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Archive for December, 2014

Sidnaw, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on December 28, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2143; A Landing A Day blog post number 571.

Dan: AYKM?*  Three OSers in a row, and 11/13, thanks to this landing in . . . MI; 51/41; 2/10; 9; 148.8.

*Are You Kidding Me?

Here’s my regional landing map, showing this UP landing:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that Sidnaw is the only game around:

 landing 2

My watershed analysis shows that I landed in the Smith Creek watershed, on to the East Branch of the Ontonagon River (2nd hit):

 landing 31

Zooming back a little, we see that the East Branch ends up in the Ontonagon (2nd hit).  The patch of blue at the upper left is Lake Superior (15th hit):

 landing 32

From Lake Superior, we’re off to the St. Lawrence  (96th hit).

Here’s a lovely picture of the East Branch of the Ontonagan (Google Earth Panoramio shot by Kelly Pawlowicz):

pano kelly pawlowicz e br 6 mi W

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) landing trip:


You’ll note that I’ve landed twice in the E. Br. Ontonagon watershed.  The only other landing there was landing 1524, on September 21, 2008.  I started this blog two months later, but was writing fairly extensive emails to Dan at the time.  So, of course I had saved it, and of course, I pulled it up.  Here’s some of what I had to say back then:

I landed in yet another teeny town with its own website: 

 sidnaw website

See what I mean about how small it is?

And then, I cut and pasted a rather extensive piece on the history of Sidnaw.  Although I didn’t say so, I can only assume that it was from the town’s website.  (And there’s no such historical information now).

Sidnaw, pronounced “sid NAH,” is known as the logging center of Henry Ford’s hardwood empire and the home of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp later used as a World War II work camp for German POWs — with probably the only remaining POW camp guard tower (see picture below!).

Greater Sidnaw consists of “134 people and 19 bird dogs,” according to Duncan Township supervisor Warren Jenkins.

Sidnaw became part of Henry Ford’s 400,000 acres of timberland. In 1920 Ford built a lumber camp “the likes of which no sober lumberjack had ever dreamed,” wrote Ford. Lumberjacks slept in bunkhouses with steam heat and electric lights. Smoking and drinking were prohibited. The cost of laundering dirty clothes was deducted from their pay of $5 a day. Locals called Ford’s Sidnaw lumberjacks “lumber ladies.” 

Ford was so proud of his model Sidnaw camp that he showed it off to his good friends Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone on their famous 1923 camping trip.

More about the former prison work camp for German prisoners of war in World War II:   From 1942 to 1945, the former Civilian Conservation Corps camp just outside Sidnaw housed 251 P.O.Ws and the two officers and 33 enlisted men who guarded them.

Here’s the guard house (still here if you’d like to visit it):

guard hosue pic from email to dan

I did an extensive Google search for the above write-up.  It is absolutely nowhere to be found!  So after I post this, anyone searching for information about Henry Ford & Sidnaw will be directed to A Landing A Day . . .

I did find a Flickr Photstream “The Henry Ford,” that has a number of pictures of the Upper Penninsula 1923 camping trip with Harvey Firestone, amongst others.  Click here to peruse the photostream (there are some very cool shots).

I saved Word versions of my emails to Dan, month by month.  So I was scrolling down through my “landing September 2008” file, (which included 29 emails, back when A Landing A Day really was A Landing A Day!).  Anyway, as part of my 9/14 email to Dan, I found a wonderful baseball reference.  Here’s what I wrote:

I just watched the Phillies win their third in a row against the Brewers, and am currently watching the Atlanta – Mets game (obviously rooting for Atlanta).  Atlanta scored 5 runs in the top of the 9th to lead 7-4.  Right now, it’s the bottom of the 9th, and the Mets have men on first and second with one out.  Strike out!  Now there’s two outs!!  Go Braves!!!  Yes!!!!! A groundout to second base!! The Mets lose!!  So now, the Phillies are 1 game back in the Wild Card, and 1.5 games out in the Eastern Division.


And the Phils did in fact GO.  They went on to win the National League East by 3 games over the Mets, then beat Milwaukee, then beat Los Angeles to go to the World Series where they beat Tampa Bay.

Moving right along:  Of course, I perused nearby GE Panoramio photos, and I found this by Ian Shackleford, taken a couple of miles NE of my landing:

 pano ian shackleford railroad a couple of miles east

I’ll close with the same photo I used to close my 2008 email.  I didn’t say where I got it, and I couldn’t find it under Google images.  Back then, I wrote the following:

Here’s a picture of Deer Marsh, about 7 miles S of Sidnaw:

rainbow pic 7 mi s of sidnaw from old email

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Mosinee, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on December 23, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2142; A Landing A Day blog post number 570.

 Dan:  Give me a break.  Yet another OSer (making it 10 of my last 12), thanks to this landing in . . . WI; 42/39; 2/10; 8; 148.5.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

You can see most of my watershed analysis on the above map.  The Big Eau Pleine Reservoir is the dammed-up Big Eau Pleine River (first hit!); on to the Lake Dubay, a reservoir on the Wisconsin River (11th hit).  By the way, “eau pleine” literally means “full water” in French.  But a French phrase translator suggests “open water.”

Anyway, stepping back a little:

 landing 3

The Wisconsin makes its way to the MM (842nd hit).

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) voyage from space:


This is a GE shot that shows nearby Street View coverage (the blue line):

 GE showing sv location 1

And here’s the Street View shot from the vantage point of the dude sitting on the blue line:

 GE SV landing

Similarly, another GE shot:

 GE showing sv location 2

And similarly, the Street View shot looking across the lake:

 GE SV landing from the lake

Of course, the first thing I did in regard to Mosinee was check on the pronunciation.  Here you go:


The second thing I did was to check out the Wiki entry for Mosinee, and son of a gun if I didn’t see something interesting:

Mock Communist Invasion

On May 1, 1950, local residents acting as Communist invaders seized control of Mosinee.

The action was a part of an elaborate pageant organized by the Wisconsin Department of the American Legion. The “Communists” dragged Mayor Ralph E. Kronenwetter and Police Chief Carl Gewiss out of their beds. Mayor Kronenwetter surrendered at 10:15 AM in the town’s new “Red Square” with a pistol to his back. The police chief was reported to have resisted and was “liquidated”.

