First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days 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 2185; A Landing A Day blog post number 613.
Dan: Phew. A USer . . . IN; 24/26; 3/10; 7; 151.0. My regional landing map:
My local landing might give you a clue as to why Terre Haute made it as my titular town:
To remove all doubt, I’ll zoom back a little:
Before moving on to Google Earth (and yes, Street View is very exciting!), I’ll finish up my watershed analysis. Terre Haute is a river town, and that’s the Wabash River on the above map (25th hit). Here’s a streams-only map, showing that the Wabash at Terre Haute is not the state boundary line, but is just north of where that happens:
Expanding the view by quite a lot, we see the following:
The Wabash discharges into the Ohio (135th hit); on, of course, to the MM (855th hit). Staying with the above map, notice how rivers and state lines coincide all over the place?
Here’s the breakdown:
IN / IL
MO / IL
MO / KY
AK / TN
KY / IN
KY / IL
KY / TN
St. Francis R
AK / MO
There are four triple points on the map:
IN / KY / IL (river river river)
KY / MO / IL (river river river)
MO / TN / KY (river river straight line)
AK / MO / TN (river river straight line)
Triple point trivia: There are 56 triple points (not counting international boundaries) among the lower 48. Missouri and Tennessee are tied with the most triple points, at 8 apiece. Kentucky is in second place with 7. Last, with zero, is Maine. (I didn’t look this up. I did all of the leg work myself!)
Moving right along to my GE trip:
My next order of business is to get a GE close-up:
If you think that I should have an excellent Street View shot of my landing, you’re right. Looking north on N 13th Street, here ‘tis:
Looking south on N 13th Street, here ‘tis:
I tried to find something about “Hair Machine,” but couldn’t really find anything. They don’t have a website, and I couldn’t find any reviews. Oh, well.
When I land near (or in, as in the case) a large town or city, it’s often a little tough to decided what to write about. But I realized how close I was to Indiana State University, as you see below:
This isn’t the more famous Indiana University in Bloomington; I suspect that ISU plays second fiddle to IU (as Ohio University does to Ohio State University).
But as I familiarized myself with the campus, I grew to like it. Although it’s right in the middle of Terre Haute, it has some beautiful open green spaces that I captured with GE Street View. Here’s one:
And in a different part of the campus, here’s another:
While perusing the campus with GE, I saw this peculiar location (highlighted in yellow), not far from my landing:
Here’s a closer-in view. It’s still peculiar and mysterious looking:
I went to a campus map and discovered that the building is called the Michael Simmons Student Activity Center, and the area with the track is known as “Recreation East.” From the college website, here’s a picture:
What in the heck is going on?!? Is that someone on a tricycle? Yes it is, and Cindy May (historian) wrote a piece on the university website about the annual Sycamore Tricycle Derby (aka the Trike Derby). I’ve done some editing for briefness’ sake, but here’s some of the story:
On October 11, 1963 at 3:15 p.m. the students, faculty and staff of Indiana State College witnessed an event destined to become one of the university’s most enduring traditions—The Sycamore Tricycle Derby. “The spectator interest in the Derby was very high,” reported the Indiana Statesman. “[People] were lined up four and five deep all around the track, hanging out of classroom windows, and standing on top of buildings so that they could get a good view of the race.”
The race was run on the sidewalk around the main Quad for four years using children’s tricycles. Teams consisted of both men’s and women’s organizations, derived from sororities, fraternities, and residence hall students. During the four years on the small tricycles, students began to take the race seriously. They sought a more competitive challenge and wanted a faster paced race. Although no one knew it at the time, the “Trike Race” would become an integral part of Indiana State University’s homecoming tradition.
[Through the years, the venue changed and the tricycles were larger and more serious racing machines. The popularity of the event only grew through the years. Eventually, in 2000, the race moved to its current location.]
In 2004 the Trike Committee in collaboration with Indiana State University’s Facilities Management Staff painted permanent pit and racing lines on the track at Recreation East.
The Michael Simmons Student Activities Center stands in testament to the endurance of a homecoming tradition. Dedicated on October 21, 2005, the building contains the Susan Bareford Memorial Classroom, storage for the trikes, restrooms, bleachers for onlookers, and a covered observation deck.
The impact of the Sycamore Tricycle Derby on its proponents is indelible. Riders across the decades speak passionately of the experience. Dedication, hard work, persistence, courage, cooperation, camaraderie, bonds that last a lifetime, all describe the meaning of trike to its participants
From its “kick-in-the-butt” origins in 1963 to its sophisticated organization in the twenty-first century, the Sycamore Tricycle Derby endures as a homecoming tradition at Indiana State University.
