A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Vermilion River’

Bridgewater, South Dakota

Posted by graywacke on March 1, 2016

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

Landing number 2250; A Landing A Day blog post number 678.

Dan:  Yet another OSer, with my 3rd landing in . . . SD.  If you’re wondering, “what’s an OSer?” and why, after 2250 landings, am I saying that this only my third landing in SD?  Check out the tab “About Landing (Revisited).”

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my very local landing map:

landing 2a

I’ll zoom back a little so you can see the one city (Sioux Falls) and the numerous little towns in the general vicinity:

landing 2b

As you can see on my local landing map, I landed close to a stream, which turned out to be the West Fork of the Vermillion R (2nd hit).  Here’s a streams-only map that tells the rest of the story:

landing 3

The W Fk discharges to the Vermillion (3rd hit); on to the Missouri (407th hit).  Of course, the Missouri makes it’s way to the MM (881st hit).

Time for my Google Earth (GE) space flight in to SE SD.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit the back button.

Here’s a shot showing GE Street View coverage near my landing:

ge sv landing map

And here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv landing

Here’s a GE shot showing SV coverage of the West Fork of the Vermilion River:

ge sv river map

And here’s the orange dude’s lovely view of the river:

ge sv river

This was an incredibly frustrating landing.  First, I checked out Bridgewater, which had one minor hook.  But then I checked out town after town after town after town after town (etc., etc.) and then finally looked at Sioux Falls.  Bottom line:  the whole region is essentially:


So, I’ll just stick with Bridgewater and its one minor hook.  Anyway, here’s what Wiki has to say under “History:”

Originally named Nation, the present name recalls an episode when water had to be carried to the town site for the railroad.  A post office called Nation was established in 1880, and the name was changed that same year to Bridgewater.

Well . . . OK, I guess (although they should have stuck with Nation in my opinion).  I’m not sure why carrying water to the town site for the railroad resulted in “Bridgewater.”  But don’t worry – this isn’t the minor hook.  I found it when looking down a little further on the Wiki page, where I saw that one Sparky Anderson is from Bridgewater.  While I’m not big on featuring sports personalities in ALAD, ol’ Sparky’s story is pretty cool (and I have no other material).  If you have even a modicum of interest in baseball, this is well worth the read.  If you have zero interest in baseball, oh, well.  So, Here are some excerpts from Wiki:

George Lee “Sparky” Anderson (1934 – 2010) was a Major League Baseball player and manager. He managed the National League’s Cincinnati Reds to the 1975 and 1976 championships, then added a third title in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. He was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. His 2,194 career wins are the sixth most for a manager in Major League history. Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

Pretty impressive, eh?  Here’s some bio detail:

Anderson was born in Bridgewater, South Dakota. He moved to Los Angeles when he was eight.  Upon graduating from high school, he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1953.

He bounced around the minor leagues for 5 years; while playing for the AA Fort Worth Cats, a radio announcer gave him the nickname “Sparky” for his feisty play.

After five minor league seasons without appearing in a Dodger uniform at the MLB level, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in December 1958.  The Phillies gave Anderson their starting second base job, and he spent what would be his one and only season in the major leagues in 1959. However, he batted only .218 in 152 games, with no home runs and 34 runs batted in, and returned to the minor leagues for the remainder of his playing career. His 527 at-bats is still the record for the most by a player who only played in one Major League season.

He played the next four seasons with the Triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs in the International League.  After watching several practices, Leafs owner Jack Kent Cooke observed Anderson’s leadership qualities and ability to teach younger players from all backgrounds. Cooke immediately encouraged him to pursue a career in managing, offering Anderson the post for the Leafs.

In 1964, at the age of 30, Anderson accepted Cooke’s offer to manage the Leafs. He later handled minor league clubs at the Class A and Double-A levels, including a season (1968) in the Reds’ minor league system.

He made his way back to the majors in 1969 as the third-base coach of the San Diego Padres during their maiden season in the National League. Just one year later, he was offered the opportunity to succeed Dave Bristol as manager of the Reds. Since he was a relative unknown in the sports world, Cincinnati newspaper headlines on the day after his hiring read “Sparky Who?”

Nonetheless, Anderson led the Reds to 102 wins and the National League pennant in 1970, where they lost the 1970 World Series in five games to the Baltimore Orioles. During this season, the Reds came to be widely known as The Big Red Machine, a nickname they carried throughout Anderson’s tenure.

After an injury-plagued 1971 season in which the team finished fifth, the Reds came back and won another pennant under Anderson in 1972, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates in five games in the NLCS, but losing to the Oakland Athletics in seven games in the World Series. They took the National League West division title again in 1973, but lost to the New York Mets in the NLCS, a hard-fought series that went the full five games.

After finishing a close second to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974, in 1975 the Reds blew the division open by winning 108 games. They swept the National League Championship Series and then edged the Boston Red Sox in a drama-filled, seven-game World Series. They repeated in 1976 by winning 102 games, sweeping the Phillies in three games in the National League Championship Series, then going on to sweep the New York Yankees in the Series.

