Friday, September 29, 2006
As I was headed to the Philly airport for my return flight to Atlanta yesterday I drove by the home of the Eagles.
Upon purchasing the Eagles in 1994, Jeffrey Lurie stated, unequivocally, that building a new, state-of-the-art stadium would be a key component in the effort to build the Eagles into an elite NFL franchise.Now, Lincoln Financial Field is home to the 2004 NFC Champion Eagles.
This week I drove from Richmond, VA via Washington DC to Philly. To save time driving to I took the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel into NJ.
In November of 1957 the Harbor Tunnel Thruway was completed providing the first major bypass of Baltimore. The centerpiece of this expressway was the Harbor Tunnel, the longest twin tube trench type tunnel in the world at the time of its construction. Excavation of the trench began in 1955. The tunnel sections were manufactured on land at steel plants in Maryland and New Jersey, launched like ships, and floated into place. After being sunk, the sections were locked together by divers working in complete darkness. One of the chief designers of the tunnels, Ole Singstaud, had also worked on the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels in New York. The finished expressway stretches from Howard County to the eastern edge of Baltimore City. With its opening the north-south travel time past Baltimore was cut by 70%. Motorists could bypass the Baltimore bottleneck and the approximately 50 traffic lights that came with it. Today it is designated I-895.
Friday, September 22, 2006
With the finish of the CVS in Niantic CT I had a few hours to see the sight before returning to the airport in New Haven CT.
Niantic CT is a beautiful coastal New England town settled in the 1640s in part of Lyme and New London, East Lyme was made a separate town in 1839 by the Connecticut General Assembly.
In what was originally a farming area along the Old Post Road, a cottage textile industry developed similar to that in Belgium, which gained for the district the name of Flanders.
Prior to the arrival of the settlers, the Nehantic Indians fished and hunted along the shoreline, and afterward lived amicably among the newcomers, who gave this district its name of Niantic, a variant of the tribal name.
The Thomas Lee House (1660) and the Smith Harris House (1840) are both fine examples of the architecture of their time. A plaque at Bride Brook on Route 156 tells of a romantic marriage there in 1646 and marks the boundary between what was then Saybrook and New London. The Town now encompasses 34.8 square miles of beaches, ponds, streams, woodland, and fields.
Also located in Niantic is the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut an interactive, hands-on, educational opportunity for the children.
For more visit: http://www.childrensmuseumsect.org
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Also passed Giants Stadium today!!!
After calling four different stadiums home in their first 50 years in the National Football League, the Giants moved into Giants Stadium in 1976. The idea of playing at a stadium built in the Meadowlands first attracted the Giants' attention when they realized that they could provide 15,000 more seats and help meet the increasing demands of the fans without a major switch in location. Giants Stadium is only 6.9 miles from Times Square, compared to Yankee Stadium which is 6.6.
In May of 1967, a local New Jersey newspaper first proposed the idea of building a Sports Complex. The idea of the complex could not begin until a major sports franchise could be attracted to the concept. With an aging Yankee Stadium, the Giants and the Yankees became immediate targets. The original construction idea called for separate stadiums for football and baseball with convenient parking and easy highway access just miles from New York City.
In 1970, the William Cahill administration began serious efforts to lure the Giants. On Aug. 27, 1971, the Giants signed a 30-year lease for a 75,000-seat Stadium to be built by the 1975 season. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority was established by an act of the state legislature on May 10, 1971 to finance, construct and administer the complex. It was also decided that the complex would include a stadium for football and a racetrack. The Authority was granted powers through legislature to lease property, borrow money, issue bonds and conduct horse racing. To finance the complex the state was authorized to issue revenue bonds backed by the state-run racetrack proceeds. The complex was built and operated with no expense to the taxpayers.
Prior to construction of the facility, the project was hit with many obstacles. First, there were legislative disputes that resulted from objections to the complex, then environmentalists were concerned about the issue of wildlife preservations and air pollution from the increase of cars. Despite these problems, the Authority pushed the project along, hiring real estate consultants, accountants, bond attorneys and brokerage firms.
