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Archive for September, 2015

Sigourney and What Cheer, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on September 27, 2015

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 2214; A Landing A Day blog post number 642.

Dan:  My Score slipped back up to 150, thanks to this OSer landing in . . . IA; 46/41; 4/10; 2; 150.0.  Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map, which shows how close to Sigourney I landed:

landing 2a

I’ll need to zoom back a little to give you a look at the second titular town, What Cheer:

landing 2b

Here’s my watershed analysis:

landing 3

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the North Skunk River (2nd hit); on to the Skunk (6th hit); on to the MM (863rd hit).

Time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to SE IA (click below and then hit your back button after view):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coivlDfwC3&w=820&v=3

Of course, as always I checked out GE Street View coverage.  It’s not very good at all.  Come on Googlemobile, you need a trip to the greater Sigourney area!  Anyway, I was able to find a Street View shot of the North Skunk River, not far south of Sigourney:

GE SV map

And here’s what the orange dude’s view of the North Skunk:

GE SV N skunk

So, it’s time to check out Sigourney.  From Wiki:

Sigourney (pronounced “SIGG-ur-nee”) was founded in 1844 and the town was named by county commissioner Dr. George H. Stone in honor of popular poet Lydia Sigourney. A large oil-painted portrait of Lydia still graces the foyer of the county courthouse.

Don’t gloss over the pronunciation.  In particular, note the accent on the first syllable!  Say it out loud to appreciate how grating it would be Sigourney Weaver to have her first name pronounced that way . . .

So the town is named after a poet!  This wouldn’t be my first experience with a town named after a poet – after all, Burns, Oregon is named after the Scottish poet Robert Burns – and I’ve landed there twice.  But I’ve heard of Robert Burns and I’ve never heard of Lydia Sigourney.  But son of a gun, she has a robust Wiki entry.  Here are some excerpts:

Sigourney

Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791 – 1865) was a popular American poet during the early and mid 19th century.  She published her first book “Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse” in 1815.

In 1819, she married Charles Sigourney, and after her marriage chose to write anonymously in “leisure” time.  It was not several years later (when her husband had lost some of his former affluence) that she began to write as an occupation and began to write openly as Mrs. Sigourney.

Her main themes included old age, death, responsibility, religion and work. She often wrote elegies or poems for recently deceased neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. Her work is one example of Victorian-era death literature which views death as an escape to a better place, especially for children.

A contemporary critic called her work, infused with morals, “more like the dew than the lightning”.  She enjoyed substantial popularity in her lifetime.

Since her death, her writings largely have been forgotten. When remembered, she has been criticized for being shallow or for catering to the society in which she lived where women were expected to avoid public lives. For example, much of her writing is referred to as “hack work” by Haight, her only biographer.

However, according to Nineteenth Century Criticism, “recently… there has been a renewed interest in Sigourney, particularly among feminist literary scholars who have studied Sigourney’s successful attempt to establish herself as a distinctly American and distinctly female poet.

“She was one of the most popular writers of her day, both in America and in England; her writings were characterized by fluency, grace and quiet reflection on nature, domestic and religious life, and philanthropic questions; but they were too often sentimental, didactic and commonplace to have much literary value.”

Some of her most popular work deals with Native American issues and injustices and one of her most successful poems was ‘Indian Names.’

Her influence was tremendous. She inspired many young women to attempt to become poets.  She contributed more than two thousand articles to many (nearly 300) periodicals and some 67 books.

There you have it.  The part about “Native American issues and injustices” caught my eye, and specific mention of the poem Indian Names.  Well, here it is.  If you (like me) are regularly bothered by the history of white Americans’ treatment of Indians, you’ll read this carefully . . .

INDIAN NAMES

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney

‘How can the red men be forgotten, while so many of our states and territories, bays, lakes, and rivers, are indelibly stamped by names of their giving?’
Ye say they all have passed away,
That noble race and brave,
That their light canoes have vanished
From off the crested wave;
That ’mid the forests where they roamed
There rings no hunter shout,
But their name is on your waters,
Ye may not wash it out.

’Tis where Ontario’s billow
Like Ocean’s surge is curled,
Where strong Niagara’s thunders wake
The echo of the world.
Where red Missouri bringeth
Rich tribute from the west,
And Rappahannock sweetly sleeps
On green Virginia’s breast.

Ye say their cone-like cabins,
That clustered o’er the vale,
Have fled away like withered leaves
Before the autumn gale,
But their memory liveth on your hills,
Their baptism on your shore,
Your everlasting rivers speak
Their dialect of yore.

Old Massachusetts wears it,
Within her lordly crown,
And broad Ohio bears it,
Amid his young renown;
Connecticut hath wreathed it
Where her quiet foliage waves,
And bold Kentucky breathed it hoarse
Through all her ancient caves.

Wachuset hides its lingering voice
Within his rocky heart,
And Alleghany graves its tone
Throughout his lofty chart;
Monadnock on his forehead hoar
Doth seal the sacred trust,
Your mountains build their monument,
Though ye destroy their dust.

Ye call these red-browned brethren
The insects of an hour,
Crushed like the noteless worm amid
The regions of their power;
Ye drive them from their father’s lands,
Ye break of faith the seal,
But can ye from the court of Heaven
Exclude their last appeal?

Ye see their unresisting tribes,
With toilsome step and slow,
On through the trackless desert pass
A caravan of woe;
Think ye the Eternal’s ear is deaf?
His sleepless vision dim?
Think ye the soul’s blood may not cry
From that far land to him?
I like it.

It’s time to move on to a town with an incredibly unique/puzzling name:  What Cheer.  I would suspect that only Providence RI readers might have a clue as to why a town might be named What Cheer, as you’ll see.  I’ll start with an excerpt from Wiki:

It is likely that Joseph Andrews [one of the founders] chose the name because of his native town of Providence, RI.  A founding myth of Providence goes like this:  when Roger Williams arrived at the site that would become Providence in 1636, he was greeted by Narragansett Native Americans with the phrase “What Cheer, Netop.”

