“A JEWEL BEYOND PRICE” – NAULAKHA – A VERMONT TREASURE

“Did you know that…” Rudyard Kipling, who was the most famous author in the world, built his home, Naulakha, in 1892 in Dummerston (just north of the Brattleboro line) where he lived for four years. Here he wrote some of his most well known works: “The Jungle Book,” Captains Courageous,” conceived “Kim,” and “Just So Stories.”

Sometimes when it says “Private Property” we comply.

I have known about this hidden treasure on Kipling Road for some time, and have driven by and gazed at the property owned by Landmark Trust USA. I also knew that the Trust rented the home with seventy percent of its original furnishings owned by the Kipling family. Ever since my first drive by I have wanted to arrange a stay with friends (Naulakha sleeps eight) to relax, eat, read and visit. In June 2015, BLUE BELLE and I visited, taking this picture.

NAULAKHA – Dummerston, Vermont

For years I told a few friends that this would be a rare experience staying here, but other than seeing the Trust’s brochure, one has no idea what the home is like inside, or the grounds. In my travels I pick up literature, and free magazines, and a couple weeks ago I brought home from the grocery store UPCOUNTRY MAGAZINE for May and June. There was an article about Naulakha, offering a “rare glimpse inside.” And, there at the end of the article was the box announcing “guided tours.” I called, and bought tickets for the tour and tea. Our visit was on 29 May.

We had lunch in Brattleboro, and arrived early to be on time for our 1PM tour. We wandered about outside, and here is his home, built to resemble a ship, ninety feet long and thirty feet wide. For privacy from onlookers from the distant road, the rooms are on the high side above facing east (sorry, forgot to take a view of the vistas east for you), and all hallways and stairs are on the entrance side to the west, as seen below from the carriage house.

Still on a dirt road, when Kipling built his home all trees in all directions had been removed for sheep herding. Looking out from the 100-yard multi-colored rhododendron tunnel is this view of the house.

and, looking down the tunnel

and, at the end is this wonderful stone pergola, just waiting for our picnic and lounging.

looking east towards the road is the first tennis court in Vermont. When Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) visited, he brought skis to use here, and he and Kipling also shagged golf balls on these lawns

It was time for our 1PM tour given by the very knowledgeable Kelly Carlin, who has been with the Trust for 17 years. Her presentation, and easy reply to questions, exhibits an in-depth understanding of Kipling, his family, and the history of this property. With luck her knowledge and ease of presentation will be carried on by others in generations ahead. We started off in the dining room, with Kipling’s dining set (remember you can eat here), and museum quality sideboard.

The kitchen has this very intimate breakfast nook.

windows are placed to maximize light entering. There is a window from the kitchen that looks out to another window and to the carriage house. The outside window permits light to fill the staircase to the basement, but (and you can also see above on the left) also lets light into the spacious kitchen.

On the other side of dining room is Mrs. Kipling’s study. She handled most of the business for the family and her husband, and protected people from getting past to her husband’s study. I need to learn more about her in the book, “The Hated Wife: Carrie Kipling 1862-1939.”

 

Carrie Kipling’s study.

Rudyard Kipling’s study.

we then got to explore the second and third floors on our own. On the second floor are four bedrooms and three baths, and the third floor Kipling’s pool table and games and amusements.

And on the third floor,

There is so much you can learn about Kipling, and his time here. One good book to start with is Rudyard Kipling in Vermont by Stuart Murray. A family feud led to their departure (Rudyard Kipling’s Vermont Feud by Frederic Van de Water).

Abandoned, and left untouched for over forty years (other than by raccoons) the Trust purchased the property in 1991, restoring it, and opening it for short-term stays (minimum three nights). I asked Kelly, and learned that this was the second year they have offered these guided tours. “What a wonderful marketing venue,” I told her, “you should be able to attract folks who will then book a stay.” I think, and hope, it worked with the friends who joined me on the tour. Kelly also has a few school programs, and some other activities that you can learn about by spending time on the Landmark Trust USA‘s website.

RAY RECOMMENDS
1 – Learn what you can on-line about Kipling in Vermont, and his home. Here is one suggestion – The Literary Traveler 
2 – Read the books I mention above
3 – Study the Landmark Trust USA‘s website — and book a holiday at one of their magnificent properties.
4 – Read my monthly “Did you know that…” history articles in my newspaper – THE WALPOLE CLARION.

9:30 AM 2 June – just found this great article from the Kipling Society. This article is really comprehensive, all inclusive, and readable – I encourage you give it some time for the history. Note the additions that were made, and removed when the Trust found the original plans in the NYC architect’s office. Click on this link —  NAULAKHA AFTER KIPLING 

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BIG DITCH EXPLORATIONS – 17-18 MAY 2019

I am not the only one who, in the last 200 years, has thanked DeWitt Clinton for his “Wedding of the Waters.” Originally 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo, I have been curious about the Erie Canal for years. I still have a long way to go to experience it all. In September 2008, I took a three day, two night, cruise on the canal from Albany to Syracuse. My curiosity intensified. I later explored canals and narrowboats in England and Ireland (sadly not taken a trip), have dug into Erie Canal sites on my previous trips to western New York, and detoured on other shunpiking adventures when I learned of nearby canals in Pennsylvania. In Canada I took a week long adventure on the Rideau Canal in 2011.

The New York Thruway, for the most part, follows the Erie Canal across the state. Thus the canal is accessible from many points along the way. On Friday I planned to see many of the canal towns from Lockport to Rochester (I did spend an afternoon at the Lockport Canal Museum in October 2014), But when I learned I could only see the Pan-American museum that morning, good old flexible me made some adjustments. So, on the way to Rochester I only got to Brockport and Spencerport – both deserve return visits.

In Brockport I met my first Lift Bridge.

The roughly 60 miles from Lockport (at the Niagara Escarpment) east to Rochester is basically flat with no locks. But bridges are required for traffic to cross the canals. Where long approaches are not possible to have a bridge high enough for boats to go under, lift bridges were installed, and the entire bridge is raised at once with counterweights – fascinating. And, as you can see below, as I turned around for this image, often the canal in not dug down, but built up.

When the bridge is up, you can climb the stairs to cross the canal on the sidewalk that also raises with the bridge. And, worrying about the ground level sidewalk, I learned that a barricade raises up with the bridge.

Down the road in Spencerport, this old trolley station was moved to provide a small museum, but in the lower level are facilities for canal boaters to use.

a fantastic interior, on display is an extensive collection of telephone equipment used and collected in the area.

this working model of a Lift Bridge helped me understand.

and, right outside the museum, boaters can tie up, use the facilities, go into town, and spend the night.

Leaving Rochester Saturday morning, and following the canal, I got this image of Fairport below, and a different style Lift Bridge.

I crossed the canal near Lock 30 in Macedon (where I may someday rent a boat) to Palmyra. I was on Route 31, which I was on years ago, but going in the opposite direction. So, I did see things differently, and more based on my research. Before entering Palmyra I stopped at Lock 29 and Palmyra Aqueduct Park. I stopped this time for a detailed visit.

Palmyra Aqueduct Park, New York

I spent some time chatting with the lock attendant. This fellow, and the next one I visited, with were both a wealth of friendly information. Both loved their jobs, caring for their locks and grounds, and helping curious visitors. Both fellows were proud of their work.

Lock 29 – Erie Canal

The equipment is fastidiously maintained.

Moved to the park was this rescued cross-over bridge for the tow animals.

I then arrived in Palmyra. I had passed through before, but did not know the TIME-CAPSULEs here and that Palmyra is the birthplace of the Latter Day Saint movement. Founder Joseph Smith, whose family lived on a farm, started it here. The first book of Morman was printed here, and to top things off, Henry Wells, founder of Wells Fargo and American Express, came from here.

The TIME CAPSULE – the five Museums of Historic Palmyra. This canal town is an architectural and historic treasure that must be visited, and I need to go back.  You know I love old country stores and letterpress printing – two of the museums are the original store, and a print shop.

a close-up of the facade shows changes over the time. What looks like Victorian cast-iron features are actually applied features over wood. See the small addition to the left of the store above? The canal was originally right next door with the store entrance there (before the addition). Fights were always underway by canal boaters vying for loads, and ladies would not go to the store. So, a new owner changed the entrance to where it now is facing Market Street.

