Stone Mountain Park

We had heard from some Oklahoma friends (Lady Roadrunner is from Georgia) that Stone Mountain Park in Georgia was a place to see. We did some research and added it to the list.

Agarita Annie and Neuces Slim had visited Stone Mountain before the Georgia State match and said it was definitely a must see. They had managed to see it, despite low fog and mist.

Jack and I headed there yesterday under perfect skies. Slightly overcast made it a little more pleasant for doing the walking trail, I didn't get right to the summit as I'd lost sight of Jack for some time and headed back to where he was resting. A great track though, stacks of people of all differing athletic abilities were on this stone track on a Sunday morning with a church revival service resounding from another section of the mountain.

We stopped near the flag poles, reading the plaques and the use of these flags during the Civil War. Many people do not understand the 'rebel' flag. It is history! It is the 'Confederate' flag and had great significance during the Civil War.

 

At the left end of the Confederate Flag Terrace is the Confederate Battle Flag.

At the battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, the Confederate Commander was unable to recognize reinforcements because in the dust of battle the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy could hardly be distinguished from the Stars and Stripes of the Union forces. As a result, the Confederate battle flag was adopted in September 1861.


Far right on the terrace is the First National Flag.

The First National flag of the Confederate States of America was the Stars and Bars, with seven white stars in the blue field. One star for each Confederate state at the time of adoption this flag was raised over the Capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama, at sunrise on March 4, 1861.


Second from the right is the Second National Flag.

The Second National, a pure white flag with the 'battle flag' in the upper left hand corner, was adopted by the Confederate congress on May 1, 1863. The Second National was substituted for the First National which, it was thought, bore too great a likeness to the flag of the Union.


In the centre of the flag terrace is the Third National Flag.

Because the Second National flag, when hanging limp, could be mistaken for a flag of truce, the Confederate congress, on March 4, 1865, changed the design by adding a broad red bar across the end. This created the third flag of the Confederacy which was known as the Last National flag of the Confederacy.


Second from left is the United States of America Flag.

 

Now you can see and understand how it all ties in to history and in my opinion, a history that needs to remain told, understood, and never to be forgotten.

Great men fought, won and lost during this time period. The carving on the side of Stone Mountain is a tribute to the Confederate States of America. It was conceptualised in the early 1900's when both Northerners and Southerners were establishing memorials for the Civil War heroes.

 

Inside Memorial Hall (sits directly opposite, with a view to the carving) their is an auditorium with a film explaining the Civil War battles and a huge window with reproduction pieces indicating actual size, references to the 3 men depicted, how it came to be, design competition, the carvers etc.

 

The carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (left), General Robert E. Lee (centre), and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is a spectacular sight to see and you really don't get the scale and depth of it until you have read the information or taken the Skyride up the mountain to fully appreciate the great feat the carvers have produced.

 

The total dimensions of the carved section is 90 feet high and covers an area of a large city block.

The actual dimensions of the carving itself are 76 feet high, 160 feet wide and at the deepest relief section, 42 feet. You can fit two school buses side by side on the back of Lee's horse. I liked the comparison between other well known carvings around the world. It's half the height of the Statue of Liberty but larger than Mt Rushmore and I thought that was big!


Here's some perspective on the stars on General Lee's collar, the buckle from “Black Jack's” bridle, and the mouth of the horse – actual size reproductions. You could fit in the horses mouth to get out of a rain shower, the buckle is as big as a stove, Jefferson Davis's thumb is as big as a couch and Robert E. Lee's head is 15ft tall.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum's first concept for the memorial was to include an entire Southern army!? It took 60 years (approx 13 actual carving) before it was completed as it was! A widower of a Confederate soldier, C. Helen Plane pushed for a memorial and by 1915 had rallied the Atlanta Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy to contract the renowned sculptor for the project.

Over five decades, three sculptors later (Gutzon Borglum, Augustus Lukeman and Walter Hancock) time, lease, money issues and artist grievances, the carving was finally dedicated in May 1970. The some 420ft 'tallest' outside elevator was eventually completely removed by 1972.