Roadblocks were set up around Mosinee, the library was “purged”, prices of goods were inflated for the duration of the coup, and local restaurants served Russian black bread and potato soup for lunch.

Here are some additional angles, from the October 2010 issue of the Organization of American Historians Magazine of History:

It was six o’clock in the morning on May 1, 1950. In Mosinee, Wisconsin, a small Marathon County papermill town, Mayor Ralph Kronenwetter was still in his pajamas. Suddenly, outside of his house, a man shouted, “Come out with your hands on your head.” Five armed guards stormed inside. They grabbed the mayor, paraded him out the door, and informed him that the Council of People’s Commissars had taken over the town. The communist invasion of Mosinee had begun, and the invaders declared that Mosinee was now part of the United Soviet States of America.

It ended the next day. The brainchild of state and national leaders of the American Legion, the two-day mock communist takeover of Mosinee aimed to teach Americans the horrors of communist rule. The Legion selected May 1 to coincide with International Workers’ Day, traditionally celebrated by the communist movement worldwide.

The attack also came at a propitious time in the early Cold War. In August 1949, the Soviet Union had successfully tested an atomic bomb. Two months later, Mao Tse-Tung’s People’s Liberation Army triumphed in China. In February 1950, less than three months before Mosinee’s D-Day, Wisconsin’s own Senator Joseph McCarthy broke onto the national scene, warning of communists in the U.S. State Department.

The Legion’s timing and the invasion’s novelty combined to generate fantastic media coverage. Television networks, newsreel companies, wire services, Life magazine, Readers’ Digest, and even the Soviet TASS news agency sent reporters.

 Check out this newspaper coverage!


MOSINEE, (Wisconsin), April 30, 1950

(AAP).-Real Communists moved into this small town to-day to disrupt plans for staging a mock Communist invasion to-morrow. Under cover of darkness they left highly critical handbills, and copies of the “Daily Worker” at every home and business place.

However, town officials said that no propaganda would prevent the 1400 citizens from coming under the heel of the “People’s Government” For one day only they would be shown that life under Communism was no bed of roses.  Ex-servicemen acting as revolutionists would strike at dawn, seize public utilities, take over schools, padlock churches and strip residents of their individual freedoms.

The director of the coup is Benjamin Gitlow, once a leading Communist in the United States until he-broke with the party in 1929. Gitlow said to-day that the demonstrators would apply tactics he had learned at the political insurrection school in Moscow.

This Benjamin Gitlow fellow was the real thing.  From Wiki:

Benjamin “Ben” Gitlow (December 22, 1891 – July 19, 1965) was a prominent American socialist politician of the early 20th century and a founding member of the Communist Party USA.  He was twice jailed for anti-American activities, and twice ran for office on the Workers (Communist) Party ticket:  in 1926 for Governor of New York and in 1928 for Vice President of the United States.

However, during the 1930s, Gitlow took a drastic turn to the right and wrote two sensational exposés of American Communism, books which were very influential during the McCarthy period. Gitlow remained a leading anticommunist up to the time of his death.

Check out this You Tube video posted by Liberté, Liberté, Cherié:


The mock Communist invasion of Mosinee was a very interesting piece of history. But there were two strange twists. Back to Wiki:

As he arrived at a rally to restore democracy to the community the night of May 1 Mayor Kronenwetter suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and never regained consciousness. He died five days later on May 6, 1950 at age 49. The mayor’s doctor said the excitement and exertion probably contributed to his collapse.

Franklin Baker, commander of the local American Legion post, said, “It was a terrible coincidence.”

Local minister Will La Brew Bennett, 72, who, during the Communist invasion, demonstrated to the media how he would hide his Bible in the church organ if the Communists really invaded and was herded with other residents into a barbed-wire ringed “concentration camp” near “Red Square”, was found dead in his bed hours after the mayor’s death on May 7, 1950.

Phew.  Talk about a strange dark cloud descending over the town . . .  

And by the way – my Mom was 8 months pregnant with me while this was going on . . . Anyway, continuing from Wiki:

Footage from the “invasion” was used in the 1982 movie The Atomic Cafe.


About the critical response to the film, from Wiki:

When the film was released, film critic Roger Ebert discussed the style and methods the filmmakers used, writing, “The makers of The Atomic Cafe sifted through thousands of feet of Army films, newsreels, government propaganda films and old television broadcasts to come up with the material in their film, which is presented without any narration, as a record of some of the ways in which the bomb entered American folklore. There are songs, speeches politicians, and frightening documentary footage of guinea-pig American troops shielding themselves from an atomic blast and then exposing themselves to radiation neither they nor their officers understood.”

Critic Vincent Canby praised the film, calling the film “a devastating collage-film that examines official and unofficial United States attitudes toward the atomic age” and a film that “deserves national attention.”

The entire film is on You Tube.  I’m going to check it out, as could you.

Moving right along . . .

Just south of my landing is the George W. Mead Wildlife Area, a wetlands wildlife refuge:

 GE The Mead

It is often interesting how a patch of real estate manages to be preserved.  Here’s the story:

Originally in the early 1900s, the lowlands in the area were farmed. They were drained by digging ditches and dredging and straightening a five mile section of the Little Eau Pleine River. Farming failed, however, as the lowlands were too wet, cold and acidic for farming.

In 1933, the area was to be the site of two reservoirs impounding the Big and Little Eau Pleine Rivers.  Land was bought by the Consolidated Paper Company, who planned on using the dams for hydroelectric power.  The Big Eau Pleine River dam was built in 1936. However, the dam on the Little Eau Pleine River was not built due to opposition from conservationists and local residents.

In 1959, Stanton Mead, President of Consolidated Paper Company, donated 20,000 acres to the State of Wisconsin for use as a state wildlife area. The Area is named for Stanton’s father.

I’ll close with some Panoramio shots of “The Mead.”  First, one by NaturesFan1226, showing a couple of Whooping Cranes just hanging out:

 pano naturesFan1226 1

Here’s a shot after the photographer made some noise & got them airborne:

 pano naturesFan1226 2

And now a couple of lovely Mead shots by Pete Sanderson (as you can tell):

 pano pete sanderson mead

 pano pete sanderson mead 2


That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Ganado, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on December 21, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2141; A Landing A Day blog post number 569.