Netop is the Narragansett word for friend, and the Narragansetts had picked up the “what cheer” greeting from earlier English settlers.  Through the years, “What Cheer” and “What Cheer, Netop” have become the shibboleth of Rhode Island.

Here’s a little more from the National Park Service site for the Roger Williams National Memorial:

In a canoe with several others, Roger scouted the area across the Seekonk River. They spotted a group of Narragansett on a large rock, known afterwards as Slate Rock. As they approached the Narragansett greeted them by calling out: “What Cheer Netop!” This greeting is a combination of English and Narragansett languages. ‘What cheer’ was an informal common English greeting of the day, short for ‘what cheery news do you bring’ and today’s equivalent of “what’s up?’’ “Netop” is the Narragansett word for friend.

A quick web search shows that What Cheer lives on.  There’s a What Cheer Tavern, a What Cheer record store, the What Cheer Brigade, a musical band (basically all horns), and the Rhode Island Historical Society has its annual “What Cheer Days” festival.

Before moving on, did you notice Wiki’s use of the word “shibboleth,” having to do with the association between the city of Providence and the phrase What Cheer.  I have never heard of the word shibboleth.  For those of my readers who, like me, don’t have a clue, here’s a definition from Meriam Webster:

  1. an old idea, opinion, or saying that is commonly believed and repeated but that may be seen as old-fashioned or untrue
  2. a word or way of speaking or behaving which shows that a person belongs to a particular group

Moving back to Sigourney (remember to pronounce it correctly!), here’s a GE Panoramio shot from the center of town entitled “2010 Recreation of Historic 1908 Panoramic” by 480sparky:

pano 480sparky - 2010 recreate 1908 pano

So, of course, I rolled up my sleeves and found the historic 1908 panoramic:

1908 pano

Good work, Sparky!

I’ll close with some Panoramio shots around Sigourney.  To give you an idea of the local landscape, here’s a shot by Knights532 of a road just east of town:

pano knights532

Here’s another roadway shot (a little further east) by ahiah01:

pano ahiah01

I’ll close with this moody view of the Keokuk County courthouse in Sigourney by Patrick Eldridge:

pano patrick eldredge

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Kaiparowits Plateau, Utah

Posted by graywacke on September 22, 2015

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 2213; A Landing A Day blog post number 641.

Dan:  Doh! (per Homer).  Yet another landing in this most prolific of OSers . . . UT; 84/61; 4/10; 1; 149.7.

OK, here comes one of my tedious analyses:  Since landing 2153 (61 landings ago), I have landed in Utah 8 times.  That’s 13.1% of those 61 landings.  Utah is a measly 2.8% of the land area of the lower 48.  That means that over this span, I’ve landed in Utah about 4.7 times as often as I should have. . .

Anyway, here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map, which gives you a clue as to why a town was not selected to be titular:

landing 2

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to south central UT.  On the way in, pay attention to the body of water south of my landing.  Click here and then hit the back button after viewing:

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coiZFKfURB&w=820&v=3

So, the body of water I asked you to pay attention to is Lake Powell, which is the reservoir behind the Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado River.  No surprise here, but it turns out that I did in fact land in the watershed of the Colorado (174th hit).  I did a little work with GE to figure out the drainage from my landing to Lake Powell.  I’ll start with this shot showing the steep valley in which I landed:

GE 1

Here’s a GE shot tracing my drainage down to Lake Powell:

GE watershed 1

Based on the title of some GE Panoramio photos, I’m guessing that I landed in the watershed of the Little Valley Creek (the right branch), on to the Last Chance Creek (the left branch), and then on to the Colorado.  There are plenty of photos of Last Chance Bay that I’ll save until later.

Here’s a GE shot showing that Lake Powell is a very, very long lake:

GE watershed 2 Lk Powell

And it’s apparent that the lake filled a very steep landscape – you can see that the lake isn’t very wide at all.  Also, you can’t even tell where the dam is!  (It’s near the southwestern end of the yellow line on the above map.)  I’ll zoom in with GE to give you a closer look:

Untitled

Think about it:  it’s amazing that the river is just as wide downstream of the dam as upstream!  

I realized that I landed out in the middle of a vast wilderness, and I was almost certain that I hadn’t landed in S-Cen Utah since I began blogging (landing 1583, November 2008).  Since I keep track of such things, I did a search for UT; S-Cen, and found that in fact it had been since June 2004 (landing 483) that I landed in S-Cen Utah.

So what’s here?  Well, here’s a map (note my landing location and the scale):

escalante_map

So I landed in the Kaiparowits Plateau portion of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  Harumpf.  I think it should be called the Grand Staircase-Kaiparowits-Escalante National Monument.  OK.  Just because Kaiparowits sounds like the name of a Jewish family from Long Island doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get its rightful place in the name of the National Monument.

So where did the name come from?  In more than one source, I found that it is (might be?) a Piute word for “Big Mountain’s Little Brother.”  Well, a plateau certainly isn’t just a mountain, so on the face of it, the name “Kaiparowits” doesn’t make sense for a huge plateau feature.

But I did a little more research and found that a mountain called Canaan Peak is also known as Kaiparowits Peak (el. 9,320), at the northern edge of the plateau (fairly close to Henrieville on the above map).  So at least I have a mountain that could be the Little Brother.  But where’s the Big Brother Mountain?

