Little Bits of History

Motor Wagon

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 20, 2015
Duryea Brothers 1894 model

Duryea Brothers 1894 model

September 20, 1893: The Duryea Brothers test drive their new conveyance. Charles, the older brother (born 1861) and Frank (born 1869) were initially bicycle makers in Washington, D.C. They later moved their business to Springfield, Massachusetts and it was there they tested their new vehicle. They audaciously road-tested the first working American gasoline-powered automobile. The area they used for the test is now part of the City of Chicopee, Massachusetts. Their “motor wagon” was literally that. They purchased a used horse drawn buggy for $70 and added a 4 HP, single cylinder gasoline engine. The car had a friction transmission, a spray carburetor, and low tension ignition.

It worked. They parked it and then test drove it again on November 10. For this second tour, they brought the car to a much more prominent area of the city. They drove past their garage at 47 Taylor Street. The event was so startling, it was written up in the local newspaper, The Republican, the next day. The trial car was put in storage in 1894 and stayed safely stored away until 1920 when a former Duryea engineer presented it to the United States National Museum. The two brothers continued to work on their cars. Charles engineered the cars and Frank built, tested, and raced them.

Frank’s first race was on November 28, 1895. It was held in Chicago and was not only Frank’s first car race, but America’s. The cars were driven to Evanston, Illinois and back to the starting point. There had been three Benz cars also entered in the race and two other cars, for a total of six entrants from the 83 cars which had hoped to race. Only Frank and one of the Benz cars managed to even finish the race, sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald with a winning prize of $5,000 (about $150,000 today). The trip was 54 miles long with an average blistering speed of 7.5 mph. The race took over seven hours to complete.

With this success in hand, the brothers were able to make a go of their new business, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company. Demand for American cars grew along with the brothers’ orders. They were able to produce 13 cars in the following year. All were made by hand at their garage on Taylor Street. They became the first successful commercially-produced American car maker. Nothing is all peaches and cream and one of their cars was also involved in the world’s first known auto accident when Henry Wells, new owner of a Duryea, was driving in New York City and struck a bicyclist. The biker suffered a broken leg and Wells spent a night in jail. The cars were hand-made and so expensive few could afford them. Vehicles were produced as late as 1917, but automated manufacturers took over the market with their cheaper cars.

I’d ban all automobiles from the central part of the city. You see, the automobile was just a passing fad. It’s got to go. It’s got to go a long way from here. – Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A business like an automobile, has to be driven, in order to get results. – B. C. Forbes

We are the first nation in the history of the world to go to the poor house in an automobile. – Will Rogers

The automobile changed our dress, manners, social customs, vacation habits, the shape of our cities, consumer purchasing patterns, common tastes and positions in intercourse. – John Keats

Also on this day: Cannes Film Festival – In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival was held.
Girl’s Night – In 1973, Billy Jean King won the “War of the Sexes” against Bobby Riggs.
QE2 – In 1967, the British cruise ship was launched.
Across the Deep Blue Sea – In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan began his journey around the world.
Walk This Way – In 1737, the Walking Purchase walk ended.

* “Talla1894DuryeaFrontDisplay” by Infrogmation of New Orleans – Photo by Infrogmation. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –


Light Show

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2015
Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations display

September 19, 1879: The first Blackpool Illuminations begin. During this first year, there were eight arc lamps bathing the Promenade and the show was called “Artificial sunshine”. The arc lamp produces light by an electric arc between carbon electrodes in the air. It was invented by Humphrey Davy in the early 1800s and was the first practical electric light. It was widely used by the 1870s for lighting up large buildings as well as streets. This event predated Edison’s patent for an electric light by a full year. The show continues to be held each year in the seaside resort of Blackpool on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, in the northwestern part of England.

The lights stay on for 66 days. They start now in late August. It is the time of year when most English seaside resorts are closing for the year and the holiday season is coming to an end. The shows first took on the look of modern day displays in 1912 when lights were switched on in May to mark the first Royal family visit to Blackpool. Princess Louise came to open a new section of the Promenade, Princess Parade. At the time, the place was described as being festooned with garlands of lamps and there about 10,000 bulbs lit for the experience. The locals wished to create the same display in September of that year as the end of the season event. The next year, the same request was made.