Dan:  I can’t win (USers) for losing’ (OSers).  I’m a lousy 2/11, thanks to landing in . . . AZ; 85/50; 2/10; 7; 148.1.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed out in the middle of nowhere, near Ganado:

 landing 2

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) trip from outer space:



I had to use the GE elevation tool for my watershed analysis.  Near my landing, the “stream” is the Pueblo Colorado Wash (not shown), which at some point becomes the Puerco River (first hit for me), which makes its way to the Little Colorado R (18th hit):

 GE Puerco River

The Little Colorado flows to the Colorado (167th hit).

The greater Ganado area is predominantly Navajo.  Checking into the history, I came across several references to the “Long Walk.”  From Wiki:

The “Long Walk” started in the beginning of spring in 1864. Bands of Navajo led by the Army were relocated from their traditional lands in eastern Arizona Territory and western New Mexico Territory to Fort Sumner (in an area called the Bosque Redondo in the Pecos River valley.

At least 200 died during the 18-day, 300-mile trek. Between 8,000 and 9,000 people were settled on an area of 40 square miles, with a peak population of 9,022 by the spring of 1865.

Like most internment camps involving several tribes, the Bosque Redondo had serious problems. About 400 Mescalero Apaches were placed there before the Navajos. The Mescaleros and the Navajo had a long tradition of raiding each other; the two tribes had many disputes during their encampment.

Furthermore, the initial plan was for around 5,000 people, certainly not 10,000 men, women, and children. Water and firewood were major issues from the start; the water was brackish and the round grove of trees was quite small. Nature and humans both caused crop failures every year.

In 1865 Navajo began leaving. By 1867 the remaining Navajo refused to plant a crop.  Comanches raided them frequently, and they raided the Comanche. The non-Indian settlers also suffered from the raiding parties who were trying to feed their starving people on the Bosque Redondo. And there was inept management of what supplies were purchased for the reservation. The army spent as much as $1.5 million a year to feed the Indians. In 1868 the experiment—meant to be the first Indian reservation west of Indian Territory—was abandoned.

On June 18, 1868, the once-scattered bands of people who call themselves Diné, set off together on the return journey, the “Long Walk” home. This is one of the few instances where the U.S. government permitted a tribe to return to their traditional boundaries. The Navajo were granted 3.5 million acres of land inside their four sacred mountains. The Navajo also became a more cohesive tribe after the Long Walk and were able to successfully increase the size of their reservation since then, to over 16 million acres.

One Navajo elder said of the Long Walk:

By slow stages we traveled eastward by present Gallup, Chusbbito and Bear Spring, which is now called Fort Wingate. You ask how they treated us?  If there was room the soldiers put the women and children on the wagons. Some even let them ride behind them on their horses. I have never been able to understand a people who killed you one day and on the next played with your children…

Here’s a old-time shot of a soldier guarding Navajos during the Long Walk:

nm history . org during long walk

In Ganado is the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.  From Wiki:

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (so declared in 1960) is a meeting ground of two cultures, the Navajo and settlers who came to the area to settle in what is now northeastern Arizona in the late 19th century. In 1878, John Lorenzo Hubbell began his trading post, ten years after Navajos were allowed to return to their homeland from their U.S.-imposed exile in Bosque Redondo.

When the Navajos returned from The Long Walk in 1868, they found their herds decimated, their fields destroyed. Their way of life had been ripped apart and things could never be as they had been before. The Navajos were troubled by economic depression in the late 19th century as a result of the Long Walk. Thus, trade became increasingly important.

Heavy sandstones from the area were quarried in 1883 to begin construction of the still-existing building along the southern banks of the Pueblo Colorado Wash.  Life at Hubbell Trading Post centered around it.

The idea of trading was not new to the Navajos. Native American tribes in the Southwest had traded amongst themselves for centuries. During the four years internment at Bosque Redondo, Navajos were introduced to many new items (e.g., flour, sugar, coffee, baking powder, canned goods, tobacco, tools, cloth, etc.). When the Anglos came to trade with the Navajos the difference was in the products exchanged, and in the changes brought about by the exchanges. Traders like Hubbell supplied these items.

Trade with men like Hubbell became increasingly important for the Navajos. The trader was in contact with the world outside the newly created reservation; a world which could supply the staples the Navajos needed to supplement their homegrown products. In exchange for the trader’s goods the Navajos traded wool, sheep, and later on rugs, jewelry, baskets, and pottery. It was years before cash was used between trader and Navajos.

Hubbell family members operated this trading post until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1967. The trading post is still active, and operated by the non-profit organization, Western National Parks Association, which maintains the trading traditions the Hubbell family established.

Today, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is still situated on the original 160-acre homestead, which includes the trading post, family home, out buildings, land and a visitor center.

Here’s a shot of the trading post from the 1890s.  I think that John Hubbell is the guy sitting down.

 hubbel trading post 1891

I found this GE Panoramio shot (by CKDaFinest) from about 6 miles west of my landing:

 pano CKDaFinest 6 miles w

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Dalhart, Texas

Posted by graywacke on December 17, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2140; A Landing A Day blog post number 568.

Dan:  On the positive side, I’m 2 for 3 USers; on the negative side, I’m only 2 for 8 USers.  But hey, I’ll take this landing in the granddaddy of USers . . . TX; 159/188; 2/10; 6; 147.7.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

Looks mighty close to NM, eh?  Let’s zoom in a bit:

 landing 1b

I’ll say I’m close.  I’ll zoom back a little and add the highways and towns:

 landing 2

Here’s part 1 of my watershed analysis:

 landing 3a

I landed in the watershed of the Carrizo Ck; on to the Rita Blanca Ck; to the Punta de Agua Ck to the Canadian R (42nd hit).  Hey wait a second – just two landings ago, I landed in the watershed of a Carrizo Creek in SE Colorado.  That landing wasn’t too far away (about 65 miles due north), but, obviously, these are two separate Carrizo Creeks. 

Checking back, I found that I’ve landed in the watershed of four Carrizo Creeks – one in Arizona and one in California in addition to the two discussed above.  FYI, carrizo means “reed” in Spanish.  Moving right along to part 2 of my watershed analysis:

 landing 3b

So the Canadian flows to the Arkansas (116th hit); on to the MM (841st hit). 

