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Archive for August, 2010

Evant, Texas

Posted by graywacke on August 27, 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 –  The pendulum is swinging back a little, with the 4th USer in my last 6 landings . . . TX; 136/168; 4/10; 21; 155.1.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Evant:


Here’s a broader view:


I landed in the watershed of a new river (my 1078th), the Lampasas.  The Lampasas joins up with the Leon River to form the Little River (4th hit); on to the Brazos (23rd hit).  Here’s a cool shot of the Lampasas.  Note the strange formation in the left foreground and how it contrasts with the lighter rocks behind.  It looks suspiciously manmade to me, but I don’t have a clue what it might be.  If only I knew a geologist/engineer who could shed some light on this . . . (For those of you who follow this blog, you know by now that I’m a geologist.  What you probably don’t know is that I have a degree in engineering as well.)


Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed in an area that looks like mostly pasture:


I was able to get this StreetView shot from the nearby road:


So, I’m right behind a cemetery!  A little research, and I came up with this:


I couldn’t find any particulars about Pilgrim’s Rest.  Anyway, to give you a little better feel for the countryside, here’s another StreetView shot, looking southeast from a little north of my landing.  If you look close, you can see the pond that’s just north of my landing:


About Evant, from Wiki:

The town of Evant was first a settlement called Langford Cove, settled by Asa Langford and his family in 1855.  An Alabama man named Evant Brooks purchased some 160 acres of land from Langford in the late 1870s.  In 1881, Brooks had donated 60 acres of land “for sale and settlement as a town”, and by 1884 the growing community changed its name to Evant in Brooks’ honor. In the 1890s, the community had a cotton gin, three general stores, a gristmill, and a hotel.

[News Flash:  In September of 2014, I received a comment from Jo Beth Hart telling me that the founder’s name wasn’t Evant Brooks, but Evan T. Brooks!  So, who do I believe, Wiki or Jo Beth?  No question:  Jo Beth it is!]

Evant continued to grow, reporting a peak population of 550 sometime in the 1950s.  As of 2005,  the census estimates the population at 388.

Here are some pictures of Evant.  You get the feel that the town’s best days are behind it (at least for now):


A few miles south of my landing is the town of Adamsville.  Here’s a picture of a building there:


You have to love the backward “N”.  From “Roadtrip of a Lifetime” by Les Thomas (originally published in “Southern Living”):

You can hear “Faded Love,” “Waltz Across Texas,” and other classic tunes spilling out of the humble tin-sided Luke Jones Music Hall on a Saturday evening in tiny Adamsville.  Luther “Luke” Jones was an auto mechanic-turned-fiddle maker. He made more than 40 before he died at the age of 87.  Now his sons carry on the tradition at the music hall.

“It’s just the pure stuff,” says a neighbor. “They don’t dance. They don’t drink. They don’t smoke.”

In a cemetery in Evant (not the one I landed behind) is this very interesting grave stone, that would seem to stand out a little in a small town Texas graveyard (or in any graveyard, for that matter!).  This picture, from Cowtown Pattie’s Texas Trifles (with the caption below):


And at this weird monument, Kman and I simultaneously harmonized “Walk Like An Egyptian”

To learn more about Kman and the author, click on the link above the photo.  FYI, “Osiris” is the ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife . . .

I’ll close with this shot of an old barn just west of Evant:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Fitzgerald, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on August 25, 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 –  Oh boy.  All the way up to 3/10 (for the first time in 15 landings) with a landing in the solid SE . . . GA; 33/37; 3/10; 20; 155.7.  Here’s my landing map:


Here’s a broader view:


I landed in the Sturgeon Ck watershed; on to the Ocmulgee R (2nd hit); to the Altamaha (6th hit).  I have to suppose that at least at one time, there were sturgeon in Sturgeon Creek.  Here’s a picture of a couple of sturgeon.  I don’t know where this was shot, but I certainly assume it was not from Sturgeon Creek or the Ocmulgee river:


Big fish, eh?  Anyway, it turns out that years ago there were, in fact, sturgeon in the Ocmulgee River.  From the Altamaha River Keeper website:

State and Federal agencies are embarked on an effort to restore fish spawning migrations on the Altamaha River and its tributaries. As part of this effort, the focus is on the Ocmulgee River and diadromous fish (fish that live part of their lives in salt water and part of their lives in fresh water, including sturgeon).

The Ocmulgee, like other Altamaha tributaries, once had huge annual migrations of diadromous fish that moved up to spawn as far upriver as the Alcovy and Yellow Rivers. Native Americans and early settlers depended on the large migrations of fish for food, and there were large fisheries until over-fishing and construction of dams nearly eliminated the fish runs by the late 19th century. Since then, the fish, the fisheries, and the people that survived on them have largely been forgotten.

