A Landing a Day

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Milano, Rockdale and (most importantly) Sandow, Texas

Posted by graywacke on September 27, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice 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 in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2053; A Landing A Day blog post number 471.

 Dan –  I guess I’ll call this a trend, with my third USer in a row, thanks to this landing in the granddaddy of all USers  . . . TX; 149/180; 4/10; 11; 151.0.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My closer-in landing map shows a bunch of small towns.  You see that Sandow is a ways away (and not at all the closest town).  Obviously, you’ll soon find out why it received extra attention in my post title.

 landing 2

You can see the Brazos River, off to the east on the above landing map.  I landed in the watershed of Cedar Ck (not shown), which does indeed flow into the Brazos (28th hit).  You may recall that my previous two landings were both in the Sacramento R watershed, my 26th and 27th hits for the Sacramento.  The Brazos ranks 21st on my watershed hit list; the Sacramento 22nd.

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows that I landed right next to a country road.  GE StreetView?  GE StreetView?  Not meant to be . . .

 ge 1

So, of course I checked out Milano – I landed less than 5 miles away.  I also looked at Rockdale, hoping for that elusive hook.  I noticed Sandow on the map, and when I read the piece about Sandow in TexasEscapes.com, I was hooked.  Here are some excerpts:

Sandow was once called Freezeout by mule-driving freighters who passed through the area from the coast,  it seemed to cater to them with an abundance of saloons and a racetrack.

 [Wow.  Freezeout!  What a great name . . . and, it had saloons and a racetrack . . .]

The community was granted a post office in 1873 and the name of Millerton was submitted, named after solid citizen Emil Miller.  A large deposit of lignite (a low-grade brown coal) was discovered adjacent to the town.

In 1918 a six-mile rail spur was run to the lignite mine.  McAlester Fuel Company bought the mine and the entire town in 1922.  Since they “owned” the town, the executives felt that a renaming was in order.

Times being what they were, the company chose the name of a Prussian-born strongman who was being promoted in New York by Florenz Ziegfeld (later famous for the Ziegfeld Follies).  The strongman, Eugen Sandow, is considered to be the father of the modern body building culture.

 [Are you kidding me?  “Times being what they were,” they named the town after a body builder?  More about Eugen Sandow later.]

Lignite from the mine supplied the University of Texas and Texas A&M University, as well as other electric-power producers.

Natural gas became cheaper than coal and in time the mine closed.  The Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) built a plant to take advantage of the lignite.   Aluminum processing requires a prodigious amount of electricity; the lignite was used to power their electrical generating plant.

The town evolved into a plant, but did not survive as a town. Most Alcoa employees live in nearby Rockdale.

 Here’s a current GE shot of “downtown Sandow:”

ge 2 alcoa -

 I know you couldn’t wait to here more about Eugen Sandow.  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

Eugen Sandow (1867 – 1925),  was a Prussian pioneering bodybuilder known as the “father of modern body building.”

Sandow became affiliated with Florenz Ziegfeld.  Ziegfeld the showman wanted his audiences to see Sandow’s weightlifting capabilities.

However, Ziegfeld found that the audience was more fascinated by Sandow’s bulging muscles than by the amount of weight he was lifting, so Ziegfeld had Sandow perform poses which he dubbed “muscle display performances”… and the legendary strongman added these displays in addition to performing his feats of strength with barbells.   He added chain-around-the-chest breaking and other colorful displays to Sandow’s routine.  Sandow quickly became Ziegfeld’s first star.

In 1894, Sandow featured in a short film series by the Edison Studios. The film was of only part of the show and features him flexing his muscles rather than performing any feats of physical strength.

 Click HERE to see the Edison film and remember, it was shot in 1894!

 And then there’s this in Wiki, about the “Grecian Ideal:”

Sandow’s resemblance to the physiques found on classical Greek and Roman sculpture was no accident, as he measured the statues in museums and helped to develop “The Grecian Ideal” as a formula for the “perfect physique.”

Sandow built his physique to the exact proportions of his Grecian Ideal, and is considered the father of modern bodybuilding, as one of the first athletes to intentionally develop his musculature to pre-determined dimensions.

Of course, we must have a picture of Mr. Sandow.   Quite the dude, eh?


 Moving right along . . .  here are a couple of GE Panoramio shots taken along Route 79, just north and west of my landing.  First, this by David Whitley:

 david whitley

And this, of Indian Paint Brushes (taken right in Milano) by T. George Huntzinger:

 tgeorgehuntzinger Indian paint brushes

Ozroo2 took this shot headed south out of Rockdale towards the big Alcoa plant:

 ozroo2 2

Ozroo2 also took this shot of a sunset over beautiful downtown Sandow:


 That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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