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) flight in from space:


Here’s a static GE shot showing (once again) my proximity to the TX / NM border:

 GE 1

Back up on my local landing map, you can see Stead & Sedan NM along with Texline, Ware & Dalhart TX.  One of my ALAD rules is that the town I feature must be in the state where I landed, thus eliminating Stead & Sedan NM from competition as my titular town.  Of course, I must find a hook (which eliminates Texline).  Here’s what The Handbook of Texas has to say about Ware:

WARE, TEXAS. Ware was thirteen miles northwest of Dalhart in southern Dallam County.

The operative word is “was.”  So, I’m left with Dalhart.  From Wiki:

Dalhart is a city in both Dallam and Hartley counties in the U.S. state of Texas.

OK class. Let’s put on our thinking caps.  Can anyone guess why Dalhart is called Dalhart? 

Here’s something of some interest about Dalhart from Wiki:

Dalhart was in the center of the Dust Bowl, an area adversely affected by a long period of drought and dust storms during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was here that Tex Thornton, operating on the now debunked concussion theory, coaxed today’s inflation adjusted equivalent of $1 million from the locals on claims he could fire rocket-powered explosives into the clouds and cause rain.

From the Handbook of Texas about Tex Thornton:

THORNTON, WARD A. “TEX” (1891–1949), well shooter and oilfield fire fighter.  He first traveled to the Texas Panhandle in 1920, while working with the United States Torpedo Company of Wichita Falls.

I’m going to interrupt to provide a little background about a well shooter and a torpedo (leaving cloud seeding aside for the moment).  I’ve borrowed this from Alexis Madrigal, writing for The Atlantic (8/21/13):

Before the fracking gas boom of the last 10 years, before the rise of mega oil companies, before the entire 20th century, actually, humans figured out how to increase the flow of fossil fuels from a well. It was simple: take an iron container about the size of a large thermos, stick some black powder or other explosives into it, stick a blasting cap on it, send it down the well, and then send a weight down to detonate it. BOOM. They called this, “Shooting the well!” And yes, I believe the “!” is required, as in Yahoo!

The process was first commercialized by Colonel E.A.L. Roberts in 1865, a veteran of the Civil War, and he soon formed the The Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company. But his success spawned a host of imitators (one of which is our hero, Tex Thornton).

Here’s a shot of Mr. Roberts’ 1865 patent:

torpedopatent from the atlantic

Back to the Handbook of Texas:

Thornton soon found that the limestone formations in the Panhandle oil and gas field necessitated the use of as much as 500 quarts of nitroglycerin to shoot each well. He established his own business, the Tex Thornton Torpedo Company.

The high gas content in the Panhandle field made a well shooter’s job particularly hazardous. More than once Thornton reportedly caught shells of nitro that were forced back up well holes by gas bubbles (hopefully avoiding explosions!).

The great amount of gas in the Panhandle field also made well fires a constant menace, and Thornton quickly gained a reputation as the man to put them out. Wherever there was danger of causing fires by using explosives, he used massive amounts of water and steam to smother the flames. This process usually took about three weeks, required twenty to thirty men, and employed fifty steam boilers.

The better-known and more spectacular mode called for extinguishing the blaze with a charge of nitroglycerine exploded over the burning well.  The blast choked off the oxygen and snuffed out the fire. The most dangerous part of the operation, however, was capping the still-blowing well.  Thornton’s exploits earned him fame as the “king of the oil-well fire fighters.”

It turns out that the rather extensive coverage of Tex Thornton in the Handbook of Texas presents very little about his cloud seeding:

During the 1930s he invented a device with which he sought to produce rain by bombing clouds, but with only limited success. His ability to make friends and his generosity were legendary. He was killed on June 22, 1949, by a pair of hitchhikers to whom he gave a ride, and was buried in Llano Cemetery in Amarillo.

Interesting that Wiki dug up the dirt about scamming a million dollars . . .

 There’s more of interest in Wiki about Dalhart:

At the Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart honors the memory of James R. Fox, Jr. (March 16, 1919—March 11, 1943), who flew supplies to China via the notorious “Hump Route” for Pan American Airways, then a joint Chinese and American company, during World War II. Fox and his two Chinese copilots were killed when their Douglas C-52 cargo plane crashed.  In 2002, the Peoples Republic of China made a bronze bust in Fox’s honor and presented it to Dalhart.

  Here’s a picture of the bust:

james r fox

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the Hump:

The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in China.

Airlift operations over the Hump accounted for 685,304 gross tons of cargo carried eastbound during hostilities, including 392,362 tons of gasoline and oil, with nearly 60% of that total delivered in 1945. Hump route aircraft made 156,977 trips eastbound between 1 December 1943, and 31 August 1945, losing 373 aircraft.

I was totally unaware that this airlift operation took place, much less the scale of it!  And take a deep breath and think about it.  Three hundred and seventy three aircraft were lost during this operation.  The scope of the operations and losses during WW II stagger the imagination.

Check out this old-style newsreel about the operation:


Back to Dalhart & Wiki:

The XIT Ranch was a cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle which operated from 1885 to 1912. Comprising over 3,000,000 acres of land, it ran for two hundred miles along the border with New Mexico [obviously, including my landing location], varying in width from 20 to 30 miles.

In 1879, the Texas Legislature appropriated 3,000,000 acres of land to finance a new state capitol. In 1882, the Legislature struck a bargain with Charles B. and John V. Farwell of Chicago, Illinois, under which the Farwells (with mostly British investors), agreed to build a new $3,000,000.00 Texas State Capitol in Austin and to accept the 3,000,000 acres of Panhandle land in payment.

Wow.  Think about it.  The Farwells got 3,000,000 acres at $1/acre!  Sounds like a good deal.  Continuing with Wiki:

The XIT ranch started operations in 1885.   The XIT brand was originated to thwart rustlers because it was hard to alter.  At its peak, the ranch handled 150,000 head of cattle within its 1,500 miles of fencing. The ranch also erected 325 windmills and 100 dams across its land.

However timing was bad for the XIT as cattle prices crashed in 1886 and 1887. By the fall of 1888, the ranch was unable to sell its cattle and make a profit. The cattle were constantly plagued by rustlers and predators, especially wolves leading to further losses for the syndicate.

In 1901, the syndicate that owned the ranch began selling off the land to pay foreign investors as the bonds became due. By 1905, most of the land was subdivided, with large tracts being sold to other cattlemen and small amounts of land being sold to farmers.

