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Archive for May, 2017

Boonville, North Carolina

Posted by graywacke on May 29, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2347; A Landing A Day blog post number 778.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 36o 11.576’N, 80o 38.410’W) puts me in NW North Carolina:

And my local map shows that I landed close to (4.5 miles away from) my titular town, Boonville:

My streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Forbush Creek, which makes its way to the Yadkin River (5th hit, making the Yadkin the 169th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits).  Zooming back:

The Yadkin seems to magically turn into the Pee Dee River which seems to magically turn into the Great Pee Dee River.  By the way –  I don’t differentiate between the Great and the Not-So-Great (my spreadsheet doesn’t bother with the “Great”); regardless, this was my 10th Pee Dee hit.  Zooming back:

The Great Pee Dee discharges into the Atlantic.  I added the Little Pee Dee, which might be the reason someone decided to call the Pee Dee the Great Pee Dee (to more clearly differentiate the two rivers, don’t you know . . .)

OK, it’s time to zoom in from outer space and zero in on the latest yellow push-pin.  Click HERE to do so.

And there’s good Street View coverage:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

And a few miles south, we get a look at the Forbush Creek:

Drum roll, please!  A drum roll is needed before presenting this Street View shot of the Creek.  I mean, really!  This is a great photo!  The creek, the gate, the horse, the barn, the dappled sunlight, the balance of trees and grass – it all works together . . .

On to Boonville.  Besides the fact that Boonville was named for Daniel Boone, Boonville is absolutely:

And where’s the “e?’  It should really be Booneville, eh?  And, speaking of Boonville vs. Booneville, it turns out that multiple towns of both varieties exist:

7 Boonevilles (AL, AR, IA, KY, MS, PA, & TN)

5 Boonvilles (NC, NY, IN, CA, MO)

And while I’m at it:

12 Boones (AR, CO, IA, KY, MS, NE, NC, OK, PA, TN, TX, VA)

1 Boonesboro (MO)

1 Boonesborough (KY)

Of course, they’re not all named for Daniel, although I suspect that at least half are . . .

I’ve mentioned Daniel Boone a couple times in my blog:  I landed near Boone CO, and found that it was named after Boone’s grandson.  I landed near Plush OR and found that a Daniel Boone relative (also named Daniel Boone) named the town.  And then I landed near San Angelo TX.  From that post:

So who else hails from San Angelo?  Good ol’ Fess Parker.  He was a major figure in my childhood, as he was Daniel Boone in a TV series from 1964 to 1970.  I was fourteen in 1964; so I’m sure I watched the show nearly every week until I went to college.  He was also Davey Crockett in the 1955-1956 Walt Disney mini-series.  Even though I was a youngun, I actually remember it (and remember being incredibly sad as the show ended at the Alamo).

Here’s Fess as Davey Crockett:


And here he is (not looking all that different) as Daniel Boone:

So I grew up watching Fess Parker as both Davy Crockett and as Daniel Boone.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was unable to factually differentiate the two frontier heroes.  OK.  I knew that Davy Crockett was in the U.S. Congress and died at the Alamo.  But I didn’t know much of anything about Daniel Boone except for a connection with the settlement of Kentucky.  So here goes.

I’ll start with Dan’l, and some excerpts from History.com:

Daniel Boone’s name is synonymous with the American frontier, which he explored and helped open to settlement. A skilled hunter and trapper, Boone blazed trails through the wilderness, fought and befriended Native Americans and witnessed America’s transformation from 13 colonies to 23 states over the course of his lifetime.

In 1713, Boone’s father, a weaver and blacksmith, journeyed from his hometown of Bradninch, England, to the colony of Pennsylvania.  Like Penn, Squire Boone belonged to the Society of Friends, or Quakers, a group whose members faced persecution in England for their beliefs.

In 1720, Squire married fellow Quaker Sarah Morgan and Daniel, the sixth of the couple’s 11 children, was born in 1734 in present-day Berks County, Pennsylvania. In the 1740s, two of the oldest Boone children wed “worldlings,” or non-Quakers, and were disowned by the local Quaker community.

After Squire Boone refused to publicly apologize for the second of these two marriages, he too was kicked out of the Quakers. He subsequently left Pennsylvania with his family in 1750 and traveled by wagon to the colony of North Carolina, where in 1753 he purchased two tracts of land near present-day Mocksville [about 20 miles south of my landing; close enough, I guess, for Boonville to be named after Daniel].

In 1775, Boone and a group of some 30 woodsmen left to complete a 200-mile trail through the wilderness to the Cumberland Gap—a natural break in the rugged Appalachian Mountains—and into Kentucky. Boone had been hired by investors to establish a colony called Transylvania in an area comprising much of present-day Kentucky and part of present-day Tennessee.

After Boone blazed the trail, which became known as the Wilderness Road, he helped establish one of Kentucky’s earliest settlements, Boonesborough, which became Transylvania’s capital.

