Elmira and Newtown Battlefield

After bouncing and winding my from Watkins Glen to Elmira and then all the way up to the end of the road, I arrived at Newtown Battlefield State Park. I can’t imagine how they managed to fight their way up the mountain. My hands hurt from gripping the steering wheel!

Newtown Battlefield memorial

Well, technically, I guess it’s not a mountain, as the crest is only 800 feet above the road next to Chemung River. But, my goodness, it sure felt like a long way up.

View from Newtown Battlefield State Park

And a long way down.

The weather was warm and sunny. It was a great day for outside sightseeing. The next day would be good for indoor activities.

I set up the trailer. That is the good part about camping without hook ups – there is nothing to hook up! I just unhook the trailer and then I’m free to go.

The Newtown Battle was the major battle of the Sullivan Campaign in the Revolutionary War. In 1779, General John Sullivan was directed by the Continental Congress to end the threat of the Iroquois, who had sided with the British.

The Continentals roundly defeated the Iroquois, destroyed their villages and burned their crops. This drove the Seneca up to Fort Niagara. I guess the Seneca have a long memory.

I headed back down the twisty turny narrow road and into Elmira. My HISTORY Here app told me that Mark Twain’s grave was here.

Entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery
Entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery

The leaves are starting to turn. I entered the cemetery and wondered it there was a guide or directions to Mark Twain’s grave. I needn’t have worried. Elmira is proud of all their citizens.

The first sign I saw was for Hal Roach, a film producer whose career spanned from Harold Lloyd in 1915 through working with Laurel and Hardy in the ’30’s and on to syndication in the era of television. He even appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno when he was 100. He passed on in 1992, just two months short of his 101st birthday. That’s a good, long run for anyone!

Cemetary - Hal E. Roach

I looped back to the main road of the cemetery, still looking for a map or for more signs. I found this memorial to the participants of the Underground Railroad.

Cemetary - Underground Railroad Participants

I was impressed with their continuing attention to the struggles of the past.

Cemetary - Mark Twain next left

Finally! Directions to Mark Twain’s grave. And then, the grave itself.

Cemetary - Mark Twain's grave

He was buried in the Langdon family plot, which was his wife’s family.

Langdon Family Plot
Langdon Family Plot

She predeceased him by six years, dying while they were traveling in Italy.

Cemetary - Mark Twain's wife

The lower bronze portrait on Mark Twain’s marker is his son-in-law, Russian pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch. He must have had an awfully high opinion of himself, as he asked to be buried at Mark Twain’s feet. He died in 1936, and Mark Twain’s daughter, Clara, agreed with the request. She added a poem to both her father and her husband at the bottom of the memorial.

Cemetary - Mark Twain's grave poem detail

It is amazing how close the past is to the present. Mark Twain’s daughter, Clara, lived until 1962. We are practically holding hands with the past.

Cemetary - Mark Twain's daughter

Of course, everyone knows that Mark Twain lived in Buffalo from 1869 to 1871. He was an editor of The Buffalo Express

I continued driving around, and noticed a sign for Ernie Davis. I seemed to remember that name, but couldn’t quite figure out why.

Cemetary - Ernie Davis

I pulled out my phone and Googled his name. I found out that he was the first African-American athlete to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins and then traded to the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, he never got to play a professional game. he was diagnosed with leukemia and died in 1963 at the age of 23.

The last sign that I saw was one that pointed the way to the grave of John Jones.

Cemetary - John Jones close up

John Jones' family plot
John Jones’ family plot

John Jones had an amazing story. He began life as a slave. He was the houseboy of Sarah Ellzy, but ran away with his half-brothers and two others when she was getting on in years. He was worried about what would happen to him after her death and that prompted him to leave  for the north.

He settled in Elmira and worked to help other slaves escape to St. Catharines’ in Canada. By 1860, he had helped over 850 runaways to escape.

During the Civil War, he buried almost 3,000 Confederate soldiers who died while they were in held in the Elmira Prison Camp. He was paid $2.50 for each burial, and the amount enabled him to buy a farm.

John Jones house

His house is now on the national Register of Historic Places. There are plans to open a museum there, but it hasn’t happened yet.

On my way out of the cemetery, I passed a store in the right spot.

Cemetary - memorials for sale by the entrance

Location – location – location

My next stop was the Mark Twain Study on the grounds of Elmira College.

Mark Twain's Study - at Elmira College

Mark Twain and his family spent summers in Elmira with his sister-in-law’s family. She had this retreat built on the hill above her house so that he could concentrate on his writing. In this little building, he worked on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, among other works.

I spoke with a Mark Twain ambassador from the college, and she told me that the study was moved from the house on the other side of the Chemung River to the college in one piece, and she showed me a photo of the move in process. There was a chair in the study that was original. She told me that the other original furniture was in the Mark Twain Center at the college.

My last stop of the day was Quarry Farm, the home of Mark Twain’s sister-in-law.

Quarry Farm Plaque
Quarry Farm Plaque

Unfortunately, they weren’t accepting visitors.

Quarry Hill no admitance

That night the clouds rolled in and the heavens opened up. It was wise to do the outside activities on day one of my stay in Elmira.

The next day, around noon, I headed over to the Chumung County Historical Society. I hoped that I would be able to shed some light on the Chemung Canal.

Yet another marker for the Chemung Canal!
Yet another marker for the Chemung Canal!

The Historical Society is located in an old bank building.  I was greeted by Olivia, a young woman busily working on homework. She described the exhibits and told me that the entrance fee was $5. I overcame my reluctance to pay to enter museums and forked over a Lincoln.

The museum is small, but the items on display are carefully chosen to tell the story of Elmira. The interpretive signs are also enlightening.

In my opinion, Elmira owes its existence to the military. First, the Battle of Newtown opened up the areas for settling by the colonists. They dug the Chemung Canal to connect with outside markets. After that, camps for the Union Army during the civil war brought more opportunities for people to create and sell commodities.

I was surprised by the Chemung Canal, as I couldn’t imagine another canal in the area aside from the Erie Canal. But, I had no idea that the Union Army had camps this far north. And, even more amazing to me was that the Union Army had a prison camp so far north.

Elmira was originally selected as a training and muster point for the army because it The Erie Railway and the Northern Central Railway criss-crossed the city, facilitating transportation. As the war progressed, the camp was used less and eventually the camp’s “Barracks #3” were converted into a military prison. The prison camp was in use from July, 1864 until fall of 1865.

The conditions at this camp were dreadful. The inmates called it “Hellmira” and historians call it “The Andersonville of the north.”