Here’s a cool shot from Wiki of XIT cowboys:


And what the heck.  Here’s what the state of Texas got for giving away 3,000,000 acres of dry panhandle land:


Of course, I checked out the local GE Panoramio shots, and I found one by Will Lyster, labeled “View from the backseat of my SR-71 over Clayton NM.”  The SR-71 was a high-tech high-altitude US Air Force surveillance plane that operated from 1964 until 1998.  Here’s a Wiki shot of what one looked like:

 Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird from wiki

So, getting back to Will Lyster’s shot.  Here ‘tis:

 pano SR-71 by Will Lyster

I messed with GE a little, and was able to come remarkably close to replicating the SR-71 shot:

 GE - SR-71

How about that . . . and by the way, you can just see the yellow pushpin for landing 2138 (Springfield CO, where I also landed in a Carrizo Creek watershed).

Less than two mile east of my landing is this Pano shot of Pronghorn Antelopes by Rusty Gilmore:


I’ll cheat a little, and close with a shot a few miles west of my landing (all right, all right, it’s in NM), by WornMatt:

 pano wornmatt


That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Philipsburg, Montana

Posted by graywacke on December 14, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2139; A Landing A Day blog post number 567.

Dan:  Back in the OSer dumps (now eight for nine), thanks to this landing in . . . MT; 123/103; 2/10; 5; 148.3.  What’s more, I’ve been in the West & Midwest for a bunch of landings.  East coast, New England, the Southeast?  Nada.  In fact, since landing 2112 in NJ, I’ve had 27 landings that include:

2 Michigans
2 Indianas
1 Missouri
1 Louisiana; and
21 solidly-western states.

Just sayin’ . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

My watershed analysis:

 landing 3

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Middle Fork of Rock Ck; on to Rock Ck; on to the Clark Fork (21st hit).  Here’s a broader view, showing that from the Clark Fork, we head to the Pend Oreille (23rd hit); and then to the mighty Columbia (153rd hit).

 landing 3b

Notice how the Pend Oreille (P.O.) heads up into Canada before it discharges into the Columbia (which is headed south out of Canada)?  It turns out that the P.O. discharges into the Columbia a few hundred yards north of the international boundary line.  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) shot, showing the “Boundary” hydroelectric dam – and yes, some of the kilowatts stay in Canada and some of them head south . . .

GE - mouth of pend oreille

There’s Street View coverage for the bridge that cross the P.O. right where it discharges into the Columbia.  Looking upstream towards the dam:

GE SV mouth of PO upstream

And downstream towards the Columbia (and maybe you can see a smidgeon of the U.S. in the far left background):

GE SV mouth of PO downstream

Getting back to my local watershed, here’s a GE Panaramio shot (by Steve Powell) of the Middle Fork of Rock Creek, just a half mile west of my landing:

 pano steve powell mid fk rock creek one half mile west

Speaking of GE, here’s my outer space-to-landing video:


Earlier in this post, I was mentioning that I seem to be landing more out west than back east.  As you’re coming in from outer space and the landing pushpins come into view, you can really see that the landing god seems to be preferring western landings.  FYI, Google Earth has saved my landing locations since landing 1976, so there are 2139-1976 = 163 yellow push pins.

So, I checked out Philipsburg, and found out precious little.  From Wiki:

The town was named after the famous mining engineer Philip Deidesheimer, who designed and supervised the construction of the ore smelter around which the town originally formed.

Old Phil is actually rather famous in mining engineering circles.  He invented “square set timbering” which allowed deep mining in unstable rock, including large silver ore bodies of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City NV.  Here’s an 1877 illustration of square set timbering, from Wiki:


Speaking of mining, there’s an active sapphire mine near Philipsburg (and actually very close to my landing).  I’m a geologist, but don’t know squat about gemstones.  My wife Jody (also a geologist) is much more gem-savvy.  She immediately told me that sapphires are a form of the mineral corundum, as are rubies.

Here’s some more from GemologyOnLine:


Al2O3  (aluminum oxide)

Corundum is an aluminum oxide that occurs in every color of the rainbow. When it is red it is termed a ruby. When it occurs in any other color it is termed a sapphire. There are two primary ways that corundum is formed. One is the metamorphosis of limestone (with high heat & pressure) and the other is an igneous (from molten) occurrence in rocks lacking in silica. Since corundum is so hard it is very resistant to weathering. Therefore, it accumulates in placer gravels.

Who’d a thunk that something that sounds as mundane as aluminum oxide is so exotic?  I mean really – iron oxide is rust!  But it turns out that aluminum oxide is very difficult to form (it requires high temperatures and pressures) and that once it forms, it is second only to diamonds in terms of hardness.

First a quick word about “hardness.”  Hardness very specifically refers to scratchability.  A diamond can scratch anything (leaving a mark); and nothing can scratch a diamond.  Corundum is second on the hardness list.  Anyway, here’s what Wiki has to say about the various colors:

Trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium can give corundum respectively blue, yellow, purple, orange, or green color.

The active sapphire mine I mentioned earlier is the Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine.  From their website:

The Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine is one of the largest, oldest, and best Sapphire Mines in the World.  You could call it the “Quiet Giant” of sapphire mines because it has produced over 180 million carats of sapphire for over 120 years without receiving much “press”.

Mining first started in 1892 with large stones exhibiting good color and clarity faceted as finished gemstones.  The small and fractured stones were sold by the ounce for industrial purposes.  The vast majority of early production targeted the uniform round small sapphires which were shipped to Switzerland for use as watch bearings.  The invention of synthetic sapphire curtailed the large scale mining operations but did not halt sapphire mining altogether.

Following WW II an active business developed for rock hounds to visit Gem Mountain and dig sapphires by hand.  In the mid 1960’s the owner formally opened the Chausee Sapphire Mine and began bringing sapphire gravel to the store.  The name was changed to Gem Mountain in the early 1980’s.  Today we continue over 50 years of sharing the excitement of allowing you to find genuine Montana Sapphires in a bucket of Gem Mountain Sapphire Gravel.

​Sapphire Mining is a lot easier today than it used to be.  In the old days you had to bring your own tools and equipment and dig and screen to find sapphires.  Today, we dig up the dirt for you and wash it to remove the big rocks and clay.  We haul gravel to the store by the dump truck load and sell it by the bucket.  The gravel is 100% natural; and you can tell when you see it: It’s dirty dirt.

