Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

Fort Ticonderoga

Posted by Stu On August - 27 - 2013

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Photos taken October 2011

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Fort Ticonderoga, if even mentioned in any of your US History textbooks, was probably briefly brought up for a sentence or two in a chapter about the American Revolution.  The fort was actually built by the French during the French & Indian War (or The Seven Years’ War for you non-Americans) and was originally named Fort Carillon.  The French, outnumbered four to one, managed to repel an initial British attack, but then surrendered the fort later in the war.  I’d crack some joke about the French surrendering, but the French-Canadian part of me won’t permit me to do so.

The fort was significant during the American Revolution.  Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys (militiamen) managed to capture it from the British.  Some of the cannons and other weaponry from the fort were then brought to Patriots in Boston to help drive British troops out of Boston, ending their occupation and control of the city.

Fort Ticonderoga would switch hands again.  Not far away from it is a hill known as Mount Defiance.  The British dragged cannons to its top and aimed them at the fort.  The Americans retreated and once again the British controlled the fort.  After the American victory at Saratoga, however, the war began moving south, and Fort Ticonderoga had little importance.  Eventually it was abandoned and stripped.

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So…  French, then British, then American, then British.  Then… nobody cares anymore, so let’s abandon it.  Got it?

Much of the fort has been reconstructed.  Monuments to soldiers from both wars can be found on its grounds.

This monument honors the Marquis de Montcalm for defending the fort against the initial British invasion (the guy who was outnumbered 4 to 1):

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This is a monument dedicated to the Black Watch, or Scottish regiment, during the French & Indian War.  The Black Watch is sometimes referred to “The Ladies from Hell” due to their kilts and intense fighting.

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These and other monuments can be found on the road leading to the fort.  To walk the actual fort grounds costs a reasonable admission fee.

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The inside of the fort serves as a museum. Also on the grounds is The King’s Garden.

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Popularity: 13% [?]

Walt’s Filling Station

Posted by Stu On August - 27 - 2013

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Photos taken October 2011

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Another discovery through geocaching.  We stopped here on the way home from our Quebec/New York trip.  This may look like a gas station from the 1950’s, but this is really the side yard of someone’s home in Hallstead.  Vintage soda machines, signs, and gas pumps… someone went to great lengths to collect and present all this.  I felt awkward walking up the driveway, but I read that many others had done it.  Whoever was home did slam the door while I was poking around, however.

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Popularity: 8% [?]

Lausanne

Posted by Stu On May - 8 - 2013

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Photos taken June ’12 via camera & camera phone, hence different photo sizes

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Another find via geocaching.  Seriously, if you’ve never geocached, get a GPS or smartphone and go play already.

I was surprised to read that a ghost town was only 20 minutes or so from me.  Lausanne, near present-day Jim Thorpe, has very little written about it, and not all that much remains.  The little I know has come from a geocaching description and talking to a group of anthropologists (more on that later).

With almost no knowledge and armed only with a camera, phone, and GPS, I set out early in the morning to the first set of coordinates.  I knew the trek would be a few miles (how many exactly, I forget now) and that I was being led to a few different locations.  This corridor of green was a promising start to the expedition:

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I had read that there would be the remains of an old toll bridge somewhere along the trail.  I crossed water three times on the way to the first destination, but I wasn’t sure just where the bridge was supposed to have been.  The first crossing had an actual bridge, one of the more unusual ones I’ve seen:

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The second crossing had some old planks and pipes in the water, but seeing that this was barely a stream and I stepped over it without getting my shoes wet, I highly doubt there was a toll bridge here:

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Yet another crossing led to a somewhat larger stream with a rock wall nearby.  Maybe the bridge was here.

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After getting lost once and crossing three streams (or the same stream three times) I finally came to the first goal of my tour of Lausanne – several foundations of either houses or storage buildings (as per one of the anthropologists I spoke with):

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I roamed among the ruins of the homes/storage buildings for a little bit and then entered a second set of coordinates that would take me somewhat back the way I just came from, but past my starting point.  But first there was one more water crossing, this time over a type of bridge I had never seen before.  And this time it was the actual Lehigh River, not some piddle of a stream.

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Yep, this “bridge” was just two cables going across the river.  I was about to cross when I noticed someone coming from the other side.  And then someone else.  And then another.  About a dozen people came across the bridge and looked rather confused with me being there.

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One talked to me and I explained I was ghost town hunting/geocaching.  They told me they were anthropologists from Temple University and had an excavation site not too far away.  I asked if they knew about Lausanne at all, and one said he did.  He was the one that said the houses I just came from may have instead been used for storage.  We talked a little longer, and then I decided it was time to make my way across the cable bridge and finish up my exploration of Lausanne.

I finally made it to the old town square; a hotel and post office once stood at the site.

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I roamed the area for a little bit; a lot of it was quite overgrown.  I then made my way back to the car, which was not that far away from the town square.  All in all, this was a fun little adventure.  Being guided to different areas by GPS coordinates and having to cross the cable bridge really made this outing stand out.

