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Archive for September, 2019

Buchanan Dam, Texas

Posted by graywacke on September 26, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2458; A Landing A Day blog post number 894.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N30o 44.836’, W98o 22.062’) puts me in central Texas:

Here’s my very local landing map:

FYI, Buchanan Dam is both a dam and a community.

I’ll zoom back a bit to show you the VP* of small towns in the general vicinity:

*veritable plethora

I’ll zoom back a bit more to show you that I landed in the greater Austin area (Austin is about 50 miles away):

There’s no need for a streams-only map.  Look back up at my very local map and you’ll see that I landed adjacent to the Colorado River (of Texas, 31st hit).

But I actually landed on a dammed-up portion of the Colorado River, Inks Lake.  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) overview:

The town of Buchanan Dam is the built-up area directly south of the dam.  And (obviously), more about Reverend Jim’s in a bit.

Staying with GE.  As you might expect, I was able to put the Orange Dude pretty close to my landing.  However, there are trees in the way of a direct view, so I thought I’d show you all the little dirt road you’d take to get to my landing:

Here’s what the OD sees:

And there’s a bridge over Inks Lake close to my landing:

Which gave the OD a view of the Buchanan Dam:

Both the Buchanan Dam and the Inks Dam were built in the 1930s.  There’s more of a story behind the Buchanan Dam (from Wiki):

The Buchanan Dam is a multiple arch dam located on the Colorado River of Texas. The dam forms Lake Buchanan and was the first dam to be completed in the chain of Texas Highland Lakes. The dam is used for generating hydroelectric power and for flood control.

Construction of the then-named George W. Hamilton Dam [more about George in a bit] was started in 1931 by a public utility holding company, but soon ended with the dam less than half completed when the company collapsed during the Great Depression. In 1934, the Texas legislature authorized the formation of the Lower Colorado River Authority to complete the Hamilton dam.

Following completion in 1937, the dam was renamed for U.S. Representative James P. Buchanan, who helped obtain federal funding for the project from the Public Works Administration.

Here’s another shot of the dam, this one by Roger Coughlin, posted on Google Earth (GE):

So who was this George Hamilton guy?  Well, first off, he wasn’t this George Hamilton:

For those of my readers who don’t know who the above is, he is an actor, with quite the body of movies & TV work, mainly from the 1960s through early 2000s.

But I will guess that none of my readers know of the George W. Hamilton for whom the dam was initially named. 

Surprisingly, there is no Wikipedia for GWH.  But there I a book on Amazon about him:

The book was named to the list of top history books for 2018 by Amazon Book Review editor, Chris Schleup.  Here’s Amazon’s blurb:

In its list of the “Top 10 Badass Marines,” Leatherneck magazine declared that Major George W. Hamilton “never asked anyone to do anything he wasn’t prepared to do himself…and do better.”

Indeed, the author of A History of the United States Marine Corps once called Hamilton “the most outstanding Marine Corps hero in World War I.” A leader of the first major American assault on June 6, 1918, and the last ranking officer in the American Expeditionary Forces to learn that the war was over, Hamilton remained in the thick of the fighting from start to finish.

Although he earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the Croix de Guerre, and two Medal of Honor recommendations for his service, Hamilton’s fame stalled when he died prematurely in 1922. With this first complete biography, Hamilton takes his rightful place among the first rank of American military heroes.

I found a 2018 article about GWH in (of all thing) Investor’s Business Daily by Michael Mink.  Here are a few excerpts:

As a captain and company commander, he was part of the first major American assault, the Battle of Belleau Wood, in June 1918.

As Hamilton witnessed his officers and men being shot and killed all around him, he decided bold action was the best course. Hamilton “ran up and down his line under severe fire, leading his men forward and urging them on by cheering and similar efforts. … at great personal exposure Capt. Hamilton displayed a quality of extraordinary heroism,” wrote Col. Wendell Neville in recommending Hamilton for the Medal of Honor.

The objective of the battle was to capture the woods and clear it of German soldiers. The terrain was an open wheat field leading to a 200-acre forest 53 miles northeast of Paris.

