NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

More Ashland Murals - Friendly Five

The following post is part of a series of murals we viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Continuing with the Ashland murals, this one was tucked around the back side of the building that used to be home to Schiller's Shoe Store.

Set in the jazz era of the 1920's , the trombone player and the guy dancing on the sidewalk were a whimsical addition.  More Ashland murals on Monday!

Friday, February 27, 2015

More Ashland Murals - The Ore Dock

The following post is part of a series of murals we viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

I know I mentioned the ore docks in a post about Ashland before, but I don't think I've ever shown the mural located at 301 West Main Street.

When built in 1916, Ashland's 1800 foot oredock was the largest concrete dock in the world.  It was used by the Soo Line Railroad to transport upper Michigan iron ore to the ships waiting in Ashland's harbor.  The ships then delivered the ore to steel mills of the Midwest.

The bottom portion of the mural is composed of 21 "postcards" that tell the history of the varied uses of the structure over the years.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Ashland Murals - The Lumberjacks

The following post is part of a series of murals we viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Ashland's mural finds are endlesss, and the Lumberjack Mural does not disappoint, especially in size.  Those were the days, when work started at 4:00 a.m. and went until dark, from first freeze to first thaw.

An average day's work for a sawyer was 100 pine logs, all for $1.00 per day.  In 1893, 10,000 lumberjacks worked in the logging camps to supply Ashland's 10 sawmills.  Hard to imagine now.

I know Sherry's heart is breaking looking at all those trees.  This is an area of the country where man took greedily, not just lumber but mining as well.  Hopefully we're learning a little about how precious the earth's resources are and hopefully it's not too late!

The word lumberjack comes from Canada originally, other terms for the occupation include woodcutter, and the colloquial term woodhick . The term "lumberjill" has been known for a woman who does this work, like the lone lady pictured in the mural.

Here's a laugh to go with the tears - Monty Python's Lumberjack Song.  I cracked up!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ashland Murals Walking Tour - Warmer Days

Last year in August when we visited Bayfield and Ashland we did more than kayak the sea caves.

We've seen the murals in Ashland before, and I posted about the new one that we got to see in progress.  When we stopped at Walgreen's we ended up taking a walk up and down Main Street to see how their old downtown was faring and to see how many murals we could spot.

The Asaph Whittlesey Mural at the corner of Hwy 2 and Hwy 13 was easily spotted from the Walgreen's parking lot and started off our unofficial mural tour.  It depicts the Ashland National Bank as it appeared in 1892.  I should have taken it from a corner angle as it wrapped around the other side a bit.  Oops!

Also easily seen and accessed from Walgreen's was the Histoical Ellis Avenue Mural.  Painted on the former Superior District Power Company building it features some local architectural history.

Since I'm so behind on murals I'm just going to keep posting them, Monday or not.  It's strange right now to think about that walk we took.  I remember how warm it was and how bright the sun was, it was August after all. Maybe sharing all these summer pictures will help keep us all looking forward until this weather pattern lets up!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Solidarity - Facing the Forecast Together

As I was moaning about the weather forecast to my daughter, not just for Wisconsin but the cold and suffering of almost the entire nation, she said "Hey, Mom, it's all about solidarity".

roomy sites at Hardy Lake

With that in mind, I scoured my drafts to find something that wasn't a mural and  that somehow got overlooked and found a post about the last stop Wayne and I made on our way back from the Smokies in October.  Better than posting pictures of snow and freezing cold, right?  We've made it our habit to stop at Hardy Lake, though on this stop we had a close call when we made a wrong turn on to a dead end road and had to back up in the dark and try to make a three point turn where there really wasn't any room to do it.

We arrived a little past peak for fall color, but there was a lot of fungi to look at instead when I got up in the morning and went for a wet walk before we hit the road again.  Recent rain made the trail soggy and messy, but all that damp contributed to some great fungi finds.

Right now these pictures seem a little surreal to me.  The forecast for the next ten days STILL doesn't show a relief from sub zero temperatures for the Midwest.  Look at that green!  My eyes don't remember what trees look like with leaves on them, I feel a little dazed.

Most likely I am going to rent a two bedroom house in Sheboygan for 4 or 5 nights next week.  My mother is planning to stop in for a few days.  Maybe Katrina will come up for a few days.  I'll explore and post some pictures from a place that I normally only go in the summer.  Maybe I'll find some new murals that they added in 2014, who knows?  I still have a handful of murals from 2013 to post from the Sheboygan Project, a few more to add to the collection could be cool.

I have quite a few books that I've bought over the last 6 months that I'll finally get to read.  With no wi-fi I'll only use the internet when I leave to go to a coffee house for an hour or two.  It'll be good to exercise my brain and I plan to try to go for some walks at Kohler-Andrae in the snow too.

I did do some reading on our recent trip south.  In addition to a couple of issues of "Smokies Life" magazine I read "Bear in the Back Seat: Adventures of A Wildlife Ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park" and it was so good I'm going to get the sequel for my stay in Sheboygan.  It'll be good to cozy up on the couch and read about the Smokies while looking out at the wintry wildness of Lake Michigan.  We'll all get through this winter together with a little help from some books I guess.

