Monday, August 21, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 3: 4.5 MPH on the Erie Canal

Portions of the Erie Canal were widened (originally 40-feet-wide) and deepened before the Civil War and expanded again a century ago.  Some parts are essentially weed troughs and narrow.

Many towns that once depended on shipping along the canal, now push tourism with inns and eateries catering to recreational boaters and visitors who hike and bike along paved trails running alongside the corridor.

The Donnellys have a blog (  and say they are moving along at a 4.5 mile-an-hour pace, just a little faster than back in the day when mules pulled boats of people and products back in the 1830s.

Donnelly Great Loop Adventure 2017.  Appears they are up around Mackinac and preparing to go down Lake Michigan.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 2: 35 Locks To Your Destination

Recreational boats traveling the full length of the Erie Canal are lifted or lowered through 35 elevation locks and can dock at towns built alongside the canal.

The labor intensive construction (remember this is before the machine age) was completed in 1825 and the canal enabled settlers to sail west while grain and agricultural products moved east.  The boats were slender, shallow-draft wooden vessels.  It transformed New York City into America's largest port and turned outposts like Cleveland and Chicago into mercantile hubs.

Construction of the Erie Canal was essentially a learn-as-you-go engineering technology and advances made on this helped the later (and bigger) Suez and Panama canals.

You can drive alongside much of the 338-mile canal and the state of New York has issued driving and bicycling maps and brochures for the Erie Canal's bicentennial.  Instead of taking the 4 1/2 hour zip along the I-90 tollway, you can enjoy a leisurely trip along the old canal.

And Sing "Low Bridge, Everybody Down, Cause We're Coming to a Town."  --Cooter

Thursday, August 17, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 1 Used More for Pleasure Craft Now

From the July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune "200 years later" by John Borden.

Last week, I wrote about the man who took the Erie Canal out to the Great Lakes in 1836.

The Erie Canal altered the face of commerce in the United States, but now traffics in tourists.

The Donnelly family of Annapolis sold or stored everything they owned and bought a 36-foot catamaran and intend to take it through the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, along the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern Seaboard back home.  Quite a trip.  The Donnellys, like many people, are using the Erie Canal for pleasure, not business , which is a big change from when the canal opened and business was its aim.

The Erie Canal connected the Hudson River with the Great Lakes.  Construction of it began 200 years ago this month.

It has since been surpassed by railroads and the New York State Thruway, both of which follow along the canal's path.  Barges still haul freight too large to be shipped by air or land, however, but by far, it is used primarily by pleasure craft that glide through the stunning countryside.


Marines Came of Age in WW I-- Part 6: A National WW I Memorial in D.C.!!

While Marines can proudly sing of the halls of Montezuma and the shores of Tripoli, in many ways, the Marine Corps became the fighting force it is today because of the grueling combat they experienced at Belleau Wood.

The World War I Centennial Commission was created by Congress to preserve and promote such stories.  The commission was also authorized to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., to commemorate those who served during that global war, a tribute long overdue.

I am sure glad to find out that there is going to be a National World War I Memorial in D.C..  But I wish they had done it while we had the last veteran of that war alive, Frank Buckles.


Marines Came of Age in WW I-- Part 5: "The Deadliest Weapon In the World Is ....

The human cost of the Battle of Belleau Wood was horrifying.  There were 1,811 Americans killed and 7,966 wounded, but their action stopped the German advance.  They killed and wounded thousands of Germans and captured more than 1,500.

In the eyes of the world, the Marines who fought at Belleau Wood proved that the "Teufel Hinden" (Devil Dogs) could stand toe-to-toe against the most experienced combat troops in the world and win.  General Pershing was so amazed by their tenacity that it brought about a famous quote from him:  "The deadliest weapon in the world is a United States Marine and his rifle."

The fortitude, discipline, courage instilled into the Marines of the 5th and 6th regiments can greatly be attributed to their noncommissioned officers.  Heavily relied upon as the "backbone of the Marine Corps," the NCO's long-standing profession as small unit leaders stands form today through every rank and file.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Marine's Came of Age in World War I-- Part 4: Marines Met Every Challenge in Belleau Wood

Belleau Wood would be among the first large-scale battles involving American troops, and the enemy knew it would set the tone for how the Americans would see themselves.  They attacked hard.

What happened at Belleau Wood was nothing short of ferocious -- a close-range pitched battle, through dense woods, where troops from both sides were desperate to advance the line and succeed the mission.  Machine gun fire, poison gas, mortars, grenades and bayonet counterattaxcks were all inflicted with hellish delivery.

The Marines met every challenge, mounting major frontal attacks on the enemy six different times for nearly a month.

That Answers Whether the Americans Came to Fight Or Not.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Today's Marine Corps Came of Age in WW I-- Part 3: Rushed Into Battle

It was then that the Marine Corps would undergo a radical transformation to do what it was asked to do.  Following boot camp (for the enlisted men) and Officer Candidate School (for officers), Marines would take a more advanced garrison and field training both stateside and following their arrival in France.

Before this Marines were primarily attached to ships and used in smaller operations.  (I attended Officer Candidate School in 1971 in Quantico, Virginia.)

However, the German Spring Offensive of 1918 altered that training, causing an immediate movement of undertrained troops to the outskirts of Paris.  The Marine mission was to stop the German Army breach into the Chateau-Thierry, the front line at a place known as Belleau Wood.


Today's Marine Corps Came of Age in WW I-- Part 2: Increase in Fighting Force

Despite the limited experience in the Philippines and along the Mexican border, it was going to be very different on the battlefields in France "where machine guns, artillery and chemical warfare were capable of killing 10,000 men in a day."

The Marines, which at the time had less than 15,000 men, had seen combat action in China and Nicaragua, but even that experience wasn't enough to prepare them for what they were about to face.

Army General John "Blackjack" Pershing was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to command the American Expeditionary Force.  He determined to keep the American units fighting as separate units rather than being supplied piecemeal to British and French forces as replacements.

America was now at war and the Marines would be called upon.  Congress approved an additional 31,000 Marines to increase their fighting strength.  General George Barnett, commandant of the Marine Corps, successfully orchestrated a nationwide recruiting campaign to enlist and commission the best of America's volunteers.


One Man's Travels By Water in 1836-- Part 6: Texas Vagabonds "Drinking Bad Whiskey" and the Alligator Incident

In Galveston, Texas, David Crandall observed a sandbar with "tents and a few shanties and the population consisted of Mexican prisoners taken at the Battle of San Jacinto" overseen by "vagabonds in Texas uniform ... who divided their time between drinking bad whiskey, playing poker and tormenting their Mexican prisoners."  (Well, at least the Mexican prisoners were still alive, which was not an option for the Texan defenders of the Alamo earlier in the year.)

Across from an old Spanish village at the head of Galveston Bay, Crandall saw a wide sandy beach "literally covered with water fowl."  He borrowed a a dugout canoe to go on a "shooting excursion" but didn't have much luck.

Intending to crawl under a nearby log to "get one fair shot," he approached slowly to avoid alarming the game.  However, "the log became alarmed and while I was yet thirty steps away, it started for the water at top speed.  ... What I had supposed to be a log proved to be a huge alligator."


Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's Marine Corps Came of Age in WW I-- Part 1: Just How Well Would They Perform?

From April 24, 2017 Army  by Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia (ret).


(Sgt. Major Brysan B. Battaglia served 36 years in the Marine Corps including as the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2011-1016).  Quite a record for him.

America's initial entry into World War I, which came three years after the war began, was more promise than power for the Allies.  Military experts on both sides of the Atlantic knew that  the Americans had the numbers, but their was little experience as far as combat troops.

The Army had been deployed to the Philippines to fight insurgents and units (and National Guard) had served along the Mexican border during the Pancho Villa times during the Mexican Revolution.

But this service was to be different from what they had faces.


Friday, August 11, 2017

One Man's Travels By Water in 1836-- Part 4: The Horse Race

In Louisville, Kentucky, "a match horse race came off between the states of Kentucky and Tennessee.  The chivalry of Kentucky staked their bottom dollar on the (bay gelding) Randolph, while the sporting men of Tennessee bet their last nickel on the brown filly Angora."

Randolph won "and the Tennesseeans were stripped to their shoestrings.  Large numbers of them were unable to pay their hotel bills and many were reduced from an easy competence to abject poverty."

After a stop in Cairo, Illinois, "which consisted of one building -- a tavern,"  David Crandall took the Madison, another steamer, to New Orleans, where he had his first glimpse of slavery:  "I found much food for reflection among a people who made slavery in its most brutal aspects the corner stone of their civilization and the chief element of their commercial prosperity."

He Wasn't Much Impressed With Slavery.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 10, 2017

One Man's Travels On the Erie Canal (and Beyond) in 1836-- Part 3: Ohio's Canals and Two Presidents

David Sprague Crandall next crossed Lake Erie by steamer, landing in Cleveland.

Ohio's recent work on their canal system allowed him to travel several more days to the Ohio River, where he traveled again by steamer which he described as, "a little squeaking stern-wheeler which was aground half the time and the passengers kept running back and forth across the boat to rock it through through the sand bars."  I take it he was not overly impressed.

It was in Cincinnati that he saw President Jackson as well as William Henry Harrison, two War of 1812 heroes.  Of course, Harrison would himself be elected to the presidency four years later.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

One Man's Travels on the Erie Canal in 1836-- Part 2: A Baby Squall?

The canal boat David Sprague Crandall boarded was bound for Buffalo, at the western end of the canal.

"Just as we made the light of S. Pendleton Clark's grocery the ever rolling banks of Townawanda Creek bearing sou'west by south half south & a little southerly we were struck abaft of the main hatch by a squall from the cook's baby.

"The captain was equal to the emergency and immediately gave orders to club-haul the boat, take a double reef in the overboard and pray for daylight.  The squall was short, sharp and uneventful, so that we made with cheerful alacrity," Crandall recorded in his journal.

Not sure what sort of storm they encountered here.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

One Man's Travels on the Erie Canal in 1836-- Part 1: A Journal

From the July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Stephanie Reynolds.

As we mark the 200th anniversary of the beginning of construction on the famous Erie Canal, connecting the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, a huge step in American transportation and quite an undertaking without the equipment we have today, here is a look back.

It was 1836, the same year as the Battle of the Alamo in Texas, David Sprague Crandall left his hometown in Lockport, N.Y., to travel on the Erie Canal and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers all the way to Galveston, , Texas.

He took paddle-wheel steamers  and slow-poke line boats pulled by mules on a tow path.  Along the way, he encountered an alligator, a horse race that pitted Tennessee against Kentucky and President Andrew Jackson.

Fortunately for us, he kept a journal of his trip for his 9-year-old grandson, George Lee Thurston II.

Crandall was a journalist and eventually became the owner of the Lockport Courier.  But, on August 8, 1836, he boarded a "shovel-nosed line boat" that was propelled by two mules and a ragged boy."  He was in poor health and going west to seek a change of climate.

he was heading west to Buffalo, NY, at the western end of the canal, at a speed somewhat slower than a person walking.

But, at least he wasn't doing the walking.


My Experiences in the Vietnam War in My Down Da Road I Go Blog

Even though I did not go to Vietnam and fight, I sure enough came close to being there.

I have been writing about my experiences in my Down da Road I Go Blog.  You can go to it by looking at the Blogs I Follow section to the right of this entry and clicking on the blog.

To me it was The War That Would Never End.  Then there was that draft lottery thing and college.

Give It a Look.  --CooterAlmostThere.

Monday, August 7, 2017

World War I Australian "Diggers" Get Photographed in Front of the Great Pyramidin Front of the Great Pyramid

From the July 25, 2014 Yahoo! 7: The West Australian "The story of the Cheops pyramid picture" by Malcolm Quekett.

Just weeks before many of them died at Gallipoli, Diggers (what Australian soldiers in WWI were often called) of the 11th Battalion, 703 Australians, camped out in Egypt and receiving final training were ordered to a nearby landmark for a group picture.  It was likely the last picture ever taken of some of them as many died at Gallipoli.

The 11th Battalion was raised primarily in the state of West Australia, Australia.

Captain Charles Barnes wrote:  "After Church this morning, the whole Battalion was marched up to the Pyramid (Old Cheops) and we had a photo took or at least several of them."

The officers were in the front and the men on the steps of the pyramid.

Legend has it that one of the men in the photo was actually a dead body, dressed in uniform and propped up.

So far, 154 in the photo have been identified.  They want Australian families to help with identification.

At Gallipoli, on the first day, April 25, 1915, the 11th Battalion was among the first Australian units to land and they lost 57 men of the 620 Australians killed that day.

A very interesting picture.  Look it up.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

GAR Veterans Do a Flag-Raising in 1917

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago

Even though 1917 was 52 years after the Civil War ended, former Union soldiers participated in a patriotic flag-raising in Waterman, Illinois, for World War I.

"Yesterday was an important one in the history of Waterman when several thousand people gathered there for the flag raising ceremony which has been previously announced.

"The members of the Grand Army of the Republic had the ceremony in charge and four of the old soldiers held the large banner, while one pulled it to the top of the staff.  As the flag was being raised to the top of the staff, Company A fired 21 rounds in salute while the bugler blew the colors."

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was an organization made up of former members of the the Union Army, Navy and Marines from the Civil War.

And now, these old men were about to witness another American War.


Friday, August 4, 2017

The 21st U.S. Infantry: 1905 to World War I

Yesterday I wrote about the 21st U.S. Infantry at the Plattsburgh Barracks in Plattsburgh, New York.

From 1905-1906, the regiment was on garrison duty in the Philippines.  From 1909 to 1912 they were back in the Philippines.  Then they were based at Vancouver Barracks. From March 1916, they were on the Arizona-California border protecting citizens from Villista raids.

In December 1916, the 21st participated in the Panama-California Exposition defending against a simulated attack by U.S. Navy cruisers Frederick and San Diego and several aircraft.

With U.S. entry into World War I, in April 1917, they were transferred to Camp Kearney and were subordinated to the 16th Division's 31st Infantry.  Not quite sure what subordinated means.  Perhaps it has something to do with training soldiers.  They trained troops for fighting in France with the American Expeditionary Force.

In March, they returned to the Vancouver Barracks.


Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 2: Prewar and World War I

During World War I and the years leading up to it, the Plattsburgh Barracks were a part of the Civilian Military Training Camp of Plattsburgh.

It was the brainchild of Army General Leonard Wood and the forerunner of today's ROTC.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 1: The War of 1812 and "The President's Own"

From Wikipedia "The Old Stone Barracks"

I have been writing about these barracks for the past week in my War of 1812 blog "Not So Forgotten."

These barracks were constructed at Plattsburgh, New York in 1838 to replace barracks that had been in use since the War of 1812.  The famous Battle of Lake Champlain/Battle of Plattsburgh took place here.

In the 1890s, the Barracks were the home of the 21st U.S. Infantry, known as "The President's Own."

President William McKinley gave them that nickname because he frequently summered at the nearby Hotel Champlain and would often visit the post to review the troops.

The 21st Infantry left here to participate in the Spanish-American War where on 22 June 1898, they fought at the Battle of Santiago and on July 1, they were in on the attack on San Juan Hill.  They were then withdrawn from Cuba in August because of disease.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2 in History: Declaration, Census, Bad Day for Wild Bill, Black Sox and Gulf of Tonkin

From the Chicago Tribune.

**  1776   Members of the Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence.  (And most people think it was signed on July 4, 1776.)

**  1790   The enumeration of the first U.S. census began.  When it was over, the final total was 3,929,214.

**  1876   "Wild Bill" Hickok was fatally shot from behind while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.  He was holding two aces and two eights, a combination that became known as the "Deadman's Hand."

**  1921   After two hours of deliberation, the jury in the "Black Sox" trial of eight White Sox players returned a verdict of not guilty in the plot to fix the 1919 World Series.  (However, Baseball Commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned them from baseball for life.)

A real sad day for us Sox fans as we might have had that successful reign that the Yankees had after that.

1964   The Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.  This was a major step for the U.S. escalation in the Vietnam War.

--  SadSoxCoot

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 6: His Death in 1917

Details about his personal life are sparse.  He was apparently married, but his wife's name is unknown.  He had two daughters, at least one of them, Neva, was brought back to Antioch and cared for by friends when Wild Jim was on tour.

In his later years, in ill health with bladder cancer, he moved to the home of his daughter Neva in Copiaque, New York, where he died on February 13, 1917.  A funeral service was held at her home and his remains transported back to Antioch, Illinois, where he was buried at Hillside Cemetery.

His daughter, Neva French Imig, was born in Chicago in 1891 and spent her childhood in Antioch where she married Arthur Imig.  She died at age 35 of stomach cancer and was also returned to Antioch for burial

This information came from Ainsley Wonderling of the Lakes Region Historical Society in Antioch.  She has discovered that she is distantly related to the French family.


Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 5: Wild Jim's Shooting Exhibition

A reporter from the St. Paul Daily Globe wrote about Wild Bill French's shooting exhibition on board the steamboat Bald Eagle which was accompanied by her sister ship, the Minneapolis.

"First he took shots at 30 glass balls tossed into the air and broke 28 of the 30 with his shot.  Then with the rifle pointed backwards over his shoulder, broke the two balls reflected in a mirror held in front of him."

He followed this up by hitting each of four apples thrown with force directly at him.  In spite of the motion of the boat shaking on the wave he was able to maintain accurate shots.

Wild Jim wrote and published his own ten cent novels exploiting his many talents.  These novels spread his fame and encouraged people to come and see him when he was in town.  He distributed fliers as well.  Cost to attend his shows were 25 cents for men, half price for boys and women were admitted for free.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 4: Antioch's Wild Bill French

While his show could not compete with Buffalo Bill's show in size or variety, he did have a successful run exhibiting his unique shooting skills.  He was the primary attraction and known for his daring feats in the saddle.

His riding and handling of firearms won him fame and distinction.

Known as Wild Jim or Captain J.C. French, he was said to have been a hunter on the plains of the West since he was age 12.  (Not true.)

One of his exhibitions took place on the Bald Eagle ship making its way from Dubuque to Minneapolis.  As reported in the St. Paul Daily Globe, "Captain French gave a fine exhibit to other passengers of the Bald Eagle and sister ship Minneapolis."

What He Did, Next.  --DaCootShot

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 3: Wild Jim French's Wild West Show

During the peak of the Wild West Shows, other people had similar presentations, like the one by Wild Jim French, who had an Antioch, Illinois, connection.

He was born in August 1851 in Saugerfield, Oneida County, New York and had nine siblings.  Like other eastern families, the French family moved west, with the hopes of starting a better life.  There was a lot of land available in northern Illinois and the family settled in the area now known as Antioch.

Jim French grew up in Antioch, but eventually sought his fortune elsewhere and found it in Texas.  He adopted the name Wild Bill French and was an avid horseman and skilled shot.  With the popularity of the Wild West Shows, he established his own show.


Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 2: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

In 1893, Buffalo Bill's (William Frederick Cody) Wild West Slow performed at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and reportedly drew 18,000 spectators.

Along with acts, Buffalo Bill had re-enactments of the Pony Express, an Indian Attack on a wagon train and stagecoach robberies.  It was said that he closed with an re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand with Cody playing the role of Custer.  But most often it ended with an Indian attack on a settler's cabin with Cody leading a group of cowboys to save them.

Unfortunately, in the late 1800s, the country's economy reached a low and people did not have the money to purchase tickets.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show closed in 1913.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 1: Buffalo Bill, Annie and Wild Bill

From the July 18, 2017, Hi-Liter "Wild West had local flair" by Sandra Landen Machaj.

In the late 1800s, people in the United States and Europe started showing a distinct interest in the American frontier and as a result, there were Wild West Shows which were popular and well-attended.  They'd move from town to town and were essentially circuses, with performers and animals.

Among the first ones established was the one of William Frederick Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill.  He had his first show in 1883 and continued until 1913  His shows were huge and carefully choreographed with up to 120 performers including animals like horses, buffaloes and even Texas Longhorns.

Popular names of the day could be found among his starts like Will Rogers, Tom Mix and Wild Bill Hickok.  Wild Bill earned his reputation as a gunfighter and marshal out West and was popular in 10-cent novels of the day.

And, there were a few women in the shows, including Annie Oakley, considered to be the first female sharpshooter.  She was also featured in those dime novels.


Friday, July 28, 2017

A Ducky Traffic Jam in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1967 and a New Art Building for NIU

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1967, 50 Years Ago.

"East and westbound traffic near the lake (Lagoon) at Northern Illinois University was tied up in both directions this morning for a few minutes.  The reason for this was not the usual heavy traffic on the Lincoln Highway.  This time it was  "the call of the wild," four ducks taking their morning constitutional."

**  "Final plans for a $3,715, 465 art building on the east campus of Northern Illinois University were approved by the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities meeting at the NIU campus."

Of Ducks and Art.  --Cooter

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Elva Women Doing Their Part in World War I Effort in 1917

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago

"The larger clubs of Elva, that is, the Homemakers, the Woman's Club and Woman's Christian Temperance Union, have discontinued their meets for an indefinite period, turning their interest toward Red Cross work."

The war is on.

Elva is located five miles south and southwest of DeKalb, Illinois, and was developed by Joseph Glidden, the inventor of barbed wire, and named for his daughter.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Problem With Finns in 1917: Fighting It Out

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back.

1917, 100 Years Ago

"A gang of Finns up in the northeast part of DeKalb got into a melee yesterday and riving the fracas one man was the victim with with two others the guilty ones.  The victim's shirt was torn and he suffered a fracture of a thumb.

The police were called to the scene and with the aid of the public safety wagon, the offenders were bought to town, and it is probably they will be assessed a stiff fine for their fun of besting up the other guy."


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

World War I Preparations in Plattsburgh, NY, Lead to "Metallic Relics of Ancient Days"

From the July 24, 2017, Plattsburgh (NY) Press-Republican  "Look-back:  Week of July 24 to July 31."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The erection of wooden bunkhouses at Plattsburgh Barracks has resulted in bringing to light a number of metallic relics of ancient days -- relics innocently trodden underfoot by the splendid young men eagerly studying the arts of  modern warfare.

"Among those are a pewter button that no doubt dates to the War of 1812 because similar ones have been found upon the site of battlefields in Canada.

"Also found was the exceedingly rusty remains of an iron tomahawk."

An Archaeology Thing.  --Cooter

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ruth Ann Steinhagen

From Find-a-Grave.

Born December 23, 1929, in Cicero, Illinois.     Died December 29, 2012, in Chicago.

Lived in obscurity after she shot Eddie Waitkus.

Burial Unknown

From Wikipedia.

Died of a subdural hematoma suffered in an accidental fall in her home.

Her death was unreported for three months.  A Chicago Tribune researcher was looking into another death when he came across her death.

There were no immediate survivors.


Friday, July 21, 2017

JUly 21... Events On This Date

From the Chicago Tribune.

1862--  See my Civil War blog.

1925--  The so-called Monkey Trial ended in Dayton, Tennessee with John Scopes convicted of violating the state's law about teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution.  It was later overturned.

1949--  The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

1954--  The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern countries.  And, we all know how this turned out.

1969--  Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buss" Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the lunar module.  And that sure was scary.  Would they be able to get off the moon?


July 20.... Events On This Date

Quite a few things happened of not on July 20.  here are some:

1862--  See my Civil war blog.

1881--  Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.

1917--  The World War I draft lottery began.

1919--  Mountain climber and Antarctic explorer Edwin Hillary, the first man (with Tibetan mountaineer Tenzig Norgay) to climb Mt. Everest, was born in Auckland, New Zealand.

1923--  Mexican revolutionary and guerrilla leader was assassinated at age 45.

1937--  Inventor and physicist Guglielmo Marconi, winner of the Nobel Prize for his work in developing wireless telegraphy, died in Rome at age 63.

1944--  See my World War II blog.

1969--  Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon as they stepped out of their lunar module.

I sure remember that as I was glued to the TV with friends.  There is a story about the "Moon Dust" out now.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Eddie Stephen "Eddie" Waitkus

From Find-A-Grave.

Mr. Waitkus was an Major League All-Star three times, twice with the Cubs and once with the Phillies.

"While the Phillies were in Chicago to play the Cubs in 1949, he was shot by a deranged female fan who was obsessed with him.  He was severely injured and missed the rest of the 1949 season, but recovered to play in all of the 1950 Phillies' pennant winning games the next season.

"The incident was the real-life inspiration for Bernard Malamud's baseball novel "The Natural" which was made into a movie of the same name starring Robert Redford."

He is buried in Cambridge Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Plot WWII Lot, Tier 22, Grave 39.



Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen in 2012-- Part 4: Her Original Plans

She used to go to all of the Chicago Cubs home games while Eddie Waitkus was with them.  But, when he was traded to the Phillies, she didn't get to see him as much.  This led to a mental breakdown.

She moved into a small apartment and turned it into a shrine to Eddie Waitkus.

Her original plan for after killing him was to commit suicide.

Eddie Waitkus fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II and saw especially heavy action in the Philippines.  For three years he braved Japanese bullets without a scratch.  he then came home and was almost killed by Ruth Ann's bullet as a civilian.


Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen-- Part 3: Became a Recluse Afterwards

In 1970, she moved into a small house in Chicago and lived with her parents and sister and became a recluse.  She died December 29, 2012, at the age of 83.  Her death was not noted despite of her notoriety.  It wasn't until a reporter for the Chicago Tribune was researching another death that her death was discovered by the newspapers on March 15, 20143.

She was born in Chicago on December 23, 1929 and had a penchant for falling in love with unattainable men.  She had crushes on actor Alan Ladd


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen in 2012-- Part 2: "Now You're Going to Die"

Ruth Ann Steinhagen was a 19-year-old typist for an insurance agency.  She had planned to stab Eddie Waitkus, but he came in quickly and sat down.  She went to the closet and got a .22 rifle.

She told him, "I have a surprise for you."  She trained the gun on him and told him to stand up and move to the window.  "For two years you've been bothering me, and now you're going to die."

Then she shot him.

She was arrested and charged with assault with intent to murder.

Less than three weeks afterwards, a judge declared her insane and committed her to a psychiatric hospital where she spend three years and was released.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Death of Eddie Waitkus' Shooter, Ruth Ann Steinhagen-- Part 1: Planning the Trap

From the March 23, 2013, New York  Times  "Ruth Ann Steinhagen Is Dead at 83; Shot a Ballplayer" by Bruce Weber.

On June 14, 1949, a huge tip back then of $5 was given to a bellhop at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago to deliver a note to another guest.  Even though the two people had never met, the note said that she needed to see him right away.  She called herself Ruth Anne Burus.

She then ordered two whiskey sours and a daiquiri from room service and sipped them while waiting for the guest to arrive.  Eddie Waitkus received the note and knocked on her door at 11 p.m..  She told him that she had already gone to bed and needed to dress and asked if he'd come back in a half hour.

Only, her name was Ruth Ann Steinhagen and she was planning on killing Eddie Waitkus.

And They Had Never Met.  --DaCoot

So, How'd the Eddie WaitkusTrade Go for the Cubs?

From Baseball Almanac.

One thing about the Chicago Cubs and that on occasion, they  have made some bad trades.  I got to wondering whether the Eddie Waitkus and Hank Borowy trade to the Phillies for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard was a good one or not.

All players were with the teams they were traded to for at least two years, so here are the stats.

The other three players were pitchers.

Eddie Waitkus   1949--  .306  // 1950--   .284
Hank Borowy   1949--  12-12  Record,  .4.19 ERA  //  1950--  0-0 record,  5.68 ERA.  Traded to Pittsburgh Pirates.

From the Phillies to the Cubs

Monk Dubiel  1949  6-9 record, 4.14 ERA  //   1950--  6-10,   4.16 ERA
Dutch Leonard:   1949--  7-16 record, 4.15 ERA   //   1950--  5-1 record,  3.77  ERA

I'd have to say, because of Waitkus, the Phillies got the better trade.

However, As Far As Nicknames Are Concerned, I'd Say the Cubs Did Better.  --Cooter

Monday, July 17, 2017

Eddie Waitkus' Major League Stats

Born September 4, 1919 in Massachusetts.  Died September 16, 1972.

Lifetime .285 Batting Average and 24 home runs, so not likely to hit one to blow up those lights like in "The Natural."

His rookie year was in 1941 with the Chicago Cubs when he played in 12 games at the end of the season.

From 1942-1945, he was in military service in World War II.

In 1946 he played in 113 games with 441 at bats, 55 RBIs, 4 Home runs and batted .304.  The next two years with the Cubs, he batted .292 and .295.  In 1949, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  In his time there he hit .306 (the year he was shot), .284, .257, .289 and .291.

And You Thought You Would Have to Worry About A Beanball.  --CootNat

Friday, July 14, 2017

MLB's Eddie Waitkus, Shot By His Stalker in 1949-- Part 3: Was Basis of the Book "The Natural"

Eddie Waitkus returned to the baseball diamond that same year, on August 19, 1949, and finished the season with a .306 batting average.  He was the leadoff hitter for the Phillies' "Whiz Kids" that won the 1950  National league Pennant.  He led the team with 102 runs scored.

Author Bernard Malamud was not a big baseball fan, but he used basic elements of Waitkus' story and other baseball legends (notably Chicago White Sox's Shoeless Joe Jackson for his 1952 book "The Natural."  In 1984, it was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Glenn Close.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eddie Waitkus, Philadelphia Phillies, Shot in 1949-- Shot At Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel

Eddie Waitkus quickly became a popular media figure.  He was well-educated and could speak fluently in Lithuanian, Polish, German and French.

The ladies especially loved him.  One of them, Ruth Ann Steinhagen, became an obsessed fan who shot him at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel on June 14, 1949, in what became one of the earliest recognized cases of criminal stalking.

She had been infatuated with him while he was with the Cubs, but got to see him during all home games.  But now that he was with the Phillies, that was a rare instance.  So, while he was in town, she checked into the Edgewater under the name of one of Eddie Waitkus' former classmates.  She sent word to him that they needed to meet.

When he arrived at the room, she shot him with a .22 caliber rifle, just missing his heart.  She immediately called the front desk to tell them there had been a shooting.  When help arrived, they found her cradling his head in her lap.

Eddie Waitkus nearly died several times on the operating table before the bullet was removed.

Steinhagen was never tried but was in a mental institution for a short time.


Eddie Waitkus, Former Cubs Player Shot in 1949-- Part 1: "The Natural"

From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I mentioned that along with Billy Jurges being shot by a jilted lover in 1932, another former Cub by the name of Eddie Waitkus, was shot by a woman in 1949 while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Born September 4, 1919 in Massachusetts.  Died September 16, 1972 in Massachusetts.

Played first base for eleven years:  Cubs and Phillies in the National League and the Orioles in the American League.  He was a member of the National League All Star team in 1948 and 1949.

As a rookie, he was known as "The Natural" for his baseball abilities.  (Sound familiar?)  He played a few games with the Cubs at the end of the 1941 season, but then served in the military during World War II, taking part in the battles in the Philippines.  During that time he was awarded four Bronze Stars.

Returning to baseball in 1946, he quickly became a star for the Chicago Cubs.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Billy Jurges, Played With a Great Cubs Infield

Born May 9, 1908.  Died March 3, 1997 in Clearwater, Florida.

Known as a light hitter and good fielder.  Right handed.  In 1932 anchored an infield of Stan Hack (3rd), Billy Herman (2nd) and Charlie Grimm and Phil Cavarretta (1st).  Recovered from wound in 1932 and helped the Cubs win the National league pennant.

Played with the New York Giants but missed 80 games in 1940 after being hit in the head by a pitched ball.

Later coached under Charlie Grimm and then held managerial jobs with several minor league teams.

I also found out another Chicago Cub player named Eddie Waitkus was shot i n 1949 (but playing with the Philadelphia Phillies at the time).


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Billy Jurges' Stats

Since I'd never heard of Billy Jurges before, I decided to find out something about him.

From Baseball Almanac.

In 1932, the year he was shot, these are Jurges' stats:

It was his second year in the pros and second with the Cubs.

115 games, 396 ABs, 40 runs, 100 hits, 24 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs.52 RBIs and batted .253.

He was with the Cibs from 1921-1938, the New York Giants 1939-1945, and finished his career back with the Cubs 1946-1947.

Had a career .258 batting average, 721 runs, 43 home runs and 656 RBIs..  His best year was 1937 with the Cubs when he batted .298 with 114 hits.

And, He Led the League in Getting Shot in 1932.  --DaDuckNextTime

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cubs Shortstop Billly Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 3: Girlfriend Also Dated Leo Durocher and Al Lopez

The story of Billy's shooting became national headlines.  Newspaper photographers and reporters burst into Violet Popovich Valli's hospital room and daily reports of "the chestnut-haired divorcee" and the dark-haired chorus girl" filled the papers.

But nothing ever happened with her case.  Jurgess refused to press charges.

He rejoined the Cubs less than a month later and the '32 Cubs went on to the World Series where they got swept by the Yankees.

Popovich later dated Leo Durocher and Al Lopez, who went on to become managers of the Cubs and White Sox respectively.  She later married former boxer Charley "The Duluth Dynamiter" Retzlaff in 1947.

If I were Durocher or Lopez, I would have been very, very careful.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cubs Shortstop Billy Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 2" More Than a Lover's Spat

According to the Chicago Herald and Examiner article related, according to Jack Bales:  "Violet received a telegram on July 6, that intimated Jurges had been out with other women.  And a resident of the hotel overheard Violet telling a friend, 'If he denies this I'll forgive him, otherwise, I'll give him the works.':

She pounded on Jurges' door and confronted him with a .25 caliber gun.  As they were wrestling for the weapon, one shot ricocheted off Jurges' rib, another struck a finger on his left hand and the third traveled through Popovich's arm.

Was It Worth It?  --DaCootShot

Cubs Shortstop Billy Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 1: Shot By His Lover

From the July 6, 2007, Chicago Tribune 'Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges' marks anniversary" by Phil Thompson.

Cubs history can be a bit bizarre, but July 6, 1932, it got just a bit stranger when Cubs shortstop  Billy Jurges was shot in his hotel room by a spurned lover.

Violet Popvich Valli shot him and the whole affair is the subject of an article by Jack Bales in "The Show Girl and the Shortstop:  The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges."

Most accounts say the problems started in New York when she pressed Jurges about their future.  During homestands, Jurges lived at the Hotel Carlos in Chicago, now an apartment complex on Sheffield Avenue.    Popovich stayed there on occasions.

--And, the Plot Thickens.  --CootCub

Thursday, July 6, 2017

DeKalb's Population at 9,482 in 1917

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"According to the estimates of the Washington census bureau which are just out there were 9,482 persons in DeKalb on the first day of July of last year.

"The census estimates is supposed to be pretty accurate as we feel that DeKalb is well along to the 10,000 class.  If we could fond some way to increase our population to get into the five figure class we would be a real metropolis."

DeKalb's 2010 population was 43,862, so guess they made the 10,000 with room to spare.


About a DeKalb Local Armory in 1917

From the May 31, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Although the local DeKalb (Illinois) men who have been pushing the project have not given up, present indications are that the matter of the purchase of the armory building by the state of Illinois for the use of the local militia contingent will have to go over for  the present session of legislature."

Remember, we were on the eve of World War I for our country in May 1917.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Program for the Dead of Past Wars in 1917

From the May 31, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back.:

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"A Program will be given by Hattie Chesbro's eighth grade of the Haisch school at 9:30 o'clock at the Lucinda Avenue bridge over the Kishwaukee to commemorate the memory of the many dead in the past wars.  (DeKalb, Illinois)

"The program is always very appropriate and the public is invited to attend.  While a reading is given by Lola Maxwell, flowers will be scattered on the water and a salute to the flag given."

This, of course, would be Memorial Day/Decoration Day.

And, the United States was just weeks away from declaring war and entering World War I.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

History of the Fourth of July

From History site.

Also known as Independence Day or July 4th.  It has been a federal holiday since 1941, but its traditions go back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later delegates from thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present, July 4 has been celebrated as the birthday of American independence with festivals, fireworks, parades, coverts, family gatherings and barbecues.

Happy B-D, U.S.A.!!  --Cootstarsandstripes

DeKalb Woman's Club Deeds Annie's Woods to the City in 1917

From the May 3, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"This is an epochal day for the DeKalb Woman's Club.  After about five years of hard work and planning the big project of the club whereby its members bought and paid for the Annie's Woods, one of the prettiest places in DeKalb vicinity and a favorite recreation spot.

"This afternoon the board of the Woman's Club met with mayor P.N. Joslyn and Judge McEwen to deed over the woods to the city."

And, Annie's Woods is still there, right by the Kishwaukee River and the eastern edge of Northern Illinois University.

Thank You Ladies!!  We're Still Enjoying It!!  --DaCoot

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

From their site.

The museum is in Kansas City, Missouri and was formed in 1990.  They have photographs and artifacts from the late 1800s through the 1960s.

Its permanent 10,000 square foot facility opened in 1997, sharing the new 18th and Vine museum complex with the American Jazz Museum.


Monday, July 3, 2017

French Leader Invites Trump to Bastille Day Event to Honor WWI Troops

From the June 28, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

French President Emmanuel Macron invited President Donald Trump to a Bastille Day celebration next month to celebrate the arrival 100 years ago of the American troops who fought alongside the French during World War I.

An official of the presidential Elysee Palace said the invitation to Trump and first Lady Melania Trump was extended Tuesday during a telephone conversation to prepare the two leaders' meeting during the G-20 summit in Germany on July 7-8.

France celebrates Bastille Day with a military parade down the Champs-Elysees every July 14.  The official says the White House is examing the feasibilty of a Paris visit.

Here's hoping the president goes.  This was payback for the American Revolution.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Chronology of World War I, June 1917


In the Pacific, the German commerce raider Wolff captures and sinks the American bark Beluya.  Fourteen people, including two women, are taken prisoner.



(Dr.) Louis J. Genelba is wounded in action by a shell splinter while serving with the British Medical Corps at Arras, France.


Armed American oil tanker Montano is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Ireland:  16 crew members and eight Navy gunners drown.


Some More On the Negro League's Leland Giants and Homestead Grays Negro Leagues Teams

From Wikipedia.


Originally were the Chicago Union Giants and played 1901-1910.  The Leland Giants name came from their owner and manager Frank Leland.

In 1911, they were renamed the Chicago American Giants.


Formed in 1912 and operated for 38 years.

They were originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh, but soon relocated and played all their games in Pittsburgh.

From 1940-1942, they played half their home games in Washington, D.C. and half in Pittsburgh.  By 1943, more than 2/3 of their home games were played in Washington, D.C..


Negro League Throwback Uniforms: Leland Giants vs. Homestead Grays

Earlier I wrote about the uniforms the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates were wearing on June 9 of this year. They definitely weren't the usual Cubs or Pirates ones.

From the June 10, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

The teams wearing the jerseys was part of the Pittsburgh Pirates annual Negro Leagues Heritage Game at PNC Park.

The Cubs were wearing the jerseys of the Leland Giants, one of the top Negro leagues teams in the Midwest in the early 1900s.

The Pirates were wearing the uniforms of the Homestead Grays who were from Pittsburgh.

The Pirates definitely had the better looking uniforms.  But I was pulling for the Cubs anyway.

Go Leland!!  --Cooter

Friday, June 30, 2017

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum-- --Part 2: To Keep It From Being Forgotten

All of its endeavors cost money and Major League Baseball and the players union have stepped in and presented the museum with a $1 million grant to help with operating costs, expansion plans and educational opportunities.

The integration of baseball in the 1940s and 1950s led to the decline of the Negro Leagues, and the last teams folded in the early 1960s.  By the late 1980s, the era was largely forgotten.

Tony Clark, the first black executive director of the players union, said the grant will help ensure the Negro Leagues and their players are never forgotten.  "Today's players are committed to providing opportunities for underserved populations to play baseball," Clark said.  "We all believe the Negro Leagues' storied history can play an important role in our game's future by inspiring minority youth to play."

Well, I am hoping most of the money will be going to preserving the history of the Negro Leagues.  Kids can always pick up a glove and a bat and learn to play on their own.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Gets $1 Million Grant From MLB-- Part 1

Just a few days ago the Chicago Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates and both teams were wearing strange uniforms.  We were sitting at Sunnyside Tap in Johnsburg and trying to figure out where the uniforms came from and then it seemed to me that the uniforms worn by the Pirates had the name of an old Negro League team on it.

A guy looked it up on his "Idge"phone and found out both teams were wearing old Negro League jerseys.

From the June 22, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Museum gets boost with $1M grant"  AP.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded nearly 30 years ago in a one-room office and set out to preserve an important yet quickly fading era of America's pastime.

Its mission has evolved over the years to where it is not only the caretaker for the past but a bridge to the future.  The Buck O'Neil Education and Research Center and a $19 million urban youth academy is in development to attract more kids to the game.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Vietnam Medic Receives Medal of Honor-- Part 2: James McCloughan

James McCloughan was then a 23-year-old private first class who had been drafted the previous year after earning a degree in sociology from Olivet College.  He repeatedly entered the "Kill Zone" to rescue wounded comrades despite the flying shrapnel from rocket propelled grenades.

He "voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades" said the White House.

McCloughan described the shrapnel as a "real bad sting."  In 2016, then Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recommended him for the honor which usually is supposed to be awarded within five years of the event, but Congress can waive that time limit which is what happened in McCloughan's case.

Congratulations Mr. McCloughan!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Vietnam Medic Receives Medal of Honor-- Part 1

From the June 14, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Medic 1st to get Medal of Honor from Trump" by Mike Householder, AP.

Members of Army medic James McCloughan's unit in Vietnam called him "Doc."

Now, these soldiers, several of whom McCloughan saved during the ferocious days-long Battle of Nui Yon Hill in 1969 will call him Medal of Honor Recipient.

James McCloughan, 71, of South Haven, Michigan will become the first to receive the nation's highest military honor from President Donald Trump.  "I feel honored to be able to accept this for the 89 men that fought that battle.  Those were the U.S. combatants, dozens of whom were killed, wounded or missing in the 48-hour battle fighting hundreds of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.

The Bravest of Brave.

Monday, June 26, 2017

50th Anniversary "Summer Of Love"-- Part 5: "Turn On. Tune In. Drop Out"

Said Dennis McNally, longtime publicist of the Grateful Dead:  "Every fantasy about the summer of '67 that was ever created -- peace, joy, love, nonviolence, wear some flowers in your hair and fantastic music -- was real at Monterrey."  he has curated an exhibit at the California Historical Society on it which will run through September 10.

The exhibit, "On the Road to the Summer of Love" explains how the epic summer came about and why San Francisco became its home..

The national press paid little attention to what was going on in San Francisco until January 1967, when poets and bands joined together for the "Human-Be-In," a Golden Gate Park gathering that unexpectedly drew about 50,000 people.  It was there that LSD-advocate Timothy Leary said "Turn On.  Tune In. Drop Out."

But, that Summer of Love had its drawbacks.  Tens of thousands of youths looking for free love and drugs flooded to San Francisco, living in the streets and begging for food.  Parents journey to the city looking for their young runaways.  There was an epidemic of toxic psychedelics and harder drugs hit the streets.

Oh yes, And Peace Signs Too.  --FlowerCoot

Friday, June 23, 2017

50th Anniversary "Summer of Love"-- Part 4: All Those Great Bands

Jefferson Airplane eventually bought a house a few blocks away on Fulton Street, where they hosted legendary wild parties.

"The music is what everyone seems to remember, but it was a lot more than that," said David Freiberg, 75, bassist for the Quicksilver Messenger Service who later joined the Jefferson Airplane.  "It was artists, poets, musicians, all those beautiful shops of clothes and hippie food stores.  It was a whole community."  Counter-culture all the way.

The bands dropped by each other's houses and played music nearby, often in free outdoor concerts at Golden Gate Park and its eastward extension known as the Panhandle.

They developed an exciting new breed of folk jazz and blues-inspired electrical music which became known as the San Francisco Sound.  Several of its most influential local acts -- the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company (which launched Janis Joplin's career) became famous during the summer of 1967's Monterrey Pop Festival.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

50th Anniversary "Summer of Love"-- Part 3: Too Expensive Today

One thing for sure, that "Summer of Love" could not happen in San Francisco today, simply because the struggling artists and hippies could not afford the city anymore.  In the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, ground zero for the counterculture 50 years ago, a two-bedroom apartment now rents for $5,000 a month.

San Francisco does still remain a magnet for young people, but even those with six-figure salaries in Silicon Valley complain about costs.

In the mid-1960s, rent in the Haight-Ashbury was extremely cheap.

Bob Weir remembers that the Grateful Dead shared a spacious Victorian on Ashbury Street.  Janis HJoplin lived down the street.  Across from her was Joe McDonald, of the Country Joe and the Fish band.

--Psychedelic, Man.  --Coothip

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grabbing That "Spilt" Coal in 1917

From the May 17, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"A car of coal going through there sometime during the night sprung a leak somewhere along the line and there was a great quantity of fuel scattered along the railroad tracks through DeKalb.

"The train stopped here and at this place several hundred pounds were lost.  Some of the coal was picked up during the early morning hours when there were no railroad men around to stop such procedure."

Procedure Meaning Stealing Railroad Coal?  I Prefer Lost and Found.  --Cootcoal

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

11 Films To Watch On Father's Day-- Part 2: And 3 You Shouldn't

7.  FIDDLER ON THE ROOF--  Trying to keep tradition in trying times.

8.  JOHN Q--  This father will just about do anything to save his son.

9.  THE GODFATHER--  OK, really bad guys, but they took care of family.

10.  CROOKLYN--  Woody steps up to maintain a peaceful home.

11.  DESPICABLE ME--  Real big bad guy ends up adopting three girls.  Poor Gru.

Here are three not-so-good ones to watch:

THE SHINING--  Chasing son with an axe, not real Dad stuff is it?

THE LION KING--  Father gets killed and son has to cope.

STAR WARS EPISODE 4:  A NEW HOPE--  Originally just "Star Wars"--  "Luke, I am your father."

Poor Tevye.  Great Music.  --Cootler

Monday, June 19, 2017

11 Films to Watch on Father's Day-- Part 1

From the June 18, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Erin Ben-Moche.

1.  FATHER OF THE BRIDE--  either the original one or 1991 remake.

2.  FINDING NEMO--  Dad fights to bring his son home.

3.  THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS--  Will Smith played the father and real-life son, Jaden, played the son.

4.  PARENTHOOD--  NBC had TV show based on it.

5.  BOYZ N THE HOOD--  What it means to be a good man to his son.

6.  TO KILL A  MOCKINGBIRD--  "walking in a person's shoes."


Saturday, June 17, 2017

50th Anniversary of "The Summer of Love"-- Part 2: I Was There For About An Hour

San Francisco is hoping to capitalize on its connection to that summer and get a new influx of tourism, both from those originals, those of us who might have wanted to be there as well as those too young or not born yet.

My parents took the family on a trip out to California that year and we drove through the Haight-Asbury area and it sure was all flower power.  But, since I was with my parents and only 16, there obviously wasn't much I did other than to observe.

The city is celebrating with museum exhibits, music and film festivals, Summer of Love-inspired dance parties and lecture panels.  Hotels are offering discount packages that include "psychedelic cocktails," "Love Bus" tours, tie-dyed tote bags and bubble wands.

Getting Psychedelicized.  --Tie-DyeCoot

Friday, June 16, 2017

50th Anniversary of the "Summer of Love" 1967-- Part 1

From the June 14, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Can 'Summer of Love' get its spring back?" by Jocelyn Gecker.

"They came for the music, the mind-bending drugs, to resist the Vietnam War and  1960s American orthodoxy, or simply to escape summer boredom.  And they left an enduring legacy.

"This season marks the 50th anniversary of that legendary 'Summer of Love,' when throngs of American youth descended on San Francisco to join a cultural revolution."

Said Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, who had dropped out of high school and helped form the group in 1965:  "There was a spirit in the air.  We figured that if enough of us got together and put our hearts and minds to it, we could make it happen."


40th Anniversary of Janet Guthrie's Indy 500 Race-- Part 3

Continued from June 7.

At the time, Janet Guthrie had spent 13 years racing and had no money.

She and Rolla Vollstedt did not qualify for the Indy 500 in 1976, but made it in 1977.

She was not welcomed by the male racers  She recalls them saying, "Our blood is going to be on your hands if you don't keep her out of this."  People would yell from the grandstands "Get the (breasts) out of the pits!"  She was amazed at how much hostility there was toward her.

Racing legend Mario Andretti was one of the few who stuck up for her at the time.  he once said she had proved herself and had become "just another car in front of you that you wanted to pass."

Sadly, Janet Guthrie had to drop out of her first race as her engine failed after 10 laps.  She finished 29th.  The following year she finished in ninth place.

The Daytona 500 in 1980 was her last major race.  For the next three years, she tried to find sponsors, but ran out of money.

Pippa Mann was the only female driver in this year's 500.

Quite the Pioneer.  --Cooter

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Yesterday Was Flag Day-- Part 6: 50-Star Flag Is The Longest Official One

Eventually, after more and more states entered the Union, the stars on the flag got to 48 and stayed that way for about 47 years, the longest time it had stayed at a certain number up to that time.

On July 4, 1960 the U.S. flag hit 50 stars after Hawaii and Alaska were added.  Today we have had the 50-star flag for 57 years.  This it makes it the longest official flag to date.

The colors of the flag also have meaning.  The red stands for hardiness.  The white stands for purity and innocence, while the blue stands for vigilance, perseverance and justice.



Yesterday Was Flag Day-- Part 5: Addition of Stars

Stars and stripes were added to the U.S. flag each July 4th following the state's entry into the Union.  But once there were twenty states (20 stars and 20 stripes), designers got the notion to flag wasn't going to look good.

The Flag Act of 1818 returned the flag to its original 13 stripes, but allowed the stars in the union to increase for each new state.  Those thirteen stripes represent the original 13.  The arrangement of stars changes as their number increased.

Under president James Madison, the United States welcomed Illinois into the Union on December 3, 1818, and about seven months later, the flag had a new star update.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today Is Flag Day-- Part 4: Got My Flags Flying

This morning, i went outside and put up several United States flags.

I already have one flying by the garage door, but I also put up one on the back deck and the mailbox.

I have a small yard flag flying and flag pennants on the porch columns.

I also have my pride and joy U.S. flag, the Bennington 76 hanging from the roof of the porch.  I bought this flag back in 1976, our nation's bicentennial, so it doesn't stay up for long each year because of its age.  It is 41 years old.

Flying My Flags.  --DaFlagger

Today Is Flag Day-- Part 3: That "Star-Spangled Banner"

The flag made by Betsy Ross depicted 13 red and white horizontal stripes in alternating colors, and a blue field with 13 stars arranged in a circle.  Other flags were created at the time with stars in a staggered pattern other than her circle.

The original 13 star flag remained the official flag of the United States until the addition of two more states, Vermont and Kentucky.  A fifteen star flag made its appearance in 1785, but this flag not only had 15 stars, but also the addition of two more stripes.  This new flag was the one that flew at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet was aboard a British ship (where he had gone to negotiate the release of a friend) when the fort was bombarded.  This was the inspiration to pen the poem "The Star-Spangled Banner."

It started as a poem, but music was added and it has been the National Anthem ever since, though not officially for many years.   Currently the Fort McHenry flag is at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tomorrow Is Flag Day-- Part 2: 13 Stripes and 13 Stars

The flag went from having 13 stars, representing the 13 colonies  to the 50 stars for the states we have today.  Most of the states are located between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but today it also stretches across the Pacific to Hawaii and northward to Alaska.

Hawaii is the 50th and last state to join the Union.  It was a state when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941.  back then, the U.S. flag had 48 stars as Alaska was also not a state.

The Flag Resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress on June 4, 1777, said:  "Resolved, that the flag of the 13 United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

Legend has it that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, designed and sewed the first flag.  Some sources say she was a friend of the Washington family.


Tomorrow Is Flag Day-- Part 1: Has Remained the Same Since 1960

From the June 7, 2017, Hi-Liter "A salute to the flag" by Sandra Machaj.

In 1949, President harry Truman declared June 14 as Flag Day.  United States flags should be flown from public buildings as well as private homes that day.

Sadly, many Americans don't fly their flags on June 14.

Most of the time, I do, unless it slips my mind.  And, I don't just fly one, I fly several for the day.

Most Americans, especially those born after 1960, consider the American flag to be a never-changing design as it hasn't changed since then, but such is not true of its over 200 year history.

The flag we have today is not the same flag as originally authorized by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

Continued.  --Cooter

Monday, June 12, 2017

Carl Swanson's WWI Sopwith Camel-- Part 3: Another One In New Zealand Now

In Wikipedia's article on the Sopwith Camel, they listed yet another Carl Swanson plane.

It says it is unknown airworthy and is with the Vintage Aviator Collection in Masterton, New Zealand.

It was originally built by Carl Swanson for Gerry Thornhill.

Powered by a 160 hp Gnome Monogoupape rotary engine and is painted a 83889.

Carl Swanson, Builder of Camels.  --Cooter

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Carl Swanson's WWI Sopwith Camel Pup-- Part 2: German Fighter Pilots Tried To Avoid the Pups

Evidently, this Carl Swanson was very good at building World War I planes.

"A Pup could turn twice to an Albatros' once" and that was very important in a dogfight.  German flyers tried to avoid fighting a Pup.

The Museum of Flight's Sopwith Camel Pup was built by Carl Swanson of Darien, Wisconsin, and is considered a masterpiece of replication-- right down to the LePhone 9D, 80 horsepower rotary engine and .303 inch Vickers machine gun.

If I'm ever in the Seattle Area Again, I'll Have to Visit This Museum.  --DaCoot

Carl Swanson's WWI Sopwith Camel Pup-- Part 1: "A Tiny Little Thing"

From the Museum of Flight Museum in Seattle, Washington.

I was trying to find out if someone had the 2F1 Sopwith Camel plane that Carl Swanson has built.  I did not find it mentioned anywhere.

I did find Carl Swanson's name mentioned in connection with another Sopwith Camel British biplane.

It is in the collection of the Museum of Flight in Seattle.


Pilots called the Sopwith Camel Pup "the perfect plane, light, basic and simply simple.  A British pilot said, "They were tiny little things, just big enough for one man and a machine gun."

The gun was a Vickers machine gun with hydraulic synchronizing gear that allowed it to fire through the propeller without shooting it off.


Friday, June 9, 2017

World War I Plane Takes to the Sky in 1967

From the May 10, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1967, 50 Years Ago.

""'Hey!  Watch our Red Baron!'  Another World War One fighter plane has been restored by Carl R. Swanson, owner of the Sycamore Airport.

"The British made plane is a navy version 2F1 Sopwith Camel Bi-Plane, and there are only two like it still in existence.  It is called a Camel because of the hump it has on the front of the plane where one of its twin guns fit."

Sure Would Like To Have Seen It.  --DaCoot

Crime Spree in Sycamore in 1942: Police Suspect Thirst Led to It

From the May 10, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Sycamore's crime problems have been few and far between in recent years.  The latest episode on the blotter is a minor theft that must have been brought on by last week's heat wave.

"A case of pop was burglarized from the cooling machine in the George Miller gas station on DeKalb Avenue."

A Case of Drink and Relief.  --Coothirst

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bad Boys Back in 1917: Gettin' In a "Peck of Trouble"

From the May 10, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Unless some of the kids of DeKalb cease the practice of breaking the insulators on the Western Union telegraph company's property along the railroad, they are going to get into a peck of trouble.

"Of late several complaints have been made by linemen on the practice and unless it is stopped, some sleuth work will be done and the parents of the boys will be called in to donate a fine."

You know, though, it could have been girls who did it.  Why do boys always get the blame for such shenanigans?

I can almost hear the "Bad Boys" song from that TV show.

Juvenile Delinquents Even Back Then.  --Cooter

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

40th Anniversary of Janet Guthrie's Race at Indy 500-- Part 2

Janet Guthrie, 79, wanted to be an astronaut.  Both her parents were pilots and she learned to fly at age 16.  When she tried to become an astronaut, she was rejected in 1963 and then turned her attention to racing cars.

Unlike her male counterparts, she could get no sponsorships (and it is very expensive to race those cars)  She couldn't even get any funding.  She built her own engines, did her own body work.  She'd tow her Jaguar XK 140 behind an old station wagon (which she bought for $45) around the country.  At night, she'd sleep in the station wagon.

Racing has come a long way for women since then

Her career changed in 1976 when Rolla Volstedt called.  He was an innovative, low-budget team owner from Portland, Oregon, who wanted to take the first female driver to the Indy 500.  No woman had ever raced it before.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

40th Anniversary of Janet Guthrie's Race at the Indy 500-- Part 1

From the May 27, 2017, Indianapolis Star "40 years ago, Janet Guthrie changed auto racing for women" by Laken Litman.

"Janet Guthrie used to sleep in her car.

"Long before Danica Patrick, Katherine Legge, Sarah Fisher or Pippa Mann were offered sponsorships in competitive racing, Guthrie funded herself and drove -- and slept in -- her own cars."

Forty years ago, Guthrie became a pioneer in motor sports as the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.

"It seems I was born adventurous and grew up insufficiently socialized," she says with a smile.  She wanted to be an astronaut.


Monday, June 5, 2017

World War I Chronology, June 1917-- Part 2: American Doughboys Arrive

JUNE 26--

A Naval convoy bringing the first United States troops to France successfully withstands submarine attacks.

JUNE 26--

First U.S. Ground Combat Troops Land at St. Nazaire, France.

13,000 members of the 1st Infantry Division (ID) and 2,759 men of the 5th Marine regiment arrive.

H Company, 28th Infantry lands first.

Doughboys must be a "distinct and separate component of the combined force, the identity of which must be preserved."

Our troops would operate on their own and not be added to British and French units.


Friday, June 2, 2017

World War I Chronology, June 1917-- Part 1: Americans Arriving in France

One Hundred Years Ago.

JUNE 5-6--  The Navy's 1st Aeronautical Detachment arrives in Pauillac, France, for training in Caudron aircraft.  Naval aviation eventually sends 18,000 men to 27 overseas air naval stations.

JUNE 13--  The first echelon --  177 staff members -- of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) lands on French soil.

Lafayette, We Are Here.  --Cooter

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Battle of Jutland May 31-June 1, 1916: Battle of the Battleships

Today marks the conclusion of one of the last major clashes between battleships, the Battle of Jutland, between the German and British Denmark.

The British had 151 combat ships, including 28 battleships and 9 battle cruisers fought the Germans who had 99 combat ships, including 16 battleships and 5 battle cruisers.  British losses included 3 battle cruisers and 6.094 killed and 624 wounded.  German losses were one battle cruiser and 2,551 killed.


Near Death Experience at Indy 500 in 1992-- Part 3: Steve Wissen's Other IMS Encounters

As horrible as was his experience, Steve Wissen remembers other:  "I was the first one to get to Gordon Smiley when he died  (in 1982).  I was with the first crew to reach Danny Ongais (1981) when he had his horrifying wreck.  Good grief, who can forget Jim Crawford (1990)?  We had already started to pull out, and the next thing we know, he's 10 feet above our heads, car and all."

But, he says, he has also had some great times with the friends he made.  He remembers A.J. Foyt telling stories during rain delays.

Buddy Lazier was the 1996 Indianapolis 500 Champion and made his 20th run in the storied race on Sunday (but didn't finish).

Wissen did not attend the 101st Running this past Sunday because of a family wedding.

We did have a terrifying wreck this past Sunday on the 52nd lap between Scott Dixon and Jay Howard.  How Dixon walked away from this is beyond me.


Near Death Experience At Indy 500 in 1992-- Part 2: Steve Wissen

"Disaster was avoided, but for Steve Wissen, scars remained.  He never worked at IMS again.  He quit after 16 years at IMS, including 13 years on the safety crew, and he was traumatized by the near-death experience.  He began having nightmares, haunted by visions of Lazier's race car getting closer and closer.

"Wissen went to Lazier's garage after the race to have a conversation, but was denied entrance.  He never got a chance to talk to Buddy lazier until This past Thursday.  You'd think that Lazier would have tried to contact Wissen, but that never happened.

But Buddy Lazier, now 49,  says, "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thibnk about that when I'm here at the Speedway."

Steve Wissen has returned to IMS multiple times over the intervening years as a spectator, including last year's 100th running.


Indy 500 Safety Crew Member Almost Killed in Race 25 Years Ago-- Part 1

From the May 27, 2017,Indianapolis (Ind.) Star "Driver meets safety crew member he nearly killed during race 25 years ago" by Clifton Brown.

Buddy Lazier also cpmpeted in this year's 500.

"Steve Wissen was nearly killed by Buddy Lazier's race car 25 years ago.  The two men had never met until Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"In 1992, Lazier's race car streaked toward Wissen while he was doing his job on the track as chief of the IMS safety crew, cleaning up debris from Tom Sneva's wreck in Turn 4.  Lazier left the pits and re-entered the track after the accident, accelerating to catch the field that was under the yellow flag.

"Lazier didn't realize Wissen's crew was still on the track in Turn 4.  By the time Lazier saw Wissen, it was almost too late.  The race car moved toward Wissen at more than 200 mph like a guided missile.  Wissen raised his hands to his head.  He closed his eyes.  He prepared for the worst.

"'I was standing in the high-speed groove,' recalled Wissen, now 65 years old.  'It was like I watched it in slow motion.'

"Lazier missed Wissen by inches, deftly guiding the car between Wissen and the wall.  Wissen was so close to being hit that he was spun around and knocked to the ground by the backdraft from Lazier's car."


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New Hanover County (NC) in World War II-- Part 6: The Wilmington Memorial

Wilmington, North Carolina's Wold War I Memorial was originally in the middle of Market Street outside of New Hanover High School.  It stayed there until the 1970s when it was moved closer to the school.

In 2014, it was moved to the Wilmington Water front where it today is near the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: David M. Prince


A member of the Goldsboro Rifles, 30th Infantry Division, "Old Hickory Division."  Went to France with the AEF and fought in the trenches.  He was hurt by poison gas, but survived and returned home to Goldsboro, North Carolina.

He lost his life a short time later saving a child from a flooded river and received the Carnegie Medal.

David M. Prince was my great uncle.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: Delbert Hatch

I am doing this in all seven of my blogs and featuring two World War I veterans and two World War Ii veterans.

Delbert Hatch was in the U.S. Army in World War II.  His unit was the 101st Airborne and he was at the Battle of the Bulge.

He was my uncle.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Hanover County in World War I-- Part 5: World War I Deaths

After the war, there were some homecoming parades for the veterans.  There were also reunions.  The Old Hickory Association of the 30th Division was one of these organizations.  (Old Hickory Division was the nickname of the division.)

A lot of artifacts from Wilmington's World War I soldiers were shown on a power point presentation.

During the fighting, 629 North Carolinians were killed and 37 of them were from Wilmington.  One of those was Arthur Blumenthal and the Cape Fear Museum has the telegram announcing his death.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Looking Back to 1917: Another Quarantine

From the January 18, 2017, Midweek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"There is a slight case of chicken pox now at the Nashold home and for that reason the home on John Street has been placed in quarantine.  The afflicted person is not seriously sick and has but a slight case, but the quarantine law must be observed as a means of precaution.

"It  is not probable that the home will be under quarantine for long time."

Quarantined Homes, Something You Don't Hear Often Now.  --Cooter

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Hanover County's Role in World War II-- Part 4: The 30th Division

Many New Hanover County soldiers went into the 119th regiment, 30th Division of the U.S. Army.

Regiments were segregated and it was expected that Blacks would not have to fight.  Lt. Thomas J. Bulloch was a black officer.

One third of those drafted did not have to go into the military.

Flu killed a lot of the soldiers.

Two million American soldiers were sent overseas.

North Carolina whites served in the 30th Division. The division arrived in France in May 1918.  The commander of the U.S. forces, General Pershing did not want his soldiers serving under British or French officers.

The 30th was involved in the battle that led to the fall of the Hindenburg Line and the Meusse-Argonne.


Monday, May 22, 2017

NIU History: New Science Building in 1942

From the April 12, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Work has begun on the fourth and fifth floors of the new science building, being constructed on the southwestern portion of the State Teacher's College campus."

That would be Northern Illinois University today.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Quarantine Lifted in 1917 in Sycamore

From the April 12, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Quarantine was lifted this morning from the home of Mason Hooker on Cross Street in Sycamore where Mrs. Hooker and children have been ill for several weeks with scarlet fever."

Something You Don't Hear Happening Much Anymore.  --DaCoot

About Those Model Battleships

From the April 25, 2017, Shorpy Photo site "Fireside Cats: 1955."

Columbus, Georgia, circa 1955.  A boy and girl are posing in front of the home's fireplace.  She is holding a car, but the boy is proudly holding a battleship model.

I couldn't tell what model battleship it was, but a comment said it was definitely an Iowa-class battleship and that these were very popular with American boys at the time.  He described these warships as the "last and best true battleships built by the U.S. Navy.  Everything about them is superlative."

I always remember seeing a picture of the hull of the Oklahoma after it was uprighted.  It was tied up next to the new USS Iowa, which dwarfed the older battleship.

As proud as the boy was, he had not done a perfect job putting it together.

I was just four at the time so would have been unable to build a battleship model, but model ships were my favorite things to build by far.  Other friends of mine liked to build model planes or cars, but my forte was ships.

I built models of the Arizona, North Carolina and several of the Missouri, including a huge one.

Give Me a Battleship Model Anytime.  --Cooter

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Hanover County's Role in World War I-- Part 3: Camp Jackson, South Carolina

There were also many men drafted into military service from New Hanover County, North Carolina.  Robert Sanders, a black man, was one of them.

Cleveland Van Buren was sent to Camp Jackson, South Carolina.  My grandfather also was sent to this camp for training.

There were four classes of recruits.  Class 1 meant you were immediately available for service.  Only Class 1 was called up for service.

Blacks were also drafted.  More Blacks than Whites were drafted.

There were a total of 32 training camps for America's World War I servicemen.  Some existed before the war and others were built during it.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Hanover County's Role in World War I-- Part 2: Women

There was shipbuilding going on in Wilmington during the war.  (I didn't know this, but sure knew about the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company during World War II.)

Wilmington women were mobilized into the work force.

Four Liberty Bonds were floated to finance the war.

Paul Cantwell enlisted in 1903 and served during the war.

Most men from Wilmington were volunteers.

Arthur Bluethenthal was an aviator.

Rachel Loman volunteered for nursing as did a lot of women.  She joined in 1918, one of 22,000 women who did so.  The Cape Fear Museum has a lot of items of hers.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Hanover County's Role in World War I-- Part 1

As I mentioned in the last post, I was able to attend the Federal Point Preservation Society's January meeting in Carolina Beach, N.C., at their History Center.

Dr. Jan Davidson of the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, N.C., gave the presentation "Service, Sacrifice & Memorialization: New Hanover County Residents in World War I."

The Society plans to have an exhibit at the museum for the 100th anniversary of World War I and plan to have it up by April.  The group was looking for someone to make a presentation on the war and couldn't have done any better as Dr. Davidson got her PhD on World War I.

Fort Caswell, by Southport, near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, was actually an  military base in World War I.

There was a World War I Memorial honoring New Hanover High School students who fought in the war located in front of the high school which has now been moved to Wilmington's Riverfront.


Monday, May 15, 2017

World War I the Subject of the January Federal Point Historic Preservation Society

From the January Newsletter.

January Meeting, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.

All meetings held at 7:30 p.m.., at the Federal Point History Center at 1121-A North Lake Park Boulevard, adjacent to the Carolina Beach, N.C., Town Hall.

The speaker was Jan Davidson, historian at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science in Wilmington.  She discussed World War I and New Hanover County's role in the fight.  She concentrated on the impact on men and women and the items her museum has from them.

She has been at the Cape Fear Museum for 11 years and has been involved in a wide variety of research projects.  Lately she has been working on the history of World War I because of its upcoming centennial anniversary for the United States' involvement.

She has a PhD and has previously worked at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

I was lucky enough to attend this presentation.


Album With Rare Harriet Tubman Photograph Goes for $161,000

From the March 31, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

An album containing a rare photograph of 19th-century abolitionist and Underground Railroad heroine Harriet Tubman was sold March 30 in New York City at an auction for $161,000-- far exceeding presale estimates.

The Tubman photograph was taken in Auburn, New York, in 1868 or 1869.  She was in her late 40s at the time.  Most existing photos of her were taken much later in life.  She looks very young here.

The winning bid was made by Lion Heart Autographs, a Manhattan-based dealer.

The Maryland-born Tubman, an escaped slave, helped scores of other slaves escape the South by guiding them to the North.  She served as a spy during the Civil War.  Afterwards, she settled in Auburn, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

I wonder who else was in the photo album?

If they have to put her on the twenty dollar bill, I nominate this picture.

Harriet Tubman Like You've Never Seen her Before.  --Cooter

Friday, May 12, 2017

The USS Simpson (FFG-56)-- Part 2

In 1988, the Simpson escorted oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq War.

On April 18, 1988 it participated in the destruction of Iranian naval and intelligence facilities on an oil platform in the Persian Gulf.  Later that day the Simpson, along with the USS Wainwright and USS Bagley encountered the Iranian missile patrol boat Joshan which fired a Harpoon missile at the American ships which returned missile fire and sank the Iranian ship.

The other two ships were decommissioned before the Simpson which makes it the last U.S. ship to sink an enemy ship in combat (other than the USS Constitution, of course).

In 1990 it rescued 22 crew members of the tanker Surf City after it exploded.

Captain Gerald F. DeConto commanded the Simpson from September 1998 to April 2000.  He was killed at the Pentagon on 9-11.

The Simpson was the last ship of its class in service.  I was unable to find out if a foreign country has bought the ship or not.


The USS Simpson (FFG-56)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

This is a follow up to the last post I did.

The USS Simpson, (FFG-56) was an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate named for Rear Admiral Rodger W. Simpson who fought in World War II.

It was commissioned 21 September 1985 and decommissioned 29 September 2015.  The ship was 453 feet long and had a 45-foot beam and crew of 205.

Soon after commissioning it took part in the search and rescue effort after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Navy Retires Last Ship to Sink Enemy Ship in Action, the USS Simpson-- Part 2: Served in Waning years of the Cold War

Continued from May 4, 2017.

The USS Simpson was built and commissioned in the waning years of the Cold War

It searched for and escorted submarines and fought narcotics traffickers and pirates.  Its most recent security missions were in the Mediterranean Sea but were classified.

So, now it is for sale.  Pakistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey and Poland have purchased the Navy's decommissioned frigates.

They aren't state-of-the-art technological wonders.  They had crews of 230.

The ship was named for Rear Admiral Rodger Whitten Simpson and several family members were at the decommissioning.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Then & Now-- Part 8: Talk It Over

What is the going rate for actors and actresses who breathe life into onscreen animated characters?


"Alladin"  (1992)

Robin Williams (Genie) received $75,000


"Toy Story 3"  (2010)

Tom hanks (Woody) received $15 million

Wow!  --Cooter

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Then & Now-- Part 7: Start Small, Think Big

Sequels often pay off.  Look at these numbers:


"Home Alone" (1990)  received $100,000.
"Home Alone 2"  (1992)  received $5 million plus 5% of the film profits.


"Twilight" (2008) received $2 million
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--  Part 1" (2011) received $12.5 million
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--  Part 2"  (2012)  received $12.5 million.


"The Hunger Games"  (2012) received $500,000.
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"  (2013)  received $10 million.

Good Work if You can Get It.  --DaCoot

Then & Now-- Part 6: The Blockbusters

Hollywood loves its "big" movies, especially when they provide big returns at the box office.  Here's what a "big" paycheck looked like then-- and now.



Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) $117,917 ($2,066,542 today)
Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O'Hara)  $30,851  ($540,676 today)



Robert Downey, Jr received $40 million


Actors who made less than you might think.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY:  "Dallas Buyers Club" (2013)  received $200,000.

SEAN ASTIN:  "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)  $250,000 for three films.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Then & Now-- Part 5: "Star Wars": May the Fourth be With You

Since May 4th just passed us by  (May the Fourth Be With You).

During the almost 40 years between the first "Star Wars" movie (1977's "A New Hope") and 2015's "The Force Awakens" the salaries of some of the original stars really shot up.  here's how the salaries of the two casts stack up:



Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher  (Princess Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).

They were each paid $1,000 a week  ($4,020 today)

Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) $150,000 ($602,978 today) plus 2.25 percent of the profits.

Ford, Fisher and Hamill also received 0.25 percent of the profits.



Harrison Ford (Han Solo) $10 million- $20 million

Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)  $1 million- $3 million

Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) $100,000 - $300,000

Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron)  $600,000 - $900,000.

May the Force ....  --Cooter

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Then & Now-- Part 4: The Prime-Time Soap Opera Salaries



In 1980, "Dallas" was a worldwide megahit and Larry Hagman was its biggest star  After the "Who Shot J.R." episode that year, Hagman asked for, and got, a raise from $15,000 to $100,000 per episode ($297,635 today).

Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing) $10,000 per episode in 1978 ($29,563 today).
Victoria Principal (Pamela Ewing) $25,000 an episode in 1978 ($73,909 today).



Reese Witherspoon (Madeline MacKenzie) and Nicole Kidman (Cleste Wright)  $350,000 per episode  

I Don't Watch Prime-Time Soap Operas For the Most Part (But Did Watch "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman."  --Cooter

Friday, May 5, 2017

Then & Now-- Part 3: Salaries on Sitcoms: Dick Van Dyke Show and The Big Bang Theory



Dick Van Dyke (Rob Petrie) was paid $1,500 an episode ($12,221 today)  He also received ownership hares in the series.


Tom Wopat (Luke) John Schneider (Bo)

$30,000 an episode ($100,662 today)



Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter), Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper), kaley Cuoco (Penny Hofstadter), Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz) and Kunal Nayyar (Raj Koothrappali)

$900,000 an episode.

Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette Rostenkowski) $425,000 an episode.

Real Funny Folks.  --DaCoot

Then & Now-- Part 2: Saturday Night Live

Over the past four decades "Saturday Night Live" has gone from must-watch to that still on?

Back then, the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players in 1975 included Loraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Chevy Chase.

What they earned:

FIRST SEASON:  $750 an episode (today $3,396)
SECOND SEASON:  $2,000 a show ($8,563 today)
FOURTH SEASON:  $4,000 a show  ($14,945 today)


Estimates say that cast members make up to $24,000 a show based on seniority.

$1,400--  How much Alec Baldwin is paid every time he appears on SNL impersonating President Donald Trump.

Cheezborger, No Cheeps.  --Cooter

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Then and Now-- Part 1: Who Earns/Earned More?

From the April 30, 2017, Parade magazine."Then & Now" by Kathleen McCleary.

How to celeb salaries today stack up against the stars of previous generations?


Year, amount paid,  Amount in today's money:

SHIRLEY TEMPLE--  actress    1937,  $300,000  ($5,075,063 today)

S.E. HINTON--  writer  1967,  $1,000 advance for "The Outsiders"  ($7,294 today)

WOLFMAN JACK--  KDAY Los Angeles disc jockey  1972, $18,000   ($104,901 today)

BABE RUTH  (Baseball)  1930,  $80,000, ($1,166,960 today)


TAYLOR SWIFT--  Singer  $170 million

JAMES PATTERSON--  writer   $95 million

ELLEN DeGENERES--  Actress/TV host   $75 million

MIGUEL CABRERA--  Detroit Tigers 1st baseman   $28 million

Good Money if You Can Get It.  Cooter

ROSANNA PANSINO--  You Tuber (Nerdy Nummies)  $6 million

The Navy Retires Its Last Modern Vessel To Sink An Enemy Vessel in 2015-- Part 1: The USS Simpson

From the October 12, 2015, Navy Times by Andrew Pantazi.

"The United States Navy decommissioned its last Perry-class frigate, reducing the Navy's number of ships that have sunk an enemy vessel to just one.  (More on the last remaining U.S. navy ship to have sunk an enemy ship in battle later.)

"The end of the Navy's frigates marks a new era of naval warfare where ships are less likely to go to battle in the open sea.

"The frigate Simpson removed its weapons, covered its windows, and, on September 29, it lowered its flags.  Now the ship will travel to Philadelphia until a foreign nation buys it.

"After 30 years of service -- including an April 1988 battle where it fired missiles at and sank an Iranian oil platform and an Iranian navy vessel -- the ship's service came to an end with a ceremony at Mayport Naval Station.

Now, the only Navy ship that has sunk an enemy is the USS Constitution, which did so during the War of 1812.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Fitting 9-11 Memorial

I saw a piece of the World Trade Center ruins, a piece of twisted metal girder, at the Lincoln College College Museum in Lincoln, Illinois.  That really took me to the that unforgettable site.  I think it is too bad that similar pieces or artifacts weren't sent to each of the fifty states.

I am impressed with what they have done in New York City to memorialize the site of the WTC, but I would also have liked a part of that 6-7 story exterior that was still standing after the attack.  To me, that summed up the event as well as anything.

Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs-- Part 3: 9/11 and KKK

The exhibit doesn't have much more to add on  9/11, but the twisted piece of an airplane said to be from the World Trade Centers packs a punch.  The show is stronger when it goes back farther in time.  It tells about the Ku Klux Klan marching in Washington, D.C. and even KKK business cards.

They also have a bulletin board to address current day events with articles about "Trump's border wall" and the racist Charleston killer, whose name I won't mention..

Some more photos accompanying the article:

**  The robes worn by the KKK, including a red one and, even sadder, a kid's robe.

**  A pike

**  Equipment worn by an emergency services worker at the Oklahoma City bombing site.

The exhibit goes through October 1 and is included with the $16 general admission price  The Chicago History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark Street


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs Exhibit Opens in Chicago-- Part 2: Oklahoma City Bombing

One of the reasons for the massive public reaction against Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor took place because during the attack, a Japanese plane crash landed on a Hawaiian island.  The pilot was initially captured by citizens, but was freed and rearmed by a Japanese-American.

There were also German bombing campaigns within the United States prior to our entry into World War I.  In Mosinee, Wisconsin, on May Day 1950 the local American Legion staged a day-long mock Communist coup to dramatize what life would be like under Soviet rule.

Other items in the exhibit are about Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City Bombing), Chicagoan Bernardine Dohern and the Weather Underground, Joseph McCarthy and intercepted mail bombs to important people.

The exhibit was put together as a reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and debuted in 2004 at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.  It has traveled extensively ever since and Chicago will be its final stop.


Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs Exhibit Opens in Chicago-- Part 1: A Piece of a 9/11 Plane

From the April 20, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Espionage exhibit features intrigue" by Steve Johnson.

"Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs" is a new exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.  It's subtitle is "Fear and Freedom in America."  It looks back into America's past and highlights moments when peace was threatened from within and the nation debated questions of safety and the sacrifice of public liberties.

Some of the events are well-known: the Communist scare of the 1950s, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the nationwide labor rights struggle that included the Haymarket bombing.

Three items in the exhibit:

**  A piece from a plane involved in the 9/11 attacks.

**  A vest packed with explosives.

**  An ammunition cartridge and weapon linked to the assassination of President William McKinley.


Monday, May 1, 2017

World War I Chronology, May 1917: Selective Service Act Passed

From the VFW April 2017 magazine.

MAY 4--  The first U.S. warships-- Destroyer Squadron 8 --reached Queenstown, Ireland, to aid the blockade of Germany.

MAY 19--  The Selective Service Act is passed.


Rosa Parks House Alive and Well in Berlin

From the April 13, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Stephanie Kirchner, Washington Post.

And, that is Berlin, as in Germany.  Definitely one of the last places I'd expect to find her house.

"To save the house of civil rights icon Rosa Parks from the wrecking ball, American artist Ryan M

Mendoza shipped it half way across the world.  Now it's on display in the German capital.  When he learned the house she lived in during the late 1950s was to be demolished by Detroit as part of its anti-blight campaign, he launched a rescue plan.

A team of local volunteers took the house apart piece by piece and re-erected it in Berlin a few weeks later.

Between 1957 and 1959, the house was Rosa Parks' temporary shelter from after her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger.

Well-Worth Saving.