Little Bits of History

May 28

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 28, 2017

1907: The first Isle of Man TT race is held. The Tourist Trophy Race is a yearly motorcycle sporting event held on the island situated between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland in the Irish Sea. The island’s topography is hilly with only one peak topping 2,000 feet and there is a central valley. It is 32 miles at the longest point and 14 miles wide at the widest. Motor racing began on the island in 1904 due to legal constraints in England limiting the speeds for cars to 20 mph or less. The Automobile Car Club of Britain and Ireland sought permission from the government of the island to use their public roads for an elimination time trial race using the Highroads Course for the event. It took the winner 7 hours and 26.5 minutes to make five laps of the 52.15 mile course.

In 1905, after the winning time came in at 6 hours and 6 minutes with an extra lap driven, it was thought to give motorcycles a chance to run the course on the following day. There was an accident at Ramsey Hairpin and the bikes had difficulty climbing the steep Mountain Section of the course and so they rode on a 25 mile section of the Gordon Bennett Trial course instead. That day’s event had five laps or 125 miles covered and was won in 4 hours and 9 minutes despite a fire during a pit stop. The average speed was 30.04 mph for the race. It was such a success that the TT Races were officially organized and have run yearly since 1907. The original race was held on St. John’s Short Course and consisted of 10 laps for a distance of 158 miles. Charlie Collier won the race on his 3 ½ hp Matchless motorcycle at an average speed of 38.21 mph in 4:08:08.2.

Since 1911, the Snaefell Mountain Course has been used for the road racing event. It is 37.733 miles long and is closed to public during race events. It is the oldest motorcycle racing circuit still in use and is one of the deadliest as well with 248 people having died during the TT Race and the Grand Prix Race also held on the course. Glen Helen died in 1911 during a practice run of the course and 14 officials, spectators, and other non-racers have died on the course. The difficulty of the course lies in part to the over 200 turns along the less than 38 mile course.

The Isle of Man TT Race has been administered by the Auto-Cycle Union (the Auto-Cycle Club) since its inception. It was one the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world and was seen as a test of both machine and man. The fastest lap at the race was run by Michael Dunlop in 2016 when he made a lap in 16 minutes and 53.929 seconds. He also holds the race record of 1 hour 43 minutes, and 56.129 seconds for an average speed of 130.685 mph, also in 2016. The unofficial top speed reached during a race belongs to Bruce Anstey who hit 206 mph in 2006. The lap record for the Sidecar TT is 19 minutes and 22.928 seconds with an average speed of 116.798 mph with Ben Birchall driving and Tom Birchall as the passenger in the sidecar. This was set in 2016. The most wins is held by Joey Dunlop with 26. He is the uncle of Michael.

You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle! – Dan Aykroyd

A motorcycle is an independent thing. – Ryan Hurst

If I’m out trailriding, I have a favorite motorcycle. Riding on the road, I’ve got a favorite. If I’m jumping, I have a favorite, and if I’m racing, I have a favorite. – Evel Knievel

It wasn’t until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed. – Vin Diesel

 

 

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May 27

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 27, 2017

1930: The Chrysler Building becomes the tallest building in New York City. The building replaced 40 Wall Street (also known as Trump Tower) as the tallest building in the city, but the Chrysler Building did not make the tallest building in the word. The Eiffel Tower kept that distinction until the Empire State Building took over. The Chrysler Building is located on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan and is today owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council (90%) and Tishman Speyer (10%). Although it didn’t hold the title of tallest building for long, the Empire State Building surpassed it less than a year later, it remains the tallest brick building (built around a steel frame) in the world.

The Art Deco building was the corporate headquarters for the Chrysler car manufacturer from its opening date until the mid 1950s. It was never owned by the company since Walter Chrysler paid for it himself so his children could inherit it. It has been deemed one of the finest buildings in New York City and was ranked ninth by the American Institute of Architects in their List of America’s Favorite Architecture. The building was designed by William Van Alen with groundbreaking taking place on September 19, 1928. At the time, building the tallest building was of great interest. The Woolworth Building had been able to hold the title from 1913 until 40 Wall Street took over. Taking to the skies was a high priority.

