Posts Tagged ‘ historic sites ’

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 – Los Angeles, California is now available on Google Maps

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The history of the Los Angeles area abounds with the gargantuan, the fantastic. Settled more than sixteen miles inland from a shallow, unprotected bay, it has made itself into one of the great port cities of the world; lying far off the normal axes of transportation and isolated by high mountains, it has become one of the great railroad centers of the country; lacking a water supply adequate for a large city, it has brought in a supply from rivers and mountain streams hundreds of miles away. In little more than half a century, lots listed at a tax sale at a price of 63 cents apiece have increased in value to the point where they are worth more than that price to the square inch. It is not surprising that a city of such incredible achievements should become the home of fantasy; the film industry could not have found a more stimulating environment.

Much of the historical text of this travel guide has been provided by LOS ANGELES, A Guide to the City and Its Environ, a book in the American Guide series compiled by the workers of the Writers Program of the Work Projects Administration in Southern California.  The guide was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and published by Hastings House, New York in 1941.  The text has only been slightly edited, usually only where an adjustment to the passing of time was required.

Using the original guide as its foundation, this travel guide updates the previously mentioned time references and includes additional historic sites and landmarks from various sources.  Most importantly, provides updated location information for all listed sites with accompanying latitude and longitude coordinate data.  Over the past 70 years, the significant growth of the Los Angeles area has included the requisite street and highway designation changes, as well as the unfortunate elimination of some important historic locations.  This Historic Cities guide takes into account all of those changes, so the traveler of the present day can enjoy what was once there, and what is still present.

Historical Cities-Los Angeles on Google Maps

Visit www.autotrails.net for more guides on Google Maps and for eBooks.

 

 

 

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.

Forgotten Landmarks-Red River Free Bridge and Red River Toll Bridge, Colbert, Oklahoma

Site of Red River Bridge War (2.4 miles south of Colbert on Franklin Street/Road at U.S. 69/U.S. 75 Bridge over the Red River)

The free bridge which previously crossed over the Red River at this point (demolished in 1995) was the cause of the so-called Red River Bridge War in 1931. For many years previously, the Texas Toll Bridge Company had operated a toll bridge at this crossing, but in 1929 Texas and Oklahoma, with the consent of Congress, began the construction of a free bridge.

The toll bridge company claimed that the commission had agreed in July of 1930 to purchase the toll bridge for $60,000 and to pay the company for its unexpired contract an additional $10,000 for each month of a specified fourteen-month period in which the free bridge might be opened, and that the commission had not fulfilled this obligation. A temporary injunction was issued on July 10th, 1931, and Texas governor Ross S. Sterling ordered barricades erected across the Texas approaches to the new bridge. However, on July 16th Governor William (Alfalfa Bill) Murray of Oklahoma opened the bridge by executive order, claiming that Oklahoma’s “half” of the bridge ran lengthwise north and south across the Red River, that Oklahoma held title to both sides of the river from the Louisiana Purchase treaty of 1803, and that the state of Oklahoma was not named in the injunction. Oklahoma highway crews crossed the bridge and demolished the barricades. Governor Sterling responded by ordering a detachment of three Texas Rangers, accompanied by Adjutant General William Warren Sterling, to rebuild the barricades and protect Texas Highway Department employees charged with enforcing the injunction. The rangers arrived on the night of July 16th. On July 17th, Murray ordered Oklahoma highway crews to tear up the northern approaches to the still-operating toll bridge, and traffic over the river came to a halt. On July 20th and 21st, mass meetings demanding the opening of the free bridge were held in Sherman and Denison, and resolutions to this effect were forwarded to Austin. On July 23rd, the Texas legislature, which was meeting in a special session, passed a bill granting the Texas Toll Bridge Company permission to sue the state in order to recover the sum claimed in the injunction. The bridge company then joined the state in requesting the court to dissolve the injunction, which it did on July 25th. On that day, the free bridge was opened to traffic and the rangers were withdrawn.

Meanwhile, a federal district court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, acting on a petition from the toll-bridge company, had on July 24th enjoined Governor Murray from blocking the northern approaches to the toll bridge. Murray, acting several hours before the injunction was actually issued, declared martial law in a narrow strip of territory along the northern approaches to both bridges and then argued that this act placed him, as commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, above the federal court’s jurisdiction. An Oklahoma guard unit was ordered to the bridge, and Murray, armed with an antique revolver, made a personal appearance in the “war zone,” as the newspapers labeled it. No attempt was made to enforce the Oklahoma injunction, but on July 24th, with the free bridge open, Murray directed the guardsmen to permit anyone who so desired to cross the toll bridge. On July 27th, Murray announced that he had learned of an attempt to close the free bridge permanently, and he extended the martial-law zone to the Oklahoma boundary marker on the south bank of the Red River. Oklahoma guardsmen were stationed at both ends of the free bridge, and Texas papers spoke of an “invasion.” Finally, on August 6th, 1931, the Texas injunction was permanently dissolved, the Oklahoma guardsmen were withdrawn to enforce martial law in the Oklahoma oilfields, and the bridge controversy was laid to rest.[i]

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1928 Oklahoma Highway Map

BryanCo1941

1941 Bryan County Transportation Map

Remains of Red River Toll Bridge ( 1.4 miles south of Colbert on Franklin Street/Road, 1.5 miles south on River Road at Toll Bridge Road)

Two of the bridge piers of the Red River Toll Bridge remain in the Red River southwest of this junction, approximately 1100 yards southeast of the current highway bridge.

TollBridgeSatellite

[i] Taylor, Lonn W.; Red River Bridge Controversy; Texas State Historical Association; https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mgr02

Forgotten Landmark–Tracks of Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway, Mineral Well, TX

Tracks of Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway (NW 2nd Avenue, between NW 4th and NW 7th Streets)

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The gasoline-powered “Dinky cars” of the Mineral Wells Lakewood Park Scenic Railway provided service from Mineral Wells to Lake Pinto. There were four cars used, including “Ben Hur” and “Esther”. This railway operated from 1905 until 1909. (Current track photos below text)

The Mineral Wells & Lakewood Park Railway was chartered on March 1st, 1907, and began operating on May 12th, 1907. The railway operated on 2.5 miles of track, with a gauge of 4 feet and 8 ½ inches, using electricity.

The Mineral Wells Electric System operated two electric street cars in the city of Mineral Wells from 1907 to 1913; one on Hubbard Street from NE 17th Avenue to SW 6th Avenue (later part of the Bankhead Highway), and one on Oak (now NW 2nd) Avenue from NE 17th Street to SE 11th Street, thence Southwest to Elmhurst Park. However, two gasoline-powered 70 passenger (all-passenger) motor cars were operated by the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railroad (WMW&NW) between Graford, Mineral Wells, Ft. Worth and Dallas from 1912 to 1935. An electric interurban line was not built.

Streetcar Tracks at NW 7th Mineral Wells P1010306 P1010305

 

Forgotten Landmark-Taylor & Howard Building, Leigh, TX

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Leigh (10.6 miles north of U.S. 80 on FM 134 at FM 1999)

Leigh, also known as Antioch, is on a site said to have been the location of a large Indian village. In the early 1840s, J. J. Webster built a plantation home, Mimosa Hall, a mile southwest of the site; Webster’s descendants occupied the house until 1984, when the property was sold. The community of Antioch, which had a predominantly black population, was founded before 1900 and was centered on the Antioch Baptist Church. In 1900, the forerunner of the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway was built through Antioch, and Reverend James Patterson built a restaurant and a general store on land adjoining the railroad. Residents of Blocker, three miles to the northeast, moved to the railroad community. Antioch was renamed Leigh in 1901, after the wife of John W. Furrh, who owned much of the land on the railroad, and that same year the Leigh post office opened. In 1904, Leigh had one school with five white students and four schools with 297 black students. By 1914, the community had a population of fifty, three general stores, two cotton gins, a drugstore, a blacksmith shop, and telephone service. After attaining a peak population of 126 in the 1920s, Leigh declined to 100 in 1930, when it had a church, two schools, and three businesses. The railroad was rerouted to the north in the 1950s. By 1978, Leigh had two churches (St. Paul’s Episcopal and Antioch Baptist), a community center, the Antioch Cemetery, and a number of dwellings.[i]

[i] Leigh, TX; Texas State Historical Association; https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hll33

Taylor&HowardBldg_LeighTX

Point of Interest:

Mimosa Hall (9.4 miles north of U.S. 80 on FM 134) (Private)

Virginia-born John Johnston Webster (1796-1854) brought his family to the Republic of Texas, petitioning for land on which to establish a home in 1842.  Built in 1844, Mimosa Hall was part of a 3,000 acre plantation. The estate and one-hundred and fifty acres that went along with it was deeded to Douglas V. Blocker within a partition deed in 1932.  Blocker continued to own the property until 1984 when he sold it to Michael Howard. At some point, Michael Howard deeded the property to his son Nicholas Leon Howard III, who then deeded it to his mother, Virginia Dyke Hamilton in 1989.  Virginia sold the home in 1993 to the present owners, Andrew and Katherine Ann Hirsch. The Hirsch family have maintained the home and kept it in pristine condition. The front façade remains in its original state but the remainder of the home has had many changes throughout the years as well as a rear addition which was built on in 1932.[ii]

In 1844, Webster’s son-in-law, the Reverend George F. Heard, became the first person to be buried in the cemetery at Mimosa Hall Plantation. He was followed by Mrs. Mirriam (Brown) Webster. Other notable graves include those of the Reverend William Moore Steele and five Webster slaves or ex-slaves. Veterans of several wars also are interred here. The wall surrounding the oldest graves was constructed by plantation labor.  The cemetery is located southwest of the house on private land.

[ii] Mimosa Hall; Stephen F. Austin University Center for Regional Heritage Research; http://www.sfasu.edu/heritagecenter/4992.asp

Forgotten Landmark-Indian Battleground (old Island Park), Larned (KS)

Forgotten Landmark-Pawnee/Cheyenne Battleground, old Island Park, S. Main Street at Pawnee Creek, Larned (KS)

On a site formerly known as Island Park, this battleground was where a bloody conflict between the Pawnee and invading Cheyenne under Chief Black Kettle was witnessed by Colonel Henry Inman in 1860 while on his way to Fort Larned. According to Inman, the Pawnee chief had him tell the enemy that the Pawnee were waiting for them on the willow-covered island between the two streams. As the last of the Pawnee reached the island and disappeared behind the willows, 200 Cheyenne warriors led by Yellow Buffalo advanced, chanting their war song, and plunged into the stream with a shout of defiance, holding their rifles and powder bags above their heads. The Pawnee allowed the Cheyenne to approach within 10 feet before half of them blazed away with their first volley in the very face of the foe. As soon as they saw how many men had been hit the other half followed with the second volley. Then each Pawnee, who, in addition to rifle and bow and arrows, carried two pistols, kept up a steady fire.

Leaving many dead and wounded, the Cheyenne withdrew, only to renew the attack in greater force under Black Kettle, but again they were repulsed with great slaughter, losing fifty men. The Pawnee reported one dead and two wounded, and at sunset remained masters of the field. “But while a victory for the Pawnee, the battle settled nothing,” wrote Inman, “for Black Kettle remained and his Cheyennes continued to hunt on the Pawnee grounds.”

Indian Battleground