Here’s a shot of the Ocmulgee just north of my landing:

Here’s my GE shot, showing a rural, generally wooded area:

The peninsula in the lake looks intriguingly landscaped.  Here’s a close-up:

There might be some nice properties here in the lake!  Here’s a StreetView shot of the dirt road that heads down towards my landing (my landing would be down the road and to the left):

Before moving along to Fitzgerald, check out the name of the County I in which I landed:

Pretty cool, eh, Dan?  For those of you who don’t know me, I have a son Ben (and our last name is Hill).  Here’s a picture of Ben, from his blog “Ben’s Biz Blog,” which is a light-hearted look at the business end of Minor League Baseball (Ben is a writer for MLB.com).


Here’s another shot, where Ben’s with some goofy Minor League mascot:


Click here to go to Ben’s blog.

Here’s some info about Ben Hill County and the other Ben Hill:

Here’s a picture of the other Ben Hill.  I doubt we’re related . . .


Moving along to Fitzgerald.  From Wiki:

Fitzgerald is the County Seat of Ben Hill County, Georgia.  The population was 8,758 at the 2000 census.  It was created in 1895, as a community for Civil War veterans by Indianapolis newspaper editor Philander H. Fitzgerald, a former drummer boy in the Union army.  The citizens of Fitzgerald, pledging unity with their former enemies, named streets after leaders of both armies.

I just checked it out.  In fact, the north-south streets in town are named after both Union & Confederate generals.  Here’s just the west side of town, which features Confederate generals (Hill, Bragg, Gordon, Longstreet, Jackson, Johnston & Lee):

And here’s the east side of town, featuring Union generals (Sheridan, Thomas, Logan & Meade).  Although not labeled, the street west of Sheridan is Sherman, who was honored in spite of his infamous “March to the Sea” through Georgia . . .

Also of interest, Monitor St. (named after the northern ironclad ship) flanks the northern Generals’ streets, and Merrimac St. (named after the southern ironclad ship) flanks the southern Generals streets. Back to Wiki:

The town is located less than 15 miles from the site of the capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis on May 10, 1865.

In recent years, the unofficial, and sometimes controversial mascot of the city has become the Red Junglefowl, a wild chicken native to the Indian subcontinent. In the late 1960s, a small number were released into the woods surrounding the city and have thrived to this day.

Red Junglefowl, eh?  From Wiki:

The Red Junglefowl is a tropical member of the Pheasant family, and is widely believed to be a direct ancestor of the domestic chicken. It was first raised in captivity at least several thousand years ago in the Indian subcontinent, and the domesticated form has been used all around the world as a very productive food source for both meat and eggs.

Here’s a picture of an absolutely splendid Red Junglefowl (from India):

Here’s a picture of the Georgia variety right in Fitzgerald:

Since I landed so close to the location of Jefferson Davis’ surrender, I thought I’d check it out.  From Wiki:

In April 3, 1865, with Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant poised to capture Richmond, Davis escaped for Danville, Virginia, together with the Confederate Cabinet.   He issued his last official proclamation as president of the Confederacy, and then went south to Greensboro, North Carolina.  Circa April 12, he received Robert E. Lee’s letter announcing surrender.

After Lee’s surrender, there was a public meeting in Shreveport, Louisiana, at which many speakers urged that the war still continue. Historian John D. Winters in The Civil War in Louisiana (1963) writes that plans were developed for the Davis government to flee to Havana, Cuba.  There, the leaders would regroup and head to the still Confederate-controlled Trans-Mississippi area by way of the Rio Grande.  None of these plans developed [obviously!].

President Jefferson Davis met with his Confederate Cabinet for the last time on May 5, 1865, in Washington, Georgia, and the Confederate government was officially dissolved.  He was captured on May 10, 1865, at Irwinville [just southwest of Fitzgerald]. In the confusion, Davis put his wife’s overcoat over his shoulders and attempted to flee the Union soldiers, leading to caricatures of him being captured disguised as a woman. After being captured he was held as a prisoner for two years in Fort Monroe, Virginia.

I’ll close with this sunset shot of Fitzgerald:

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Heavener, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on August 22, 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 –  Oh cruel fate!  Oh, cruel LG!  I was so close to my third USer in a row, but ‘twas not to be.  I missed a return trip to USer AR by a mere 1.5 miles, but instead landed in . . . OK; 52/44; 2/10; 19; 156.3.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to the state line:


Here’s a broader view:


I landed in the Turkey Snout Ck watershed, on to Beach Ck; on to a new river (my 1068th), the Mountain Fork of the Little River; on to the Little (2nd hit); to the Red (48th hit); to the Atchafalaya (55th hit).

Here’s a picture of the Mountain Fork:


Here’s my GE shot, showing a generally wooded landscape, but a cleared area (logging?) near my landing:


Here’s a broader GE shot, showing that I landed in some east-west trending mountains (it turns out they’re the Ouchitas):


Here’s a Panaramio shot, looking west toward my landing, which is about 1.5 miles away:


To give you a better feel for the topography, here’s an oblique GE shot looking west:

I remember studying these mountains back in my student days.  As I recall, these mountains are a southern extension of the Appalachians.  The missing portion (between GA & AR) was eroded away and covered by much more recent coastal plain sediments.  The topography (caused by folded geologic strata) seen in the picture above is very reminiscent of what you can see in central PA.