Inside – WOW. Living quarters above, unchanged with three generations. The senior shop owner in 1940 said to his daughter, “I am done, the store is yours,” and he locked up. The store never opened again, and stayed untouched until after her death in the late 1970s. It was in the early 80s (if I recall from the private tour) the society acquired the property. I would imagine the shelves have been restaged, but done so with items that have always been in this building. – Unbelievable.

Did I say the doors were locked in 1940, and everything left as is? Here are eggs that were for sale that day – now almost 80 years later.

Three generations of the same family had lived above the store, and little was changed from one generation to the next – you have to visit in person. (remember you can click on an image to see a larger view)

You are toured by a docent from building to building. The main building, an old hotel, you can roam the exhibits, each room devoted to another aspect of local history. I have not included images of the original canal office where you bought tickets, but of interest, the mules were kept and fed in the basement with inclined walkways originally there for entrance and egress. I really enjoyed the print shop – one of the most extensive letterpress collections I have seen in one place.

and, on Main Street (I stopped in, will visit next time) is the Grandin Building, the site of the publishing of the First Book of Mormon. The press was on the top floor on the left, bindery in the middle floor, and book shop on the lower level.

Another must do in Palmyra is to attend the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant – although I heard it may only be held two more years. Over 600 people are in the pageant that is performed before thousands – and it is free. The pageant describes Joseph Smith’s  encounter with the Golden Plates, then translated into English as the Book of Mormon.

Moving along because I wanted to get to the canal park in Camillus, I next stopped at Lock 28B in Newark, which is also the site of old double Lock 59. The young attendant got his job just days ago. Now a part-timer, he was a wealth of knowledge, really wanted his site to shine, and would like to become full-time, year round staff. I recommend he be hired.

The interior of the old power plant shined. No longer used, it could be started up again to generate electricity to power the locks. The generators are powered by water driven turbines beneath. At many of the locks power plants were part of the facility before rural electrification made its way.

and then the young fellow walked me across the street to tell me what he knew about old Lock 59, and how he was going to improve the property.

originally the lock doors were opened by manpower, and you can see the foot treads to provide traction while the gate-keeper was opening the door.

I was running out of time and wanting to get to Camillus, I headed down to the Thruway, and headed east. But, I saw a sign, “what is this that I did not know about?” And, I turned in off the Thruway.

Never having seen the  PORT BYRON OLD ERIE CANAL HERITAGE PARK, I stopped beating myself up for missing it since it has only been open for three years, long after my last trip heading east on the NY Thruway. And, an interesting story of negotiation between the Federal Government (on an Interstate Highway), the NY Turnpike Authority, Town of Port Byron, and the custodians, the Canal Society of New York State. You see, there was concern about people getting on and off the limited access Thruway, and competition from food vendors in the facility. It was all worked out, and you can enter from the Thruway or walk through a gate from the Town of Port Byron. Alongside the interstate is the 1854 Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 52, the 1894 Erie House Tavern, and the 2016 Visitor’s Center, which sits atop the footprint of the original canal. Forever you could see the double lock from the road, but now you can tour it, and the original canal tavern built in 1894. Remember I had a destination, but I am flexible, and spent over two hours touring the property, talking with the docents, and loving every minute. You can see the locks heading east on the Thruway – BUT STOP !!!

Built in 1894 was the Erie House Tavern. Closed when Port Byron went dry, it remained a home for the original owners, until the last sister (a teacher in Port Byron) died. There were hotel rooms at one time upstairs, and the Tavern room had been converted to living space.

you can see to the right side the blacksmith shop which was relocated to the spot with the help of old photos. Original items, including the bar, were found in the basement. Here is the tavern room still a work in progress – but gorgeous.

an original black and white photo, interpreted to be 1901 due to the Black Mourning Bunting draped outside, most likely honoring the assassinated President McKinley.

Many displays are in the visitor center, including this model of a double lock with the overflow tunnel shown between the locks. Note the wooden abutments before the stonework and the spaces allowing for the overflow to enter the tunnel – I clearly saw the overflow holes in old Lock 59. This model was exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, then the New York State Museum. It ended up at the Canal Museum in Syracuse, but was relegated to the basement where it was rescued by the society and restored for exhibit here.

for everyone’s close-up study

I chatted some more with the docents, bought a book, realized I was not going to make it to the museum at Camillus, chatted some more, and then “voted with my dollars” and joined the Canal Society of New York State.

Back on the Thruway, I figured I should at least see the Camillus park, and the aqueduct that I was encouraged to see. Getting there, I saw this sign that the park is essentially the mid-point of the Erie Canal.

But the buildings were closed, but looked disappointing. So disappointing that I forgot I should have taken a walk to see the still used aqueduct – well, next time, and there has to be many next times for the Erie Canal for me. I ate quickly, and headed home.

RAY RECOMMENDS
1 – Explore the Erie Canal, its route, and old Canal Towns
2 – Plan to spend a day in Palmyra, New York for its architecture and museums
3 – When heading east on the New York Thruway, stop at the Old Erie Canal Heritage Park in Port Byron

 

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CITY OF LIGHT – MAKING THE LIGHT – CAPTURING LIGHT — 16-17 MAY 2019

By now you should know I love playing with words, and creating catchy titles. This title explains my adventures of Thursday and Friday, 16 and 17 May in Buffalo and stopping in Rochester. Yes, a delay in posting, but since returning I have read two books on the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, not to mention my normal “work.” My reading, and working on these memory posts, prompts more research, and I have found Buffalo fascinating, and in need of more visits.

The weather was iffy during my week in Buffalo, but I shifted plans to head to Niagara Falls on the best day – Thursday, 16 May. I told you I was disappointed with the falls (at least not overly impressed) on my last visit to the Canadian side in October 2014. My lack of enthusiasm continues, but I felt I should explore the American side, but particularly I wanted to see the NY Power Authority’s Niagara Power Vista at Lewiston.

The website is a tad confusing, but this totally free experience is worth several hours of your time. The power of water on the Niagara River has generated electricity since the late 19th century. This facility, built in three years, was completed in 1961. Robert Moses oversaw amazing projects, such as the 1964 NY World’s Fair, so why do construction projects take forever today?

Here is an aerial view of the dam (which holds back the forbear and reservoir, not the river) and generating plant. Note the entrance of the water tunnels upstream to the south.

Here is a view from the visitor center walkway looking north. This point is twice the height of Niagara Falls. The Canadian generation plant is on the left.

The outcrop of land under the bridge to Canada is where it has been determined Niagara Falls started about 10,000 (?) years ago, but have moved 7 miles to the south.

Powerlines are underground to preserve the park like setting. The visitor center is amazing with history of the area, the construction, video, 4-D experience (that is not a typo), and many educational hands-on exhibits to learn about electricity. Worth a visit, and additional research. The view below is looking south on the Niagara River back to Niagara Falls, New York. On my trip 5 years ago I travelled down the road you see on the right – the Canadian side.

I then headed south along the river through depressed Niagara Falls, New York, to Niagara Falls State Park to experience the American side of the river. Still early in the year, but plenty of visitors. Construction workers were still rebuilding walkways damaged over the winter by ice, but the elevator was operating through solid rock taking you down to the Cave of the Winds (no longer accessible) under Bridal Falls (on the right) with the view of the American Falls.

Looking back to the Horseshoe falls, best seen from Canada, I wondered what beauty there probably was in the mid-19th century to attract tourists. I say that, because I do not see any attractiveness, particularly with the millions of gulls nesting, and the barren rocks full of guano.

but, I had to see it, can say I was here, etc. Below is above the Bridal and American Falls, I probably should have walked out to the overlook, but am still breaking in the new hip.

then I walked over to the overlook over the Horseshoe falls. It was impressive with an artistic touch.

Getting closer, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my barrel.

but, then I saw it is all a hoax. The whole effect is nothing but a stonewall holding back some water.

don’t ask what I did to get this view. I am still here, and was not arrested.

Heading out of the park I followed the Niagara River towards Lake Erie, and passed the impressive intakes for the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant. I also realized later during research of the area that I also passed through Love Canal on the LaSalle Expressway. You may recall that sad saga in environmental history. I detoured back to Buffalo via Amherst and the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village. Nice, but you do not have to make a special trip.

I was going to leave first thing Friday morning for Rochester doing Erie Canal things on the way, but I had discovered that the hours of an exhibit I really, really wanted to see were wrong, and I could only see SPIRIT OF THE CITY exhibit of the Buffalo Historical Society on this day, the third Friday of the month (I would have pushed for “by appointment”). On the way (blocks away from my B&B) I had time to tour the Richardson Olmsted Campus – a premier historic preservation project. The complex was built 145 years ago for enlightened treatment for people with mental illness – an asylum. Another reason to visit Buffalo. Driving up to the front, I remembered my Road Scholar bus tour of the city stopped at this point.

around to the rear is the entrance to the Hotel Henry and its restaurants in this complex that had been neglected for decades.

From the Buffalo History Museum website, “the Spirit of the City, the History Museum’s 3000 square foot feature exhibit showcasing the Pan-art1.jpgAmerican Exposition, and our collection storage areas populate the Resource Center. In the 1990s, The Buffalo History Museum acquired and renovated the streetcar repair barn (circa 1895). The materials housed in the Pan-Am Building during the Centennial, transforms this 100+ year old trolley barn into a Pan-Am Exposition hall. The combined exhibit features “the Little Building,” a rediscovered structure from the Pan-Am grounds, plus artifacts and hands-on displays that explore the exposition’s funny and serious sides.” And, for history, here is a C-Span program. This exhibit was created for the 100th anniversary of the fair. Below are some highlights. In my opinion, the presentations at the fair, and the untimely inauguration of TR defined the 20th century as it dawned, and transitioned from 19th century institutions.

Below is the original architect’s model of the centerpiece of the fair – The Electric Tower – followed by a night photograph.

And, the original model for the Temple of Music where McKinley was assassinated.

Based on his sketches, this 1902 painting is of McKinley speaking at the exposition on President’s Day.

The only gun used in a presidential assassination not in the hands of the Federal government. Leon Czulogosz used this gun, hidden under this handkerchief, to shoot the President. And the handcuffs immediately placed on him.

And, some of the surgical tools used on the President. One bullet was never found.

In this view of the center of exhibit hall is the model of the Electric Tower and the “little building” that was saved from the fair, and had an interesting life before finding its way here.

No test, but here are some of the panels of information that I wanted to copy to put into perspective the time period of the exposition in 1901, and the views of other peoples and cultures. You may find them interesting, and a springboard for more learning. Remember that you can click to enlarge for easier reading.

and, in conclusion –

It was then onto Rochester and the George Eastman Museum. I made two quick Erie Canal stops, but you will see those in the final Buffalo post.

The last time I transited the area I did not have the time to give the George Eastman Museum the time it deserved. Photography, the history of photography, dark-room work, stereo cameras, etc. have been an interest since I was twelve. The museum includes Eastman’s house and galleries built to the rear.

Eastman built the house for himself and his mother. She died a couple years after the home was finished in 1905. Eastman I learned committed suicide in 1932, no longer able to cope with the pain of spinal stenosis. His final note said, “My Work is Done, Why wait?” Well appointed, there are rotating exhibits in the house (as well as in the galleries).

Various groups had decorated some rooms with movie themes. You can see a scene from Caddyshack (above) on the pool table.

Saturday I headed home, but did Erie Canal experience all the way. Soon I will get those stories to you. Thank you for reading and following through this post.

RAY RECOMMENDS:
1 – Visit Buffalo, New York
2 – Learn what you can of the Pan-American Exposition and its time period

Posted in 2019-a Buffalo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A TRIP TO THE MOON and to EDEN – 14-15 MAY 2019

You may recall my Roycroft Arts and Crafts experience in Western New York in October 2014. One day we toured Frank Lloyd Wright architecture spots in Buffalo. I realized I had to get back to explore Buffalo, and that is what I did from 13 to 18 May. Now I can say that I need one or two more trips to experience more of the area. I did a great deal of planning, but it is never enough; and, you know I change my plans when stumbling into something of interest I did not know about. I drove out on Monday, and Tuesday began my explorations at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. It was here that TR assumed the Presidency following McKinley’s death following being shot at the Pan-American Exposition on September 6, 1901.

The website is wonderful, do check it out. Below is the spot in the home where TR was sworn in. I have now been to two inauguration sites of Presidents succeeding a President dying in office.

TR wrote his first proclamation at this desk.

here are some interesting panels of history – you can click on them for larger images to read if you wish.

There are a number of interactive exhibits, including sitting at TR’s White House office. I dove into work, and made the news (you can enlarge it to read the story about me).

Did you know that I have been enthralled with World’s Fairs and Expositions for decades? It is true, and Buffalo has much to share of its past with the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Downstairs there is an impressive fair exhibit.

some more panels of interest

The midway was extremely popular at the fair with many amusements including A TRIP TO THE MOON

Thomas A. Edison was making movies (silent) in 1901, and documented many happenings at the fair. I bet they are on-line, but being shown here was the exciting trip of the LUNA ship to meeting the people on the moon.

It was then off to City Hall for the highly recommended noon tour.

This 32 story Art Deco edifice was completed in 1931 to serve a city of one million. Buffalo was exponentially growing following the completion of the Erie Canal followed by its development as a port with lake trade transferring to the railroads. Population reached 600,000, but today is but just over 260,000. The first floor is impressive with its ceilings, murals and these murals that have a semi-circular top – a separate name that I forget and cannot find.

On the tour you even see the mayor’s office. It is large, his desk is in the rear, and sometimes he even will greet visitors on the tour. My tour group was small. A man from Poland, another young European, and an Asian family. A popular thing to do in Buffalo.

This stained glass ceiling in the council chamber is a masterpiece.

these are the seats in the council chamber. Recognize the wire frames, and their use? During renovations it was decided to keep these accouterments underneath the small seats (people were thinner then).

Remember? Probably not. Men (and women) always wore hats. And, you would slip the brim in the wire frame and put the seat down, thus holding your hat. Impressive are the views from the observation deck, below looking south to Lake Erie.

My great tour director, and the fellow from Poland told me of two architectural treasures I had to see that were in walking distance. First I headed over to the Guaranty Building, an early skyscraper completed in 1896 and designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

It was then over to the Elliott Square Building completed in 1896. This historic office building is amazing with a great central court where I had lunch. Note the mezzanine retail spaces – sadly vacant.

this solid and still resident was at one time editor of the newspaper, The Buffalo Express, in 1869. He watched me eat.

an architectural gem, I have never seen elevator doors such as these, nor such a large and impressive mail box at the end of the mail chutes from above.

On my last trip, the Road Scholar bus drove past Canalside and the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. I was shocked then what I saw, and made it back this time to visit one of the three ships – the USS SULLIVANS DD537.

I enlisted in the US Naval Reserve in high school to better my chances for acceptance into the NROTC program to cover college costs. It worked, but in 1963 I went to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, and before starting college in 1964 I went on the SULLIVANS for a two week reserve cruise. The ship represented the US at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Confederation of Canada in Charlottetown, PEI.  And, I was part of the crew. Mentioning that when I went to pay for my ticket I was told, “no charge since you were a former crew member.” I did not say it was but two weeks. It was an amazing well laid out tour – here is a formidable view.

As I said, the self-guided tour is amazing. In the “gallery” below is my “rack” – my bunk at the bottom of a “ladder” (stairs to you landlubbers) – the worst spot given to a two week reservist, and the mess decks (dining room).

and, next is the entrance to the XO’s (Executive Officer) stateroom. Why show this do you ask? It is quite a story.

I was watching the celebration parade with Bob Eck (only time I have remembered a name). Started talking to two fellows next to us, and telling them I was headed to Northwestern to major in Radio, TV and Film (that major lasted one semester), they said they were actors/dancers in the Wayne and Schuster show, and would we like see the show that night – YES. After the show they took us to the big party for Prime Minister Lester Pearson. There we were, junior enlisted in uniform, being welcomed graciously by all the Canadians. The Commanding Officer of the ship saw us, and was amazed, and came over. The actors said to him, we are having another party later, can these two fellows come, and be back in the morning? You see, there was “Cinderella Liberty” and you had to be back by midnight. The CO (Commanding Officer) said, “yes, have fun,” impressed that we had been invited to this gala centennial event.

The next morning walking down the pier to the ship, everyone was watching us, and making cat calls. Crossing the Quarterdeck the OOD (Officer of the Deck) said, “you are AWOL, and in big trouble, wait here.” We were then escorted to the XO’s stateroom where he asked what we were doing. “The Commanding Officer said we could stay out,” I explained. “Right, I don’t believe that, wait here, I will go ask him.” We stood in that doorway, and when the XO returned he said, “next time the CO says you can stay out, call the ship and tell us, now get out of here.” I still have my program for the evening, signed by the Prime Minister and Wayne and Schuster. Now I have this story “in print.”

This placard on the SULLIVANS is the best explanation I have seen.

The plan for Wednesday the 15th was to start the day in Eden. Eden, New York, that is, to see a “first, and only one in the US and world” I had read about.  On the way I had to see the abandoned Buffalo Central Terminal – two miles out of the city.

An active station from 1929 to 1979, the 17-story Art Deco style station was built for the New York Central Railroad to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily, as well as 1,500 New York Central employees.. About 2.5 miles from downtown, it was expected the city would soon reach the terminal – it never happened.

Buffalo Central Terminal when completed in 1929.

I then headed south for about 40 minutes for Eden, and,

Beginning as a metal shop in 1907, the kazoo factory was established in 1916, and is the only original metal kazoo factory in the world. The original machines are still in place, still used, and driven by overhead belts.

changing ownership over the years, and with production down from millions to tens of thousands (what is wrong with people?), the original factory and working museum was donated to SASI, a non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. I saw about 4 employees working away at a “perfect fit.”

there are 18 steps involved, believe it or not, to make a $3 basic kazoo.

I have stashed away about 20 images of all the placards of the steps. Telling friends about this discovery it was decided to form “the band.” So, another website will evolve, a marching unit, and the purchase of equipment I made was one of the largest there in a long time. Here are some of the historic items in display cases (remember to click to enlarge).

Of course, yesterday (22 May) while scouting books, I discovered in an antique shop a brass horn, labeled “child’s horn” – $5. No thought needed, ends up being an 1890s KOBO BRASS BAND INSTRUMENT invented by the kazoo inventor, and looking at my images above, I see one sitting upright in the middle row right image above. I found pages of history, and previous sales of over $100 for my rare piece. I am a good Googler.

 

Did I say Pan-American Exposition 1901? I was off to the location of the fair next, passing the abandoned steel plants, grain elevators, etc. on the way. On my last trip I got the bus driver to detour to the stone marking where the Temple of Music was, and where McKinley was shot. The “Rainbow City” showcased electricity from Niagara Falls on its 350 acres of former farm land to the north of the city, which is now a lovely residential area.

 

Stone marking site of the Temple of Music where President McKinley was shot.

Next I went to the Buffalo History Museum. The building was the only fair building built to permanently remain after the fair, and for use as the history museum.

the front of the building faced the lakes at the south of the fair – Delaware Park.

Looking across the lake you can see the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It was to be open for fair as the Fine Arts Gallery, but a strike at the quarries delayed completion for a few years. I will have to spend time in the museum and adjoining Burchfield Penney Art Center on my next visit.

inside the central court of the Buffalo History Museum. During the exposition this was the New York State Building.

and, I wanted to share this view of the fair’s Triumphal Bridge, painted c1900 by F. Hopkinson Smith.

Hope you got this far. It has taken me over a week to get to document my first two days of this adventure, and I still have three more days to share with you. But I am getting there.

RAY RECOMMENDS — VISIT, AND SPEND TIME EXPLORING BUFFALO, NEW YORK

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MORE VERMONT EXPLORATIONS – 1-2 MAY 2019

I am starting this looking out in the rain to where mountains should be – but, alas between fog, rain and even sleet yesterday, I see nothing but a solid, unbroken sheet of light gray – which you will see in many images below. I had someplace I wanted to visit, and usually there is more than one way to get somewhere. The direct route most everyone else takes, but not my meandering way. That is what I did on May the first to get to Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Backroading I can state:

1] most old “main roads” (early small two lane – replete with potholes) follow flowing water
2] you must love maps, and know how to use them – yesterday my iPhone (for WAZE use) read “no service.” Not sure everyone is comfortable with that any more. But, “no service” means great exploring.
3] if you see a century old country store, stop to get a bite to eat or gas as it may be your last chance

Below is my two day route, and hopefully before I get home I will be able to purchase a pink marker to highlight my route (got one in Keene on Friday the 3rd) – click to enlarge, if so inclined.

I headed north part way on I-91, exiting at gateway 16 for Route 25 toward West Topsham – recommend exploring this route. Turned right off main road (ha, ha) to see East Corinth – nice early village (seen better days as have most of these parts – never saw so many roofs sitting on floors). Back on Route 25, I could not believe what I saw – antiques and architectural salvage – Tillotson Trading.

Definitely worth a stop – or special trip for that special need – check out their website. When chatting with the owners, and telling them where I was headed they said, “well, Beetlejuice was filmed just over the hill in the village.” Guess I must watch this 1988 cult classic comedy, and plan another visit.

Route 25 ends on US 302 where I turned right towards Groton. A nice run and mountainous. Of course I stopped to see the William Scott Monument, wouldn’t you? It proclaimed Scott was born on the farm here (reclaimed by forest probably 100 years ago). You know him as the Sleeping Sentinel, and if not, click on the monument to read, also on this link – thus, giving you a second chance. I took a look at Groton, then back to Route 232 towards Marshfield on US Route 2.  RAY RECOMMENDS – experience Route 232 through nothing but state park and lakes. No telephone polls, but most amazing were the woods populated by glacial stones of all sizes – You have to see to believe.

Remember I said, “when you see it, stop and eat?” It was about noon, and I saw this “target of opportunity” the only thing really in Marshfield. I enjoyed a massive roast beef sub – almost a side of beef between the bread, and I swear I heard a couple soft moos with some bites.

Continuing north, now on VT 215 towards VT 15, when in the area you stop at the Cabot Creamery. A cooperative of dairy farmers (now approaching 2,000 in New England and New York) they are known for their cheddar cheeses. I enjoyed the 10 minute video (plant tours are no longer available) and the gift shop.

Here are some “moo-ving” facts I found fascinating. Click for easier reading.

Route 15 then to Hardwick, and Route 14 north to the turn for Craftsbury, and Craftsbury Common (my real reason for this trip).

Climbing up the hill you come first to “downtown” Craftsbury with the General Store and Post Office.

Climbing more, was my destination – Craftsbury Common

Why you ask? THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, by Alfred Hitchcock, filmed here in 1954 and released (in Barre, VT) in 1955. Staring John Forsythe, and Shirley MacLaine in her first film role. And, Arnie, “the Beaver,” Jerry Mathers. One of those classic films I need to watch every year, and partially filmed here. I walked around the Common, and took some images which I have compared to frames from the film. Yes, much has changed, but much has remained the same. When the film crew arrived they were shocked to find the colored leaves had fallen early. Hitchcock’s solution – quickly glue colored leaves to the trees. You will enjoy reading about the filming in this somewhat remote location that you do have to “shunpike” out of the way to visit.

I had struggled where to stay for a night – yes, hard to find a B&B in the north woods, but then it struck me – experience the Trapp Family Lodge, and I booked a night. From Craftsbury Common I headed to Morrisville to pick up VT 100 south to Stowe.

The Trapp Family Lodge

A nice resort facility (not really “Ray’s thing”), but now I have stayed there. Here is the view from my window upon arrival – last time I saw anything but a gray wall.

Dinner was nice in the formal dining room (yes it is European to have eggs on your Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein. Upon leaving I stopped at the Trapp cemetery next to the lodge

The Thursday plan was to revisit the Vermont History Museum at the Pavilion Building next to the Vermont State House. I was last there in September 2013, and told you “I enjoyed the museum and learned a great deal, and will tour again someday.” Today was the day. Parking in Montpelier is about impossible when the legislature is in session, but finally.

I loved the museum, spent a couple hours, took almost 30 images of exhibits and words for my future use, not to clutter this post with, but here is a Vermont Catamount –

Known elsewhere as a cougar, mountain lion, or puma – but in Vermont catamount – this animal was such a threat to livestock that it was almost hunted to extinction. Killed on Thanksgiving Day 1881, after quite a chase, this catamount threatened sheep in Barnard. It was considered the largest “Monster Panther” ever, and has been on display since 1886 at the Vermont State House and the Vermont Historical Society.

I really wanted to see the printing press on exhibit. Once considered (and I still believe it is – read my writing about it by clicking on this link) the first press in America, the museum staff now disputes that – but the debate continues – now going on 400 years. Below is the Stephen Daye Press – the first on this continent (much repaired), but considered by the museum as the Dresden Press – they are wrong!

The final plan for Thursday 2 May – Covered Bridges and a Floating Bridge – yes I said “floating bridge.”