In the dawn hours, Hamilton led his company as they crawled through a hail of machine-gun fire from an enemy lying in wait in trenches. A thousand Marines died on the first day.

“It was every man for himself, kill or be killed,” Mortensen wrote. “There is no better example of this than Capt. Hamilton killing four Germans in hand-to-hand combat in one wild rush. He was leading from the front.

“The Marines’ continuous charge was unlike anything the Germans had ever faced or imagined. Their determination to advance under horrific conditions, using all means available including bayonets and hand-to-hand combat, gave the Germans reason to call the Marines ‘Teufel Hunden,’ translated to ‘Devil Dog.’ ”

From the same article, about “The Final Battle:”

On the night of Nov. 10, 1918, Hamilton commanded two battalions of some 2,230 men, crossing the Meuse River. They were part of an Allied effort to sever the railway network supporting the German Army in France.

A painting titled “The Last Night of the War” by Frederick C. Yohn, captures the moment. It depicts Hamilton “leading a battalion of Marines across a pontoon bridge over the Meuse under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire in an effort to establish a beachhead,” Mortensen wrote.

[OK, OK, so I don’t really see the pontoon bridge.]

The next day, Nov. 11, 1918, the armistice was signed ending World War I. America had lost over 53,000 men in combat, and this year marks the armistice’s 100th anniversary.

After beating the odds by surviving horrendous clashes, Hamilton died piloting an airplane in 1922, when it crashed in Gettysburg during a re-enactment of the Civil War battle showcasing the technology of the day.

Quite the hero.  Every time I read about WW I (or II), I simply cannot fathom what our men went through . . .

Sorry James P. Buchanan, Texas congressman who secured funding for the completion of the dam, but my vote is squarely with Mr. Hamilton.

As noted in the GE shot near the beginning of this post, I happened to stumble on a bar/restaurant in Buchanan Dam with a dam catchy name:  “Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub.”

I love it when a restaurant has a limited menu, with the underlying presumption being that with only a few menu items, the food will be dam good.  Well, here ya go:


Want something else?  Go somewhere else!

Want live music?  Go to Reverend Jim’s:

I’ll close with a couple of Alexander Buchanan Lake shots post on GE.  First this, by Marco Esquivel:

And then this, by Jordan Young:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Blackduck, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on September 19, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2457; A Landing A Day blog post number 893.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N47o 41.228’, W94o 16.129’) puts me in N-Cen Minnesota:

My local landing map shows a bunch of very small towns, including my titular Blackduck:

My watershed analysis took on a life of its own. I’ll start (as usual), very locally:

You can see that I landed next to Dunbar Creek, which heads south to Dunbar Lake, and then to Round Lake.  Zooming back:

The Popple River (1st hit ever!) flows north out of Round Lake, and then discharges to the Big Fork River (4th hit).  Zooming back:

 The Big Fork discharges to the Rainy (9th hit), which forms part of the border between MN & Canada (Ontario).  Zooming back:

The Rainy discharges to the Lake of the Woods, which includes that peculiar jog north on the international border.  The Winnipeg River (also 9th hit) heads north from there, up to Lake Winnipeg.  Zooming back:  

The Nelson River (68th hit) flows north out of Lake Winnipeg and discharges to Hudson Bay.  The reason the Nelson River has so many hits is that the Red River of the North also discharges to the Lake Winnipeg & the Nelson.    What the heck, I’ll zoom back one more time:

Not much to say here, except that Hudson Bay is obviously well-connected to the North Atlantic Ocean.