The Transylvania colony was short-lived; in 1778, the Virginia General Assembly voided the deal Henderson had struck with the Cherokees for the land. Nevertheless, the Wilderness Road became the gateway by which an estimated 200,000 settlers journeyed to the western frontier by the early 19th century. Among those emigrants was Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather, who in 1779 traveled the Wilderness Road from Virginia to Kentucky, where America’s 16th president was born in 1809.

Boone was transformed from a local hero into someone who was internationally famous when his story was included in a 1784 book, “The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke.” The book was written by John Filson, a Kentucky land speculator, in an effort to lure settlers to Kentucky.  The book proved popular in both America and Europe, where readers were captivated by Boone’s story.

After Boone’s death in 1820, his legend continued to grow with the publication of such best-selling works as “The Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone, the First Settler of Kentucky,” released in 1833. In this sensationalized account of Boone’s life, author Timothy Flint portrayed him as a ferocious Indian slayer who engaged in hand-to-hand combat and swung on vines to elude capture; in reality, Boone had friendly relationships with a number of Native Americans and claimed to have killed just a few of them.

Although Boone helped open up Kentucky to thousands of settlers, he ultimately was unsuccessful with numerous business and real estate ventures in Kentucky.  By the late 1790s, Boone had soured on Kentucky and decided to leave.

In 1799, Boone, then in his mid-60s, moved with his extended family from Kentucky, which achieved statehood in 1792, to present-day Missouri, then under Spanish control and known as Upper Louisiana. The Spanish, who wanted to encourage settlement in the area, welcomed Boone with military honors and granted him 850 acres of land west of St. Louis.

In 1800, the Spanish ceded the Louisiana Territory to France, and three years later the U.S. gained control of it with the Louisiana Purchase. Boone subsequently lost his land claims because he hadn’t followed the proper procedures to gain permanent title to the land.

After the frontiersman petitioned Congress, President James Madison signed a bill into law giving Boone his 850 acres; however, he soon had to sell the property to pay off Kentuckians who’d heard the news about the grant and traveled to Missouri to collect on old debts.


I’ll be a little quicker about Davy Crockett.  Once again borrowing from History.com:

David Crockett was born in 1786 to a pioneer family living in east Tennessee. [Remember that Daniel Boone was born in 1734, 52 years earlier.]  The family followed the patterns of western settlement, moving three times by the time David was twelve. Later, as a young man with a family of his own, Crockett continued this westward movement until he settled in extreme northwest Tennessee.

In 1813, Crockett enlisted in the Tennessee militia. He participated in a massacre of Indians at Tallussahatchee in northern Alabama, but returned home when his enlistment was up. During his second enlistment, begun September 18, 1814, he joined Andrew Jackson’s forces at Pensacola; but, discharged again, he returned home before the Battle of New Orleans.

Crockett was a natural leader. He advanced from justice of the peace to two terms in the Tennessee legislature. He was elected to Congress in 1827 and 1829 as a Democrat. Then he broke with Jackson over a number of issues and was defeated in 1831; in 1833 he returned to Congress, this time as a Whig.

In 1835 he was again defeated. Disgusted, he is quoted as saying, “You can all go to Hell and I’m going to Texas.” True or not, he did leave Tennessee in November 1835, and subsequently appeared in east Texas, ostensibly looking for land upon which to settle. Controversy surrounds his reason for going to the Alamo. He was there when it was attacked, however, and he died when it fell in March 1836.

David Crockett was clearly an outstanding frontiersman, a successful Tennessee politician, and a colorful congressman, but these attributes alone would not have earned him lasting fame. His record in Congress was not good: most of the legislation he favored failed to pass. Even as a defender of the Alamo he should have attracted no more fame than the other fallen heroes.

In 1831 the play “The Lion of the West” opened in New York City. The play was a thinly disguised and highly exaggerated account of Crockett’s life and helped cement his legendary life in the public imagination.

Books about “Davy” Crockett sold well. Beginning with a pseudobiography in 1833, followed by his own autobiography in 1834, a plethora of Davy Crockett books and almanacs appeared over the next two decades after Crockett’s death. They claimed to be true stories about David Crockett. Narrated in frontier lingo and revealing the cruelty, bigotry, and racism of the frontier, they related the bigger-than-life adventures of a frontier superman. Rediscovered by Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s, and by television to the present day, Davy Crockett, if not David, seems assured of immortality.

Listen up, class!  To summarize:  they both spent their formative years in the frontier and were both skilled frontiersmen. They both built up a reputation that was immensely magnified by myth and legend.  Crockett died a hero at the Alamo (at age 50) and Boone died at age 84 after suffering financial and legal hardships.

There you have it.

I have a couple of video clips.  First this, from History.com about the Cumberland Gap (through which Daniel Boone led his group of explorers to Kentucky):



And then this Fess Parker / Daniel Boone clip which is presented as a blooper.  Don’t read about it – see if you can figure out why this is a blooper (I couldn’t).


