Valley, and I figured what-the-heck.

This is generally the sort of thing that gives geology a bad name, but I’ll give it a shot. I’ll start with some observations that were easily made by geologists a long time ago. To the west are the Adirondacks, very old mushed-up metamorphic rocks. To the east are the Green Mountains, also very old mushed-up metamorphic rocks. But in the Champlain Valley are younger (although still very old), but not-mushed-up sedimentary rocks like sandstone and limestone. In fact, there are some fossil coral limestone beds generally thought to represent the oldest corals on earth.

So, geologists wonder how all of this stuff came to be. That’s what we do. We have this peculiar sort of curiosity that really wants to know the “why” of just about anything on earth. Stuff like mountains and valleys and volcanoes can all be observed, but we really want to know “why” and “how.”

So anyway, what’s going on in the Champlain Valley? Well, as is our wont, we geologists start a long time ago. Here’s an east-west geologic cross section (a slice of the earth), looking north across the Champlain Valley. Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s from about 550 million years ago. I’m borrowing pictures and words from a University of Vermont website, “Shelburne Landscape Change.” (As usual, my words are in blue and theirs are in black.)

600 - 500 my ago

Layers of sediment deposited in an ancient sea would eventually become the sedimentary rocks seen today in the Champlain Valley. These rocks also preserved fossils of early marine life forms, including trilobites, corals, and brachiopods. The oldest known fossil reef in the world can still be seen in limestone beds outcropping in the Champlain Islands of northern Vermont.

Fast forward a hundred million years or so, and continental tectonic plates have collided.  The collision scrunched everything.   The sediment layers broke apart, so that huge pieces slid over one another.  Remember that tectonic plates move very slowly, like at most a few inches per year.  But hey, we have tens of million years to play around with.  Anyway, this is what it looked like after the collision:

400 - 500 my ago

As the crustal plates collided, the compressed sedimentary rocks began to rise. Several major faults were formed, where entire blocks of rock thousands of feet thick were thrust up over one another. (Note how the sequences of sedimentary layers repeats, showing how they got pushed up over one another.) These faults can be traced today.

The mountains to the east (part of the tectonic plate that cruised upon the scene and broke up the sedimentary rocks) are what ended up being the Green Mountains (the Adirondacks have yet to make their appearance).

Fast forward another couple of hundred million years, and this is now the scene:

400 - 25 my ago

What will become the Champlain Valley is isolated within the continent, away from oceans.  This was the condition for hundreds of millions of years. At some point (the timing is unsure), the land to the west began to uplift again, developing the steeper topography of today’s Adirondack Mountains. The exact nature of this uplift is unknown, but it is still continuing today.

Fast forwarding once again, all the way to the present (well, almost all of the way to the present).  Now it’s about 25,000 years ago. This is the scene (and yes, the white is glacial ice):

30,000 - 15,000 y ago

As the glaciers moved over the Champlain Valley, they helped carve out the modern topography of the valley, including the present bed of Lake Champlain. The ice blunted the Green Mountains and Adirondacks and shaped the outcrops of sedimentary rocks seen today.  At their peak, the glaciers would have completely covered everything in Vermont.

Move forward a blink of an eye, and it’s now 10,000 ago, just after the glaciers melted:

10,000 y ago

As the glaciers eventually retreated, they dammed the natural northward drainage of the Champlain Valley. The land had been so depressed by the weight of the ice that for a brief time, the Atlantic Ocean flooded the Champlain Valley through the St. Lawrence Seaway. But then, the land rebounded and restored a northward drainage. The extensive ancient lake (that was much larger than today’s Lake Champlain) left a thick blanket ofvclay across much of the Champlain Valley.

Another blink later, and it’s today:

today

Today, Lake Champlain divides the old metamorphic rocks of the Adirondacks from the faulted sedimentary rocks of the Champlain Valley, which eventually give way to the younger (compared to the Adirondacks) metamorphic rocks of the Green Mountains to the east.

Phew. Well, I enjoyed that. You? Anyway, back to just a little more-traditional ALAD fare. Here’s a 1908 picture of a steamer docked at Port Henry:

steamer vermont at port henry

Here are the ruins of a Fort St. Frederic, which is near Coffin Point near the bridge over the lake (see landing map):

Fort_St_Frederic

From Wiki, about the fort (this is actually pretty cool):

Fort St. Frédéric was a French fort built on Lake Champlain to secure the region against British colonization and to allow the French to control the use of Lake Champlain.

Construction started in 1734. When complete, the walls of the towering redoubt were twelve feet thick and four stories high, with cannons on each level. Fort St. Frédéric was manned by hundreds of officers and troops.