In Sept. of 1973, New Jersey Governor-elect Brendan Byrne negotiated a new lease with the Giants, and the sale of bonds began and was completed in 1974. Simultaneous construction of the racetrack and stadium began in 1972. Sept. 1, 1976 marked the opening of the Meadowlands racetrack. The Giants made their debut in Giants Stadium on Oct. 10, 1976 against the Dallas Cowboys before a sellout crowd.
For more visit: http://www.meadowlands.com
A short distance from the Warbirds' flightline is a wonderful collection of aviation artifacts. The Empire State Aeroscience Museum also has an active restoration facility on its grounds where volunteers rebuild historical aircraft. If you combine a tour of the Museum with the Miniature Warbirds fly-in, you have a combination that is unique and well worth the trip to Scotia, NY.
The museum is right next to the Schenectady municipal airport and a taxiway connects it to the active runway. The Museum is housed in what was once a General Electric test facility. During WW II, GE tested the first successful jet engines at this site and later went on to develop such jet engines as the J-47, J-73 and J79. Other systems, such as the superchargers used on B-17 Flying Fortresses and fire-control system for Boeing B-29s, were also developed at this GE facility.
The U.S. government also tested the first ideas of "stealth technology" at the facility by reducing the amount of metal used on airframes, thus reducing their radar signatures. The first such aircraft to be tested was the Lockheed Gamma racer which had its metal fuel tanks replaced with ones made of fiberglass.
On display are many aircraft and aviation artifacts. Inside are dioramas of significant aviation events, mockups of antique aircraft and control systems, a replica of the interior of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra and the 28-foot-long miniature of a Japanese aircraft carrier used in the motion picture "Tora, Tora, Tora."
Outside, there's a B-25 Mitchell, a Douglas C-47, a MiG 17, an F-101, an F-105, anA-4 and an F-4 Phantom to name just a few of the display aircraft. Of particular note is the Museum's newest acquisition, an A-6 Intruder. This aircraft-almost complete, but without its engine-was saved from a bargeload of similar aircraft the U.S. Navy dumped into the ocean to produce artificial reefs! The reef's loss is the Museum's gain.
For more visit: http://www.esam.org/content.php?menu=Libraries
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Somewhat more than a year after the company's founding, its first locomotive, "Lightning", was out shopped for delivery to the Utica and Schenectady Railroad. The "Lightning", though powerful and fast, had insufficient steaming capacity and was too heavy for the rails of the time. It was pronounced a failure. With no more orders forthcoming, the Norrises withdrew from the venture, and the enterprise was sold for taxes in February, 1851.
However, the company's principals felt that the manufacture of locomotives in the early and important railroad center bounded by the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers could flourish, and in May, 1851, the Schenectady Locomotive Works was formed. The same management (exclusive of the Norris brothers) headed the new company. Fortunately, Walter McQueen, the famous mechanic, was interested in the new firm, and significant production soon began. More than two hundred locomotives were manufactured over the next six years. During the financial panic of 1857, John Ellis, then one of the trustees , took advantage of the company's temporary reverses to gain a solid majority of its stock.
During the Civil War, Schenectady supplied at least eighty-four locomotives for the U.S. Military Railroad, many of which had been built as far-seeing speculative venture shortly before the conflict started. Between the War and 1870 fire and flood ravaged the facility, resulting in much reconstruction and modernization. During this period Schenectady produced the famous 4-4-0, "Jupiter", which figured in the Promontory Point celebration of the first transcontinental railroad. Most of the Schenectady locomotives were, like the "Jupiter", of a conventional design marketed to satisfy growing domestic needs.
As railroads multiplied throughout the seventies and eighties, so did the Schenectady Works expand yearly in both manpower and manufacturing capacity. The Ellis family retained control through the end of the century and, except for a brief defection, Walter McQueen oversaw mechanical considerations. Indeed, "McQueen engines" were widely known for their substantial excellence. Another notable locomotive designer, A.J. Pitkin, joined the firm during this period. He was to earn particular fame as the creator of the high speed 4-4-0's of the NYC&HR RR. Also he was later destined to head the firm of consolidated companies that became American Locomotive.