As you might suspect, I had no Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing.  But I was able to get the Orange Dude to a bridge over the Popple River:


And here’s what he sees:

Staying with watersheds, I happened to notice this:

Well, I’ll be!  A few miles south of my landing, there’s the Mighty Mississippi!  (I’ll be discussing the question mark in a bit).  OK, so the MM is probably not all that mighty way up here.  I found a Google Earth (GE) Street View shot of the MM from a bridge over the stretch of the river between the two lakes:

 While getting the Orange Dude situated on the bridge, I noticed that a blue line (indicating Street View coverage) was actually located on the river:




I’ve seen this one or two times before (on the Hudson River in NYC comes to mind), when the Google Cam dude actually hauls his camera onto a boat.  Well, he hopped on a boat so we could all get a more intimate view of the river:

Since the drainage from my landing went to the North Atlantic and the MM flows to the Gulf of Mexico, it is inevitable that there is a nearby line that marks the drainage divide between the two watersheds.    Look back up at the map above that shows the MM.  You can see that Round Lake is part of the Nelson River watershed, and the Winnibigoshish Lake is part of the MM watershed.  The question mark is associated with a series of lakes.  Somewhere in that series of lakes must be the divide!

So, I went to Google Earth.  Here are the series of lakes:

And here’s a clearer view (less the big lake to the south) from StreetAtlas:

Back with GE, I used the elevation tool to look at the elevations of each of the lakes:

Hmmm.  That doesn’t tell me where the divide is – if I didn’t know better, I’d assume that the water simply flows north to south.  I dutifully began checking the waterways between the lakes, and I focused on the Lower Pigeon Lake to Pigeon Dam Lake segment:

Now we’re cooking. Let’s take a closer look at the vicinity of the 1317 mark:

In the above GE shot, I fine-tuned the location of 1317, and marked a couple of other locations.  Zooming in:

Although the photograph is a little fuzzy, it looks to me like there is a small stretch with no waterway.  That has to be the divide!  So imagine that you’re there, and nature calls (you’re a guy, of course, and no one else is around).  You face south and (counterintuitively), your pee ends up in the North Atlantic.  You face north, and it makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico. . .

What a great place to actually visit.  How would I get there?  Well, I added the “roads” feature to GE:

There’s a nearby road with a bridge over the waterway!  It’s easier to see on StreetAtlas:

I’d pay money (if I had to) to go to that spot!  And, if I had to take a whiz . . .

Let’s put this divide in a larger context:

Very cool map.  But now pay particular attention to the spot in northern PA where three watersheds converge.  I realize that it looks like southern NY on the map, but trust me, it’s northern PA.  And why should you trust me?

Because I’ve been there!  My wife Jody, my son Jordan and I were within 10 miles of the spot, visiting the home of some friends (a mom and dad and a daughter).  I had long been aware of the existence of the “triple point,” and knew we were fairly close.  I asked Dave the dad about it.  He’s a nerdy know-it-all kind of guy (and he really does know a lot).  Not only did he know about it, but he had been there!  I started jumping up and down yelling excitedly “Can we go there??  Can we go there??”  Oh, all right, maybe I didn’t jump up and down.  But anyway, as you might expect, off we went.

The location was a hill top (of course), a cow pasture surrounded by a barbed wire fence.  Dave knew of the landowner, and said he was a curmudgeon.  We parked where we couldn’t see his house, checked the field for cows, carefully went through the fence, and up went.

At my insistence, we took water bottles, so we take could off the lids, spin around in a circle from the top of the hill, and have the water end up in three disparate watersheds:  1)  the Allegheny to the Ohio to the Mississippi; 2) the Genesee to Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence; and 3) the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake Bay.

We had a silly idea, and figured what-the-heck.  We had Jordan shape his body like an “S” and stand at the top of the Susquehanna watershed.  Of course, a picture was taken.  Nina, our friend’s daughter, formed an “A” for the Allegheny and then a “G” for the Genesee (standing at appropriate locations), all photo-documented.  The “G” was especially tough . . .

So now you can see the kind of guy I am and why I would love to go that spot in Minnesota (with a water bottle if I wasn’t alone!)

I am watershedded out. 

So what about Blackduck (pop 750)?  I’ll start with this shot from the town’s website:

Not much to say, except that it was a thriving logging town, founded around the turn of the last century.  It was named after nearby Blackduck River and Blackduck Lake, which were named after a common  duck species common throughout the state… 

LakesnWoods.com has quite the robust history section about Blackduck, although there’s not much of outstanding interest for my readers. 