It’s time to scour Google Earth, looking for primo Panoramio photos near my landing. Well, primo shots there ain’t.  I had to travel 10 miles NE of my landing to find this shot of a split rail fence, the likes of which could have been built by Daniel Boone (photo by Kevin Childress):

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day

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Bucyrus, Ohio

Posted by graywacke on May 24, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2346; A Landing A Day blog post lucky number 777.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 40o 47.394’N, 83o 3.302’W) puts me in Central-NW Ohio:

My local landing map shows my immediate proximity to Bucyrus:

I have a straight-forward watershed analysis:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Sandusky River (2nd hit), which discharges into Lake Erie (11th hit).  Of course, the waters of Lake Erie end up in the St. Lawrence (107th hit).

It’s time to hop on our trusty yellow push-pin and take a ride.  Click HERE.

I land adjacent to an intersection of two roads that look as though they should be Street View-worthy.  Well, looks can be deceiving:

So, I have to get a look from about 2 miles away:

And here’s where I get a look at the Sandusky:

The picture quality is lousy, but here ‘tis:

And bless you Ohio DOT, for letting unwary drivers know that they’re crossing the not-so-mighty Sandusky:

And there’s not even a bridge!

Just so you know, the Sandusky claims some river-dignity up close to Lake Erie:

Moving on to Bucyrus.  From Wiki:

The town was named by Col. James Kilbourne, who laid out the town in 1822.  The name’s origin is uncertain; one theory is that the name is derived from “beautiful” coupled with the name of Cyrus the Great, founder of the First Persian Empire.  An alternate theory is that the city was named after Busiris, a city of ancient Egypt.

I’ll reject the “Busiris” angle for two reasons:  1. There would have been no reason to change the spelling, and 2.  “Busiris” (an ancient Egyptian place name) is primarily known from an obscure corner of Greek Mythology.

So that leaves us with Beautiful Cyrus.  I’m inclined to reject that as well; but since I’ve already rejected Busiris, I guess I’m stuck with it.

For the record, there are 6 teeny towns across America named Cyrus (NC, KY, WV, MO, MN and PA).  The largest (and only incorporated town) is in MN (pop 258), which was named after the last name of a settler.  There is no other Bucyrus in the U.S. or anywhere in the world.

So what the heck, how about a little information on Cyrus the Great, Persian emperor circa 550 BC?  I for one knew nothing about him.  But thanks to Wiki, I learned quite a bit:

Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Persian Empire.  Under his 30-year rule (from 560 to 530 BC) the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Hellespont (the waterway between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea) in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.

Here’s a map of the Empire (which includes Egypt, added by Cyrus’ son):

Back to Wiki:

Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered.  This became a very successful model for a centralized administration, establishing a government that worked to the advantage and profit of its subjects.

What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Cyrus (described in the Bible) left a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion.  This edict authorized and encouraged Jews who had been exiled to Babylonia to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple.  Cyrus is referred to in the Bible as “His [the Lord’s] anointed” (Isaiah 45:1), and is the only non-Jew to be called so.

Here are the first three verses of Isaiah 45.   (Isaiah 45 is often titled “Cyrus, God’s Instrument”):

“Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:

‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.

I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.

Wow.  The Lord thought mighty highly of Cyrus, eh?  He saw fit to make sure that Cyrus succeeded in his conquests!  And interesting that He identified Himself as the God of Israel (implying that maybe he wasn’t also the God of Persia?).  Although in the third verse, He wanted to make sure that Cyrus knew who was calling the shots. . .

Anyway, back to Wiki:

Cyrus the Great is also well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as his influence on both Eastern and Western civilizations. Having originated from Persis, roughly corresponding to the modern Iranian province of Fars, Cyrus has played a crucial role in defining the national identity of modern Iran.

There’s a fascinating artifact known as the Cyrus Cylinder.  From Wiki, here are pictures of the front and back of the cylinder:

It’s little, only measuring 9″ x 4″.

Also from Wiki:

The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia’s King Cyrus the Great.  It dates from the 6th century BCE and was discovered in the ruins of Babylon in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in 1879.

It is currently in the possession of the British Museum, which sponsored the expedition that discovered the cylinder.

It was created following the Persian conquest of Babylon by Cyrus in 539 BC, when the Babylonian Empire was incorporated into his Persian Empire.

The text on the Cylinder praises Cyrus, sets out his genealogy and portrays him as a king from a line of kings. The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who was defeated and deposed by Cyrus, is denounced as an impious oppressor of the people of Babylonia and his low-born origins are implicitly contrasted to Cyrus’s kingly heritage.

[Amazing how the winner gets to write the hitory . . . ]

The victorious Cyrus is portrayed as having been chosen by the chief Babylonian god Marduk to restore peace and order to the Babylonians. The text states that Cyrus was welcomed by the people of Babylon as their new ruler and entered the city in peace.

It appeals to Marduk to protect and help Cyrus and his son Cambyses.  It extols Cyrus as a benefactor of the citizens of Babylonia who improved their lives, repatriated displaced people and restored temples and religious sanctuaries across Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the region.

The Cylinder’s text has traditionally been seen by biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus’ policy of the repatriation of the Jewish people following their Babylonian captivity (an act that the Book of Ezra attributes to Cyrus).

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, has stated that the cylinder was “the first attempt we know about running a society, a state with different nationalities and faiths—a new kind of statecraft.”