When you purchase a gravel bucket from Gem Mountain you have the exact same odds of finding a large, high value, sapphire as we do at the mine.  Every year customers find tens of thousands of sapphires, and every year there are several hundred three carat or larger stones found that are worth hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars when finished as a cut and polished gemstone.​

We love visitors of all ages.  If you’re planning a vacation in Montana join us for a sapphire mining experience the whole family will enjoy. We’re Montana’s largest, oldest, and funnest Sapphire Mine, with the best facilities, equipment and fun loving, helpful staff.

You will find Sapphires, and for a small fee we will evaluate all of your sapphires and tell you which ones are gem quality.  Gem Quality stones can be Heat Treated to improve color and faceted to create a beautiful finished gemstone suitable for jewelry.  We are one of only two retail businesses in North America that own and operate our own heat treating furnaces for the color improvement in sapphire.  We facet almost 20,000 stones a year for visitors from all over the world.  Come and see us.  We looking forward to seeing you.

Also from their website is this shot of some loose sapphires from the mine:

gem mountain sapphires

From MtLily Gems.com:

You just bought a bucket of sapphire-containing concentrate from the nice people at Gem Mountain. They showed you how to screen and concentrate the gravel by jigging in a pool of water. You have skillfully flipped your screen onto a table top and you are ready to pluck up those sapphires! I’ve got the first on in my forceps. Can you “speck” the rest?

mt lily gems.com pic (no arrows)

If you are having trouble spotting the crystals, here’s some help:

mt lily gems.com pic

Here’s a shot of some finished sapphire gemstones from the Gem Mountain store in Philipsburg (from RockHoundBlog.com):

sapphires from the store rockhoundblog.com

I’ll close with this Pano shot (by Steve Powell) looking west towards Skalkaho Pass, which is located about 12 miles west of my landing past Gem Mountain.

 pano steve powell heading towards skalkaho pass

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Springfield, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on December 9, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2138; A Landing A Day blog post number 566.

Dan:  Phew.  It had to happen one of these landings.  After seven (count ‘em, seven) OSers in a row, finally a USer . . . CO; 72/73; 3/10; 4; 147.9.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local map shows a number of small towns.  Although not apparent, Springfield, my titular town, is by far the largest, with a population of nearly 1,500:

 landing 2

I landed a mere 10 miles north of “Three Corners,” a little-known geographical point way overshadowed by the famous Four Corners.  But think about it – it’s overshadowed with good reason.  There is one Four Corners, and dozens of Three Corners, although this one might be the only one with a monument – more about that later.

Here’s my Google Earth trip in from outer space:


My watershed analysis:

 landing 3

I landed in the East Carrizo Creek watershed; on to the North Carrizo; on to the Cimarron River (16th hit); on to the Arkansas R (115th hit); on to the MM (840th hit).  FYI, the Arkansas (with 115 hits) is in a solid 6th place on my river hits list, well behind the Ohio (132 hits) yet well ahead of the St. Lawrence (95 hits).

Here’s a lovely GE Panoramio shot of the East Carrizo (by Plainstipi), just two miles west of my landing:

 pano plainstipi corrizo 1

Anyway, I Googled all of the little towns, but could really find no hooks. But it turns out that I featured Springfield Colorado in an April 2009 ALAD post (landing 1716).  Back then, all 1716 of my landing locations were saved on my Street Atlas map.   Check out this map from that post:

old post 4

The N37 W102 is landing 1716.  Continuing from that post:

Springfield is yet another one of those late-19th century towns that sprang up all over the Great Plains, tied to the expansion of railroads.  But, they’ve got a good local website, where I got the following back-in-the-day pictures. Here are a couple of really-old Main St. shots:

old post 1


old post 2

And here’s a dustbowl shot of Sringfield from the 1930s:


Anyway, this time around, I couldn’t find any good Springfield hooks, although Wiki noted that the town was named for Springfield MO, the place of origin of a number of the early settlers.  OK, so I Googled Springfield MO, and found this, from Wiki:

The origin of the name Springfield remains unclear; however, the most common view is that the city was named for Springfield, Massachusetts. One account holds that a James Wilson, who lived in the then-unnamed city, offered free whiskey to everyone who would vote for naming it after his home town of Springfield, Massachusetts.

So, moving right along to Springfield, Mass.  Many references tell us that Springfield Massachusetts was found by one William Pynchon (in 1636), and that Mr. Pynchon named it after his home town in Essex, England. 

A little research shows that Springfield, Essex ain’t much these days.  More or less, it’s a suburb of Chelmsford, about 40 miles east of London.  Springfield (of course) has been around for ever, but it’s historical structures are pretty much gone, replaced by modern, typicallly-suburban architecture.  What seems to remain is the All Saints Anglican church.  Here’s a Panoramio picture of the church by Peter Meadows:

 pano Peter Meadows all saints church

From the church’s website (AllSaintsSpringfield.org.uk), here’s some of the church’s history:

The nave of All Saints’ was built in the late 11th century by Ralph de Peverell, reputedly a natural son of William the Conqueror. During the 14th century the nave was extended to its present length, the chancel was rebuilt, and the tower was added, though the tower had to be rebuilt in 1586 following a partial collapse.

The original church has been altered and expanded over the centuries:  Roman bricks, tiles and flint can still be seen in the fabric of the walls which are over three feet thick at the base.

The website also had a historical brochure.  Note in particular the Piscina (#4), dating from 1307; the Font, dating from 1220; and the “very ancient” priest’s door with sundials:

 church guide

If you (like me) have no clue what a piscina is, here’s what Wiki has to say:

A piscina is a shallow basin placed near the altar of a church, or else in the vestry or sacristy, used for washing the communion vessels.

Very cool old church.  And just imagine; William Pynchon, who started this whole Springfield craze, sat in the pews here.  I won’t go overboard, but here’s a little about Mr. Pynchon.

He was born in 1590 and came over to America in search of religious freedom.  He settled in Roxbury MA, but wasn’t happy with the rocky soil.  He went on a search, and found fertile soils along the Connecticut River, and decided to start a town there.  He named it Springfield.  He was quite the businessman (including trading with the Indians), and was very successful.

