Caterpillar Tractors..

ISOA Banner   Caterpillar Tractors and such are very much a part of my search of America.  So, when I was near Peoria Illinois recently I had to stop in at their museum at the headquarters building.  What I found amazed me.  I never realized the size of much of their equipment.

Peoria is a wonderful city to tour and this exhibit is one of the prime destinations. If you are ever in the area stop by the city and this museum.

Quincy Illinois – Villa Kathrine

ISOA Banner  I will admit up front here that I didn’t spend as much time in Quincy IL as I planned. There are about a thousand historical homes in this small town but I will only feature one of them in this post.  Quincy is one of many towns along the mighty Mississippi River and of course that mean it is steeped in history. Villa Kathrine, which is the subject of today is perhaps the most unusual one.

As the sign below states it was built around 1900 and is of a Moorish/Islamic style which is just not that popular in the USA, especially now 🙂 The layout and furniture didn’t make a lot of sense to me and the central space, which I guess is essential to Islamic homes, seemed like a big waste of space.  But it did have some fantastic views of the Mississippi from several windows.

This Is In Indiana???

It is hard for many to believe that the pictures below and above were taken in Indiana. I don’t really know the history of why Indiana got the southern most tip of Lake Michigan within its boundries but it is one unique place.

I visited there years ago but these pics were from a recent uRV trip there this Spring.  From the info found at the site the prominent building in the pics used to be a very popular hotel. Notice all the car parked there in the 1930s.  It still a beautiful place worth the visit just to show you that Indiana is not all cornfields and Notre Dame football.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view

Religion In America – Bishop Hill

This week’s Religion in America post will be about Bishop Hill in central Illinois.  Like last week’s post it is about a group who escaped a State sanctioned Lutheran system of belief in the mid 1800s. This time it is from Sweden but pretty much mirrors that of Zoar Village story from Germany.

This group settled into a communal colony where everything was held in common. But unlike most religious colonies escaping to America. Bishop Hill was more intense/fundamental than the one that they escaped from and were often in bitter opposition to many other versions of Lutheranism in America.

Here is a little about what Wikipedia says of Bishop Hill’s founder:

The village was founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrants affiliated with the Pietist movement, led by Erik Jansson. Prior to founding the Bishop Hill Colony, Jansson preached to his followers in Sweden about what he considered to be the abominations of the Lutheran Church and emphasized the doctrine that the faithful were without sin.

This story is common to many religious groups established in America. It was primarily founded around a strong and charismatic leader who chose a few particular verses in one version or another holy document to concentrate on.  But this same thing was also typical of other world religions. Lutheranism, which was founded by Martin Luther who started the Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago when he became fixated on “works” not being important to God and uttering words of faith being the primary purpose of religion.  Some say this was due to an overwhelming inferiority complex by Luther. When he found the words from St. Paul (not Jesus) “you are saved by faith, not works” it became by far the most important aspect of his version of religion.

Getting back to the story at hand in 1854 when Jansson was assassinated by a former member and six years later the communal contract ended due to mismanagement.  There are some common historic buildings left at the site but most of the dwellings in the village are now privately owned.

RV Museum..

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My uRV
My uRV.. I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

On my most recent uRV trip I visited the RV Museum in Elkhart Indiana.  Being that I have spent the last three years converting my twenty-five year old pickup truck with a six foot cap into a rat-rod micro-RV I wanted to learn a little more about the beginnings of that idea.

2017-05-24_16-07-57
Mine is kind of similar…

John Steinbeck, who as one of my favorite authors when I was growing, up wrote a book entitled “Travels with Charley” about when he custom built a pickup truck into an RV he named Rocinante (Don Quixote’s horse) and traveled around the country with it. I have read that book at least a dozen times now and it was the inspiration for me making my own version of vehicle and doing the same thing, sort of…

Anyway, the RV Museum was an interesting visit. There were many historic vehicles on display. Most seemed to be from California. I don’t really know why northwest Indiana became the RV-manufacturing capital, that is a story I will have to study up on that.

Here are some pictures from that visit.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view 

Religion In America – Zoar Village Ohio

ISOA Banner    I will start off this series of religion in America with the latest place I visited and that is Zoar Village in central Ohio.  I visited here last summer on one of my frequent micro-RV trips.  As is common in many historical religious settlements it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

2017-05-21_09-41-38.pngMost of the info for this post was obtained from the book shown to the right which contains hundreds of pictures of the village throughout its history.  The book was purchased at the village but is also available from Amazon.

Zoar village was settled by Lutheran separatists escaping persecution in Germany in the early 1800s. In Germany at that time the state and church were one and the same. It ran the schools and most civic ceremonies. A group of “Zoarites” or “Separatists” as they were called refused to attend the mandated church, or to send their kids to church run schools and because of their non-violence beliefs refused to serve in the army. As a result many were flogged, imprisoned, had their children and land stripped from them and turned over to the state.

With the help of English Quakers they emigrated to America.  The American Quakers also helped them initially settle near Philadelphia.  But Joseph Bimeler, who became their leader during their three month journey to America had no patience for the well-meaning Quakers and found land in “far-off” Ohio for his group to settle and thus the village of Zoar Ohio was formed.

Separatists had an abiding faith in the Bible and thought that each person should have a “direct” relationship with God.  They also believed in the imminent return of Christ so each individual had to purge himself or herself of evil and become a living example of virtue.  In rebellion to the church they left their worship services were stripped of all ceremony.  Because of the imminent return they also believed in celibacy which demanded that households be divided by sex. That practice ended after about ten years.

By about 1850 the population of Zoar had reached about 500 and land values of the town exceeded $1 million.  However a year later Bimeler died and no one was able to successfully take his place,  and as a result that started years of decline of the town. In March of 1898 to society of Zoar formally decided to disband and everything was basically sold at auction soon thereafter. The remaining 200 or so members were given $200 and a piece of real estate.

As we will learn in future posts on this subject the final fate of the village was similar to many other religious settlements. Today the village of Zoar is struggling to find the resources to maintain the town.  It has lost much of its attraction as a tourist site which kept it going for some time.

Click on any pic below to see a larger slideshow view..