A Landing a Day

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Levelland’

Post, Texas

Posted by graywacke on June 18, 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 2351; A Landing A Day blog post number 782.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (32o 56.846’N, 101o 12.669’W) puts me in Cen-NW Texas:

This was my second Texas landing in a row, making this my 62nd double (and my 10th TX double).  As you’d expect, TX leads the pack in doubles, with CA (the second-largest-state) in second place with 9.

My local landing map shows that I landed closer to a whole passel of towns  than I landed to titular Post:

As you can readily guess, those non-titular towns are totally:

My close-in streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Sand Creek:

Perhaps you can tell that I labeled the creek myself.  That’s because StreetAtlas gave me no information about the identity of the stippled blue linear splotch.  As you’ll see, good ol’ Google Earth in conjunction with the Texas DOT let me know the name of the creek.

Anyway, zooming back:

Sand Creek discharges to Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River (8th hit); on to the Brazos (32nd hit). 

JFTHOI, I thought I’d zoom back one more time so you can see how the Brazos makes its way to the G of M:

I’ve already mentioned Google Earth, which I try not to do before my yellow pushpin flight.  Speaking of which, click HERE to check it out.

Moving right to the Google Earth connection to Sand Creek, here’s a shot showing where the creek passes a road with Street View coverage:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

As mentioned previously, I can always count on the Texas DOT to label even small streams:

My Street View coverage ain’t great; I simply had the OD move down the road a little:

Note that I showed two topographically-elevated mesas, cut by the Sand Creek (with my landing in the Sand Creek valley).  Here’s what the OD sees:

It’s time for me to post a little Post in this post (from Wiki):

Post (pop 5,400) is located on the edge of the caprock escarpment of the Llano Estacado, the southeastern edge of the Great Plains.

[More about the Llano Estacado in a bit.  Continuing:]

In 1906, Charles William (C. W.) Post, the breakfast cereal manufacturer, bought 200,000 acres of ranchland and established the Double U Company to build and manage houses and commercial structures.

[AYKM?  200,000 acres?  That’s 312.5 square miles!  That’s a huge hunk of real estate that takes a lot of bowls of Grape Nuts!]

They planted trees along every street and prohibited alcoholic beverages and brothels. The Double U Company rented and sold farms and houses to settlers.

Two years later, the town had a school, a bank, and a newspaper, the Post City Post. The railroad reached the town in 1910. The town changed its name to “Post” when it incorporated in 1914, the year of C. W. Post’s death. By then, Post had a population of 1000, 10 retail businesses, a dentist, a physician, a sanitarium, and three churches (Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian0.

So here’s a little more about C.W. (from Wiki):

Post suffered a mental breakdown in November 1885, the result of the stress and overwork which accompanied his job as a farm implement manufacturer.  Post made a break with his previous life, moving to the state of Texas in 1886.  Post began a real estate development in Fort Worth on 200 acres that he had obtained, platting the land for streets and homes and constructing two mills.

The stress of this work again proved too much for Post’s constitution, and a second breakdown followed in 1891.  Post began a period of extensive travels in search of a cure, coming to take particular interest in the chemistry of digestion.  After a period traversing Europe, Post visited the Battle Creek Sanitarium of Battle Creek, Michigan, a facility operated by John Harvey Kellogg. He was inspired to start his own company based upon the dietary products used there.

In 1895, Post founded Postum Cereal Co., with his first product, Postum cereal beverage. Post’s first breakfast cereal premiered in 1897, and he named the product Grape-Nuts cereal because of the fruity aroma noticed during the manufacturing process and the nutty crunch of the finished product. In 1904, he followed up the Grape Nuts label with a brand of corn flakes, which was first called Elijah’s Manna before being renamed Post Toasties in 1908.

[He must have been making some big bucks, as he founded Post City in 1906-1907.]

At the end of 1913, the chronically ill Post’s health deteriorated to the point that he canceled public appearances, which prompted speculation in the press regarding his well-being.

In early March 1914, Post was believed to be suffering from appendicitis and was rushed via a nonstop train from California to Rochester, Minnesota to be operated on by William and Charles Mayo, regarded as the preeminent surgeons of the day.