So, I looked around Kaiparowits Peak and found Powell Point, which is a prominent peak (el. 10,200) less than 8 miles from Kaiparowits peak.  There are no prominent peaks between the two, so the official ALAD stance is that Kaiparowits Peak is Little Brother to Big Brother Mountain Powell Point.  Here’s an oblique GE shot (looking east):

GE Kaiparowits Peak

And a ground view shot from Kaiparowits towards Powell Point:

GE ground view towards powell peak

Phew.  That was a tough job, but somebody had to do it!!

The eastern edge of the Kaiparowits Plateau includes a long cliff known as Fiftymile Mountain or Straight Cliff.   It’s about 5 miles NE from my landing, and is readily apparent on this GE shot:

GE straight Cliffs

Here’s a shot looking west past the cliff towards my landing (you can just see the yellow push-pin):

GE 2

And (of course) a GE Panoramio shot of the cliff (taken near the southern end by Rosborn):

pano rosborn fiftymile

And yet another Pano shot of the cliffs (taken very close to my landing), bypkaf13windB : 

pano pkaf13windB

The photographer’s handle (bypkaf13windB) is rather obscure.  Remind you of a Wifi password?

So, what’s up with the “Grand Staircase?”  It is (of all things) a geological feature.  A picture is worth a thousand (or more) words, so here’s a geologic cross-section of the Grand Staircase:

Grand_Staircase-big

And here, from Wiki, is the background:

The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon.

In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps. Dutton divided this layer cake of Earth history into five steps.

Each of the five steps is shown as a red dot on the above figure.  Going from left to right (from the youngest to oldest rocks) Dutton named the cliffs based on their predominant color:

Pink Cliffs,
Grey Cliffs,
White Cliffs,
Vermilion Cliffs, and
Chocolate Cliffs.

Enough geology.  As promised, I’m going to show some Pano shots of Last Chance Bay.  Here’s one looking up Last Chance Bay by Bryceless:

pano bryceless

Here’s a GE shot showing what looks like a pool in the rock alongside the Bay:

GE strange pool

Here’s a photo of the pool (by David Herberg).  What an amazing place!

pano david herberg

One of the side canyons is Twitchell Canyon.  I’ll close with this shot of the canyon by Dan Sorensen:

pano Dan Sorensen

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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St. Anthony, Idaho (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on September 18, 2015

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 2212; A Landing A Day blog post number 640.

Dan:  I avoided having three OSers in a row thanks to landing in this long-time USer . . . ID; 51/60; 5/10; 6; 149.3.

[Warning to casual readers:  the following paragraphs – all the way down to my regional landing map – are for that very select subset of readers who actually care about my whole USer / OSer thing.  The rest of you are encouraged to skip it.]

When I said “long-time USer,” I mean long-time USer.  Every 10 landings, I print out a portion of my spreadsheet that ranks the states from the highest-rank USer through the highest (lowest?)-rank OSer.  I began doing this with landing 650 (back in April 2005), and Idaho was the number one USer. 

Idaho held that place until landing 700, when TX replaced ID as #1.  As it turns out, TX has been #1 ever since.  Anyway, ID held the #2 spot for a while, but has been drifting down over the last 1200 or so landings.  It is currently in sixth place, behind Texas, Alabama, California, Virginia and Florida. 

Here’s my most recent state ranking list:

Texas                          -14.4
Alabama                      -7.2
California                    -6.9
Virginia                       -6.7
Florida                         -6.1
Idaho                           -4.7
Arkansas                     -4.2
New Mexico               -4.2
Kentucky                    -3.2
Georgia                       -3.1
Ohio                            -2.2
Pennsylvania             -2.1
South Carolina          -1.9
Maine                          -1.6
N. Carolina                 -1.3
Massachusetts            -1.2
New Jersey                  -1.0
Indiana            –           -1.0
Delaware                     -0.8
Colorado                     -0.5
Illinois                         -0.3
Missouri                      -0.1
Mississippi                   0.0
Washington                 0.2
Tennessee                    0.3
Rhode Island              0.4
Maryland                     0.5
Louisiana                     0.7
Connecticut                 0.9
Vermont                      0.9
Wisconsin                    1.1
Kansas                         1.2
New Hampshire         1.5
South Dakota             1.5
West Virginia             1.6
Iowa                            2.0
New York                   2.1
Arizona                       2.1
Nebraska                    2.8
Wyoming                    2.9
Oklahoma                   3.9
Michigan                     5.4
North Dakota             5.4
Nevada                        6.0
Oregon                        6.3
Minnesota                  7.2
Montana                     8.1
Utah                            9.8
                                 149.3
Note that 149.3 is, of course, my Score.  It is obtained by adding the absolute values of the all of the numbers (ignoring the minuses, in other words).  When I land in a USer (one of the minus states), the absolute value goes down so my Score goes down.  When I land in an OSer, the value goes up so my Score goes up.

Moving right along, let’s get back to our regularly-scheduled programming . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

My watershed analysis shows that I landed in the watershed of the Consolidated Farmers Canal (more about that later); on to the Teton River (1st hit ever!); to Henry’s Fork (4th hit):

landing 3a

Henry’s Fork makes its way to the Snake (76th hit):

landing 3b

Of course, the Snake discharges to the Columbia (154th hit).

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to northeast (excluding the panhandle) ID.  (Click below and hit the “back” button after viewing).

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coi3bpfUFM&w=820&v=3

Here’s my GE Street View (SV) map:

ge sv landing map

And here’s the view from the orange dude’s perspective:

ge sv landing

While I’m at it, here’s another GE SV map, this time showing the location of a bridge over the Consolidated Farmers Canal:

ge sv map drainage

And here ‘tis:

ge sv drainage

So, it turns out there’s a Consolidated Farmers Canal Corporation that was founded in 1894 to distribute water from the stream/canal to members of the corporation (I think).  It’s still going on, and I found some routine paperwork associated with the Corporation that isn’t worth sharing with my readers . . .