How about that? ISU actually built the facility for the once-a-year tricycle race! Check this out – it’s pretty intense:
Among people who no doubt enjoyed the Trike Derby is Indiana State University alumnus Larry Bird. From Wiki:
Bird received a scholarship to play college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers in 1974. After less than a month on campus, he dropped out of school, finding the adjustment between his small hometown and the large student population of Bloomington to be overwhelming.
[Take that, Indiana Hoosiers!]
He returned to French Lick, enrolling in a community college and working municipal jobs for a year before enrolling at Indiana State University in 1975.
[And he went to ISU! In your face, Indiana!]
He had a hugely successful three-year career with the Sycamores, helping them reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history and leading them to the championship game against Michigan State in 1979.
[Indiana wasn’t even in the tournament that year!]
Indiana State would lose the game 75–64. The game achieved the highest ever rating for a college basketball game in large part because of the match-up between Bird and Spartans’ point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a rivalry that lasted throughout their professional careers.
Despite failing to win the championship, Bird earned a slew of year-end awards and honors for his outstanding play including the Naismith College Player of the Year Award.
For his college career, he averaged 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, leading the Sycamores to an 81–13 record during his tenure.
Just a side note. I’m a Philly guy, and I remember that during the 1979 tournament, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn, not Penn State) did incredibly well, considering their lowly basketball status as an Ivy League team. They beat Iona (sorry, Iona, but no big deal). But they then went on to beat North Carolina (#1 seed), Syracuse and St. John’s, making it to the Final Four. Then they got blown away by Magic Johnson and Michigan State. Still – a great run!
I’ll leave Larry Bird now, and not continue with his great Boston Celtics pro career. But I’ll close this segment with a November 1977 Sports Illustrated cover featuring Bird (his Junior year):
The infamous SI jinx did not hold true for Larry . . .
Before leaving basketball altogether, let me mention that the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden spent two years as coach at ISU (1946 – 1948). He went on to UCLA from ISU.
While perusing GE Panoramio shots, I found this, by Robert Maihofer II:
This is the home of Eugene V. Debs, famous Union Leader and Socialist (5-times Socialist Party candidate for President of the U.S.), and it’s right on the campus. From Wiki:
The Eugene V. Debs House, on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, was a home of the famous union leader. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
Debs and his wife, Kate, built the two-story frame house in 1890, after their fifth wedding anniversary. Debs was criticized for the house not portraying working-class lifestyle; his wife was a beneficiary of her wealthy aunt’s will and could furnish the house affluently.
After Debs’ death, the house would see different owners. One was a professor at Indiana State University. It was used as the Theta Chi fraternity house from 1948–1961, and briefly was let as apartments. In 1962 the home was bought by the Eugene V. Debs Foundation, which continues to own the house.
Amazing that the house survived its tenure as a frat house . . .
Debs was quite the character. An outspoken socialist his entire life, he spent some years in prison. From Wiki:
Debs’ speeches against the Wilson administration and the war (WW I) earned the enmity of President Woodrow Wilson, who later called Debs a “traitor to his country.” On June 16, 1918, Debs made a speech in Canton, Ohio, urging resistance to the military draft of World War I. He was arrested on June 30 and charged with ten counts of sedition. He went to jail in April 1919.
While Debs was in prison, Wilson wrote:
“While the flower of American youth was pouring out its blood to vindicate the cause of civilization, this man, Debs, stood behind the lines sniping, attacking, and denouncing them….This man was a traitor to his country and he will never be pardoned during my administration.”
In January 1921, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, citing Debs’ deteriorating health, proposed to Wilson that Debs receive a presidential pardon freeing him on February 12, Lincoln’s birthday. Wilson returned the paperwork after writing “Denied” across it.
On December 23, 1921, President Harding commuted Debs’ sentence to time served, effective Christmas Day. He did not issue a pardon. A White House statement summarized the administration’s view of Debs’ case:
“There is no question of his guilt….He was by no means as rabid and outspoken in his expressions as many others, and but for his prominence and the resulting far-reaching effect of his words, very probably might not have received the sentence he did. He is an old man, not strong physically. He is a man of much personal charm and impressive personality, which qualifications make him a dangerous man calculated to mislead the unthinking and affording excuse for those with criminal intent.”
When Debs was released from the Atlanta Penitentiary, the other prisoners sent him off with “a roar of cheers” and a crowd of 50,000 greeted his return to Terre Haute to the accompaniment of band music. En route home, Debs was warmly received at the White House by Harding, who greeted him by saying: “Well, I’ve heard so damned much about you, Mr. Debs, that I am now glad to meet you personally.”
I’ll close with this GE Panoramio shot of a sunset over the Wabash River, shot from Fairbanks Park (by Michael Gerringer):
That’ll do it.
© 2015 A Landing A Day