I headed south out of Montpelier on Route 12 (check my map above). Remember what I said about “targets of opportunity?” I was hungry, it was almost 2PM – duh, and here was the answer – The Falls General Store in Northfield Falls. The cafe inside, appropriately named, Three Bridges Cafe, and you will learn why.

 

The road road to the side leads to three of Northfield Falls covered bridges, and the only covered bridges in Vermont that can be see in the same view.

 

 

you will see this nowhere else.

moving to the next

and, up the hill, around the bend is the third covered bridge within less than 1/4 mile.

driving back down to Route 12

If you are following my map, heading further south on Route 12, I turned right down a dirt road to the Slaughter House bridge – yes used to go to a slaughter house:

a perfect approach to a bridge – and you have to know it is there – looking at a map (paper copy that is).

Heading further south, WAZE helped me find – Stony Brook Covered Bridge – I absolutely could not believe the clarity of the water flowing – I just wanted to climb down and drink it.

It was then Route 64 east to dirt road south to Brookfield. Did I say “floating bridge?” Here is the only one in Vermont, in Brookfield. Recently rebuilt, it is again open for traffic.

you can click this image to read the Vermont historical marker better.

I walked across the bridge (and later drove across and back). You can see patient GiGi again waiting for my return.

Heading to Route 14, and turning south, below East Randolph I saw and traversed two more bridges – are you counting?

can the setting above be more perfect? And then back north a tad to an amazing road climbing up and over the mountain to Chelsea on Route 110 where I headed south to Tunbridge. If you look at the map, you will know why – 6 covered bridge symbols in this stretch of road. But, Vermont, you missed one – but not to worry I found it. First heading south (easier with no leaves on the trees – but remember to take any turn toward a river) I found the Moxley Covered Bridge.

heading south – in order – next was the Flint Bridge.

No quiz, but you will start to see a stark difference – outwardly – on the bridges in Tunbridge. Next is the Larkin Bridge, built in 1902.

Following the river with my eyes (and occasionally on the road – I am good at doing this – almost six decades of shunpiking experience), and with leaves off, I saw this in a valley, off Foundry Road – of course I circled down. I could live here.

Arriving in Tunbridge (Lil, where was your home?) just above the World’s Fair grounds is Mill Covered Bridge – a perfect setting.

But, wait. Two more covered bridges below the fairgrounds on Route 110 – yes, the best concentration of Covered Bridges in Vermont. Turning west south of the fairground is the Cilley Bridge.

And, last (and so close to the road I almost missed it) is the Howe Bridge – another perfect view.

Have you been keeping track? There are just over 100 covered bridges in Vermont, and in just miles I saw, photographed and crossed thirteen of them – better than 11 percent. Plus, I crossed 100% of the floating bridges in the State – what a claim, and one you can easily replicate. I cannot wait to visit again with BB1 or BB2 when the grass and trees are lush in green.

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Follow my route above – visit Craftsbury Common
2 – Avoid (Ray DOES NOT RECOMMEND) Route 100 from Morrisville to Stowe and south to I-89. Stowe has ruined bucolic Vermont as it is envisioned – in my opinion.
3 – Visit the Vermont Historical Musem in Montpelier

4 – Visit, at a minimum Tunbridge’s Covered Bridges.

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MOUNT WASHINGTON ADVENTURES – 10-13 APRIL 2019

These adventures started two weeks ago, and I have been home for twelve days. Why the delay in documenting and reporting? Why have I not gotten to my Red Lion Inn reports for 2018 and 2019, and what about my geology week at Historic Deerfield last summer, and great time in Pittsburgh in October? This time I needed the right title to start, and it just hit me – so, here goes, “Mount Washington Adventures.”

Cathy and I enjoyed the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods in June 1998 and September 1999 before it was converted for year round occupancy. But it has become pricey, and popular. But when you can get a room for $20 less than the $159 a night we paid in 1998, you say, “three nights please.” How? I was able to be included in a special “convention rate.” It was so nice to arrive, Wednesday the 10th, at the long drive to the hotel, even with overcast skies.

I enjoy a hotel or B&B’s “common areas” and only need a room to sleep comfortably, but there was nothing here to be sorry about.

and, the view out my window to Mount Washington

After lunch I took in the historic tour of the hotel, enjoyed the Great Hall and the Conservatory, and read my materials and maps. I had no real plans for my three days, but then I plotted a route of new territory for Thursday discovery. I might add that I brought six books to read peacefully – only got to one, my history of the hotel.

Thursday the 11th I awoke to this sky above Mount Washington.

some moments later from the porch off the conservatory

I had mis-understood friends and was waiting in the lobby to join them for breakfast, on their way out of breakfast they asked,”where were you?” “Here,” I replied. They said breakfast was amazing, so I went in. You can only endure this morning feast one out of three days. Note the way I want my toast served in the future to stay warm. Nothing like blueberry sausage patties with your omelet.

It was then back to read my history of the hotel before heading off exploring. Mentioned and recommended in this book is OPEN FOR THE SEASON by Karl P. Abbott. Written in 1950 it recounts almost 60 years in the hotel resort business. I immediately ordered a copy, and now cannot put it down. Yes, Ray Recommends – OPEN FOR THE SEASON.

Heading out to the car, I first wanted to chat with the post mistress of the hotel’s post office – the first resort with its own zip code, which it has had for awhile serving Bretton Woods.

USPS pays Omni-Hotels $100 a year for the post office site, but the clerk (trained by the post office and following USPS regulations) is an employee of the hotel. A somewhat remote location (postally speaking) there are 32 PO Boxes for area residents, but the office also serves about 600 employees, a good share of them from foreign countries. This time of year (due to school seasons) it is mainly college age students from the Philippines, but in the summer months Eastern Europeans are the main hires. The postal clerk works for the hotel’s CFO and performs additional accounting and financial duties. You know I had to know.

It was then off to the route in black below. I realized I had never been to Berlin or Stark.

My planned circle is all to the north of Mount Washington. At Gotham I turned north to Berlin. On the 178 mile Androscoggin River, Berlin is a mill town that has seen one mill closing after another, and one of the most economically distressed places in New Hampshire. The downtown had its vacancies, but I have seen worse. Heading up the road, I was intrigued by what I saw in the middle of the river – small islands, one after another.

I liked this location for an image, but it does not show the small islands well, The State historical marker nearby explained these Boom Piers. Chains were attached from pier to pier to separate the river into two halves. During log drives, several firms had to share the river to get their logs to the mills in Berlin. Ownership was stamped into the ends of the logs, and way up river (the piers extended miles) loggers sorted the logs as they passed by, sending them on the correct side.

If you were driving down the road, and saw this, would you stop? I hope so.

Hopefully you are looking at what is a ski jump at the top of the hill – and it is. This is The Nansen Ski Jump – built in 1936, and the foremost and largest ski jump in the eastern US for almost 50 years. In 1938, the first Olympic trials were held here. Now another tidbit of information that will win you a cocktail during party conversation.

I was getting hungry – albeit 2PM, remember that big breakfast? Looking at my map I realized and hoped that if Milan had a place to eat, that would be it for miles. It did, I stopped, and it was the only place for miles. Here is the Milan Luncheonette and Variety Store. That is GiGi waiting outside. Normally, I learned, the parking lot is just snowmobiles or ATVs in summer.

I continued up Route 16 following the river for awhile. Nice isolated and beautiful area. I turned around before reaching Errol, and cut over on 110A to get to Route 110 heading west to Stark. Stark had the only POW camp in New Hampshire during WWII. Having read STARK DECENCY: GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN A NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE, by Allen V. Koop (another Ray Recommends to Read), ages ago, I had to visit Stark. I headed through this covered bridge to the village of just a few homes. I had thought the camp was in the village.

But I was wrong. On a back road a woman was walking her dog, and I asked, “I bet you get this question all the time, where is Camp Stark.” “Back on the main road,” she said, and told me I had missed the State historical marker. Back I went to Route 110 and turned back heading east.

Clicking on this link you will get a nice quick history of the camp. Briefly, not all Germans were Nazis. Near the end of the war the German military machine took political prisoners (anti-Nazis) and other criminals out of prison and put them in a regiment that was eventually captured (actually these folks willingly surrendered). Sent to the POW camp at Fort Devins, Massachusetts, where violence amongst the Germans became a problem. The guards finally realized that the group they thought were the trouble makers were actually the ones being attacked since they were anti-Nazis. They had to be isolated elsewhere. In Stark, an abandoned CCC camp was readied with a fence and guard towers, and those prisoners (about 250) taken by train (through Berlin, NH) to the camp. They worked in the forests, cutting lumber for the war effort. Read the book, but first read the article linked above, and you will have more fast facts to win you cocktail conversation.