Nichol's Prison Viewing Tower
Nichols’ Prison Viewing Tower

The local population was alway prepared to take advantage of business opportunities. In July, Mr. Nichols built an observation tower that was twice as high as the prison’s walls. He charged visitors fifteen cents to climb his tower and look at the prisoners inside. A few weeks later, the Mears boys built a new tower next to Nichols’ tower. Their tower was twenty feet higher and they charged only ten cents.

In any event, the two towers were not allowed to stand for very long. For the time that they were open for business, though, this is the view that they saw.

The view from the tower
The view from the tower

The prisoners would do whatever they could do to survive. Rats were a prized catch, as they added much needed protein to their diets. They could also bater them for other things they wanted.

Confederate prisoner art
Confederate prisoner art

They also made items for sale to the people of the town.

There were items the prisoners used on display.

Tin dinner ware and a section of sheet
Tin dinner ware and a section of sheet from the prisoners hospital

Prison leg irons and cuff

Confederate coat worn in Elmira
Confederate coat worn in Elmira

The Union was represented, as well.

Union overcoat from the Civil War
Union overcoat from the Civil War

The prisoners suffered from the terrible conditions. The population of the prison swelled from 400 in July 1864 to 9,262 in August. Winter snows started in October and the cold weather was exacerbated by the shortages of food, warm clothing and blankets. To top it off, more that half of the soldiers were still housed in tents.

The soldiers were housed in barracks by the beginning of 1865, but the harsh weather, poor sanitation and shortages of food and supplies kept the death rate high. In March 1865, a flood forced the prisoners to take refuge on the upper bunks.

With General Lee’s surrender, the prisoners began to be released. The last Confederate soldiers left on August 11, when the remaining camp materials and buildings were sold. 140 soldiers remained in the Elmira hospital after the camp closed.

In September 1865, the final death toll of the prison camp was released. Of the 12,147 prisoners housed in the Elmira camp, 2,961 died. That is a death rate of 24.3%, the highest of any prisoner of war camp in the north.

Back to happier times.

Book 101 thing you didn't know about Elmira

Maybe this is what I should have named this post.

Transportation seems to be an important factor of Elmira’s growth – along with the government and wars.

Canal boats on the Junction Canal
Canal boats on the Junction Canal that linked Elmira with Corning

The Chemung River was a major thoroughfare from time immemorial. About 11,00 years ago, mammoths and mastodons roamed the area.

Mammoth Tusk
Mammoth Tusk

The Chemung River got its name when Native Americans found a mammoth tusk along its banks. The word “Chemung” is Alogonquin for “place of the big horn.”

The river made Elmira’s progress difficult as well as possible. The river has flooded the town many times over the years, as the city is built on the flood plain of the Chemung River.

Water bottled by Utica Club
Water bottled by Brewers of Utica Club
Elegant Green Silk Dress
Elegant Green Silk Dress

Green dress label

This dress belonged to Mrs. George Washington Buck.   I’d like to know where she kept her internal organs. I’d also liked to know what her name was.

George Washington Peace Medal
George Washington Peace Medal

Red Jacket, who is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, received one of these.

Surveying tools
Surveying tools

George Washington got his start as a surveyor. I always wondered what kind of tools he used.

There was more in the museum, but perhaps this little preview will inspire you to visit.

The weather hadn’t improved while I was inside, but I wanted to find the statue of Ernie

Ernie Davis Statue
Ernie Davis Statue

I liked the fact that he was portrayed as a scholar, and the statue is in front of the Ernie Davis Middle School.

The last vision of Elmira that I’d like to leave you with is something I haven’t seen in years:

A full serve gas station

A FULL SERVICE GAS STATION!

 

Gorgeous Gorges and the Museum of the Earth

The day after my abbreviated hike up Watkins Glen and the visits to Prejean Winery and Montour, I decided it was time to visit Ithaca.

The distance from the tip of Lake Seneca to the tip of Lake Cayuga is about 20 miles. Twenty bouncy, twisty turny miles. My first stop was The Museum of the Earth. This is a must visit museum for all geology and paleontology nerds.

A Journey Through Time

I am probably more a fan than a nerd, as I find I can never remember any of the names or the correct sequence of ages, but this is a wonderful museum.

There are great videos that explain things and wonderful interpretive signage.

And then, there are the FOSSILS!

Ammonoids
Ammonoids
Palm frond
Palm frond
Lycopod trunk
Lycopod trunk
Crinoids
Crinoids
Crinoid close-up
Crinoid close-up
Trilobites
Trilobites
Burrows of unknown animals
Burrows of unknown animals

I was particularly excited to see this fossil of burrows of unknown animals. It confirmed for me that the rock I saw in Cattaraugus Creek was, indeed, a fossil.

It is a fossil!
It is a fossil!

In spite of the erosion from being in a creek bed, you can tell that it is the same kind of fossil.

Salt
Salt

And, here is some of that salt that U.S. Salt must be mining.

Whale skeleton
Whale skeleton

I like how they have a whale skeleton hanging in the lobby. It drives home the fact that the earth is continuing to create and destroy. If they had left this skeleton, perhaps it would have become a fossil a few million years hence. Or not.

I always look in the gift shop, even if I really can’t buy anything more hefty that a postcard. What a thrill to find a book written by a friend!

Don's book cover
Don’s book cover

After the museum, I consulted Siri for a recommendation for a place for lunch. I decided on the Lincoln Street Diner.

Lincoln Street Diner
Lincoln Street Diner

It was a friendly neighborhood eatery. I selected the Ziffy Omelet. I only include this here because eating it reminded me of digging for fossils.

Lunch at the Lincoln St diner

Potatoes, onions, peppers, ham, bacon and cheese.

Sufficiently nourished, I set out to see Ithaca’s gorgeous gorges.

First, Buttermilk Falls. I remember visiting that way back when, but probably mostly because of the delicious name.

Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls

Next stop, Robert Treman State Park.

Me at Treman State Park
Me at Treman State Park

Now, I do remember being here before. In the right season, this is a wonderful swimming hole. But, it’s after Labor Day, and they opened the dam and let out the water.

The dam
The dam

I was chatting with people I asked to take my picture. They confirmed that the dam had just been opened and that they had been swimming there a few days earlier. Rats! I missed it.

The folks from Kenmore

Oddly enough, these folks were from Kenmore – and I was wearing my Kenmoron shirt!

Mom and Dad were here on their honeymoon. I imagine the water is flowing with greater vigor, as they were here in June of 1954. According to the records I dug up, that month was wetter than average.