Then World War I broke out and there were no further displays until 1925. Not only did they once again light up the night skies, they lengthened the area involved. New displays were added in 1932 with animal tableaux placed along the cliffs. The length of lights was again increased, now running from Starr Gate to Red Bank Road at Bispham, about six miles, and the show was ready for the 1939 season, but World War II broke out and the skies remained dark. Today, there are over a million bulbs used to brightly light up the area. The 66 day rule was altered in 2013 and 2014 with both years leaving the lights on for 73 days. The plan for this year is to have another 66 day season, which began on September 4 and is scheduled to end on November 8.

The event begins with The Big Switch On where a specially built arena is used for a celebrity to pull a switch and turn on the lights along the entire six miles. The first of these ceremonies was held in 1934 when Lord Derby was the dignitary. The Switch On has been broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in 1993 and is now broadcast on GMG Radio. Today, the visual paradise is usually seen as visitors drive slowly past. There are open top trams which also go by and allow passengers to view the sights. Horse-drawn landau are also available for hire. There are some large displays set up at the Bispham end. The lights cost £1.9 million each year to stage. After these lights go off in early September, a new display of Christmas lights are set up to begin later in the month.

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. – Og Mandino

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato

Also on this day: Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce was sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Buy a Vowel? – In 1983, Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasts.
Sportsman of the Year – In 1988, Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the Olympic games.
Equal Rights – In 1893, women got the right to vote in New Zealand.
Farewell – In 1796, George Washington published his Farewell Address.

Siren Song

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 18, 2015
William S. Paley in 1939

William S. Paley in 1939

September 18, 1927: Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System first hits the airwaves. The company was founded on January 27 with the creation of the United Independent Broadcasters network in Chicago. Started by New York City talent agent, Arthur Judson, the company needed some cash flow and other investors were sought out. In April, Columbia Phonograph Company, manufacturers of Columbia Records, stepped up and renamed the company. They began airing programming on this day with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra from their flagship radio station in Newark, New Jersey (WOR) and fifteen affiliates. Operational costs were high, mostly to AT&T for use of their land lines and by the end of the Columbia Phonograph wanted out of the deal.

Early in 1928, Judson sold the concern to brothers Isaac and Leon Levy, owners of the network’s Philadelphia affiliate WCAU and their partner Jerome Louchenheim. The three men weren’t interested in actually running the business and brought in William S Paley, the wealthy 26 year old son of a Philadelphia cigar manufacturer. The Paleys were Levy’s in-laws. With the record company out of the picture and Paley acting as president, he shortened the name to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). He was well acquainted with the opportunity for advertising as the family’s cigar business was thriving using the system – after young William convinced the family elders to use it, business doubled.

During the first year, the company moved stations and ended up at Steinway Hall on West 57th Street in Manhattan and upgraded the signal to 860 kHz. They brought in stations coast to coast with networks in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as across the midlands. By the fall of 1928, Paley was in talks with Adolph Zukor of Paramount Pictures who was planning to get into radio in retaliation to RCA’s forays into motion pictures. In September 1929, Paramount acquired 49% of CBS in return for a block of stock worth $3.8 million at the time. With the crash of the stock market, the deal with Paramount left Paley with not very many options except to make the business a success.

Paramount, with its own financial problems secondary to the Great Depression ended up selling CBS stock back to CBS in 1932. With Paley in charge, their earnings tripled from $1.4 million to $4.7 million. They were in business. Paley’s next step was to upgrade their business plan and improve affiliate relations. Rival NBC was doing business in a way that hurt small and medium sized stations. Paley had an innovative notion and many affiliates moved from NBC to CBS. They were off and running. Television was added to the mix with the first broadcast on July 1, 1941. Today, CBS continues with broadcasts in both venues with Leslie Moonves as Chairman.

He who attacks the fundamentals of the American broadcasting industry attacks democracy itself.

One very common error misleads the opinion of mankind, that authority is pleasant, and submission painful. In the general course of human affairs the very reverse of this is nearer to the truth. Command is anxiety; obedience is ease.

White lies always introduce others of a darker complexion.

What we are doing is satisfying the American public. That’s our job. I always say we have to give most of the people what they want most of the time. That’s what they expect from us. – all from William S. Paley

Also on this day: Capitol Building – In 1793, George Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol Building.
High Class – In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany and partner opened a new store.
All the News That’s Fit to Print – In 1851, The New York Times first went on sale.
Old Faithful – In 1870, the geyser was named by an expeditionary force.
Hull House – In 1889, Hull House opened.