 

The mountain itself was formed by volcanic activity and over time soil erosion has revealed the largest exposed granite rock in the world. It's only taken about 120 million years for it to get like this!?!

The park has the Skyride cable car, you can do a return trip, walk up and take the ride back to the bottom, ride to the top and walk down. There is a train that runs around the base. The Ampitheatre and pond area are beautiful and there are night time laser shows against the side of the mountain. Historic Square has a number of old homes that have been relocated, restored and house a number of antiques, these can be viewed for an extra entry price.

 

Confederate Hall which sits at the base of the walking trail doesn't open until 12pm on a Sunday so we missed seeing inside this building. It sits adjacent to the car park where the original owner Andrew Johnson's house, the Gilbraltar Hotel was when the township was known as New Gibraltar.

 

A beautiful spot to visit and I would recommend it to anyone. I can imagine summer season is going to be jam packed with visitors, it was bad enough on a warmer than usual spring day in off peak. Lots of people enjoy this area that is evident. My tip is if you are going to spend the money to get in, enjoy the rides and historic square then I would suggest picking a time when you can spend the time to stay and enjoy the laser show as well.

Thanks Georgia for highlighting our trip as we left this state.

Kat xo

 

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Chain Stitch

Nothing like a challenge to keep your mind working overtime.

Chain stitch = time consuming

Time consuming = it worked!

It worked = total satisfaction!

Well not quite yet but super excited about achieving an emulation of the detail on Eva's gown!

Vine work is done on the other 2 panels – that's the easy part!

 

Leaves and petals need to be done on those to get to this stage

 

*squeals! Claps hands!* so excited to get past the chain stitch part but it's looking as good as what I was hoping for and then some.

Kat xo

 

Kansas to Minnesota

This morning after a fabulous breakfast and great hospitality from our hosts, we hit the road again and headed out for Kansas City.

We are visiting Union Station, just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri.

What a grand old lady is Union Station, with beautiful architecture, ornate ceiling rosettes, grand chandeliers AND Harvey's – a restaurant that once upon a time was a Fred Harvey house. I have a bit of an obsession with Harvey Houses.

 

Now there is Science City and a current exhibit of Mummies showing but we headed for the 2nd and 3rd floor history exhibits.

Union Station as it is today, replaced a smaller Union Depot that had served the city since 1878. The bigger station was built in 1914 on a new site away from floodplains just south of the central business district.

 

Just a few facts:

  • Jarvis Hunt, Architect was hired in 1906 for the building of Union Station.
  • When it opened in October, 1914 it was the second largest train station in the country.
  • It takes up 850,000sq ft/79,000m2 of real estate
  • Each chandelier, of which there are 3, weighs 3,500pds/1600kg
  • The Grand Hall clock face is 6ft/1.8m in diameter
  • The ceiling height in the Grand Hall is 95ft/29m high
  • In 1917 during WWI peak train traffic numbered 271 – 1945 during WWII peak passenger traffic was 678,363
  • 1933 Union Station massacre made headlines Frank Nash (notorious gangster, bank robber and escaped convict) along with 4 of his hit men attacked the men who had come to take him back to Leavenworth. 5 men including detectives and FBI agents were killed.

There are fabulous old photographs, information boards and displays of artefacts on the two levels overlooking the Grand Hall.

 

Mementos from special exhibitions are also on display along with information regarding the National Memorial and WWI Museum. The view across the lawn and fountain area to the Memorial is mighty fine. Landscape designer, George Kessler, indeed planned a beautiful city back in the late 1800's-early 1900's.

 

With a visit to Harvey's for extra breakfast (lol, don't need lunch! Have a go at the size of Jack's pancakes!!) we rolled out the door and back to the car to head further North through Missouri and into the state of Iowa.

 

Iowa is another new state to visit. We took a quick pit stop at Lamoni at the Welcome Centre and Amish store. I thought the buggy and horse were a statue when I saw the buggy parking sign! Lol! The horse must have realised the blonde needed an acknowledgement and with a turn of his head I realised it was real!