Mom and Dad on their honeymoon 1954
Mom and Dad on their honeymoon 1954
Taken from the same spot
Taken from the same spot

My last park of the day around Lake Cayuga was Taughannock Falls State Park. This is also a park I remember. Dad took Craig and me on a hike to the Candy Glen.

Well, how else do you get kids to set off on a hike? I remember it so clearly! He directed our attention to another spot and then dropped a candy bar and let us discover it. I do believe it was a Butterfinger.

But, I have got to say, all the signs warning and prohibiting just about brought out the rebel in me. I don’t think it helps that the signs are written in ALL CAPS!

STAY ON MAIN TRAIL
STAY ON MAIN TRAIL
RETURN TO MAIN TRAIL!
RETURN TO MAIN TRAIL!

T-sign 3

STOP
STOP  NO WADING  RETURN TO TRAIL  NO SWIMMING  STOP

T-sign 4

If the area is unguarded, who is going to stop me from swimming?

And finally, the falls.

T- sign 6

Seriously?! They couldn’t miss one last opportunity for a sign?

T- me with sign 6

Actually, it was a lovely stroll with a falls at the end. No candy bars required to get me to walk.

The Candy Bar Spot
The Candy Bar Spot

There were little falls along the way, too.

T - first falls

There were signs warning agains swimming and wading and getting off the trail. *sigh* I just didn’t bother taking a photo.

T- cracks Taughannock Falls

There were cracks in the bed of the river. They had some excellent interpretive signs that explained that they were caused by the pressure when the Allegheny Mountains were lifted up.

T-bird

There were interesting birds and wildlife scampering about. A bird fancier might light to identify this one for me. I was thinking heron.

Color on the trees

Even though the day was dull and dreary, you could see the trees starting to change colors.

Lake Cayuga
Lake Cayuga

And then it was time to head for home – Watkins Glen.

After all, home is where you park it.

Watkins Glen

Mom and Dad took me and Craig – and maybe Scott – on a trip to the Finger Lakes when we were really little. I really only remember a couple things from the trip.

One thing I remember is the pool at Watkins Glen.

The Olympic sized pool

The other thing is this pavilion, that I mis-remembered as being the entrance to the pool.

The other thing I remember from childhood

I think I figured out why I don’t remember anything else about the park.

There are more than 800 stone steps on the trail that goes up the gorge. I can imagine my mother hearing that and saying “Uff da!”

I managed to get into my site with the help of Bob and Greg. Later that night, Greg came to borrow my hose to fill up their tank and he invited me to join them at their campfire that evening. They were from Toronto and would be heading to Letchworth after this. It was a pleasant evening.

The next day, I was determined that I was going to go at least part way up the trail. I packed a lunch to eat by a waterfall, but the guy at the entrance to that part of the park advised me that I should eat here at the bottom as there were no benches or tables on the trail.

Greek salad, hummus, corn chips and wine
Greek salad, hummus, corn chips and wine

I ate my lunch and chatted with the woman sitting on the next rock over. It turns out that she was in the campsite next to mine. She was waiting for her husband to return from his hike.

My view of the glen
My view of the glen

This is all I saw of the glen. Just as I finished my lunch, the wind kicked up and the rain blew in.

The weather wasn’t the summery day that I had counted on. On to Plan B.

White caps on Lake Seneca
White caps on Lake Seneca

Plan B was a trip to a winery I had considered for a boondock site. I emailed the owner before I left Buffalo and he said that I would be welcome. I ended up taking a different route, so I didn’t pass by before I got to Watkins Glen.

Prejean Winery
Prejean Winery

I had a lovely tasting and picked out two wines to take with me. The person assisting me said that the grapes were about ready to be picked. I stopped and checked them out as I left the winery.

Grapes on the vine
Grapes on the vine

Yep, they look about ready to me.

Just down the street, there was a farm stand. They had beautiful produce for sale.

Farm stand

I bought some great stuff, but they didn’t have any peaches.

Fruits and veggies

After I got back, I checked out the U.S. Salt company. Who knew they were mining salt in the Finger Lakes? Well, I can tell you that I didn’t.

US Salt

I called and asked if they give tours, but they don’t. Pretty industrial – not exactly set up for company.

The weather had cleared and I decided to check out Montour, just down the road from Watkins Glen. I had heard that they had a nice waterfall in town.

Chequaqua Falls in Mintour
Chequaqua Falls in Montour

There were ducks swimming around in the pond and diving for their dinners.

There are ducks swimming under water in the pond.
There are ducks swimming under water in the pond.

It was so cool looking at the ducks feet propelling them under the water. I wish you could see them. I’d never seen ducks swim underwater like that.

There they are!
There they are!

Chequaga falls NYS sign

Funny thing, in spite of an extensive two minute Google search, I couldn’t find a copy of this sketch by the future king of France.

The area of Mintour around the falls is known as the Big T. It is filled with splendidly preserved buildings.

Famous house next to the falls

This one is right next to the falls and was used as a cover photo on National Geographic.

Corner building

The were big into brick columns.

Library

And brick in general.

Montour House

Big T 105

As I was ready to head back to the park, I noticed a street called Canal Street. I was curious about that. And then I noticed another sign:

Chemung Canal Marker

 

What in the world? This area connected to the Erie Canal?

I have got to find out more about this!

 

Last Call for Buffalo!

My thanks to all of you who have been following along with me. I spent three weeks in Western New York, and I have a bunch of little bits and pieces that I wanted to include in the Official Record, but never quite got them fit in. So here it is:

LAST CALL FOR BUFFALO!

Buffalo all america city sign

Buffalo is a great place to eat!

There’s Andersons:

My nieces and my sister out for treats
My nieces and my sister out for treats

Of course, there are many great places for beef on weck.

Vizzi's on Kenmore Avenue
Vizzi’s on Kenmore Avenue
A sandwich as big as your head!
A sandwich as big as your head!

There was so much meat on this sandwich that I took some off and asked for a to-go box. I took home enough for two more sandwiches!

Just in case you don’t know what “weck” is, allow me to explain. It is a German style hard roll with rock salt and caraway seeds baked on top. In German, kummel means caraway and weck means roll. So a beef on weck is a thinly sliced roast beef sandwich on kummelweck.

Vizzi's A frame sign

Best of WNY 2010.  Have they been resting on their laurels?

The other great bar food mainstay is Buffalo style chicken wings. I didn’t get around to the Anchor Bar this trip. If you are going to have chicken wings in Buffalo, you might as well go to the place that started the whole thing off. But, no wings for me this time around.