Although there is some historical uncertainty about whether Post actually underwent surgery, there is no doubt that his health did not substantially improve.  On May 9, 1914, despondent over his ongoing stomach illness, Post took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot.

His 27-year-old daughter, Marjorie Merriweather Post, inherited his company along with most of his vast fortune, one of the largest of the early 20th century .

A quick aside about Marjorie Merriweather.  From Wiki:

Mar-a-Lago is an estate and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, Florida, built from 1924 to 1927 by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post.

The 126-room house contains the Mar-a-Lago Club, a members-only club with guest rooms, a spa, and other hotel-style amenities.

At the time of her death in 1973, Post bequeathed the property to the National Park Service, hoping it could be used for state visits or as a Winter White House. However, due to the costs of maintaining the property exceeding the funds provided by Post, and the difficulty in securing the facility in the flight path of Palm Beach Airport, the property was returned to the Post Foundation by an Act of Congress in 1981.

In 1985, Mar-a-Lago was purchased by businessman Donald Trump and his then-wife Ivana Trump was put in charge of running the property.  The Trump family maintains private quarters in a separate, closed-off area of the house and grounds and since becoming President, Trump has frequently stayed there, referring to it as his “Southern White House”.

As promised, I’ll talk a little about the Llano Estacada, which is a large plateau.  Here’s a map by Meredith McClain:

I landed just off the Llano, southeast of Lubbock.

From MySite.du.edu (University of Denver):

The Llano is a very flat, semiarid plateau, ranging in elevation from 5000′ on the northwest to less than 3000′ on the southeast, sloping more or less uniformly to the east-southeast at a rate of at least 10′ per mile. The slope is imperceptible to an observer on the plateau. The Llano is dry and treeless, the prevailing wind is from the southwest, and mirages are a frequent occurrence under the hot sun.

The surface of the Llano is remarkably flat, reminding one of the sea, and it is conceivable that the curvature of the earth could be perceived as it is on the sea. The area around Levelland, Texas, would be a good place to look for grain elevators sinking beneath the horizon.

[Levelland!  More about that later.]

A sequence of sediments that eroded from the Rocky Mountains underlie the Llano Estacada; (known amongst geologists as the Ogallala Group).  These sediments were deposited by streams carrying eroded material away from the Rockies during uplift that began about 5 million years ago (during the Pliocene).  This is why the Llano slopes away from the Rockies.

What causes the Llana is the “caprock” that overlies the Ogallala.  The caprock is a hard caliche layer formed when surface drying of the sediments caused mineral-laden water to rise by capillary action to the surface. Evaporating, the minerals were left behind to cement the otherwise fairly loose sandy sediments of the Ogallala Group.

This very hard caprock is more resistant to erosion than similar sediments located in surrounding areas; thus the Llana is elevated by an average of 300’ causing the Llana Estacada escarpment.  (An escarpment is a steep slope or cliff that defines the edge of a plateau.)

Let’s take a look at the escarpment on Google Earth:

As you can tell, the escarpment is the boundary between the brown/orange region to the west from the ill-defined grayish area to the east.

I sent the Orange Dude to take a look at the escarpment just south of Post:

And here’s what he sees:

So, I mentioned the town of Levelland earlier; obviously an aptly-named town on the Llana Estacada.  I featured Levelland not long ago (in a January 2017 post).  In that non-Post post, I featured the song “Levelland” by singer-songwriter James McMurtry.  Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Moving right along.  The Levelland TX Wiki article also mentioned that a singer named James McMurtry recorded a song about the town, appropriately entitled “Levelland.”  For the record, James McMurtry is the son of famous Texas novelist Larry McMurtry, author of the well known novel Lonesome Dove, which spawned a TV mini-series of the same name.

Well, here we go.  ALAD Nation!  I love this song!  If you like good ol’ straight ahead story-telling back beat country rock ‘n roll (which is my sweet spot), this song is for you.  I highly recommend that you listen to it twice.  Once, following the words, and then, enjoying the video.

And if you’re like me, you’ll be listening again and again.  In fact, I just bought tickets to see James McMurtry in concert in Alexandria VA . . .