The building’s 77 floors give it 1,195,000 square feet of space and is services by 32 elevators. With the spire topping the building, it reaches 1,046 feet into the air, while the roof is at 925 feet. The top floor is 899 feet up. Building it was managed with rapid ascent averaging four floors a week. No workers died during the construction. The building contains 391,881 rivets and has 3,826,000 bricks which were manually laid. The competitive nature of the builders had the architect of 40 Wall Street modifying his plans to try to maintain his “tallest building” title. Van Alen then added the 125 foot tall spire to the top of the Chrysler Building. Except the spire was built inside the building and in secret, so as to thwart Severance’s claim.

As this date approached, the assembled spire could be placed atop the building and the already completed 40 Wall Street became second tallest building. The architectural structure of the Eiffel Tower reaches up to 984 feet and so Van Alen’s building was able to become the tallest manmade architecture structure in the world. This was no doubt thrilling for the man, but probably lost some of the luster when Walter Chrysler refused to pay the balance of his fee. Today, Chrysler Company has merged with Fiat and is traded as Fiat Chrysler with headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The building there is far less spectacular.

It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time. – David Allan Coe

Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves. – Julia Morgan

Color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic. – Antoni Gaudi

Rationalism is the enemy of art, though necessary as a basis for architecture. – Arthur Erickson

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May 26

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 26, 2017

1783: A Great Jubilee Day is celebrated. The American Revolutionary War was fought between 1775 and 1783 with America gaining independence from Great Britain. The war officially ended on September 3, 1783 with the signing of the Peace of Paris treaty. But hostilities had ended prior to the actual treaty’s creation. It was ratified on May 12, 1784 but by then, the United States of America was already well under way. The war had been long and brutal with tens of thousands dying on both sides. America’s allies also lost thousands of thousands, as did the associates of Great Britain. Even before the treaty, there was cause for jubilation, celebration, and partying. On this day, all that and more happened at A Great Jubilee Day.

Held in North Stratford (now Trumbull, Connecticut), the day commemorated the end to the fighting. It included food, of course, but also prayer, speeches, toasts, and two companies of the North Stratford militia performing maneuvers. Cannons were fired in this first documented celebration of the end of the War for Independence. It would later be called Decoration Day and today is known as Memorial Day. Even now, Americans celebrate their freedom with food, parades, and speeches. On this day there were many toasts to the many who suffered, sacrificed, and honorably held fast during the long war. The first toast was for Congress and the second was for General Washington. There were 14 toasts given and after each, the cannon was fired.

The area of Connecticut was settled by the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation prior to the colonization by the English during the Great Migration of the 1630s. Stratford, Connecticut grew and some farmers northwest of the town petitioned to become separate and eventually were given permission to incorporate Unity. They merged with Long Hill and became North Stratford in 1744. Connecticut had the distinction of having the only colonial governor to support the American cause during the Revolutionary War. That governor was Jonathan Trumbull. The town eventually was successful in their petition to name their town after him.

The Connecticut general assembly appointed Robert Hawley, a captain in the North Stratford Train Band of the 4th regiment of the Connecticut Colony militia to provide supplies to the US Army. A special meeting was held on November 10, 1777 in which his task was laid out. He began collecting supplies and March 12, 1778 they were able to make a considerable donation to the neighboring state. The cost of delivering the more than 200 pounds of provisions was sponsored by Mr. Stephen Middlebrook and came to £7 s3 p10. The supplies were essential to health and well being of the soldiers under General Washington stationed at Valley Forge.

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. – George Washington

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. – Albert Einstein

Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. – Ronald Reagan

To survive in peace and harmony, united and strong, we must have one people, one nation, one flag. – Pauline Hanson

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May 25

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 25, 2017

1738: A treaty is signed in London between belligerents – Pennsylvania and Maryland. The fighting portion of Cresap’s War or the Conojocular War came to an end. Conejohela Valley was the area of conflict between the two colonies and fighting first broke out in 1730 over the disputed lands. Pennsylvania’s Charter gave the southern border as a “Circle drawne at twelve miles distance from New Castle Northward and Westward unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and then a straight Line Westward.” Later surveys showed the town of New Castle was 25 miles south of the fortieth parallel. Maryland insisted the line be drawn at the fortieth parallel as stated while Pennsylvania insisted on some convoluted means of calculating the border. This left a 28 mile wide strip of land both colonies claimed.