The fort gave the French control of the Lake Champlain Valley. It was the only permanent fort in the area until the building of Carillon at Ticonderoga starting in 1755. Many French raids originated from here and many British raids targeted this stronghold. It was constructed on the tip of a strategic peninsula, at a very narrow point. The cannons of Fort St. Frédéric and of the later British fort here, Crown Point, were capable of halting all north-south travel on the lake.

In 1759 when the British forces moved against Fort St. Frédéric during the French and Indian War, the French destroyed the Fort just before retreating northward.   The British then built Fort Crown Point just southwest of the ruins of the French fort, starting in the fall of 1759.  The remains of both forts are now a state historic site located in New York.  Both are also U.S. National Historic Landmarks.

See, I told you there was a lot of history around here!  And here’s the lovely train station in Port Henry:

port henry train station

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Phil Campbell, Alabama (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on July 20, 2009

Dan –  I’m sure you remember my notable visit to Phil Campbell AL.  Well, I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I received a comment from the one & only organizer of Phil Campbell Day!!  That’s right, the venerable Phil Campbell himself read my blog and honored me with a comment.  In case you missed it, here it is:

Phil Campbell said

July 13, 2009 at 11:36 pm e

Yes! Absolutely you should read Zioncheck for President. It’s a great book! And then see the film, after Jake Gyllenhaal’s father Stephen Gyllenhaal is done adapting it to the big screen.

Also, you should read the novel I’m now finishing about Memphis, whenever it gets published.

LMAO. Seriously, Thank you for the random mention. What an interesting blog. Think I’ll check out some of the other posts.

Phil Campbell

So, old fuddy duddy that I am, I had to look up LMAO.  I’m sure you know already, and agree that I must be an old fuddy duddy.  Oh well.

KS

Greg


P.S. (for Phil):  Thanks for the comment, Phil, and I promise I’ll read Zioncheck for President and look for the movie.  I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Memphis book . . .

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Dardanelle, Arkansas

Posted by graywacke on July 18, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – I’m on quite the run; six of my last 11 landings have brought on a new record low Score. As you may have guessed, today’s landing is one of the six, as I landed in . . . AR; 24/30; 6/10; 12; 155.8.

For the third time in the last five landings, I have landed in the Arkansas R watershed, although it has been a different state each time: first OK, then CO and now AR. As you can see by my landing map, I landed quite close to the river (as I did far upstream in CO):

landing

My landing map also shows that I landed near plenty of towns. A couple of simple crossroads (New Blaine & Delaware), actual small towns (London & Dardanelle), and a small city (Russellville). Maybe it’s the name, but I’ve decided to feature Dardanelle.

Here’s a broader view, featuring Dardanelle:

dardanelle

It turns out that the town of Dardanelle was actually named after Dardanelle Rock, located along the river just north of town. Here’s a picture of the rock:

dardanelle_rock_sm

Here’s an old woodcut (a very accurate likeness):

dardenelle rock woodcut

And here’s the view from the top, looking downriver towards the town of Dardanelle:

Dardenelle from the rock

So, the town got its name from the rock. How did the rock get its name? Check out this wonderful 1873 NY Times article (and make sure you take the time to read this carefully!):

dardenelle rock

I love it!! For those of you non-French speakers, “dors” means sleep, and “d’un oeil”  means “of one eye.”   Note that the NY Times misspelled “oeil!”  (Unless there was some strange 19th-century spelling, which I seriously doubt.)  Anyway, here’s how it would be pronounced (more or less):  door – deh – noiye.  The “l” in “oeil” is silent, so I don’t know how Dardanelle came out of this.

Anyway, the Dardanelles is mentioned in the article. For those of you who might not know, the Dardanelles is a strait (are straits????)  in Turkey, part of the waterway that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Black Sea. Although the strait has nothing to do with the town or the rock, it’s an interesting historical location. Here’s a map, showing the Dardanelles in yellow and the Bosphorus in red:

the dardenelles

And, the following from Wiki:

The name Dardanelles derives from Dardania, an ancient land on the Asian shore of the strait.

The strait has long had a strategic role in history. The ancient city of Troy was located near the western entrance of the strait and the strait’s Asiatic shore was the focus of the Trojan War.

In 1915, the western Allies sent a massive invasion force of British, Indian, Australian, and New Zealander troops to attempt to open up the strait. At the Gallipoli campaign, Turkish troops trapped the Allies on the beaches of the Gallipoli peninsula (which juts out into the Mediterranean north of the Dardanelles).

The straits were mined by the Turks to prevent Allied ships from penetrating them. Sir Ian Hamilton’s Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was unsuccessful in its attempt to capture the Gallipoli peninsula, and its withdrawal was ordered in January 1916, after 10 months fighting and more than 200,000 casualties.

This protracted and unsuccessful attempt to capture the Gallipoli peninsula and the Dardanelles became the stuff of legend, and “passing the Dardanelles” became a metaphor for attempting the nearly impossible. Once again, from Wiki:

The University of Washington fight song Bow Down to Washington includes the lyrics “It’s harder to push them over the line than pass the Dardanelles.”

The Dardanelle Rock isn’t the only geologically significant locale nearby. Mt. Nebo is just a couple of miles west of the Dardanelle Rock (see the landing map). Here’s a foggy shot:

mt nebo1

And here’s a wonderful picture of Mt. Nebo from Lake Dardanelle:

mt nebo from lake dardanelle

Hang gliding is permitted at Mt. Nebo State Park (pat on the back to the State of Arkansas for allowing risk-taking on their property!)  Here’s a shot a hang glider just off the top of Mt. Nebo:

hang gliding mt nebo

Returning to the Middle East once again, it turns out that Mt. Nebo was named after a biblically-referenced Mt. Nebo in Jordan.  From Wiki:

Mount Nebo is an elevated ridge that is approximately 817 meters (2680 feet) above sea level, in what is now western Jordan. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.

According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where the Hebrew prophet Moses was given a view of the promised land that God was giving to the Jews. “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho.” (Deuteronomy 34:1).

According to Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses was buried on this mountain.

Some people believe that the Ark of the Covenant (the container described in the Bible as containing the tablets of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments) is hidden somewhere in or around Mt. Nebo. Second Maccabees, chapter 2, verses 1-8, mentions how the prophet Jeremiah, following a divine revelation, ordered that the ark should accompany him and how he went off to the mountain which Moses climbed to see God’s inheritance [i.e. Mt. Nebo]. When Jeremiah arrived there, he found a room in a cave in which he put the ark; then he blocked up the entrance.

Needless to say, inspite of some extensive searching, no one has found the Ark up on Mt. Nebo.

Here’s a picture of a church on Mt. Nebo that protects some excavated ruins up on the mountain:

800px-Mt_Nebo_Church

This is a little cheap, but I’ll close with this great shot of yet another Mt. Nebo (in Utah):

Mt Nebo

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Fremont, California

Posted by graywacke on July 16, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – A solid USer; a new record . . . CA; 83/94; 6/10; 11; 156.6. Here’s my landing map:

landing

As you can see, I landed on the south side of Fremont. While some of you no doubt know where Fremont is, others (like me before this landing) don’t. Well, here’s a somewhat broader view:

landing2

How about that?   This is my first Bay Area landing!

I landed in the Coyote Ck watershed, which flows into the far southern part of San Francisco Bay. Here’s an old print showing an area of Fremont known as Warm Springs. The waterway with the boats in the background is Coyote Creek!

warm springs landing on coyote creek

As a geologist, I can’t help but wonder how close to the San Andrea Fault I landed. Well, here’s a map:

san andreas

I’m ashamed to admit that I thought that the fault ran up the Bay (and that therefore my landing was very close to the fault). Wrong!! It runs right up the peninsula. I’ll never make that mistake again!

So, Fremont. From Wiki:

Fremont is a city in Alameda County, California. It was incorporated in 1956, from the merger of five smaller communities: Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs. The city is named after John Charles Frémont, “the Great Pathfinder.”

Fremont is located in the southeast section of the San Francisco Bay Area. Home to an estimated 211,662 people as of 2007, Fremont is now the fourth most populous city in the Bay Area. It is included as one of the towns in Silicon Valley.

The recorded history of the Fremont area began on June 9, 1797 when Mission San José was founded by the Spaniard Father Fermin de Lasuen. The Mission was established at the site of the Ohlone Indian village of Oroysom.The Mission prospered, eventually reaching a population of 1,886 inhabitants in 1831. The influence of the missionaries declined after 1834, when the Mexican government enacted secularization.

Here’s an 1852 picture of the Mission:

Mission San Jose in Fremont 1853

Back to Wiki:

In 1846 John C. Frémont mapped a trail through Mission Pass to provide access for American settlers into the southeastern San Francisco Bay Area. Fremont grew rapidly at the time of the Gold Rush. Agriculture dominated the economy with grapes, nursery plants and olives as leading crops. In 1868 the 6.8-magnitude Hayward earthquake on the Hayward Fault collapsed buildings throughout Fremont, ruining Mission San José and its outbuildings. Until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake caused its destruction, Fremont’s Palmdale Winery was the largest in California. The ruins of the Palmdale Winery are still visible.

From 1912-1916 the Niles section of Fremont was the earliest home of California’s motion picture industry. Charlie Chaplin filmed several movies in Fremont, most notably “The Tramp.”

Here’s a picture of Mission Peak from a wildlife area located right along the shore of the Bay:

Mission Peak from the shore of the bay

I’ll close with this absolutely lovely picture taken outside of Fremont. Those are mustard plants in the foreground:

rainbow in fremont

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Lamar and Granada, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on July 14, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-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 – Ding! Ding! Ding! For the first time since starting my ALAD blog, I’ve landed right next to a previous ALAD landing in the state of . . . CO; 62/20; 6/10; 10; 157.3.  Back on April 16th, I landed near Lamar CO, as I did today. Here’s my landing map. Today’s landing is the one due south of Lamar; April’s landing is the one further southwest.

landing

For the 94th time, I landed in the Arkansas R watershed, on to the MM (366th hit).

Here’s a somewhat expanded view, showing the cluster of hits in SE CO. Today’s landing is the northern-most one in Prowers County.

landing2

True confessions. When I saw that I was close to Lamar, I started my usual Google search. When I looked at Google images, I saw this picture:

cool-building-in-lamar

I thought, “boy, that looks familiar.” When I clicked on the picture, I went to my own blog!!!! It wasn’t until then that I realized that I had landed near Lamar not long ago at all.

So, for those of you who care about Lamar, just type “Lamar” into the WordPress Search box, and you can read all about it. But since I did Lamar once, I figured that I’d move a little east to focus on Granada. Here’s a map showing the relationship between Lamar, Granada, and my landing:

landing3

This, about Granada:

GRANADA, COLORADO

REMEMBERANCES OF D. K. SPENCER

When I hired out with the Santa Fe railroad in 1944, I had worked at Lamar only two months when I was bumped. I was force assigned to the little town of Granada, population then and today of about 500 persons, 19 miles east of Lamar. It is famous in Santa Fe history as being end of track when they first built into Colorado. However World War 2 jitters had brought a nearby community of several thousand Japanese-Americans from the west coast to a Relocation Center known as Camp Amache, named after the Cheyenne Indian wife of John Prowers. Granada is in Prowers County.

We mainly dealt with Amache, located southwest from town. I was low man on the totem pole, so I did all the janitor work, and unloading freight from box cars and helped with the express and baggage from the California Limited.

There was a commercial fish house in Granada for the many Japanese who favored seafood over anything else. We would get large iced boxes of various seafood, nearly every day on the passenger train.

My shift was the odd hours of 12 noon to 9pm, which allowed me to hang the mailbag for the hotshot mail train No. 7 which was scheduled for late afternoon. The train would come by at speeds of 80 MPH. The RPO (Railway Post Office) car had an arm that was swung out manually by their employee, at a 90 degree angle from the car, and would snatch the mailbag from the crane. They also would throw off a mail bag, and it would roll and bounce to a stop for me to find, sometimes in tall weeds. .

The pickup bags needed to be in good shape or they would tear open. One did, containing $10,000.00 of government checks, and FBI types came in by the dozens looking for the checks, that had scattered around the area.

In 1945, we were helping the Japanese people in their move back to California, and we sent a lot of their belongings by freight.

I really felt sorry for most of them. They were mostly great people and I dealt with several that I considered good friends. They were uprooted from their homes and jobs, just because their ancestors were Japanese. A few did declare allegiance to Japan and were deported. The worst part was minor kids, who considered themselves as Americans, and had to go with their deported parents. One young guy about 16 told us that he probably would serve in the Japanese army shooting at his American friends, while his 12 year old sister could end up as a prostitute because of their lack of money and position.

They mostly rode the California Limited back and forth to California, and nearly every day the train conductor would yell “all aboard” several times as they bid farewell going through the customary cultural bows and parting exchanges, leaving their many new friends to begin life anew in their old home areas. After they left in 1945, my job was abolished and I went back to Lamar.

Here’s some general info on the internment camps:

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war against Japan many Americans believed that the Japanese-Americans were spies or traitors. In fact, very few Japanese-Americans were disloyal but the hysteria revolving around the war led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary of War to set up military areas where Japanese-Americans from the West Coast would be sent until their loyalty was proven and they could work and live outside the camps.

Evacuees were first sent to assembly centers in California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon. People with as little as 1/16 Japanese blood could be sent to these centers. The Japanese-Americans had as little as 6 days notification to dispose of most of their property and possessions before they were transported. Many were forced to sell property at well under market value while assets of the Japanese immigrants (the Issei) were frozen leaving them with few possessions or savings.

The federal government then transferred these internees further in-land to such camps as one near Granada, Colorado. At its maximum population it held 7,318 people.

Here’s a monument at the site of the Amache camp, with the inscription below the photo:

amache1

Dedicated to the thirty-one patriotic Japanese Americans who volunteered from Amache and dutifully gave their lives in World War II, to the approximately 7,000 persons who were relocated at Amache, and to the 120 who died here during this period of relocation, August 27, 1942 to October 14, 1945.

Amazing to think that many Japanese Americans volunteered for military service in spite of being treated like prisoners.  Anyway, here’s a picture of the camp, taken in 1942:

image8-2

I’ll close with a stormy shot of Granada:

storm over granada

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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