America’s Lost Highway – Illinois’ U.S. Highway 66 now available on Google Maps

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Before the creation of Interstate 55, U.S. Highway 66 was the most heavily traveled highway in Illinois.  It cuts diagonally across the State between the great populations centers of Chicago and St. Louis.  Along its course are the State Capital and multiple State institutions.

Illinois’ U.S. Highway 66 on Google Maps

More free guides available at Autotrails.net

Historical Cities – Savannah, Georgia now in Google Maps

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Google Map Guide to Savannah

The most heavily traveled road in Colonial America passed through here, linking areas from the Great Lakes to Georgia. It was laid on animal trails and Native American trading and warrior paths. Treaties among the Governors of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia and nineteen chiefs of the Iroquois League of Five Nations in 1685 and 1722 opened the colonial backcountry for peaceful settlement and colonization in Georgia. The Indian Path had two branches from Carolina, the western branch to Augusta and the eastern to Savannah, formed to find salt and game. This later became part of Great Philadelphia Wagon Road. 

 

The plan of Savannah was based on a sketch in Villas of the Ancients by Robert Castell, who died in one of the English debtor prisons that Georgia was founded to relieve. From this sketch, James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of the city, and Colonel William Bull, the leading engineer of the Carolina colony, designed Savannah on a plan to which later builders have adhered. After the landing of the first settlers on February 12th, 1733, Oglethorpe began to lay out the town on a square tract of 15,360 acres to accommodate 240 families. He named the town Savannah, which is believed to be derived from the Sawana or Shawnee Indians, who once inhabited the river valley. Because the Spanish word sabana means flat country, some historians declare that this term was applied to the entire coastal plain by Spanish explorers who preceded the English settlers by two centuries.

 

Savannah became the seat of government when Georgia was made a Royal Province in 1754, and two decades of commercial growth and improved trading conditions followed. At the beginning of the American Revolution, the town had many unyielding Loyalists, but the hot-headed younger men set up a liberty pole before Tondee’s Tavern, shouted approval of the Lexington victory, and organized a battalion headed by Colonel Lachlan McIntosh. When two British war vessels and a transport anchored off Tybee Island, at the mouth of the Savannah River, in January of 1776, the Royal Governor, Sir James Wright (1714-1786), escaped on one of them to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated riotously, and in the following year Savannah became the capital of the new state. On December 27th, 1778, Colonel Sir Archibald Campbell landed 2,000 British troops a few miles down the river to besiege the town, which was defended by General Robert Howe and 600 men. Failing to guard a passage through the surrounding marshes, Howe, on December 29th, lost the town and more than half of his men. For this, he was court-martialed and forever divested of military prestige. Following the British occupation, Governor Wright returned. In September of 1779, a long siege was begun by Count d’Estaing’s French fleet, assisted by American forces under the leadership of General Benjamin Lincoln. Their grand assault of October 9th, however, was a disastrous failure, with more than 1,000 casualties. It was not until 1782, when General “Mad Anthony” Wayne’s American forces struck, that the British at last evacuated the city.

 

After the Revolution, there was another period of expansion. The city’s first playhouse was built in 1785. The city was incorporated in 1789, and after Eli Whitney’s invention of the gin four years later it sprang into eminence as a cotton center. Tobacco, shipped down the river from Augusta, made Savannah a market for this commodity. The growth of surrounding plantations and the disposal of Indian lands were other factors in its expansion. 

 

For the defense of the city during the War of 1812, Fort Wayne was strengthened, and Fort Jackson was built two miles downstream. In May of 1814, the U.S. sloop Peacock captured the British warship Epervier, brought it into the harbor, and confiscated $10,000 in specie aboard the British ship. The half century following the War of 1812 was an era of rapid development in transportation. In 1816, the steamboat Enterprise carried a Savannah party upstream to Augusta.