This has been the only time that a team swept both the League Championship Series and World Series since the start of division play. Over the course of these two seasons, Anderson’s Reds compiled an astounding 14–3 record in postseason play against the Pirates, Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees.

When the aging Reds finished second to the Dodgers in each of the next two seasons, Anderson was fired after the 1978 season.

Baseball’s a tough business.  Come in a lousy second two years in a row, and you’re fired . . .

Anderson was immediately hired as manager of the Detroit Tigers.  And speaking of “immediately,” he immediately turned a losing club into a winning club, but it wasn’t until 1984 that the Tigers made their mark.

In 1984, Detroit opened the season 9-0, was 35–5 after 40 games (a major league record), and breezed to a 104–58 record (a franchise record for wins). On September 23, Anderson became the first manager to win 100 games in a season with two different teams.

They swept the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS and then beat the San Diego Padres in five games in the World Series for Anderson’s third world title. The 1984 Tigers became the first team since the 1927 New York Yankees to lead a league wire-to-wire, from opening day to the end of the World Series. After the season, Anderson won the first of his two Manager of the Year Awards with the Tigers.

After the Tigers clinched the AL East division title in 1984, Sparky had this to say in his journal: “I have to be honest. I’ve waited for this day since they fired me in Cincinnati. I think they made a big mistake when they did that. Now no one will ever question me again.”

Good for you, Sparky, but you’re wrong (see italics below) . . .

Anderson’s Tigers finished in third place in both 1985 and 1986. With a 9–5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on July 29, 1986, Anderson became the first to achieve 600 career wins as a manager in both the American and National Leagues.

Anderson led the Tigers to the majors’ best record in 1987, but the team was upset in the ALCS by the Minnesota Twins. He won his second Manager of the Year Award that year.

After contending again in 1988 (finishing second to Boston by one game in the AL East), the team collapsed a year later, losing a startling 103 games.

During that 1989 season, Anderson took a month-long leave of absence from the team as the stress of losing wore on him. First base coach Dick Tracewski managed the team in the interim.

Like I said, Sparky might have been a little premature when he said that no one would ever doubt him again.

In 1991, the Tigers finished last in batting average, first in batting strikeouts and near the bottom of the league in most pitching categories, but still led their division in late August before settling for a second-place finish behind the rival Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tigers were less than spectacular for the next several years . . .

Anderson retired from managing in 1995,reportedly disillusioned with the state of the league following the 1994 strike that had also delayed the beginning of the 1995 season. It is widely believed that Anderson was pushed into retirement by the Tigers, who were unhappy that Sparky refused to manage replacement players during spring training in 1995. In an interview on Detroit’s WJR radio after his retirement, Anderson said he had told his wife that season, “If this is what the game has become, it don’t need me no more.”

Sparky died in 2010 at age 76 from complications associated with dementia.

Here’s a great photo of Sparky (from USA Today):


He was one of those quotable kind of guys.  Here’s a memorable one:

“There’s two kind of manager,” he said when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2000. “One, it ain’t very smart. He gets bad players, loses games and gets fired. But then there was somebody like me that I was a genius. I got good players, stayed out of the way, let ’em win a lot, and then just hung around for 26 years.”

OK, time to close this one out with some GE Pano shots, both by JB the Milker.  He posted quite a few shots, all within 5 miles of my landing.  Here are the two that caught my eye.  First, this one of a working farm:

pano JBTheMilker

And then this shot of a used-to-be working farm:

pano JBTheMilker2

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day





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Tower, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on February 26, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more or less an every-third-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Dan –  After three USers in a row, I couldn’t stretch it to four, thanks to this OSer landing in . . . MN; 72/55; 5/10; 2; 154.4.  Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I landed in the “Arrowhead” region of MN:

 tower landing 1

A much-closer-in landing map, shows this intriguing location – in Vermilion (only one “l”) Lake, near Duffy Island:

 tower landing 2

Zooming out a little more, and we can see that Vermilion Lake is quite large, and the town of Tower is nearby (and that’s the town of Soudan just east of Tower, unaccountably not labeled on the map):

 tower landing 3

You can see that I landed on an arm of the Lake, which is known as Pike Bay, because the Pike River flows into it.

Now, it may be a bit of a stretch to say I landed in the Pike River watershed, but what the heck – I’m sure that the pre-glacial Pike River had a hand in creating what is now Pike Bay.  So I’ll go out on a limb and claim the Pike River watershed (making it my first landing there).