Breaking Barriers

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 17, 2015
Taisto Armas Mäki

Taisto Armas Mäki

September 17, 1939: Taisto Armas Mäki runs 10,000 meters in under 30 minutes. Mäki was born in 1910 in Rekola in the municipality of Vantaa. He was known as one of the Flying Finns, runners from Finland who dominated the event up to the late 1940s. Mäki was a shepherd by trade and was nicknaed Rekolan Paimenpoika or Rekola herdboy. He was not known in the racing world prior to September of 1938 when he won the 5,000 meters at the European Championships in Paris, his only appearance at a major championship. He won out over two more famous runners and ran the 5K distance in just 14.26.8. Less than four weeks later, he also broke the record for the 10K race for the first time with a time of 30.02.0.

Mäki broke five world records during the summer of 1939. In June, he broke the two-mile world record with a time of 8.53.2 and less than two weeks later, he took over 8 seconds off the then-record for the 5K. He continued to run impressively and finally at the end of the season, he took nearly ten seconds off his own time for the 10K race. His time was 29.52.6. World events then intervened and on November 30, 1939 war broke out between Finland and the Soviet Union. Mäki was deployed, initially on the Karelian Isthmus. In February 1940, he and another Finnish runner were sent to the US to help raise money for the Finnish Relief Fund. They raced against handpicked American runners and Mäki’s times were well below those of the previous summer. The war cancelled the 1940 Olympics and Mäki’s running career ended.

The 10,000 meter run is a long-distance track running event. The distance is 6.214 miles for those not fluent in metric and it is the longest standard track event. The race was brought into the Olympic Games in 1912 and it is also run at the World Championships. Today’s current male record holder for both events is Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. His time at the World event was 26.17.53 in 2005 and his time for the Olympics in 2008 was 27.01.17. The women’s leaders are Wang Junxia of China whose World time was 29.31.78 in 1993 and Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia’s Olympic time of 29.54.66 was run in 2008. The women’s event premiered at the Olympic Games of 1988.

Runners have slowly and consistently gotten faster. Today’s top 25 men all have times under 27 minutes. Wang is the only woman to have yet broken Mäki’s time for the 10,000 meter race. There are only five women who have broken the 30 minute barrier with Meselech Malkamu (Ethiopia), Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey), and Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) being the other three. The Finns were able to take the gold four out of the first six times the race was run in the Olympics and garnered ten medals out of the first 18. Mäki never got to race in the event, even though he beat the 1936 gold medalist elsewhere. He survived the war and lived until 1979, dying at the age of 68.

A runner must run with dreams in his heart. – Emil Zatopek

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare. – uma Ikanhaa

You don’t get to choose when opportunity is going to knock, so you better be prepared for it when it does. – Ted Anderson

Also on this day: His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I – In 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton proclaimed himself Emperor of the US.
One Dam Thing – in 1930, construction began on Boulder Dam.
No Fear of Flying – In 1908, Orville Wright crashed his plane.
Animalcules – In 1683, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote to the Royal Society.
Freedom Becomes Her – In 1849, Harriet Tubman was free.

Wall Street Bombing

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 16, 2015
Wall Street bombing

Wall Street bombing

September 16, 1920: Wall Street is bombed. JP Morgan bank, located at 23 Wall Street, was on the Financial District’s busiest corner. At noon, a horse-drawn carriage pulled up. Inside the carriage was 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast-iron sash weights. It exploded in a timer-set detonation sending the slugs through the air. The horse and carriage were blasted to bit although it was thought the driver had escaped prior to the explosion. Thirty people were killed at the scene and eight more eventually died of injuries sustained in the blast. Hundreds more were injured; 143 of them seriously. The victims were mostly young people who worked in the area – messengers, stenographers, clerks, and brokers.

There was also substantial property damage with most of the interior of the Morgan building destroyed. It was listed as $2 million in damages or about $23.5 million today. Within a minute of the explosion, William H Remick, president of the New York Stock Exchange, suspended trading in order to prevent a panic. Like other disasters in New York City, the citizens helped each other. James Saul, a then 17-year-old messenger, commandeered an undamaged parked car and was able to transport 30 injured people to a local hospital. The police arrived quickly and administered first aid when possible. They, too, took over parked cars and began ferrying the injured to hospitals.

