This steam locomotive ran west through Stark County this morning on its return trip to Fort Wayne, Ind., having run east through the area on Aug. 7. Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is a 2-8-4 Berkshire class built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1944 and operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. I caught it this morning, at about 11:30 a.m., in Louisville thanks to cousin Donald III, who tracked it on a smartphone GPS app. I composed the photo before the train arrived, and good thing, because it roared through Louisville, leaving little time for photos. I plugged my ears when it passed me so loud was the whistle at the Route 44 (North Chapel) crossing. For more information, see http://fortwaynerailroad.org/. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘History’ Category
This box of eight Union Pacific Railroad matchbooks was made to resemble a suitcase. Each matchbook has on the front the UP logo and on the back a photo of a railroad car interior or scenery along the route. The clothing style of the passengers tells me the set was made in the 1950s. Read the rest of this entry »
Some regions exert an irresistible pull, speaking to me over distances of hundreds of miles, and visits only exacerbate the longing. One such area is Harpers Ferry, W.Va., where the double-barreled coming of frontier and Civil War history and the scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains dramatically pierced by two rivers has imprinted on my psyche an insistent need to return to the home of my ancestors. Feeling that call recently, I turned to my journal since I couldn’t make the trip.
My wife attended hammer dulcimer classes at the Upper Potomac Dulcimer Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15, 1996, at Shepherdstown, W.Va., and we made a camping weekend out of the trip. We camped at Harpers Ferry KOA, the same campground where I stayed with my parents and younger brother in August 1975. Read the rest of this entry »
The former Territory of Orleans was admitted to the Union as the 18th state on April 30, 1812, but the United States flag during the War of 1812 had 15 stars and stripes. Why not 18 stars?
Vermont joined the Union in 1791 and Kentucky in 1792, so on Jan. 13, 1794, Congress passed an act stating that the flag after May 1, 1795, would have 15 stars and 15 stripes. This flag was used for the next 23 years, including throughout the War of 1812, until Congress in 1818 passed an act stipulating that after July 4 that year the flag would have 13 stripes and a star for each state. By then Indiana and Alabama had entered the Union, in 1816 and 1817 respectively, so the flag had 20 stars, but only for a few months, because Illinois was admitted in December 1818 and Mississippi in 1819.
Drachenfels rises over the east bank of the River Rhine, southeast of Bonn, near the western border of Germany. Legend records that here Siegfried slew a dragon, his feat recorded in the medieval epic poem entitled the “Nibelungenlied” and enduring in the pinnacle’s appellation, German for Dragon’s Rock. Dragons are the namesake for several English towns: Worms Head, Great Ormes Head, Ormesleigh, Ormeskirk, Wormelow and Wormeslea. These names owe their genesis to the Old English word wyrm, meaning serpent. Dragon, worm, and serpent were interchangeable terms in the days when the great beasts roamed the land. Read the rest of this entry »
In the quest for a mythical continent, an ocean was charted. Terra Australis Incognita had occupied the attention of Europeans for centuries. Described by Marco Polo and first shown on maps in the 16th century, it allegedly occupied much of the southern Pacific, its landmass balancing those of the Northern Hemisphere. But one man wiped it off the map.
British Capt. James Cook, sailing on the H.M.S. Endeavour, set forth in 1768 to set at rest the question of the continent’s existence. The former Earl of Pembroke, the ship was a four-year-old collier refitted for scientific exploration, with cabins for astronomers, naturalists and draftsmen. She displaced 366 tons, was 106 feet long and 29 feet wide at the beam (the ship’s widest point), and drew 15 feet when fully loaded. Read the rest of this entry »
In an old column I described the bookplate owned by George Washington as a somewhat pear-shaped shield with stripes and stars, topped by a crown and bird, and the motto Exitus acta probat (The outcome justifies the deed). I’m glad I called it a shield and not a dish, because when I first looked at it, I thought it was a fancy serving platter. My book on heraldry says the shield on that bookplate was the type used in the 18th century, an oval shield surrounded by scrollwork. Here’s a smattering of what I learned about heraldry. Read the rest of this entry »
During our vacation in Michigan in 2010, my wife and I ate pasties on a porch in Munising beside South Bay, an inlet of Lake Superior, while waiting for a boat excursion to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A pasty — pronounced with a hard “a,” as in pat, is a meat pie that hints at a Celtic past in the U.P. I discovered when I began attending Scottish games in the 1990s that the meat pie is a traditional Scottish food, and no games is complete without a vendor selling that treat and Scottish shortbread. The pasty, however, is a product of another branch of the Celts, who once spread throughout most of Europe: those who live in Cornwall.
“Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,” 16th ed., says that Cornwall, the last county in England before embarking by water for Ireland and points south and west, takes its name from the Cornish word Kernow, deriving from the tribal name Cornovii, meaning “horn people,” referring to the long peninsula that Cornwall occupies. The Anglo-Saxons called the Britons who lived there “Cornwalas,” meaning “Corn foreigners,” and that term became Cornwall. Read the rest of this entry »