The area was sparsely populated. In 1726, Quaker minister John Wright and two friends brought their families into the Valley and settled near the Susquehanna River and began farming. They also built two large dugout canoes and tied one to each side of the waterway creating the opportunity for passenger ferrying. Few people needed to cross, but by 1730 business was increasing and Wright applied for a ferry license. Traffic increased, in part because it became known there was ferry service across the Susquehanna. A number of Pennsylvania Dutch moved to the area and Marylander Thomas Cresap wanted to counter this and set up his own ferry system at Blue Rock, about four miles south of Wright’s Ferry.

Because of the royal charter, Pennsylvania settlers did not have clear title to the lands. Marland granted Cresap a title to 500 acres along the west bank of the river. Much of that parcel was already settled. Cresap began to sell off parcels of his land and brought more Pennsylvania Dutch under Maryland law and began to collect Maryland taxes. According to Cresap, in October 1730 he was attacked on a ferry boat by two Pennsylvanians, the first armed confrontation between Pennsylvania and Maryland. He didn’t mention the attack was to take his own workman into custody for some violation in Pennsylvania, probably debt collection. Hostilities increased and the issue remained unresolved.

Both colonial militias were brought to the region to defend their claim to the 28-mile strip of land. Casualties were heavy and the fighting continued for years. Agreements were reached, but ignored on the ground. Finally, after involving King George II, the two sides were compelled to sign a treaty and enforce a cease-fire. While this settled the immediate problem, the issue wasn’t fully resolved until 1767 when the Mason-Dixon line was finally recognized as the dividing line between the two colonies. This assured that Philadelphia was indeed in Pennsylvania while adjusting the rest of the line westward.

When you move a border, suddenly life changes violently. I write about nationality. – Alan Furst

The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? – Pablo Casals

Great countries need to secure their border for national security purposes, for economic purposes and for rule of law purposes. – Jeb Bush

As we all know from the Roman empire, big empires go down if the borders are not well-protected. – Mark Rutte

May 24

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 24, 2017

1976: The Judgment of Paris takes place. Also known as the Paris Wine Tasting, it was organized by Steven Spurrier. He began his illustrious career at London’s oldest wine merchant, Christopher and Co. in 1964. He moved to Paris in 1970 and purchased an existing wine store and opened for business with a selling point being people could taste the wine before they purchased it. This led to his being recognized as an expert in his field and he opened the L’Academie du Vin in 1973 as France’s first private wine school. He sponsored the event held on this day where shocking results rocked the world of wine.

Wine competitions have the goal of comparing wines by trained experts. They can either judge vintages, categories, or brands of wine. They are given samples of wines without knowing from what label they were poured and then rate the beverage. On this day, they were rating both red and white wines. Spurrier was one of the eleven judges and he was joined by nine French judges and one American. The nine men and two women were given samples of California Cabernet Sauvignon wines and Bordeaux and also judged California Chardonnays against France’s.

The blind tests were performed with the highest rating given as 20 points. Each expert was to use their judgment and no framework was given. Personal criteria of experts was honored. Each judge ranked the wines personally and then an aggregate score was obtained by averaging the numbers. There were a total of ten reds (6 California and 4 French) and ten whites (6 California and 4 French). Each judge’s listing was different from the next, but by taking the scores and averaging them out, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 was voted the best red and Chateau Montelena 1973 was voted the best white. Both were American wines. Stag’s Leap was founded in 1970 with their first vintage produced in 1972. Chateau Montelena, another Napa Valley winery, was established much earlier, in 1882.

This upset helped place America’s vintners on the world stage. Spurrier only sold French wines at the time, believing them to be far superior. The California wins in both categories was an upset, in all senses of the word. Controversies abound concerning tastings. Personal criteria used and subjectivity along with the unscientific interpretation bring non-replicable results. It was noted that even the same judges tasting the same wines on a different day would likely rank them in a different way. Regardless of the science, California wines were able to carry the day.