He took time out of his busy life to write a book – about religion.  It went against the Puritan orthodoxy – something about atonement, where he claimed (according to Wiki) that obedience, rather than punishment and suffering, was the price of atonement (whatever that means).  Here’s the book:

 William Pynchon's book cover

The powers-that-be of the Puritan church evidently didn’t have to go past the cover to decide to ban (and burn) the book.  Only a handful of originals survived the book burning (one of which is pictured above).   How dare he have a different opinion about atonement!  Ironically, Pynchon headed back to England in search of religious freedom.

I was generally aware that Springfield is one of the most common of all U.S. place names.  This, from Wiki:

Springfield is a famously common place-name in the English-speaking world, especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Geological Survey there are:

  • 34 cities / towns in 25 states named Springfield throughout the United States; and
  • At least 36 Springfield Townships, including 11 in Ohio

All this, because William Pynchon was from Springfield.  And, of course, the Simpsons live in Springfield:


Getting back to my landing location, here are several Panoramio shots from near my landing.  I’ll start with this shot of the Three Corners Monument located 10 miles south of my landing:

 pano Vagabond_Chimp 3 corners missing NM

Here’s a classic dirt road shot, from a few miles north of my landing (by Mr. Goose Skin):

 pano mr goose skin a few miles north

From six miles south of my landing (photo by RobAWalker), here’s some ancient Indian rock art:

 pano RobAWalker 6 miles south

Heading five miles north of my landing, you can find this barn (photo by RRGaines):

 pano RRGaines 5 mi N

Offering up another East Carrito Creek by Plainstipi, here’s a shot of the East Carrizo Creek Valley, just two miles west of my landing:

pano plainstipi carrizo 2 

I’m going back to my 2009 landing to finish this post.  Here’s what I had to say as I closed that post:

But here’s the ultimate: an amazing photo taken outside of Springfield.  This is the best weather shot that I’ve come across here on ALAD (notice the shadow of the photographer). 

I wasn’t very good at referencing photos back then.  This absolutely outstanding shot was the November 6, 2006 “Earth Science Picture of the Day” from the United Space Research Association website.  Anyway, it’s one of my all-time favorites:



That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Lewellen, Nebraska (and the nearby Sandhills)

Posted by graywacke on December 5, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2137; A Landing A Day blog post number 565.

Dan:  The March of the OSers continues (we’re up to seven in a row and counting) . . . NE; 59/54; 2/10; 3; 148.5.  Just for the record, I had seven OSers in a row not too long ago (January 2014).  Checking further back, I had eight OSers in a row in July 2010. . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2a

My watershed map shows that I landed in the Blue Creek watershed; on to the North Platte River (28th hit); on to the Platte (61st hit):

 landing 3

Of course, the Platte makes its way to the Missouri (388th hit) and then to the MM (838th hit).

Here’s a Google Earth (GE) Street View shot of Blue Creek, south of my landing just upstream from the North Platte:

 GE SV Blue Ck @ Lewellen

Speaking of the North Platte, here’s a Street View shot of the North Platte (just south of Oshkosh):

 GE SV n platte @ oshkosh

This neck of the woods seemed familiar as I zoomed out my landing map.  I quickly remembered why, as I saw (only 50 miles away) my landing from just a couple of weeks ago (landing 2134, my “Rocks” post):

 landing 2b

Here’s my Google Earth trip from outer space:


Hmmm.  Peculiar-looking landscape, eh?  Here’s a zoomed back GE shot:

 GE 1

It turns out that I landed on the south edge of the Nebraska Sandhills.  Even though I’ve landed in and near the Sandhills before, I’ve never featured them.  So here goes. 

First (of course), I need a map:


From TheNebraskaSandHills.com (with some geological edits by yours truly):

The Nebraska Sandhills is [are?] one of the most unique areas in the world. Spanning almost 20,000 square miles (one-fourth the area of Nebraska), it is the largest sand dune formation in the Western Hemisphere.

At the end of the last ice age, massive floods of glacial meltwater flowed eastward away from the Rockies.  This meltwater flood carried and then deposited immense volumes of sand over wide areas.  The wind took hold of the loose sand, blowing it into vast dunes that stretched across western Nebraska and neighboring southern South Dakota.  Precipitation and a more temperate climate allowed grassland plants to take root in the shifting sand, eventually stabilizing the dunes and holding them in place.

Throughout the history of the Sandhills, major droughts have occurred several times, resulting in less plant life and more exposure of the sands to the wind. Consequently, various dune areas have shifted during the past several thousand years. In more recent times, the Sandhills have been carefully managed by cattle ranchers in order to preserve the stability of the dunes so that they do not revert back to a desert-like state.

As you might imagine, when it rains (or when the snow melts) on these very sandy soils, most of the water soaks in and feeds the groundwater system.  That’s why there are almost no creeks or rivers in the Sandhills.  Rather, the water simply soaks in the ground and supplies water to underground aquifers. 

Here’s a cross-section of a portion of the Sandhills (from U of Nebraska – Lincoln), showing that wetlands / lakes exist where the topography is lower than the water table.  The wetlands & lakes are labeled “subirrigated meadow” for some obscure geologic reason.  It also shows infiltrating water “recharging” deeper aquifers.  (And it’s very important to recharge those deep aquifers because that’s where a lot of water comes from for crop irrigation). 

sandhills cross section university of Neb - omaha

The wetlands and lakes make the Sandhills a critical habitat for migrating water birds.  But hey – I’m a geologist (and I featured ducks not so long ago) – so, I’ll stick with geology.  The NebraskaSandhills.com website had a section on blowouts.  What’s a blowout, one might ask . . .

Blowouts are sandy areas where rapid wind erosion literally “blows out” a hole in the surface of the landscape. Blowouts are found scattered throughout all of the Sandhills and vary in size. They may be anywhere from a few feet in circumference to a few hundred feet.

Blowouts occur in areas where plants and their stabilizing roots become depleted, exposing the sandy soil to the wind. A particular grass species (Sandhill Muhly) typically can stabilize a blow-out, although the process of stabilization may take many years.

From the same website, here a couple of blowout pictures:



I know, I know.  You could build a golf course and not spend much on sand traps . . .