[Update:  I lied.  I almost bought tickets for his Alexandria show, but ended up going to his show in Blairstown NJ.  Jody and I went and absolutely loved it.  And yes, he sang “Levelland.”  And what the heck; for those of you who missed my Levelland post (or want to hear the song again), here goes, with the words below:]

 

Flatter than a tabletop
Makes you wonder why they stopped here
Wagon must have lost a wheel or they lacked ambition one
In the great migration west
Separated from the rest
Though they might have tried their best
They never caught the sun
So they sunk some roots down in this dirt
To keep from blowin’ off the earth
Built a town right here
And when the dust had all but cleared
They called it Levelland, the pride of man
Levelland.

Granddad grew dryland wheat
Stood on his own two feet
His mind got incomplete and they put in the home
Daddy’s cotton grows so high
Sucks the water table dry
As rolling sprinklers circle by
Bleedin’ it to the bone
And I won’t be here when it comes a day
It all dries up and blows away
I’d hang around just to see
But they never had much use for me in Levelland, Levelland
They don’t understand me out in Levelland, Levelland

And I watch those jet trails carving up that big blue sky
Coast to coasters – watch ’em go
And I never would blame ’em one damn bit
If they never looked down on this
Not much down here they’d wanna know
Just Levelland
Far as you can point your hand
Nothin’ but Levelland

Mama used to roll her hair
Back before the central air
We’d sit outside and watch the stars at night
She’d tell me to make a wish
I’d wish we both could fly
Don’t think she’s seen the sky
Since we got the satellite dish and
I can hear the marching band
Doin’ the best they can
They’re playing “Smoke on the Water”, “Joy to the World”
I’ve paid off all my debts
Got some change left over yet and I’m
Gettin’ on a whisper jet
I’m gonna fly as far as I can get from
Levelland, doin’ the best I can
Out in Levelland

Footnote:  In March this year, the NY Times magazine had an article entitled “25 Songs That Tell Us Where the Music is Going,” and yes, James McMurtry was one of the 25 featured artists.  The featured song is “Copper Canteen.”

 

Honey, don’t you be yelling at me when I’m cleaning my gun
I’ll wash the blood off the tailgate when deer season’s done
We got one more weekend to go
And I’d like to kill one more doe

So I’ll shovel the sidewalk again ’cause you’re still in a stew
I bet the bridge tender’s widow* won’t mind that I can’t please you
She’s sure got the run of the men
Out here where the pickin’s are thin and there’s not much to do

I woke up last night in the grip of a fright scared to breathe for I might make a noise
This life that we craved so little we saved between the grandparents graves and the grandchildren’s toys

We grew up hard and our children don’t know what that means
We turned into our parents before we were out of our teens
Through a series of Chevys and Fords
The occasional spin round the floor at the Copper Canteen

Now the big boxes out on the bypass are shaving us thin
I guess we’ll hold on a couple more years ’til the pension kicks in
Then we’ll sell all the stock in the store
Leave only the lock on the door
And wonder what then

When I wake up at night in the grip of a fright
And you hold me so tight to your chest
Then your breath on my skin still pulls me back in
‘Til I’m weightless and then I can rest

So if Monsignor should pull you aside as you’re leaving the church
And I’m out on the ice, dropping lines for the walleye and perch
Tell him it’s not your job to bring me to the fold
And I’d rather stand out in the cold

And honey I know that the woodpile’s low and you can’t close the flue
So I’ll split up a couple more cords ‘fore the winter time’s through
Hold on to your rosary beads
Leave me to my mischievous deeds like we always do

*The Bridge Tender is a 2014 novel by Marybeth Whalen as well as a 2012 novel by Gary Landry.  Both books involve a widow.  Hmmmm . . . I wonder what McMurtry is talking about?  Maybe it has nothing to do with either book, but maybe it does. . . .

I found a Slant Magazine review of the song (by Jeremy Winograd) that speculates on the bridge tender’s widow:

Complicated Game [album title] starts off with its most vivid vignette, “Copper Canteen.” The opening descending arpeggios set the album’s contemplative mood effectively, but it’s McMurtry’s couplets that do the heavy lifting. He employs a few small details to acquaint the listener with the setting: references to ice fishing for walleye and perch place the song clearly in the rural upper Midwest, “where the pickings are thin and there’s not much to do.” The song captures a boredom, even a dread, underlying the stillness and monotony of the characters’ lives. The narrator tells his wife to “hang onto your rosary beads and leave me to my mischievous deeds” (which may or may not include sleeping with “the bridge tender’s widow”).