Obviously, I landed out in the boonies – the OK “towns” in the vicinity are tiny, and negligible as far as internet interest is concerned.  I’ve got to expand my landing map a little, to show you the largest OK town in the vicinity, Heavener:


Heavener, a town of 3,000+, was named after one Gene Heavener, a prominent early resident.  But the big thing in Heavener is the Heavener Runestone.  From Wiki:

Heavener is best known for the Heavener Runestone just outside the city limits. The cryptic stone appears to have letters from the runic alphabet, which were possibly etched by pre-Columbian Norsemen. There is such an attraction that a state park has been erected around the mysterious rock. Due to this purported connection, the nearby school Carl Albert State College in the city of Poteau changed its mascot in the early 1990s from the “Trojan” to the “Viking.”

Here’s a picture of the stone back before they put it in behind glass in a State Park:


Here’s a close-up of the runes:


About the runestone, from Wiki:

The Heavener Runestone is an inscribed stone located in Heavener, Oklahoma.  The land on which it sits is now a state park on Poteau Mountain, just outside the town limits. The origin of the stone’s runic carvings is disputed.

Author Gloria Farley is among those who attribute the inscription to wandering pre-Columbian Norsemen.   However, the inscription has been rejected by Scandinavian philologists and runologists, who consider it most likely modern (19th or early 20th century). The runes are of the “Elder Futhark” style and can be translated as “GNOMEDAL” (meaning “Gnome Valley”, or perhaps a personal name “G. Nomedal”).

The difficulty of using the Heavener Runestone to demonstrate Viking exploration of the area is that the Elder Futhark runes had become obsolete by the 8th century, long before the Viking expeditions to Greenland and Vinland. Also, only six of the eight characters are correct Elder Futhark runes. A transliteration would read “G [rough backwards N] O M E D A [backwards L]“.

In 1967 Alf Monge speculated that the letters represent an elaborate cryptogram, using three runic alphabets, that decodes to “November 11, 1012“.

Amateur researcher Richard Nielsen proposed that a Viking explorer hastily reversed the last letter and substituted a letter from the then-extinct Gothic alphabet in the second position. According to this interpretation, the inscription reads “GLOME DAL” — the “Valley of Glome”.  Unfortunately, this explanation would require the Norse explorer to have known two extinct alphabets.

As fun is it would be to believe that the Heavener Runestone was carved by Vikings, the fact that I’ve never heard of it makes me think that the skepticism apparent in the Wiki article generally reflects the views of the scientific community.

I’ll close with this pretty shot of the mountains just north of my landing:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Glen Ullin, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on August 19, 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 –  After 8 OSers in a row, was 3 USers in a row too much to ask?  Well, the LG has answered with an emphatic “yes” . . . ND; 56/44; 2/10; 18; 155.8.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Glen Ullin:


Here’s a slightly broader view, showing the proximity of the fair town of Glen Ullin to the straight scar across the countryside known as I-94:


I can just imagine that when the route of the interstate was being planned, the town fell into two camps:  1) those who wanted the interstate to pass within shouting distance of the town and 2) those who would be happy with the road being a couple of miles away.  Obviously, camp (2) won.

Anyway, here’s a broader view:


I landed in the watershed of the Heart Butte Ck (a couple of pictures of Heart Butte later); on to the Heart River (2nd hit); on to the Missouri (354th hit); on to the MM (754th hit).

From the town of Glen Ullin’s website:


History of the Name

In May or June of 1879 the Northern Pacific had laid the tracks through the area that is now Glen Ullin. Four years later two land agents – Major Alvin E. Bovay of Ripon, WI, and Isaac Richardson of Cleveland, OH, organized a group to settle in western North Dakota. They decided on the spot that is now Glen Ullin.  Major Bovay chose the name Glen Ullin from one of his favorite pieces of literature, “Lord Ullin’s Daughter.”  The word Glen is a Gaelic word meaning valley, decided upon because of the location in Curlew Vally, a beautiful glen.

Note the “Lord Ullin’s Daughter” connection – it’s an epoch poem by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (written around 1800).  Before you read the words, a little background – the Chieftain is the Chief of a Scottish Clan on Ulva Island (an island on the western Scottish coast); Lord Ullin is an Englishman, and tensions were running high between the clans & the Brits.  Also, a “ferry” is a body of water (in this case, Loch Gyle).  I suggest you take a deep breath and actually read this poem.  I liked it.  If you get a little confused, there’s a synopsis after the poem. . .

Lord Ullin’s Daughter

A Chieftain to the Highlands bound,
Cries, ‘Boatman, do not tarry;
And I’ll give thee a silver pound
To row us o’er the ferry.’

‘Now who be ye would cross Lochgyle,
This dark and stormy water?’
‘Oh! I’m the chief of Ulva’s isle,
And this Lord Ullin’s daughter.

