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Archive for March, 2018

Argonia, Kansas (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on March 26, 2018

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 2394; A Landing A Day blog post number 828.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (37o 13.871’N, 97o 54.045’W) puts me in south central Kansas:

And my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Sand Ck; on to the Chikasia River (3rd hit):

Zooming back:

The Chikasia flows to the Salt Fork of the Arkansas (13th hit); on to the Arkansas 131st hit).  Although not shown, we all know (don’t we, class?) that the Arkansas discharges to the MM (929th hit).

I was able to put the Orange Dude quite close to my landing.  The GoogleMobile was wandering around dirt roads!

And here’s what he sees:

The Orange Dude ambled north a couple of hundred yards to look at the unnamed tributary that carries my runoff:

And here’s the very culvert that carries my runoff safely under the dirt road:

Sand Creek is close by:

And here’s a look see:

Lovely spot!

Moving right along . . . as you likely suspected based on the “Revisited” in the post’s title, I’ve been to Argonia before.  In April of 2009, I landed east of (and featured) Argonia.  I’ll borrow a little from that post (in italics) and then add some updates:

So, as you can see in the above picture, America’s first woman mayor was in Argonia.

[Here comes a quote that I didn’t reference back in 2009.  I don’t think it was Wiki; it was probably a local web site – but I couldn’t find it this time around]:

Susanna M Salter

Susanna Madora “Dora” Salter (1860-1961), U.S. politician. On April 4, 1887, at the tender age of 27, she was elected as mayor of Argonia, Kansas, becoming the first woman elected as mayor in the United States.  Not only that, she was the first woman elected to any significant political office in the United States.  Following her term as mayor, she moved to Oklahoma in 1893 after acquiring land on the Cherokee Strip, and later moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where she died at the age of 101.

Wow. Very cool landing spot, enabling me to honor the first U.S. woman elected to any political position. And, she lived to be 101, which was an incredible rarity back in the day. 

Anyway, here’s another interesting fact:  There’s only one Argonia in the entire world.  How about that! 

So, here’s a picture of “Dora” Salter:

And this is her house in Argonia:

Back to now. So, I found a little more about Ms. Salter.  From Wiki (and pay attention!):

Salter was elected mayor of Argonia on April 4, 1887.  Her election was a surprise because her name had been placed on a slate of candidates as a prank by a group of men against women in politics hoping to secure a loss that would humiliate women and discourage them from running.

[Wow.  Great stuff . . .]

Because candidates did not have to be made public before election day, Salter herself did not know she was on the ballot before the polls opened.

When, on election day itself, she agreed to accept office if elected, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union abandoned its own preferred candidate and voted for Salter en masse.

Additionally, the local Republican Party Chairman [Republicans were the liberals back then] sent a delegation to her home and confirmed that she would serve and the Republicans agreed to vote for her, helping to secure her election by a two-thirds majority.

[Way to go, Dora!]

One of the first city council meetings over which the newly elected Mrs. Salter presided was attended by a correspondent of the New York Sun. He wrote his story, describing the mayor’s dress and hat, and pointing out that she presided with great decorum. He noted that several times she checked irrelevant discussion, demonstrating that she was a good parliamentarian.

Other publicity extended to newspapers as faraway as Sweden and South Africa.  As compensation for her year’s service, she was paid one dollar. After only a year in office, she declined to seek reelection.

There you have it.

And, from the town website:

Argonia, incorporated in 1885, was named for the Argonauts of Greek legend, a band of heroes with whom Jason set out to fetch the Golden Fleece in the ship Argo.

My knowledge of Greek mythology is nil, so I looked up Jason and the Argonauts, the good ship Argo, and the Golden Fleece.

Yikes.  Wiki goes on and on and on, and I must admit, my eyes just blurred over.  So, I’ll keep this very short.  From Wiki:

The Argonauts were a band of heroes in Greek mythology, who in the years before the Trojan War, around 1300 BC, were led by Jason in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, Argo, named after its builder, Argus. “Argonauts” literally means “Argo sailors”.

The Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram and is a symbol of authority and kingship. It figures in the tale of the hero Jason and his crew of Argonauts, who set out on a quest for the fleece by order of King Pelias, in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly.

Through the help of Medea, they acquire the Golden Fleece. The story is of great antiquity and was current in the time of Homer (eighth century BC).

See what I mean?

Here are a couple of images of artists’ concept of the Golden Fleece:

 

So, I’ll close with this shot of the Chikaksia River, east of my landing by Ken Clay:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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Dell City, Texas

Posted by graywacke on March 21, 2018

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 2393; A Landing A Day blog post number 827.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (31o 56.967’N, 105o 34.247’W) puts me in far west Texas:

My local landing map shows my titular town and its proximity to El Paso:

StreetAtlas showed me nothing about drainage, so I had to go to Google Earth (GE).  I could following the drainage pathways east towards Dell City, and then to a dry lake bed just east of Dell City:

I thought to myself, “Self, maybe there’s a USGS topographic map that identifies my landing watershed.  Let me check.”

So, self went to mytopo.com, et voila!  I found my landing location based on my proximity to “Double Mills Tank:”

How did I know about Double Mills Tank?  Well, here’s a GE shot that shows my landing’s proximity to that very feature!

And a close-up of the tank, which, as you can see, is a small man-made pond):

Anyway, here’s a zoomed out topo map showing that the drainage near the tank ends up in Washburn Draw:

Shifting our gaze to the east:

Washburn Draw peters out in the flats around Dell City.  As a geologist, I’ll speculate about this observation as follows:  When any water makes its way out of the hills, it enters the flats, which are highly-permeable (coarse) sediments that have washed down from the hills through the eons.  So, the runoff water hits the flats, and sinks in.  The drainage channels disappear.

Using the GE elevation tool, I found a slight dip in the north-south road through Dell City where, I figured, on very rare occasions, water from my landing would flow.  So, I put the Orange Dude there:

He doesn’t see much, but here ‘tis (looking east):

The lowest elevation anywhere around is “Linda Lake,” shown on the above topo map.  As you might suspect, it’s pretty much always a salt flat; no water.  But photographer William L. Giles snapped this photo (posted on Flickr) after a major rain:

And Bill had this to say about the photo:

The Guadalupe Mountain Salt Flats are a remnant of an ancient, shallow lake that once occupied this area during the Pleistocene Epoch, approximately 1.8 million years ago. Salt collected here as streams drained mineral-laden water into this basin.

The basin, called a fault graben, formed about 26 million years ago as faulting lifted the Guadalupe Mountains and depressed the adjacent block of the Earth’s crust. At the end of the last ice age, approximately 10,000 years ago, the lake dried up as the climate became more arid.

Mineral content in the ground imparts a beautiful turquoise tint to the rain water that collects in the basin.

Here’s a shot of the mountains across the more-usual salt flats (a Flickr shot by Alan Cressler):

By the way, I’ll have more about the Guadalupe mountains in a bit.  But now its time for Dell City.  I found a great write-up in TexasEscapes.com, which is based on an interview with Gene Lutrick, president of the Dell City Chamber of Commerce:

In 1947, men came looking for oil and discovered a large reservoir of good quality underground water. Developers from Austin and Midland immediately got busy promoting the town.

When we asked who Mr. Dell might have been, Mr. Lutrick asked if we were familiar with the nursery song “The Farmer in the Dell”. There was no Mr. Dell – it’s Dell as in “a small, secluded, usually forested valley.” Just forget the part about the forest.

Eager to put the water to use, the developers planted 200 acres of cotton. This was great news for the local rabbits who ate all but 14 acres of it; farmers started planting alfalfa to keep the rabbits occupied. Today, onions, tomatoes, sweet grapes and chili peppers are grown.

Reports on wildlife include abundant deer and antelope. We asked Mr. Lutrick about buffalo (roaming or otherwise) and he said that there were none in Dell City. He did say that he has, on occasion, heard a discouraging word. We didn’t ask what it was.

I suspect that most of my readers were tuned into the “Home, Home on the Range” references in the above paragraph.  But just in case, here’s a You Tube video of the song, performed of (by all people) Neil Young.  I love Neil, but this is pretty bad . . .

The classic versions of the song are by Roy Rodgers and another by Gene Autry.  And yes, they’re better than Neil’s version.

So, about the Guadalupe Mountains.  During a Lafayette College geology field trip (spring 1972), we visited these mountains, specifically the prominent peak known as El Capitan:

Here’s a Wiki shot of the peak:

And this, from the top:

And this, taken in 1889:

Anyway, to this day, I am able to remember that El Capitan is a “Permian Reef Complex.”   “Permian” is its age – about 300 million years old.  And yes, it’s an ancient reef that was formed (of course) below sea level.  As you might suspect, there’s a complex geologic history (that I won’t go into) about how a reef that starts out below sea level ends up being a mountain in West Texas . . .

A sidebar:  I remember that we all climbed a hill just off the main road near El Capitan.  Being college kids and all, I remember laughing about how the hill looked like a woman’s breast.  Well, thanks to Google Earth and Street View, I was able to revisit the spot.

First, this overview:

Then, this low-angle shot:

And finally, this Street View shot from a side road:

See what I mean?

I have another distinct memory – that I found a very cool, very funky rock on the side of that very hill.  I kept it, and have it to this day.  I just went down into the basement where I have a plastic bin of collected rocks, and there it was.  So, I brought it upstairs and snapped a couple of pictures on my dining room table:

The Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottle cap is for scale . . .

Here’s an angled shot, with the bottle cap doing double duty as a prop to keep the rock upright:

Is this a cool rock or what?!?  I have no idea how this rock formed – and as I recall, neither did my geology professors!

I’ll close with this GE picture of “salt basin dunes” (near Linda Lake) by Jean-Claude Linossi, with the Guadalupe Mountains in the background:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

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McIntosh, Leroy, Jackson and Saint Stephen, Alabama

Posted by graywacke on March 16, 2018

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 2392; A Landing A Day blog post number 826.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (31o 17.998’N, 88o 0.998’W) puts me in southwest Alabama:

I suspect that approximately zero of my readers noted that the last three digits of my random latitude are exactly the same as the last three digits of my random longitude.  See the .998? 

Moving right along to my local landing map:

I found at least a minor hook with each of the four highlighted towns. But before checking them out, here’s my watershed map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of good ol’ Stream Perennial, to the Tombigbee River (9th hit).  Although not shown, just a little ways downstream, the Tombigbee hooks up with the Alabama River to form the Mobile (24th hit) – and on to Mobile Bay.

I don’t get a good Google Earth (GE) Street View (SV) look at my landing, but I can look at the little road upon which I landed:

And here’s the SV shot of the little road:

I couldn’t get the Orange Dude (OD) to take a look at the Stream Perennial, but of course, he could get a look at the Tombigbee.  I was shocked as I saw this image:

. . . until I realized that this bridge is just downstream from where the Alabama River and the Tombigbee come together to form the Mobile . . .

Here’s a look upstream:

This bridge is part of a system of bridges about 6 miles long crossing the flood plain of the Mobile River:

So I have some minor tidbits for each of my four titular towns.  Since it’s the closest, I’ll start with McIntosh.  From Wiki:

McIntosh is near the site of Aaron Burr’s arrest in 1807. A historic marker has been placed to document this event.

What the heck; here’s a little Aaron Burr (mostly taken from Wiki) for you to chew on:

  • He was the third U.S. Vice President, serving under Thomas Jefferson
  • In 1804, the last full year of his single term as vice president, Burr shot his political rival Alexander Hamilton in a famous duel.
  • The two had been locked in a bitter political feud for years, and eventually agreed to the duel.
  • They were both in NY City, but rowed across the Hudson to Weehawken NJ (anti-dueling laws were less enforced in NJ than in NY).
  • It was common for both principals in a duel to fire a shot at the ground to exemplify courage, and then the duel could come to an end.
  • However, it likely that Hamilton fired first, but intentionally missed Burr.
  • The bullet hit a tree above and behind Burr.
  • Burr knew that a projectile from Hamilton’s gun had whizzed past him and crashed into the tree to his rear.
  • According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was perfectly justified in taking deadly aim at Hamilton and firing to kill.
  • Hamilton was mortally wounded by the shot in his lower abdomen; he was taken back to NY where he died the next day.
  • Burr was charged for murder in both NY and NJ.
  • Burr fled to South Carolina, where his daughter lived with her family, but soon returned to Philadelphia and then to Washington to complete his term as Vice President.
  • He avoided New York and New Jersey for a time, but all the charges against him were eventually dropped. In the case of New Jersey, the indictment was thrown out on the basis that, although Hamilton was shot in New Jersey, he died in New York.
  • What happened next is confusing (at best) and tedious/boring at worst (this is me talking). The bottom line is that he traveled to Louisiana involving some land deal, made some arrangements with some local militia, and ended up being charged with conspiracy (and treason) by President Jefferson.
  • He was arrested near my landing!
  • He was tried, but acquitted; he lived in NY until his death in 1833.

My next three towns are clustered a few miles north of my landing.  I’ll start with Leroy, home of portrait artist Simmie Knox.  He is best known as the painter of the official Bill Clinton presidential portrait.  From Wiki:

Simmie Knox was born in 1935 in Aliceville, Alabama to Simmie Knox Sr., a carpenter and mechanic, and Amelia Knox.  At a young age Simmie’s parents divorced and he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle on their sharecropper farm with his eight cousins in Leroy.

At age 13 he was hit in the eye by a baseball while playing a game, and it was suggested that drawing would aid his recovery. His segregated school did not have an art program, but the Catholic nuns who taught him recognized his talent and found someone to teach him.

He attended Central High School in Mobile.  Subsequently, Knox studied at Delaware State College while working in a textile factory. He then enrolled at Tyler School of Art, Pennsylvania, where he attained his masters degree.

Comedian Bill Cosby is credited with raising his profile in the 1990s when Knox was commissioned to paint 12 members of the Cosby family.  He subsequently painted notable figures such as Muhammad Ali, and Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, before coming to the attention of the White House.

In 2000 he was selected to create a portrait of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first black American painter to paint an official portrait of an American president.  The paintings of Bill and Hillary Clinton took two years to complete and are hanging in the White House’s East Wing.

He has painted dozens (hundreds?) of portraits both official (government-sponsored) and private.

Here are a few of his more famous portraits:

And this cool one of Hank Aaron and his parents:

 

Moving over to Jackson.  This Wiki piece caught my eye:

During World War II, a prisoner-of-war camp was built and operated that held 253 captured German soldiers.  Many of the prisoners were members of the Afrika Korps.

“Afrika Korps” was Wiki-clickable, so click I did (starting with their creepily-cartoonish logo):

The Afrika Korps (German: Deutsches Afrikakorps) was the German expeditionary force in Africa during the North African Campaign of World War II. First sent as a holding force to shore up the Italian defense of their African colonies, the formation fought on in Africa from March 1941 until its surrender in May 1943. The unit’s best known commander was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (“The Desert Fox.”)

And here’s a shot of some German military hardware in the desert:

I certainly can’t tell their nationality . . .

In 1940, the Brits routed the Italians based in Libya, an Italian Colony.  Hitler sent Rommel to shore up the Italians, and stop the Brits, which he did.  But as time went on, the tide turned for the Germans.  From Wiki:

The remnants of the Afrika Korps and surviving units of the 1st Italian Army retreated into Tunisia. In May 1943, the Afrika Korps surrendered, along with all other remaining Axis forces in North Africa.

And some of the Afrika Korps ended up in Jackson, Alabama . . .

Now we’ll head upriver to Saint Stephen.  FYI, “Old Saint Stephen” was right on the Tombigbee River.  Based on railroad availability, the current Saint Stephen “New Saint Stephen” was located a few miles east of the river.  Old Saint Stephen exists only as a historic park.

From Wiki:

Old St. Stephens was situated on a limestone bluff that the Native Americans called Hobucakintopa, at the fall line along the Tombigbee River where rocky shoals forced the end of navigation for boats traveling north from Mobile, 67 miles to the south.

As early as 1772, British surveyor Bernard Romans noted that “sloops and schooners may come up to this rapid; therefore, I judge some considerable settlement will take place.”

Notice the phrase “fall line?”  In the eastern US, the fall line designates the line separating hard bedrock formations from the younger, unconsolidated sediments that make up the coastal plain.  Here’s a USGS shot (the Piedmont Plateau is much older bedrock):

As in Saint Stephen, the fall line was identified as a spot for development because ships couldn’t go further upriver, and needed a port to off-load cargo ships and transfer the cargo to land-based transport.  Here’s a Wiki-list of Fall Line Cities:

Watertown, Massachusetts (Charles River)
Lowell, Massachusetts (Merrimack River)
Hartford, Connecticut (Connecticut River)
Fall River, Massachusetts (Quequechan River)
Bangor, Maine (Penobscot River)
Augusta, Maine (Kennebec River)
Rochester NY (Genesee River)
Pawtucket, Rhode Island (Blackstone River)
Trenton, New Jersey, on the Delaware River
Paterson, New Jersey, on the Passaic River
Conowingo MD (Susquehanna Riveer)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the Schuylkill River
Wilmington, Delaware, on Brandywine Creek
Baltimore, MD, on Jones Falls, Gunpowder Falls and Gwynns Falls
Washington, D.C., on the Potomac River
Fredericksburg, Virginia, on the Rappahannock River
Hanover, Virginia, on the North Anna River
Richmond, Virginia, on the James River
Petersburg, Virginia, on the Appomattox River
Weldon, NC and Roanoke Rapids NC on the Roanoke River
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on the Tar River
Raleigh, North Carolina, on the Neuse River
Fayetteville, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River
Camden, South Carolina, on the Wateree River
Columbia, South Carolina, on the Congaree River
Augusta, Georgia, on the Savannah River
Milledgeville, Georgia, on the Oconee River
Macon, Georgia, on the Ocmulgee River
Columbus, Georgia, on the Chattahoochee River
Tallassee, Alabama, on the Tallapoosa River
Wetumpka, Alabama, on the Coosa River
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on the Black Warrior River

Hmm.  Don’t see Saint Stephen on the Mobile River.  Strange that it didn’t take off . . .

Speaking of Saint Stephen, here’s GE shot of the limestone bluffs at Old Saint Stephen, by Ryan Beverly:

I’ll close with this GE shot from a few miles west of my landing (by Jan Bowen):

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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Syracuse, Nebraska

Posted by graywacke on March 10, 2018

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 2391; A Landing A Day blog post number 825.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (40o 46.805’N, 96o 0.816’W) puts me in southeast Nebraska (aka SE NE):

My local landing map shows that I’m in the midst of the usual VP* of small towns (pop less, often way less than 1,000), with a larger one (Nebraska City, pop 7,300) thrown in:

*Veritable Plethora

As you can tell by the title of this post (and the red oval), there was one & only one big winner.

Here’s my watershed analysis:

I landed in the watershed of the South Branch of Weeping Water Creek, on to the Weeping Water Creek, on to the Missouri River (425th hit).  The Mighty Mo makes its way to the Mighty Miss (928th hit).

I’ve got good Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I sent him down the road a piece to get a look at the South Branch of Weeping Water Creek:

And here’s what the OD sees:

Of course, I checked out all of the towns shown on my local landing map.  After an exhaustive search, I ended up with only Syracuse.  OK.  So, there’s practically nothing to say about Syracuse.  From Wiki:

The community was named after Syracuse, New York.

So, what about Syracuse NY?  From Wiki:

Syracuse was named after the original Greek city Syracuse, a city on the eastern coast of the Italian island of Sicily.

So what about Syracuse Sicily?  From Wiki:

Syracuse was founded in 734 or 733 BC by Greek settlers from Corinth and Tenea.   A possible origin of the city’s name is that there was a nearby marsh called Syrako.  A variant of Syrako was “Syracuse.”

The nucleus of the ancient city was the small island of Ortygia. The ancient Greek settlers found the land fertile and the native tribes to be reasonably well-disposed to their presence. The city grew and prospered, and for some time stood as the most powerful Greek city anywhere in the Mediterranean.

Here’s the city as a whole:

And the ancient portion of the city, the island of Ortygia – what looks like the peninsula in the above photo.  Here’s a GE close-up:

Syracuse is a very cool old town.  I’ll do a little photo tour, starting with the Roman Amphitheater (GE photo by Tancredi Landi):

The amphitheater is not in Ortygia, but all of the remaining shots are.

Here’s a GE photo by Lady K:

:

And this, from a GE 360 shot:

Here’s a lovely waterfront café (from GE Street View):

There is a maze of incredibly narrow “streets”  in Ortygia.  Here’s a typical GE Street View shot:

There’s a wonderful plaza there – Piazzo Duomo. Here’s a Street View shot:

And a shot of the Catholic Church in the Piazzo by Tomas Posvai:

Staying in the Piazzo, here are a couple of shots captured in GE 360s:

The silver dude’s very cool, but not permanent.  And how about the woman with her leg up and clapping?  I love it.

I’d love to have the time, flexibility (and money) to hang out in Syracuse for a while . . .

I thought I needed to head back to Nebraska – so I scanned the GE photos near my landing.  Hmmmm.  Not much to choose from, but I settled on this, by Bluegrass Playgrounds:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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