It was adopted as a national symbol of Iran which put it on display in Tehran in 1971 to commemorate 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire.  The Shah’s sister, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, presented the United Nations Secretary General U Thant with a replica of the Cylinder. The princess asserted that “the heritage of Cyrus was the heritage of human understanding, tolerance, courage, compassion and, above all, human liberty”.

Reception in the Islamic Republic

In September 2010, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad officially opened the Cyrus Cylinder exhibition at the National Museum of Iran (where the cylinder was on loan to Iran from the British Museum).  Ahmadinejad considers the Cyrus Cylinder as the incarnation of human values and a cultural heritage for all humanity, and called it the “First Charter of Human Rights”.


“The Cylinder reads that everyone is entitled to freedom of thought and choice and all individuals should pay respect to one another. The historical charter also underscores e necessity of fighting oppression, defending the oppressed, respecting human dignity, and recognizing human rights. The Cyrus Cylinder bears testimony to the fact that the Iranian nation has always been the flag-bearer of justice, devotion and human values throughout history.”

The cylinder is probably the only subject of agreement between the Shah and the leaders who came after the revolution . . .

Cyrus was killed in battle in the steppe region of Kazakhstan.  This from Wiki about his tomb:

Cyrus the Great’s remains were interred in his capital city of Pasargadae, where today his limestone tomb (built around 540–530 BC) still exists. Though the city itself is now in ruins, the burial place of Cyrus the Great has remained largely intact; and the tomb has been partially restored to counter its natural deterioration over the centuries. According to Plutarch, his epitaph said:

“O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know you will come, I am Cyrus who won the Persians their empire. Do not therefore begrudge me this bit of earth that covers my bones.”

Years later, in the chaos created by Alexander the Great’s invasion of Persia, Cyrus the Great’s tomb was broken into and most of its luxuries were looted. When Alexander (who admired Cyrus) reached the tomb, he was horrified by the manner in which the tomb was treated.

The edifice has survived the test of time, through invasions, internal divisions, successive empires, regime changes and revolutions.

Here’s a GE shot of Iran, identifying the tomb’s location:

And a much closer view:

And closer yet.

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of the tomb by Reza Dehghanizadeh:

Quite the guy and quite the tomb.

It’s time to head back to Ohio, and I can’t leave Bucyrus without mentioning favorite son Judson Laipply.  If you know the name, you know what’s coming.  He’s the famous You Tube star who burst on the scene with “Evolution of Dance” in 2006.  

Join the 299,165,874 others who have viewed this video:

(OK, so maybe it’ll hit 299,200,000 by the time you view it.  I wonder if the 300,000,000th viewer wins something . . .)

I’ll close with this GE Panoramio barn shot by JB the Milker (a frequent ALAD contributor):

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day

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Bayou Bartholomew, Arkansas and Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on May 20, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2345; A Landing A Day blog post number 776.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 33o 0.047’N, 91o 40.211’W) puts me on the border between Arkansas and Louisiana:

With my two-state post title, you still don’t know in which state I landed (and don’t look at ALADus Obscurus; that’s cheating).

With bated breath, here’s my local map:

It’s official:  I landed in Louisiana, but where are the towns?  Of course, you can see the titular Bayou Bartholomew.  Zooming back, one can see that yes, there are towns (but none apparently worth titular status):

My streams-only shot shows (of course) Bayou Bartholomew (3rd hit); on to the Ouachita R (13th hit):

Zooming back a little, we can see that the Ouachita makes its way to the Black River (14th hit); on to the Red (63rd hit); on to the Atchafalaya (70th hit):

So.  It’s time for the Google Earth (GE) trip into far NE LA.  Click HERE.

I have Street View coverage only a mile away, but it was a miserable rainy day when the GoogleMobile happened by.  Consequently, the Street View shot just isn’t worth it.

I also have nearby Street View coverage of the Bayou (taken on the same rainy day).  Here’s the map:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

The Bayou Bart’s looking a little rain-swollen.  Let’s see what Wiki has to say about my titular Bayou:

Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou in the world meandering approximately 364 miles between the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana.

[Wow.  Longest Bayou in the world!  More about that in a bit.]

It contains over 100 aquatic species making it the second most diverse stream in North America. Known for its excellent catfish, bream, and crappie fishing, portions of the bayou are considered some of the best kept secrets of Arkansas anglers.

[Bream???  More about that later as well.]

The present bayou bed was formed by the waters of the Arkansas River during a period when it was changing course. Approximately 2,000 years ago (and for many hundreds of years previously), the river was flowing down the current bayou bed.  But then, the Arkansas diverted to its current course, flowing directly to the Mississippi River.  Consequently, the leisurely bayou began to develop in the now abandoned river bed.

In order to appreciate the previous paragraph, one must also appreciate that the Arkansas is one big river with a huge watershed.  (It’s in 6th place on my list of watersheds, with 126 hits).  Here’s a Wiki shot of the watershed:

And here’s a StreetAtlas streams-only map that shows how close the Arkansas is to the headwaters of the Bartholomew:

So all of that water from that huge watershed was flowing down what today is the lazy ol’ Bartholomew Bayou.  And here’s what happened:  These Gulf Coast rivers develop serious meanders as they make their way across the flat coastal plain, filled with ancestral Mississippi River sediment.