It looks like most of the “canal” occupies what is (or used to be) a natural stream channel, but the name of the stream (if there ever was one) is long-gone (or at least invisible on the internet).

As you can tell by the title of the post, this is my second visit to St. Anthony.  I’ve borrowed some of my earlier material; it’ll show up later in this post. . .

Of minor interest (to me, at least) is that it wasn’t founded by the Mormons.  In fact, the first church in town was Presbyterian.  OK, so the second church in town was Mormon. . . 

The town was named after St. Anthony Falls, Minnesota, presumably the hometown of the founder, C.H. Moon.  Quick trivia.  St. Anthony Falls (north of Minneapolis) are the only falls on the upper Mississippi River.  Also, the falls were named after Anthony of Padua, about whom Wiki has the following to say:

Saint Anthony of Padua (1195 – 1231), was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of scripture, he was the second-most-quickly canonized saint after Peter of Verona.  He is the patron saint of finding things or lost people; San Antonio TX is named in his honor.

I wonder if anyone or anything ever gets lost in San Antonio . . .

Enough saintliness. And, enough about St. Anthony, Idaho, although I will return to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes (located north of town) for some pretty pictures. 

As discussed earlier, drainage from my landing ends up in the Teton River.  As an engineer & geologist, the Teton River is famous for one thing:  The Teton Dam suffered a catastrophic failure (just after the reservoir behind it was filled) on June 5, 1976.  Eleven people died, and the entire fiasco cost the government as much as $2 billion.

The dam was built on volcanic rock that wasn’t the best foundation for a dam and reservoir.  The rock tends to be very permeable, with fissues and voids present that could transmit large quantities of water.  The dam builders injected cement grout into the rock at the dam site to seal these water-bearing fissues and voids.  Evidently, they missed a few. 

I landed near St. Anthony back in 2009 and featured the Teton Dam collapse (although I didn’t land in the Teton River watershed).  I’m going to steal directly from that post:

As one might expect, the failure has been studied and studied and studied. I don’t find the details all that interesting. But what is incredibly fascinating is the following series of photos, taken by Mrs. Eunice Olson who just happened to be picnicking below the dam.  The leak is the brown streak on the left and the speck above the leak is a bulldozer on its way to try to plug the leak.  “Try” is the operative word, and the lucky dozer driver managed to escape with his life after abandoning his machine.

old 1

Oh my!!  It’s getting much worse (and the dozer is no where to be seen):

old 2

And worse yet, as the erosion is rapidly heading towards the crest of the dam!   Look at the water rushing down the slope!

old 4

The dam has been breached!!!

old 6

 

It’s all over now . . .

old 8

Here’s water sweeping across farmland (I don’t think this picture or the next is by Mrs. Olson):

teton10

And here’s a shot of Rexburg [10 miles south of my landing]:

teton111

I’m back.  Wiki’s coverage of the dam failure now includes this picture:

(IDAHO-L-0010)_Teton_Dam_Flood_-_Newdale

By the way, I’ve been to Rexburg (the hometown of my son-in-law Sherman) and even visited the Teton Dam Flood museum.  

Anyway, enough of that damn dam.  As mentioned earlier, I’m going to post some shots of the St. Anthony Sand Dunes.  Here’s a GE shot of the dunes:

ge st anthony dunes

I’ll start with this shot by Dallas1959:

pano dallas 1959

Here’s one by Thomas Galenbeck:

pano thomas galenbeck

And one by DSchmitz:

pano dschmitz dunes

I’ll come back much closer to my landing, with this Pano shot of Henry’s Fork by Wapitihunter88, less than a mile northwest of my landing:

pano wapitihunter88 the river near landing

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Ontonagon, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on September 14, 2015

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 2211; A Landing A Day blog post number 639.

Dan:  I landed in a long-time OSer (and yet another Upper Peninsula landing), here in . . . MI; 55/42; 5/10; 5; 149.9.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

And here’s my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the UP (click on the link; hit “back” after viewing):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coilbRfOen&w=820&v=3

Notice all the UP landings (along with my recent northern Wisconsin landing that just missed)? Before my watershed analysis, here’s a map showing Street View coverage:

ge sv map

And here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv landing

Anyway, here’s my watershed analysis:

landing 3

I landed in the watershed of the E Br of the Firesteel R (first hit ever!); on to the Firesteel (first hit ever!), on to Lake Superior (17th hit), and then to the St. Lawrence (101st hit).

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot by “Mamble.Hamhandle” of the mouth of the Firesteel (where it discharges into Lake Superior):

pano mamble.hamhandle mouth of firesteel

Firesteel?  Strange name.  From Wiki:

A fire striker (or fire steel) is a piece of high carbon or alloyed steel from which sparks are struck by the sharp edge of chert or similar rock.

I didn’t realize that primitive steel making has been around for 4,000 years, so the use of fire steel for starting fires is ancient.  Here are some pictures of fire steels used from Roman through Medieval times (from Wiki):

800px-Firesteels_assorted

Now why the river is called the Firesteel (or why the pieces of steel are so peculiarly shaped), I have no idea . . .

So, for the second landing in a row, I find myself pretty much:

aa hookless

Landing God!  Give me a break!  How about a USer with a great hook?  Oh well, I’ll see what I can do. 

Traveling east to west (looking up at my landing map), the towns Winona, Mass City, Greenland and Rockland are tiny old copper mining towns.  Back in the day they were something, but not now.  I’ll focus a little later on the closest old copper mine to my landing.

So that leaves me with a town with a very unusual name, Ontonagon (which, of course was the winner in my “which town gets the title position for this post?” contest).

Before we go any further, it is important to know the correct pronunciation of Ontonagon.  The best I can figure is on-tah-NAH-gun.

Anyway, I found a website “Home Town Chronicles” that had the best write-up about Ontonagon (the county, the river and the town):

The beginning, the life, and the present and future of Ontonagon country is bound to the River. The Ontonagon River, which gives its name to the present country, is the largest river which flows into the south shores of Lake Superior.

The name Ontonagon is like no other.  There is nowhere else on the face of this earth that is identified with the mane “Ontonagon.”  The origins of the name are in the native Ojibaway language and the word itself was likely corrupted into French, and later on, into English.  The name has varied through the years and have included Nantounaganing, Nund-Norgan, Donegan and Atounagon.  On the first known map of the area published at Paris in 1672, the river was identified as the Nanton Nagun.

A 19th Century Jesuit missionary, Father Gagnieur, had this to say:

Let us imagine ourselves now on the famous Ontonagon River that flows into Lake Superior. This name is interesting.  It appears in the old relations of 1660 as Nantounaganing, which is what the Indians today still call it. When and where and by whom it was changed into Ontonagon, will, I suppose, never by known.

The river is famous more particularly for its copper mines and especially for one enormous mass of pure copper. 

Here’s some more from the same website about the “enormous mass of pure copper:”

One cannot look at the early history of this land without looking to the great copper rock: the Ontonagon Boulder.  The Chippewa Indians had long known about it, and made it a shrine of worship, their ” Manitou,” or mediator between them and the Great Spirit. The great rock which later served as a magnet [OK, not literally a magnet] drawing the copper prospectors to the area lay on the west branch of the Ontonagon River.

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the boulder (which is about 4 feet long):

1024px-Ontonagon_Copper_Boulder

The Ontonagon Boulder is a 3,708 pound (1682 kg) boulder of native copper originally found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, United States, and now in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution.

As of 2011, the Ontonagon Boulder is located in the National Museum of Natural History, but it is currently behind the scenes. It was to be installed in the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals when it opened, but at the last minute, engineering concerns led to a veto. A new exhibition of the boulder is being planned.

I guess the rock was just too heavy!  For reference, a “gallon” of pure copper weighs about 75 lbs!

Anyway, there’s quite the story about the boulder.  Here are some Wiki excerpts (this is a little long by ALAD standards, but worth the read):

During a geological voyage around the perimeter of Michigan in 1820, Henry R. Schoolcraft reached the mouth of the Ontonagon River. Led by four Indians, he journeyed up the Ontonagon River in two canoes. The next day they continued up the river until they reached a set of rapids. From there they traveled on foot until they finally reached the legendary boulder. Schoolcraft was originally disappointed with the boulder, finding it much smaller than legends claimed it to be.

After many failed attempts, the Ontonagon Boulder was finally removed in 1843, by Julius Eldred, a Detroit hardware-store merchant. Prior to extraction, Eldred purchased the rock from the local Chippewa for $150 in 1841. His first two expeditions were only able raise the boulder on skids.

In 1843 Eldred tried again. This time he discovered that the boulder now belonged to a group of miners from Wisconsin, who had located the land under a permit issued directly by the Secretary of War. With no other choice Eldred paid an additional $1,365 for ownership of the rock he had already purchased.

After paying for his prize twice, Eldred and his crew of 21 men, using a capstan, lifted the boulder 50 feet to the top of the adjacent bluff. It took a week to get to the top of the bluff, where they loaded the boulder into a small railcar.

They then cut a swath though the woods and laid out a short stretch of rails. They would push the railcar to the end of the short line, pick up the rails from behind, and place them in front of the car again. Eldred and his men did this for four miles before reaching the bottom of the rapids, where the boulder was then loaded onto a raft.

Once the raft reached the mouth of the Ontonagon River it was loaded on to a schooner, which sailed to Copper Harbor. Eldred’s victory was short lived, because when they arrived in Copper Harbor, Eldred was informed that the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury had instructed the Secretary of War to claim federal ownership of the Ontonagon Boulder, and ship it to Washington, D.C.

However, Eldred was able to delay giving the boulder to the federal government, and in the dead of night he hoisted it onto the deck of a waiting schooner. He sailed to Sault Ste. Marie, where the boulder was then loaded onto another schooner, which took the boulder the rest of the way to Detroit.

In Detroit, Eldred placed the legendary Ontonagon Boulder on public display, charging a cash admission. Then in 1847, Eldred and the federal government went to court fighting over ownership of the boulder. In the end, the government took the boulder, but paid Eldred $5,644.93 for “his time and expense in purchasing and removing the mass of native copper.”

The boulder remained in the possession of the War Department until 1860, when it was placed on public display in the Smithsonian Institution.

And then there’s this piece of Ontogagonian trivia (from Wiki):

Ontonagon is the westernmost incorporated community in the United States in the legally designated Eastern Time Zone as determined by the United States Department of Transportation. In the summer the sun sets over Lake Superior at 10pm local time with dusk lasting until almost 11pm. By contrast in the winter the sun does not rise until just before 9am and it is still pitch black at 8 am.

Of course, we need a map (from World Atlas) – and make sure that you note the western-most point of the Upper Peninsula:

timezonenew

Getting back closer to my landing, I was checking out Panoramio pictures when I came across this a little more than a mile east of my landing (by Brian Bower):

pano brianbower

He calls this a cave, but come on, Bri!  After all, we’re in copper mining country (with no limestone).  It’s a mine entrance, of course!

And just a mile and half northeast of the mine entrance are ruins of the “King Philip Stamp Mill.”  Here’s a Pano shot by Nailhead.com:

pano nailhead

The King Philip mine and mine works began in 1864 and was absorbed by the Winona Copper Company in 1911.  So what’s a stamp mill? It’s simply a very heavy machine that crushes ore by smashing a heavy weight down on a stream of ore passing under the weight.  Here’s a Wiki picture:

800px-LOC_MI0086_QuincyMine_TIF_00027a_cropStampMill

I assume that each of the pedestals on the Pano picture supported one of these crushers.

Time for some local scenery.  Winona lake is about three miles east of my landing.  Here’s a Pano shot by “Garth.”:

pano garth.

I’ll close with this shot “Reflected Clouds,” (of the same lake) by Adam Carpenter:

pano adam carpenter

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Primrose, Spalding and Cedar Rapids, Nebraska

Posted by graywacke on September 10, 2015

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 2210; A Landing A Day blog post number 638.

Dan:  After three USers in a row, I’ll backslide a little with this OSer . . . NE; 62/56; 6/10; 4; 149.5. 

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

Do you think that’s the Cedar River flowing nearby?  And, speaking of the Cedar River, this was my first time ever landing in the Cedar River watershed!  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) Street View shot of the river just downsteam (south) of Cedar Rapids:

GE SV cedar r

Here’s what happens next:

landing 3

The Cedar flows to the Loup (12th hit); on to the Platte (66th hit); to the Missouri (399th hit); to the MM (862nd hit).

Time for my spaceflight in to W-Cen NE (click on the link then hit the back button after viewing):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coi6lPfTyO&w=820&v=3

Backing out a little (and adding Street View coverage), here’s what it looks like:

GE SV map

As all regular ALAD readers should know, the typical crop irrigation circle is a half mile across, so you’ll know the distance to my landing from the orange dude’s perspective:

GE SV

Of course, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for something to write about for my three titular towns.  And guess what?  They’re all:

aa hookless

As you’ll see, the towns have original names that were changed (Dublin, Dayton and Halifax), so I could have featured one of those cities.  But I didn’t.  So this will be a little-of-this-a-little-of-that type of post. 

Let’s start with Primrose.  The University of Nebraska has a great history website that discusses every town in Nebraska (at least that’s what I assume).  I learned some tidbits from the article (authored by Art Primrose; no coincidence there, I bet), as follows:

Primrose was founded in the 1870s as an Irish settlement called “Dublin,” named for the city of its founders.  When the railroad came through, the town was moved a little for proximity to the rail, on land owned by one David Primrose (“Auld Dave” to his friends).

Directly quoting from the site:

On May 8, 1965, a devastating tornado roared down upon the town and severely damaged the business section. Many buildings and homes were flattened and four residents of Primrose lost their lives. The storm destroyed or closed many businesses. A number of the inhabitants left the community rather than try to rebuild, however, a smaller core of residents remained to clean, repair, and smooth the scars.

The Primrose high school closed in 1966. Secondary students now go to other area high schools to complete their education. K-8 students are still educated in Primrose.

In spite of droughts, depression, an early-day bank robbery, and the tornado, there is still an active town of Primrose. The town boasts a busy and growing co-op elevator and grain storage system, two bars, a grocery store, an antique shop, gas station, several car repair shops, beauty shop, post office, two churches, library, carpenter shop, Masonic lodge, and a propane branch office.

The quiet little town has 88 residents and a host of neighboring farmers, all of whom make Primrose a tight-knit community.

Here’s a back-in-the-day shot from the same website:

primrose1.original u of n

There you have it.  From the same source, I found an article by Kim Schilousky and Marilyn Schuele about Cedar Rapids:

A great number of settlers were arriving in the Cedar River Valley and establishing homes by 1873. A village called “Dayton,” sometimes referred to as “Sod City,” emerged. With a population of about 60, it had a post office, general merchandise store, shoe shop, a blacksmith, and a school.

OK, you’ll never guess what happened next.  The railroad came through, and the village was reorganized to make way for the railroad and was incorporated as Cedar Rapids in 1884.

And the article closes thusly:

Cedar Rapids, in the beautiful Cedar Valley, is surrounded by a farming area where corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay are grown, and cattle, hogs, and sheep are raised. It is a progressive town with many new homes, over a dozen businesses on Main Street, and several home-grown businesses and shops throughout the village.

From the same website, here’s a turn-of-the-century flour mill, with the caption below:

cedar rapids four mill

An early photo of the Cedar Rapids Flour Mill along the Cedar River. Built in 1879-80 by the Cedar Rapids Improvement Company, a group of very strong-willed people, this business was used to attract people to the new town. It was successful in doing just that.

Moving on to Spalding, I’ll use the same website, with this article by Mary Hookstra (OK, so I finally found a hook):

The Village of Spalding was originally established as “Halifax” in 1875. The name was changed to “Spaulding” in 1881 in honor of Catholic prelate John Spalding of Peoria, IL, with the spelling corrected to “Spalding” in 1894. The town incorporated in 1898, becoming a organized community.

Funny that it took 13 years for someone to realize they misspelled Father Spalding’s last name . . .

Mary closes her article as follows:

Spalding is a thriving little village with many businesses serving a large territory. Improvements are continually being made to the business district. A time capsule was filled with memorabilia and buried in the city park on July 4th, 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. It will be opened in 50 years, in 2026.

It’s funny. Of course, I remember 1976 very well, and hopefully will be alive and well in 2026.  Somehow, a 50-year wait for the time capsule doesn’t seem long enough!

Here’s a great back-in-the-day shot of Spalding Main Street from NebraskaHistory.org:

nebraskahistory.org spalding

Staying with NebraskaHistory.org, I found this write-up:

America was a land of wealth for some, but the excesses of capitalism and hard times for farmers and workers gave rise to reform movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Utopians, Socialists, and Communists were among those offering different economic models. In Nebraska, Socialists and Communists found a foothold.

And yes, there’s a local connection.  From the same website, here’s a picture of Socialist Party Headquarters in Spalding:

nebraskahistory.org socialist part headquarters in spalding

 

At least one guy (with the Russky hat) looks a little Socialist . . .

There are seven (count ‘em, seven) GE Panoramio shots in the three towns.  Six of them are churches (and one is a gymnasium building in Primrose), none of which I deemed of sufficient interest for my readers.  So, going a little farther afield, here’s a shot by Chuck Leypoldt of a country road about 7 miles north of my landing:

pano chuck leypoldt

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Clovis, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on September 5, 2015

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 2209; A Landing A Day blog post number 637.

Dan:  Three USers in a row (and six of the last nine) thanks to my landing in . . . NM; 80/89; 6/10; 3; 149.1.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

Before tackling my watershed analysis, let’s see the Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to E-Central NM (click on the link and then hit your back button after viewing):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coiVqff0nJ&w=820&v=3

And let’s check out Street View coverage.  Oh-oh, not so good.  Anyway, here’s a map.  You can figure out the scale because each circle is a half mile in diameter.  So, the orange dude is a little more than 2.5 miles away:

GE SV map

And here’s what he sees (for what’s it worth):

GE SV

My watershed analysis ended up being difficult and time-consuming.  I started out with this streams-only Street Atlas map:

landing 3

You can see the ill-defined waterway south of my landing.  No where did Street Atlas tell me the name.  So, over I went to GE.  With Panoramio photos enabled, I was moving my cursor over the various photos, and this is what I saw:

GE running water draw 1

So the waterway is Running Water Draw (even though I strongly suspect it’s dry most of the time). I Googled it (of course), and I found flow measurements of the Running Water Draw in Plainview TX.  So, I more-or-less traced its path from my landing to Plainview:

GE running water draw 2

And then, from Plainview (using the GE elevation tool), I was able to track the drainage thusly:

GE running water draw 3

I’m not sure if the waterway south of Plainview is still Running Water Draw, but I couldn’t find any other name.  Note that my blue line makes it all the way to southeast of Lubbock.

And then, back to Street Atlas, it looks pretty clear that my drainage hooks up with the Salt Fork of the Brazos River (4th hit), once again noting the proximity to Lubbock:

landing 3a

As you can see, the Salt Fork discharges to the Brazos (31st hit).  Although just off the map, the Brazos does, in fact, discharge to the Gulf of Mexico . . .

As a nerdy science guy, Clovis NM is immediately familiar to me as the place where “Clovis Points” (spear points) were first discovered.  Numerous Clovis Points were found all over the Americas (generally dated at about 11,500 years ago), leading to the hypothesis that the folks that made the spears (called the Clovis People) were the first people to make it to North America, crossing the land bridge between Asia and North America that was open due to lowered sea levels during the last ice age.  They quickly spread throughout the Americas, and were the ancestors of all subsequent Native Americans.

This is the so-called “Clovis First” hypothesis, and held sway for many years.  But then a few rogue anthropologists began to claim that there were other, older signs of human habitation in the Americas.  The establishment fought the upstarts (as the establishment is wont to do).  However, an increasing number of pre-Clovis sites popped up, with increasingly convincing evidence that there were in fact, at least one (and maybe more) pre-Clovis peoples inhabiting the Americas. 

Who were they and how did they get here?  First, here’s a traditional “Clovis First” migration map (Crystalinks.com:

clovismap2

One of the most likely (and earlier) migration pathways – that flies in the face of Clovis First –  is along the coast (from EssayWeb.com).  Note the dates:

spread_15

For example, there’s solid evidence from a Chile site of habitation 14,800 years before present (BP).  But how about Topper SC (16,000 – 20,000 BP) or Cactus Hill VA (15,000 BP)? 

These may be at least in part also explained by the Salutrean Hypothesis (ice age explorers from Europe).   Here’s a map (from HannibalTheVictor on You Tube) that shows all three migration routes:

Untitled

So this discussion / debate is robust and on-going.   As one might expect, there are (is?) oodles and oodles of information about the whole issue.  Just a few clicks away . . .

It’s time for some GE Panoramio pictures.  Remember way back when I was tracking my watershed, and I posted a picture of the cluster of Pano pictures near my landing?  No?  Well, here it is again:

GE running water draw 1

 

It turns out that the cluster of photos is because of the Ned Houk Memorial Park.  I found some pretty Pano pictures of the park; I’ll start with this one, by DL Kerr:

pano DLKerr

An excellent photographer (ArdenZ) has posted many shots of NHMP.  I’ll close with five of his shots:

pano ardenZ3

 

pano ardenZ4

 

pano ardenZ2

 

pano ardenZ1

And this . . .

pano ardenZsunset

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Posted by graywacke on September 1, 2015

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 2208; A Landing A Day blog post number 636.

Dan:  After landing in a USer that is barely a USer (CO; 74/75); I landed in an even edgier USer (now a PSer) . . . MO; 50/50; 6/10; 2; 149.7.  And my Score is back where it belongs (below 150).

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map, showing that I had little choice but to select Poplar Bluff as my titular town:

landing 2

You can see the Black River on the above map, and yes, that’s my watershed (10th hit).  Here’s a streams-only Street Atlas map showing that the Black discharges to the White (26th hit); on to the MM (861st hit):

landing 3

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in (from a slightly different angle).  Click below and hit the back button after viewing:

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co1uYVf31j&w=820&v=3

GE Street View coverage is pretty good – I’m only a half mile away from my landing:

SV map

Here’s what the orange dude sees (OK, minus the big black arrow):

SV landing

I must admit to some consternation.  I mean, really.  I’m sure that Popular Bluff is a great little city (pop 17,000).  It’s in a pretty area, bills itself as the “Gateway to the Ozarks.”  The city website includes a message from Mayor Betty Absheer, extolling its virtues.  Here are some excerpts:

Welcome to the official website of the City of Poplar Bluff!

As you learn more about Poplar Bluff you’ll see it is a great place to live and raise a family, with a population of nearly 17,000 friendly residents. Poplar Bluff is the county seat and is centered in the middle of beautiful Butler County. Poplar Bluff is the gateway to the Ozarks nestled in southeast Missouri, in between St. Louis and Memphis.

The City of Poplar Bluff is a growing, dynamic environment in which new homes are popping up and businesses are thriving. As well as being an economic center, Poplar Bluff is also an entertainment center for the area.

I could go on about the many great attributes of Poplar Bluff, but our greatest attribute is our PEOPLE. That is what makes Poplar Bluff so special. It is an honor to serve as the mayor of this wonderful city.

I am absolutely sure that Poplar Bluff is a great place to live and work.  But as my regular readers know, I’m looking for a hook.  A story.  Something to grab my readers’ attention.  Well, Poplar Bluff, I fear, falls short in that regard. 

So how did the town get its name? From Wiki:

Poplar Bluff takes its name from a bluff that overlooks Black River. When first settled, the bluff was covered with tulip poplar trees.

Here’s a lovely shot of a tulip poplar leaf (from RitaKarl.net):

TinyTulipPoplarLeaf-709011

And a lovely shot of tulip poplars in my home state of NJ (Woodbine, to be more specific), from LouisDallaraPhotography.com:

poplar-trees_0348-edit

And the first white man to come to the general vicnity?  Hernando De Soto.  I’ve heard of Hernando, but know essentially nothing about him.  From Wiki (not a bad looking guy!):

800px-De_Soto_by_Telfer_&_Sartain

Hernando de Soto (1496 – 1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States (Florida, Georgia, Alabama and most likely Arkansas and Missouri), and the first documented European to have crossed the Mississippi River.

A vast undertaking, de Soto’s North American expedition ranged throughout the southeastern United States searching for gold, silver and a passage to China. De Soto died in 1542 on the banks of the Mississippi River in what is now Guachoya, Arkansas or Ferriday, Louisiana.

Prior to exploring North America, de Soto was part of the ruthless take-over of parts of Central and South America (on behalf of Spain).  Way to go Hernando!

He went back to Spain and organized an expedition to explore North America.  More about this trip, from Wiki:

Historians have worked to trace the route of de Soto’s expedition in North America, a controversial process over the years. Local politicians vied to have their localities associated with the expedition. The most widely used version of “De Soto’s Trail” comes from a study commissioned by the Congress of the United States. A committee chaired by the anthropologist John R. Swanton published The Final Report of the United States De Soto Expedition Commission in 1939.

Here’s a map from Wiki (which, incidently, doesn’t show him going as far north as Poplar Bluff.  Oh, well):

800px-DeSoto_Map_HRoe_2008

The expedition began in 1539 in Florida, ran out of steam with de Soto’s death in 1542, and ended when the remaining members tried to get back to Mexico City (the blue and green routes above).  Here’s what Wiki has to say about his demise:

De Soto died of a fever on May 21, 1542 on the western bank of the Mississippi River, in what is now Northern Louisiana or Southern Arkansas.

Since de Soto had encouraged the local natives to believe that he was an immortal sun god (as a ploy to gain their submission without conflict, though some of the natives had already become skeptical of de Soto’s deity claims), his men had to conceal his death.

The actual location of his burial is not known. According to one source, de Soto’s men hid his corpse in blankets weighted with sand and sank it in the middle of the Mississippi River during the night.

The expedition really fell on hard times after de Soto’s death.  From Wiki:

De Soto’s expedition had explored La Florida [what they called the entire region] for three years without finding the expected treasures or a hospitable site for colonization efforts. They had lost nearly half their men, most of the horses had been killed, the soldiers wore animal skins for clothing, and many were injured and in poor health.

The leaders came to a consensus (although not total) to abort the expedition and try to find a way home, either down the Mississippi River, or overland across Texas to the Spanish colony of Mexico City.

They decided that building boats would be too difficult and time-consuming, and that navigating the Gulf of Mexico too risky, so they headed overland to the southwest. Eventually they reached a region in present-day Texas that was dry. The native populations had thinned out to subsistence hunter-gatherers. There were no villages for the soldiers to raid for food and the army was too large to live off the land.

They were forced to backtrack to the more developed agricultural regions along the Mississippi. They began building seven brigantines.  They melted down all the iron, including horse tackle and slave shackles, to make nails for the boats. Winter came and went, and the spring floods delayed them another two months, but by July they set off down the Mississippi for the coast.

Taking about two weeks to make the journey, the expedition encountered hostile tribes along the whole course. Natives followed the boats in canoes, shooting arrows at the soldiers for days on end as they drifted through their territory. The Spanish had no effective offensive weapons on the water, as their crossbows had long ceased working. They relied on armor and sleeping mats to block the arrows. About 11 Spaniards were killed along this stretch and many more wounded.

On reaching the mouth of the Mississippi, they stayed close to the Gulf shore heading south and west. After about 50 days, they made it to the Spanish frontier town of Pánuco. There they rested for about a month, before continuing on to Mexico City.

Of the initial 700 participants, between 300 and 350 survived (311 is a commonly accepted figure). Most of the men stayed in the New World, settling in Mexico, Peru, Cuba and other Spanish colonies.

From the point of view of the Spanish, de Soto’s excursion to Florida was an utter failure. They acquired neither gold nor prosperity and founded no colonies.

There you have it.

I’ll close with a couple of Panoramio shots from town.  First this (by Drowsy) of the Rodgers Theater:

17260356

The art-deco theater was built in 1949 and could seat over 1100 people.  It closed in 1999, and is now owned by the City.  They are working hard to getting it restored to its former glory, getting funds by renting it out for shows and parties.

I’ll close with this funky shot of a railroad bridge over the Black River (by Timpel):

pano timpel

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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