Interesting that the NY Times reviewer said that after the election, she (Ruth Graham from Slate) was drawn back to this song – she doesn’t say, but maybe she sees it as a portrait of a voter both candidates wanted (and Trump got).

Well, it’s time for me to take a spin around my landing, checking out GE Pano shots.  I couldn’t find much, but I did find this striking sunset shot taken by John Drew a few miles west of my landing:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2017 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Levelland and Needmore, Texas

Posted by graywacke on January 6, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2318; A Landing A Day blog post number 749.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (33o 28.047’N, 103o 1.395’W) puts me right on the border between New Mexico & Texas, but evidently in Texas based on the title of this post:

landing-1a

Note:  In the post before this one, I used the same terminology in the first paragraph as follows: “ . . . puts me right on the border between Florida & Georgia, but evidently in Georgia based on the title of this post.”

A closer look confirms my Texas landing:

landing-1b

And here’s my local landing map:

landing-2

You can see a VP* of small towns; my reasons for selecting Levelland and Needmore as titular will become apparent shortly.

*veritable plethora

But first, it’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to West Texas.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and hit your back button.

Street View coverage is a couple of miles away, but I’ll take it:

ge-sv-landing-map

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge-sv-landing

My streams-only StreetAtlas map was worthless, so I had to go to GE to track downhill topography, and therefore the flowpath for water. 

I found it went generally southeast, but I had to go an incredible distance to find a well defined channel, and even further to find my first bridge with Street View Coverage:

ge-sv-colorado-map

The 167.66 miles is the length of the yellow line to the yellow pin which is where I put the Orange Dude.  I’m sure that this is the longest I’ve had the Orange Dude travel to get a first look at one of my watershed streams!  And here’s what he sees:

ge-sv-colorado

Being in Texas, I was confident that there would be an informational sign at the end of the bridge.  And there was (at one end only, but I’ll take it):

ge-sv-colorado-2

OK, so I landed in the watershed of the Colorado River (29th hit).  And just to confirm that the Colorado Watershed extends into New Mexico, here’s a watershed map from Wiki:

800px-coloradotexas_watershed

Obviously, I spent some time checking out each and every little town out here in West Texas.  But at the end of the day, the two towns with the most interesting names caught my attention:  Levelland (of course, pronounced “level land”) and Needmore (of course, pronounced “need more.”)

Wiki tells us this about Levelland:

Levelland is famous as the site of a well-publicized series of UFO sightings in November 1957.

Several motorists driving on various highways around Levelland claimed to see a large, egg-shaped object which emitted a blue glow and caused their automobiles to shut off.

In most cases, the object was sitting either on the highway or close to it. When the object took off, witnesses claimed their vehicles would restart and work normally.

Among witnesses were Weir Clem, Levelland’s sheriff, and Ray Jones, the town’s fire chief.

The United States Air Force concluded a severe electrical storm (most probably ball lightning), was the major cause for the sightings and reported auto failures.

However, several prominent UFO researchers, among them Dr. James E. McDonald, a physicist at the University of Arizona, and Dr. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer at Northwestern University, disputed this explanation. Both men argued that no electrical storm was in the area when the sightings occurred.

Wow.  There’s a Wiki article on the UFO sightings, and it’s pretty amazing stuff.  It’s a little too long, and highlights don’t do it justice.  I highly recommend that you read it by clicking HERE.

Alternately, simply Google “Levelland UFO” and you can peruse quite a few articles at your leisure. Really interesting reading.

Moving right along.  The Levelland TX Wiki article also mentioned that a singer named James McMurtry recorded a song about the town, appropriately entitled “Levelland.”  For the record, James McMurtry is the son of famous Texas novelist Larry McMurtry, author of the well known novel Lonesome Dove, which spawned a TV mini-series of the same name.

Well, here we go.  ALAD Nation!  I love this song!  If you like good ol’ straight ahead story-telling back beat country rock ‘n roll (which is my sweet spot), this song is for you.  I highly recommend that you listen to it twice.  Once, following the words, and then, enjoying the video. 

