From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the Sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be doneSome say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
With this post, I am going to try to add more on-the-road trip reports here to RJsCorner. I thought this would be a good project for the 2017-18 winter months. The subject of this post is Ft. William in Thunderbay Ontario Canada which is on the north side of Lake Superior. It is in my top five historic sites I have ever visited.
Here is a little background on Ft. William from Wikipedia:
Fort William Historical Park is known as a living history site. Numerous historic buildings have been reconstructed to show the range of the post, and costumed historical interpreters recreate Fort William of the year 1816. Fort William was then not primarily a settlement, but a central transport depot within the now-defunct North West Company’s network of fur trade outposts. Due to its central role, Fort William was much larger, with more facilities than the average fur trade post. Reflecting this, Fort William Historical Park contains 42 reconstructed buildings, a reconstructed Ojibwa village, and a small farm.
Historical interpreters represent the many roles and cultures involved in the fur trade, including Scottish fur traders (people of capital), who often took Native American wives and had their families living with them; French Canadian voyageurs and workers, who also had wives from among the Natives; and native hunters and trappers. The native people in the Fort William area are predominantly Ojibwa and are represented accordingly among the interpreters.
As I have mentioned before I favor fur trading forts as opposed to the military ones. They just seem to more accurately reflect the culture of the times that they represent. The military forts emphasize the battles that took place there.
Fort William is well worth the trip for anyone who wants to understand the cultural heritage of North America and this re-creation is top notch. Here is a rather extensive menagerie of pictures of the fort.
As usual click on any pic to bring up a larger slideshow view.
I have certainly had some fun visiting the rendezvous in the last few years. They are becoming my favorite venue for my micro-RV trips. With temperatures in the 60s today and much of November, it doesn’t feel like winter (thank goodness) but I am still in the mode of looking back with my picture portfolio. So, I have gathers some pics to celebrate rendezvous. Someday, if I live long enough I just may try to join some of these folks.
As usual, click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view:
As you can see, my favorite flavor of rendezvous are those celebrating our heritage and settlement history. I am just not a believer in celebrating war, it should be mourned not celebrated, so I don’t usually attend the civil war versions and such.
My InSearchOfAmerica project takes me through literally thousands of small towns that once had a population a few hundred or less, and the vast majority of them are basically hollow shells of what they once were. We have to face the fact that “small town America” is a thing of the past. It was a 20th century phenomenon that simply outlived its time.
When most of us worked on the farm it took a substantial local infrastructure to maintain our lives. We needed a place to buy and repair our farm implements, to buy our groceries, fill up our tanks, and get our haircuts. Of course small towns were the answer. Now that only a small fraction still work in agriculture that infrastructure is settling in the dustbin of the ages. No amount of “Make America Great Again” will bring it back.
It often gets depressing to go through so many basically abandoned towns where nothing is there but a post office and a few homes. If I let these abandoned towns get to me I falsely come to believe that America is in decline but in reality the scenario has just changed. Unfortunately too many people are left in places where prosperity is no longer possible. The Malaise caused by this condition is perhaps one of the primary reasons of our current political condition.
Being a US history nut, the one thing I have come to realize is that the road ahead is often much different than the roads already traveled. Things change and if we don’t change with them then we face a bleak future of longing for a past that never really existed instead of embracing a future of possibilities. It is up to each of us to do what is necessary to stay current in the world so that we can still believe that anything is possible.
What to do about small town America is perhaps the question for our times. Do we just continue to subsidize those who have chosen not to move to other opportunities? Do we accept the fact that poverty is an endemic part of our historic landscape? I am a social progressive for the most part but I think that sometimes we need to force people to do what they should have done in the first place. If you want to live in an isolated area by all means do so but don’t think its others responsibility to help you to try to maintain a past lifestyle.
In Search Of America — My InSearchOfAmerica has taken me to Madison Indiana on several occasions. The most recent trip was in August of 2016 when I snapped the following gallery of pictures. With so many small towns that are dead or dying it is nice to see some flourishing. Madison Indiana is on the Ohio River and once gained its livelihood from barge traffic.
As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view
I think I need to explain all the hog butts in one of these pictures. I got to town a couple of days after a major event based around pork BBQ. They were gathering up all the decorated plastic pigs that adorned the main street for that event.
I thought I would make this post the epitome of simplicity. What 19th or early 20th century home could live without a 25 lb can of lard. If 25 lbs is not enough how about an 80 lb can? It goes really good on crackers I hear. I just love taking pictures of old time containers, these were found in Madison Indiana a few years ago.
In Search Of America
— I am always on the lookout for group photos from the past. Looking at the individual faces helps me to remember that history is about people as well as events. It is hard to believe that so many were learning to work on cars as early as 1920. Of course the primary auto in those days was the Model T.
This photo was found at the “American Pickers” garage in Le Claire Iowa during our recent visit there.
Click on the picture and it will expand to a large view.
I have always admired Henry Clay for being a statesmen during some tumultuous times in America and was looking forward to visiting his home during my last micro-RV trip through Kentucky and Tennessee. I don’t like giving negative reports here on RJsCorner especially when it come to important historical site but this one deserves it.
I got there at 1:05pm to tour the home and small grounds and was told I would have to wait an hour as they only gave 15 minute guided tours on the hour., I explained that I was deaf and wouldn’t get anything from the tour guide’s talk so could I just walk through the home and take a few pictures for my blog. The response startled me.
They said that was not possible as you have to have a guide with you at all times and they don’t allow pictures anywhere except on the 1 acre grounds. I guess they just don’t trust anyone and don’t want any pictures. I told them they were missing out on quite a bit of advertisement by their policies but that didn’t seem to matter to them.
So, here are a couple of “allowed” pictures. If you happen to be in the area at a few minutes before the hour and don’t mind being unable to record your visit….
I thought for this mid-week post I would again visit the Museum of the Appalachia. This time I want to concentrate on Asa Jackson and his perpetual motion machine. It looks like Asa spent many hours working on his machine, twiddling this and that until he got it just right. He was convinced that he accomplished what Leonardo Da Vinci couldn’t do even if he didn’t know that story.
He was so convinced that he had something that would start an industrial revolution in the Appalachians that when the Yankee soldiers were in the area he disassembled his machine and hid it in a cave. He didn’t want to damn yanks stealing his invention. I don’t know the story of what happened after that. It would certainly be interesting to know. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t really a perpetual motion machine.
This is just one of thousands of stories told at the museum…
Red America sure is a strange place to me. They wave the flag with such vigor and then go about trying to prevent those who might vote differently than them from having their say. In the 60s it was primarily African Americans who had their attention, now they have expanded way beyond that group. Red America makes no sense to me.
Every gun tragedy that happens in our country causes Red America to pass more laws to make it easier to get guns. If you don’t believe that read this quote.
the five years since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School “have seen one of the most intense bursts of gun legislation in U.S. history.” More than two dozen states have passed new gun laws. And in almost all cases these laws have made it easier to buy or carry guns…
In Republican states, they found, a mass killing “increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75 percent.” In Democratic states, mass shootings have no significant effect on laws passed.
Is the soul of America so tainted now with violence, selfishness, aggressiveness, and misguided religious zealots, that it will soon morph into something else? I guess only time will tell. Is our current president now the norm for our society or can we go back to a country that cares for one another and doesn’t see everyone that might disagree with him as an enemy? Only time will tell I guess…
On my most recent trip InSearchOfAmerica I visited the Museum of Appalachia. I was not expecting too much but was blown away by what I found. It is a museum like no other I have visited. The totally unique thing about this place was that all the building and most of the antiques were identified by the person who owned them and included stories about their lives. It is almost as if you could picture them living in the buildings and using the instruments and such.
I took literally a hundred photos of the place. Here are a few to entice you to visit. The museum is located in Clinton TN in the northeast corner of the State.
As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view
I am old enough to remember hardware stores like the one below. They were a big part of my growing up as I found myself fascinated by all the things and wanted to know what they did.
This hardware store is still in service in a small town in Indiana. There aren’t any Lowes or Home Depots near so maybe it will survive a few more years.
I am going to do a little ‘explainin’ on this post about the foundations for RJsCorner. Everyone knows that a good house has to have a good foundation in order to survive. Since RJsCorner has been going on for almost nine years now and has over 3,000 posts it must have a pretty good foundation, even if it is not mentioned very often.
I started RJsCorner primarily because I had an overwhelming desire to write about my view of the world. I have always loved writing but had never tried to do it around a theme. I needed something as a common thread throughout my future posts. That something turned out to be based around my biggest hero/mentor/inspiration in life. His name was Will Rogers. He died almost 15 years before I was born so I really only knew him by his words and stories about him. If you do a search for “Will Rogers” in my search box at the top of each page you will find over a hundred posts about Will.
Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. Here are some words about him from the back of one of my favorite books:
Will Rogers “was” America. Part Cherokee Indian and former cowboy, he captivated audiences around the world with sparkling gems of wisdom cloaked in gentle and uproarious country wit..
A simple, plain-spoken man, he was the voice of a nation during the ’20s and ’30s. Movie star, vaudeville headliner, radio commentator, his views and observations were syndicated daily and weekly in over 600 newspapers across the country.
Here is the essential Will Rogers — the story of his remarkable career, from Oklahoma “cowpuncher” to international star . . . and the warm, knowing and hilarious philosophies of the man embodied the heart and soul of the nation.
Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. He had a lot to say about the ‘human condition’ in America during his years. He tackled on a myriad of topics but by far the one he wrote most about was politics. He described politics of his time as “applesauce”. It’s hard to find the original source of this term but to me it means that the political process takes something that is good and wholesome and pulverizes it into an unrecognizable mush.
His most famous quote was the title of the book above. He wrote some pretty critical words but they were always with respect for the subject at hand and with a dose of humor.
The descriptions of Will Rogers is quite varied. Some call him a humorist-social commentator, some a humorist-philosopher, and some a satirist. His words were primarily with a “Tongue In Cheek” spirit. For those of you who might have a different view from me on that phrase here is a pretty good definition:
When a statement is “tongue in cheek” it is ironic, slyly humorous; it is not meant to be taken seriously, however it’s sarcasm is subtle.
Though not meant to be taken seriously, it is not overt joking or kidding around, it is “gently poking fun”. A “tongue in cheek” statement may have a double meaning, some sort of innuendo or is witty in some way, particularly to the speaker. The tone or the context of the statement may make it to be taken seriously by the listener.
Here at RJsCorner I try to always keep Will’s philosophy of writing in mind. Some who read my words just take them too literally when they are primarily intended as ‘tongue in cheek’.
These are indeed dark times for America but they are not the only time there have been dark clouds. We will get through them as we have in the past, if we only don’t take them too serious. In that vein I will close out this post with one of my favorite quotes from Will.
Do the best you can but don’t take life too serious.
That’s darn good advise for our times if you ask me….
If you haven’t already read the first two posts in this series I would highly recommend you do that now because this one won’t make much sense if you don’t.
Last time I promised you a settled map of what Red America and Blue America might look like under the “My View of the World” plan. Here it is:
I know, I know, Blue America kinda looks like a gerrymandered congressional map but it was the best I can do on such short notice. Maybe if we assigned some committee to study it further they could do better. On second thought “design by committee” would probably take a decade and still be undecided. Since I am the sole proprietor of RJsCorner we will just leave it as it is.
Let’s do some studying on what this means. Starting with the GDP it looks like Blue America will have about 75% of the GDP, leaving Red America with 25%. Since Red America will likely immediately eliminate taxes, at least on the rich I just don’t know where their funding will come from except maybe borrowing or by printing more money. Blue America on the other hand since there military spending will be aligned with much of the rest of the world will have an abundance of cash for infrastructure improvement and such. It’s not likely they will want to reduce taxes so they will have to look for other opportunities to spend it.
Ok, How about population? The weird map shown to the right here is proportioned by population. I don’t know if you see anything too obvious here but the blue does seem to overwhelm the red. So again, Blue American even with Florida which RJsPlan gave them will be about twice the size for Red when you consider population. Maybe that is a good thing for them. Except for Florida which they got through trade there just aren’t many people in the red states. Since they will likely shut down social security and all subsidized health care they will probably lose citizens who migrate blue for those things.
Let’s finish up here by looking at the top priorities of the two countries to see how they might fair.
Red America – I don’t think they will have enough taxes to keep up their military spending without, GOD FORBID, raising taxes. What will they do? They need a BIG army to feel safe especially now since Blue America almost surrounds them.
Blue America – They will quickly turn to a single payer healthcare system that might cost a little more will be much more efficient. Blue America will take their lessons from the successes of the world and not have to reinvent everything themselves.
In the final analysis, I don’t think Red America will be a very good place to live. But for the most part that won’t be much different from today. But, at least both red and blue may then be able to get things done that they want.
Red & Blue America is starting to sound like a good idea….
Ok, enough of this silly dreaming for now…. Back to this dark Trumpian world…at least for a little while…
Being a regular viewer of the cable TV show American Pickers I am very aware that people collect just about everything in the world. Being as how the USA is driven by consumer spending it’s not surprising that we have some of the biggest collections in the world.
In case you were wondering there is even a museum in Madison Wisconsin dedicated to a mustard collection. Who would have thought! But it is quite a fascinating place to visit if you are in the northern hinterland. Here is a sampling of what they have.
As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view