 

How fabulous Amish stores are with all their homemade and harvested fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Jack scored some Fig Jam and we got some awesome licorice wheels, YUM!

 

I head to the other end of the store where there is a neat little cafe set up and more goods. In the meantime, Jack perusing the information stand, finds the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum brochure. Winterset here we come!

Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, John Wayne is one of the most recognised western actor's history has seen.

 

This small museum has a theatrette, a gallery with costumes, guns and other items used in films he starred in. It has one of his last customised cars on display, a buggy and beautiful panels from the ballroom in The Shootist.

 

The wax statue and painted scenes of Monument Valley are excellent. Monument Valley lends the perfect western landscape to many movies. Director John Ford made John Wayne a star in 'Stagecoach' in 1939. John Wayne directed and starred in 3 other films in Monument Valley – 'Fort Apache', 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' and 'The Searchers'.

 

John Wayne starred in 152 movies! (200 actually, including cameo appearances)

 

The sweet little 4 room house and birthplace of John Wayne sits on it existing site just round the corner on the same block as the Museum and Gift shop. It has been restored and includes period furniture of 1907 when he was born.

 

Then it was back on the road!

We need to be in Faribault, Minnesota y'all!

Kat xo

 

Day In Cheyenne

Last night we had a fabulous dinner with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, Trigger Happy Ted and Misty Rider. A good catch up to start off our short stay in Cheyenne.

This morning was a leisurely start over coffee and then off to the country club for lunch on the deck overlooking the golf course.

 

A visit to the museum made for an interesting afternoon. Passing some of Cheyennes spectacular 1800's buildings, the Nelson Museum Of The West awaits.

 

With everything from taxidermy, firearms, Hollywood posters, Indian, cavalry, vaquero outfits, Spurs etc it is a fantastic exhibit over two floors, the third floor below – Lawmen and Outlaws display.

 

Gambling, guns and whiskey were the essentials for outlaws of the time or more likely is what caused the most grief in small railway and cowtown's of the west.

 

This a neat little museum and worth a visit if you are short on time, you can do it in a couple of hours.

We did get an extra personalised tour into the war bonnet room and the new exhibit acquisition room where they are organising new displays.

 

Then across the street into the military uniform display, what a collection! Mostly uniforms from actual military members and displayed with their name plate and photo! Such amazing collections!

 

A little saunter later down the road we arrived at The Plains Hotel for a rest and a beer. Yep, a Saddle Bronc for me, always got to try a local brew, well it comes out of Sheridan which is still Wyoming.

 

That takes care of today, won't be much to report tomorrow until we are at the airport!

Cheers

Kat xo

 

Nebraska – Wyoming

Today we moved on and visited Gothenburg again briefly. Enough time for Jack to get another Pony Express badge, seeing as he lost it somewhere on the range a month or so ago and to send a postcard.

 

Next we continued on the Lincoln Highway to North Platte. We had also previously been here to Buffalo Bill Cody's house and ranch but this time we stopped in at the Golden Spike Tower.

With views overlooking the world's largest classification rail yard – Bailey Yard (have you been here before Paddlewheel???)

 

Here you can go up into the observation deck and watch Union Pacific Railroad workers 'sort and connect over 10,000 cars a day on two classification hump yards, with nearly 120 bowl rows and 315 tracks.'

 

It is 8 miles long, 301 sets of rails covering 2,850 acres.

North Platte was originally “Hell On Wheels Town” in 1866.

Inside the gift shop are historical displays and a short movie. Information boards line the walls of the internal observation deck and in the foyer to the outside observation deck the boards talk of the canteen.

 

This was a great stop and you could actually see the cars being pushed up the humps to be transferred down the other side into the bowl and let run down a track ready to be attached for their final destination.

 

It's lunch time and that means getting our skates on! Next stop Ole's for lunch and view some 200 mounted trophies displayed in this Big Game Steakhouse and Lounge.

 

The brochure says 'Rosser O. Herstedt (“Ole” to anyone that knew him) was one of a kind.' Born and bred in Paxton he seized on a unique business opportunity in 1933. (This part makes me grin) 'On August 8, 1933, prohibition in Nebraska came to an end. At 12.01am on August 9, Ole opened his tavern on Paxton's main street.' Lol!

He was a hunter and soon the lounge became a showcase for his hunting trips and safaris. It is still owned today by another Paxton native, Tim Holzfaster.

 

An Ole's club sandwich and a side of fries did both of us!!

On to our last stop before reaching Cheyenne, WY, we made a quick stop in Sidney, NE at the Pony Express National Monument which of course is right next to Cabela's….which of course we just had to go into!

 

Hope you've had a great day or having a great day!

Kat xo

 

Kansas – Nebraska Day Trip

Travelling along, no car projects this trip, so snooze! Yeah that sounds pretty good.

We were heading north through Kansas and came across Waconda Lake between Beloit and Cawker City, a massive expanse of waterway. Not much out this way except lots of farming and Beloit is clearly a very large agricultural hub.

 

Continuing North we took a quick side trip for a mile off the Hwy8 which took us to the Dr Higley cabin. (Lovingly taken care of, restored and remaining on its original site thanks to Mr and Mrs Pete Rust)

 

Birthplace of 'Home On The Range' the Kansas state song was written in 1871 by Dr Brewster M. Higley as a poem of his property in Kansas alongside Beaver Creek. In 1872 he gave it to a guy by the name of Dan Kelley who set it to music. A refrain was added (the chorus, home, home on the range….) and his poem 'my western home' became 'home on the range. The poem and song were published in 1872 and '73.

It became popular amongst Cowboys riding long distances with cattle drives and later Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it as his favourite song. In 1947 a bill was passed in the Kansas Legislature establishing the song as the official state song.

Continuing on, we crossed into Nebraska, heading towards Minden.

Minden established 1877 – the Christmas city – has a nice selection of old homes and the Harold Warp Pioneer Village. Anything and everything you could think of from mans progression since 1830. 26 buildings, 3 city blocks – not enough time to do in a short afternoon.

 

Next to Kearney (pronounce Car-nee). We crossed the Platte River taking us through even more farmland. Soon we hit the I80 into Kearney through the The Great Platte River Arch Monument. We went into the Arch Monument and their historical exhibit, wow! Oh….my….goodness!

 

The murals were just sensational! So much detail! Standing there looking at them while listening to the commentary you saw so much more. This is a place I could come back to multiple times and still see more. You were given a device at the beginning of the tour that had multiple points during the tour where you got the information along the way. More than that, the displays, the video's, the models, murals, everything was sensational!

 

Then it was find a motel to stay in and tomorrow we will see the some other museums, maybe a railway one and Chimney Rock before moving on through to Cheyenne, WY.

Sleep well!

Kat xo

P.S. The I80 was Einsenhower's way of employing those back from the war by building the greatest Trans continent road between SanFrancisco, California to New York. A multi lane highway stretching from one side of the country to the other! Made transport easier and gave all veterans an employment opportunity.

 

Guthrie, OK

Walk down the main streets of Guthrie, Oklahoma and you are met by some of the most beautiful architecture at every turn.

Guthrie started out with the Land Run on April 22, 1889 where it became an immediate town of some 10,000 people and was the first capital of Oklahoma. Well for a few years it was, until a special election in 1910 named Oklahoma City as the state capital and it was from 1913 as it is today.

 

It's still a little early for shops and some Museums, so we headed for the one we knew was open – The Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library.

 

I had to ask the lady at the Museum, because I've thought about it for some time, what the difference is between Sooners and Boomers? Now I know, she and the Museum explained it well and no it is not just related to the University cheer song.

 

During and leading up to the Land Run – the 'Sooners' as they became known were the cheeky ones getting to the unassigned lands first. Checking out the ideal plots of land and then hiding out until the whistle blew for the race for the land grab. They would then pop up out of hiding and stake their claim.