‘And fast before her father’s men
Three days we’ve fled together,
For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.

‘His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?’

Outspoke the hardy Highland wight:
‘I’ll go, my chief – I’m ready:
It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady.

‘And by my word, the bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry:
So, though the waves are raging white,
I’ll row you o’er the ferry.’

By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water-wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.

But still, as wilder blew the wind,
And as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armed men-
Their trampling sounded nearer.

‘Oh! Haste thee, haste!’ the lady cries,
‘Though tempests round us gather;
I’ll meet the raging of the skies,
But not an angry father.’

The boat has left a stormy land,
A stormy sea before her-
When oh! Too strong for human hand,
The tempest gathered o’er her.

And still they rowed amidst the roar
Of waters fast prevailing;
Lord Ullin reach’d that fatal shore-
His wrath was chang’d to wailing.

For sore dismay’d, through storm and shade,
His child he did discover;
One lovely hand she stretch’d for aid,
And one was round her lover.

‘Come back! Come back!’ he cried in grief,
‘Across this stormy water;
And I’ll forgive your Highland chief,
My daughter!- oh, my daughter!’

‘Twas vain: the loud waves lash’d the shore,
Return or aid preventing;
The waters wild went o’er his child,
And he was left lamenting.

Synopsis:

In 1795 Campbell visited Mull, one of the largest islands of the Inner Hebrides (Argyllshire, Scotland), and there sketched the ballad “Lord Ullin’s Daughter,” which he reworked in 1804 and finally published in 1809. (3) The ballad is the story of an attempted elopement which results in the deaths of the couple. The fleeing lovers, the young “chief of Ulva’s isle” and his “bonny bride,” Lord Ullin’s daughter, have been hotly pursued by Lord Ullin and his horsemen for three days. Both know that the young man’s life will be forfeit if they are captured. They approach a boatman to whom the young man offers money if he will row them over the ferry; that is, if he will take them across Lochgyle. The boatman, a “hardy Highland wight,” agrees to row them across in spite of the raging storm, not for money, but for the sake of the “winsome lady.” As the pursuers approach, the boat puts out into the stormy loch. When Lord Ullin reaches the shore, he is forced to watch his daughter and her lover drown as he calls out to them, vainly promising forgiveness to the young man if only they will return.

Here’s a picture of Lochgyle (known now as Loch Na Keal):

Here’s a map of the Isle of Mull, showing that Loch Na Keal is actually an arm of the ocean.  Likely, the ill-fated boat ride was south to north heading over to Ulva (the Chieftan’s island) . . .

Here’s a broader view, with the “A” on the Isle of Mull:

Back to the poem.  This is a painting by Albert Pinkham Ryder, depicting the poem and entitled “Lord Ullin’s Daughter”.


About Mr. Ryder, from Wiki:

Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847 – 1917) was an American painter best known for his poetic and moody allegorical works and seascapes, as well as his eccentric personality. While his art shared an emphasis on subtle variations of color with tonalist works of the time, it was unique for accentuating form in a way that some art historians regard as modernist.

What do I know about art?  Practically nothing, but I can see why he’s considered a modernist.

Returning to Glen Ullin; there’s a bonny photographer who has visited these parts by the name of Dee Brausch.  The wee lass has sprinkled her pictures all over Google Earth via Panaramio.  I found the ones near Glen Ullin to be delightful, and will share them with you.  I’ll start with this view of the countryside just south of the Glen:


Here’s the Glen Ullin Roller Mill:


Moving on to Heart Butte, located southwest of my landing (after which the Heart Butte Creek is obviously named):

And here’s another shot of the Butte:


Here’s an absolutely stunning shot of a road west of Glen Ullin:


Speaking of stunning, check out the sunflowers just outside of town:


Only one mile west of my landing spot is an old abandoned farm.  Dee visited there and took these two pictures:


I’ll close with this sunset shot over a lake just north of Glen Ullin:


Hats off to photographer Dee Brausch!!!

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Charleston and Lavaca, Arkansas

Posted by graywacke on August 16, 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 –  Well, looky here!  Two USers in a row!  After IL (a marginal USer), here comes a solid USer . . . AR; 26/33; 2/10; 17; 155.3.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Charleston:


Here’s a broader view:


I landed in the Big Creek watershed (my 10th Big Creek; my 66th watershed name with the word “Big” in it); on to the Arkansas R (105th hit); on to the MM (753rd hit).  Incidentally, because the Missouri R has 353 hits, this is my 400th hit for the non-Missouri River Mississippi River watershed.

Here’s my GE shot, showing an agricultural setting along with three mysterious long barns:


After a quick GE perusal, I found many other apparently identical barns.  Here’s a shot just south of my landing.  Note how all of the barns are oriented east – west . . .


Here’s a Bing close-up of some more barns west of Charleston (also oriented east-west):


I tried the following Google search:  Arkansas “long barns.”  Bingo.  I saw mention of “540-long barns” used for poultry (including the greater Charleston area) so my tentative conclusion is that these are poultry barns.  I am mystified as to why they are all oriented east-west . . .

