Posts Tagged ‘History’

I Think Betsy Is House-Hunting

December 13, 2016

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(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Betsy and I traveled to Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving with my son Robert and his family.  Afterward we came home by way of our favorite beach in North Carolina.  As we usually do, we traveled by back roads and found interesting places to visit whenever possible along the way.

I didn’t get suspicious at first — after all, this was our normal routine.  But then I realized that Betsy was having me take her picture in front of some of the homes we saw along the way.

The first house she seemed interested in was the Biltmore house near Asheville, North Carolina, as you can see in the photo above.
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We’ve been there many times, but this time Betsy commented on just how huge the house seemed to be.  I’m inclined to agree with her.

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We stopped by the Hampton Plantation State Park near Georgetown, South Carolina, where Betsy sat on the front steps of the Rutledge Mansion, named after the last owner of the house.

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Although the house is very nice, it is somewhat in ‘the middle of nowhere’. which I think is a disadvantage as far as my Beautiful Bride is concerned.

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I think Betsy found her ‘dream house’ when we visited the McLeod Plantation on James Island, Charleston, South Carolina.  She had her picture taken on the back porch of the house ….

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… as well as on the steps of the front of the house.

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I wonder if I need to think about moving?

Our World: Strasburg, Virginia

May 12, 2014
Hotel Strasburg, Strasburg, Virginia.  April 6, 2014.

Hotel Strasburg, Strasburg, Virginia. April 6, 2014.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them.)

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by three wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

In early April Betsy and I visited Strasburg, Virginia.  Strasburg is near the northern terminus of Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park, one of our favorite parts of the country.  Staying in Strasburg gave us the opportunity to do some hiking and exploring in the area.

While in Strasburg we stayed at the Hotel Strasburg (pictured above), which was originally built as a hospital before being converted to a hotel sometime after 1912.  The decor of the hotel is very Victorian.  Betsy has posted more on this neat hotel; you can check out her blog and see some of the interior of the hotel by clicking  HERE.

An old home converted into a bed-and-breakfast, Strasburg, Virginia.  April 6, 2014.

An old home converted into a bed-and-breakfast, Strasburg, Virginia. April 6, 2014.

We walked through part of Strasburg on our first evening in town.  Many of the buildings have been renovated and are in wonderful condition.  The home above is now a bed-and-breakfast.

The Dr. F. E. Grove house, Strasburg, Virginia.  April 6, 2014.

The Dr. F. E. Grove house, Strasburg, Virginia. April 6, 2014.

The brick turret of the home above caught my attention.  This was the home of Dr. F. E. Grove, and when built around 1910 was the first Strasburg home built with electricity, indoor plumbing and central heat.

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The North Fork of the Shenandoah River, Strasburg, Virginia. April 7, 2014.

German settlers moved into this part of Virginia in the 1740s; the town of Strasburg was chartered in 1761.  The town was located on the bank of the North Folk of the Shenandoah River, a location we visited on a rainy day during our stay.

Our World: Narrows of the Harpeth

May 5, 2014
Harpeth River, Narrows of the Harpeth State Park, Kingston Springs, Tennessee.  April 20, 2014.

Harpeth River, Narrows of the Harpeth State Park, Kingston Springs, Tennessee. April 20, 2014.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them.)

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by three wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

My daughter, Kelly, and her husband, Chuck, have an Easter tradition of a picnic lunch.  This year Betsy and I drove to their home in Ashland City where we were able to join them for a very enjoyable day.

After an enjoyable lunch at one of the Metroparks, Kelly and Chuck took us to Narrows of the Harpeth State Park.  Betsy and I had never been there, so it was a wonderful treat.

Map of Bells Bend and Narrows of the Harpeth.  (Image from Google Maps).

Map of Bells Bend and Narrows of the Harpeth. (Image from Google Maps).

Narrows of the Harpeth gets its name from the fact that the beginning and end of a seven-mile loop of the river around Bells Bend are within a couple of hundred feet of each other, separated by a high bluff.