 

The 'Boomers' had spent many years through government and legislation trying to get access to the land and often came in setting up towns only have to the army move in and shift them back to where they came from and burn the towns down.

The Museum was really good, fantastic information AND I found a new and interesting character to portray in dress. Loved perusing the Montgomery Ward & Co catalogue!

 

Hee hee hee, would love to get my hands on a copy of this Lady's Etiquette book as well! Might have to research this one. If the drafting books language is anything to go by, this should be hilarious!

 

In 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th state of the United States of America and so another star was added to the flag.

 

The original state flag commemorated Oklahoma as the 46th state, it was later changed because with its mostly red nature it fell out of favour where the colour red was associated with certain war conflicts around the world. 1925 saw the current design take over.

 

The library is stunning, beautiful timber work, high ceilings, and fireplaces.

 

A well worth trip to this Museum if you are ever in Guthrie.

 

Back up the road we walked – Saloons are few and far between these days. Back in the day there were 22 saloons in the main block!! What's an Aussie to do when they can't find a beer at high noon? One girl did offer for us to come in and she'd pour one for us while she was changing light bulbs (officially opening times for the few bars/restaurants is 5pm) we thanked her and declined.

We stepped inside the (once) Blue Bell Saloon and was glad to see the bullet hole ceilings and the gorgeous bar were still intact. However, was only patroned by a few having hamburgers (a cafe restaurant now) and not one beer tap to be seen, no bottles of liquor on shelves no nothing!

 

The famous western movie star Tom Mix used to bartend here.

Anyways, it's time to take the Historic Trolley tour of Guthrie then we will find somewhere for lunch.

 

Suffice to say there are some 2,000 historically listed buildings and homes in Guthrie. Some designed by architect Joseph Foucart.

 

There are a few parking lots that used to have what I can only imagine to be the most beautiful sand stone hotels, including the Mineral Wells Bath House with its indoor pool – said to have every kind of healing bath imaginable.

 

There are many examples of Greek revival, Georgian and Craftsman style homes to name but a few. (I can see a few 'Fixer Uppers' here too! I've been watching that show too much lol!)

 

So much information that I didn't get down in time as I was busy gazing at the buildings and homes but this one did make me giggle. This little red and grey home was ordered in a complete package form from Sears and Roebuck catalogue – sorta like your very first IKEA kit you might say!

 

Guthrie used to be wealthy for its cotton producing. A gentleman by the name of Adler was the first to be licensed for wholesale liquor manufacturing (funny how I remembered that bit 🙂 ). The very first services, gas, electric, water and more, all came out of Guthrie. The most famous lawmen for the area, known as 'The Guardsmen', were Heck Thomas, Bill Tilghman and Chris Madsen.

Last but not least Guthrie was originally a train stop and was known as Deer Creek in 1887, all 4 major train services came through this stop including Souhern Kansas Railway (later taken over by Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway). As some of you may know the ATSF was also associated with the Harvey House era and Guthrie's second depot was indeed a Harvey House stop (restaurant style stop for travellers, full service) and the Harvey girls lived in dormitories on the second floor level of the stop.

 

Trolley tour finished we had lunch, went to the Extra Special Fabric Store that I have been told had some awesome prints suitable for Cowboys and Cowgirls. It didn't disappoint, walked out with some new fabric for Jack and myself. Will be back there again.

Then we headed to the Drug Store Museum and wow! If you've got anything wrong with you, you would definitely have found all sorts of known and obscure cures for any type ailment. Was very interesting.

 

We wandered in and out of antique shops before hitting the road back to Edmond. A worthy little day trip only a half hours drive away.

It is Memorial Day weekend here (like ANZAC Day in Aus) Lest We Forget.

 

Kat xo

For more info, check out some of these sites.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guthrie,_Oklahoma

http://www.okterritorialmuseum.org

http://www.drugmuseum.org

http://www.extraspecialfabric.com