The Bureau of Investigation (BOI, forerunner of today’s FBI), did not immediately believe the bombing was an act of terrorism. There were so many innocent people killed and the lack of a specific target, other than buildings which suffered no structural damage, was puzzling. It was thought, at first, it might be an accident. The New York Stock Exchange met by 3.30 PM and decided to open the next day. Investigators contacted businesses which sold or transported explosives. Crews cleaned up the debris overnight, allowing for business to resume the next day. The New York assistant district attorney felt the explosion might be the work of radical opponents to capitalism, noting the location of the bombing.

Investigators focused on radical groups and there were many options available. The perpetrators were never caught but it was blamed on anarchists and Communists. The Washington Post called the bombing an “act of war”. A rally to celebrate Constitution Day had been scheduled for the very intersection the following day and thousands showed up in defiance of the attack. The bombing led to the government’s increase in tracking radical groups and led to an expansion of the BOI’s role as well as gave J Edgar Hoover more power. It is assumed that Galleanists, Italian anarchists, were responsible as they had carried out a number of these attacks the year before. It was the deadliest act of terrorism carried out on US soil up to that time. It would be replaced on that horrible list by the Bath School disaster in 1927.

A culture without property, or in which creators can’t get paid, is anarchy, not freedom. – Lawrence Lessig

It is in the nature of tyranny to deride the will of the people as the voice of the mob, and to denounce the cry for freedom as the roar of anarchy. – William Safire

A tranquil city of good laws, fine architecture, and clean streets is like a classroom of obedient dullards, or a field of gelded bulls – whereas a city of anarchy is a city of promise. – Mark Helprin

Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress. – Isocrates

Also on this day: It’s Not Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings – In 1966, The Metropolitan Opera House opened.
Hero – In 1976, Shavarsh Karapetyan saved twenty from a submerged bus.
Sublime Tenor – In 1930, Enrico Caruso last entered a recording studio.
Nancy – In 1961, a typhoon hit Osaka, Japan.
GM Starts Here – In 1908, General Motors was founded.

Picking Up Steam

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 15, 2015
John Bull

John Bull

September 15, 1831: John Bull takes to the tracks. The steam locomotive was built in Newcastle, England by Robert Stephenson and Company for the Camden and Amboy Railroad (C&A), the first railroad built in New Jersey. Shipping a steam locomotive brought its own problems and it was dismantled and shipped overseas in crates. Once in America, C&A engineer Isaac Dripps rebuilt it to the best of his ability. There were no instructions included with the shipment. It ran for the first time on this date. Robert Stevens was president of the C&A at the time and repaid some political debts by hosting trips on the short test tracks owned by the company. Included were members of the New Jersey legislature, local dignitaries, and Napoleon’s nephew Prince Murat. His wife, Catherine Willis Gray, hurried aboard the train so she could be the first woman to ride a steam locomotive in America.

After these demonstration trips, the locomotive was put in storage until construction on the tracks was completed. Horse-drawn cars were used to help build the first set of tracks which was finished in 1833. C&A used both numbers and an official name for their early locomotives and this was number 1 and named Stevens after their president. While that was the official name, common usage dubbed the engine John Bull, a reference to the cartoon depiction of England named John Bull. In 1836, John Bull and two coaches were shipped by canal to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and became the first locomotive to operate there, as well.

There were modifications made to the engine over time. The tracks in the US were of poorer quality than those in England and the 0-4-0 construction was inadequate to the task, causing frequent derailments. The C&A’s engineers added a leading truck with an unpowered axle which helped to steer the locomotive around curves and helped with the problem. John Bull became a 4-2-0 engine. He was retired in 1866. C&A was merged into different railways over time and in 1876, with the country celebrating its 100th birthday, John Bull was seen as a great display. Modifications were made for the event and then the owners continued to display the engine. In 1885, John Bull was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution.

John Bull was refurbished and remained on display for 80 years at the East Hall of the Arts and Industries building. It would be transported for display outside the building for momentous events. In 1893 it traveled to the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. In 1927, it went to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad celebration in Maryland. While the Smithsonian recognized the historicity of the artifact, they did not have the funds to refurbish it and so John Bull languished for decades. As his 150th birthday approached, they decided to give the engine some help. They got the engine running and in 1981, John Bull became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world.

A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time. – Alfred Wiggam

The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell. – Andrew Carnegie

What we hope ever to do with ease we may learn first to do with diligence. – Samuel Johnson

The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles. – Sigmund Z. Engel

Also on this day: I Feel the Need for Speed – In 1881, Ettore Bugatti was born.
What is That? – In 1916, tanks were first used in battle.
Railroads – In 1830, inter-city passenger rail travel began.
Life in a Vacuum – In 1947, RCA released a new vacuum tube.
Doom Bar – In 1816, the HMS Whiting ran aground.

Not The Founder

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 14, 2015
John Harvard statue*

John Harvard statue*

September 14, 1638: John Harvard dies at the age of 30. He was born on November 26, 1607 in Southwark, England. He was the fourth of nine children and Harvard senior was a butcher and tavern owner. John’s mother came from Stratford-upon-Avon and her father was acquainted with William Shakespeare’s father, both serving on the borough corporation’s council. In 1625, the plague came sweeping through that portion of England and left only John, his brother Thomas, and their mother. Mrs. Harvard remarried in 1626 but her husband died within three months; she married again in 1627 and that lasted until her husband died in 1632. She remained a widow until her death in 1635. Thomas died in 1637.

John’s mother had inherited property and was able to send him to Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he earned his BA in 1632 and his MA in 1635 and then was ordained a dissenting minister. In 1636 he married Ann Sadler, a sister of a classmate. In the first half of 1637, the couple emigrated to the colonies and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He took a post as a teaching elder of the First Church and became an assistant preacher. He was deeded a tract of land in 1638 and was appointed to a committee which would be deciding on laws. He built a house on Country Road (now Main Street). He died of tuberculosis on this day and left half of his property to his childless widow. The other half went to fund a new school.

In 1636, while Harvard was still in England, the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wanted to set up a new learning institution, being fearful that locals would be illiterate and after the imports from England died, there would be no ministers to take over the flocks. They appropriated £400 for a “schoale or colledge” at what was then called Newtowne. The name of the community changed even before Harvard died and it was called Cambridge, after the English university attended by many of the prestigious colonists. Harvard, being the last of his line, had inherited considerable monies from his parents and his brother. He therefore could endow the new colledge with £780, half of his monetary estate. He also gave the schoale his library which consisted of 320 scholarly volumes.

There are some who like to point out that John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard University. This is true and even the school’s own history admits this. What he did do was donate a large sum of money and a working library which made him a founder, just not the founder. The founding of the University was not a matter of one person creating the institution, but rather several men working together to bring about a place for colonists to be properly educated without having to return to England. The statue of Harvard found in Harvard Yard (included here) is not a likeness of the man. There were no existing pictures of him. It is an idealized likeness only. While we may not know what he looked like, we do know of his great love of learning.

I don’t believe I’ll ever get credit for anything I do in foreign affairs, no matter how successful it is, because I didn’t go to Harvard. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds: a Harvard education and a Yale degree. – John F. Kennedy

Ask five economists and you’ll get five different explanations – six if one went to Harvard. – Edgar R. Fiedler

The meek may inherit the earth, but they don’t get in to Harvard. – Robin Williams

Also on this day: Fort McHenry – In 1814, a poem written by a young lawyer was published.
The Earls Leave – In 1607, the Irish aristocracy was forced to flee.
Luna 2 – In 1959, the USSR sent the first man-made object to the moon.
Alleluia – In 1741, Handel completed the oratorio for Messiah.
Olympics Were Less Strict – In 1896, Edgar Aabye was born.

* “John Harvard statue” by alainedouard – Own work by Alain Edouard. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Thank Gods

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 13, 2015
City or Rome with looming temples

Eventual City of Rome with looming temples

September 13, 509 BC: The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus is dedicated. It was the most important temple in Ancient Rome and located on the Capitoline Hill. The Hill was located between the Forum and the Campus Martius and was one of the seven hills of Rome. It was analogous to the ancient Greek Acropolis. The temple’s date is known because it was the Ides of September. Roman calendars were not numbered sequentially, but dates derived from the Kalendae or Kalends (first day of the month or the day of the new moon), the Nones (the day of the half moon), and the Ides (the day of the full moon). The Ides fell on the 15th if the month had 31 days and the 13th on other months. So the Ides of September would be the 13th day of the seventh month (years began at the spring equinox).

Later Roman traditions tell us of this first building of the temple. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus promised to build a temple to honor Jupiter while battling the Sabines and began the terracing necessary to support the foundation of the temple. Modern archeological investigation has confirmed much excavation was needed to just get a level building site established. Most of the foundation and superstructure were completed by Lusius Tarquinius Superbus, the last King of Rome. Myths stated that other temples had already existed near the site and the only two gods who refused permission to tear down their temples were Terminus and Juventas and so their shrines were incorporated into this new building. These were read as good omens for various reasons.