 

In 1819, maritime history was made when on May 22nd, 1819; the City of Savannah was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, sailing into Liverpool, England. The successful use of steam in coastwise vessels inspired William Scarborough and several Savannah merchants to organize the Savannah Steamship Company which was formed on December 19th, 1818. The Savannah, equipped with adjustable paddle wheels, was constructed at Corlear’s Hook, New York, and reached Savannah on March 28th, 1819. President James Monroe made a trip to Tybee aboard this vessel. After arriving in Liverpool, the steamship continued on to St. Petersburg, Russia and then returned home. So expensive was this expedition that its sponsors declared the vessel impracticable for commercial purposes, and it was converted into a sailing packet that plied the coast of the United States until it was lost off Long Island in 1822. In the National Museum in Washington D.C. are the log book and a cylinder of this ship, in honor of which President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 proclaimed May 22nd as National Maritime Day. 

 

To lower transportation costs between the Savannah and Ogeechee rivers, the Ogeechee Canal was opened in 1828. In 1843, the Central of Georgia Railway was completed from Savannah to Macon. During this period, Savannah, because of its harbor, was the greatest port on the southern seaboard for cotton and naval stores.

 

The Mexican War of 1846 brought prominence to two Savannah men. Colonel Henry R. Jackson (1820-1898), later minister to Austria and to Mexico, served as commander of Georgia’s regiment. Josiah Tattnall (1796-1871) distinguished himself at Vera Cruz in command of the Mosquito Division of the United States Navy. During the period prior to the War Between the States, Savannah developed a sectionalism that made it respond instantly to the war cry in December, 1860. Now there were no Whigs and Tories to divide the city. Upon adoption of the Ordinance of Secession, Savannah men seized Fort Jackson, and in March of 1861, the Confederate flag floated over the customhouse. On April 10th, 1862, the 400 defenders of Fort Pulaski, occupied before secession by order of the fiery Governor Joseph E. Brown, were forced to surrender to Union soldiers. Although Fort Pulaski became a Union military prison, Savannah itself did not fall until 1864, when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through Georgia to the coast. On December 13th, Sherman took Fort McAllister and on the 17th, demanded the surrender of Savannah. Confederate General W.J. Hardee and his 10,000 troops continued to skirmish three days longer before they evacuated the city by means of a new pontoon bridge to Hutchinson Island. On December 21st, 1864, Union troops occupied Savannah. 

 

With the abolition of slavery and the collapse of the great plantations, the port ceased to function. But for all the poverty of Reconstruction and an appalling yellow fever epidemic in 1876, there was progress. With the establishment of the Naval Stores Exchange in 1882, Savannah became the leading turpentine and rosin port. During the First World War, boom prices caused shipyards to be hastily built along the waterfront, but a cataclysmic fall in business followed the boll weevil’s destruction of cotton in 1921. By 1926, control of the cotton pest had caused the port to regain much of its former activity. 

 

Along Bull Street, which forms the central axis of the city, are five squares that, in the original city plan, were designed as centers of defense against Spanish and Indian invasion. With all its commercial and cultural successes, Savannah gains its individual charm from its atmosphere of the past. 

Historical Cities – Oakland, San Jose, and the South Bay

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American Auto Trails – Oklahoma’s U.S. Highway 70

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American Auto Trails – Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway at Google Maps

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New American Auto Trails Guide – Oklahoma’s U.S. Highway 70

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Caddo Publications USA has completed the latest in the American Auto Trails series, Oklahoma’s U.S. Highway 70.

The text for the guide is available for free at our website, www.autotrails.net.

You can follow along the travel route on our map at Google Maps.

The eBook version of the guide will be available on Amazon on September 1st.  View our other available guides at Amazon.com

 

 

Forgotten Landmark–A.H. Holloman House and Holloman Gravel Pit (Frederick, Oklahoma)

A.H. Holloman House (421 N. 12th Street, Frederick, Oklahoma)

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In the Holloman home was once a collection of fossils and stone implements taken from the Holloman Gravel Pit, which was located north of Frederick.  Below is a newspaper article from The Stanford Daily on January 18th, 1929:

The Stanford Daily, January 18th ,1929.

The Stanford Daily, January 18th ,1929.

Below is an excerpt from the article titled “The Antiquity of Man in America” by J.D. Figgins, published in Natural History Magazine on September 16th, 1929:

Having read an article dealing with the question of man’s antiquity in America by Mr. Harold J. Cook, which appeared in the November, 1926, issue of the Scientific American, Dr. F. G. Priestly of Frederick, Tillman County, Oklahoma, wrote Mr. A. G. Ingalls, editor of that publication, briefly describing the finding of artifacts associated with fossil mammal remains in that vicinity. After some correspondence, and with Doctor Priestly’s consent, Mr. Ingalls forwarded this letter to Mr. Cook. Doctor Priestly’s account of these discoveries was of such a convincing nature that it could not be doubted that the Oklahoma material was of great importance. With the view of making studies of both the material and physical character of the deposits from which it was taken, Mr. Cook and the present writer joined Doctor Priestly at Frederick in January.

It was at once apparent that while Doctor Priestly recognized and understood the importance of the finds he described in his letter to Mr. Ingalls, it was equally obvious he had followed a very conservative course and the writer was not prepared for the discovery that in addition to the artifact mentioned, several others had been unearthed and no less than five of them preserved.

In his account of these finds, Doctor Priestly stated all had been personally made by Mr. A. H. Holloman, who owns and operates a sand and gravel pit about one mile north of the city of Frederick. To Mr. Holloman, therefore, the writer is indebted for a history of the discoveries, their stratigraphic position, and other items having a bearing on them.

As Mr. Cook’s account will cover the geological history of these deposits, and the immediate vicinity, here it is necessary merely to say the sand and gravel pit consists of an open cut on the east face of a ridge approximately half a mile in width and running for some miles in a generally north and south direction. Sand and gravel from an area of about two acres have been worked out near the crest of this ridge, which, with the overlying stratum of clay, silt, etc., varied from ten feet to twenty-five feet in thickness. At the time of our visit, a nearly vertical cut of not less than 150 yards in length and varying from fifteen feet to twenty-four feet in height was exposed, in which every phase of the several strata was clearly defined.

Independent of the opportunities thus offered for studies of the exposed formations, it also made it easily possible for Mr. Holloman to point out the horizons at which artifacts and the several varieties of fossils had been found. That a great deal of fossil material has been uncovered since the opening of the pit, there can be no doubt, but not until during the past year was an effort made to preserve any part of it. Accounts are unanimous in showing that quantities of such material have gone into the refuse heap, now comprising thousands of tons; into the surfacing of roads; the cement mixer, etc. Seven known artifacts are buried somewhere in this refuse pile or carried away: a metate and six pestles or manos, but these cannot be considered here. (The Colorado Museum of Natural History has arranged to keep a representative constantly on the ground to search for and preserve all artifacts and fossils hereafter uncovered.)

Although fossils are found throughout the entire stratum of sand and gravel deposits, a superficial study of all the evidence suggests the possibility that two faunal and cultural stages are represented.

In an abstract published in the Academy of Science for 1930, O.F. Evans of the University of Oklahoma concluded that “This deposit contained the Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils now found in the Holloman pit, while the arrow heads and metates were on the surface where they had been left a comparatively short time before,”.  The entire abstract is available with this link: Probable history of the Holloman Gravel Pit 1930

Site of Holloman Gravel Pit (0.3 mile west of U.S. 183 on Highview Avenue)

The pit covers three acres, but the formation is far more extensive. Here have been found clay balls inside of which, say local reporters, were living frogs. Bones of prehistoric animals and stone age implements have also been taken from the pit.  Because of all of the controversy about this site in the scientific community, Mr. Holloman decided to close it to researchers, and little has been said about it in scientific circles after that.

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