A Landing a Day

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Fargo, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on July 11, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (then every-other-day blog and now a two-or-three-times a week 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 now working on my worst slump since November, when I had 8 OSers in a row.  Today’s OSer makes it six in a row . . . ND; 55/44; 2/10 (0/6); 6; 153.4.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Fargo:


Here’s the broader view:


If you know anything about Fargo, you know it’s on the Red River.  But more locally, I landed in the watershed of a new river, the Lower Branch of the Rush; on to the Sheyenne (9th hit); to the Red (41st hit); to the Nelson (58th hit); to Hudson Bay.  Something peculiar about the Lower Br of the Rush  –  as you noticed, the Lower Br of the Rush does not flow to the Rush River; in fact, it has no hydraulic connection to the Rush River, which is the river just northwest of my landing.  For me, it should be called the Lower Rush River; the word “Branch” certainly implies that it’s part of the same watershed system.

Here’s my GE shot, showing a fully agricultural area, apparently not influenced by its proximity to the largest city in ND:


Here’s a back-in-the-day shot of Fargo, showing quite the bustling metropolis:


And an even further back-in-the-day shot, showing a not-quite-so-bustling metropolis:

Notice all of the men around the Fargo House Hotel.  It almost looks like they’re protecting it from something . . .

So, I looked at the list of Fargo’s favorite sons and daughters.  There are five professional athletes (two baseball players, including Roger Maris;  two football players and one hockey player).  I guess I could have featured Roger, but instead, I’ll move over to the music world.  A familiar musician favorite son (to an old guy like me) is Bobby Vee, a heartthrob rock ‘n roller from the early 60s.  I remember several of his hits (including Rubber Ball shown here):


Here’s an interesting angle about Bobby that has to do with Buddy Holly.  As you may recall, I featured Buddy when I landed near his home town of Lubbock TX.  As mentioned in that post, I have also landed just outside of Clear Lake IA, where Buddy died.  (My Clear Lake landing was just before I began the blog).  Anyway, here’s the Bobby Vee / Buddy Holly angle, from Wiki:

The career of Bobby Vee (given name Robert Velline) began amid tragedy. On “The Day the Music Died” (February 3, 1959), the three headline acts in the line-up of the traveling ‘Winter Dance Party’—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper—were killed in an airplane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa while en route to the next show on the tour itinerary in Moorhead, Minnesota

[Note that Moorhead is located just across the Red River from Fargo; see my landing map].

Velline, then aged 15, and a hastily-assembled band of Fargo, North Dakota schoolboys calling themselves The Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee’s career as a popular singer.

In 1963, Bobby Vee released a tribute album on Liberty Records called “I Remember Buddy Holly”. In the album notes, Vee wrote about Holly’s influence on him and recalled  “ . . . the day he was to arrive disaster struck, taking Buddy’s life, along with the lives of two other fine singers, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. The shocking news spread through Fargo very quickly. The local radio station broadcast a plea for local talent to entertain at the scheduled dance.

“About a week before this, I had just organized a vocal and instrumental group of five guys. Our style was modeled after Buddy’s approach and we had been rehearsing with Buddy’s hits in mind. When we heard the radio plea for talent, we went in and volunteered. We hadn’t even named the group up to that time, so we gave ourselves a name on the spot, calling ourselves ‘The Shadows’. We appeared at the dance and were grateful to be enthusiastically accepted. Soon afterwards, I made my first record. It was called “Suzie Baby” and I was pretty lucky with it; it was a fair-sized hit.”

Despite the circumstances of his debut, Vee went on to become a bona fide star, and regularly performs at the Winter Dance Party memorial concerts in Clear Lake to this day.

To hear thirty seconds of Bobby’s biggest hit “Take Good Care of My Baby,” (not on the Greatest Hits album shown above) click here:

As you’re probably aware, Fargo has suffered way more than its share of floods.  Here is a 1997 flood shot,  just north of Fargo:


Here’s another 1997 shot, north of my landing near Argusville (just off my landing map):


That’s a serious flood!   I’ll close with this 2009 flood shot:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

3 Responses to “Fargo, North Dakota”

  1. Spagets said

    Nice post, I enjoy Bobby Vee’s music so a little background info on him was nice.

  2. Bob Paulson said

    I have still got a 45 Rpm of “Suzie Baby” in my collection. Bobby and his brothers Sid and Bill lived a couple of blocks from me and on some occasions we would watch them practice in their garage. Great memories of a nice guy.

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