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In 1818 Montgomery Bell, a businessman, cut a tunnel through the bluff that separates the two sides of the Narrows of the Harpeth.  This tunnel allowed him to create enough moving water to power a forge which he established on the site.

Kelly and Chuck at the pool where the tunnel empties on the downriver side of the narrows.  Narrows of the Harpeth State Park, Kingston Springs, Tennessee.  April 20, 2014.

Kelly and Chuck at the pool where the tunnel empties on the downriver side of the narrows. Narrows of the Harpeth State Park, Kingston Springs, Tennessee. April 20, 2014.

The four of us hiked to the downriver side of the tunnel.  There is nothing left of the forge, but a pool into which the water from the tunnel empties provided a wonderful place to sit and enjoy a beautiful day.

 

Williamsburg Skies

October 4, 2013
The Governor's Palace at Colonial Williamsburg.  September 21, 2013.

The Governor’s Palace at Colonial Williamsburg. September 21, 2013.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

Our first stop on our recent vacation was Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  We walked through the garden behind the Governor’s Palace under a beautiful blue sky.

Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia.  September 21, 2013.

Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia. September 21, 2013.

One of the main purposes for our trip was to enable Betsy to do some research at Bruton Parish.  Her eight-times great grandfather, Thomas Ballard, was a member of the Vestry of the church from 1674 – 1683.  By the time we left the church there were some scattered light clouds in the sky.

The Capitol in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  September 21, 2013.

The Capitol in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. September 21, 2013.

It was even cloudier when we walked over to the Capitol, but it was still a very pretty day.  All in all it was a nearly perfect day for visiting Colonial Williamsburg.

Our World: Historic Railroad Tunnel

November 5, 2012

The western entrance to the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. This is the way we entered. September 1, 2012.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them.)

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Betsy attended another pre-wedding event for her future daughter-in-law in Dalton, Georgia.  While Betsy was partying, her son Jeff and I visited the historic Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel in nearby Tunnel Hill, Georgia.

The interior of the tunnel, showing the layers of rock the workers had to cut through. September 1, 2012.

The tunnel was built to connect the port of Augusta, Georgia, and the Tennessee River Valley.  The tunnel is 1,477 feet long through the base of Chetoogeta Mountain, and it was designed to be the first railroad across the Appalachian Mountains.

Another view of the rock inside the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel. September 1, 2012.

Construction of the tunnel began in 1848, and the first Western & Atlantic train passed through the tunnel on May 9, 1850.  The town of Tunnel Hill sprang up during construction of the tunnel, and after the tunnel was completed Atlanta became one of the railway’s major hubs.

The railroad tunnel played a part in several Civil War events, including the Great Locomotive Chase and the 1864 Battle of Tunnel Hill.

After the Civil War larger train cars got stuck in the tunnel several times, which led to the building of a larger, parallel tunnel.  The railroad stopped using the historic tunnel in 1928.

The eastern entrance of the tunnel, 1477 feet from the western entrance. Tunnel Hill, Georgia. September 1, 2012.

The tunnel suffered neglect for about 70 years, but in 1992 steps were taken to preserve and rehabilitate the old tunnel.  It was opened to the public in 2000 in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first train passing through.

The ceiling of the tunnel. The black is soot from the wood- and coal-burning engines that traveled through the tunnel. September 1, 2012.

I couldn’t take my tripod into the tunnel, so most of the interior photos are not very good.  But it was fascinating to walk through the tunnel and remember that it was built with hand tools.

Down Memory Lane: Castillo San Marcos

October 10, 2012

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

In August, 2009, Betsy and I traveled to Florida to see her brother in Jacksonville and to celebrate Betsy’s birthday.  After leaving Jacksonville we stopped in St. Augustine to visit Castillo San Marcos, the fortress built by the Spanish to protect their outpost.

To see larger versions of these pictures and others, click HERE.

 

Down Memory Lane: The Great Wall

August 17, 2012

Scenes from a visit to the Great Wall of China in 1987.