Anyway, here are a couple of Sandhills pictures (not all that close to my landing, but cool shots).  I’ll start with a classic Wiki shot:

 Nebraska_Sandhills wiki

And then this, from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where you can really see the dunes:

 university of nebraska at lincoln

Of course, I Googled Oshkosh & Lewellen.  I couldn’t find anything about Oshkosh, but for Lewellen, Wiki mentioned a nearby Indian battle.  A little research revealed a nasty battle along the North Platte, near the Blue Creek confluence.  The battle is known as the Battle of Ash Hollow, or the Battle of Blue Water Creek.  From Wiki:

The events were catalyzed by a Mormon emigrant’s losing a cow while traveling with his party on the Oregon Trail; the animal wandered into a Brulé Lakota camp. A Sioux named High Forehead killed the cow for food. The Mormon farmer reported the cow as stolen to Army officers at Fort Laramie.

The fort’s commander sent out an inexperienced officer, Lieutenant John Lawrence Grattan, said to be contemptuous of the Indians, to arrest High Forehead, although such matters related to livestock and relations with settlers were supposed to be handled by the Indian Agent. Grattan vowed to take the wanted Indian “at all hazards” and took along thirty men and artillery.

Grattan pressed the chief to surrender the Sioux man. One of his soldiers shot the chief Conquering Bear in the back and killed him. In the ensuing battle, the Sioux killed Grattan and twenty-nine of his men.

President Franklin Pierce vowed to avenge the Grattan Massacre, as it was called by the press. The War Department appointed Harney in command with instructions to “whip the Indians.”

Harney’s expedition set out in August 1855. On September 1, 1855, the expedition caught up with a Sioux encampment along the North Platte River in a place known as Blue Waters [along Blue Creek near Lewellen]. Harney sent a regiment in a long night flanking maneuver to set up a blocking position against which he would drive the Sioux. The flanking maneuver was led by Lieutenant Colonel Philip Cooke.

Harney moved up in the morning to drive the Sioux against Cooke, although he first attempted to parlay with the Sioux. However, his demands to hand over the men responsible for the Grattan attack were rebuffed. The Sioux felt justified in having killed Grattan and his men as they had shot first.  During the parlay, several Sioux braves discovered Cooke’s men.

Upon the Sioux discovery of Cooke’s men, Harney opened the fight by attacking the Sioux camp. Some of the Sioux took refuge in caves along the river. Harney had his men fire into the caves, where they killed many women and children.

Among other American participants of the battle was Gouverneur K. Warren, who noted in his diary the horror of killing women and children.

Here’s a little more, from a book entitled The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis & Clark to Wounded Knee, by Jeffrey Ostler:

 indian battle from book

As has happened many times before while researching Indian history at my various landings, I find my self at a loss for words . . .

As I mentioned above, the battle is sometimes referred as the Battle of Ash Hollow.  There’s a state park there with two attractions.  One is a hillside down to the North Platte Valley, known as Windlass Hill.  The Oregon Trail made it’s way down the hill, and to this day, you can still see the trail ruts!  Here’s a Wiki pic:

 CC-24therd-Windless Hill-WestNebraska.com wagon ruts

And then there are some cool rock formations (including the caves where the Indians hid and a cave with evidence of very old Native American habitation).  Anyway, here’s an Ash Hollow shot from Wiki:


I’ll close with this great shot of an old bridge over the North Platte (from Wiki):


That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Ruth (revisited) and Jakes Valley, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on December 1, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or 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 2136; A Landing A Day blog post number 564.

Dan:  OK.  This is getting out of hand.  Six OSers in a row, with this landing in . . . NV; 85/77; 3/10; 2; 148.1.  The odds are roughly 50/50 OS/US, so six in a row = one chance in 26 = one chance in 64.  Enough already.

Anyway, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed fairly close to Ruth, Lane & Ely:

 landing 2

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) landing video:


Zooming back a little, you can see Ruth, Jakes Valley and the low spot where drainage from my landing ends up:

 GE 1

Speaking of the low spot, there’s a low spot in the valley labeled “Circle Wash” on StreetAtlas.  I Googled Circle Wash, and I found this hilarious website:

circle wash fishing

Just imagine how many other places one could find where “there are no fish here.”  Anyway, while perusing GE (and after I had turned on the “roads” function), I saw this about a mile south of my landing:

 GE 2

Old Lincoln Highway, eh?  As regular readers know, I’ve landed near the Lincoln Highway a number of times and have featured it in several posts, including Hazen NV, Earling IA, Truckee CA, Tippett NV, Dugway UT, and Dugway UT (revisisted).  Anyway, the Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast road that could be negotiated by the automobile.  It was completed in 1913.

For this part of Nevada, nearly all of the references say that the Lincoln Highway follows Route 50, which it did in the 1920s.  But not in 1913!  In 1913, the road followed the route I’ve added in white (which includes the portion shown on the above photo):

 GE old lincoln highway

The road still exists, except for the far western end and the whole section around Ruth, which was obliterated by the mining operations (I just guessed at its location there).

From the University of Michigan Lincoln Highway photo archives is this back-in-the-day shot taken quite close to my landing:

old LHW shot

Here’s a shot of what the road looks like now (by Dale Southern, as posted in SierraTraveler.com):


Imagine crossing Jakes Valley on a dirt road in a Model T . . .

It turns out that I landed near Ruth back in February of 2009.  I started A Landing A Day in November of 2008, and this Ruth landing was just my 63rd post.  Click HERE to learn all about Ruth (it’s a cool post!).

Here’s a shot from that post of the town (from Sangres.com):


Since that post, I found this back-in-the-day shot (from IHPWorkshops.com):

IHPworkshops.com town back in the day

Also – my old post stated that the mine closed in 1999 (correct) and is still closed (incorrect).  It’s open and here’s a Panoramio shot by Thomas Galenbeck of the current mining operation:

 pano thomas galenbeck the liberty pit

And a current (and definitely not very exciting) video by Grover Cleveland of a dump truck dumping mine tailings:


Here’s a 1940 picture from my earlier post of which I am particularly fond:


Something else that I missed before was the Stephen King connection with Ruth.  From Wiki:

Stephen King was inspired to write Desperation as a result of a cross-country drive in 1991, during which he visited the small desert community of Ruth, Nevada, near U.S. 50. His first thought was that the town’s inhabitants were all dead. He then wondered who had killed them, and the idea occurred to him that the town’s sheriff had done so.


I’m reading Desperation, and it is creepy indeed.

I’ll close with this Pano shot by QWilleran of Route 50 as it crosses the northern end of Jakes Valley:

 pano qwilleran

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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