Harpers Ferry 150th Anniversary, Re-enactment

John Brown's Fort

John Brown's Fort

John Brown

John Brown

Friday, October 16th, will be the 150th anniversary of the anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry that ended in the trial and execution of John Brown of North Elba, New York.

John Brown was convinced he could free the slaves, and Harpers Ferry was where he started this noble campaign. He wanted to seize the arsenal’s 100,000 weapons at the Arsenal and to wage guerrilla warfare in the Blue Ridge Mountains. His 21-soldier raid on Harper’s Ferry began Sunday, October 16, 1859.  Less than 2 days later, however, most of his followers were either killed or wounded, and he was captured. The fire station where he was found by U.S. Marines is now known as John Brown’s Fort.

Brown was tried and found guilty of treason, and of conspiracy with slaves to rebel, and to murder. On December 2, 1859 he was hanged.

Adirondack Almanack, one of my favorite blogs from New York’s Adirondack Park, announced today that an “Anniversary Procession” will take place from the Kennedy Farm to Harpers Ferry. The Farm is where Brown and his compatriots spent their final few weeks before the raid.

An anecdote about the annual procession is posted on Adirondack Almanack from Tim Rowland, author of High Peaks: A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene. Rowland, who lives about 10 miles from the Kennedy farm, is an Adirondack 46er, one of a group of hikers that have hiked to the top of all 46 mountain peaks in the Adirondacks.

News History Gallery, Journalists Memorial at Newseum

news corp. news history gallery newseumThe Newseum on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington DC, right next door to the Smithsonian, heralds the history of news making and media in the U.S. It also looks at the latest technologies for media, and ponders its future.

There is a Journalists Memorial area that pays tribute to reporters, photographers and broadcasters who have died reporting the news. The names of 1,913 individuals from around the world are etched on the glass panels of the soaring, two-story structure. The memorial is rededicated each year to add the names of journalists who lost their lives on the job in the preceding year. Adjoining the memorial are photographs of hundreds of those journalists, and electronic kiosks containing data on every honoree.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, owner of the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fox (Broadcasting, Cable and 20th Century Fox)  maintains one of many galleries, this one about the history of newspapers.

Journalists Memorial rededication 2008

Journalists Memorial rededication 2008

Adirondack Entertainment Memories

Gaslight Village as it used to be

Gaslight Village as it used to be

I recently discovered the Adirondack Almanack blog in my research for my next telework book. There’s a big push by Clarkson University and local decision-makers to create a number of telework centers in the broadband-deprived area as a way of luring longer-term residents to the resort area.

Adirondack Almanack’s John Warren has just posted a great story about the history of its amusement parks, and one man who was responsible for many – Arto Monaco. Through this post and its links we can wander around Gaslight Village, StoryTown, FrontierTown, Old MacDonald’s Farm, the Land of MakeBelieve and Santa’s Workshop. Enjoy!

Hotel San Carlos, Haunted Phoenix Landmark

449f_7 The Hotel San Carlos, created in 1928 and first owned by local business tycoon Dwight Heard, is still a Central Avenue fixture. One of its current owners, Robert Melikian, wrote a book “Hotel San Carlos” which not only tells the story of the historic tourist attraction but also regales its readers with the early downtown hospitality and business history.

One of the most interesting things I learned was that the hotel has ghosts.  One was a young woman, jilted at the altar, who reserved a top-floor room and then jumped to her death. People say they see her at the foot of their beds at night.  Between October and May, on Friday and Saturday nights, anyone can join a ghost tour of the hotel and close-by haunted areas. A tour of the hotel is included.

Published in: on September 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Titanic Found, ATM invented – both today

early ATM, courtesy of Time.com

early ATM, courtesy of Time.com

Today in 1969 the first ATM debuted in Rockville NY. Invented by Dallas resident Don Wetzel, an executive at Docutel, the original design could only dispense money.  The ability to deposit and provide balances came much later, as did ATM thieves.

exploring wreck of the Titanic

exploring wreck of the Titanic

On September 2, 1985, the wreck of the Titanic was discovered in the middle of the North Atlantic  by a group of U.S. and French explorers led by geologist Robert Ballard, after a 12-year preparation and search.  Included in the group were scientists from Woods Hole Deep Submergence Lab in Massachusetts and Francais de Recherche pour Lexploitation de Mer.

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 3:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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Olympic Bomb Today in 1996

On July 27th, 1996, thousands of people who wanted to watch the Olympics were  in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, the central point of the Summer Olympics, and the location for a late-night rock concert .

Shortly after midnight, Richard Jewell, a security guard who later became a bombing suspect, discovered a suspicious knapsack near the concert sound tower. He told authorities but before anyone could get the park evacuated the pipe bombs in the knapsack went off.  The nails that surrounded the three bombs were as deadly as the bomb. Alice Hawthorne from Georgia was struck in the head with one nail, and was killed instantly. 111 other people injured. One man died from a heart attack.

Eric Robert Rudolph, the real bomber, was implicated after he bombed other areas of Atlanta as well as Birmingham, Alabama.  The survivalist clearly targeted women, as his bombings were of women’s clinics and a lesbian night club. Then he disappeared in the Applachian mountains for five year. He was finally arrested May 31, 2003 in the small mountain town of Murphy North Carolina.  He’s now serving four consecutive life terms at ADX Florence in Colorado. Fellow prison mates include Terry Nichols, the 1995 Oklahoma City bomber, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski,  and al-Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.

Nashville, July 1964

If you’re from Nashville, live in Nashville, or love Nashville and its musical memories, you’ll really enjoy the array of photos published by The Tennessean.  The sample below speaks for itself.

nashville july 1964

Published in: on July 17, 2009 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mexicans in Phoenix, a History

by Frank Barrios

by Frank Barrios

As is usual with Arcadia Publishing books, local historian Frank Barrios tells the history of Mexicans in Phoenix primarily through photographs. His book is fascinating, with some tales of yore I didn’t know. For instance, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church at 909 East Washington Street was built in 1928 as a result of segregation at another nearby church.  Father Novatus Benzig, pastor of St. Mary’s at 400 East Monroe Street, decided to move the Spanish speaking Mass to the basement, with the English speaking service upstairs in the main church. This angered the Mexican community and the local bishop gave them permission – and a little money – to start their own church.

Does anyone remember the Calderon Ballroom, a prominent dance hall?Famous folks that entertained there included Fats Domino, and Tina Turner.

Author Frank Barrios is the son of Dolores Gold, part of the historically prominent Gold family of Phoenix. His book is a very good read for history buffs!

Published in: on July 2, 2009 at 6:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Superman Died Fifty Years Ago Today

reeves George Reeves, the original TV Superman, took his own life June 16, 1959, after a string of really bad luck throughout his life. Or did he? There are elements of that event that still have some questioning whether it was a suicide.  Many also talk about the Superman curse that haunted others as well. You can read all the details on Wired.

Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Arizona Rangers

AZ rangers Following in the footsteps of the famous Texas Rangers, Arizona created an Arizona Rangers team of its own in 1901.  Depending on which book you read these folks were honorable heroes always, or they were a mixture of honorable heroes and former criminals and ongoing criminals who also performed mostly honorably and well as Rangers when the situation called for it.

As part of its Images of America series, Arcadia Publishing produced Arizona Rangers, written by M. David  DeSoucy.  This entertaining chronicle is rampant with photos from the archives of Arizona historical associations and organizations, and chronicles the various tales of what the Arizona Rangers accomplished from their 1901 launch until the book’s publication in 2008.  An easy, memorable and entertaining read.