Route 110 ends at US 3 in Groveton, and at the intersection is this interesting covered bridge that I did not remember. Hopefully you recall that you can click on an image in my “galleries” to see a larger image.

It was then back to Bretton Woods, but first visiting with the owner of the Potato Barn Antiques in Northumberland. Always learn a great deal from this fellow.

Plan for Friday was to head to Franconia, traversing a section US 3 that I had not been on before, and then loop up to Littleton. But first I visited again the the Loyalty Ambassador at the hotel. We had interesting visits each morning. Lots of coincidences, including the golf course she and her husband owned miles from my home in North Kingstown, RI, in the 1970s. But, I had to ask, and she told me where the print shop was – thus my first stop on the way to the car.

Mount Washington Hotel Print Shop – closed in the late 1990s.

and some views through the windows

 

Entrance to Littleton Coin Company – no photos allowed inside.

Arriving in Littleton, I headed to the Littleton Coin Company in the industrial park. World renowned, and probably the largest coin company, they have been in existence for almost 75 years. Originally stamps and coins, I remember as a child their ads and catalogs. Now owned by the sons of the founder, the coin and stamps are separate businesses. I went to the gift shop, visited, and learned there were almost 300 employees in the building, filling 25,000 to 30,000 orders a week – amazing. Then I headed back to the vibrant Main Street to say hi to Pollyanna.

This happy bronze sculpture recognizes Littleton’s author, Eleanor H. Porter (1868 – 1920) who created the world’s most optimistic character, Pollyanna, in 1913

The Thayers Inn Hotel has stood on Main Street serving White Mountains visitors since 1850. Below the street view are two interior shots.

and, a view more views around town including Chutters, home of the World’s Longest Candy Counter.

On the way back to the Mount Washington I stopped at the Rocks to at least say I have been there, but have to get back when it is open. It was then dinner time in the formal dining room – a wonderful treat.

Saturday explorations were “closer to home – the hotel that is.” I first headed to Crawford Notch. Sadly, the second Crawford House burned in 1977. The first was built in 1850, burning in 1859. The AMC Highland Center now occupies the location for hikers, and I took advantage of their cafeteria.

and looking to the Notch, here is the train station that I travelled to last year documented in June last year.

Day hikers were parked everywhere

here is the rail bed cut through the rock in the Notch. Note the snow, slowly disappearing.

I then headed to visit the Cog Railway, now 150 years old. I rode the steam train in June 2013. The track is not open to the top this time of year, and only the bio-diesel engine is running. I got to the base station just as the noon train was climbing away for a half-way climb.

looking back the other direction you can just barely make out the red roofs of the Mount Washington Hotel in the center of the image below.

Here are some interesting history panels in the Cog Railway Museum

and, back at the hotel, looking towards Crawford Notch

and, if you have hopefully made it this far, you deserve some images of the Mount Washington Hotel. Plan your trip now after opening up this gallery.

What can I say? I am ready for another trip back, maybe with a pile of books to really sit back and read while watching everyone else walk by.

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Stay at the Mount Washington Hotel
2 – Explore all areas around Mount Washington
3 – Ride the “Railway to the Moon” – the Mount Washington Cog Railway
4 – Ray Recommended Read – OPEN FOR THE SEASON
5 – Ray Recommended Read – STARK DECENCY: GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN A NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE, by Allen V. Koop
6 – Another Ray Recommended Read – THE FEATHER THIEF: BEAUTY, OBSESSION, AND THE NATURAL HISTORY HEIST OF THE CENTURY by Kirk W. Johnson – well written, and fascinating insights in several areas.

 

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6 HOUR ROUND TRIP – 57 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Actually, this post could have several appropriate titles – so here as sub-titles:

PINCH ME – END OF A DREAM
WELCOME HOME BELZEBUTH II // LADY RAB II
THERE’S A “NEW” CAR IN TOWN

Remember, I write for myself, and for my memories – but do enjoy sharing. Today truly began over 57 years ago – and as I reflect, there are threads that have run through my life since my pre-teens. And, in a simple way, that is what I am made of, and what brings me pleasure.

Remember, I introduced BELZEBUTH II aka LADY RAB II on 19 March?  Well, an attempt was made on a projected beautiful day, 29 March. But after unpredicted pouring rain from Exit 5 to Exit 3 on I-91, that retrieval mission was scrubbed with tears. Watching the weather, today, 7 April, was another potentially clear target of opportunity – some sun, 50 degrees plus, and no rain projected – hey, I was driving a 90 year old convertible home (top down always) 85 miles.  And, this time it did not rain. Carolyn graciously picked me up at 8, and we arrived in Charlton, Massachusetts about 10:15 – backroading, of course.

Attached my plates (from my last Model A, sold in September, but I renewed them anyway, something – somebody – told me to do so), chatted with previous owner (know from experience it was hard), and off I went. To put things into perspective, Charlton, Massachusetts is just east of Sturbridge (and OSV that I love) and about 9 miles north of the Connecticut border.

Only scheduled stop (and fortunately no unscheduled stops were required) was the Country Store in Petersham for lunch. We arrived on schedule a few minutes before noon.

You know I love old county/general stores. Make sure you plan to stop when in the Quabbin area for a bite to eat. RAY RECOMMENDS – A Visit to the Petersham Country Store.

The Common in Petersham is worth a visit.

We continued north, leaving about 12:30 following Route 32 crossing the border, through Swanzey, and into Keene, and then north to home. Arriving back home just before two, the first stop was to “show off” at a friend’s house – having just adopted a new dog, she could not travel on this trip – priorities!

Note above that I was “bundled” but I was comfortable the entire ride and never put on my gloves or earmuffs. And then it was back to “44.”

and, then tucked in with her new “siblings” – never, never to leave again !!!

Trivia History Lesson. First stop in town to “show off,” T asked, “why is it called a rumble seat?” Sadly, I have never questioned the derivation. I do know that if you wanted the optional rumble seat in a 1928 or 1929 Model A Ford Roadster (instead of simply a trunk) it cost $35. A single seat in the rear of a vehicle in the early days was called the “mother-in-law” seat. My Dad had two such vehicles, a 1908 Buick and a 1909 Model T Ford, with the single seat in the rear. Well, continue below for some possible explanations. But, first an image of glee and approval, from a rumble seat.

There is no definitive reason for the nomenclature – rumble seat. But “playing on-line,” here are some ideas:

1 –  Sir Hubert Malcolm Rhumble, a prominent carriage designer of England’s late 1800s., designed a coachman’s seat that stuck in the car lexicon, according to the Automobilist Magazine in August 1958. In early vintage automobiles the trunk lid folded back to form a seat area, sometimes called a “mother-in-law” seat.

2 – Early use of “Rumble Seat” referred to the seat behind the body of a carriage on which the servants rode, well before cars existed. The application to cars evolved from the fact that the seat was indeed behind the enclosed portion of the ‘coach’ of the car. With regards to the expression rumble seat itself, perhaps it was due to the ‘rumble’ the carriage made as it travelled, and the open nature of the seat making the occupants more susceptible to the sounds of the rumble?

3 -The rumble seat (or auxiliary seat or ”mother-in-law`s seat”) first appeared on several models at the 1925 auto show in New York. Like the convertible, it swept the country. Everyone was talking about rumble seats.

4 – and, a simple definition – An uncovered passenger seat that opens out from the rear of an automobile. 

Did I tell you there are “threads through my life?” Printing, stamps, history, shunpiking in my special cars, 19th century general stores, photography, and places that bring me pleasure?

Well, in the summer of 1963,  high school friends and I painted a barn in Charlton, Massachusetts. One friend’s Dad owned the place as a weekend retreat/investment. We ate breakfast at the HoJos on the Mass Pike, entering from the back entrance off US 20. In the evenings we visited the now gone car museum in Sturbridge, and I visited antique shops (see the pattern). Well as I am writing this, to my right on the radiator is the view below. The two toy cars on the left I bought in Charlton, Mass. in 1963, just miles from where my “new” roadster came from. And, see the cast iron fire truck? Cost me $4 at an antique shop in Gaylordsville, Connecticut on a Belzebuth I excursion in 1963.

Too much fun. Thank you for getting this far, love, RAY

 

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SUCCESSFUL DAY – 19 MARCH 2019 – ADOPTION COMPLETE

Did you read my last post – GENESIS OF A SHUNPIKER from March 12 (an important day)? If you missed it, click on the link above. But a quest was on. On March 9, before I completed that post, I posted my want ad for a 1929 Model A Ford Roadster on Craig’s List. Then I just checked to see if there were any new listings on Craig’s List – and there was one. I started emailing with Joe, Jr. Talked with his Dad, Joe, Sr., and both were helping Jon – Joe Senior’s brother, and Joe Junior’s Uncle. It was one of those good email and phone exchanges leading to my journey today to Charlton, Massachusetts. We met just before 5PM, and I left at 6:10PM. Adoption COMPLETED.

Introducing
BELZEBUTH II
aka LADY RAB II

Jon owned this 1929 Model A Roadster for five years, driving it about 600 miles a year, and is selling only because of health. I got under, over, and into all the trouble spots. Not a show car (don’t want a show car) but a clean, solid, well redone roadster – just what I started Shunpiking with (but I forgot to tell you about all the sports car back road rallying I also did with a high school friend – well more stories)

The plan is to drive her home in a few weeks (90 miles from home) and at worst have to call AAA to get me the rest of the way. Below is Jon, the previous owner.

and, here are a few of the pictures that were on Craig’s List.

Yes, I have learned you can drive three cars at once – but now it means I just have to “shunpike” more miles this summer. Let the driving begin – and stories to follow.

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GENESIS OF A “SHUNPIKER” – BEGINNING IN 1962 and EARLIER

BELZEBUTH – My 1929 Model A Ford Roadster in December 1962

My Shunpiking is nothing new. It goes back more decades than I would like you to know I have been alive. My Dad loved, collected, bought, restored, and sold antique cars as a hobby. I would travel with him to explore barns. Often he had me sit in the car and wait, but sometimes I got to explore barns, garages, and attics too – still wish he would have let me bought the Edison Cylinder Photograph and records in that attic ($25) on Olmstead Hill Road where he bought the rare 1910 Barker truck. Those explorations with him, my introduction to American History via collecting US Commemorative stamps, thanks to my grandfather in 1952, my exposure to letterpress printing, and photography, made me what I am, and enjoy today. Sorry, this reminiscing post got long, but remember, “I write for myself.”

Above, and directly below is my BELZEBUTH, with my Dad getting her ready for me in December 1962. He bought and sold cars as a hobby, wanted to make money on this one, I remember picking this roadster up in Darien, Connecticut. It had been used as a “station car” taking the previous owner to the train station every day. I begged and begged him to sell it to me, and he finally did for the $350 he paid for it – (always regretting not making something on it). She was mine on December 10, 1962. We shunpiked together until I left for college in the fall of 1964 (those are more stories I will have to relate with all my back road discoveries).

When I got to South Carolina with the Navy in 1970 I had BELZEBUTH shipped south, and used her to commute to the Navy base. I towed her to Rhode Island when transferred there in 1972, but do not remember exactly how she got to Florida when I was transferred there in 1976. Transferred to the Philadelphia Shipyard in 1977 the car stayed with my Dad in Florida, but he eventually sold her for me. But, the gentleman died, and I bought her back, and my Dad brought her to New Jersey in about 1980. But alas, sadly, with tears, I sold her the end of 1982.

Below is the inside cover of a reprint of a Model A Ford Owner’s Manual I have owned since the late 1950s. I listed my Model As as they came and went.

Below is some of the documentation of my shunpiking with BELZEBUTH. You can click on the images to see them in larger size. Do note what I had to pay for gas, my flat on I-95 in NH while heading to Maine to inspect a 1915 Model T all aluminum body Sedan for my Dad. BUT, of particular note you will see my stops in Chester, Vermont, and Grafton in 1963 and 64. Yes, definite threads to my enjoyment over the years. Also note the stops along my favorite US Route 7, and I even passed the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge where I am now writing this. I also fondly remember pulling into Main Street in Historic Deerfield in the pouring rain. But more stories for another time.

I had not even finished my Freshman year when I had to get another A. Freshman could not have a car, but I justified it as a “hobby item” and hid my “new” ’29 Tudor off campus. Purchased January 11, 1965, from Model “A” Frank, Oak Lawn, Illinois for $239.25 (of course I have the itemized receipt). I drove it home on US Route 6 from Evanston, Illinois to Connecticut on spring break. Had to replace the head gasket in Ohio, crossed the George Washington bridge after dropping a rider in NJ, burned out the rings, and with no compression barely made it up the hill home. My Dad let me drive his newly restored 1930 Cabriolet back to school. Below is that Tudor parked on campus in 1965.

High school friend, Leland, went to school in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and bought the 1930 Sedan pictured below. He agreed to sell it to me, and off I went in my 1956 Chevy 2-door hardtop to tow it back. It only lasted awhile

But, as I said before, I repurchased BELZEBUTH. I had installed the dual side mounts in 1964 from a chopped farm car my Dad had, and when in Rhode Island I had the new top and upholstery installed. Following are images of this beauty (not really restored – but a handsome driver) before she was sold again. Remember to open up my photo galleries.

BELZEBUTH’s Engine Serial Number is A1-L92965
if you have her, CALL ME
Her birthday (stamped on the cowl) is May 31, 1929
and I know the holes and warts in the body

In 1995 Cathy and I married and moved (along with the bookshop) to the waterfall in New Preston, Connecticut. Yes, I wanted another “A”, and thought having a pickup I could advertise the shop on the side. Below is my 1931 Pickup. We were working just too hard to use the truck, but… a 1930 Roadster materialized, and in September 2001 I bought and sold.

Below is some history from rayboasbookseller.com

My 1930 Roadster moved with us to Walpole. Not counting the fellow who restored it, I was the second owner, and can show you the barn it spent most of its life in. Below is during an Old Home Days’ Parade…

and with one of the brides I drove to wedding festivities.

In January 2010 I finally bought a 1958 TR3A (BLACK BEAUTY), wanting one since new. Figured I could not drive both cars at once, and a friend was begging to buy my ’30 Roadster and take it back to Connecticut, he won. Two years later I added an original 1960 MGA (BLUE BELLE) to my stable, and realized you can drive two cars at once – you pull one in, and back the other out.

Realizing this, the quest was on for a 1930-31 Tudor Sedan, the body style I wanted to die with. LADY RAB joined us on December 4, 2013. 

But with hip problems it was hard to get in and out, and she sat for two years. Decided I should sell, started her right up, and she went to a new home in September 2018. But now I am longing for a 1929 Roadster just like I learned to explore the world in. Top was never up, thus easy to get in and out.  And, the search is on — currently there are two for sale with two hours drive.  Thinking, thinking, and will have to look. Maybe I will come full circle with “shunpiking wheels”

Finally, two other things that have “captured” me for decades. I saw my first Cretors Model C Popcorn Wagon in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and then the famous one in Pittsfield while shunpiking in Belzebuth in 1963. In 1965 I found my Bartholemew Peanut Roaster in Darlington, South Carolina, and have had her since. Here I am in the 1980s getting ready to hustle popcorn at a school fair.

And, a Model C Cretors is way too big, but my reproduction 1902 Cretors sidewalk machine is just perfect. Of course you know CORNELIA. (note yours truly in same outfit, and same “good form”)

Thank you for bearing with my indulgences and memories, as always, yours, RAY

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CANDLES – TRAINS – MUSEUMS — HIP, HIP HOO-RAY — 25-27 January 2019

December 4 – remember the day? I do, my first new hip, home the next day, on my own from the start rebuilding my mobility and planning new experiences. This past weekend there were three things I wanted to do, each could have been a day trip, but I tied them together with two overnights. A first travel experiment, just as I did after back surgery.

EVENING OF ILLUMINATION – OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE

Tin Lanterns – OSV image.

I attended Friday evening 25 January. A sold out event at OSV, groups of fifteen are guided by lantern light around the Village Common for almost two hours, visiting several homes and shops to see how early New Englanders spent their evenings before electricity. The village’s publicity goes on, “Visitors will be treated to music and storytelling throughout the tour, and will see Village artisans at work by candlelight. According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, early New Englanders stayed warm and productive during the fall and winter despite dwindling daylight and long hours of darkness. With light and heat coming only from candles, oil lamps, lanterns, and fireplaces, 19th-century families gathered around the fire and played music, games, or listened quietly as someone read aloud by candlelight.” You should, by now, know me and my affinity for candles, candlesticks, and all things flickering.