The piece includes many quotes from the Blackduck Times and then the Blackduck American newspapers.  Here are a choice few:

May 11, 1921: “Will Set Off Big Blast in Blackduck” The largest crowd that ever visited Blackduck is expected to be here on Friday, May 27, when Governor J.A.O. Preus will demonstrate to the farmers of Blackduck and the vicinity the modern method of clearing land. The big blast will take place at Blackduck at 11:30 sharp, when an acre or more of stumps will be blasted simultaneously, Gov. Preus setting off the charge. This event has been anticipated for some time by the citizens of the village but not until today was it made a certainty.

August 31, 1921: School opens next Tuesday, and in accordance with the recommendation of the state high school inspector, the following subjects will be required for graduation:

  • Four years of English
    • Modern European History
    • Citizenship
    • American History
    • General Science
    • Mathematics

The elective courses will consist of additional history, science, mathematics, and manual training. All high school pupils will be required to take music, public speaking, and penmanship. A course in French will be introduced this year providing a sufficient number enroll for it.

January 1922: At the February term of court Beltrami County women will take their place with the men both as grand and petit jurors. Mrs. H.E. Douglas of the village has the distinction of being the first woman drawn on the grand jury.

February 1922: Ga-Be-Nah-Womce, familiarly known as John Smith, and reputed to have been the oldest person in the world, died at Cass Lake. He was 137 years old. Smith remembered events of the war of 1812. One of his boasts was that he had never fought against the white man. He claimed to have met the Schoolcraft and Cass exploration party which passed through this region about a hundred years ago, and recalled the changing of the name of Red Cedar Lake to Cass Lake in honor of one of the explorers.

May 1923: “Cranking a Ford”   The first automobile I saw was early one morning as I got off a boat in Alaska. A native was performing stunts at what seemed one end of a big oddly shaped tin can. His left hand was firmly braced against one of its black wings that sheltered a wheel, and the motion of his body indicated the he was winding or unwinding it.

He stopped at times to wipe the sweat from his eyes and dug into it again with renewed vengeance – furious and exasperated. Whatever were his hobbies, laziness was not one of them. I could tell from a distance that he was an American though his language was unprintable as well as profane.

I was about to step forward to console him – perhaps reason with him – when something he said or did must have provoked the thing he was working on. For it suddenly barked and broke into a bedlam of hideous shrieks! A racket, like a carnival of wild cats, belched from the inside, in long drawn, painful groans – uncanny, death-defying, and unearthly. And in all that noise there was not one forgiving note.

This thing, instead of being deaf and dumb and inanimate, vibrated with fury and shook its black wings as if about to fly at the helpless man for his profanity. Surely his time had come to answer for his sins. But the man, instead of being struck stark with terror at the awful spectacle of uncontrollable wrath provoked by him, actually registered “satisfaction”, calmly, jumped aboard the thing and rode proudly away. Let those who scoff at miracles crank a Ford. (Henry Funkley)

August 1923: “Gasoline Prices Drop to 20 Cents!”

And now for a couple of back-in-the-day photos from the same piece:


I’ll close with this shot of Round Lake by Adam Bauer, posted on GE:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Lawton and Geronimo, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on September 10, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2456; A Landing A Day blog post number 892.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N34o 33.843’, W98o 19.333’) puts me in SW Oklahoma:

My very local landing map shows that I landed just outside titular (and major city) Lawton:

Where’s Geronimo?  Here’s Geronimo:

You can see that I landed in the Ninemile Creek watershed:

On to the East Cache Creek.  Zooming back:

Unsurprisingly, the E Cache flows into the Cache, and after a short trip, there’s the Red River of the South (67th hit).  Although not shown, all of my regulars know that the Red discharge (more or less) discharge to the Atchafalaya (74th hit).

Here’s a Google Earth (GE) shot that shows that I landed right in a small subdivision:

Of course, I was keeping my fingers crossed as I yanked the Orange Dude from his perch on the side of the map, thereby generating the blue lines that show where he’s allowed to visit.  Here’s what I saw:



AYKM?  The Googlemobile dude drove into the subdivision, but didn’t take the extra three minutes to complete the outside loop!  Usually, I’m pleasantly surprised by the extent of GE Street View coverage.  Not this time. . .