(I just spoke with my wife Jody, who has done some environmental work at chicken farms in Delaware.  I showed her the above picture, and she confirmed that the barns look just like what she saw there.)

I couldn’t find anything of particular interest about Charleston or Lavaca (just west of my landing).  I did find this back-in-the-day shot of Lavaca:


I also found this farmer’s silo just outside of Lavaca.  What a fine paint job . . .


Here’s an expanded landing map, showing my proximity to Ft. Smith (and the Arkansas River):


Every history of Ft. Smith mentions all of the executions (by hanging) that occurred here (mainly in the 1860s, 70s & 80s).  Ft. Smith was the jurisdiction of the famous “Hanging Judge,”  Isaac Parker.  From Rootsweb/Ancestry.com, this about the executions:

For twenty-three years, the federal court carried out executions on the gallows at Fort Smith.  In thirty-nine separate executions, a total of eighty-nine men were put to death after being found guilty of rape or murder.  More men were put to death by the U. S. Government in Fort Smith than in any other place in American History.  These executions, as well as the crimes and trials that lead to them, form a unique and fascinating part of Fort Smith.

Executions were typically schedule for Friday afternoons.  Present at each execution were court officials, doctors, and ministers.  After a short religious service, the condemned men were given an opportunity to speak.  Then, the arms and legs of each man would be tied, the noose adjusted, and a black cap placed over their head.  The trapdoor would then be opened, and the condemned men would be “launched into eternity.”

The executions at Fort Smith were open to the general public for three years, 1873-1876.  During those years, crowds of up to two and seven thousand were present for some of the executions.  In 1878 an enclosure fence was constructed around the gallows to limit the number of spectators.

The whole concept of executions as a spectator sport . . . it certainly appeals to the basest of instincts.

Moving right along – about 25 miles away to the southeast of my landing is Mount Magazine (part of the Ouachita Mountains).  I’ll close with nice sunset shot over the mountain:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Savanna, Illinois and Sabula, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on August 13, 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 –  Oh my!  Finally, after 8, count ‘em 8 OSers in a row, I finally landed in a USer . . . IL; 34/35; 2/10; 16; 155.9.  And I barely made it.  First, IL is barely an USer, and then check out my proximity to IA, a solid OSer (that’s IA just across the MM from my landing):


Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing a rural/suburban landscape:


Here’s the driveway to the house near my landing:


Obviously, I landed near the MM.  But more locally, I landed in the watershed of a new river, the Plum (my 1076th river), and then on to the MM (752nd hit).

I enjoy landing near towns associated with water, and I particularly enjoyed this write-up about Sabula IA from AmericanProfile.com (“Celebrating the American Spirit”), by freelance write Lori Erickson:

The mighty Mississippi rolls past hundreds of towns and cities on its journey from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, but none are as intimately connected to the river as the town of Sabula, Iowa.

Perched on a narrow island reached only by bridge, causeway, or boat, the town of 713 residents is a haven for people who have Mississippi water flowing in their veins.

“People here would be lost without the river,” says Joan Thompson, owner of Sabula’s 1902 Castle Bed and Breakfast, whose expansive front porch overlooks the waters of America’s greatest river.

Sabula’s many links to the surrounding river are visible throughout the town. Many of the modest houses that line its quiet streets have a fishing or speed boat parked on their lawns, and on warm summer days, the town empties as nearly everyone heads for the water. Thanks to Sabula’s location, they needn’t travel far.

The town, just four blocks wide and nine blocks long, fills the entire island.

To the east lies the main channel of the Mississippi, its powerful current carrying massive barges loaded with grain bound for New Orleans, jet skiers out for an afternoon spin, and fishing boats trolling at a leisurely pace.

The other sides of the island are surrounded by a maze of backwaters, perfect habitat for the hundreds of great blue herons and other birds that nest in the area.

Just north of town lies the 3,500-acre Green Island State Wildlife Refuge, home to recently reintroduced trumpeter swans.

Native Americans were the first inhabitants. The island wasn’t discovered by white settlers until 1835. In 1864, the town was incorporated, its name drawn from the Latin word sabulum, meaning sandy soil. Its location made it a desirable steamboat landing.

Surprisingly, the river has never overwhelmed the little town of Sabula.  Though high waters in 1965 and 1993 nearly brought the Mississippi over its banks, the town has been spared a major flood. In Sabula, the waterway clearly is seen as a friend, not foe.

“Whenever people have company from out of town, they always take them down to the river,” says Mayor John McGarry. “That’s the heart of Sabula.”

Just north of Savanna on the IL side are the Mississippi Palisades.  Here’s a shot from the Palisades, looking south towards Savanna:


Here’s a close-up of the Palisades:


Here’s a closer look at the Savanna bridge:


Here’s a shot of the Mississippi Queen (big boat!!) passing under the bridge:


I’ll close with this sunset shot of the bridge:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

 

 

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Williamston, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on August 8, 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 –  The curse continues, but this time with an eastern OSer . . . MI; 45/36; 1/10 (1/15); 15; 156.5 – highest Score since last July 2009 (holding with July).   It seems like 150 is now months away . . .