I also read "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker and "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer.  Of course it wasn't my first time reading "The Color Purple" but it was my first time reading "Into the Wild" and it did not disappoint.  Be prepared to be saddened but awed but the story of Christopher McCandless and his accidental death in the wilderness in 1992.  It inspired a lot of thinking on my part since quite a few of my followers are "adventurers", myself included.  Not that I go to the extremes that McCandless did, but as Sharon pointed out I don't bring enough water along with me on what I assume will be a short adventure.  Since I am so often alone what is to say that I won't end up in a situation I didn't plan for?  I'm going to be more mindful of this in the future.  And hey, I carry a couple of band-aids and some ibuprofen with me and I'm getting better about taking a cell phone too!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lafayette Post Office Mural and A Mural on the Side

When we stopped in Lafayette I found their post office mural, but the building in use for other purposes and almost immediately after I walked in I was told I couldn't use a camera on the premises for privacy reasons.  I had gotten one quick shot before that and I'm glad I did because the mural was a bit different than most of the other ones I see.  Charming, right?

As I walked back to the car I saw one peeking over the top of shorter building.  The black building is a restaurant.  Linking up to Monday Mural.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Vigo County Courthouse in Terre Haute

When we stopped in Terre Haute to find the post office mural that didn't exist we drove by the Vigo County Courthouse and I dashed inside for a quick look while Cory waited in the car.

 I knew it looked vaguely French, the rest is thanks to this site

The French neo-Baroque building is constructed of Indiana limestone and was finished in 1888.  Look at that cast iron railing on the roof.  Wouldn't it be fun to walk around up there?  Well, my daughter Katrina wouldn't think so, but I sure would!

Hidden from view as we went zipping by in the car was this great set of wooden entry doors.

Nothing says French influence like lions

The interior underwent a restoration in 2007 and they've done a beautiful job.  If you want to see the bell that Francis Vigo helped pay for you can click here.

Looking up - more cast iron for the interior railings

The stairs were even pretty, and the baluster at the end had what I guess you'd call a brass finial.

Driving around the area it was apparent that the Freemasons are a big thing and I'm wondering if the floor design in the rotunda is Masonic, does anyone know?

On display on the first floor was the clockworks for the original tower clock.  For more than a century, the clockworks stood inside the courthouse dome with four, long iron rods extending to the faces of the four clock faces. Those rods slowly rotated, moving the hands on all four clock faces at the same time, and someone had to climb the stairs every day to wind it.  The company that made the clock in the 1880s, the E. Howard Clock Co. of Boston, Mass., guaranteed it to operate for 200 years, and it was still functioning about two years ago when the county switched to a fully electronic system, can you imagine that?  They don't build things to last that long anymore.

The first floor of the rotunda features four murals painted by local artist Bill Wolfe.  In the first one the artist chose to portray Vigo County as the crossroads of America, highlighting different types of travel including a steamboat that would come up the Wabash River and the old Wabash & Erie Canal.

The second painting depicts key events in Francis Vigo's life.  Vigo, born in 1747 in Mondovi, northern Italy, took up the American cause in the Revolutionary War, helping to fund George Rogers Clark with money, supplies and information to help Clark recapture Vincennes from the British.

The frame around Saint Mother Theodore Guerin's mural is walnut, weighing about 70 pounds. It was crafted by Keith Ruble, superintendent of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department. About half of the wood came from the same walnut stock used to make the tiny casket holding the partial remains of Guerin in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.  Wolfe’s mural shows Guerin as an infant, a young lady walking along the coast of her native France and as an adult.  She is the eighth U.S. saint and the only Hoosier to achieve that status.

And lastly there is a mural depicting the likenesses of 52 Vigo County people influential in politics, education, the arts, entertainment and sports.

The cable was out yesterday, so in addition to getting out of the house in the sub zero temperatures and forcing myself to go to the gym I got caught up on a lot of blog reading.  Don't worry, it won't take me long to fall behind again.

I might head over to Kettle Moraine on Saturday, the temperature might climb to freezing (sigh) and in the woods I'd escape the wind.  I'd complain a little louder except I see the Midwest is not the only area of the country suffering from below normal wintry conditions.  I'm also considering a solo trip the first week of March to either Sheboygan or Indianapolis, weather depending.  I tried to talk Wayne in to going along, but apparently 10 hour days start next week and he anticipates picking up an extra day on top of that.  He may get a lot of vacation days a year, but he sure makes up for it in between, let me tell ya!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes - The Conquest of the West

I mentioned a surprise discovery after we left Turkey Run State Park in Indiana during our trip earlier this month when we were passing through the town of Vincennes. The town is on the Indiana and Illinois border, the states divided by the Wabash River and is where the British and the newly declared Americans were still fighting for territory in the late 1700's.  The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park was built on what is believed to be the site of Fort Sackville.

80 feet high and 180 feet across the base, granite from Vermont, Minnesota and Alabama

We literally saw this memorial from the road as we were driving through and pulled off to see what it was about.  Upon entering the visitor center we learned we could go out and tour the inside so of course that is what we did, even though it meant braving a frigid Midwestern winter wind.

Near the 150th anniversary of the revolution, President Calvin Coolidge designated the commission to start the design and construction of the memorial, but it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who dedicated it by the time it was finished.

I really like the bronze framing the doorway but could not find any information about its design or intended significance. The whole thing is pretty cool, but Cory liked the dragons on the heat registers under the marble rotunda seat all the way around the room the best I think.

Indiana limestone and marble from France

The rotunda has a glass ceiling that lets in plenty of natural light to view the seven murals that were painted by Ezra Winters over the course of 2 years.  If you want to know more about the murals click here.

Outside on the grounds there is still quite a bit to see, and I braved the wind and jogged across the grounds to get a better look at the Lincoln Memorial Bridge too.  It was built in 1936, the same year the GRCNHP was dedicated, and is said to mark the point where Abraham Lincoln crossed the Wabash River on his way to Illinois in 1830. The pylons caught my eye when we drove across the bridge because they have Native American chiefs carved into them by French artist Raoul Josset.

Also on the grounds are a few statues including one of Francis Vigo, who was important to the revolution because he gave Clark supplies as well as information prior to the battle at Vincennes.  After the war he stayed in Vincennes where he worked in the fur trade while serving as a colonel in the militia.

Lincoln Memorial Bridge and Wabash River in background

Vigo's will stated that he wanted a bell for the Vigo County Courthouse purchased.  We didn't see the bell, but when we stopped in Terre Haute we did see the courthouse!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eating and Drinking in Frankfort

What else did Cory and I do in Frankfort?  Sharon told me that a stop at Rebecca Ruth Candies is a must so we did.  The verdict?  The chocolate was good, but I've had better, especially the Chocolate B'ar in Townsend.

Since we were in bourbon country we stopped at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for a tour.

The distillery has been making bourbon under different names for over 200 years, and its buildings are on the list of National Historic Landmarks.  The oldest building on site was built in 1792.

The large warehouse above has a foundation of Kentucky River "marble", which is a limestone that we saw a lot in old Frankfort.  

We took the was the longest hour of my life.  Hate to say it, but boring isn't the word.

The only part I enjoyed was the barrels rolling out of the warehouse.

We snuck out of the tour a few minutes early and soon discovered that while the tour info wasn't that interesting the main reason it was so boring was in large part due to our uninspiring tour guide.  We had the fortune to meet Freddie in the tasting room and were soon having a great time.

Freddie had Cory drinking out of his hands, smelling the different elements in the bourbon's make-up, and how to properly taste the bourbon to get the most out the flavor.

Me?  Well, I've said it here before, I just really am not a drinker.  I always try in these situations, hoping to finally find a tasting situation that I enjoy.  Bourbon was not that situation.  One small sip of two different bourbons was enough for me.  They couldn't believe the look that I made just when I smelled it, much less when I tasted it.

So, what can I recommend in Frankfort if not Gibby's sandwich shop, Rebecca Ruth Candies or the bourbon?  The donuts at Poppy's were pretty good.  And someone creative had fun with the windows.

When we got back home I was playing catch-up with the new season of "Justified" and there was a lot of bourbon getting poured, including one customer who came in and asked for Buffalo Trace.  That was pretty neat, I wouldn't have understood what he was asking for before our tour!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Rail Fun in Frankfort

Last week on Tuesday we left Corbin and headed to Frankfort.  I stopped there on my way back from my hiking meet-up at Red River Gorge with Sharon and enjoyed wandering the streets looking at the architecture.

Twice now I've stopped in town and their old Capitol has been closed to tours for the winter.  I didn't have time to check out their new Capitol, but I did buy a few books in Poor Richard's by Kentucky authors.

Their old downtown district reminds me of that scene in "Coal Miner's Daughter" where she goes in to town and sees Doolittle with another woman. It was shot in Kentucky but not in Frankfort.

Cory and I were passing some time at Gibby's having lunch when a train came through and stopped right by where we were parked.

It was the train version of AAA since a few minutes later a man drove up in a truck and the train ended up being there for awhile.

After taking the pictures we drove down Broadway to head to the Buffalo Trace Distillery and I caught sight of a mural along the train tracks!

Notice truss bridge over river at far right

The mural was designed by local artist Jennifer Zingg and paid for by Sherwin Williams and the RJ Corman Railroad.  The design was drawn and local children and adults completed it in 2011.

I thought it was pretty cool to see the RJ Corman engine in the mural right after we saw a real one.

There's a bridge portrayed in the mural going over a river which is interesting because just down the tracks is a truss bridge over the Kentucky River.  Built in 1929 the Broadway Bridge is now closed to even foot travel and is fenced off.  A riverside park pathway runs alongside it though so I hopped down the embankment and took some pictures from there.

Linking up to Monday Mural.  Off to work now, I'll post about the distillery tour tomorrow.