The results of a blind tasting cannot be predicted and will not even be reproduced the next day by the same panel tasting the same wines. – Steven Spurrier

Intellectuals talk about ideas; ordinary people talk about things; but boring people talk about wine! – Fran Lebowitz

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. I Benjamin Franklin

A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle. – Charles Baudelaire

 

 

May 23

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 23, 2017

1906: Henrik Ibsen dies at the age of 78. He was born into a prosperous merchant family in Skien, Grenland, Norway. The family ancestors were Danish ship captains who settled in the port town and became merchants. When Henrik was seven, his father lost most of the family fortune and they were forced to move into their rural summer house and sell off most of the family holdings. The family’s misfortune would later turn up in several of the playwright’s work. Henrik’s father married into his step-father’s family and Henrik was also intrigued with what he called their “strange, almost incestuous marriage” which also became a topic for later plays.

When he was 15, Henrik was forced by economics to leave school and become an apprentice pharmacist in Grimstad. He would never return to his home town. He also began writing plays at the time. At age 18, he fathered an illegitimate child who he monetarily supported but never saw. Instead, he left for the big city, what would eventually be called Oslo, and hoped to matriculate into university. He was unable to pass the entrance exams and so continued writing plays. His first play was published under a pseudonym in 1850 when he was 22. It was never performed. His first play to make it the stage was also in 1850 and it was not a hit. He continued writing, without much success.

Ibsen was employed at Det Norske Theater for the next several years and was part of 145 plays as writer, director, and producer. During the time, he published five more unremarkable plays. Although still not a writing success, he gathered experience of the theater which would be useful later. He returned to Oslo for a job at Christiania Theatre, married, and his son was born. Still unsuccessful, he moved to Italy to begin a 27 year self-imposed exile. In 1865 he finally wrote his first acclaimed play, Brand. Two years later, Peer Gynt, influenced by his reading of philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, was produced. With success, Ibsen began to include even more of his own beliefs and judgments into what he called the “drama of ideas”.

He went on to write many impressive and still performed plays. Shakespeare is the only playwright with more plays still being performed. During the 20th century, the most performed play was A Doll’s House which Ibsen wrote in 1879. The controversial play explored women’s roles in marriage and allowed the wife/mother an escape from her bonds in order to find her true self outside the confines imposed by society. Many of his later works were considered scandalous at the time. Ibsen returned to Norway in 1891, but it was not the same place he had left decades before. Life was modernizing. He suffered several strokes during the 1900s and succumbed to the accumulative effects, on this day.

A forest bird never wants a cage.

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.

Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.

Castles in the air – they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build too. – all from Henrik Ibsen

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May 22

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 22, 2017

1762: The Trevi Fountain is officially opened by Pope Clemens XIII. According to legend, in 19 BC some Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water about eight miles outside the city of Rome. Augustus commissioned a 14-mile long aqueduct to be built, bringing the pure water into the city proper. It was called Aqua Virgo or Virgin Waters as an honorary nod to the young girl. The waters supplied the hot Baths of Agrippa for over 400 years. In 1629, Pope Urban VIII proposed building a new and more dramatic fountain at the site and even asked Bernini to design it. The Pope died and the fountain project was abandoned, at least for a time.

In 1730, Pope Clement XII organized a contest to supply ideas for a new fountain as much of the city was being upgraded in the Baroque style. Alessandro Galilei (a relative of the more famous Galileo, and a Florentine) won, but the Romans were outraged with a Florentine’s win and so the commission was given to runner up, Nicola Salvi. Using Salvi’s plans, work on the massive fountain began in 1732. Salvi died in 1751 and the project was finished with the placement of Pietro Bracci’s Oceanus into the central niche. The fountain was built at the juncture of three roads (hence the name – tre vie). The entire structure rises 86 feet and is 161 feet wide making it the largest Baroque fountain in Rome as well as one of the best known fountains in the world. Most of the Travertine stone used in construction came from Tivoli, 22 miles away.

The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli. The palace was given its monumental façade especially as a setting for the fountain. Luigi Vanvitelli’s palace design was altered when the central portion was demolished specifically for the building of the Trevi Fountain. Because of erosion over time, the fountain has been refurbished and in 1998, all the stonework was scrubbed and all cracks were repaired along with other areas of deterioration. Skilled artisans worked to restore the beauty while recirculating pumps were added to the fountain itself.

