128 Chapters
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Medium 9780892728060

Have you seen the view from this island?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Behold the birthplace of Maine as we know it. Well, that’s what some people say. Many historians think these island outposts are where the first Europeans set up camp Down East, establishing the famous Maine fishing economy long before Chris Columbus ever made his little sailing expedition. Some scratches on a cliff face on the island across the harbor are thought to be evidence of a visit by Vikings about 1000 A.D. There wasn’t much to plunder and pillage here then, but the fishing grounds were world class — the Norsemen must have thought they’d died and gone to Valhalla when they got a load of the local cod. Fishermen from Portugal and Spain were likewise amazed by the seafood, which all but hopped into their boats, and some think they built fishing camps here before 1492, too. Of course, indigenous tribes were here long before that and the island in the foreground has a Micmac moniker. The big grassy rock in the background has a very unusual name for these parts (not to be confused with an island of the same name off Oahu). That island was never settled in any sort of numbers, though it did see some dwellings. The tramway seen in the picture was put in place by the Coast Guard to haul supplies to a fog whistle with national significance — it’s the only one housed in its own tower. No one heard the signal blow more often than Raymond Phillips, who lived in a small shack on the island all by himself from the 1920s to the late seventies. A former food scientist from New York with a degree from NYU, he left the city behind to become one of New England’s most famous hermits, preferring the simple life of a shepherd. Who can blame him, with this kind of view? Turn to page 100 to learn the name of this island.

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Photographs and Rephotographs

Michael A. Amundson University Press of Colorado ePub

When J. E. Stimson explored the Cody Road over four days in the summer of 1903, he made images both going to Yellowstone and on his return to Cody. I have reconstructed these images into a single linear geographic passage moving westward on the road from Cody to Yellowstone, representing the scenes a traveler would encounter during the trip to the park. From the town, the route flanked Cedar Mountain to the south, crossed over to Irma on the South Fork of the Shoshone, then moved over to the North Fork and followed it all the way to Yellowstone Park’s East Entrance. Along the way it passed through fields and canyons, past volcanic rock formations, and through the nation’s first national forest. It then climbed over Sylvan Pass, past Eleanor and Sylvan Lakes, then descended to Yellowstone Lake. The four images that follow this organization represent four additional images Stimson made in 1910 on the new road past Shoshone Dam and Reservoir. The numbering system of the rephotographic pairs (1–42) was constructed for this book.

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Have you driven the lonely highway that traverses this ridge?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Here we have the king of the hills — or the view from the king of the hills. A string of small peaks lift motorists to beautiful views along a legendary byway in eastern Maine, but this is arguably the most picturesque prospect of them all. What we’re after is the name of the prominent natural feature that created the humpbacked rise upon which our intrepid photographer was standing this glorious fall afternoon. It’s an alluvial ridge, or esker, created by a retreating glacier that neglected to pick up after itself. As it melted, the ice mountain dropped dirt and silt and gravel, creating a pronounced spine, upwards of seventy-five-feet tall and 2 ½ miles long. When engineers were building the long and lonely highway through the region, a two-lane, ninety-eight-mile road known for its lack of curves, its wild character, and its unusual name, they logically decided to build atop this ridge. Tales persist about nineteenth-century highwaymen who would rob stagecoach drivers here because the pitch was so steep the coaches couldn’t outrun them. Today’s travelers can safely delight in a lovely panorama of the Union River and the bog that surrounds it. Looking in another direction, you’d see Lead Mountain, a 1,400-foot eminence that you probably wouldn’t want to let your kids eat. The town in which this ridge is located is sparsely populated, much like the rest of the communities along this route, save for the two anchors on either end of its run, one of which is among the state’s largest cities. The landscape here has changed very little since the glacier passed by, according to geologist David Kendall in his book Glaciers and Granite. DeLorme calls the crest “a unique natural area” in its Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, which is cartographic code for “really beautiful place worth driving to see.” Turn to page 100 to find out how to get to this stunning spot.

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Medium 9781603442015

Hooked on Rivers

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Myron J. Hess

I LOVE being outdoors. Those rare times when I am able to step back from the frenzied pace of everyday life and feel in rhythm with nature give me an incredible sense of peace, of calmness. And, if you throw in a flowing river or stream, I can get close to achieving a state of nirvana. The love of nature came early. The appreciation of the special role of flowing streams developed a bit later.

As the youngest of seven children growing up in Cooke County in rural North Texas near the Oklahoma border at a time when TV watching was still an occasional event and computer games were science fiction material, I spent the bulk of my early childhood outside. When my siblings were home, I followed them around as much as they would let me. When they had all started school and I was still at home, the yard became my preschool and kindergarten classroom. Fortunately for me, farmyards can be incredibly interesting places: chickens and ducks to observe, ground squirrels and lizards to stalk, insects and toads to catch, and bird and mouse nests to discover. I think my dad was relieved to see me start school so he didn’t have to spend so much of his time answering my questions about what I had found or seen, and he could get back to farming full time.

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J. E. Stimson, Photography, Rephotography, and Me

Michael A. Amundson University Press of Colorado ePub

Between 1889 and 1948, Joseph Elam Stimson photographed Wyoming and the American West, producing more than 7,500 images of landscapes, mining, railroads, community life, ranching and farming, and tourism. Most of these shots were made on 8×10-inch glass plates and are artistically composed and incredibly sharp. They are not a cross-section of the Progressive Era West but instead promotional photographs, specifically composed and created for Stimson’s various employers—including the Union Pacific Railroad, the Wyoming state government, and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. On many of the images Stimson placed a small stamp, circumscribed by the boundaries of a sun, that proclaimed “J. E. Stimson, Artist, Cheyenne, Wyo.” He was indeed an artist, as he carefully composed and then often hand-colored his prints in an era long before the advent of color film.

J. E. Stimson was born in Virginia in 1870 and spent most of his childhood in the southern Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina. At age thirteen he moved with his family to Pawnee City, Nebraska, southeast of Lincoln, near the Missouri and Kansas borders. Three years later he left for Appleton, Wisconsin, to work as an apprentice for his cousin, photographer James Stimson. While in Appleton, he learned the requisite skills of portrait photography and the details of both the wet-plate and newer dry-plate negative processes. In 1889 Stimson moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, probably at the suggestion of two brothers who worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. At the time, he was only nineteen years old. Wyoming became a state in July 1890, and by that October Stimson had made a deal to purchase the studio and equipment of Cheyenne photographer Carl Eitner. He renovated the studio and within two weeks began running advertisements in the Cheyenne Daily Leader that read “Go to Stimson the Photo Artist for Pictures.” Four years later he married Anna Peterson, and in 1895 they had the first of three daughters.1

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Can you identify this inspirational isle?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

With a single glance you can understand the romantic appeal of this place: a lovely Victorian house on a tiny windswept isle, lorded over by highlands, surrounded by the Atlantic. This beauty is what attracted a virtual parade of writers to this island on the Down East coast. If ever there has been a lighthouse that was home to more authors, poets, and playwrights than the one pictured — suffice to say, we can’t find it. The first scribe to land here was likely Bernice Richmond, who bought the island after the Coast Guard deactivated this light, used to protect a chilly harbor, in the 1930s. Next up in the 1950s was children’s book author René Prud’hommeaux, author of Hidden Lights, The Port of Missing Men, and The Sunken Forest. She was followed by playwright Gerald Kean. And most recently it was owned by William C. Holden III, a retired banker who wrote several novels while living here. In Our Island Lighthouse, Bernice Richmond describes the allure: “It is hard for people living on the mainland to understand the contentment found on an island… I couldn’t put into words… how terribly important it was to sleep on the island with sea sounds encircling me. I couldn’t explain how I looked forward each morning to that first rush of salty air through my kitchen door.… ” If you can identify this inspirational isle turn to page 100.

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Have you painted the remains of this well-known wreck?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

What a nice day for a shipwreck — for visiting a shipwreck that is. This one couldn’t be any easier to get to, sitting as it does beside a popular walking trail at a popular midcoast cove. In truth it could be simpler to reach — to explore the monumental, rusting ruins of this old boat, which went aground in dense fog in 1948, you first have to ferry over to the island where it met its fate. (The boat you’d ride docks around the corner from this toothy beach, so don’t worry.) The 110-foot tugboat D.T. Sheridan lost its way in the murk as it journeyed from Philadelphia to Maine, escorting two coal barges. Rocks tore through its steel hull, but luckily the Coast Guard was able to evacuate the crew and there were no injuries. Sixty years later, the boat lies twisted like a concertina, almost as much a part of the landscape as the cliffs that soar on the other side of the island. Many artists have rendered the craft, including a famous one who lives nearby. (The pretty old place was built by yet another internationally known artist.) A local visitor’s guide strongly cautions anyone who might think to venture over the rocks and into the surf here due to a strong undertow and all those big rocks: “No one has been saved who has gone overboard [here],” it states. But that doesn’t stop island residents from setting up towels and sunbathing, often in the nude, among the tall beach stones not far from the wreck. To find out its location, see page 98.

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Do you recognize this great lake?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

If it weren’t for a small change in the wording, we might be calling all the people who live near this great lake the Flintstones. The original name of the community here was Flintstown — it was part of a grant given to a Revolutionary captain whose surname was Flint. Of course, many Maine villages were swallowed up when towns incorporated or joined with other municipalities, and that’s just what happened along the shores of this massive waterbody. At forty-seven square miles, this isn’t the state’s largest lake — that would be Moosehead — but it is the deepest. Even before the Flints moved in (the lake’s name is an Abenaki word for “large open water”), everyone has wanted a piece of this basin. In 1877 there were even armed clashes here between corporations interested in the flow of water to their downstream mills, a conflict — the Basin Dam War — that spun into the courts for years. In the following decades, the mills quarreled with the nascent tourism industry. The new hotels needed water levels high enough to move their cargo — affluent summer guests — while the mills were more concerned about letting enough water get downstream. Now the challenges facing the lake are issues like Jet Skis and the invasive effects of milfoil. Makes one long for the simple times of Fred and Barney, Wilma and Betty. See page 101 if you recognize this great lake.

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Can you identify this light and its island home?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

It may look stunningly scenic at this island outpost on a sunny winter’s day, but there are many challenges to face when you live thirteen miles out in the cold North Atlantic. Like cutting your way into your house with an ax. That’s how thick the ice gets at this twenty-foot tower, according to one of the more recent residents of the keeper’s house. In this community of 1,235 midcoast Mainers, the town manager is also the lightkeeper and thus resident of this 1857 home. Ice was just one problem the former town official faced when she assumed her post a few years back. What took more getting used to was the foghorn. “I thought I was being attacked by God knows what,” she told the Portland Press Herald. The light here was built shortly before the Civil War under the order of President Andrew Jackson to protect the western end of the island’s famous channel. The salty thoroughfare was essential for passenger vessels, for fishermen, and for the merchant ships taking granite out to the world. The stone went into the construction of all sorts of United States landmarks, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Washington Monument. In fact, if you live on the East Coast, you’ve almost certainly walked on granite that came from this eight-mile isle, kept safe by generations of lightkeepers. Turn to page 100 if you think you can identify this light and its landmass.

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The answers. And more…

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Orrs, Bailey Island pages 6–7

Population: 500.

Population density: 216 people per square mile.

Median household income: $40,611.

ZIP Code: 04003.

Best place to grab lunch: Cook’s Lobster House.

Best place to lay your head: you have your pick, but the Log Cabin may be the most fun.

Local landmarks: the bridge, Land’s End, Giant Steps, Mackerel Cove.

Renowned residents: freed slave William Black, Jungian psychoanalysts Eleanor Bertine, Esther Harding, and Kristine Mann.

Getting there from here: Take Route 24.

Head Tide, Alna pages 8–9

Population: 675.

Population density: 32 people per square mile.

Median household income: $43,125.

ZIP Code: 04535.

Best place to grab lunch: the only place is the local general store.

Best place to lay your head: the next town over.

Local landmarks: this village.

Renowned residents: poet Edwin Arlington Robinson, famous Maine writer Andrew Vietze.

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Have you seen this church in the woods?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

This graceful church has witnessed its share of drama. The Congregational meetinghouse sits across from the local historical society’s headquarters at the head of Main Street in this western mountain community of roughly 2,000, and it’s been home to the usual fiery sermons, somber funerals, and jubilant weddings. But it’s also seen four major fires tear through town in the span of a hundred years, the most devastating — one that singed the face of the church — taking place in 1971. Both the church and the community recovered, and a couple decades later, the old house of worship finally received the clock it had been waiting for since 1835, when the bell tower was built with circular openings where a clock should be. The town figured it would be able to install a proper timepiece a few years down the line as the community grew and prospered. Beautiful and pleasant though it may be — sitting astride a well-known river in the shadow of well-known mountains — the town never did get to the point where it could complete the project. But after more than 150 years of looking at the blank steeple, townspeople decided the time had come to rectify the situation. In 1991, after a year of bake sales and bean suppers, T-shirts sales and Monte Carlo nights, a classic 700-pound Seth Thomas clock was installed, adding a bit of temporal order to Main Street. One observer called the mighty fund-raising effort “perhaps the biggest thing that ever hit the town.” (Actually, the biggest thing would probably be the fire of 1971.) The church has certainly seen a lot. Maybe you’ve seen the church? Check page 99.

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Medium 9781603442015

The Rio Grande Fragile Lifeline in the Desert

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Mary E. Kelly

NEAR the ghost town of Candelaria, Texas, there is a small footbridge that crosses the Rio Grande. I’m standing in the middle of the bridge—which is less than fifty feet across and three feet wide—gazing at the sluggish brown stream below. The banks are choked by salt cedar, with only the occasional tenacious willow or cottonwood poking through. It’s brutally hot. Now and then, I glance back over my shoulder to make sure the Border Patrol hasn’t come around and wondered if the owner of the pickup truck parked on the Mexican side of the river is around.

The sun must be starting to take its toll. Is this really a part of the river that I have spent much of my career trying to understand and protect? There are thousands of miles of bigger, cleaner, more beautiful streams all over this state and country, none of them with the ridiculously complicated challenges facing the once mighty Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo del Norte, as it is known in Mexico. Why care about a river that can look this miserable?

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15 Reminders of the Past

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Outside of the Adolf Hitler Sportsplatz looking rather bare without the great gilt swastika framed in oak leaves that topped its center.

Nürnberg, Ger—8 July ’45

One side of the huge open amphitheater that was one of the foremost prewar Nazi Party meeting places. Now renamed Soldiers Field and used for the GI Olympics and 3d Army baseball finals.

Nürnberg, Ger—8 July ’45

GIs relax in courtyard of the castle Wachsenburg. Though originally built in 933 AD by monks, this castle has been restored several times and is now the official Museum of German Wars—1600 thru World War I.

Near Gotha, Ger—9 June ’45

Strictly candid. I’m perched on the wall of a tower getting a nice all-over shot of castle towers. ’Twas one of the Drei Gleichen. Lt. Rosenmann is holding the tripod in place. Another guy was holding me for awhile.

Near Gotha, Ger—9 June ’45

Lt. Rosenmann and me view the ruins of Burg Gleichen from atop one of its towers. This castle was built in the 1000s. The best preserved part is the eerie network of underground passages and dungeons.

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12 People on the Move following Victory in Europe, May 7

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Part of the lineup waiting to cross a narrow bridge. Traffic was one way at a time and very slow. The VE Day news is out, and many of these people are former slave laborers making a break for it.

Weissenfels, Ger—8 May ’45

Young German farm folk, looking a bit amused at the prospect of having their pic taken. They are stopped at a checking station at the end of town and an MP is investigating their wagonload behind for stowaways etc.

Sangershausen, Ger—11 May ’45

The CIC and Photo Units of 3d Armd. pause for a rest and ration stop on the autobahn to Frankfurt.

Between Sangerhausen and Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Presumably in VE Day glee, American fighters swarm playfully over Frankfurt.

Near Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Wreckage in the streets of Frankfurt am Maine. The nuns wearing packs and carrying suitcases appear to be on the move to some more habitable city or place of greater need.

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Medium 9781574416565

Violence and Religion in Texas

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Byrd IV, Christmas and birthday 1960

Growing up in Texas

Baudelaire is credited with coining the term modernity (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.

Texas is not unique to America in its unencumbered love of firearms and openly devotional mindset. The best I can tell, these cultural attributes are salient to any of the Southern states, at least in proportion to the Northeast and Northwest. The Byrd Williams archive is rife with photographic evidence of violence and religion throughout. I would be remiss not to address this aspect of our heritage.

Cultures evolve. My family was never very religious but we were armed to the teeth. I always loved cameras, but for the life of me I cannot remember why we had so many guns. I somehow lost that meme, maybe because our societal norms are shifting. My immediate ancestors were not particularly racist, violent, gender biased, homophobic, or fundamentalist about any ideology. By hobby and trade we were “observers” but close examination of the visual and written evidence indicates complicity in many of the above areas. I am chagrined about this. One could pass the buck and say, “Oh well, it was just the way it was in those days,” but my life of anthropological scrutiny prevents this. Photographing people carries with it a hint of exploitation. I offer myself for the same.

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