Here’s a close-in GE shot showing that I landed at the end of the driveway for 350 Southeast Lasso Loop, Lawton OK:

What’s the chance that the folks that live here will ever see this post?  Pretty slim, eh?

Here’s where the OD could get a decent look at Ninemile Creek:

And here’s what he sees:

Sorry about the blurry shot, but this is a 2008 Street View photo.  Picture quality has improved greatly over the last 11 years.  Here’s the view in the other direction (upstream):

I felt like I had to make Lawton titular, given its size (pop 100,000; the fifth-largest city in Oklahoma) and proximity.

I don’t have much to say about Lawton.  I did note under “Notable People,” the fact that singer / song writer / studio musician Leon Russell (1942 – 2016) was born here.  He worked with many famous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, the Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, the Band, B.B. King, the Byrds, Barbra Streisand and Glen Campbell (and I’m sure I missed several others).

I saw Leon Russel in a February 2016 concert in Sellersville PA.  He died later that same year . . .

His most famous song is “A Song for You” (1970).  Here’s a 1971 live version:


I’m ready to move along to Geronimo (pop 1,300).  There’s not much to say about Geronimo, except that (of course), it’s named after the famous Indian warrior of the same name.

True confessions.  I don’t know anything about Geronimo.  So it’s about time that I learned, eh?  From Wiki:

Geronimo (“the one who yawns,”) June 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the  Chiricahua Apache tribe. From 1850 to 1886 Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands — the Tchihende, the Tsokanende and the Nednhi — to carry out numerous raids, as well as resistance to U.S. and Mexican military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and in the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Geronimo’s raids and related combat actions were a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict, which started with American settlement in Apache lands following the end of the war with Mexico in 1848.

While well known, Geronimo was not a chief among the Chiricahua Apaches.  However, since he was a superb leader in raiding and warfare he frequently led large numbers of men and women beyond his own following. At any one time, about 30 to 50 Apaches would be following him.

During Geronimo’s final period of conflict from 1876 to 1886 he “surrendered” three times and accepted life on the Apache reservations in Arizona.  Reservation life was confining to the free-moving Apache people, and they resented restrictions on their customary way of life.

In 1886, after an intense pursuit in Northern Mexico by U.S. forces that followed Geronimo’s third 1885 reservation “breakout,” Geronimo surrendered for the last time to Lt. Charles Bare Gatewood, an Apache-speaking West Point graduate who had earned Geronimo’s respect a few years before.

Geronimo was later placed under General Nelson Miles.  Miles treated Geronimo as a prisoner of war in Arizona.

While being held as a prisoner, the United States capitalized on Geronimo’s fame among non-Indians by displaying him at various events. For the United States, this provided proof of the superiority of American ways. For Geronimo, it provided him with an opportunity to make a little money.

In 1898, for example, Geronimo was exhibited at the Trans-Mississippi and International Exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska. Following this exhibition, he became a frequent visitor to fairs, exhibitions, and other public functions. He made money by selling pictures of himself, bows and arrows, buttons off his shirt, and even his hat. In 1905, the Indian Office provided Geronimo for the inaugural parade for President Theodore Roosevelt.

He died at the Fort Sill hospital in 1909, as a prisoner of war. Geronimo is buried at the Fort Sill Indian Agency Cemetery surrounded by the graves of relatives and other Apache prisoners of war.

For reasons that will soon be clear, I’m going to do a quick check-in with Billy the Kid.  From Wiki:

Billy the Kid (born Henry McCarty in 1859); also known as William Bonney; died 1881 at age 21) was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed at least eight men before he was shot and killed at age 21.

McCarty was orphaned at age 14. The owner of a boarding house gave him a room in exchange for work. His first arrest was for stealing food at age 16 in late 1875. Ten days later, he robbed a Chinese laundry and was arrested, but he escaped only two days later. He fled from New Mexico Territory into neighboring Arizona Territory, making him both an outlaw and a federal fugitive. In 1877, McCarty began to refer to himself as “William H. Bonney.”

After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, Bonney returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined a militia group and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, his militia killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies. Bonney and two other militia members were later charged with killing all three men.

Bonney’s notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes.  Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month.

In April 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed Bonney—aged 21—in Fort Sumner NM on July 14, 1881.

Wiki has a lengthy entry entitled “The Legend of Billy the Kid:”

More has been written about Billy the Kid than any other gunslinger in the history of the American West, while hundreds of books, motion pictures, radio and television programs and even a ballet have been inspired by his legend.

When he was still alive, “Billy the Kid” had already become a nationally known figure whose exploits, real and imaginary, were reported in the National Police Gazette and the large newspapers of the eastern United States. After his death on July 14, 1881, all of New York City’s papers ran his obituary, and within days, newspapers around the United States were printing exaggerated and romanticized accounts of Billy the Kid’s short career.

In the fifteen or so dime novels about his criminal career published between 1881 and 1906, the Kid was an outlaw antihero, customarily depicted as a badman with superior gunslinging skills, or even as a demonic agent of Satan who delighted in murder.

So now imagine that not long before he was killed, Billy the Kid met up with Geronimo in Lordsburg NM. Geronimo would have been about 50 years old at the time, with his notorious years behind him.

Amazingly, a couple of musically-inclined gents (Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore) wrote and recorded a song about that chance meeting.  The words are posted after the video:


There is an old story in New Mexico
Bout the night Billy the Kid met Geronimo
In a Lordsburg barroom they spoke their mind
One hand on their pistols and cold blood in their minds.

Billy the Kid said to Geronimo
“My mother died young and left me all alone
“So I grew up wild, my gun my best friend
“I killed 21 men and I’d kill them all again.”

Geronimo said “I’ve got no place to hide.
“The land of my birth, I don’t recognize.
“There’s barbed wire and railroads towns without end
“My people are scattered like leaves in the wind.”

Billy the Kid said, “We’re just the same
“We’re cursed and we’re damned as they whisper our name,
“We’re hunted, we’re hated, we’re feared and reviled,
“By every God-fearing man, woman and child.”

Geronimo said, “No, we’re not the same
“All the harm that I’ve done, I feel great shame
“But I fought for my family, my tribe and my land
“But we’ll pay the same price for the blood on our hands.”

As the morning sun rose and the coyotes cried
And the Chiricahua and the outlaw said good-bye
And rode cross the desert their separate
One prison-bound and other to his young grave.

By the way – there is no historical record of such a meeting.  So, add this to the legend . . .

I’ll close with this shot of the erstwhile Valley View church (from about 15 miles SE of my landing) posted on GE by g smallwood:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Barnhart (and the Permian Basin), Texas

Posted by graywacke on September 3, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2455; A Landing A Day blog post number 891.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N31o 9.569’, W101o 5.326’) puts me in W-Cen Texas:

My very local landing map shows that I landed just outside titular Barnhart:

Here’s my not-so-very local landing map, showing:  1) plenty of small towns, and 2) that San Angelo is the big town around:

The circled towns have been featured in two previous posts.  From one of them (my Iraan post) comes the following gem:

The name has nothing to do with the country of Iran. Oil was discovered on the ranch of Ira Yates and a contest was held to name the town that would soon materialize. Ira’s wife was named Ann. A woman (Mary Louise Lewis Hardgrave) combined the two names [although she dropped an “n”] and won a town lot as a prize.  She later sold the lot for $1,000.

My streams-only map shows (kind of) that I landed in the watershed of Spring Creek; on to the South Concho River (4th hit); to the Concho (7th hit); to the Colorado (30th hit; no, not that Colorado!).

I have pretty decent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage:

My oil-patch-savvy readers can tell that I landed in the oil patch!  (All of those white patches are where oil wells are located.]

