Posts Tagged ‘ historic site ’

Historical Cities – Charleston, South Carolina, is now available on Google Maps

Charleston is located on the southern end of ‘The Neck’, a strip of land extending from the Bay north to the crook in the Ashley River.  In Charleston, it was important to live ‘below Broad Street,’ and outsiders believed that to live on, or to claim relationship with one who lives ‘on the Battery,’ is a Charlestonian’s prime distinction.  Where the Ashley River and Cooper River meet to form the waterfront was noted even in Europe for its beauty.  Since the War of 1812, it has been called ‘The Battery.’  The high east seawall was built before 1820 of ballast rocks from trading vessels.  This replaced an earlier wall built of palmetto logs which were swept away in 1804.  Between 1848 and 1852, the south wall was added.

Charles Town, as it was originally called, was settled in 1670 by English pioneers who established themselves on Albemarle Point, westward across the Ashley River from the present location.  Oyster Point was higher and better adapted for defense, and was selected for the site of the ‘great port towne’ laid out in 1672 by instructions of Lord Ashley-Cooper, one of the Lords Proprietors.  The colony, increased in the meantime by settlers from Barbados, England, and Virginia, moved across the river in 1680 and Charles Town became a ‘City-State.’  For many years, its history was the history of South Carolina.  It was the center from which colonization radiated and the capital of the province until 1786, when Columbia was founded for that purpose.  Provision crops, naval stores, and the Indian trade gave the colony its start.  Rice and later indigo brought the settlement its wealth, and Charleston became a flourishing urban center for opulent planters, who maintained ‘county seats’ on Low Country rivers.

The influx of French Huguenots and of French Catholics from Acadia in the late 1600’s gave the city a cosmopolitan atmosphere.  They were followed by the arrival of Scots and South Germans.  In the 1800’s, North Germans and Irish immigrants arrived.  A writer of this last period described Charleston as ‘owned by the Germans, ruled by the Irish, and enjoyed by the Negroes.’  The different races and nationalities represented added breadth as well as variety to spiritual and intellectual life.  A public library, the first in the colonies, was established in 1698.  It was succeeded after its decline by the present Charleston Library Society in 1748.  A free school opened in 1710 and a theater in 1735.  The first newspaper, the South Carolina Weekly Journal, was founded in 1730 by Eleazer Phillips, Jr.  It was followed by the South Carolina Gazette, with Thomas Whitmarsh as editor and printer.  Whitmarsh died of ‘strangers’ (yellow) fever in 1735.  The following year, Benjamin Franklin sent Lewis Timothy, one of his printers, to take charge.  In 1738, Timothy was succeeded by his widow.  Later, her son Peter Timothy assumed the editorship until 1775.  The paper was suspended for two years, only to be revived by Peter’s son, Benjamin Franklin Timothy, as the Gazette of the State of South Carolina.  It continued under that name and management until 1792.  Its successor in 1803 was the Courier, the antecedent of Charleston’s present paper, the News and Courier.

Because if their affiliation with the Mother Country and its traditions, many leading Charlestonians found it difficult to sever their British allegiance at the onset of the American Revolution.  However, the first Provincial Congress of South Carolina, meeting at Charleston in 1775, secured strict loyalty to the American cause from most citizens.  Christopher Gadsden, John Rutledge, Henry and John Laurens, and other local leaders were active in the affairs of the new Nation.  A British attack upon Charlestown on June 28th, 1776, was repulsed by William Moultrie’s brilliant defense of the palmetto fort on Sullivan’s Island.  In 1780, the city fell into the hands of the British and was held for two and a half years.  The relationship of Charlestonians and the enemy was not that of conqueror and conquered.  Even in these circumstances, Charlestown remembered its manners.  It was not until December of 1782, when General Nathaniel Greene and other partisan leaders had cleared the rest of the State, that Charlestown was evacuated by the enemy.  The next year, the city’s name was changed from Charles Town to Charleston.

The post-revolution period was characterized by a vigorous democratic spirit.  With the removal of the capital to Columbia, the planters, lawyers, and merchants of Charleston found their control threatened by the small farmers of the interior.  Realizing a need for a stronger government to protect trade and invested money caused Charleston leaders to join heartily in the support for a new Federal constitution.  Years after the rest of the State had gone over to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic Party, the city remained stiffly Federalist.  Charleston’s prosperity increased during the great plantation era, and the city became noted in Europe and America as ‘a flourishing capital of wealth and ease.’

The embargo on trade accompanying the War of 1812 was a temporary setback.  When developing transportation deflected commerce to Savannah, however, Charleston launched the bold experiment of that pioneer among early steam railroads, the South Carolina Railroad.  The South Carolina Railroad was built from Charleston to the Savannah River, opposite Augusta, from 1830 to 1833.  Coincident with the construction of the railroad was the establishment of the world’s first department store in a mammoth building at the corner of King Street and Market Street.

Charleston, along with the rest of the State, enthusiastically entered into the War Between the States, hosting the convention that passed the Ordinance of Secession.  The long siege of the city abounded with dramatic incidents.  Beginning with the Union defense of Fort Sumter, the port was constantly active with blockade running.  Submarine warfare was first introduced here in 1863.  After Union General William Tecumseh Sherman had demolished Columbia in February of 1865, Charleston was evacuated.  Sherman had insinuated his intention to destroy Charleston, but later plans turned him in another direction.  Union forces had heavily bombarded the city, however.  Public buildings and homes were badly damaged, particularly in the lower sections.  Charleston was left poverty-stricken.

Charleston return to prosperity was interrupted by the earthquake of 1886.  After the cataclysm, weakened buildings were strengthened with tie rods running between the floors from wall to wall, still visible in surviving brick structures.  Other natural disasters have followed, including tornadoes in 1938 and numerous hurricanes.  Despite Mother Nature, the important shipping trade returned.  In 1880, work began on the construction of jetties with Federal funds.  One jetty extends from Sullivan Island and the other from Morris Island.  This closed all channels except one, causing an increased flow with a consequent increased depth.

Historical Cities-Charleston, South Carolina, now on Google Maps

More guides and eBooks are available at www.autotrails.net and Amazon.com

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. 

American Trails Revisited–Texas’ Chisholm Trail (Spanish Fort)

Spanish Fort, TX

Spanish Fort Vicinity Today

Google Maps 7/26/2015

The present site of the community of Spanish Fort was the scene of one of the decisive battles of early Texas history. As early as 1700, the French were active along the Red River, and in 1719 Bernard de la Harpe established on the south bank of the river, on the site of the principal village of the Caddoes, an outpost which he called Fort St. Louis de Carlorette. It served as a traders’ and trappers’ supply station but was abandoned after a few years. In 1759 Colonel Diego Ortiz Parrilla, advancing from San Antonio and San Saba, came upon Indians entrenched behind a stout stockade, over which flew the French flag. His report described the fort as consisting of high oval-shaped structures, surrounded by a ditch and a log stockade. Armed by the French, the Indians soundly defeated Parilla and sent him back in hasty retreat. Under the treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762, the French ceded Louisiana Territory to Spain, and abandoned their western outpost. Spanish exploration parties and patrols visited the site from time to time until as late as 1800. Then all reports of the old post ceased until its ruins were found in 1859. The description of the ruins of that date correspond remarkably with the data of Parrilla 100 years before. Today, hardly discernible mounds are all that remain.

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Spanish Fort Vicinity

Railroad Map of Texas 1884

Forgotten Landmark-Church of St. Aubin de Neuville, Dieppe, France

Church of St. Aubin de Neuville (14-16 Rue du Général de Gaulle, Neuville des Dieppe)

Dependent priory of Longueville sur Scie during the Middle Ages and up to the Revolution, the town of Neuville remained independent until the early 1980s, when it was attached to Dieppe. The first church located here was looted and burned in 1562 by Protestants. Only the chorus, probably rebuilt in the early 16th century (as evidenced by its sculpted pinnacles flamboyant decor foothills) escaped the flames. The reconstruction of the building proved slow and laborious and was not completed until about 1616, when it received its dedication. Rebuilt on a simple plan, the church has a nave flanked by aisles and a non-protruding transept opening to the choir. The bell tower, covered with a slate roof characteristic of the sixteenth century, supported by massive buttresses and drilled into the bottom of arched windows overlooking the western gate, is adorned with a statue of Bishop St. Aubin. Unlike the tower, built in stone as was the choir, the nave walls were built with local materials; flint blocks and blocks of sandstone alternating.

It is the inside which contains the most notable features of this building. The choir presents a rare rustic decoration of the eighteenth century, covering the shrine at a height of 5 meters high (pilasters, carved panels between which are inserted four paintings representing the four evangelists. Topping the central axis is a sculpted set representing a glory (sky filled with clouds and angels from which emerge the symbol of God).

The nave is covered by a barrel-shaped wooden hull vessel overturned and coated with plaster, while the ends of the beams of the frame are decorated with carved decorations; amazing twenty heads more or less grimacing, and five crests and heads resembling those of crocodiles.[i]

ChurchStAubindeNeuville

[i] Architectural Heritage-The Church of St. Aubin de Neuville; Dieppe.fr; http://mobile.dieppe.fr/pages/l-eglise-saint-aubin-de-neuville-88

Forgotten Landmarks–Phillip Brin House, Terrell, TX

Phillip Brin House (302 W. Brin Street)

 

Phillip Brin constructed his residence in 1895, four years after the loss of two daughters, Hattie and Bessie, to illnesses within ten days of each other[i]. Brin owned the First National Bank, whose building still stands at Catherine Street and Moore Avenue. The Financier noted in 1902 that Phillip Brin attended the New York Bankers Association Conference[ii]. Across the street is the building which once housed the Brin Opera House. It was constructed in 1895, but was closed by Phillip Brin in 1903 due to the fear of disastrous fires which had plagued other theatres and opera houses throughout the country.

Phillip Brin House 1895

Phillip Brin House 1895

Phillip Brin House 1895

Phillip Brin House 1895

First National Bank

First National Bank

Brin Opera House

Brin Opera House

[i] Terrell Times-Star; Terrell, TX; March 8th and March 14th, 1891.

[ii] The Financier, Volume 80; American Bankers Association, Publisher Financier Company, 1902

Forgotten Landmark-Herington Army Air Field, Delavan, KS

Site of Herrington Army Air Field (Herington Regional Airport, 2.7 miles north of U.S. 56 on S. 2600 Road)

Herington Army Air Field (AAF) was used during World War II by the Army Air Corps as a staging area for overseas deployment of heavy bombers and their crews. These bombers included B-17s, B-24S, and B-29s. Facilities at the field included runways, hangers, fuel storage tanks, barracks, administration buildings, and other related structures necessary for airfield operations. Construction started in 1942, and the field was completed over a 14 month period. In 1945, Herington AAF was deactivated and then declared surplus in 1946. All the property was eventually disposed of and became the Herington Municipal Airport. Today the former AAF serves as the Herington Regional Airport.

Delavan Air Base

Foundations of multiple structures are still evident to the left of the large aircraft apron and the runway.

Forgotten Landmark–Site of General Wolfe Statue, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Site of General Wolfe Statue (Western corner of Cote du Palais and Rue St. Jean)

On the front of the large house which once stood here, stood a wooden statue of General Wolfe, which was originally put there in 1771 and which finally found a resting place there after many peregrinations in the early part of the present century. Carried off by English “middies” and men-of-war’s-men “out of a lark” to the West Indies and other places, it eventually found its way back to Quebec.

 

General Wolfe Statue Site