I have now attended a number of special events at Sturbridge, enjoying each unique one. Unlike the evening Christmas program there was limited illumination to accurately replicate what 1837 would have been like — thus, my images are dark (would not be appropriate to use flash, and would not be a true representation – thus I do not have views of all stops to share.

The guide’s lanterns waiting at the Visitor Center – two for each group

The route was basically counter-clockwise around the Village Common. The first stop, Isiah Thomas’ print shop, included a printing demonstration. But, printing at night would have been only in rare instances due to the cost of burning candles. The next stop at the head of the Common was the Salem Towne House. Here in the large central hallway we were entertained by a storyteller relating the ghostly tale of the cursed tomb in Bucksport, Maine.

The Fitch House was the next stop. Brightly lit with a number of candles, and there was a reason. The docent discussed Michael Faraday’s, The Chemical History of a Candle, a series of six lectures on the chemistry and physics of flames given in 1848. Bet you never thought about how a candle really works – I hadn’t.

He encouraged us to google (not really a 19th century thing) Faraday’s candle, I have, and I encourage you to do the the same – there are even videos of the lectures. He then entertained us with stories illustrated by shadows projected on a white surface by candle light through cut-outs. This stop was worth the entire visit for me.

Stopping next at the Fenno House we saw spinning and knitting performed – also evening activities from the early 19th century. Very little light was used in these activities – so adept were the ladies that they could work almost with their eyes closed.

Around the corner at the Small House a gentleman was roasting chestnuts, and offered samples. To allow moisture to escape during the roasting, the “raw” chestnut must be scored with a knife nudged by a “persuader.”

Heading back to the Common the next stop was at the Friends Meetinghouse where singers were performing.

They did three selections. I was entranced by their version of Yankee Doodle, which was written in 1847. I missed that on film, but decided to record the next piece for you.

Next we entered the Center Meetinghouse where the parson was engaged in a lengthy oration.

At the Asa Knight Store (you should know that I love old country and general stores) the clerk and a customer were settling their accounts. Each had debits and credits with the other (customers would often trade items with a shopkeeper). Usually once a year accounts were settled – cash paid, or the credit/debits carried forward. The “customer” below is Phil, who is the tinsmith in the village, and was my teacher in September in the craft.

 

 

The next stop was at the Parsonage. There an “oracle” was entertaining the group as would have been done during that time period for a charity fundraiser. An audience member would give a number, and the oracle read the appropriate response from her book. The final stop (before going to the tavern for mulled cider, squash soup, and cheese and crackers) was to learn about various lighting devices in the Tin Shop

 

The village was not serving dinner this evening, so I headed to the Oxhead Tavern across the street. Lots of history about this building, I sat in front of the fire and had a nice pot roast dinner.

End Hip Experiment Day One – almost three hours on my feet.

RAILROAD HOBBY SHOW – AMHERST RAILWAY SOCIETY
Eastern States Exposition – Springfield, Massachusetts

Leaving Sturbridge Saturday morning I travelled a new to me southern route passing through Monson, Hampden, and Longmeadow to West Springfield and THE BIG E grounds. Hip Experiment Day Two – almost five hours on my feet wandering (and wondering) through 4 buildings (over 9.3 acres with just over 400,000 square feet), and all hard concrete. This, the 52nd annual show, is one of the largest, and I attended a few years ago. So much eye candy for model railroad enthusiasts – layouts constructed by various clubs, exhibitors with supplies to build scenery and buildings, new train equipment, and my favorite – old vintage toy trains.

Greeting visitors outside was the Boothbay Railway Village recently restored S.D. Warren #2 0-4-0T locomotive. It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1895. Under full steam it was running back and forth on narrow gauge track (probably a Maine Two-Footer).

I am just going to share with you some of the eye candy with brief explanations. Remember you can click on any of my galleries to open large size images.

The cars below were in a very large scale – about $400 each, just having an image is enough. I love the real observation cars, and dining and Pullman sleeper cars.

This was a New England LEGO club with their layout exhibit

This club built its own miniature steam engines, and brought them to share.

The two competitors – LIONEL on the left, and AMERICAN FLYER on the right. This dealer had nothing but the less popular AMERICAN FLYER, and no one was looking.

It was then off to my B&B in Springfield to collapse and rest up. I headed out to scope out the MGM SPRINGFIELD casino. My neighbor asked me to take a look. Not my thing (note no images), and this is the report I emailed her, and recommend to you – “Don’t bother, unless you like low-end shopping mall atmosphere, food courts, and over (way over) priced faux restaurants with little glitz. Packed (Saturday night). Can say I have been there – same with glitzy Connecticut Casinos – been there – which I also never have to see again.” And, then back to sleep for Sunday.

SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS
ART – HISTORY – SCIENCE – SEUSS IN SPRINGFIELD

Hip Experiment Day Three – was about almost five and one half hours on my feet at the museum. But first I stopped at Springfield’s Union Station.

Springfield’s 4th station, built in 1926, handled up to 130 trains every 24 hours. When the Penn Central went bankrupt in 1970 it was abandoned, deterioration set in, and efforts to save the structure crawled. Redevelopment funds were obtained, work began in 2012, and the deconstruction and the reconstruction of Union Station lasted four years and one month, officially ending on December 31, 2016. The main hall was restored to close to what it was.

If you are an automotive historian you should know what happened in Springfield. Do you? America’s first gasoline powered car was built here by two brothers, Charles and Frank Duryea, and on September 20, 1893, was successfully tested on the public streets of Springfield, Massachusetts. Near the train station is a park at 47 Taylor Street – the location of the Duryea’s garage. This model of their 1895 vehicle, which won the Chicago race in 1895, is in the middle of the park.

as you will learn at my final stop for the day, much has happened in Springfield, and industrial history abounds.

Shortly after its Sunday opening time of 11AM, I arrived at the Springfield Museums complex and campus which almost adjoins the Springfield Armory, which I have twice toured.  I started with the history museum – about 2 1/2 hours – and I need to go back.

One of the best history museums I have been in – very informative, packed with local importance. Possibly wonderful because everything dovetailed with my interests, but I bet you would be captivated also. To give you a flavor, I am grouping a number of image galleries that you can open if you wish to learn more.

There are a number of Springfield related autos in the museum. For the 100th anniversary of the Duryea’s first gas powered vehicle this replica was built in 1993. Yes, the original was built on a buggy.

Frank and Charles had a falling out, and in 1900 Frank went in business with the Stevens Arms and Tool Company to produce automobiles. Here is the oldest known Stevens-Duryea – a 1903 Runabout

Did you know that Rolls-Royce also manufactured its luxury autos in the US – and right in Springfield from 1919 until the Depression? This 1928 Phantom has the distinction of having been owned by M. Allen Swift for 77 years – longer than any other owner in company history. He gave it to the museum just before his death in 1994 along with a major donation for the museum.

I found it amazing all the products and inventions coming from this area.

here is just a sampling of what you will see on exhibit and explained

And, then there was the Indian Motorcycles – made right here in Springfield. So much history, here is but a sampling to entice you to visit and learn and drool.

Born in Torrington, Connecticut, just north of the former home of Ray Boas, Bookseller, abolitionist, John Brown, spent time in Springfield solidifying his beliefs. Ironically I have been learning about his raid on Harper’s Ferry, so found this exhibit of interest.

Two major retainers started in the area. Friendly’s Ice Cream shops began with two boys with $50 creating a summer business. On display is the counter, stools, and other memorabilia from their first store.

And, this store front is a replica of what became the BIG Y chain.

I then toured the science museum, but realizing I would not have time in one visit to get to the two art museums decided I had better at least run through the Dr. Seuss building. Originally from Springfield, many of his tales go back to his youth here, visits to the zoo, etc.

It is impossible to not see this exhibit without a smile on your face.

here is some background

And, a few images around the museum

Outside is the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden. This is an image of a mural inside the museum of the garden.

I hope you got this far — what I have related here are three “day trips” that I rolled into three days and two nights to save some travel time.

RAY RECOMMENDS — Plan to spend a day and head the hour and twenty minutes (from here) to THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS. I guarantee you will be glad you did, and there is much to explore in the area also – The Springfield Armory for a start. ENJOY, as always, yours, RAY

Posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments