Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Morris Island Lighthouse-- Part 2

See, I kept the light on.

1938-- The lighthouse, originally 1200 feet from the water, is now at the edge of the water. The housing complex dismantled and lighthouse automated June 22.

1962-- Decommissioned and replaced by the new Sullivan's Island Lighthouse.

1965-- sold to a private citizen after being declared surplus property by the US government.

1999-- Save the Light, Inc, buys it for $75,000 to preserve it.

2000-- The SC Department of Natural Resources accepts it, qualifying it for engineering assistance and federal grants.

We looked for the lighthouse, but haven't been able to find it. Must be further up the coast from us. I understand it is now completely surrounded by the ocean.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Morris Island Lighthouse

A Bit of Its History

1673-- Just three years after Charles Towne founded, a primitive navigational aide was operating on Morris Island.

1767-- FIRST LIGHTHOUSE-- 42 feet

1838-- SECOND LIGHTHOUSE-- 102 feet with revolving light.

1861-- This one destroyed by Confederates to prevent its use by Union forces.

1872-- THIRD LIGHTHOUSE-- work begins on 138 foot, 3200 ton. Built on 264 piles and first-order Fresnel lens.

1876-- Illuminated Oct. 1st.

We'll Leave the Light On. --Coot

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

HMAS Sydney-- No Action Stations

The March 25th Sydney Morning Herald reports that three times before the fateful battle with the Kormoran, the Sydney challenged unidentified vessels without apparently going to action stations in preparation for a confrontation.

On two occasions, the questionable ships were recognized visually and the third time, the Sydney had the convoy it was escorting change direction.

All three times, there is no record that action stations took place.

German survivors of the Kormoran report seeing Australian sailors standing on the decks of the Sydney before the battle started, then a mad rush of officers toward the bridge.

This would not indicate preparedness for battle.

And the Story Continues. --Cooter

Sunday, March 22, 2009

HMAS Sydney-- More on the Christmas Island Sailor

Australia's March 19th Daily Telegram had an article about the dead sailor who washed up on the shore of Christmas Island in a life raft several months after the Sydney sank.

It is now believed that he lived for several days after he got on the raft before dying. The Sydney was sunk Nov. 19, 1941, and he washed ashore in Feb. 1942.

The general belief is that the HMAS Sydney got in too close to the German raider Kormoran which would explain the vessel's loss with her entire crew.

ABC says that the Australian War Museum textile conservation specialist, Catherine Challenger, says that fabric from the sailor's uniform did not match that worn by Australian sailors at the time, but x-rays on the stud reveal words saying that it was made in Australia. According to her, the sailor's uniform does not give conclusive evidence that the sailor was from the Sydney.

An Ongoing Story. --Cooter

It's a Green Thing...You Wouldn't Understand-- Part 2

Continuing with the 10 things you might not know about the color green.

6. Fear of the color green is known as chlorophobia. Are there REALLY people afraid of that color? One of the rooms at our house has green carpeting.

7. 3%-- the number of Americans who say green is their favorite color. Mine is blue, but I'm not chlorophobic.

8. Green covers cause magazines to sell fewer copies. Knock me over with a shamrock.

9. Super serious superhero Green Hornet will be a bit funnier in the upcoming movie. And you always thought Batman was a funny guy.

10. Some research in December revealed that men's faces are more red than women's. AND, women's faces are more green. Who'd have thought that? Could be an envy thing.

Thanks for all that green, Mark.

Not Near Enough Green in My Wallet as I'd Like. --Old Coot

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's a Green Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

After all this hoopla over St. Patrick's celebrations, the March 15th Chicago Tribune had a HISTORY LESSON by Mark Jacob on "The Color Green." These are always interesting and have to do with something current.

These days, you also hear a lot about folks doing the "green thing." Here are ten things you might not know about this color.

1. The GREEN CARD that you hear so much about in regards to immigration, hasn't been green for decades. It now is mostly white and looks like a drivers license.

2. Fenway Park's left field wall is known as the "Green Monster, but until 1947 , it wasn't green and was covered with advertisements. The Wrigley Field scoreboard, that green icon, was actually a reddish-brown until the mid-40s. Then, there's the green ivy along the outfield walls.

3. Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" was originally "Green Ham and Eggs." Said Sam-I-Am.

4. Military helicopter pilots wearing nigh-vision goggles, see a green world and sometimes refer to it as flying through green air.

5. On New Year's Day 1965, Soupy Sales had some extra time at the end of his children's show and asked the little guys to send those "little green pieces of paper" to him from their parents' wallets. The kids didn't have his address, but parents were mad and he got a suspension.

More Green Stuff and Ham to Come. --Da Coot

Dead Page: Bozo/Beatles-- Mr. Magoo

Persons directly responsible for two of my favorite characters and a band as a youth have died recently.


Creator of Bozo and Signed the Beatles

Died March 13th at age 91, who, while as head of Capitol Records signed the Beatles after first passing on them, also created Chicago's beloved Bozo the Clown character.

Served as a second lieutenant in the Army during WW II, and joined Capitol Records afterwards as a writer and producer of read-along and listen records for children. He called the concept "record-reader." After writing "Bozo at the Circus," he worked with an illustrator and a clown to develop the narrator of the story. It was a bi9g hit, selling over 8 million copies and spawning the Bozo empire.

In the late 1950s, he signed Frank Sinatra to Capitol, paired him with Nelson Riddle and launched Sinatra's comeback. Those Sinatra recordings were outstanding.

Mr. Livingston first heard about the Beatles in 1963, but didn't think they were suitable for the American market. At Beatles' manager Brian Epstein's insistence he listened to them and signed the group.


Writer helped create Mr. Magoo

Died March 14th at the age 92, served in Marines in WW II. Wrote the screenplay "Ragtime Bear" in 1949 that introduced the near-sighted Mr. Magoo, voiced by actor Jim Backus. Mr. Magoo was in part modeled after his uncle who had no problem with his eyes, but had his own unique perspective on things.

"Road HOG!!!"

From the Chicago Tribune.

AHS Centaur

The March 20th Courier Mail of Australia reports that the Blue Water Recovery company, which found the wrecks of the HMAS Sydney II and German reaider Kormoran last year, has been given the go-ahead to seek the final resting place of the Australian Hospital ship Centaur which was sunk off the southeast coast of Queensland in May of 1943.

Although clearly marked as a hospital ship, it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine with the loss of 250 and only 64 survivors.

The Australian government has earmarked $2 million for the effort.

Let's Hope There Will Be as Much Success Here as There was with the Sydney. --Cooter

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Other World War I-Era Veterans

According to Wikipedia.

There are two unverified WW I veterans:

Italy-- Carl Dozzi-- born June 25, 1901
UK-- Douglas Terrey-- born June 27, 1903


Brazil-- Bruzil Waldemar, 108-- born Dec. 4, 1900-- Colonel in WW II.
Poland-- Josef Kowalski, 109-- born Feb. 2, 1900-- in WW II also, captured and imprisoned at a concentration camp. Poland's oldest man.
US-- Robley H. Rek-- born May 4, 1901, 107-- lives in Louisville, Ky.

They're Still Here. --Cooter

Surviving War Veterans-- By War

World War I-- 7
World War II-- 3.526 million
Korean War-- 3.257 million
Vietnam-- 8.055 million
Desert Shield-- 615,000
Iraq/Afghanistan-- 433,000

from US Veterans Affairs Department

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Final Seven World War I Veterans

According to Wikipedia, there are seven surviving veterans of World War I.


Claude Stanley Choules-- born March 3, 1901, 108, Navy
John Campbell (Jack) Ross-- born March 11, 1899, 110, Army-- No active service and not considered a war veteran by Australia.


Henry William Allingham-- born June 6, 1896, 112, RAF-- At Battle of Jutland. Europe's oldest man.

Netherwood Hughes-- born June 12, 1900, 108-- did not see action and not considered a veteran.

Henry John (Harry) Patch-- born June 17, 1898, 110-- Army


Frank Woodruff Buckley-- born February 1. 1901, 108


John Henry Foxer (Jack) Babcock-- born July 23, 1910, 108-- living in Spokane, Washington.

Heroes, All. --Cooter

Monday, March 16, 2009

The UK Telegraph Makes a Good Point

It says that now that Britain's last two World War I veterans have received France's Legion de Honneur, isn't it about time that they be knighted?

Harry Patch, 110, received his award last week and Henry Allingham got his today.

They make a good point. These two men deserve the honor.

And. while we're on the subject, the same honors should be accorded to
Netherwood Highes, born June 12, 1900, 108, who did not see action, but was a veteran nonetheless.

If the French can do it, what's the problem with the United Kingdon?

See March 12th for Harry Patch's honor.

This was the original "Greatest Generation."

Do the Right Thing. --Cooter

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Australian WW I Vet Turns 110

One of Australia's last two World War veterans just celebrated his 110th birthday March 11th according to the Sydney Morning Herald. John (Jack) Campbell Ross, born in 1899, is frail but otherwise in good health.

He had a cake with one single candle on it. He is also Australia's oldest man.

He enlisted in February 1918 and served as a wireless operator. The war ended 9 months later and he never left Australia or saw active service. As such, the Australian government does not recognize him as a veteran of the war. They do recognize Claude Stanley Choules, 108.

Come on Australian government. Get with it. Jack Ross IS every bit of a veteran as Claude Choules. Honor him as such.

It's the Right Thing to Do. --Cooter

Friday, March 13, 2009

Speaking of Lincoln... His Sounds

On February 12th, we visited the Lincoln Library and Museum's traveling collection in Woodstock, Illinois. I highly recommend you visit it if it comes to your area.

Inside, they had a wall clock with a recording of the tick-tocking of the actual one that used to hand in the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office in Springfield, Illinois. These were the sounds Lincoln would have heard.

Also, they had one of Mary Todd Lincoln's music boxes with a recording of the music played by the original one. No doubt, Lincoln would have heard this on occasion.

So, these are things Lincoln would have heard.

What Would Abe Say? (Probably, "Don't Call Me Abe." --Da Coot

There Really Was an Inscription Inside Lincoln's Watch

The same day as the article about the Lincoln photograph, there was a new Lincoln development, this time dealing with Lincoln's pocket watch.

This story deals with Fort Sumter, a family history, and an Irish immigrant.

Irish immigrant and watchmaker Johnathan Dillon was working in a Maryland watch repair shop in 1861 and was repairing Lincoln's pocket watch when news of the firing on Fort Sumter being fired on arrived. He told his children and almost 50 years later that he had opened the watch's inner workings and written his name, the date, and a message, "The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try."

He sent it back to the White House and Lincoln never knew of the message.

The watch was eventually given to the Smithsonian and Douglas Stiles, Dillon's great-great-grandson alerted the Smithsonian. As a child, he had heard the story many times and had also come across a 1906 New York Times article where Dillon told the story as well.

This past Tuesday, the Smithsonian had expert watch maker George Thomas open it. Split into three sections around the tiny gears was the razor-thin etching, "Jonathan Dillon April 13, 1861. Fort Sumter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. Thank God we have a government."

The attack actually took place the day before, but perhaps Dillon didn't hear about it until the following day. Or, perhaps, he just made a mistake. I guess over the years, he forgot the actual words.

March 11th Chicago Tribune "Legend and Message in old Abe's timepiece" by Neely Tucker, Washington Post.

This Kind of History Fascinates Me. --Da Coot

It's a Lincoln Thing-- The Photo

Everything was abuzz this past week with news that perhaps a new Lincoln photograph has been discovered. It was taken in front of the White House and may be the last picture taken before he was assassinated.

Only about 130 photographs of Lincoln are known to exist. It was in a picture album owned by Ulysses S. Grant, VI, 38 of Springfield, Missouri, the great-great-grandson of the general. He had seen the photo before, but this time, upon closer inspection, he caught sight of a tall person by the columns. The facial features were blurred. He called Lincoln collector Keya Morgan of New York who identified it as Lincoln and bought the 2 and half inch by 3 and a half inch photo for $50,000.

When the photo was removed from the album, it had writing on the back, "Lincoln in front of the White House" believed to be in the handwriting of Jesse Grant, the general's youngest son. Also included was the date 1865, the seal of the photographer Henry P. Warren, and a government tax stamp issued between 1864 and 1865 to help pay for the war. It is known that Warren went to Washington DC, in March 1865 to photograph Lincoln.

March 11th Chicago Tribune "Purported Lincoln photo brought to light" by Brett Zongker, AP.

Could This Be the Last Lincoln Photograph? --Cooter

Thursday, March 12, 2009

World War I Veteran Receives French Honor

World War I veteran, Harry Patch, 110,, received one of France's highest honors, and became an officer in the Legion d'Honneur.

The French ambassador said, "In spite of your great age you have unstintingly and relentlessly given your time and testimony participating in numerous events...."

Mr. Patch resides at a nursing home and is one of only three remaining British World War I veterans. The other two are Henry Allingham, 112, and Claude Choules, 107, of Australia.

One other survivor of the War to End All Wars was William Stone who died this last January at age 108.

Another Great Generation Nearing the End. --Cooter

North Platte, Nebraska, Canteen

North Platte, Nebraska, had a population of 12,000 in 1941. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, towns people heard that a train of Nebraska National Guard troops was scheduled to pass through town on Dec. 17th. They went to the station with cookies and food, only to find the Guard unit was from Kansas. Nonetheless, the soldiers received all that the town had.

After that, the town met every single train, sometimes as many as 320 a day. The military personnel had ten minutes to get off the train, but they would all be served. Amazingly, even in this time of strict rationing, the town was able to serve 6 million during the war, and without government assistance. It was something they were proud to do. Well, I guess I should mention that they did get a $5 check from President Roosevelt.

One 90 year old veteran with failing memory, when the canteen was mentioned, said, "Wouldn't it be great to be back in N. Platte for just five minutes."

There is an excellent video in You Tube about this amazing effort.


Once Again, the Greatest Generation. --Da Coot

Dead Page: Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

On February 22nd, Laverne Lundstrom, 90, one of two Pearl Harbor Survivors living in Rockford, Illinois, died. Her was a 23-year-old fireman first class on the USS Nevada. He lost 50 shipmates that day and went to the magazine where he started passing out ammunition.

He spent his whole life after the war telling about the battle, particularly in Rockford schools. The other Pearl Harbor survivor is Bill Foster.

The Greatest Generation.

Wartime Drama in Bowmanville, Canada

Back on March 7th, I wrote about the demise of the German POW camp in this town. If you had to become a prisoner of war, I guess this is where you would want to be sent. But things were always not wonderful here.

The March 6th Toronto Star also had a sidebar about Thanksgiving weekend 1942 when the Germans seized control of part of the camp when plans to shackle 100 officers were learned. The Canadian government ordered this in retaliation of Hitler's orders to shackle Canadian troops captured in the Allied raid on Dieppe.

Both prisoners and guards battled without firearms. Canadian guards used baseball bats. The three day standoff ended when the Germans were hit by high-pressure water hoses. Dozens were injured on both sides.

One inmate, however, was shot through the stomach by a tower guard after prisoners dragged a Canadian officer into the mess hall. The bullet hole is still there.

Very few German and Axis prisons remain in the US and Canada. It would be a shame to lose this one.

Save That Old Prison. --Da Coot

George Lawley & Sons-- Part 2

On March 7th, I started writing about this shipbuilding company. I came across a site devoted to them which had an extensive list of vessels built by them dating back to the 1890s.


They certainly made some money on government contracts.

From 1897 to 1901, they built 12 cutters for the Navy.

During World War I from 1917 to 1918, they built twenty sub chasers; SC-253 to SC-272.


Then, in World War II, business really boomed. In 1942 they built 14 PCs, sub chasers. First it was PC-461 to PC-470 (10). Then PC-616 to PC-619 (4). I'm not sure if they are the same class. If they are, perhaps other builders also were involved.

Then they started building LCI (L)s, Landing Craft Large. From November 1942 to February 1943, they launched 29, LCI (L)-209 to LCI (L)-237.

From 1943 to 1945, there were also Tank Barges, YO. Seven were launched, YO-66, YO-67, and YO-107 to YO-112.

Naval Ships built 1897-1901- 12
World War I-- 20
World War II (So Far)-- 50

There Are Lots More World War II Vessels as Well. --Cooter

Happy 50th Birthday Cans and Barbie

This year marks the 50th birthdays of two ubiquitous items: the aluminum beer can and Barbie dolls.

Back in January, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the aluminum beer can. To mark it, the ASM International, a professional society of metallurgists, named the building in Golden, Colorado, where it was created for Coors, a historic monument. They said the recyclable aluminum cans vast improved the taste of the beer from the steel can version with the lead solder. Probably healthier for you as well?

Then, this week, it's a bug happy fiftieth to Barbie. Ruth Handley who receives credit for her, saw that her daughter often played with paper dolls and had them in adult roles. Up until then, most dolls were of infants. She approached her husband Elliot with the idea. He had co founded Mattel Toy Company and he wasn't interested. But, Ruth went to Germany and saw the popularity of a doll there called Bild Lilli which became the basis of Barbie.

And the Rest, As They Say, is History. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Pirate Story Comes to Chicago-- Part 2

Most of the Whydah's treasure has not yet been recovered, but thousands of other artifacts have which form the basis of the traveling collection. The National Geographic Society is a pardner in the show.


Those joining a Pirate ship had to sign the ship's articles pledging their loyalty and never to betray their shipmates. "Plunder was carefully and fairly apportioned among captain and crew, and officers were elected." Clifford said, "They were outlaws who were experimenting with democracy."

The majority of the men on pirate ships were in their twenties who had been forced to serve on merchant and naval vessels, volunteered for greed and adventure, or were escaped slaves or liberated from slave ships.

Pirate ships carried much larger crews with the best cannons and hand weapons, they tried to scare vessels into surrendering.

Might Be a Good Trip This Summer. --Cooter

A Pirate Story in Chicago

The February 25th Chicago Tribune ran an article "Real pirate story comes to Field" by William Mullen.

The pirate ship Whydah sank in a horrific storm off Cape Cod in 1717. Only two of its 146 crew members survived. For years, it was more of a good legend than fact as it lay under thirty feet of sand until 1984, when marine salvager Barry Clifford, who had been doing intensive research on the ship found it in shallow water.

The Whydah is the first and only verified Pirate wreck ever located and recovered.

A traveling exhibit has opened at Chicago's Field Museum and will run through October 25th. It hopes to shed light on pirates, especially after the success of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Weapons, jewelry, gold, ingots, tools, clothing and utensils will be on display.


The ship was named after a slave port in Africa and was built in England in 1715 to carry slaves to the New World. It was 100 feet long, 300 tons, with a speed up to 13 knots. As a pirate ship it mounted 18 cannons.

After its first Middle Passage (carrying slaves), it was returning to London when it was captured by pirate Sam Bellamy in 1716, who made it his flagship. It then went on a year-long piracy spree and was loaded with booty when it sank.

More Piracy to Come. --Cooter

Monday, March 9, 2009

Huntley, Illinois

Northwest Herald columnist Nancy Bucheller has just released a book on the history of Huntley, a town that in the last ten years has grown immensely since the opening of Dell Webb's Sun City. A lot of the old is gone, but will be remembered in her "Images of America- Huntley."

Ms. Bucheller wrote columns for the Herald over the last 18 years. Her book consists of the Arcadia Press' standard 128 pages and over 200 photographs focusing on the town's milk and farming heritage. It took eight months of research to complete.

There will be a book signing tomorrow at the Huntley Area Public Library.

The Arcadia books are a great source of local history. Around here, northeast Illinois, it seems that most every town now has their own Arcadia history. According to Ms. Bucheller, there is an Arcadia editor living in Crystal Lake, Illinois, which may account for all the local histories.

Regular price for all Arcadia books is $20. A bit high, but worth the information. I like to go to the communities and look at the old photos and compare them to what it looks like today.

Congratulations Ms. Bucheller. --Cooter

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bowmanville, Canada German POW Camp

The March 6th Toronto Star had an article by Carola Vyhnak about a World War II German prisoner of war camp about 45 minutes east of Toronto in Bowmanville, which is slated to be destroyed in the next several months after sitting empty for the past year after an Islamic school closed.

The camp consists of 18 buildings on 40 hectares and held top-ranking German prisoners. They were shipped to Canada to get them out of Britain. It is rumored that Adolf Hitler had plans to send a U-Boat down the St. Lawrence River to rescue one high ranking submarine commander.

Even to this day, there is a pile of dirt in the attic of one of the buildings, a remnant of an escape attempt. A 90-metre passage was dug 4.5 metres underground. Excavated dirt was placed in the ceiling until a collapse from the weight alerted guards to the plot.


At its high point, the camp held 880 pows in what can be described as luxury, even five-star. They even had an indoor swimming pool and a theater. Only barbed wire and towers would indicate the true function.

One Luftwaffe pilot wrote, "I am convinced that nowhere in the world did prisoners of war have better housing, better food, better recreation facilities, better educational opportunities, and above all, fairer treatment, than in Canada."

Too bad at least one of the buildings, preferably the one with the dirt in the attic, can't be preserved and turned into a war museum.. Most young people today do not know that enemy soldiers were held prisoner in the US and Canada during the war.

If You Gotta Be a POW, I Vote for These Accommodations. --Cooter

George Lawley & Sons-- Shipbuilder of Yachts and Naval Craft

George Layley & Sons Shipbuilders operated in the Boston area starting in 1866 until 1945 when the yard closed. They occupied three different locations along in the Neponset part of Boston along the Neponset River.

Two of their yachts, the Satilla and Orca were acquired by the US Navy in World War I. Their Charles J. Ashley was converted into the USS Blue Jay for service as a coastal minesweeper because the German U-Boats often set mines along the Atlantic coast.

I came across an extensive list of ships the company built. The PC-1084 was not included, but the PC-461, the name of the class of submarine chasers was.

I will go into details of both World War I and World War II Naval and Army construction with my next entry.

I Had Never Heard of This Shipbuilder. --Cooter

Friday, March 6, 2009

PC-461 Class of Sub Chasers/Frontier Naval Base Tomkinsville

There bis a picture of a guy fishing off the wreck of the PC-1084 at www.navsource.org/archives/12/1201108401.jpg.

A total of 421 of these ships were ordered, 60 were cancelled, and 361 delivered at a cost of $1,600,000 apiece.

They were designed for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). They primarily had convoy escort duty and coastal patrol, freeing fleet destroyers for Atlantic convoy duty.


I couldn't find out much about this base on Staten Island other than it is close to the Statue of Liberty and conversions were carried out there. It was also home of the Commander Eastern Sea Frontier.

I don't know if it is still open or not.

Just Not a Lot of Info About These. --Da Coot

Some More on the USS PC-1084

Evidently, these sub chasers did not have regular names, just numbers.

I was able to find some statistics about the PC-1048. It was part of the PC-461 class of submarine chasers. Laid down 7 September 1942 by George Lawley & Sons in Neponset, Massachusetts. Launched 31 October 1942 (about seven weeks after starting). That's called fast construction.

450 tons, 173.8 feet long, 23 foot beam, 20,2 knots

Armament-- one 3-inch 50 dual purpose mount, one 40 mm gun mount, three 20 mm guns, 2 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks, and two rocket launchers.

I did not come across any war time service for the PC-1084 other than the PC-1255 mooring alongside it at the US Naval Frontier Base at Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York.

Still a Mystery Ship. There Has to Be Records Somewhere. --Cooter

Thursday, March 5, 2009

USS PC-1084-- Sunk and Rusting Away

It's a veteran of World War II and is rusting away and sunk at the Person Street Bridge on the Cape Fear River in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Someone has painted the name Titanic on it. People pass by it every day with no idea what part in history it played.

During World War II, it patrolled the east coast of the United States searching for German submarines. PC stands for patrol craft and it was officially classified as a sub chaser.

After the war, it was sold to a local businessman and turned into a floating dock. This was necessary because before the Jordan Dam was built, the level of the Cape Fear River fluctuated quite a bit.

From the March 4th Fayetteville (NC) Observer.

There is very little written about it.

Sad to See This Happening. --Cooter

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Brief History of the Secret Service

The Dec. 1, 2008, Time Magazine had an interesting article by Alex Altman about the US Secret Service.

It said that it was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln the very day that he was killed and that they had been guarding Obama (code-named "Renegade")longer than any presidential candidate in history, since May 2007.

Today there are over 3,200 members guarding the president, first family, candidates for high office and visiting dignitaries. They were originally created to stop counterfeiting back when one of every three bills was fake. Presidential security only became a formal objective after President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and officially in 1951 after an attempt on President Truman's life.

Their demeanor, sunglasses, ear pieces and constant scanning, is well known.

They still keep an eye on fiscal matters.


1865-- Set up under chief William Wood

1963-- President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, the only time a sitting chief executive killed while under agency protection.

1968-- Robert F. Kennedy assassinated. Agency begins protecting presidential candidates.

1981-- Agent Tim McCarthy leaps in front of a bullet intended for President Reagan, fired by John Hinckley, Jr.

2003-- Agency becomes part of newly-created Department of Homeland Security.

An Interesting History of a Little-Known Branch of the Government. --Cooter

Bits O' History: WW II Bomb Defused-- Japanese Internment-- William Genaust/Iwo Jima Movie

Some New News About an Old War, World War II.

1. WW II BOMB DEFUSED-- On Feb. 24th MSNBC announced that 15,000 residents in Celle, a city in northern Germany were evacuated while experts defused a 2000-pound American World War II bomb found on the grounds of an industrial property. The operation lasted 35 minutes.

Unexploded Allied bombs are still found fairly often in Germany, even 64 years after the end of the war.

2. JAPANESE INTERNMENT-- A sad time in US history, but understandable for the time, Japanese internment officially began Feb. 19, 1942.

3. WILLIAM GENAUST/IWO JIMA MOVIE-- The Famous Person Buried blog today mentions a man not known by me, but whose film of an important event in World War II captured the soul of America, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. He only survived the event by nine days, dying March 4, 1945.

William Homer Genaust, Staff Sgt and War Correspondent, USMC, born 1907, filmed the raising of the second American flag on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. Nine days later, he was killed by Japanese soldiers hiding in a cave. His body was never recovered as the cave was filled in by a bulldozer.

You can see his film at www.youtube.com/watch?tv+M8DWC_CQ9fg

Now, You Know. --Cooter

WHO'D HAVE FIGGERED? --Quotes from 1955: I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's worth of groceries for $20."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Dozen Sites Honoring Black History-- Part 2

7. HARPER'S FERRY NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK-- Harpers Ferry, West Virginia-- 19th century buildings where John Brown's Raid took place. This was a major cause of the Civil War.

8. MOTOWN HISTORICAL MUSEUM-- 2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Michigan-- Many #1 songs recorded here that the former home of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. became known as "Hitsville, USA.

9. HARRIET TUBMAN HOME-- 180 South Street., Auburn, NY-- The "Moses of her People" led hundreds of slaves to their freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. In 1896 she purchased the 25-acres for $1,450 and lived here until her death in 1913.

10. BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE-- 520 16th Street North, Birmingham, Alabama-- Several pivotal Civil Rights moments occurred in this city.

11. FREDERICK DOUGLAS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE-- 1411 W. St. S.E., Washington, DC-- During his 80 years, he saw slavery transformed from accepted to outlawed. In 1877, he purchased Cedar Hill which includes his home and a visitors center.

12. NATIONAL GREAT BLACKS MUSEUM-- 1601-03 E. North Avenue, Baltimore, Md-- More than a hundred wax figures and scenes convey black history in America.

These are just a start. There are many, many more. I'd especially like to go to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and visit where the Tuskegee Airmen trained.

Black History, an Important Part of American History. --Cooter

A Dozen Sites Honoring Black History in the US

P. J. Thomas in the Feb. 11th Philadelphia Daily News listed twelve sites that honor black history in America. Some were famous and others weren't.

1. GULLAH/GEECHEE CULTURAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR-- Descendants of enslaved Africans developed their own culture and language during years of living in isolation in the coastal islands of North and South Carolina and Georgia.

2. LOUIS ARMSTRONG HOUSE-- 34-56 107th St. Corona, Queens, NY-- The Armstrongs lived here until their deaths-- Louis in 1971 and Lucille in 1983.

3. MUHAMMAD ALI CENTER-- 144 N. Sixth Street, Louisville, Ky.-- Six story center.

4. AMISTAD MEMORIAL-- 165 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut-- Ten-foot, three panel bronze sculpture dedicated to the 53 slaves who were captured and brought to America aboard the schooner Amistad in 1839. They revolted and overpowered their captors and in a landmark case argued by former president John Quincy Adams, eventually won their freedom.

5. BUFFALO SOLDIERS NATIONAL MUSEUM-- 1834 Southmore Street, Houston,Texas-- After the Civil War, Congress authorized six all-black cavalry units to protect the west from Indians who respectively gave them the name Buffalo Soldiers.

6. BROWN VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE-- 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka, Kansas-- This was a landmark Supreme Court decision aimed at ending segregation in public schools.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, March 2, 2009

Waukegan, Illinois History-- Part 2

The historic and elegant Genesee Theatre was the site of the world premier of Jack Benny's 1939 movie "Man About Town."

Lake County's first bank, the First National Bank of Waukegan was founded in 1852.

Alfred Bennett, brother of Lake County's first black settler Amos Bennett, farmed 40 acres in the 1850s on the east side of what is now the Greenbelt Forest Preserve. Amos Bennett came to lake County in 1834 and claimed to be the first settler to plant corn.

In 1848, a 15-mile plank road was built from Waukegan to Hainesville at the cost of $2,000 per mile. There were three toll gates established, but they were abandoned a short time later because of insufficient revenue.

The courthouse was finished in 1876 at a cost of $40,000.

Edward Amet, who invented the first successful movie projector, the Magniscope, worked out of a studio at 421 North Avenue. In 1898 he and a crew recreated the Battle of Santiago in the Spanish-American War in his back yard in a water tank. He also filmed the 1896 inauguration of President McKinley.

Some Mighty Interesting Facts. --Cooter

Waukegan, Illinois History-- Part 1

From February 23rd Waukegan News Sun. Waukegan is celebrating its 150th year as a city this year.

Waukegan was originally called Little Fort, but early settlers had objections to the name "Little." The local Indian tribe, the Potawatomi word for Little Fort was Waukegance, so after the "ce" was dropped, Waukegan had a name.

Author Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920, at his parents' home at 11 S. St. James Street. His 1957 book "Dandelion Wine" was written about growing up in Waukegan. Other books by Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451, Martian Chronicles.

The first death sentence in Lake County was carried out in Waukegan June 30, 1865, of William Bell who was hanged for murdering Ruth Briden of Ela Township for whom he worked.

Little Fort was incorporated Feb. 23, 1859, with Mayor E.B. Ferry. City limits were Lake Michigan on the east, Greenwood Avenue on the north, Lewis Avenue on the west, and 10th Street on the south.

More to Come. --Cooter

Local resident Jack Benny joined the Navy during World War I and trained at nearby Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago.

Dead Page-- Tuskegee Airman


Tuskegee Airman lived to see inaugural of 1st black president

Died January 20th. Was one of the last of almost 1000 recruits accepted into the US Army Air Force training program for black pilots in 1945.

After the war, Mr. Palmer worked in the administrations at Hampton University, Texas Southern University and Howard University. All of these are historical black universities.

Even with his health failing, he went to the polls Nov. 4th to vote for Obama and would have liked to have gone to the inauguration with the other Tuskegee Airmen, but his health was too bad.

One of his favorite stories was an incident during the war where he and other Tuskegee Airmen were denied entrance to an officer's club after stopping at an all-white base to refuel. "The white officers wouldn't let them in. They had never heard of a black officer," said his son Robert. "Once the planes were refueled, my father and the other black pilots got in their planes and they left. But as they did, they turned around and buzzed the tower."

The Greatest Generation.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Great Old Chicago Theatres

The February 22nd Chicago Tribune ran a two page spread in the Tribune Magazine on three of the grand old theaters in Chicago in honor of the Academy awards.

The first photo was of the exterior of the PARKWAY THEATRE in 1936, located at 11053 S. Michigan Avenue. It burned down in the 1950s and was demolished. It had big signs outside advertising "Delightfully COOL Inside."

Then there was an interior shot of the NORTOWN THEATRE in 1931, located at 6320 N. Western Avenue in Chicago. It was closed as a theater in the late 1980s and demolished in 2007. Too bad, that was one ornate venue.

Last, was the exterior of the Chicago Theater in 1939, at 175 N. State Street. It showed movies and had performances almost continuously from 1921 until it closed for remodeling in 1985. The sign read "Relax, Refresh, Revitalize Air Conditioned Theater."

Obviously, having air conditioning was quite the thing back in the 1930s.

I Feel the Need for Popcorn. --Cooter