I first saw the Great Wall of China in 1987.  I was in China with a group of other professors from our college on an exchange program.  In some ways it’s hard to believe that so many years have passed since then, but the memories are still fresh.  These are just some of the pictures I took on that memorable day.

To see other pictures from the Great Wall, click HERE.

Happy Birthday, USA

July 4, 2012

The room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

It was 236 years ago that an amazing idea was put into words and a new experiment in governance was begun.

… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in the room shown above in Independence Hall, Philadelphia.  If you look closely you can see Benjamin Franklin’s walking stick on the table on the right.

‘Militiamen’ firing a salvo, Williamsburg, Virginia. June 22, 2007.

In the war that followed American militiamen took on Europe’s strongest army.  For several years the Americans lost more battles than they won, but they persisted.

Fife and drum corp, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Finally, in 1781, a British army surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia.  For all practical purposes that ended the war.  ‘Yankee Doodle’ had won.

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The experiment continues to this day.  The nation hasn’t always lived up to the ideals expressed all those years ago, but it does keep striving toward the goal.

Fireworks, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. July 4, 2010.

Happy Birthday, USA!

Fort Smith National Historic Site

July 7, 2011

The uniforms of soldiers involved in Fort Smith's history. June 11, 2011.

One of the first places we visited on our recent trip west was Fort Smith National Historic Site in Arkansas.  During our visit we  were fortunate to be able to hear a presentation by a park ranger on the history of Fort Smith.  The ranger was supported by the re-enactors wearing the uniforms of soldiers during the different periods of the fort’s history.

Fort Smith was established in December, 1817, by a company of the U. S. Rifle Regiment (the soldier on the extreme left in the photo above).  The fort was established to maintain peace between the Osage and Cherokee Indians.  The original fort was abandoned in 1824.

In the 1830s Fort Smith became a supply depot for Indians and soldiers (next two soldiers in white) moving westward along “The Trail of Tears”.  In 1838 a new Fort Smith was constructed near the site of the first.   This was a masonry fort, but it was also used primarily as a supply depot.

Confederates (the soldier in butternut in the middle of the group above) took possession of Fort Smith when Arkansas seceded in April, 1861, but was recaptured by Union troops (next two soldiers) on September 1, 1863.

In 1872 the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas took over the fort.  The barracks were modified to serve as a courthouse and jail.  During this time the fort was a base for U. S. Marshals (the man on the extreme right).

The re-enactors described the uniforms they were wearing and gave a firing demonstration of their weapons.  The early muskets certainly made for an interesting show.

Firing 1830-era muskets. June 11, 2011.

This gives new meaning to 'the smoke of battle'.

Betsy at a portion of the wall of the second fort. June 11, 2011.

Happy Fourth of July

July 4, 2011

The room in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

Does the Fourth of July mean anything more than picnics, fireworks, and a day off work?  I have to admit that I sometimes wonder.  Now don’t get me wrong — I enjoy a picnic as much as anyone, and I absolutely loved a day off from work before I retired.  But even then there was something special about the Fourth of July.

This day commemorates the day when The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia in 1776.  The Declaration, containing the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”, is one of the most profound documents in history.

It used to be that most people felt this was a pretty special country.  We learned the history of our country — the people and places.  We said the Pledge of Allegiance in school, and the Star-Spangled Banner was played at school events.  We also learned how the song came to be written.  We learned the text of the Gettysburg Address, and knew the words to “My Country Tis of Thee”, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and “America the Beautiful”.

I grew up on a farm outside a small town in Indiana.  Almost everyone in the area turned out for the Fourth of July parade, and the program before the fireworks display.  The fireworks themselves almost always included a representation of the Liberty Bell or the American flag.  We all felt we were a part of something very special.

The title of this blog is “Senior Moments”, and I’m getting more senior with each passing day.  I guess I’m rapidly becoming a curmudgeon.  If so, please forgive me.  I only wish my grandchildren realize that they, too, are part of a very special country.

I hope you all have a very wonderful — and happy — Fourth of July.