While driving from Niantic CT to Scotia NY today I passed by the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. I was able to take this picture as I drove past, lol!
Basketball, a game that started with 18 men in a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Mass., has grown into a game that more than 300 million people play worldwide. The man who created this instantly successful sport was Dr. James Naismith. Under orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of Physical Education at the School for Christian Workers. Naismith had 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an "athletic distraction" for a rowdy class through the brutal New England winter. Naismith's invention didn't come easily. Getting close to the deadline, he struggled to keep the class' faith. His first intention was to bring outdoor games indoors, i.e., soccer and lacrosse. These games proved too physical and cumbersome. At his wits' end, Naismith recalled a childhood game that required players to use finesse and accuracy to become successful. After brainstorming this new idea, Naismith developed basketball's original 13 rules and consequently, the game of basketball. As basketball's popularity grew, Naismith neither sought publicity nor engaged in self-promotion. He was first and foremost a physical educator who embraced recreational sport but shied away from the glory of competitive athletics. Naismith was an intense student, collecting four degrees in the diverse fields of Philosophy, Religion, Physical Education and Medicine. Although he never had the opportunity to see the game become the astonishing spectacle it is today, Naismith's biggest thrill came when he was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin. Naismith became famous for creating the game of basketball, a stroke of genius that never brought him fame or fortune during his lifetime, but enormous recognition following his passing in 1939. For his historic invention, Naismith's name adorns the world's only Basketball Hall of Fame, a tribute that forever makes James Naismith synonymous with basketball.
For more visit: http://www.hoophall.com
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Thursday morning in Lynchburg, VA was rainy, chilly and gray! The Holiday Inn was kind enough to supply me with an umbrella so I could go for my morning walk.
Lynchburg is a scenic city located in the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia. The area has an extensive history beginning with its founding on the James River in the 1760's by John Lynch as "Lynch's Ferry." Today the city has an urban population of over 96,000, including the suburbs of Madison Heights, Timberlake and Forest. The 1990 census by the U.S. Census Bureau lists the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Lynchburg (which includes Amherst, Bedford and Campbell counties and the cities of Bedford and Lynchburg) as having a population of 193,928.
Lynchburg's economy is based on the many high-tech manufacturing companies located here including cellular communications, nuclear energy, and machinery. This manufacturing and research orientation represents a shift from the mill-based economy of the past, which included foundries, shoes and textiles. Education is well-represented here with four area private colleges and a public community college. Health care includes two hospitals, one of which, Lynchburg General, has been recently renovated into a state-of-the-art facility for the next century.
In the mid-1750's, the colonial village of New London in central Virginia was an important trading center, however, it was difficult to reach from northern towns (such as Charlottesville) due to the necessity of fording the Fluvanna (now James) River, which passed twelve miles north of the village. John Lynch, son of land-owner Charles Lynch and Quaker Sarah Clark Lynch, decided to remedy this problem, and in 1757, established a ferry service on the James a few hundred yards upstream from the ford, on property owned by his father. The ferry service remained profitable for many years, and by the end of the American Revolution, the village at Lynch's Ferry had itself become an important center of trade. Lynch saw the possibilities of establishing a town on the hill overlooking the ferry site, and in late 1784 petitioned the General Assembly of Virginia for a town charter. In October, 1786, the charter was granted, founding the town of Lynchburg. The year in which Lynch began operation of his ferry (1757) also saw the beginning of regular meetings of the South River Society of Friends (Quakers) in which John's mother Sarah played a key role. The third and last South River meeting house was built in 1798, and served the Quakers until 1839 when it was abandoned (most Quakers had left the area in the 1820's due to their opposition to slavery). The building soon fell into ruins (pictured to the right), but was restored in the early 1900's after the land was purchased by area Presbyterians (across from the intersection of Fort Avenue and Sandusky Drive).