Bocce Club Pizza

Bocce’s Pizza. It’s always been a family favorite. And, it was voted one of the top 33 pizzerias in America. You can read it right on the box.

Bocce Club boxes

And then there’s Ted’s. High school chum Susan suggested Ted’s when we were trying to decide on a place to go for dinner. I never really cared for Ted’s, so we picked another place. But, I got to thinking about it. I was out and I was hungry and I said, “Why not?”

Ted's Hot Dog stand

Ted's hot dog on the charcoal

They grill the dogs right over the charcoal. I could never understand why people in Kalamazoo got so worked up about The Root Beer Stand and their boiled hot dogs.

Ted's Hot dogs

Pretty good presentation. I liked the tray liner that looks like glowing charcoal. Unfortunately, I guess I really don’t care for Ted’s all that much.

But I did like the meal I had with Susan and Kay at Crav on Hertle. I had Handkerchief Pasta. I was intrigued by the name.

Handkerchief pasta

Me and Susan
Me and Susan
Susan and Kay
Susan and Kay

Unfortunately, my flash didn’t go off.

Wegmans!
Wegmans!

And, if you can’t find a restaurant you like, you can always buy great food at Wegmans and cook it yourself. (I’ve been told that some people do cook.)

When I am in Buffalo, I always have to at least go by the Darwin Martin House. It is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces finished in 1905

Darwin martin House

They have done an absolutely fantastic job of renovating it. In fact, they tore down buildings and recreated parts of the estate that had been demolished to make way for apartment buildings. It’s difficult to tell the old sections from the new.

Gardener's Cottage
Gardener’s Cottage at the Martin Complex

Living in a house like that would make being someone’s gardener a pleasure!

My first visit to the house was back in the 70’s, before it was renovated. In fact, it was in desperate condition. I take special joy in going by and seeing how beautiful it looks.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to take a trip through Forest Lawn Cemetery.  The first statue that greets you as you enter is Red Jacket.

Red jacket Monument
Red jacket Monument

I have been doing a bit of reading to try refresh my memory regarding Red Jacket. What I am sure of is that he was a powerful Seneca orator and negotiated on behalf of the Wolf Clan with the new United States. He died in 1830 and was buried near a church in South Buffalo. His remains and those of some of his compatriots were reinterred here and this monument was erected in 1890.

Millard Fillmore Momument
Millard Fillmore Momument
Millard Fillmore's grave
Millard Fillmore’s grave

More Millard than you can shake a stick at! I did a bit of research on him, and I think this understated marker is completely as he would have had it.

Nerd Alert! Skip down to the next photo if you don’t want to read about our 13th president.

In an earlier post I mentioned that he had been apprenticed to a cloth maker. He managed to buy out out his apprenticeship and got some schooling. He married his teacher, read the law and established himself as a lawyer in East Aurora. He was self-taught, in large degree. He served three terms in Congress and had hoped to run as Vice President with Henry Clay. Thurlow Weed, head of the NYS Whig party “convinced” him to run for governor, but he lost.

At the Whig convention in 1848, General Taylor, an under-educated slave owner from Louisiana, was their choice for President on the ticket. To appease the faction in the party that disapproved of Taylor, Fillmore, a man opposed to slavery but promoting compromise as the solution, was included on the ticket.

He was elected as Taylor’s Vice President, but they got on so poorly that he was all but excluded from participating in government. Taylor came down with cholera that he caught at a Fourth of July celebration in 1850 and died shortly after that. Fillmore became president. He supported the Compromise of 1850, which was an attempt to resolve the issue of slavery. It didn’t succeed. He didn’t run for a term after completing Taylor’s term. It sounds like he was just disillusioned with politics.

His wife died shortly after he left Washington. He took an extended tour of Europe, and when Oxford heard he was in the neighborhood, they wanted to award him an honorary degree. He declined the offer, saying that he was uneducated and that since the degree would be written in Latin, he wouldn’t be able to read it.

Which brings me back to his grave marker. It is in keeping with his humble nature.

If you want to know more about Millard, I suggest you check out the information about him at The Miller Center.

*Whew!* Back to our normally scheduled content.

Chapin Parkway looking toward Gates Circle
Chapin Parkway looking toward Gates Circle

Frederick Law Olmstead laid out Buffalo’s beautiful system of parks and parkways. The parkways were lined with towering elms. Due to the Dutch Elm Disease of the 1960s and 1970s, the parkways were left bare. I was thrilled to see how the replacements have grown and filled the spaces left behind by the elms.

Oh, and see that building at the end of the street? That was Millard Fillmore Hospital.

Coming down!
Coming down!

I hear that this plot of land is going to be redeveloped as a multi-use building – apartments, condos and retail. It’ll be interesting to see what is in its place next time I am in town.

It was a great treat to be able to spend time with family and friends. I got to help out Amy and Steve with driving Katie to practice. Her team won!

Katie after the field hockey game
Katie after the field hockey game
Sarah working on her AP coursework
Sarah working on her AP coursework

Two lovely young ladies!

And, with that, I hitched up and headed out of town.

Bye Bye Buffalo!
Bye Bye Buffalo!

 

 

 

 

When You’re Alone and Life Is Making You Lonely…

You can always go

DOWNTOWN!

I wasn’t alone or lonely, but I do like going downtown. And, this trip had a special  purpose. I was going to meet up with a college chum and we were going to see SHARK GIRL!

Shark girl!

Why a girl with a shark head? Why not?!

It was as good a place as any to meet up with Sue. I’m sure I hadn’t seen her in at least 30 years – probably more. I saw on Facebook that she was in Buffalo staying at a hotel nearby, so we met up there. I needn’t have worried that I wouldn’t recognize her. She’s barely changed at all!

We caught up on where life had taken us – well, at least some of the high points. While we chatted, we strolled about Canalside, Buffalo’s latest amazing development. They have taken an area that was rather utilitarian – or maybe post-utilitarian – and turned it into a place people want to be.

Paddle boats in the canal
Paddle boats in the canal

This part of the city is the very end of the Erie Canal. A couple of years ago, my friend Kathy, who you may remember from earlier posts, took me over to a part of this development that is the official end of the canal. If I remember correctly, that is. I didn’t get that far this trip. I’ll have to make sure I check it out the next time I am in town.

The canal in this photo has paddle boats for rent, and in the winter, they have skating on it. There are all sorts of attractive seating and things to do all around it.