All I need is a single USer, and I’ll finally be able to more-substantially vary my opening paragraph.  Anyway, here’s my landing map, showing Lansing, East Lansing (home of Michigan State University), and Williamston (featured in the post title due to it’s proximity):


Here’s a broader view:

Here’s my GE shot, showing a rural/suburban landscape:


Here’s a StreetView shot, looking south towards my landing, which is just beyond the trees in the distance:


As noted in my first paragraph, 14 of the last 15 landings have been OSers. I wondered what the odds were of getting 14 of 15 to be OSers. I asked an old buddy of mine, PhD chemist Dr. Mike Miller of Rowan University.  Mike & I worked together back in our Mobil Oil days, and Mike is a “go to” kind of guy for any math or science-related question.  Quickly, he put together a spreadsheet, where I can vary the odds of an individual occurrence (like if there’s a 55% chance of an OSer, for example).  I can also figure out the odds of, for example, getting 4 USers out of 21 tries (or any combination of numbers I please).

It’s pretty much a 50/50 proposition, so that’s what I used; and thanks to Mike, I know that the odds of getting 14 of 15 landings as OSers is one in 2,185.  Boy, am I bucking the odds with this run of bad luck!!!!

Moving right along . . .

I landed in the Squaw Creek watershed.  This was my 8th watershed with the word “squaw” in it, so squaw makes it to my list of Common Stream Names.  As it turns out, all eight are “Squaw Creeks.”  So, the Squaw Creek flows to a new river, the Red Cedar River.  This is my second Red Cedar R (the other is in Wisconsin).  The Red Cedar flows to the Grand (8th hit); on to Lake Michigan (31st hit); on to the St. Lawrence (88th hit).

Here’s a picture of Williamston Falls on the Red Cedar River:


I’ve struggled somewhat in coming up with an interesting angle about the area where I landed.  Nothing against Williamston, but I couldn’t find a “hook.”  And as for East Lansing, well, I’ve got serious Ohio roots, and have trouble reveling in the home of Michigan State University.  (Not as much trouble as I’d have with Ann Arbor and MU, mind you, but we Ohio State fans have certain limits).

As for Lansing.  Although I generally have problems with large cities (in terms of what I write about), I thought I’d check on it’s name origin.  Similarly to Morenci AZ (which was named for a town “back east,” Morenci MI), Lansing MI is also named for a town back east, Lansing NY.  And, it turns out Lansing NY was named after one John Lansing.  From Wiki:

John Ten Eyck Lansing, Jr. (January 30, 1754 Albany, New Yorkvanished [emphasis added] December 12, 1829 New York City), was an American lawyer and politician. He was the uncle of Gerrit Y. Lansing.

Wait a second!  “Vanished??!!??”  First a little background about Mr. Lansing, also from Wiki:

From 1776 until 1777 during the Revolutionary War Lansing served as a military secretary to General Philip Schuyler. Afterwards he was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1780 to 1784, in 1785-86, and 1788–89, being its speaker during the latter two terms. In 1786, he was appointed Mayor of Albany. He represented New York at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. At this convention he greatly opposed any law that would unify the United States under one single government.

A real “states’ rights” kind of guy!  Continuing from Wiki:

When the convention decided to propose a new plan which included uniting the independent states, he and Robert Yates walked out leaving a letter for their reasons. Lansing and Yates never signed the constitution. On 15 February 1798 he was appointed Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court.

OK, so he was somewhat controversial.  So what about his disappearance?  From Wiki:

On the evening of December 12, 1829, he left his Manhattan hotel to mail a letter at a New York City dock and was never seen again. Lansing was 75 years old and was presumed drowned or perhaps murdered. A cenotaph was erected at Albany Rural Cemetery. His widow died in 1834.

His fate was a major mystery in New York State at the time, although through the years, it has become rather forgotten. One major clue to Lansing’s disappearance appeared since his death. In 1882 the memoirs of Thurlow Weed, former Republican political leader in New York State, were published. Weed wrote that Lansing had been murdered by several prominent political and social figures who found he was in the way of their projects.

Weed was told this by an unnamed individual, who showed him papers to prove it, but begged Weed not to publish these until all the individuals had died. Weed said they were all dead by 1870, but he found that their families were all highly respected, and upon advice of two friends he decided not to reveal the truth because it would hurt innocent people. And that was the last anyone ever heard of a possible resolution to the mystery. It is unknown if Weed actually received the truth, or what that truth might be.

The town of Lansing NY was named in 1817, so John was alive and well to appreciate the honor.  I wonder if anyone had second thoughts about the name after his mysterious disappearance?

Moving right along:  famous people from Lansing include Burt Reynolds & Malcolm X.  Those are two people that wouldn’t be linked except by the fluke of the same home town . . .

OK, OK, so I’ll provide a couple of expected pictures.  Here’s the Michigan State Capital Building:


And here’s a shot of an MSU football game.  Hopefully they were getting stomped by Ohio State.  Actually, based on the uniforms, that could be OSU threatening to score . . .


Moving on to Williamston, here’s a back-in-the-day shot (1919):


I’ll close with this sunset shot near Williamston:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Lamont, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on August 6, 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 –  The curse continues with yet another western OSer . . . OK; 51/44; 1/10 (1/14); 14; 156.0 – highest Score since last July 2009 (last post, it was “November”).   It seems like 150 is now months away . . .

Now wait a second.  My Score was at 156 OVER ONE YEAR AGO!!!!  So maybe I should say that 150 is now a year away!

OK, Greg.  Take a deep breath, and enjoy the landing . . .

Well, here’s my landing map:


The regular one-square mile grid of roads tells you it’s very flat in this part of OK.  To prove my point, here’s picture of a road near Lamont:


Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing a (predictably) agricultural setting:


So, for the 11th time, I landed in the watershed of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas R; on to the Arkansas (104th hit); on to the MM (751st hit).  FYI, the Arkansas is a solid sixth on my list of watershed-hit frequency.  Here’s the list of the top 8:

Mississippi       751

Missouri          353

Colorado         156

Columbia         137

Ohio                120

Arkansas         104

St. Lawrence   87

Snake              69

Only four of the above discharge into the ocean:  the Mississippi, the Colorado, the Columbia and the St. Lawrence.  The remaining four are tributaries of the others:  Missouri, Ohio & Arkansas (Mississippi) and the Snake (Columbia).

Here’s a StreetView shot of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas, where Route 74 crosses the river just west of my landing:


So, I landed near the town of Lamont.  Here’s a shot of Main Street:


Here’s a 1998 tornado damage shot of Lamont:


The town was named for Daniel S. Lamont.  Here’s what Wiki has to say about him:


Daniel Scott Lamont (1851 – 1905) was the United States Secretary of War during Grover Cleveland‘s second term.

Lamont was born on his family’s farm in Cortland County, New York and attended Union College at Schenectady, New York. He was employed as assistant journal clerk in the state capitol at Albany and was chief clerk of the New York department of state from 1875 to 1882.

In 1883 Lamont was assigned to then-New York Governor Grover Cleveland’s staff as a political prompter. He continued in his service after Cleveland became president in 1885.

From March 5, 1893 to March 5, 1897, Lamont served as United States Secretary of War in President Cleveland’s cabinet.  (I’ve just deleted a most unremarkable series of “accomplishments” as Secretary of War.)

After his service as Secretary of War, Lamont was vice president of the Northern Pacific Railway Company from 1898 to 1904. He was also a director of numerous banks and corporations. Lamont died in Millbrook, New York in 1905.

Here’s the first part of the NY Times obituary piece:


The article goes on to say that he just keeled over with a heart attack . . .OK, so Dan Lamont held a fairly distinguished (but hardly historic) career in business and the public sector.  I have absolutely no clue why they named a teeny town in Oklahoma after him!!

I found “Hawkeye’s” photostream on Flickr.  He posted this shot of a couple of abandoned old stores in Lamont:


Here’s what “lewscanon”  had to say about Hawkeye’s photo (this is very cool):

I spent many boyhood hours in the blue-fronted store. Browning’s Grocery Store was even then (1940s) old-fashioned. Having never invested in a cash register, Mr. Browning presided over the counter equipped with a pencil and aptitude for arithmetic that, though slowly-executed, always yielded the correct total. The written transcript went home with you, inscribed on the side of the paper grocery bag. There was always a huge round of cheese on the worn chopping block, impaled by a knife that could’ve starred in a horror movie. I delivered the local paper to Mr. Browning here, and would often load up on candy bars to sustain me on my 3-mile daily hike. Browning, while doing the math, would invariably launch into a mysterious humming that sounded less like a tune than a mantra. It amused us kids no end, and added to our view that this kind man was of more dimension that we could fathom.

That life is so interesting is half owing to the fact that behind every door, every front porch, every face, there is a story that will never be completely told.

I’ll close with this tornado shot near Lamont:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Morenci, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on August 3, 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 –  The curse continues with yet another western OSer . . . AZ; 79/71; 1/10 (1/13); 13; 155.6  —  highest Score since last November (last post, it was “December”).   It seems like 150 is now months away . . .

Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to that ugly tangle of rail lines that is the well known (for me, at least) town of Morenci (actually, the Morenci copper mine):


I’ve been to Morenci, and remember it fairly well.  It was the spring of ’72 (spring break, actually), and I was on a geology field trip with my Lafayette College geology classmates.  We were touring the southwest in a caravan of five RVs.  After visiting El Paso TX (the far western tip of the state) and Carlsbad NM, we headed over to AZ and checked out the massive copper mine at Morenci.  I even have a mineral specimen that I collected there (which is, I think, a pretty lousy specimen of malachite, a copper carbonate mineral).  I just pulled the rock out of the box it has been in for decades, and put it on the bench on our lower back deck (you know exactly where I mean, Dan) and took this picture:


Back to the landing – here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing a fairly rugged-looking wilderness:


The stream that’s apparent to the southwest of my landing is Bonita Creek.  Bonita Creek flows southeast where it hooks up with the Gila R (35th hit); on to the Colorado (156th hit).

Here’s an oblique GE shot, looking southwest and showing some real topographic drama:


From the Greenlee County website, about Morenci:

The first mineral discoveries in the Clifton-Morenci District were made around 1856 when a group of California volunteers pursuing renegade Apache Indians came through the area and wrote about the colorful mineral outcrops. In 1872 a group of soldiers from New Mexico were once again pursuing renegade Indians, and they also noticed the colorful rocks.  They later returned to the area searching for placer gold. Although very little gold was found, they located the copper deposits which later become the mines around the town of Metcalf and Morenci.

I find the above use of the word “renegade” annoying.  Anyway, from Wiki:

Morenci’s population was 1,879 at the 2000 census. The biggest employer in Morenci is Freeport-McMoRan, the owner of the Morenci Mine, the largest copper mining operation in North America, and one of the largest copper mines in the world.

The economy of Morenci as well as that of the surrounding area is almost completely dependent on the Morenci Mine.  Between 2003 and 2008, the worldwide rise in copper prices led the mine to double its work force to 4,000 employees, and increase production by 55 percent to an average of one million tons of ore per day.

Several hundred new homes were built, leading to a boom in the construction industry.  All the homes in Morenci, new and old, remain owned by Freeport-McMoRan.

Hmmm.  Sounds like the population is up a little from the 1,879 back in 2000.  Also – quite the company town, eh?

Anyway, as usual, I spent some time trying to figure out the origin of the name “Morenci.”  I finally found an obscure reference to the fact that Morenci AZ was named after Morenci MI.  So, on to Michigan I go.  This, from the State Line Observer (a weekly newspaper serving the border area between Ohio & Michigan), about the origin of the Michigan town’s name:

In 1833 a small settlement was established in the wilderness along Bean Creek. The name given to this settlement was Brighton. However, it was discovered that another community of pioneers to the north in the territory had prior claim to the name. There has been some controversy as to how the name “Morenci” was selected.  Some say it was an Indian name but others believe that it was taken from the name “Mount Morency” and the ‘y’ changed to ‘i.’

The Indian name seems bogus to me (although not impossible).  A little research, then, on “Mount Morency.”  Well, I found out that there’s a “Montmorency County,” in, of all places, Michigan (as well as a Mount Morency in Quebec).  The town of Morenci is in the far southeast part of the state and the county is in the far northeast, but let me continue.  This, from Wiki about Montmorency County:

Montmorency County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan.   In 1840, it was first named “Cheonoquet” after a well known Chippewa.   In 1843, the county was renamed for the Count Morenci, who aided the colonies in the war with England. The county was organized in 1881. The reason for the change in spelling is subject to some dispute.  See List of Michigan county name etymologies.

I could have left it here, satisfied that the county (and likely the town) were named after the good Count Morenci, what with the correct spelling and all.  But, I couldn’t resist clicking on the link to the list of Michigan county name etymologies.  Here’s what that said about the origin of the name Montmorency:

Named for the House of Montmorency,  influential in the history of French Canada.

Gee whiz.  So I clicked on the House of Montmorency, and here’s what I learned:

Montmorency, the name of one of the oldest and most distinguished families in France, derived from the city of Montmorency, about 9 miles northwest of Paris.

So I’m left with two leading candidates:  Count Morenci vs. the French city of Montmorency.  The Indian name (in my opinion) comes in a weak third.

I Googled “Count Morenci,” and, interestingly, the only Google references circle back to the naming of Montmorency County!  There was not a single reference to the actual dude who supposedly “aided the colonies in the war with England.”  In fact, that very phrase in quotes was used in every citation!  Based on this painstaking analysis, I conclude that Count Morenci is a fake, a fraud!!  And that Montmorency is the true origin of both the name of the County and town in Michigan, the mountain in Quebec and therefore, the town and mine in Arizona.

Phew.  Strangely, I kind of enjoyed the search.  Likely, you’re a little bored.  Oh, well . . .

Back to Morenci AZ.  Here’s a picture of the massive open-pit mine:


Here’s a shot looking north on Rt 191 out of Morenci.  Since I did most of the driving in my RV (back in 1972), I was likely behind the wheel, driving on this very road, looking at this very scene!  (OK, so this is a little more exciting for me than for you . . .).  Note the lack of a guardrail!


Getting closer to my landing spot, I’ll close with some pictures taken just south of my landing (and far from the surreal Morenci landscape).  First, this picture from Midnight Canyon:


And then, this abandoned house:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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