In January 2014, Fendi (Italian fashion company) announced a plan for more restoration and upgrades. They would sponsor a 20-month program and spend €2.2 million on the project which would be the most comprehensive restoration ever undertaken. Work began in June 2014 and was completed with an official reopening ceremony on November 3, 2015. Part of the upgrades were the installation of more than 100 LED lights to improve the nighttime illumination of the fountain. Throwing coins in the fountain is to be done by using the right hand to toss money over the left shoulder. About €3,000 is thrown into the fountain daily. The retrieved money is used to subsidize food for Rome’s needy.

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. – Mike May

Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo da Vinci

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. – John W. Gardner

The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone. – Lucretius

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May 21

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2017

1881: The American Red Cross (ARC) is founded. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was established in 1863 by Jean-Henri Dunant. The businessman was in Solferino on the evening after a battle was fought during the Austro-Sardinian War. There were about 40,000 soldiers dead or wounded that day and many of them were still in the fields. There was a near total lack of medical care available for either side’s casualties. Dunant abandoned his immediate business concern and began to help locals care of the wounded. Upon his return home, he wrote A  Memory of Solferino and sent copies to political and military men throughout Europe. He advocated for national voluntary relief organizations to help the wounded and treaties to help protect those offering medical care.

The Red Cross was the outcome. Established as a private humanitarian institution, politically neutral, and offering life-giving assistance to any wounded soldiers, the 25-member committee created this way to help casualties of war. Today, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in almost every country in the world. There are 190 recognized National Societies with each working in their home country and following international humanitarian principles. Extra projects can also be carried out, if resources permit, and many times the Red Cross or Red Crescent are linked with the national health care system to help provide emergency medical services.

Clara Barton (1821-1912) was an American nurse during the US Civil War. She was also a teacher and a patent clerk. But her most noteworthy accomplishment was founding the ARC and acting as the first president. On May 12, Barton held a meeting at the home of Senator Omar Conger with fifteen people present. At the meeting was Congressman William Lawrence who would serve as ARC’s original vice-president. Barton had learned about the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland in 1869 when she traveled to help ease suffering in the Franco-Prussian War. After her return, she began work to establish the Red Cross in America. The first chapter was opened in upstate New York.

Today, the ARC is an integral part of the health care system. They are noted for their blood banks and research as well as disaster relief efforts. Disaster relief came early with their first major crisis taking place in September 1881 when over 5,000 people were left homeless after a fire in Michigan. The next major disaster was the Johnstown Flood in 1889. Each year, the ARC responds to more than 70,000 disasters ranging from private house fires to major catastrophes. Some of the most noted disasters of this millennium have been Hurricane Katrina, Comair Flight 5191 crash, the 2007 tornadoes in Florida and Kansas, and the I-35 Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.

The surest test of discipline is its absence.

This conflict is one thing I’ve been waiting for. I’m well and strong and young – young enough to go to the front. If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers.

I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat? – all from Clara Barton

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May 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 20, 2017

1521: The Battle of Pampeluna takes place. The battle was a part of the Italian War of 1521-26 and is sometimes called the Four Years War. France (with the help of Swiss mercenaries) and Venice were up against the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England, and the Papal States. Charles V was elected as Holy Roman Emperor with backing from Pope Leo X as a means of repressing Martin Luther. The French-Navarrese expedition tried to reconquer Navarre, unsuccessfully and the Pope, Emperor, and Henry VIII signed an agreement against France and took up, once again, fighting in the Italian Peninsula and northeast France.

Pampeluna, also known as Pamplona, is in northern Spain, close to the French border. It is the capital city of Navarre, which was at this time in history, the Kingdom of Navarre. The small kingdom was sandwiched between Castile and Aragon with France to the north and with small pockets of English ruled lands around it. The French backed the Navarrese as they took up arms against the invading Spanish (both Castile and Aragon). On this day, Inigo Lopez de Loyola, was seriously injured when a Navarrese cannonball shattered his legs. The soldier so impressed the opposition with his bravery, tradition says they carried him all the way back to his hometown, Loyola.

The injuries required a long recovery time and during his imposed bed rest, he began meditations. This in turn, helped him turn his life around and he left the world of warriors and began his life as a priest. The man from Castile is known to us today as Ignatius of Loyola. He was born in 1491, the youngest of 13 children. His mother died soon after his birth. As a boy, he became a page in the service of a relative, the treasurer of the kingdom of Castile. He became enchanted by the stories of El Cid and joined the army at age 17. He was known as flamboyant young man, womanizer, and violent. With age, he became more diplomatic and came into the service of the Duke of Najera. After his injury, he returned home, underwent several surgeries to “fix” his legs (no anesthesia at the time) and eventually recovered, although one leg was shorter and he always walked with a limp.

As he recovered, he decided to redirect his life to the service of God and hoped to convert infidels in the Holy Land. A year later, when he could walk again, he went to a Benedictine monastery and had a vision. He hung up his sword and began to seriously study. He gathered together with six companions who worked together to form the Society of Jesus, aka the Jesuits. Their dedication to evangelism and apostolic ministry is legendary with founding of schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries around the globe. They are known for their intellectual research as well as piety and service. Ignatius of Loyola died in Rome in 1556 at the age of 64. He was beatified in 1609 and canonized a saint in 1622.

One rare and exceptional deed is worth far more than a thousand commonplace ones.

It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.

Teach us to give and not to count the cost.

Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent. – all from Ignatius of Loyola

May 19

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 19, 2017

2015: At 11.30 AM, Line 901 is shut down. Plaines All American Pipeline, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a Master limited partnership in the oil transportation, marketing, and storage business. Near Santa Barbara, California, offshore oil and gas production is big business. The offshore platforms produce oil and natural gas and the products are piped onshore for processing. Line 901 was 10.6 miles long and the 24-inch pipe was laid in 1987. The pipe carried 2 million gallons of crude oil a day with temperatures reaching as high as ⁰F 120. To help the oil flow, it was blended with natural gas liquids. The pipelines were installed because it was thought to be a safer option over the previously used truck transport system.

Inspections of the pipe prior to this event showed extensive corrosion and thinning of the pipeline walls. There was no automatic shut off valve on the line since it was not an intrastate line. The last comprehensive inspection took place in July 2012. Plaines claimed installing a shut off valve would create potential dangers. Three Exxon Mobil offshore platforms transport oil to onshore tanks for processing via the Line 901 pipeline. It arrives at Las Flores Canyon and a pump station then sends the crude via Line 903 (also reported to be sub-optimal) for 128 miles to a gathering facility before moving it on to refineries throughout Southern California.

Gaviota coast, the narrow coastal terrace where the spill took place, is used for recreation and cattle grazing. Oil processing facilities are kept to a minimum as the land is protected by the Williamson Act. The nearest city is Goleta and about 11 miles south. Gaviota is unique for the biodiversity of ocean life due to a mix of cold northern waters and warm southern ones. The annual migration of Gray whales was in progress on this day as about 19,000 of the beasts swam through the Santa Barbara Channel. At 11.30 on this day, pipeline operators in Midland, Texas noticed pressure anomalies and shut down Line 901. By 11.40 the Santa Barbara County Fire Department were on scene after reports of a strange smell. They found crude oil flowing from a drainage culvert out into the Pacific Ocean.

Due to cascading effects of problems and inefficiencies, a total of 142,800 gallons of crude oil were spilled into this unique environment. The pipeline remains indefinitely closed. The financial impacts to the county have been estimated as high as $74 million should the pipeline remain out of service for three years. The cost of the clean up was about $96 million with overall expenses including legal claims and settlements estimated at $257 million. Hundreds of coastal animals were found coated in crude oil and many of them died. The state parks and beaches were temporarily closed. Because of the biodiversity of the area, it has long been studied by environmentalists who continue to monitor the region to determine the long range effects of this spill.

If you ask the fish whether they’d rather have an oil spill or a season of fishing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d vote for another blowout. – Carl Safina

We pull out of the ground death, we burn death in our power plants, and then we act shocked when we get death in the form of oil spills and global warming. – Van Jones

Have you been following the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Or as we call it now, the Dead Sea. – David Letterman

This is an opportunity for the port and all of us to make a bold statement about how oil companies contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters. – Ed Murray