Check out this even-more-zoomed-out landing map, which shows the Vermilion River exiting the lake to the north:

tower landing 4 vermilion r

This is my second hit for the Vermilion; on to the Echo River (also 2nd hit); on to the Rainy (8th hit); and on to the Nelson (61st hit).  As I’m sure you know (but may have forgotten), the Nelson flows all the way up and over to Hudson Bay.  In and amongst these rivers is a sea of lakes known as the Boundary Waters.  Check out this yet-even-more-zoomed-out landing map, showing the awesome array of lakes stretching way up into Ontario:

tower landing 5 Boundary waters

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows that I landed pretty damn close to a motorboat – the white blur just south of my landing – it’s only about 135 feet away.  I wonder if they noticed the huge yellow push pin?

 tower GE1 boat 135 ft from landing

Looking way back up at my landing map, you can see County Road 77 along the western shore of Pike Bay.  Here’s a GE StreetView shot from there, looking out towards my landing:

 tower GE2 streetview from west end - landing in far distance

To put things in perspective, here’s a zoomed out GE shot that shows that Vermilion Lake is about 23 miles long, west to east:

 tower GE3

Think there’s a little geologic control of the southwest edge of the lake?  A straight line like that has to be due to some linear geologic feature . . .

About Tower, from Wiki:

Tower  (pop 500) owes its establishment to the Soudan Mine, and was named after mining financier Charlemagne Tower.  It is the home of the McKinley Monument, the first erected in honor of former U.S. President William McKinley shortly after his assassination in 1901.

Tower set the Minnesota record for coldest temperature on February 2, 1996, when the temperature dropped to -60°F. This was the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States east of the Great Plains.  Tower is the coldest inhabited location in the Lower 48 states, based on average winter temperature.

Speaking of cold, here’s a frigid-looking picture of the McKinley Monument, taken in 1909 (from lakesnwoods.com):


Moving on to Vermilion Lake, from Wiki:

The Ojibwe originally called the lake Onamuni, which means “Lake of the Sunset Glow”.  [Great name the Ojibwe came up with!]   French fur traders translated this to the word Vermilion, which is derived from a Latin word for red pigment. Vermilion Lake is at the northern fringe of the Mesabi Iron Range.

The color vermilion is also known as cinnabar, because the pigment was originally derived from the mineral cinnabar.  Here’s a picture of the mineral from Wiki:

tower - cinnabar

And here’s the color (according to Wiki):

tower - vermilion

Anyway, here’s a screen shot of the homepage of the LakeVermilion.com website:

 vermilion lake home page

The fine print contains the claim that in the 1940s, the National Geographic Society declared Lake Vermilion one of the ten most scenic lakes in the U.S.  Well, here’s what pesky Wiki has to say about that:

The claim that “in the 1940s, the National Geographic Society declared Lake Vermilion one of the top ten most scenic lakes in the United States” has been rebutted by a representative of the National Geographic Society who wrote:

“There are no references in our files indicating that National Geographic magazine has said Lake Vermilion is one of the worlds [sic] most beautiful lakes. We are asked from time to time whether the National Geographic Society has ever rated lakes and sunsets as to beauty or towns as to climate. It has not generally been our policy to do so, since personal opinion plays so large a part in determining such things.”

 Take that, Lake Vermilion!  But what the heck – for what it’s worth, A Landing A Day will be happy to go on record saying that Lake Vermilion is one of the ten most scenic lakes in the country!  Just don’t ask me to name the other nine . . .

 Anyway, we’re in a mining region, with the Soudan mine mentioned as the reason for Tower’s existence.  The Village of Soudan is just east of Tower.  About Soudan, from Wiki:

The mine (and the village) obtained its name from D. H. Bacon, the general manager of the mine.  Bacon said that the severely cold winters are a strong contrast with the tropical heat of the Soudan (or Sudan) region in Africa.

 So, Mr. Bacon thought that it’d be a good joke on everybody to name the mine (located in one of the coldest places in the United States) after equatorial Africa!  What a great sense of humor!

 A little more about the Soudan Mine (which is now a very cool underground museum).  From Wiki:

In the late 19th century, prospectors searching for gold in northern Minnesota discovered extremely rich veins of hematite at this site, often containing more than 65% iron.  By 1912 the mine was at a depth of 1,250 feet.  When the mine closed, level 27 was being developed at 2,341 feet below the surface. In 1965, US Steel donated the Soudan Mine to the State of Minnesota to use for educational purposes.

[Check out the mining method, which is a great way to go:]

The primary underground mining method used was known as cut and fill.  While the ore contains rich hematite, most of the rock surrounding the small hematite bodies is known as greenstone.  Cut and fill involved mining the ceiling and using greenstone and other waste rock to artificially raise the floor at the same rate as the ceiling was being mined out. As a result the floor and ceiling were always 10–20 feet apart, and waste rock never had to be hauled to the surface. This technique was particularly suited to the Soudan Mine due to the strength of the hematite formations and the weakness of the encasing greenstone.

Here’s a shot from level 27, approximately 2,300 feet down in the mine (from Wiki):

tower - Mine tunnel form northern ill univ

I’ll close with a vermilion sunset view of Vermilion Lake (from Wiki):


That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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