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Popularity: 18% [?]

East Village Rock n’ Roll Tour

Posted by Stu On January - 9 - 2013

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Photos from November 2011


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I laugh whenever anyone says history classes are boring, because I’ve taken some really cool and unusual ones, case in point The History of Rock n’ Roll.  Yes, I swear that was a real class, and an excellent one at that.  For a class trip, we took a guided “Rock n’ Roll Tour” of New York City’s East Village.  Unfortunately, after only a half hour or so, the batteries in my camera died, so I had to resort to my phone’s camera.  And THEN it started to rain.  Oh well.  Still had a fun time seeing places significant to rock history and roaming around the city a bit.

One thing I noticed right away was the way power lines and traffic signals were decorated:

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Most of the places visited fell under one of three categories:  they were old clubs, places photographed for album covers, or former residences of rock stars.  I know some of this doesn’t translate well into a write-up, especially pictures of apartment buildings, but I will do my best.

One of our first stops was this mural on the side of the Niagara bar.  Joe Strummer was the singer and rhythm guitarist for The Clash.

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We visited the sites of three influential clubs in the Village:  The Continental, Fillmore East, and CBGB.  The Continental is still a bar, but bands no longer play there.  The other two are no longer clubs.

The Continental was important during the beginnings of the punk and new wave scenes in NYC.  The Ramones, Iggy Pop, and many, many more played here.

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This place must have been crammed when bands were playing.

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The Fillmore East is now a bank.  Due to construction, I couldn’t get a good pic of the entire building front.  The Allman Brothers Band’s famous live album was recorded here.

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CBGB closed in 2006.  Countless bands played there over the years, but again this club was very important to the New York punk and new wave scenes.  Bands including Blondie, the B-52’s, The Talking Heads, and again the Ramones got their starts playing in this and other local clubs.  It is now a vintage clothing store.  Some remnants of its club days remain, such as the layers of band stickers stuck on the walls and even ceiling.  I tried to get a picture of some of these stickers, but a big bouncer dude came over, jammed his finger into my shoulder, and said, “You can’t take no pictures in here.”  I was then asked to leave.  Leave it to me to get kicked out of a club when it’s not even a club anymore.  So just an outside shot will have to suffice.

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The next batch of places are locations from various album covers.

The Gem Spa is a famous newsstand in the Village.  It’s also featured on the back cover of the New York Dolls’ first album.

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This may look familiar to Led Zeppelin fans:

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These buildings were used for the cover of Physical Graffiti, minus one floor:

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Unfortunately, the gate was closed, so I couldn’t get closer to this next one.

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OK, so what’s the significance of that wall?  It’s where the first Ramones cover was shot:

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The tour briefly stopped at a building where Charlie Parker, famous jazz musician, lived.  His home is actually on the National Register of Historic Places.  There’s a plaque on the front of the building, but the tour moved on before I could approach it and get a picture.  Right next to this building is an apartment where Iggy Pop stayed.

Charlie Parker Residence:

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Iggy Pop’s apartment building:

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One of our last stops was a building where Madonna stayed early in her career:

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All in all, this was a fun trip.  Again, I know it’s not much to look at; can’t really do much to make pictures of apartments interesting.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Mighty Joe

Posted by Stu On September - 26 - 2012

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Anyone driving on Route 206 in Shamong has surely seen the gorilla in the parking lot of Mighty Joe’s, a gas station and convenience store.  Formerly found along the Wildwood boardwalk and more recently serving as a decoration at a go-kart track, the gorilla, now known as Mighty Joe, has since been fixed up and moved to the side of Route 206 as an homage to the owner’s deceased son, also named Joe.

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The sign says it all.

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Popularity: 15% [?]

Mars Bluff Bomb Crater

Posted by Stu On June - 28 - 2012

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Photos from June 2011

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Another find due to geocaching.  I wanted to make a day trip out of our visit to South of the Border, and I happened to notice this oddity was just outside Florence.

On March 11, 1958, an Air Force pilot heading to England accidentally dropped a bomb on the community of Mars Bluff.  Nobody was killed, but the home of Walter Gregg was leveled, and some of his family members were hurt in the blast.  Although often referred to as an “atomic” bomb blast, the nuclear core of this bomb was thankfully not in it when it was dropped.

Getting to the bomb crater site was rather tricky.  We had to park in an abandoned trailer park, which had several uncovered manholes on its “roads.”  An overgrown path first led to the foundation of the destroyed home and then to the bomb site.  We were surprised to see the site is somewhat maintained, complete with a wooden replica of the bomb and a board with information about the incident.

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The bomb crater itself was not exactly what I was expecting.  It’s only a few feet deep and looks more like a nearly empty pond than the site of a large explosion.  It has been more than 50 years, though, and nature is beginning to reclaim the blast site.

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Popularity: 14% [?]

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