128 Chapters
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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Ever been to this Maine castle?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Quakers and guns, this place has seen it all. With its wide lawn, towers, and fortresslike façade, this central Maine institution has a medieval air about it. It looks as though it could withstand a catapult siege. That’s the first of many ironies about the building, which sits in a village between two of Maine’s largest cities. Though it appears rugged and defensible, the peculiar-looking edifice’s history is rooted in nonviolence. A group of Quakers migrated to this quiet farming community from New York state shortly after the American Revolution, and built a seminary on these grounds in 1848. They built their new school on 330 acres, amid a grove of oaks and overlooking one of the state’s largest rivers, and to this day have an active church in town. Those buildings are long since gone, and in the twenties or thirties, the Tudor-style castle shown here was put up in their place. For the better part of 150 years it was an educational center. It served as a girls academy for a long time, and later became a co-ed, college-prep boarding school. The campus was occupied until 1989, when the school went under and the facility was subsequently purchased by the state and then left vacant for a decade. In 2000, after extensive renovations, it reopened as an academy of a different sort. The property’s Quaker history has proved a bit problematic for this new educational institution, though, because the new school wanted to use guns on the grounds and the Quaker family who donated nearby land to the previous tenant did so under a provision that specifically forbade firearms. The situation has been tricky, but it looks to be sorted out. Check page 100 to see its location.

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Medium 9781574416565

People

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Title page to Byrd III photograph album

THE FACES THAT INHABIT ONE'S LIFE are also connected to a mutually shared experience, whether it is an insider that occupies the fabric of your reality or a transient in and out of your orbit like a waiter in a restaurant, never to be seen again.

All of the Byrd Williamses made portraits for a variety of reasons. Sometimes as a hired hand for vanity, sometimes for editorial information, but much of the time it was for nothing. For lack of a better term, it was for art.

Shortly after arriving in Gainesville, Texas, my great-grandfather set about photographing people he encountered. An untrained but enthusiastic amateur, his work included carefully executed records of local acquaintances, an endeavor common to the new “roll film” era photography was entering.

By 1885, Granddad had taken up the hobby and was encouraged by earning extra money shooting portraits of locals across the range of hamlets between Fort Worth and the Red River. Small communities within wagon distance of Gainesville that featured churches and the occasional town square such as Myra, Era, Muenster, Henrietta, Sanger, Bowie, and Whitesboro. Wherever he lived, my grandfather continued making two-dimensional replicas of people's faces for the rest of his life.

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Night

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WHEN I WAS A KID MY FRIENDS AND I WOULD HANG OUT on the street corners at night under the mercury vapor lights that provided a 200-foot circle of pasty illumination. If one of us had a paper route with the Fort Worth Press or Star Telegram, we were allowed to remain until sunrise when the newspapers had to be rolled and thrown to neighborhood subscribers. Our parents were more than happy to encourage our entrepreneurial spirit, inadvertently handing us the key to the city…at night.

For a twelve-year-old, it was one's first taste of unencumbered freedom. The summer sidewalks were still warm but the breeze was cool and no authority what-so-ever was in sight. Of course there was a bit of early ‘60s mischief, but for the most part, it was just fun being there.

I continued to roam the city at night for the rest of my life, as did my Dad. We never talked about the source of our fascination with gloomy urban spaces, but I know mine and can guess his. Cities are lit like movie sets.

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Medium 9780892726301

chapter eight UPLAND GAME BIRDS

Silliker, Bill, Jr. Down East Books ePub

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