Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Washington Rock

Posted by Stu On January - 24 - 2012

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Another curiosity I found through the wonders of geocaching.  This was on my to-do list for about 5 years before I finally headed up to Susquehanna County in northeast PA to find it. Much like my Sheppton trip, I decided to make this a day of geocaching and exploring towns I hadn’t been to before, including Vandling, Richmondale, and Forest City.

Simply put, it’s George Washington carved into a rock.  It’s a bit of a hike to find this rock, which is along a trail just north of Forest City.  Finding the correct trailhead took me a while; once I found one I found satisfactory, I probably walked 20-30 minutes before reaching it.  There is absolutely nothing else around, so why is this here?  How old is it?  Who made it?  Nobody seems to know.

Something happened to George’s nose, as most of it’s missing; rusted nails and bolts protrude from where it was.  From certain angles, the eyes somewhat remind me of Egyptian style sculpture.  From the side, especially with the missing nose, George resembles the Great Sphinx.

Again, just trailside silliness, but it does raise a lot of questions.  Could there be more sculptures?  I hiked around the area a bit more hoping to find Mr. Lincoln or perhaps Mr. Jefferson, but I saw nothing.  Daylight was running short, so I headed back to the car.

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Right by George, I found what looks like the remnants of a fireplace or perhaps some kind of seat:

washrock

Popularity: 14% [?]

Celestia, PA (Ghost Town)

Posted by Stu On February - 9 - 2009

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Another example of the place’s story being much more interesting than the place itself. I had read over and over about a ghost town in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains that was meant to be a religious utopia. Founded in 1850 by Peter Armstrong, Celestia was supposed to be where Jesus Christ himself would return to the world. Armstrong believed this so deeply he had a dwelling built for Christ. This was to be the one place on earth with people pure enough to survive final judgment.

Long story short, shady characters began moving in once it became well known that Celestia’s residents were exempt from the Union Army’s draft. Armstrong went so far as to deed the town to God, and in doing so attempting to make it tax exempt. Well, that didn’t happen, and with the draft dodgers moving in, the unpaid taxes piling up, and the lack of saviors showing up, it only took a few decades for Celestia to crumble.

After nearly 30 years of no payments, the county sold some of the property to Armstrong’s son in 1876. This would prove to be the killing blow to the town. Armstrong tried until his death to keep Celestia going, but to no avail. After he died in 1887, the few remaining believers began to disperse. The town was quickly reclaimed by nature.

And nature sure did a good job. I was disappointed to find that almost nothing is left of Celestia. Some of the roads and paths are somewhat discernable, but other than that, the only evidence I found of it were some possible cellar holes and sections of stone wall off the trail a bit.

Popularity: 27% [?]

Space Farms Zoo & Museum

Posted by Stu On November - 27 - 2008

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It’s a zoo! It’s a museum! Lemurs. Bears. Leopards. Kangaroos. Coffins. Indian artifacts. Preserved animal embryos. Old cars. Throw together Popcorn Park Zoo with the Shelburne Museum, add a pinch of the Mutter Museum, and you get something like Space Farms.

Most of the property is a zoo, but there are a few buildings off to the side of the zoo with random collections of just about everything imaginable. The building at the entrance, perhaps the most bizarre, is home to Goliath, the largest bear on record. Goliath lived in the zoo until his death and now greets visitors through the wonders of taxidermy. His skull is also on display.

Above him are many, many trophy heads.

The upper level of this building has all sorts of strange things on display.


Some stuffed minks and a phonograph. Why not?

To go anywhere beyond this building requires a small admission fee. Directly outside is the beginning of the zoo. There are quite a few animals, many I’ve never seen in other zoos. Again, like the Popcorn Park Zoo pics, there were often 2 fences between me and the critters. So if the pics are too “fency” for you, I apologize.