The town of Lynchburg grew slowly between 1786 and the turn of the century, with the addition of a tobacco warehouse, a few stores, homes, taverns, a Masonic Lodge and one small church. 1798 saw the creation of the town's first newspaper, and the following year saw initial efforts to supply the town with water from springs and wells.
Monument Terrace utilizes the landings of this 139 step staircase to commemmorate the Lynchburg citizens who fought and died in the Civil War, Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. At the base on Church Street stands a "doughboy" and commemorative statues and markers continue to the top at Court Street. Monument Terrace was built in 1924.
This weeks travels took me across the George Washington Bridge in NY on my way to Nianatic CT.
The two-level George Washington Bridge (GWB) crosses the Hudson River between upper Manhattan (West 178th Street) and Fort Lee, New Jersey and forms part of Interstate Highway I-95.
This suspension bridge was designed by Othmar H. Ammann who was the Port Authority's Chief Engineer during that time. Ground was broken for the original six-lane bridge in October 1927. The Port Authority opened the bridge to traffic on October 25, 1931.(The Building of the Bridge: A Gallery of Photographs) In 1946, two additional lanes were provided on the upper level.
The lower level was opened on August 29, 1962. This increased the capacity of the bridge by 75 percent, making the GWB the world's only 14-lane suspension bridge, and it is now one of the world's busiest bridges. Mr. Ammann also served as a consultant on the addition of the lower level. In 1981, the George Washington Bridge was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The George Washington Bridge is home to the world's largest free-flying American flag. The flag, which is located under the upper arch of the New Jersey tower, drapes vertically for 90 feet and flies freely, responding to breezes from the Hudson River or Palisades. The flag's stripes are approximately 5 feet wide and the stars measure about 4 feet in diameter. Weather permitting, the flag is flown on the following eight holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day.
For more visit: http://www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/bridges/html/gwb.html
For a live look visit: http://www.fortlee.com/html/traffic_realtime.htm
Monday, September 11, 2006
Our flag flying on the front porch as a tribute to all involved on that horrible day.
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
While driving 3 hours between Lynchburg, VA and Arlington, VA on Thursday I happened upon the Wilderness Battlefield.
Burnside had failed in ’62, Hooker would fail in ’63, but in 1864 the Union’s newly appointed commander of all armies, Ulysses S. Grant, would succeed. Although the Battle of the Wilderness, with its two days of ruthless fighting in the burning tangle of underbrush, was a tactical draw, Grant, unlike his predecessors, would not accept retreat as an option and pushed on toward Richmond. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was now the objective. Where Lee would go, so would the Army of the Potomac. The 25,000 combined casualties of the Wilderness battle would pale in comparison to the Overland Campaign’s final toll. The Battle of the Wilderness would be the beginning of the end of the American Civil War.
For more visit: http://www.nps.gov/archive/frsp/wshist.htm
Saturday, September 02, 2006
When the Port Royal & Augusta Railroad was built, Dixie Station was established where a road from Hickory Hill community crossed the tracks. This is approximately 42 miles from Port Royal and 70 miles from Augusta, GA. Shortly afterwards, A. McBride Peeples laid out a town on the south side of the tracks straddling the road to Hickory Hill. The Varn brothers, who had a sawmill on the north side of the tracks and who had sold the Right of Way for the railroad, laid out a town on their side. The Varns prevailed and the Town of Varnville was born. Its post office opened in 1872.
Varnville's history is intertwined with the logging industry, agriculture and the railroad. The town seal was designed to incorporate its history visually. A Palmetto tree erect recalls the trees planted along the railroad by Varnville citizens under a Works Progress Administration program during the Great Depression of the 1930's. It is flanked by the inscription Pro Bono Oppidi Nostri, loosely translated "for the good of our town or our people." At its base, the railroad tracks, timber being sawed, logs, and pulpwood represent the town's origin and economy. Below appears 1872, the date the Varnville post office was established. A circular saw forms the outer circumference of the seal.
For more visit: http://www.varnville.org