Posts Tagged ‘ landmark ’

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

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Historical Cities – Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, is now available on Google Maps

Although Norsemen, the French explorer Champlain, and the Dutch all are said to have visited Boston harbor, and Captain John Smith left us a map of it, no actual settlement was made until the 1620’s.  Boston’s first settler was William Blackstone, a recluse of scholarly and probably misanthropic mental cast, formerly a clergyman of the Church of England.  He had built himself a hut on the western slope of what is now Beacon Hill, planting his orchard on what later became Boston Common.  At that time, the wilderness occupied the peninsula, which was about one-third the size of today’s Boston peninsula.  Almost an island, it jutted out into the bay, joined to the mainland by a long, narrow neck like the handle of a ladle.  It was a mile wide at its widest, three miles long, and the neck was so narrow and so low that at times it was submerged by the ocean.  Blackstone’s realm was bounded on the west by a mud flat (the Back Bay); on the north by a deep cove (later dammed off to make a mill pond); on the east by a small river which cut off the North End and made an island of it, and by a deep cove (later known as the ‘Town Cove’); and on the south by another deep cove.  Here, the disillusioned clergyman read his books, farmed a little, traded a bit with the Indians, and breathed air uncontaminated by any other white man.

His idyllic solitude was rudely shattered after four or five years, however, by the arrival of John Winthrop with a company of some eight hundred persons who settled in what is now Charlestown.  Their miseries were many.  The water at Charlestown was brackish, and their settlement could not easily be defended against Indian raids.  Blackstone visited them and was melted by the spectacle of their plight.  He invited them to come across to his peninsula and the company eagerly accepted his hospitality.  This occurred in 1630, the year of the birth of Boston.

Winthrop’s settlers called it ‘Trimountain,’ possibly because of three hills later known as Beacon Hill, Copp’s Hill, and Fort Hill.  The first year familiarized the Englishmen and their families with the rigors of the New England climate.  It was too late to plant crops and more than two hundred died of starvation and exposure.  The following spring, a ship laden with provisions, long overdue, dropped anchor in the bay, and a famine was averted.  Fisheries were established, and fir and lumber created an export market.  Within four years, more than four thousand Englishmen had emigrated to Boston and its vicinity.  Twenty villages developed out of the peninsula town to form a Puritan Commonwealth.

The settlement soon became the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, governed by a theocracy which rigidly dictated to citizens in matters of religious dogma and private conduct.  Dissenters were persecuted.  Roger Williams and his Quaker followers were driven out, as were Anabaptists and Antinomians (latter led by indomitable Anne Hutchinson”.  When Quakers returned, they were severely punished.  In 1659 and 1660, three men and one woman were executed on Boston Common for thus offending.  Nevertheless, culture and education were valued by Puritans.  In 1635, General Court established the first free school in Boston.  About the same time, Harvard University was created in nearby Cambridge.

Never much of a farming community, the city prospered greatly as a port and trading center.  In 1631, a Boston-built vessel, the tiny Blessing of the Bay, was launched, and from then on shipbuilding continued as an important industry until the American Civil War era.  After the Stuart restoration in England in 1660, Boston, which had actively sympathized with the regime of Oliver Cromwell, became the scene of monarchical reprisals.  In 1684, the Court of Chancery, sitting in the Town Hall, voided the original colonial charter.  Governor Andros, sent by King James II, established a virtual dictatorship.  He attempted to break down the religious and political monopoly of the Puritans by widening the franchise and establishing the right of free worship.

Boston put on a curtain-raiser to witchcraft hysteria in 1688, but suffered the ravages of the persecution less than neighboring towns.  That was largely because, when an epidemic broke out in full force in 1692, sinister accusations were leveled at the wife of Governor Phipps.  Phipps, naturally enough, thereupon bore down on witch baiters.  By this time, Boston’s population had grown to 7,000.  The city’s trade boomed mightily with the development of the Rum-Slave-Molasses traffic triangle.  By 1666, 300 ships, mostly Boston-owned, piled out of port.  In 1691, a royal governor was sent.  In 1733, the Molasses Act was passed, but the Colonial merchants had virtually free trade until 1764.  That year, Grenville began the vigorous enforcement of the mercantilist measures.  From then on, friction increased rapidly and the Colonies developed a burning sense of grievance.

The Boston Massacre (1770) on King Street (now State) occurred in the shadow of the old State House.  News of the British advance on Lexington and Concord was semaphored to Paul Revere by the glimmer of a lamp which swung from the belfry of the Old North Church.  The rafters of Faneuil Hall rang with the impassioned oratory of champions of liberty.  The Old South Meeting House was the point from which fifty men disguised as Indians rushed to Griffin’s Wharf where British merchantmen rocked idly in the harbor, their holds crammed with East Indian tea (1773).  It was the Boston Tea Party which confronted the British cabinet with the choice of capitulation or force, replied to by the Port Act, which marked the beginning of a policy of coercion and led swiftly to open warfare.  The battle of Bunker Hill in nearby Charlestown was one of the early engagements of the war.  Boston was regarded by the British as a most important objective, and the failure of the siege and the evacuation of the city by the Redcoats was the first serious blow to Tory confidence.

The American Revolution left Boston with its population reduced from 25,000 to 10,000 and its commerce ruined.  The discovery of new trading possibilities in the Orient offered an opportunity which enterprising Yankee merchants were quick to perceive.  The development of the China trade and the exploitation of the Oregon coast rich in sea otters restored Boston to its former eminence.  Wealth poured into the coffers of merchants, traders, and shipmasters.  In 1780, 455 ships from every quarter of the globe docked in Boston Harbor, while 1200 vessels engaged in coastwise traffic out of Boston.

Boston’s maritime prosperity was stimulated by the wars between England and France which followed the accession of Napoleon.  However, the Jefferson Embargo and the War of 1812 seriously crippled the city’s maritime development.  Although she recovered, and the era of the clipper made Massachusetts famous throughout the world, the War of 1812 really marked the beginning of the end of Boston’s maritime supremacy.  Thereafter, manufacturing and industry gradually supplanted commercial interests.

boston_1903            In 1822, Boston became a city.  Railroads were built from 1830 and played an important part in urban development.  The first horse car line, connecting Cambridge and Boston, was built in 1853.  Between 1824 and 1858, the Boston peninsula was enlarged from 783 acres to 1801 acres by cutting down the hills and filling in the Back Bay and the great coves with the excavated gravel as a basis for reclamation.  The Neck, which William Blackstone could not always cross on foot because of the tidewater, was raised and broadened, so that what was once the narrowest part of Boston proper is now the widest.

During the era between the American Revolution and the American Civil War, Boston ideas underwent a parallel transformation from the provincial to the urban.  Stimulated by European currents of thought and the philosophy of the frontier, Boston began to revolt against the theology of Calvin, a revolt typical of the democratic spirit of the nineteenth century.  Unitarianism threatened to dissolve the entire system of Puritan Congregationalism.

Nowhere was the reforming spirit more active than in the anti-slavery movement.  William Lloyd Garrison had no respect for the interests of cotton, whether expounded by planters or manufacturers.  He invaded Boston and founded the Liberator in 1831, and was rewarded in 1835 with physical violence at the hands of a mob partly composed of Boston gentility.  Boston played a less important role in the Civil War than in events preceding it.  Unable to meet the prescribed quota of soldiers by voluntary enlistment, the city fathers first employed the draft in 1863, precipitating the Boston Draft Riots.  The poorer classes, irritated when their rich neighbors purchased immunity from compulsory service for the sum of three hundred dollars, objected so strenuously that the militia was called out to quell the disorders.

Although some Bostonians had indicated a reluctance to support the Northern cause during the war, the celebration of peace left little to be desired.  A coliseum seating 30,000 people was erected near the site of the Copley Plaza Hotel housing an Angel of Peace, thirteen feet high, together with an extinguished torch of war, frescoes, doves, and angels, medallions, emblems and flags, as well as the largest bass drum in the world, constructed for the occasion.  By the end of the nineteenth century, Bostonians could boast of other things in addition to a thriving industry and commerce.  Boston had at least two much-touted claims to fame: John L. Sullivan, the greatest fighter of his time, and the first passenger-car subway in America, a two-mile stretch from Arlington and Boylston Streets to the North Station.  The last horse car was discarded in 1910.  An elevated railroad pushed into the suburb of Forest Hills in 1910.

Historical Cities-Boston and Cambridge, MA on Google Maps

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

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

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

AHHolloman House

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 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

P1010219 P1010220

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 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