There are quite a few more animals than shown here.
One thing I will say is that many of the animals’ cages are pretty sparse. Most of the critters appeared to be very bored and had no toys or anything to do. Some really need bigger areas; that poor serval up there had nothing to do but pace back and forth in its tiny cage, while the deer have acres and acres to themselves.
Seriously, why do all the zoos I visit have so many damn deer? I think deer are the most boring animal to put in a zoo; even goats are more interesting. Even as a kid and going to Popcorn Park, all the deer they had pissed me off. I see plenty of them in the Pine Barrens and Poconos, and I currently have a family of them that walk through my backyard daily; I don’t need to pay to see them. I don’t care if these deer are Asian; they’re still boring ass deer.

…anyway, at one end of the property are several buildings that serve as small museums. Some have a specific theme, while others just have very, very random stuff displayed.


Old horse-drawn sleighs


Old horse-drawn glass hearse

One building is nothing but old vehicles.



One room displaying glow-in-the-dark rocks is lit only by blacklights.


Coffins!


Hearse!

One building is nothing but vintage toys that make me thankful I had He-Man, Ghostbusters, and X-Men figures growing up.


This eagle statue once sat on top of Grand Central Station.

All in all, the Space Farms is one-of-a-kind, and the few things I’m showing here don’t do the place justice. There really is a lot to see, and I attempted to give a somewhat thorough yet brief summary of it.
For directions and all that jazz, check the official site.


Double fail.

Popularity: 34% [?]

Shelburne Museum

Posted by Stu On November - 27 - 2007

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Lots of pics. Go get some nachos.

When one hears the word “museum” they tend to think of large, ugly buildings full of ugly, boring stuff. Fortunately, the Shelburne Museum is not your ordinary museum. Not in the slightest. While there is some art on display, there is much, much more to see. Many of the collections are just bizarre, ranging from automatons to horse-drawn carriages. And this is not just one museum; it’s several. How’s that? Technically the museum is outside, and several of the buildings house different collections. The buildings themselves can be considered a museum as well; where else can you find a jail, lighthouse, covered bridge, and even a steamship that were bought and moved to one site?

The entrance to the museum is a large round barn. Inside is the ticket booth and some art exhibits, one being various chandeliers. My favorite was the one made of plastic kitchenware.

Next thing we saw was an old creaky carousel. It still works and you can ride it.

What’s this? Oh, a train station.

How about that…a passenger car.

Huh? You can go inside?

Well, that was interesting. What’s up the trail from the train station?
A steamship.

But can you go inside?
Absolutely.

A view from the deck of the ship. It looks like a town, but all but the church way in the back are part of the museum.

Hey, what’s that across from the steamship?

A lighthouse, complete with rocks.


“Turtle Boy”

The covered bridge used to be the entrance to the museum.

This was a very, very tiny jail:


Inside the one-room schoolhouse.


Inside the 50’s house.

Popularity: 16% [?]

Grave with a Window

Posted by Stu On November - 27 - 2007

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A silly little stop in Vermont on one of our New England trips. New Haven was on the way to Shelburne & Burlington, so we figured why not.

It’s strange enough the grave is a mound, but….what’s that on top of it?

Some sort of window? Can you see in there?

…No. You can’t see anything.

There is no wording on the grave. It’s just a mound with a window in it.
Supposedly whoever this belongs to was afraid of the dark. At least that’s all I’ve heard.

Popularity: 10% [?]

The Paper House

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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I heard about a house made of newspaper being somewhere in Massachusetts. Since it wasn’t too far from Salem, I figured we’d check it out. A paper house? Sounds silly.

It is.

What the walls look like. As you can see, some parts are beginning to tear, due to clumsy visitors.

When we arrived, there were signs saying the house was open but was operating on an honors system – admission was $1.50. I was happy to see nobody else was there. But I don’t suppose a house with paper walls and furniture attract all too many visitors, at least not large groups of them.

Again, the walls, ceiling, furniture, even the top of the fireplace – all made of newpaper.

It’s silly.

I would learn after returning from my trip that the Paper House has an official website.

Popularity: 8% [?]

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