Building blocks
Building blocks

I am not sure who were having more fun – the adults or the kids.

Miles Gilbert "Tim" Horton
Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton

A statue commemorating Tim Horton, who played with the Buffalo Sabres from 1972 until his untimely death in 1974. Sue only knew him the name of the donut and coffee shop, which he had founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The first US shop was opened in 1985 in Amherst, NY. Now they are all over the place, although they’re not everywhere – at least not yet.

Sue and I parted ways, and I decided to take the Metro. Sue told me that the above ground portion was free. Since I had never ridden it, and it was FREE, why not?

Light rail metro downtown

The Metro Rail service started in 1985, after about six years of construction. It is about six and a half miles long and was originally intended to be the basis of a region-wide light rail transit system. But, funding dried up and Buffalo’s population dropped from around 550,000 in the 1950’s to around 260,000 in 2010. It will be interesting to see what the future holds in store for Buffalo. The downtown certainly has changed since I was a kid, but some things are still here that I remember.

I hopped off the Metro at Lafayette Square.

Soldier and Sailors Monument in Lafayette Square
Soldier and Sailors Monument in Lafayette Square

This monument was in honor of the military who fought to preserve the Union in the Civil War. It was dedicated in 1884 by then Governor Grover Cleveland. Across the square is the Hotel Lafayette.

Hotel Lafayette
Hotel Lafayette

The 1904 building was designed by Buffalo architect Louise Bethune, the nation’s first female professional architect. It was a grand building when it opened,  but suffered when the downtown went into decline. It has been gloriously restored and is absolutely lovely. I was getting hungry and decided to give one of their restaurants a visit.

I selected the Pan American Grill and Brewery. It is decked out in the finest turn of the century decor, with heavy wood carvings and decorations from the Pan American Exposition.

Restaurant Woodwork
Restaurant Woodwork

The Pan[American Exposition Logo
The Pan-American Exposition Logo
I chose the Flatbread Caprese and a seat by the window, so that I could watch all the comings and goings.

Flatbread Caprese
Flatbread Caprese

Apparently, this is quite the location for weddings. Two separate bridal entourages came and went while I was watching. They were heading out with photographers for their portraits.

Ready for a wedding
Ready for a wedding

After lunch, I went back into Lafayette Square to investigate something I noticed.

Buffalo Connect
Buffalo Connect

They have free WiFi in the downtown and Canalside areas! Way to go, Buffalo!

City Hall on Niagara Square
City Hall on Niagara Square

I headed down Court Street toward City Hall on Niagara Square. Yes, that’s the McKinley Monument in front of the City Hall.

Bas RElief building

There is always something to see in Buffalo. I was fascinated by this rather Egyptian-motif building.

Close up
Close up
City Hall
City Hall

City Hall is an Art Deco gem. They started building it in 1929 and it was open for business in 1931 at a cost of about $7 million dollars.

Top of City Hall

The colorful terra cotta tiles are quite distinctive.

Statues of Buffalo’s favorite sons are on either corner.

Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore
Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland

While I was snapping photos outside, I chatted a bit with a local worker. He encouraged me to go inside an at least check out the lobby – maybe even go up to the observation deck. I thought I might as well. After all, I was in the area and it was FREE.

Wow! Was I glad I did! There were two large murals in the lobby. This one celebrated Buffalo as having benefited from the coming together of agriculture and the railroads. If it had been done about a hundred years earlier, the rail roads would have been replaced with the canals.

Talents diversified find vent in myriad forms
Talents diversified find vent in myriad forms

Opposite that mural was one celebrating the Buffalo’s special position between  Canada and the United States.

Frontiers unfettered by any frowning fortress
Frontiers unfettered by any frowning fortress

As they say in real estate, “Location, location, location.”

It was only 4:45, and the observation deck was still open and there was a sign, “Elevator to observation deck.” I went up.

They lied.
They lied.

The elevator went to the 25th floor and then I had to walk.

I have arrived.
I have arrived.

I took a turn around the observation deck.

Roof tops
Roof tops
Top of the Liberty Bank building
Top of the Liberty Bank building

Interestingly enough, the Liberty Bank used to be named the German American Bank.  World War I caused them to change the name to eliminate the connection with the enemy.

Peace Bridge connecting the United States with Canada since 1927
Peace Bridge connecting the United States with Canada since 1927
Terra cotta tiles at the top
Terra cotta tiles at the top
Terra cotta on the observation deck railing
Terra cotta on the observation deck railing

After a turn around the observation deck, I headed back down to the lobby.

It is a dazzling building, and there is so much to see. There are treasures all over.

Ornamental iron work
Ornamental iron work
Decoration over an entrance
Decoration over an entrance
Statler Hilton
Statler Hilton

This is the view of the Statler Towers from near where Grover Cleveland’s statue is. Perhaps they thought it would be indelicate to have the statue of Millard Fillmore facing what had been the site of his mansion.

Millard Fillmore Mansion
Millard Fillmore Mansion

Before it became the Statler, it was the Castle Inn.

Castle Inn former site of Millard Fillmore's home
Castle Inn former site of Millard Fillmore’s home

Ellsworth Statler built his hotel right on Niagara Square, and it opened in 1923. To insure its success, he bought the other “fancy” hotel in town, the Iroquois Hotel, and closed it down the day the Statler opened. The Statler Hilton closed as a hotel in 1982, although the last I heard was that it was being renovated to serve as a hotel once more.

Back to City Hall
Back to City Hall

The photo shoots are in full swing.

Bride and groom number one
Bride and groom number one

And then there are the others who are waiting, not to mention the limo drivers.

Weddings galore
Weddings galore

So, I headed toward Canalside to pick up  my car.

St. Joseph's Cathedral
St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Hmm. I wonder if it’s open. I’d like to take a look.

Inside St. Joseph's Cathedral - another wedding
Inside St. Joseph’s Cathedral – another wedding

My goodness! It certainly must be wedding season. It was a beautiful day for it.

Under The Skyway
Under The Skyway

I worked my way back over to where I had left Bart. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Skyway.

When I was very young, we had taken a ride out to the “country”. I don’t recall what we were doing, but I do remember that we were driving across a field, and somehow the wheel fell off. Dad managed to get it back on – probably using barbed wire from a fence or something. Coming home, we crossed the Skyway. Just to try to ease the tension and make conversation, I remember saying, “I wonder why they make these bridges so high?”

My mother replied, “Uff da! Shut up!”

I’ve always had a special connection with the Skyway.

 

 

Everything Changes a Little, and It Should

The good ain’t forever and bad ain’t for good.

According to Roger Miller, at least.

When I get back to the Buffalo area, I always have to drive around and see the old stomping grounds. First, Tonawanda.

Where Kennedy was shot

This corner is one I’d been meaning to visit for several years. This is the spot where I learned that President Kennedy had been shot. They always say you remember where you were when you learned Kennedy was shot.  Older folks remember where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed and younger people remember where they  were when the World Trade Center was attacked.

The world changed for me that day.

When President Kennedy was shot, I was in third grade in Mrs. Brickell’s class and I was walking home from school. They hadn’t told us at school, but they had told the “big kids” who took the bus over to Alexander Hamilton Elementary. They were talking about the assassination when they got off the bus. When I heard the news, I ran all the way home.

Back in the day
Back in the day

The house has changed hands a few times since we moved out in 1964. I don’t know how, but somehow it shrunk in the past 51 years.

The old homestead today
The old homestead today

Next stop: Kenmore

Another house changing hands
Another house changing hands

I decided I wanted to take a photo of the old family home while I was in town. I had heard that it had gone on the market and had sold quickly. Oddly enough, the woman who bought the house from my parents, Judith, was just coming out the front door as I stepped out of the truck with my camera. Since I was standing in from t of her house with a camera in my hand, I had little choice but to introduce myself. We chatted for a few minutes. She told me that she had a meeting  she had to get to, but invited me to look around and in the garage, too. And so I did!

Judith repaved the apron in the alley!
Judith repaved the apron in the alley!  That’s a good looking change.

But inside the garage, things haven’t changed much.

The shelf is still there
The shelf is still there

In fact, the shelf Dad made from the sign from his steam cleaning business is still there. But, if you want to see it, you have to know where to look. The sign is on the bottom of the shelf!

On the street where I lived
On the street where I lived

Here is another street sign that has to do with a presidential assassination.

President McKinley was shot in Buffalo at the Pan American Exposition in 1901.  I always wondered where in the city it happened.

The Fountain of Abundance in front of the Temple of Music at the Pan American Exposition
The Fountain of Abundance in front of the Temple of Music at the Pan American Exposition

I knew it was outside the Temple of Music, but the Exposition was torn down after the it was over. I could never believe that they would put up such grand buildings for such a short period of time. But they were torn down and houses were built in its place.

This trip, I found where it the building was.

McKinley Assasination Market

This marker is on Fordham Drive in Buffalo at the approximate location of the assassination. I found it with a wonderful new app I downloaded. It’s HISTORY Here, created by the HISTORY channel. I highly recommend it for finding unexpected things on your travels – or even in your community. Look in your App Store. It was FREE! (Probably one of my favorite words of all time.)

The Wilcox Mansion
The Wilcox Mansion

This is the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, where he was sworn in after McKinley died. McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901, and died on September 13 from gangrene caused by his wounds. Roosevelt was inaugurated the next day at the Wilcox Mansion on Delaware Avenue.

Interestingly enough, there is a direct relationship between the garage on McKinley to Wilcox Mansion. My brother’s wedding reception was held there. As we prepared to leave the house, my father went back to the garage to get a golf umbrella, as rain was threatening. He got stung by a bee when he was back there.  By the time we got to the church, he was having a reaction to the bee sting. He had his brother take him to the hospital and he missed the wedding. But, he made it to the reception later.

Just a mile or so down the street from the Wilcox Mansion,  in downtown Buffalo, is McKinley Monument.

McKinley Monument
McKinley Monument

More about downtown in my next installment.

 

Stella!

Stella Niagara, that is.

When Kathy, Andrea and I met at Christ the King for lunch, we discussed visiting Sister Maura at Stella Niagara, the motherhouse of the order that founded the college we attended. We got Sister Maura’s email address from a friend of mine. I play Words with Friends with her and she works there. Small world, eh?

We met Sister Maura and she gave us a little tour. She took us up to the chapel and showed us the sgraffito artwork. I remembered it from when Sister Jeanne took our art history class up to see it back in the 1970’s. Sister Maura described the sgraffito technique as a fresco method, where the work had to be completed before the layers of colored sand dried.

I must admit, that I didn’t think of taking a picture, but I searched the web and found one on a website dedicated to the artwork of Józef Sławiński. This is the altar piece.Sgrafitto

After our tour, we went to dinner at The Silo in Lewiston. It’s a hot dog and burger stand right on the Niagara River. The company was great and the view was wonderful.

After diner and ice cream (what would summer be without that?) we went over to see an outstanding sculpture grouping. Freedom Crossing Monument is based on the 1969 book  Freedom Crossing, by Margaret Goff Clark. The book is one that is popular literature in grades 4 and 5. Since I never got higher than third grade in my professional life and was out of fifth grade before it was written, I had never heard of this book. I may have to go pick up a copy.

This sculpture is a dramatic piece of artwork! The sculptor, Susan Geissler, created a tableau that shows the moment when escaping slaves were getting into a rowboat to cross the Niagara River.

Freedom Crossing
Freedom Crossing

If you get there, try to arrive before the light is fading. the faces and bodies are so expressive. If you can’t wait, check out the sculpture in real time on the Freedom Crossing Webcam.

Here we are at the site
Here we are at the site

After that, we made a quick stop at another of Susan Geissler’s works, Tuscarora Heroes Monument.

Tuscarora Heroes Monument
Tuscarora Heroes Monument

This honors the assistance given to the people of Lewiston during the war of 1812.

One the night of December 19, 1813, the British and their “Western Indian” Allies captured nearby Fort Niagara without firing a shot. They then ran down River Road to Lewsiton to seek retribution for an earlier attack on the other side of the river in the British territory of Canada. They sought to burn Lewiston to the ground and kill the citizens. The town was lightly defended, and all the people could do was flee for their lives through the snow and the mud.

Tuscarora Heroes Monument 2

The Tuscarora, living up on the escarpment above Lewiston, heard the noise and came to their neighbor’s defense. They used speed and diversionary tactics and gave the impression that they were a large group coming to the rescue. This stopped the enemy in their tracks, despite the fact that the enemy outnumbered the Tuscarora 30 to 1.

Tuscarora Heroes Monument 3

The statues are 110% of life-size.
The statues are 110% of life-size.

I was able to take a few more pictures here, as I didn’t have to wait for people to clear away. If you would like to check it out in real time, you can click on the Tuscarora Heroes Monument Webcam.

I checked out Susan Geissler’s website, and I found that she has works all across the country – even though she lives in Lewiston. I plan to keep my eyes open for her works of art as I continue my travels.

In these days, when there is so much discussion of immigration, borders and enemies, I find it heartening to reflect on how thoroughly relationships can change – as well as how much change remains to be made.

Tuscarora Heroes Monument sign

If I Had a Mule, I’d Name her Sal…

Yep, the Erie Canal!

I had dinner plans in Rochester with a high school chum and her husband, so I decided to take a leisurely drive through the countryside. I could take the Thruway back to Buffalo after the sun had set.

The first stop on my trip was Lockport. As luck would have it, I arrived there just as a boat was getting ready to go though the lock. (I have a lot of good luck!)

You can see

You can see that the surface of the water that the boat is on is lower than the water right in front of the gate.

A little higher
A little higher
Higher...
Higher…

You can see the first sets of gates opening.

Lock 35 4

Now, the inner gates are open and the outer gates are starting to open.

Outer gates opening
Outer gates opening
And the boat sails out of the lock
And away we go!

There were a lot of signs to read that told some of the story of the digging of the canal. After I watched the boat go through the canal, I walked around and read some of them.

I was watching the action on locks 34 and 35.

Back in the 1970’s I took a canoe trip from Shady Hollow, in North Tonawanda, to another Girls Scout Camp on the other side of the locks. I remember actually going through one of the locks. We looped ropes around the bollards on the side of the canal and used them to help steady ourselves. The funny thing is, I only remember one lock! We must have gone through two locks, minimum. Funny what the mind holds on to and what just slips away.

Lock 34 and 35 sign and rocks

The canal was first proposed in 1807 and construction began in 1817. DeWitt Clinton, mayor of New York City, pushed for the construction of the canal, and for a long time, it was called “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch.” After much politicking  and deal-making, it was finally begun when he was governor of the state. He was voted out of office and removed from the Canal Board, but managed to regain the office and took part in the ceremonies opening the canal in 1825.

The canal is about 360 miles long, connecting the Hudson River with the Great Lakes. There are 36 locks on the canal, which makes it possible for ships to overcome an elevation differential of about 565 feet.

The canal was a great boon for the young country, as it made the movement of people and good faster and easier and could be done at a small fraction of the expense of overland transportation.

Irish plaque

It seems that this country has been dealing with the question of immigrants all along. The Irish were enticed to come over to dig the canal for $12 a month and room and board. Something tells me that those weren’t 40 hour weeks, with time off on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, there were not unions back then, and if you didn’t like the job you could look for another. “No Irish need apply” was a sign that hung in many places of employment.

They were hired to dig and blast through the rock of “Lockport Mountain”. That was the first time I’d ever heard of this part of the country referred to as a mountain.

You can see the rocks they had to work with on the side of the canal.
You can see the rocks they had to work with on the side of the canal.

Work would continue through the winter. They would drill holes and fill them with water. When it froze, they would remove the rock that broke off.

There is a brig across the canal that is one of the widest bridges in the world, according to one of the plaques.

Yep, that's one big bridge
Yep, that’s one big bridge
Yes, this is all part of a bridge over the Eric Canal.
Yes, this is all part of a bridge over the Eric Canal.

I walked along the canal toward the next bridge. Once I got there, I looked back and could see the smaller lock next to lock 35. I think one of the plaques said that it was used as an auxiliary lock. I think I also read that it was the dimensions of the original locks. There were an awful lot of signs to read!

The small lock to the side of the larger one.
The small lock to the side of the larger one.
Lock 35 holding back the water
Lock 35 holding back the water

This is the far side of lock 35. It is holding back the water until a boat wants to go downstream.

Lock 34
Lock 34

And here is lock 34. The water level is the same as downstream.

It Ain't Paris
It Ain’t Paris

I guess if you can’t get to Paris to profess your undying love, a bridge across the Erie Canal will do. If you don’t know about the love locks, here is a little information for you. Just click on the link above.

Heading back downstream
Heading back downstream

I continued my stroll along the canal. When I got back to the Big Bridge, the tour boat was coming back through the lock. Now they reverse the procedure. Sail in, closed gates, empty the lock they are in, fill the lock in front of them, open gates and sail out.

Maybe I should have been a civil engineer. I am fascinated with the infrastructure of our world.

Church picnic
Church picnic

On my way back to Bart (the Big Ass Red Truck) I strolled through a picnic being held in a parking lot next to a church. They offered me a hot dog, which I gladly accepted.

German RC St Mary's church sign

This really points out our immigrant background. It was founded in 1859 as a German church, as you can see in the cornerstone. A German church founded on the bank of the Erie Canal, which was built with a lot of Irish labor. In reading further about the Canal, I learned that German masons were also involved in its construction.

After enjoying my time in Lockport, I set out again. I stopped at a farm stand between Lockport and Medina. I bought some of the most delicious peaches I’ve ever had and chatted with the farmer. I asked him if he know how to get to the tunnel under the canal. I had been there years ago, but couldn’t remember exactly where it was. He gave me directions and I set off to find it.

Yes, it's a tunnel under the Erie Canal!
Yes, it’s a tunnel under the Erie Canal!

And, I did find it. I even drove through it. Of course, it is a one lane road at that point.

Here's what the sign says.
Here’s what the sign says.

This must be some of that fine German masonry. The farmer told me that it sprung a leak a few years back and had to be repaired. I would say that’s not too bad for a piece of engineering that is 192 years old and is filled with water!

The mule-eye view of the canal
The mule-eye view of the canal

The road ran along side the canal for a bit, and I got to see what the mules would have seen.

I still had a little time left before my expected arrival time at my friends’ house, so I decided to visit Mount Hope Cemetery.

By now, you are thinking that I must be one weird person. First, I get all excited by a 190 year-old canal and then I visit a cemetery.

The cemetery itself is filled with spectacular examples of funerary art. That alone is reason enough for a visit. But, this cemetery contains the graves of two important individuals; Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.

I entered the cemetery, and started driving about the hilly terrain. I thought, “This is nuts! I’ll never find anything in here!” The place was huge. I was about to try to find an exit, when I turned my head to the right and saw a sign:

It's a sign!
It’s a sign!

So, I stopped my truck. I got out to look for the grave and to pay my respects.

Frederick Douglass' grave
Frederick Douglass’ grave

His first wife is buried here.

The first wife's marker
The first wife’s marker

Helen Pitts Douglass wife 2

The second wife got the larger marker.

After paying my respects, I zigged and zagged around a bit until I finally found a map. It turns out that I had almost found Susan B. Anthony’s grave on my own.

Susan' B. Anthony's Grave
Susan’ B. Anthony’s Grave

By the time I had found what I was looking for in Mount Hope Cemetery, it was time to meet up with my old friend, Linda and her husband, Charlie.

Linda and Charlie's wedding day
Linda and Charlie’s wedding day

I’m not sure if I had seen Charlie since he was festooned with streamers on his wedding day! Linda and I had gotten together from time to time over the years. We chatted about this and that, and then Linda leapt up and got the sweatshirt I made for her back in the 1970’s, memorializing her rabbit, Snograss.

Linda with her Snodgrass sweatshirt
Linda with her Snodgrass sweatshirt

After visiting for a while, Linda and Charlie took me to dinner at The Burger Barn, which is a restaurant in the Wegmans flagship store.

Waiting for dinner at The Burger Barn
Waiting for dinner at The Burger Barn

Ah, yes, the obligatory food photo:

My dinner at The Burger Barn
My dinner at The Burger Barn

And then, after dinner, we went to the produce section for Fun with Melons.

Checking out the produce at Wegmans.
Checking out the produce at Wegmans.

Some things never change!

High School high jinx
High School high jinx

 

 

 

 

East Aurora: Lunch and a $7000 Dining Room Table

$7000 table

This is the $7000 dining room table, and no, I didn’t eat lunch on it.

Andrea and I joined Kathy for lunch at Christ the King Seminary. Afterwards, we stopped off to see Kathy’s new office.

me, Andrea and Kathy at Christ the King

We had a lovely lunch and talked over old times. We had gone to Daemen College in Amherst, NY together.

Andrea and me - college days
Andrea and me – college days

I’ll let you try to figure out exactly WHEN we went to college!

After lunch, Kathy went back to work, Andrea went to take a stroll about the grounds and I went in to East Aurora. It had been years since I had been there, and I wanted to see the restorations that had been done on the Roycroft Campus.

East Aurora is in lovely, rolling hills
East Aurora is in lovely, rolling hills

The Roycroft was a community and movement of artisans where were influential in the Arts and Crafts movement at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was founded by Elbert Hubbard in 1895 and funded in large part by his essay, A Message to Garcia. The essay was originally included as a filler piece in the magazine, Philistine, that Hubbard published. It was so warmly received that it was published on its own in a pamphlet and then as a book. It sold more than 40 million copies! I guess you could say that it was the “viral sensation” of its day. Eventually two movies were made about the core incident that inspired the essay. One was a silent film in 1916 and the other was a “talkie” in 1936. A radio adaptation was also broadcast in 1953.

If you would like to read A Message to Garcia, click here.

The philosophy of the group was summed up by noted art critic, John Ruskin:

A belief in working with the head, hand and heart                                                    and mixing enough play with the work                                                                                so that every task is pleasurable                                                                                    and makes for health and happiness.

If you ask me, that is a good recipe for life!

The Roycroft Campus was given National Historic Landmark status in 1986. There are fourteen existing buildings remaining. From what I have read, this is an unusual number of buildings to survive.

The Copper Shop
The Copper Shop
The Furniture Shop
The Furniture Shop
The Printshop
The Printshop
The Chapel
The Chapel

As you can see in the style of the buildings, there was a longing for the “good old days” when everything was handcrafted. The campus looks a lot like modernized buildings from the age of the medieval craftsman.

Across the street from the Roycroft Campus is the Roycroft Inn. I have just added something else to my “Must Do” list.

Roycroft Inn
Roycroft Inn

I want to eat lunch (or dinner) on the Peristyle at the Roycroft Inn!

I can see me here!
I can see me here!

Maybe I should just get one of the suites at the Inn and have breakfast, lunch and dinner there.

From what I remember, Hubbard purchased two existing Queen Anne style houses and connected them with a peristyle to create the Roycroft Inn. With 500 artisans working, people were coming from all over to buy their products.

Here you can see the rounded Queen Anne part of the building.
Here you can see the rounded Queen Anne part of the building.

And people coming from all over brings me back to that $7000 dining room table.

You can still buy the products of the Roycrofters. They are thoroughly vetted to make sure they meet the appropriate standards.

Once they do, they are allowed to use the Roycroft Renaissance logo.

Roycroft Rennaisance
Roycroft Renaisance

This logo was adopted in 1976. The back-to-back Rs stand for Roycroft Renaissance. The cross arms on one side point down to signify the early roots from Elbert Hubbard, while the other side points up to indicate growth and progress for the future.

Original logo trademarked in 1906
Original logo

Hubbard’s original trademark was inspired by a mark used by monks who illuminated manuscripts in the middle ages. Places at the end of their work is meant, “The best I can do, dedicated to God.” Hubbard added the R inside the orb and had the artisans label their work with it to show where it came from.

And the $7000 dining room table? The chairs cost an additional $1000 each.

I am too cheap to have nice things!

After I left the Roycroft Campus, I went to visit Millard Fillmore’s home. He lived in it from 1826 – 1830. He was president from 1850 – 1853, assuming the office after Zachary Taylor’s death.

Millard Fillmore Home
Millard Fillmore Home
Side view
Side view

I remember from an earlier visit that Millard Fillmore was lacking education, having  been apprenticed at an early age. Somehow, he managed to get into school at a later age and ended up marrying his teacher!

He made may not have been much of a president, but he did some good things for Buffalo, including helping to found the University of Buffalo and the Buffalo History Museum.

By this time, my tourism urge was waning. The Fisher Price Toy Museum would have to wait until another day.

 

Fun With Siblings

The Kenmorons!
The Kenmorons!

My brother, Craig, and sister, Amy, and I teamed up to play on “Bragging Rights!”, a local game show. It’s broadcast on WBBZ from Buffalo, New York, and taped in their studio in Eastern Hills Mall.

Amy got her daughters to come along to be our cheering section. The audience was small, but enthusiastic.

I’m not sure, but they may have trouble getting teams to play. The team we played against seems to be a bunch of regulars – and not much older than high school students. But, once you are knocking on the gates of 60, everyone under 40 looks like they are in high school.

In any event, this nice group of young men played a round with another team – and lost. The other team was wearing Viking helmets with blond braids. Who could be a match for such costuming?

Their “consolation prize” was that they got to be drubbed by us, too.

To help maintain the illusion that these are not taped in batches, the guys put on suit jackets over their T shirts before they played against us.

And here is our prize:

Hey, at least we won Bragging Rights!

Hey! At least we won Bragging Rights!