Throw in a massive flood (say, one on the magnitude of only once in a thousand years), and the river wants to go straight instead of meandering all over the place.  When that happens, it quickly erodes a new channel and heads off in a new direction, say more directly towards the Mississippi.

And then what happens to its former self?  It takes on a new, much more laid-back identity . . .

So, what about the claim that the Bartholomew is the world’s longest bayou?  Well, first off, the term “bayou” is only applied to waterways that end up in the Gulf of Mexico.  Secondly, “bayou” has a rather vague definition.  It comes from the Choctow “bayuk,” which means “small stream.”  It has come to mean any sluggish waterway.

So is this the largest bayou in the world?  What the heck, why not . . .

And then real quickly:  “bream” (a kind of fish) was mentioned earlier.  It’s a general term for a large class of fish that include sunfish and bluegills.

So anyway – as we all know (after reading my watershed analysis) – the Bayou Bartholomew ends up in the Ouchita River, then the Black River, the Red River, and finally in the Atchafalaya, which flows into the Gulf.  The Red / Atchafalahya system does not have a straight-forward hydrologic history. 

As it turns out, I blogged about this hydrologic history in my February 2014 Winnfield, Lousisiana post (when I also landed in the Red River / Atchafalaya River watershed).

I’m going to borrow some from that post:

So, that’s about it for Winnfield.  Not wanting to call it a day, I figured that I’d do a feature on the Atchafalya River.  This landing marks the 55th time I’ve landed in the Atchafalya watershed (the 15th time since I began blogging), but the first time I’ve actually written a piece on the river . . .

[Quick update:  we need to add 7 to each of the above numbers.]

First off, I think it’s a wonderful name.  It just rolls off the tongue:  ah chaf fa LIE ah.  But of real interest is the history of the river, and how we Americans have played a crucial part in the river’s actual essence – its physical nature, identity and fate.   [Wow Greg, great sentence!]

The following write-up is a combination of words from the Lake Forest College website, Wiki, and me:

Back in the 10th century A.D., the Red River and the Mississippi River flowed to the Gulf of Mexico on separate, more-or-less parallel courses:

There was no Atchafalaya River anywhere to be seen, ancestral or otherwise.

In the 15th century, a bend in the Mississippi known as Turnbull’s Bend joined the river with the parallel Red River.  The flow of the Red River then joined the Mississippi.  The much smaller river flowing south from Turnbull’s bend became the Atchafalaya:

In the heyday of steamboats along the Mississippi River, it took a boat several hours to travel the bend’s 20 miles. To reduce travel time, Captain Henry M. Shreve, a river engineer and founder of Shreveport, La., dug a canal in 1831 through the neck of Turnbull’s Bend. At the next high water, the Mississippi roared through this channel.

With the Mississippi River taking a new course, the Red River began emptying into the smaller Atchafalaya River.  Also, Shreve’s cut altered the flow so that Mississippi water and Atchafalaya water flowed back and forth through the lower part of Turnbull’s Bend (the Lower Old River) depending on the season.

Between 1850 and 1950, the percentage of Atchafalaya’s share of the total flow of the two rivers increased from less than 10 percent to about 30 percent.

In 1953, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded that the Mississippi River would change its course to the Atchafalaya River by 1990 if it were not controlled, since this alternative path to the Gulf of Mexico through the Atchafalaya River is much shorter and steeper.

Knowing that this process would diminish the Mississippi and every city along the river as well as all commerce up and down the river, in 1964 the Army Corps built a control structure that controls the flow of the two rivers (called the Old River Control Structure).

This structure makes it so that 70% of the water flows through the Mississippi, while 30% flows through the Atchafalaya.

The Old River Control Structure and both rivers require constant maintenance and upkeep as the Army Corps continues to battle the natural forces at work. A flood in 1973 nearly destroyed the structure; the Atchafalaya was perilously close to receiving the entire flow of the Mississippi.  The structure was repaired and additional improvements made in 1986.

If it weren’t for the Old River Control Structure, the Mississippi River as we know it would not exist. New Orleans and Baton Rouge would lose their geographic significance and source of income, and thousands of American businesses would have to overhaul their shipping practices.

Here’s an aerial photo of the whole control complex, from Wiki:

It’s time for an ALAD true confessions.  Since my first Red River watershed landing (landing 65, July 1999), my landing spreadsheet says “Red R; Atchafalaya R.”

In other words, I am assuming (wrongly it turns out) that the Red River watershed is in the exclusive domain of the Atchafalaya.  If you were paying close attention to the above hydrologic analysis, you now know (as do I) that some of the Red River ends up in the Atchafalaya and some of the Red River ends up in the Mississippi. 

Oh well.  Too late now . . .

It’s time for some GE Panoramio shots to tie a bow around this post:

One problem:  There are no post-worthy (or bow-worthy) Pano shots anywhere close to my landing!  Zero.  Nada.  None.

But I did find this lovely shot of the Bayou Bartholomew in Wiki:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day

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Faith, South Dakota

Posted by graywacke on May 16, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2344; A Landing A Day blog post number 775.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 45o 9.733’N, 101o 2.277’W) puts me more-or-less in central South Dakota:

Zooming in, is a VP* of small towns:

*veritable plethora

Obviously, you’ll learn soon enough why only Faith survived.

My streams-only map shows that I landed very close to (and in the watershed of) the Moreau River (3rd hit), on to Lake Oahe. 

If you don’t know about Lake Oahe, you will when I zoom back a little:

Oh!  It’s just the dammed up Missouri River (419th hit); on to the MM (912th hit).

It’s time to add another Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin to my already-robust collection.  Click HERE to do so.

My GE Street View coverage is pretty lousy:

But here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I had the OD head a little north on the same road ‘til he came to a bridge over the Moreau River.  Here’s what he sees:

I had the OD look around, and he couldn’t help but notice some construction work on the southbound lane of the bridge.  Although it’s tough to see on the picture below, it looks like they’re going to resurface the far (southbound) lane:

I headed to the north end of the construction zone:

I’m not sure about the black blob (it appears in all of the south-facing photos), but note that the southbound lane is blocked and has a stop sign.  There’s no work going on; maybe this is a weekend.

Then I went to the other end of the construction zone (about a third of a mile away):

Hmmm.  The southbound lane is blocked and there’s another stop sign.  Obviously, drivers are on their own to stop and look and then proceed if the way is clear.   

Wow.  You would never see this anywhere close to NJ (where I live).  The NJ DOT would pay all the necessary overtime to keep the project moving 24/7, with flagmen at either end of the construction zone.  End of story.

I found another look at the river further downstream:

I was able to verify that this is, in fact, the Moreau River:

Moving right along to the VP of small towns. Of course, I checked out each one.  And obviously, all but one were entirely:

But have faith.  One little town had a hook, and it’s a good ‘un.  But first, here’s a graphic from the Faith town website:

I like the train silhouette.

Anyway, from Wiki, this about Faith (pop 421):

According to folk etymology, the town was named Faith because it took faith to live out on the prairie.  However, the story of the city as documented in various informal, locally published histories, is that the town was named for Faith Rockefeller, one of the daughters of a major investor in the railroad responsible for founding the town.

That wasn’t the hook. But this is:

The most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton known, (commonly nicknamed Sue), was discovered about 15 miles northeast of Faith in August 1990.

Ding ding ding! 

OK, the first thing I’m going to do is take a look around, 15 miles NE of Faith:

The lighter areas are eroded badlands (great for finding fossils).  Unfortunately, there is no Street View coverage, there are no Pano photos.  So, I’ll have to settle for a low-angle oblique GE shot, showing the badland landscape in this area:

I’m sure the T Rex fossil bed was in here somewhere.

I found this picture of the outcrop, with the fossil area next to the person up on the outcrop (a screen shot from the You Tube trailer for “Waking the T. Rex:  The Story of Sue,” a short Disney Documentary):

From Wiki, about Sue:

“Sue” is the nickname given to fossil “FMNH PR 2081,” which is the largest, most extensive and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found (over 90% recovered).  It was discovered in August 1990 by Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, and was named after her.

After ownership disputes were settled, the fossil was auctioned in October 1997, for $7.6 million, the highest amount ever paid for a dinosaur fossil, and is now a permanent feature at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

It is 40 ft long, stands 12 ft tall at the hips, and according to the most recent studies is estimated to have weighed between 10 and 20 tons when alive.

Here’s a Wiki picture (by Connie Ma) of Sue at the Field Museum:

And here’s a picture of Sue at the outcrop (from AwesomeStories.com):

Back to Wiki for some of the back story:

During the summer of 1990, a group of workers from the Black Hills Institute [a for-profit corporation specializing in the excavation and preparation of fossils], located in Hill City, searched for fossils at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation near the city of Faith. By the end of the summer, the group was ready to leave.

However, a flat tire was discovered on their truck before the group could depart.  While the rest of the group went into town to repair the truck, Sue Hendrickson decided to explore the nearby cliffs that the group had not checked.

As she was walking along the base of a cliff, she discovered some small pieces of bone. She looked above her to see where the bones had originated, and observed larger bones protruding from the wall of the cliff.

She returned to camp with two small pieces of the bones and reported the discovery to the president of the Black Hills Institute, Peter Larson.  He determined that the bones were from a T. rex by their distinctive contour and texture.

Later, closer examination of the site showed that it was evident that much of the dinosaur had been preserved.

The fossil was named “Sue” after the woman who discovered it. After discovery, excavation, and transport to the Institute’s facilities in Hill City SD, controversy arose as to who the rightful owners of the fossil was.

The parties in dispute were the land owner, Maurice Williams; the tribe (and thus the federal government) and the Black Hills Institute. On May 12, 1992, FBI agents seized Sue from the institute over the course of three days.

Through the ongoing court battle, it was finally decided that Maurice Williams was the owner of the fossil (even though he had been paid $5,000 by the Black Hills Institute for the right to remove Sue). The federal government later brought a 39-count, 153-charge indictment against the Institute and several of its members, which was related to this case and other fossils. This case turned into the longest criminal trial in South Dakota state history.

Peter Larson, the president of the institute, was convicted on two counts of customs violations, for which he served two years in federal prison. Sue Hendrickson received immunity from prosecution for her testimony.  T Rex Sue was finally auctioned off by Sotheby’s auction house and sold by Maurice Williams to the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois for $8.36 million.

I Googled Sue Hendrickson.  From Wiki:

In 1955, Hendrickson (at age 6) was enrolled at the Munster (IN) public elementary, frequently being praised by her teachers as “a good student and obedient child.”  However, she eventually found herself bored with school in Munster, and at age 16 was able to convince her parents to let her stay with her aunt in Florida, where she enrolled at a Fort Lauderdale high school.

An adventurous and rebellious teenager, Hendrickson never completed high school, dropping out at the age of 17 in favor of moving from state to state with her boyfriend before returning to Florida, where she was hired by two professional divers who owned an aquarium fish business.

A strong swimmer who had once been on her high school’s swim team, Hendrickson quickly learned to dive and began collecting tropical fish off the Florida Keys to sell to aquarists and pet stores.

Aside from her work as a diver, Hendrickson also worked part of the year as a lobster fisherman, and would occasionally take the summer off to volunteer on paleontological digs.

She took a job in shipwreck salvage, and soon found herself exploring old shipwrecks, becoming fascinated by working in the company of archeologists, often working in the Dominican Republic.

By the mid-1980s, Hendrickson had also tried her hand at amber mining in the Dominican mountains and she soon became one of the largest amber providers for scientists. Hendrickson found three perfect 23-million-year-old butterflies, which make up half of the whole world’s total collection.

Although she found the work too monotonous to pursue full-time, writing that “You could dig for months and find nothing in the Dominican caves,” she became an expert at identifying fossilized insects.

She also joined a team of paleontologists (including Peter Larson) who were excavating whale, dolphin, seal and shark fossils at an ancient seabed in Peru over the course of several summers.

She later accompanied Larson to the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. By this time, paleontology had become her main passion.

[We all know what happened next . . . ]

In 2005, Glamour magazine honored her in their “Glamour Woman of the Year Awards.” In 2010, she published an autobiography entitled Hunt for the Past: My Life as an Explorer. In 2008, she was featured on the “Dare to Explore” chapter of National Geographic Kids.

Hendrickson now lives on the island of Guanaja, off the coast of Honduras. She is a member of the Paleontological Society, Explorers Club, Society for Historical Archaeology, and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000.

Here’s a picture of Sue on the Sue outcrop with Sue’s jaw before she got sued (screenshot from the Disney trailer mentioned earlier):

There are slim pickins for GE Pano shots.  But at least I found one, by DocShot, taken about 20 miles west of my landing:

 That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day

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Florence, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on May 4, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2342; A Landing A Day blog post number 773.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 45o 54.137’N, 88o 23.458’W) puts me in far NE Wisconsin:

My local landing map shows that I landed just west of Florence (about 7 miles west):

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Pine River (first hit ever!); on to the Menominee (16th hit):

Zooming back, you can see that the Menominee makes its way to Lake Michigan’s Green Bay:

This was my 37th Lake Michigan watershed landing.  Of course, we’re in the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence R watershed (106th hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth spaceflight in to the wilds of NE Wisconsin.  Click HERE.

Although in terms of distance I have decent GE Street View coverage, I landed deep in the woods:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I get a decent-enough look at a nearby crossing of the Pine River:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

The OD turned his head a little:

It looks like a portable electric generator in front of the truck.  The ever-curious OD made his way to the back of the truck:

So I can’t figure out why a guy in a box truck sets up a generator in front of his truck while parked on a bridge.  This will just have to remain one of life’s little mysteries . . .

I sent the OD on a mission to find a Menominee R crossing.  He succeeded:

And here’s what he sees, looking east:

I had him head a little south on the same road and look back towards the bridge:

I just wanted to be sure the state line signs were there to let unwary motorists know what was going on as they crossed the humble Menominee.

So Florence is my one-and-only.  On the Florence County website, I found this little bit of history about the town of Florence:

From the Heritage of Iron & Timber 1880-1980

Published for Florence County, Wisconsin, 1980

In 1879 Mr. VanDyke and Mr. Hagerman, financiers, purchased a three-fourths interest in an iron mine near what is today Florence.  They also arranged for railroad extension to the mine.  They felt that this economic opportunity was due to the good work done in this mining region by Mr. N.P. Hulst.

They decided to name the mine and the town Florence in honor of Mrs. Florence Hulst, Mr. Hulst’s wife.  The following is the text of a letter sent to Mrs. Hulst on December 15, 1879 by Mr. Hagerman, President of the Menominee Mining company:

Mrs. Hulst — The time is come when we must give a name to the new town in Wisconsin at the end of the Railroad now being built, and to the new mine in the vicinity, now called the Eagle, but which name we do not wish to keep, as there is already an Eagle P.O. in Wisconsin. 

The Company owns all the land around the lake, where the town will be located.  It will be a lively town.  We shall put an anti-whiskey clause in all deeds and we expect it will be as much noted for its temperance and morality as for its — well, anything the future may develop. 

We all wish to call the new town and the mine FLORENCE, in honor of the first white woman who had courage enough to settle (for a while) in that rugged country.  I mean the first white woman known to us.

Will you permit your name to be used?

I love it!  If you were skimming, read the last two paragraphs carefully.  I love the part about “well, anything the future may develop” and “I mean the first white woman known to us.”

Here’s a circa 1910 shot of Main Street, also from the Florence County website:

Moving right along.  I noted that Wiki has the following entry under Noble People:

Charles White Whittlesey, Medal of Honor recipient in World War I, was born in Florence.

This guy has quite the story.  The following is absolutely well worth the read.  From Wiki:

Lieutenant Colonel Charles White Whittlesey (January 20, 1884 – presumed dead November 26, 1921) was a United States Army officer and an American Medal of Honor recipient who led the “Lost Battalion” in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918 during the final stages of World War I.

Whittlesey attended prestigious Williams College. [Forbes ranked Williams 2nd among U.S. undergraduate institutions, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016.  Strangely, I’ve never heard of it!].  He also obtained a law degree from Harvard Law School.

In WWI, he headed up the 77th division, known as the “Metropolitan Division,” because it was made up largely of New York City men, mainly from the polyglot Lower East side. Its members spoke 42 different languages or dialects.  [Times have changed on the Lower East Side!]

On the morning of October 2, 1918, the 77th Division was ordered to move forward against a heavily fortified German line as part of a massive American attack in the Meuse-Argonne region. Whittlesey commanded a battalion of 554 soldiers, who advanced forward through a ravine.

Although Whittlesey’s troops made excellent headway up the ravine, the units on their flanks failed to make to likewise advance.  As a result, Whittlesey’s troops were surrounded on all sides by German troops and pinned down by German fire from the surrounding 200-foot high bluffs.

The following days were perilous for Whittlesey and his men, as they were without food or water.  Some of the men had never thrown a live grenade, but for four days, they resisted snipers and attacks by waves of German troops armed with hand grenades and flame throwers.

During this period war correspondents seized on the incident and dubbed the unit the “Lost Battalion.”

On October 7, the Germans sent forward a blindfolded American POW carrying a white flag, with a message in English:

“The suffering of your wounded men can be heard over here in the German lines, and we are appealing to your humane sentiments to stop.  A white flag shown by one of your men will tell us that you agree with these conditions. Please treat Private Lowell R. Hollingshead (the bearer) as an honorable man. He is quite a soldier. We envy you.

Whittlesey never considered surrendering.

That very night, a relief force arrived and the Germans retreated. Of the original 554 troops involved in the advance, 107 had been killed, 63 were missing and 190 were wounded. Only 194 (including Whittlesey) were able to walk out of the ravine.

The story of the Lost Battalion was one of the most talked about events of World War I.   In 1919, the events were made into a movie (and a 2001 made-for-TV movie).

He tried to return to his career, working as an attorney at the Wall Street firm of White & Case, but found himself in constant demand for speeches, parades, and honorary degrees. The pressure wore on him; he complained to a friend: “Not a day goes by but I hear from some of my old outfit, usually about some sorrow or misfortune. I cannot bear it much more.”

In November 1921, Whittlesey acted as a pallbearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  A few days later he booked passage from New York to Havana aboard the SS Toloa, a United Fruit Company ship.

On November 26, 1921, the first night out of New York, he dined with the captain and left the smoking room at 11:15 p.m. stating he was retiring for the evening.  It was noted by the captain that he was in good spirits.

Whittlesey was never seen again. He was reported missing at 8:00 a.m. the next day. He is presumed to have committed suicide by jumping overboard, although no one reported seeing him jump and Whittlesey’s body was never recovered.

However, it is quite apparent that his death was a suicide, considering:

  • Before leaving New York, he prepared a will leaving his property to his mother.
  • He also left letters addressed to his parents, his brothers Elisha and Melzar, his uncle Granville Whittlesey, and to several friends including George McMurtry, who also received the famous German letter asking for surrender.
  • In his cabin he left a note to the captain of the Toloa leaving instructions for the disposition of the baggage left in his stateroom.

Speaking of baggage, one can only imagine the baggage this poor guy had to carry with him after his experience.  They didn’t call it post-traumatic stress syndrome back then. . .

Here’s a picture of the French monument to the Lost Battalion (from Wiki):

Time for some GE Panoramio shots beginning with three of the Pine River, I’ll start just upstream from my landing, with this, by Aaron Carlson:

The LaSalle Falls (on the Pine River) are a little further downstream.  Here’s a shot by Outdoor Painter:

And just downstream of the falls, this by F. Collin Hobbs (great name!):

Usually, I find what I consider to be the most lovely photo of a local natural scene for closing.  But, hey, the exception makes the rule.  I’ll close with this shot of the Florence County jail (in Florence, by Rich R):

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day

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