The temple was dedicated on this day. It was built to please Jupiter and his companion deities, Juno and Minerva. The man chosen to dedicate the temple was selected by lots and the duty fell to Marcus Horatius Pulvillus, one of the consuls serving that year. In Livy’s records created in 495 BC, he stated the Latins were so grateful for the release of 6,000 Latin prisoners, they sent a crown of gold to the temple. The original temple measured 200 x 200 feet and was the most important religious temple in the entire state of Rome. Each deity had his/her own separate cella with Jupiter in the center and Juno on his left and Minerva on his right.

With such an important temple, subsequent rulers would attempt to appease the gods or impress the citizenry with their devotion and so the temple was rebuilt several times. The first time, the building was completed and dedicated in 69 BC. It was here that Brutus hid after his assassination of Caesar. Vespasian rebuilt and the dedication was held in 75 AD but that temple burned in 80 AD, during the reign of Titus. That meant immediate rebuilding needed to be done and the fourth building went up. The building itself lasted for about 300 years, but by then not only were religious mores changing, but the Roman Empire was in decline as well. There are remains of the final iteration of the temple located behind the Palazzo dei Conservatori.

Apollo said that every one’s true worship was that which he found in use in the place where he chanced to be. – Michel de Montaigne

The lover is a monotheist who knows that other people worship different gods but cannot himself imagine that there could be other gods. – Theodor Reik

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. – C. S. Lewis

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. – John Morley

Also on this day: It’s Hot, Hot, Hot – In 1922, the highest temperature in the shade was recorded.
Jumpman – In 1985, Super Mario Bros. was released by Nintendo.
Traffic Fatality – In 1899 – the first traffic fatality in the US took place.
Supply and Demand – In 1812, supplies heading for Fort Harrison were captured.
Theft Goes Horribly Wrong – In 1987, a theft from a closed hospital led to death.

Monster or Meteor

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 12, 2015
Flatwoods Monster*

Flatwoods Monster*

September 12, 1952: The Flatwoods Monster is seen. Also called the Braxton County Monster or the Phantom of Flatwoods, the creature was purported to have made an appearance in the town of Flatwoods, West Virginia. This was an encounter of the third kind. The first two types of UFO experiences are visual sightings of objects less than 500 feet away (the first kind) or a UFO event which has a physical affect on the witness(es) (the second kind). The third kind is when an animated creature is present, and it can be humanoid, robotic, or human in form. This is further subdivided by the location of the entity, only inside the UFO, both inside and out, and outside the UFO. There are other encounter types but they may not be linked to a UFO: an unidentified creature is seen but no UFO is present either with or without other Earthlings having witnessed a UFO and there is a last method where someone claims “intelligent communication” without any UFOs present.

The entity making its appearance in West Virginia on this night was said to be at least 7 feet tall with a black body and a glowing face. The head was described as elongated and shaped like a sideways diamond and having non-human eyes. There was a large hood behind the entity’s head and the body was inhumanly-shaped. It was wearing a dark, pleated exoskeleton which was later described as a shadow. The creature moved so quickly that it was described as having no discernible arms while others reported long, thin, almost skeletal arms sticking out from the front of the body. There were long, clawish fingers. It was not alone and a large, pulsing red ball of light hovered above the entity or rested on the ground near it.

The first thing seen at 7.15 PM by Edward and Fred May (brothers) and Tommy Hyer (a friend) was a bright object cross the sky. The boys, aged 13, 12, and 10 respectively, watched it land on a local famer’s land and went to the May house to speak with their mother. She joined the boys and went into the hills where it was. Three more children aged 10 to 17 tagged along. The eldest, Eugene Lemon, was a West Virginia National Guardsman at the time. His dog ran ahead of the group and began barking and then returned, apparently frightened. The group advanced about a quarter mile and reached the top of the hill. There was a pungent smell and a mist rising. About 50 feet away there was a ball of fire.

They all returned to the May house and Mrs. May called the sheriff and the local newspaper owner. The reporter interviewed many people and returned to the site with Lemon later in the evening. The sheriff and his deputy investigated and found nothing unusual but an odd smell. Some tracks found at the site were later attributed to a pickup truck’s driver coming up to investigate. Other local reports came in and many of the locals who claimed contact with the creature also later complained of sickness. No creature was found and the scientific community dismissed it as a meteor.

I am discounting reports of UFOs. Why would they appear only to cranks and weirdos? – Stephen Hawking

I believe that these extra-terrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets. Most astronauts were reluctant to discuss UFOs. – Gordon Cooper

When 25 percent of the population believe the President should be impeached and 51 percent of the population believe in UFOs, you may or may not need a new President, but you definitely need a new population. – Harry Reasoner

The fact that some religious fanatics might support a theory doesn’t invalidate it, anymore than the concurrence of UFO abduction cults invalidates the notion of extra-terrestrial life. – James P. Hogan

Also on this day: Lascaux – In 1940, caves filled with prehistoric art were discovered at Lascaux.
How Do I Love Thee – In 1846, Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browning.
Bonanza – In 1959 – Bonanza premiered.
Lost at Sea – In 1857, the SS Central America sunk.
Pheidippides – Great Runner – In 490 BC, the Battle of Marathon took place.

* “Flatwoods monster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

He Wrote the Songs

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 11, 2015
Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster

September 11, 1847: The minstrel song, “Oh! Susanna,” is first performed. Stephen Foster is sometimes called the father of American music. He was born on July 4, 1826 in Pennsylvania. He attended private schools and received an extensive education. In 1839, his older brother William thought it would be a good idea if Stephen joined him while he was apprenticed as an engineer in Towanda. The younger brother moved and attended the Athens Academy from 1839-41. In 1841 he performed a song he wrote at the commencement exercises. His first public performance of one of his own works, “Tioga Waltz” took place when he was just 14. The song wasn’t published until after his death. The Academy was destroyed by fire in 1842. His education went on elsewhere and he was given a chance to meet two wonderful musicians during his teens.

In 1846, Stephen moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and became a bookkeeper for his brother’s steamship company. While there, he wrote “Oh! Susanna” which was first performed by a local quintet at a concert in Andrews’ Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on this date. It was Stephen’s first successful song. It was published by WC Peters & Co. in Cincinnati in 1848. The song became an anthem for the California Gold Rush in 1848-49. At the time, it was possible for other minstrel troupes to register a song they performed and as such, the song was copyrighted and published at least 21 times. Foster himself received only $100 for the song (about $2,700 today). But as the song gained in popularity, Firth, Pond & Company (Foster’s publishers) offered him a royalty rate of two cents per copy of sheet music sold. It led to his becoming America’s first fully professional songwriter.

Foster returned to Pennsylvania and signed a contract with the Christy Minstrels, a blackface group formed by Edwin Christy who was already a famous ballad singer. The group formed in 1843 and helped to make Foster’s “Nelly Was a Lady” a popular tune. Together, they would create memorable music with Foster writing “Camptown Races”, “Nelly Bly”, “Old Folks at Home” (also known as “Swanee River”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, and “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair” (written for his wife) all during the 1850s.

Foster moved to New York City in 1860 but a year later, his wife and daughter left him to return to Pennsylvania. By that time, his alcoholism was out of control. He not only lost his family, but was having difficulty writing music. The US Civil War arrived. His ability to write music was lost, there were riots in New York City streets, he was sick and fell at home striking his head. Foster was taken hours later to a Bellevue Hospital, but there were no transfusions or antibiotics at that time. He died three days later at the age of 37. He had written over 200 songs, some of which remain popular even today, 150 years after they were written. He didn’t make much money during his lifetime, but his songs have lived on to entertain thousands.

Oh I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee, / I’m going to Louisiana, my true love for to see / It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry / The sun so hot I froze to death; Susanna, don’t you cry. / Oh, Susanna, don’t you cry for me / For I come from Alabama, / With my banjo on my knee.

All up and down the whole creation, / Sadly I roam, / Still longing for the old plantation, / And for the old folks at home.

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me, / Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee; / Sounds of the rude world heard in the day, / Lull’d by the moonlight have all pass’d away.

Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay, / Gone are my friends from the cotton  fields away, / Gone from the earth to a better land I know, / I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe.” – all from Stephen Foster

Also on this day: There She Is, Miss America – In 1954, the Miss America pageant was televised for the first time.
Milwaukee Mile – In 1903, the first race was held at the Wisconsin speedway.
World Religions – In 1893, the Parliament of the World’s Religions opened.
Treasury – In 1789, Alexander Hamilton became the 1st US Secretary of the Treasury.
Hope For the Crown Jewels – In 1792, most of the French Crown Jewels were stolen.