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I found a fairly close-by place for the OD to get a look at my drainageway:

I wasn’t sure of the name of the Creek (since my Street Atlas map doesn’t pick up Spring Creek until quite a few miles further east).  But the good ol’ Texas DOT came to the rescue (as seen by the OD):

And Spring Creek is quite lovely.  A downstream look:

And upstream:


Of course, I checked out all of the local towns (not counting the towns I already covered in previoius posts), and of course, I couldn’t find much.  But I did find an August 2013 Guardian piece by Suzanne Goldberg  featuring Barnhart that caught my attention.  Here are some excerpts:


Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty

by Suzanne Goldberg in Barnhart, Texas

Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

“The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes,” she said, blinking back tears. “I went: ‘dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind.”

Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

The town — a gas station, a community hall and a taco truck – sits in the midst of the great Texan oil rush, on the eastern edge of the Permian Basin.

A few years ago, it seemed like a place on the way out. Now McGuire said she can see nine oil wells from her back porch, and there are dozens of RVs parked outside town, full of oil workers.

But soon after the first frack trucks pulled up two years ago, the well on McGuire’s property ran dry.

Water levels were dropping in his wells because of the vast amounts of water being pumped out of the Edwards-Trinity-Plateau Aquifer, a 34,000 sq mile water-bearing formation.

“They are sucking all of the water out of the ground, and there are just hundreds and hundreds of water trucks here every day bringing fresh water out of the wells,” Owens said.

“If you’re going to develop the oil, you’ve got to have the water,” said Larry Baxter, a contractor from the nearby town of Mertzon, who installed two 20,000-gal tanks on his land earlier this year, hoping to make a business out of his well selling water to oil industry.

By his own estimate, his well could produce enough to fill up 20 or 30 water trucks for the oil industry each day. At $60 (£39.58) a truck, that was $36,000 a month, easily. “I could sell 100 truckloads a day if I was open to it,” Baxter said.

Very briefly (and this will be in my own words with zero research), fracking is a method to create fractures in an otherwise tight oil-bearing geological formation.  Witihout fracking, little or no oil will flow to a well.  With fracking, suddenly the well can become very productive.  Fracking involves pumping fluids (mostly water) down the well at extremely high pressures.  This opens up fractures in the rock.  And then, some sort of sand-like material is also pumped down the wells.  This material (through which oil can readily move) flows into the fractures, and props them open.

According to the American Geosciences Institute, each fracked well requires anywhere from 1.5 to 16 million gallons of water.

Wow.  I had no fracking idea fracking used so much water.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that I’m generally pro-fracking, in spite of environmental concerns (although this high water use pushes me back a little).  I feel like the energy-independence that fracking provides outweighs environmental concerns.  Looking from a national security perspective, it seems really important that the United States can no longer be held hostage for oil imported from a politically unstable (and unfriendly) country.

That said, I’m in favor of a strong government oversight role – to make sure that communities (or individual homeowners) are not negatively impacted – and when they are, to make sure that the frackers do what needs to be done to correct the situation.

Also – one can make the argument that all of this newly-available petroleum lessens the impetus to develop and use alternative energy sources – obviously not good for our ever-warming planet . . .

The article about Barnhart was from 2013.  I wonder how they’re doing now. . . .

The above article mentions that Barnhart is on the eastern edge of the Permian Basin.  “Permian” is the name of a geologic time period (spanning about 50 million years, beginning 300 million years ago).  The Permian Basin is a sequence of mostly Permian-aged sedimentary rocks (limestones, sandstones and shales) that for a variety of reasons I won’t go into, ended up trapping vast quantities of petroleum in various underground geologic nooks and crannies (my terminology) throughout the basin.

From Wiki:

The Permian Basin is the largest petroleum-producing basin in the United States.  The first oil well was drilled to a depth of 2500 in 1921.  As of 2018 the basin has produced a cumulative 33 billion barrels of oil and 118 trillion cubic feet of gas. Currently, nearly 2 million barrels of oil a day are being pumped from the basin.

Rigzone.com reports that fracking in the Permian Basin continues at a torrid pace.  Almost 550 wells were fracked in June 2019.

At about 4 million fracking gallons of water per fracked well, 2.2 billion gallons of fracking water were used in fracking June alone.  Multiplying by 12, we’re up to 25 billion fracking gallons per fracking year.  Thatsafrackinlotta fracking water . . .

I’ll close with this shot posted on GE by Nick Zapiain:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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