And if you’re like me, you’ll be listening again and again.  In fact, I just bought tickets to see James McMurtry in concert in Alexandria VA . . .

Flatter than a tabletop
Makes you wonder why they stopped here
Wagon must have lost a wheel or they lacked ambition one
In the great migration west
Separated from the rest
Though they might have tried their best
They never caught the sun
So they sunk some roots down in this dirt
To keep from blowin’ off the earth
Built a town around here
And when the dust had all but cleared
They called it Levelland, the pride of man
In Levelland.
Granddad grew the dryland wheat
Stood on his own two feet
His mind got incomplete and they put in the home
Daddy’s cotton grows so high
Sucks the water table dry
As rolling sprinklers circle by
Bleedin’ it to the bone
And I won’t be here when it comes a day
It all dries up and blows away
I’d hang around just to see
But they never had much use for me in Levelland, Levelland
They don’t understand me out in Levelland, Levelland
And I watch those jet trails carving up that big blue sky
Coast to coasters – watch ’em go
And I never would blame ’em one damn bit
If they never looked down on this
Not much down here they’d wanna know
Just Levelland
Far as you can point your hand
Nothin’ but Levelland
Mama used to roll her hair
Back before the central air
We’d sit outside and watch the stars at night
She’d tell me to make a wish
I’d wish we both could fly
Don’t think she’s seen the sky
Since we got the satellite dish and
I can hear the marching band
Doin’ the best they can
They’re playing “Smoke on the Water”, “Joy to the World”
I’ve paid off all my debts
Got some change left over yet and I’m
Gettin’ on a whisper jet
I’m gonna fly as far as I can get from
Levelland, doin’ the best I can
Out in Levelland

Time to move on to Needmore.  Let me start with the fact that besides the fact that we’re in Texas oil country, we’re also in Texas cotton country (as sung about by James McMurtry).

The modern cotton industry started with Eli Whitney’s cotton gin.  What’s a cotton gin?  Very briefly, from Wiki:

A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation.

Prior to the introduction of the mechanical cotton gin, cotton had required considerable labor to clean and separate the fibers from the seeds.  With Eli Whitney’s introduction of “teeth” in his cotton gin to comb out the cotton and separate the seeds, cotton became a tremendously profitable business, creating many fortunes in the Antebellum South.

The invention of the cotton gin caused massive growth in the production of cotton in the southern United States. Cotton production expanded from 750,000 bales in 1830 to 2.85 million bales in 1850. As a result, the region became even more dependent on plantations and slavery.

While it took a single slave about ten hours to separate a single pound of fiber from the seeds, a team of two or three slaves using a cotton gin could produce around fifty pounds of cotton in just one day.

The number of slaves rose in concert with the increase in cotton production, increasing from around 700,000 in 1790 to around 3.2 million in 1850.  By 1860, black slave labor from the American South was providing two-thirds of the world’s supply of cotton.

The cotton gin thus “transformed cotton as a crop and the American South into the globe’s first agricultural powerhouse, and – according to many historians – was the start of the Industrial Revolution.

According to the Eli Whitney Museum website:

Whitney (who died in 1825) could not have foreseen the ways in which his invention would change society for the worse. The most significant of these was the growth of slavery. While it was true that the cotton gin reduced the labor of removing seeds, it did not reduce the need for slaves to grow and pick the cotton.

In fact, the opposite occurred. Cotton growing became so profitable for the planters that it greatly increased their demand for both land and slave labor. In 1790 there were six slave states; in 1860 there were 15.

From 1790 until Congress banned the importation of slaves from Africa in 1808, Southerners imported 80,000 Africans. By 1860 approximately one in three Southerners was a slave.

Because of its inadvertent effect on American slavery, and on its ensuring that the South’s economy developed in the direction of plantation-based agriculture (while encouraging the growth of the textile industry elsewhere, such as in the North), the invention of the cotton gin is frequently cited as one of the indirect causes of the American Civil War.

I learned something here.  You?  And I didn’t realize that the import of slaves was banned in 1808, but it’s absolutely true. 

Anyway, so, why am I going on and on about cotton gins?  Well, I really enjoy a good gin & tonic.  So, I’ll close with this GE StreetView shot of downtown Needmore:

ge-sv-needmore-gin

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »