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Archive for February, 2010

Roseberry, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on February 28, 2010

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 just can’t seem to shake the 152’s!  Up a little, down a little, but no substantial runs of either OSers or USers.  Today, a USer . . . ID; 44/51; 4/10; 2; 152.2.  And guess what?  Give up?  I landed near the town (Yellow Pine) that kicked off ALAD about a year and a half (and 280 posts) ago.  Here’s my landing map:


You can see I landed quite close to Yellow Pine.  My ALAD kick-off landing was further away, to the northeast of Yellow Pine (not seen on my landing map).  Anyway, obviously I couldn’t feature Yellow Pine again.  Here’s an expanded landing map:


Here’s the broadest view:

I landed in the watershed of a new river, the S Fk of the Salmon R; on to the Salmon (12th hit); to the Snake (66th hit); to the Columbia (131st hit).

Here’s my GE shot (looking south):

I toyed with featuring McCall, a fairly sizable (pop about 2000) touristy town on the shores of Payette Lake.  It’s a lovely area.  But I couldn’t find that hook that I’m always looking for.  But I stumbled on some interesting information about Roseberry, which has caused me to break with one of my time-honored traditions:  I feature towns that are shown in bold-faced type on my map, like Yellow Pine, McCall, Lardo and Donnelly.  But Roseberry?  There it is, on my landing map, in meek typeface just east of Donnelly.

But before addressing Roseberry, here’s a shot of McCall & the lake:


On to Roseberry – from Our Life on Wheels (by Jerry & Suzy; click here for their travel blog):


Roseberry, Idaho, is a town that used to be a town but isn’t any more because the railroad went a different direction [it went through Donnelly].  Roseberry, founded by Finns, used to be the biggest town in the Long Valley region of Idaho. Now it’s mostly a memory … and a major project of Frank and Kathy Eld. Frank has been working for 39 years to rebuild (focusing on the town’s Finnish heritage), to restore, and revitalize Roseberry, ever since he graduated from college. Kathy operates the Roseberry General Store and Museum while Frank rebuilds.

The store:

The church & museum:

One of the remaining Finn houses:

For a little more history, I found this from IGoUGo.com, by Wildcat Diane:

Roseberry, Idaho is an old Finnish settlement near Donnelly, Idaho. The Finns settled here in the late 19th century after fleeing the oppressive Russian empire who occupied Finland at the time. It is a source of local pride and a part of Idaho history and of who settled it.

The Finns had fled Russian-dominated Finland in the late 19th century because the czarist government wanted to eliminate the Finnish way of life and make Finland a part of Russia. The Finns fled to the United States and settled in Idaho because Idaho reminded the Finns of home with its mountains and open fields that were suitable for their agricultural way of life. Today, there are only a few houses left from the original settlement at Roseberry, and they are preserved as an outdoor museum for people to see the Finnish way of life in Idaho in the 19th century.

I’ll close with this sunset shot over Payette Lake:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Sundial, West Virginia

Posted by graywacke on February 25, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (now pretty much an every-other-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  My ALAD readers are going to think that I land in more or less the same place quite frequently.  Just recently, I landed in the same area of TX twice (Tesnus & Dryden).  Not long ago I landed in the coal mining country of WV (Chelyan & Eskdale); today, I landed not far away at all from that landing, obviously once again, in . . . WV; 18/15; 4/10; 1; 152.8.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed in an area with sparsely-inhabited valleys (filled with numerous tiny “towns”) and virtually-empty uplands:


Here’s a slightly broader view, showing my proximity to Beckley and even more tiny towns:


Here’s the broadest view:


I landed in the watershed of a new river, the Pond Fk of the Little Coal; on to the Little Coal (2nd hit); on to the Coal (also 2nd hit); on to the Kanawha (11th hit); on to the Ohio (118th hit); on to the MM (732nd hit).

Here’s my GE shot, showing the afore-mentioned valleys and uplands, along with a couple of “mountain top removal” or MTR mines:


Here’s an oblique GE shot, looking east towards one of the mines.


In this shot, one gets the sense of the mountain top removal aspect of the mining.  Anyway, the town of Sundial is right at the base of this mine, where there’s a bit of an environmental/safety controversy:

From Appalachian Voices (appvoices.org):

The Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia is located 400 yards downslope from a mountaintop removal mine.  The mining site above the school, operated by Massey Energy, houses the Shumate sludge impoundment. With 2.8 billion gallons of coal sludge (also known as coal slurry) held back by a 385-foot-high earthen dam, it is one of West Virginia’s largest impoundments. The two photos below are of Marsh Fork Elementary School, and the 2.8 billion gallon coal sludge impoundment directly uphill from the school.

Coal sludge is created when coal is washed – a process required to remove soil and rock from the coal prior to being shipped. According to the Sludge Safety Project,

“sludge contains carcinogenic chemicals used to process coal. It also contains toxic heavy metals that are present in coal, such as arsenic, mercury, chromium, cadmium, boron, selenium, and nickel.”

Here’s a GE shot of the impoundment:


From Wiki, more about these impoundments:

Coal slurry consists of solid and liquid waste and is a by-product of the coal mining and preparation processes. It is a fine coal refuse and water. Mining generates enormous amounts of solid waste in the form of rocks and dirt. This refuse is used to dam the opening of a hollow between adjacent mountains. After the dam is built, the void behind it is typically filled with millions of gallons of waste slurry from a coal preparation plant. This impounded liquid waste can sometimes total billions of gallons in a single facility.

High-profile disasters associated with these slurry impoundments have called into question their safety. In February 1972, three dams holding a mixture of coal slurry and water in Logan County, West Virginia failed in succession: 130 million gallons of toxic water were released in the Buffalo Creek Flood. Out of a population of 5,000 people, 125 people were killed, 1,121 were injured, and over 4,000 were left homeless. The flood caused 50 million dollars in damages. Despite evidence of negligence, the Pittston Company, which owned the compromised dam, called the event an “Act of God.”

Coal slurry contains a large range of constituents, including dissolved minerals that have been leached or washed out of the coal and other rocks. In addition, the slurry contains chemicals added to facilitate the washing or water re-use processes.  Chemicals found in the slurry and sludge include the following:

[a list of about 50 organic chemicals follows, with nasty-sounding names like bis(2-chloroisopropyl)ether. . .]

OK, OK, I have to speak my piece.  I’m a professional environmental guy, and am generally familiar with protecting the environment from impacts associated with contaminated soil, water and sediment.  My guess is that these impoundments are pretty closely regulated, are regularly inspected, and have engineering safeguards (I sure hope so!).  I don’t know what you do with one of these when you’re all done mining, but I suspect that it would have to be drained, stabilized and capped.  If nothing ever goes wrong, the nasty chemicals would be safely buried, not really hurting anybody or anything.  And, if all of the government regulations are followed by the mine, nothing should ever go wrong.  (Boy, do I hope all of the regulations are in fact followed . . .)

That said, I don’t blame the locals for being nervous about having one of these huge impoundments right above a community (and a school).  For me, the immediate threat is less a chemical threat than a physical threat (if the dam gave way).

And there’s more on this story – this from the Rainforest Action Network (note that MTR stands for Mountain Top Removal):


SUNDIAL, W.Va. – Three activists, who are committed to nonviolently ending mountaintop removal, unveiled a banner that said “EPA stop MTR” at Massey Energy’s Edwight mountaintop removal mine. Five people were arrested: the three activists Charles Suggs, Madeline Gardner, and William Wickham, and independent photographer Antrim Caskey and independent filmmaker Jordan Freeman. The activists chose the Edwight mine because Massey has recently begun blasting directly above the town of Naoma, W.Va., and the grave danger its slurry dam poses to Marsh Fork Elementary. This is the fifth in a series of such actions over the last 3 months that Climate Ground Zero has taken against Massey Energy and mountaintop removal coal mining.

Here’s some info about future coal mining (mountain-top removal) in the area; back to the Appalachian Voices write-up:

Perhaps most unfortunate for the communities around Sundial is that Massey energy intends to vastly expand the mountaintop removal operation up-slope from the town and school.  What’s more, permits for extensive future MTR operations have been issued throughout the region.  The image below show the permitted mountaintop removal areas (with the Massey mine circled).

Wow.  That’s a lot of mining planned for this part of WV.  I’m sure there are many voices that speak out regularly on both sides of the coal mining issues . . .

I’ll close with this shot of Naoma, the next town south from Sundial:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Cottonwood, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on February 23, 2010

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 –  My seventh-straight western state (and 12th of my last 13 landings) . . . ID; 43/31; 5/10; 1; 152.4.  Here’s my landing map:


And this, the broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing what appears to be a lovely mixed forest/grassland scene:


Here are a couple of oblique GE shots, from different directions.  They show that I landed on a plateau.  This, from the south:


And this, from the west:


The deep valley you see in the forground is that of the Salmon R (11th hit); on to the Snake (65th hit); on to the Columbia (130th hit).

So, I couldn’t find much about Cottonwood.  One thing that’s all over the Cottonwood internet images is this:


From weirdomatic.com”

In Cottonwood, a small town in Idaho, a giant dog stands at a crossroads. Standing at 10m high, “Sweet Willie” is the largest beagle in the world and the exterior of the Dog Bark Park Inn. Willie is unlike anything you’ll have ever seen before: inside his belly there is a double bed, small kitchenette and dining area with a view out of his eyes, whilst the bathroom is housed in his rear. The unusual furnishings – such as bedside mutt mat, carved doggie bed head and “Dog-opoly” – mean that those without a sense of fun may want to skip this hotel.

Cottonwood is home to an elegant Catholic monastery, St. Gertrude’s:

From Wiki, about St. Gertrude herself:

Gertrude was born January 6, 1256, in Eisleben, Thuringia (within the Holy Roman Empire, a Germanic “State”). Nothing is known of her parents, so she was probably an orphan. As a young girl, she joined the Benedictine monastery in Helfta, under the direction of its abbess, Gertrude of Hackeborn. She dedicated herself to her studies, becoming an expert in literature and philosophy. She later experienced a conversion to God and began to strive for perfection in her religious life. She had various mystical experiences, including a vision of Jesus, who invited her to rest her head on his breast to hear the beating of his heart.

St. Gert’s was founded in Oregon 1882 by Sister Johanna Zumstein.  It moved to Washington and finally to Cottonwood in 1907, where it was built on land was donated to the Church.  Here’s Sister Zumstein’s picture:


Moving right along:  Railroad trestles are a big thing in this part of the country.  Here’s a shot of the famous wooden trestle at Cottonwood:


A few miles north is this larger steel trestle (the Lawyers Canyon trestle):


This from VisitIdaho.org about Lawyers Canyon:

This canyon along Lawyers Creek in the middle of the Camas Prairie was named for a Nez Perce Indian. Hallalhotsoot was nicknamed Lawyer by area mountain men because of his shrewd mind and combative nature.

I’ll close with this shot looking out the back of the caboose going over the Lawyers Canyon trestle:


I’ll bet a right of passage for local teenage boys is to cross this trestle on foot . . .

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Steele, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on February 21, 2010

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 –  Enough with the upper Midwest already!  After ND and MN comes another . . . ND; 53/43; 4/10; 2; 153.0.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Driscoll, Steele & Sterling.  It turns out that Driscoll & Sterling are pretty much GD; thus this post features Steele.


Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed in a vague-looking field.  It might be pasture, or it might be more-or-less open prairie land.

Anyway, here’s a GE Street View shot.  My landing is toward the distance, to the right of the dirt road you can see.


As with my last landing (when I landed right next to the Middle R, but was in the watershed of the Tamarac R), I find myself in an area with peculiar drainage.  Here’s a landing map showing only the streams:


As you can see, none of the streams connect to one another!  I surmised that water that landed on my landing spot would end up in Random Ck, but you’ll note that Random Ck just stops!  When I’m in a desert area, and a stream stops out in the middle of nowhere, I conclude that it’s “internally-drained.”  But here, in relatively wet central ND, there’s a different story.

I landed in a “sand hills” region, where the soils are so sandy that streams form, but then the water sinks into the sands, becoming groundwater.  The groundwater then continues to flow (very slowly) through the sand, but continuing downhill.  At some point, the groundwater comes back to the surface (as springs, or discharging into a lake or pond), and continues its merry way.

So anyway, I figure that the water from Random Ck flows northwest into the series of little lakes you can see and ends up as groundwater that surfaces in the east-to-west flowing stream (Long Lake Creek) that then flows into the more substantial north-south flowing stream (Apple Creek) at the western edge of the map.  Apple Ck keeps its act together and flows into the Missouri R (342nd hit); on to the MM (731st hit).

Moving on to Steele:  From the town’s website:

In 1864, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company was granted land (including Steele’s location) to aid in the construction of railroads. Wilbur F. Steele purchased that land from the railroad in 1878 and plotted the community of Steele.

Mr. Steele had hoped that the state capitol would be located in Steele, so he erected a three-story building to house the legislature.  Political maneuvering and prestige of the politicians won out for location in Bismarck. Mr. Steele sold the brick building to Kidder County on April 21, 1885, for $20,000, to be used as the courthouse. That building is the present Kidder County Courthouse.

Here’s a picture of the so-called “three-story building” (sorry, it looks to me like two-stories, and I can see it wasn’t enough to make Steele the State Capital):


Keeping in mind my discussion above of the “sand hills:”  right in Steele is a tourist attraction of some repute:  a giant sculpture of a sand hill crane.  Here’s a picture:


I’ll close with pretty shot taken outside of Steele (by storm-chaser Chuck Doswell).  Here’s what he has to say in his storm chasing log for 2001:

. . . From then on, the chase was boring, as the storms in ND moving northeastward were not even remotely likely to be tornadic, and the cap held over the rest of the area we chased. We did see some nearby lightning strikes as we were driving in the rain, but that was about it for excitement. Took time for a “photo op” at sunset, north of Steele, ND.

His log includes a wild story about being picked up for an illegal US-Canada border crossing.  Click here (and scroll down to June 25th) for the story . . .

Anyway, here’s Chuck’s lovely “photo op:”


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Argyle, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on February 18, 2010

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 –  So, a couple of landings ago, I touched the 151’s, but here’s my second OSer in a row . . . MN; 67/51; 4/10; 1; 152.6.  My landing map shows that I landed close to the town of Argyl:


Here’s a broader view:


For the second time, I landed in the Tamarac R watershed; on to the Red Lake R (9th hit); on to the Red R of the North (39th hit); on to the Nelson R (56th hit); on to Hudson’s Bay.

Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed (as expected) in an agricultural area:


Here’s a GE Street View shot from the N-S road just west of my landing.  This shot is looking southeast towards my landing from where the unnamed tributary that’s right next to my landing (the dark squiggly line on the photo) crosses under the road.  So my landing is in the distance in front of the trees.


Speaking of the unnamed tributary, it’s astounding that I landed in the Tamarac R watershed, and not the Middle R watershed.  Why, you may ask.  Well, check out this annotated landing map:


The river I landed very close to is the Middle, not the Tamarac.  You see that the unnamed tributary mentioned above (that I landed next to) flows north to the Tamarac, not south (as would be expected) to the Middle!

Here’s an expanded landing map (showing only streams) that includes both rivers:


Here’s another GE shot, that shows (in the oval) that the headwaters of the unnamed tributary are remarkably close to the Middle River (about 500 feet away).  It is utterly remarkable that a drop of rain that falls so close to the Middle River has to wend its way instead to the Tamarac, located 8 miles away!!


Nearby is Old Mill State Park, which has a geological discussion that probably has something to do with this most peculiar drainage pattern:

At one time, this entire northwest corner of the state was covered by a vast freshwater lake. Although the area was left fairly level by glacial activity before the lake formed, the lake is responsible for the large level areas found here. Over the centuries as the lake level dropped, large beach ridges were formed as new shoreline was exposed and carved out by the action of the waves. The Middle River valley was cut by the river flowing over the loose sediment left behind by the lake. Each time the lake level dropped, the river would cut a deeper channel. The steep-walled valley and narrow flood plain are typical of a young river valley.

So anyway, my guess is that the Middle River near my landing flows parallel and adjacent to one of these old beach ridges.  This old beach ridge acts as a drainage divide – everything north of the ridge (i.e., my landing) drains north . . .

Phew.  Enough already.

Moving on to Argyle:  Surprise!!  Argyle was founded in the late 1800s when the railroads came through (along with thousands of other towns . . .).  The railroad decided that the town be named Argyle, for no obvious reason.  Likely, it’s named for Argyle (or Argyll) Scotland, which is the home of the Argyle pattern (of socks fame).


Argyll, located on the west coast of Scotland, is incredibly scenic.  Here are some artsy pix:


Back to the somewhat more mundane Argyle MN.  Here’s the Welcome to Argyle sign:


And here’s Argyle in 1892 (doesn’t look too inviting . . .)


And in 1921:


I’ll close with one last shot from Scotland, this of the Kilchurn castle in Argyll (wow . . .):


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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New Town, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on February 16, 2010

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 –  Doh!  No offense meant to today’s landing state, but to me, it’s just another WB OSer . . . ND; 52/43; 5/10; 2; 152.1.  This landing has some special interest, given that I actually landed in the Missouri R:


Here’s a somewhat expanded view, showing my proximity to New Town as well as my proximity to two previous (and quite recent) landings:


Here’s the broadest view:


It turns out that the more northeasterly landing that you can see above is an ALAD landing (my Stanley ND post).  And, son of a gun if I didn’t feature New Town as well as Lake Sakakawea, which is the Missouri River Lake where I landed today!  So, even though I landed in the Lake and landed closer to New Town than before, both are out of the running for me to feature in this post.

Before worrying about what to post, I’ll finish up some usual business, like my GE shot:


Here’s an expanded GE shot that shows the entire length of Lake Sakakawea:


Here’s a GE Street View shot looking west toward my landing from the road (Rt 1804, see my landing map) that runs along the river:


Here’s another GE Street View shot from the bridge over the Missouri (Rt 23; see my landing map).  We’re looking north; my landing is in the distance, near the eastern shore.


Speaking of the bridge, it’s called the Four Bears Bridge.  From Wiki:

Four Bears Bridge opened in 2005 and is the second largest bridge in North Dakota.  It replaces an earlier bridge built in 1955.  The 1955 bridge replaces an even earlier bridge known as the Verendrye Bridge after the first European explorer to visit present day North Dakota.

The bridge is decorated with medallions reflecting the heritage of the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa who inhabit the area. The bridge is named for two chiefs (one Mandan and one Hidatsa) who were both named Four Bears.

I have a few nice pictures of the bridge.  Here’s a daytime shot:


And, of course, a nighttime shot:


Here’s a shot of the old bridge being blown to bits:


So, anyway, you’ll note on my expanded landing map that I previously landed near Mandaree (it was back on 9/30/08).  By this time, I was sending you quite robust emails on my landings (this was only a couple of months before ALAD started).  The rest of this post is pretty much lifted from that email:

So, I landed near Mandaree.  From Wiki:

Mandaree ND, with a population of 558 in the 2000 census, is located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. It is the home to current tribal chairman Tex Hall as well as being the primary physical center of the Mandan-Hidatsa community. It is noted nationally for its annual Pow-Wow as well as being the home of the Mandaree Singers, a world renowned tribal musical group.

Here’s what I think is the most recent album cover from the Mandaree Singers:


And a blurb from Answers.com:

The Mandaree Singers have been instrumental in preserving Native American musical traditions. With their call and response vocals set to the rhythmic pulse of drums and rattles, the group has been thrilling audiences at powwows and concerts for nearly four decades. Comprised of members of the Manna, Hidatsa, and Airbrake, the Mandaree Singers are based on the Fort Berthed Reservation in North Dakota. The group came together in the 1950s as the Black Lodge Singers.

Here’s another album cover:


Wow –  this is genuine Indian music (i.e., these guys make no attempt to appeal to mainstream American musical tastes).  Click here for a performance on YouTube.

I’ll close with a landscape shot from just northeast of my landing (along the afore-mentioned Rt 1804).  Here’s a map showing the location and orientation of the photographer:

And here’s the photo:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Clayton, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on February 14, 2010

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 –  Gettin’ on a bit of a roll here (and finally getting past 152), with another SB hit, this one in . . . NM; 65/75; 5/10; 1; 151.7.  Here’s my landing map, showing yet another boonies landing:


As you can see, there are no towns nearby; here’s an expanded view, showing my proximity to Clayton.  It also shows a triple point for NM (west), TX (southeast) and OK (northeast):


And here’s my broadest view:


As expected, my GE view shows a pretty barren landscape:


I landed in the Canadian R watershed (35th hit); on to the Arkansas (100th hit); on to the MM (729th hit).  In honor of the Arkansas’ 100th hit, I thought I’d present a map of the river:


It’s a little vague, but you can make out that the Arkansas watershed extends into northeastern NM.  The Canadian is the river that flows south through NE NM, then turns east and flows across the TX panhandle into Central OK, where it hooks up with the Arkansas.

The item of primary interest that I could find about Clayton is the fact that one Black Jack Ketchum was hung and buried in Clayton.  From the town’s website (edited by yours truly for brevity and clarity):

Black Jack Ketchum

Thomas Edward Ketchum was born in Texas in 1863.  Tom and his older brother Sam were both cow boys working on ranches throughout west Texas and northern and eastern New Mexico. They were in many trail drives and got to know the territory, settlers and ranchers very well.

Tom’s first major crime was the murder of John N. “Jap” Powers, a Texas neighbor of Tom’s. Powers was shot down in December 1895, by several men including Black Jack.  Tom later admitted that he took part in the murder, but was paid to do it. Later he left , and his brother Sam joined him later in New Mexico.

In June of 1896, the brothers were working at a ranch in New Mexico, when they quit their jobs and stole some supplies. They came to the small settlement of Liberty, north of present-day Tucumcari, where there was a store and post office operated by Levi and Morris Herztein. Tom and Sam robbed the store at night and then rode to the Pecos River. Levi and some 3 or 4 men went after the Ketchums and after a short gun battle most of the posse formed by Levi were dead.

After the Herztein killings, Tom and Sam joined friends in Arizona and went on a killing and robbery spree in the Four Corners states, where some of the time they rode with members of Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall Gang.  On of the Gang was Will Christian, who was known as “Black Jack.”  When he was killed in 1879 someone mistakenly identified Thomas as “Black Jack.”  The name stuck.

Tom & Sam split off from the Hole in the Wall Gang, and formed what was known as the Ketchum Gang.  After many train robberies, a posse of law men hunted down the Ketchum gang.  After a short gun battle at Turkey Creek, the outlaws escaped, but Sam was wounded so badly he was taken to a hospital and was turned in by a nurse. He later died of his wounds in the Santa Fe penitentiary and was buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery which is now covered by a road.

[Nice detail, the bit about the cemetery being covered by a road . . .]

Later, Black Jack was trying to hold up a train by himself, but the conductor shot his left arm and Tom staggered off into the night.  He was found at a water hole and surrendered peacefully, and was taken to a hospital in Santa Fe where he had his arm amputated.

When his arm healed he was taken to Clayton, NM for his trial. He pled innocent to most of the crimes he was charged with but, the judge found him guilty and he was sentenced to death by hanging. The hanging was delayed several times until law men heard about rumors that old gang members were going to free Black Jack, so they pushed up his hanging to April 26 1901.

His hanging turned out to be a big town event.  People from the towns around Clayton came; the town sold tickets to see Black Jack get hung and they even sold little dolls of Black Jack hanging on a stick.

[Amazing what went on back-in-the-day . . .]

The law men felt better about pushing up his sentence, but were still a little nervous about the rumors about somebody saving Black Jack.  At the hanging, a tall stranger was noticed . . .he and Black Jack exchanged several glances, but the stranger left before any one could find out who he was.

[Hmmmm. . . I bet there’s no solid historic documentation about the “tall stranger” . . .]

The sheriff had a hatchet to cut the rope and hang ol’ Black Jack.  It took two blows, but the rope was cut.  Perhaps because this was Clayton’s first hanging (and they didn’t really know how to do it properly), Black Jack fell to the ground, beheaded.  Black Jack was buried at Clayton’s Boot Hill ,but was moved to the new cemetery in the 30’s.

It’s hard to imagine watching this event in a carnival atmosphere, and having the crowd witness all of this.  Anyway, here’s a shot of Black Jack on the gallows (this gives me the willies; I can’t imagine how Black Jack felt):


Here’s his grave in Clayton:


I love the poem:

And how his audit

Stands, who knows.

Save heaven.

Just for the heck of it, I Googled the poem, and bingo!  It’s from Hamlet, Act III, Scene iii.  Hamlet is speaking with his Uncle Claudius, who Hamlet is sure killed his father.  He’s considering killing Claudius, but is musing about his own father’s sins (or lack thereof) when he says, “And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven.”

This is ALAD’s first Shakespearean reference, which gives me the opportunity to confess that my knowledge of Shakespeare is right up there with my knowledge of brain surgery . . .

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Tesnus, Texas

Posted by graywacke on February 11, 2010

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 –  For the third time in the last five landings, it’s . . . TX; 131/162; 4/10; 3; 152.3.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed out in the middle of nowhere:


Here’s a somewhat broader view (today’s landing is to the west).  Off to the east is my recent Dryden landing (the first of my three recent TX landings).  That’s the Mexican border to the south:


You’ll note a number of small towns to the north of my landing.  Why I chose “Tesnus” for the post title, you’ll find out below.

Here’s my broadest view:


As expected, I landed in the Rio Grande watershed (35th hit).

Here’s an oblique GE shot.  Peculiarly, it seems as though this is a black-and-white picture.  Not that far to the east and to the west, the photos are in color.  Oh, well.


Back to my landing map – notice that just east of my landing, it says “San Francisco Shutups.”  Well, I landed in the San Francisco Creek watershed, and evidently, the San Francisco Shutups refers to the valley of the San Francisco Creek.  I could find nothing about the origin of this most-peculiar name.   What I could find is a breeder of Italian Greyhounds located in the valley.  Here’s a cut-and-past from their website (TexasItalianGreyhounds.com):


From the website, here’s some historical info about the breed:

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the family of gaze hounds (dogs that hunt by sight). The breed is an old one and is believed to have originated more than 4,000 years ago in the countries now known as Greece and Turkey. This belief is based on the depiction of miniature greyhounds in the early decorative arts of these countries and on the archaeological discovery of small greyhound skeletons.  Mummy dogs very similar to the Italian Greyhound (or small Greyhounds) have been found in Egypt, and pictorials of small Greyhounds have been found in Pompeii.

By the Middle Ages, the breed had become distributed throughout Southern Europe and was later a favorite of the Italians of the sixteenth century, among whom miniature dogs were in great demand. It is, in fact, due to its popularity in Italy at this time that the breed became known as the “Italian Greyhound.” From this period onward the history of the breed can be fairly well traced as it spread through Europe, arriving in England in the seventeenth century.

If you want a genuine Italian Greyhound, now you know where you can find one.

Moving right alongI found an article about Tesnus by Mike Cox (TexasEscapes.com).  Here’s a fairly extensive piece (both text and pictures) taken from this article.  This is worth the read, if for nothing else to find out how Tesnus got it’s name:

Tesnus, Texas is one of those ethereal ghost towns—except for a railroad siding and a sign, no physical evidence of it remains.

Fortunately for posterity, one of the few surviving former residents emailed me to share her memories of Tesnus, as well as providing a collection of family photographs showing where she had lived and other scenes.

Founded in 1882, the town (a stretch of the word) consisted of a railroad section house, houses for the section foreman and the water pumper, telegrapher’s house and a few other structures. In addition to its role in keeping the tracks maintained and the locomotive boilers full, Tesnus provided ranchers a way to ship their cattle to market.

First called Tabor, the railroad enclave lost that name when a post office application got rejected by Washington because a similarly named town already existed in Brazos County. Then Sunset arose as a fitting name for the place, considering the famed Sunset Limited passenger train came through each day. But nope, Montague County had a monopoly on Sunset, Texas.

Someone finally came up with a solution to the name problem that met the approval of the Postal Service, but more of that in a bit.

In 1945, the railroad installed a new man as signal maintainer at Tesnus. He arrived with his wife, who became the Tesnus postmistress, and five of their seven kids. (Two of their girls had married and lived elsewhere.)

The addition of this new family pushed Tesnus’ population up to about 20 people. Throw in the folks who lived on the surrounding ranch and the postmistress had a small, but consistent volume of mail to handle.

“Patrons came up the steps to the front porch and she served [them] through her bedroom window,” remembers one of the signal maintainer’s children.

Despite the occasional influx of additional railroad workers, not much ever happened in Tesnus. The most sensational crime was when the assistant telegraph operator went on a toot and shot up the Tesnus sign. Occasionally, a railroad bull (detective) or train crewman would throw a hobo off a train, leaving him temporarily stranded there.

“Mama would feed them in return for chopping kindling,” the former resident says.

One time a skunk did get in the chicken coop.

“I was supposed to hold the dog while Mama shot the skunk,” she says. “But he was bigger than I was and broke away. Got there about the time Mama shot, but the skunk sprayed her, my sister and the dog. Tomato juice helps, but nothing cures except time.”

When a train hit a deer and word reached town in time for the meat to still be fresh, her brothers went to the spot, field dressed it and cut it up for venison on the family table. Classic big brothers, they once barbequed a rattlesnake steak and tried to talk their little sister into eating it. While she didn’t fall for that, the brothers did serve her older sister grilled mockingbird one time, telling her it was dove.

Of Tesnus, she continues, “It was mostly a railroad town, in the middle of the Gage Ranch. There was a siding for trains to meet or pass each other and it was a place for the chugga puffers [steam locomotives] to stop for water, coal, and salt.”

OK, how did they finally come up with a lasting name for Tabor cum Sunset?

Proving again the power of simplicity, to use railroad metaphor, someone suggested switching the caboose with the locomotive and spelling Sunset backwards as in T-e-s-n-u-s.

But clever nomenclature is powerless against change. With diesel-powered trains needing fewer stops than “chugga puffers,” the railroad closed its operations in Tesnus midway into the 1950s.

When word got out that Tesnus would be no more, the town’s last postmistress had one last flurry of business mailing out last-date-of-service cancellations to stamp collectors across the nation.

The post office closed on June 15, 1954. The railroad razed all the structures it had there, leaving only the siding.

“Now,” the former Tesnus resident (Tesnusan? Tesnusite?) says, “when someone asks where I am from, I normally tell them I am not from anywhere, because my home town was torn down.”

So, here are the pictures associated with the above.  There was a rare snowy day back in the 1940s, which caused someone to break out the camera:


Here’s a sunny day shot of the kids playing on the “motor car:”


Here’s a picture of one of the last-date-of-service (6/15/54) post cards mentioned above:


Here’s the StreetAtlas map of Tesnus, showing that there’s nothin’ there:

It turns out that there is a geologic bedrock formation known as the Tesnus Formation.  FYI, a formation is a large-scale “mappable” bedrock unit.  It’s generally named after a “type locale,” where there is a good exposure of the rock formation, and where the geologist(s) who named the formation did his initial fieldwork.

TESNUS FORMATION

GENERAL FEATURES

The Tesnus formation was named by Baker and Bowman for exposures near Tesnus station, on the Southern Pacific Railroad east of Haymond, in the eastern part of the Marathon Basin.

The Tesnus formation is a great mass of interbedded sandstone and shale, in thin and thick beds, nearly barren of fossils except for a few plant remains in the upper part. In most places it attains a thickness of several thousand feet. In the northwestern part of the basin it is about 300 feet thick and is nearly all black shale, with few sandstone beds. In the southeastern part it exceeds 6,500 feet in thickness and is predominantly sandstonewith several prominent massive layers of white quartzite.

Here’s a picture of the Tesnus formation (with what I presume are a bunch of enthusiastic geologists):


I’ll close with this shot (with the Tesnus formation under the low plateau in the foreground):


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Marysvale, Utah

Posted by graywacke on February 8, 2010

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 kind of stuck in the 152’s (11 of the last 12 scores have been there).  I’m at the upper bound of that range today, after landing in . . . UT; 67/51; 4/10; 2; 152.9.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed in a mountainous region (check out all the peaks over 11,000 feet); the only nearby town is Marysvale:


Here’s a broader view:


I landed in the Beaver Ck watershed (my 33rd stream name with “beaver” in it; more specifically, my 24th Beaver Ck); on to the Sevier R (9th hit), which is internally-drained.

Here’s an oblique GE shot (looking east), showing that I landed in dramatic mountain country:


Here’s another oblique GE shot, looking west past Marysvale toward my landing.


From OnlineUtah.com:

Marysvale was originally settled in 1863, later abandoned because of Indian troubles, and then resettled again. There are several claims for the name source.

(1) It was named by a group of Catholic miners for the Virgin Mary.

(2) Parley P. Pratt named it Merryville when he passed through in 1849 because of the beautiful surroundings. The name was supposedly later changed to Marysvale.

(3) Brigham Young named the settlement for his wife Mary.

(4) The settlement was named Merry Valley or Merry Vale when Brigham Young and his party camped there when they were traveling through the area on visits to local settlements. During their visit, they enjoyed an evening of relaxation and stag dancing. Stag dancing was common during this time because men were the predominate members of traveling groups.

Wow.  I’m not going to touch “stag dancing” with a 10-foot pole . . .

Three out of four of the above have to do with Mormons (P. P. Pratt was a rather well-known Mormon who, it turns out, was murdered by the ex-husband of one of his wives . . .)   Anyway,  given the Utah Mormon connection, I doubt that the “Virgin Mary” explanation has much traction . . .

This’ll just be a quickie photo-log.  I’ll start with this shot looking down the Beaver Creek valley:


Here are some mountain shots within a couple of miles of my landing:


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Chelyan, West Virginia

Posted by graywacke on February 3, 2010

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 landed up in the hills a ways south of the state capital of . . . WV; 17/15; 4/10; 1; 152.5.  My first reaction to WV is that it is a USer (although, as you can see, it’s not).  It all stems from the fact that it wasn’t until landing 496 that I first landed in WV.  So, for a long time, it was definitely US.  However, over the last three or so years, I’ve landed in WV enough to make it a fairly solid OSer.  Oh, well . . .

Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed amongst a plethora of incredibly small towns.


Here’s a broader view, showing my proximity to Charleston:


And the broadest view:


I landed in the Coal Ck watershed, on to the Cabin Ck, on to the Kanawha R (10th hit); to the Ohio (117th hit); to the MM (728th hit).

Here’s the GE shot, which annoyingly is split between what I assume is a summer photo (to the east) and a winter photo (to the west).


You can see that there are few signs of civilization, except what may be some kind of coal mining operation to the west of my landing.

The closest town that actually has a network of streets is Chelyan (located 7 miles due north of my landing).  It isn’t shown on my landing maps; it’s where Cabin Ck hits the Kanawha.  Here’s a map showing the town:


Here’s a nice aerial shot of the town:


I could find only two pieces of information about Chelyan.  First, the town was named after Chelyan Calvert, daughter of first postmaster.

And secondly, it turns out that Jerry West, famous basketball player, was born and raised in Chelyan.


Here are some items of interest that caught my eye about Jerry West (from Wiki):

Jerry Alan West was born into a poor household in Chelyan, West Virginia.  West was a shy, introverted boy, who grew up in a poor family and whose father was so drained after work that he could not play with his children. He was so small and frail that he needed vitamin injections from his doctor and was kept apart from children’s sports, to prevent him from getting seriously hurt.

Growing up, his main distraction was shooting at a basketball hoop that a neighbor had nailed to his storage shed. West spent years shooting baskets from every possible angle, ignoring mud in the backyard, his mother’s lashes when he came home hours late for dinner, and playing with gloves when the ground was covered with snow.

About his High School career:

He was named All-State from 1953–56 and then All-American in 1956 when he was named West Virginia Player of the Year, becoming the state’s first high-school player to score more than 900 points in a season, averaging 32.2 points per game.  West led East Bank High School to a state championship on March 24 of 1956, prompting East Bank High School to change its name to “West Bank High School” every year on March 24 in honor of their basketball prodigy.

He was an All-American at the University of WV; then he played for the LA Lakers:

As a rookie pro with the LA Lakers, West felt odd in his new environment. He was a loner. His high-pitched voice earned him the nickname “Tweety Bird”, and he spoke with such a thick Appalachian accent that his teammates also referred to him as “Zeke from Cabin Creek” (his nickname acknowledged his country roots, and his accent was so thick that he squeaked his nickname sheepishly – “Zeek fr’m Cab’n Creek”).

The NBA.com career summary for Jerry West:

Combine a deadly jump shot, tenacious defense, obsessive perfectionism, unabashed confidence, and an uncompromising will to win, and you’ve got Jerry West, one of the greatest guards in NBA history. During his 14-year playing career with the L.A. Lakers, West became synonymous with brilliant basketball. He was the third player in league history to reach 25,000 points (after Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson). He was an All-Star every year of his career and led Los Angeles to the NBA Finals nine times.

You’ll note the little town of Eskdale, east of my landing.  It turns out that in the tumultuous history of coal miner strikes, violence and unions, Eskdale plays a role (including the famous Mother Jones).  From SparkNotes.com:

In 1911, miners at Paint Creek and Cabin Creek went on strike, often coming close to violence against the mine companies’ armed guards and scabs. Most of the scabs were unwitting accomplices in the business of ending the strike–they came from distant places, were usually hired without being aware of the strike, and forced to continue working if they did not like the situation when they arrived.

The mine operators refused to negotiate with the union, and relied on violence to keep their workers in line. Machine guns defended the company offices, and the mine guards were ordered to shoot, and even to kill. Due to the isolation of the mines, the operators were able to escalate violence and intimidate workers without the risk of public uproar.

Even though Cabin Creek was isolated, Mother Jones found a way to reach the workers. One town in the Cabin Creek district, Eskdale, had been incorporated before the mine companies came to West Virginia. Therefore, it was a “free town” where coal companies did not have the authority to prevent meetings from taking place or to harass people. Mother Jones went to Eskdale and called an organizing meeting of the UMW in August of 1912. Her rhetoric aroused the workers to strike, and her persistence galvanized both the workers and their families.

From the AFL-CIO website:


Typically clad in a black dress, her face framed by a lace collar and black hat, the barely five-foot tall Mother Jones was a fearless fighter for workers’ rights—once labeled “the most dangerous woman in America” by a U.S. district attorney. Mary Harris “Mother” Jones rose to prominence as a fiery orator and fearless organizer for the Mine Workers during the first two decades of the 20th century. Her voice had great carrying power. Her energy and passion inspired men half her age into action and compelled their wives and daughters to join in the struggle. If that didn’t work, she would embarrass men to action.  “I have been in jail more than once and I expect to go again. If you are too cowardly to fight, I will fight,” she told them.

Here are a couple of Mother Jones quotes, from Wiki:

Amidst the tragic, and sometimes fatal, violence directed at early trade unionists, Mother Jones uttered words still invoked by union supporters more than a century later: “pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”  Already known as “the miners’ angel,” when she was denounced on the floor of the United States Senate as the “grandmother of all agitators,” she replied:  “I hope to live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”

Here’s an early-70s show of a Cabin Creek coal camp:

And this, of Eskdale today:

“Mother Blizzard” joined up with Mother Jones during the coal miners strike.  Here’s a picture of her store in Eskdale:

I’ll close with this old structure in Eskdale, that is somehow connected to the railroad:

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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