A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Site

Gibsland, Louisana

The year was 1934.  That was 79 years ago last week.
The locals seem to like to reenact the moment onto the monument.

The pair had just came up this road traveling north towards the nearby town of Arcadia Louisiana, with the intention of robbing their bank.

The road ahead of them was the last scene Bonnie and Clyde saw.

The law was hiding in the brush up the slope from the road.

The view the law enforcement officers had.

Now that is how the scene is today but back in 1934 the road looked like this.  So a lot has changed and you can imagine all the shooting was done at a much closer range.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Andersonville Prison (conclusion)

Andersonville, Georgia

Jo asked in the comments yesterday if there were ever any escape attempts made.  
This sign pretty much explains that.  Do click on the sign pictures to read them easier.

If conditions were not bad enough for the Union soldiers, they had to contend with their own also.  
This tells the story of the Raiders who were eventually dealt with in the end.

Here you see their graves, separated from all the rest.

Hope none are of any distant relative of mine.

There was a hospital for the prisoners nearby, 
but by the story here you were just as well dead if you were sent to the prison hospital.

Here is where the third hospital stood.  
Nothing to see but just a pretty scene very unlike how it was 150 years ago.

 Captain Henry A. Wirz was put in change of the prison at Andersonville.  His is a sad story for he had no resources availible to improve the conditions for the prisoners (the Confederacy barely could take care of their own army) and was held responsible in the end, being the only person of the Civil War tried and convicted of a "war crime".  The piece in the bottom right corner of the sign is interesting.

This Wikipedia link here tells of the Andersonville story if you are interested in knowing more.
I think I know more than I want to know.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville, Georgia

Andersonville was the Confederate prison for Union soldiers captured during the Civil War.  Nothing remains of the prison camp but through drawings, photographs and archaeological diggings portions have been reconstructed to give us an idea of the prison.

This gives you an overall idea of the scale of the the prison camp.
Click on these signs and the picture will be bigger and easier to read.

Prisoners were off-loaded at a nearby railroad depot 

and marched up this slope having absolutely no idea what lay in store for them.  All they could see was the high stockade to their left. 

They entered through this set of gates

into a space between a second stockade wall where then the first set of gates were closed behind them.
This picture is taken from inside the prison grounds looking out onto the second set of gates.  They would have entered through the first set in the distance.

This then was their first sight of the living Hell that waited for them.

On the other end of where the prison grounds stood a corner of the stockade walls were reconstructed along with a small encampment to give you and idea how it was configured.  Notice the two lines of poles in the distance.  These are marking the actual line of the inner wall and the deadline railing.

What you see here is the inner wall to the prison camp.  The low railing fence is part of the camp and known as the "deadline".  The space between it and the stockade is "no man's land".  If you set just one foot across the deadline, the sentries in the "pigeon roosts" spaced every 90 feet apart were on orders to shoot to kill. 

This is from an original photograph taken from one of those sentry towers.

When the Confederacy first built the prison, they did so with good intentions but had no idea as to the number of prisoners they would be dealing with and those good intentions ultimately proved to be the death of many a Union soldier.

This is the stream bed (to the left) today.

This explains how the plan for drinking water and waste removal failed.

I first went in the the visitors center before touring the grounds.  I expected it to be about Andersonville but right away realized it was devoted to all American prisoners of all the wars.  The displays, photographs and re-creations of prisoner conditions were horrible and depressing to say the least, with what the Japanese did in World War II and the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War being the worst.  I would bet anyone that I now hold the record for passing through all of the exhibits in the visitor center faster than anyone else.

I stopped back at the visitor center after touring the grounds.  I like to buy a book about the places I visit as a souvenir at most visitor centers.  Andersonville National Historic Site had a large selection and I thumbed through a couple of books taken from dairies and books written by Union soldiers who were at Andersonville.  I thought to myself, Do I really want to read this?  I put them back and walked out, not taking even one picture of the visitors center.

After leaving Andersonville I was bummed out for quite some time until I reached my next destination which finally took my mind off of all I had just witnessed.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Hydro, Oklahoma

This pretty much tells about Lucille's

I like this shot for it really shows that "long ribbon of highway" Woody Guthrie referred to in his song This Land is Your Land.

Playing around here, cropping the above photo to show mainly the road which only just highlights the oncoming traffic in the rain.

I like too that this gas pump has no space for a dollar amount in the price.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

In remembrance of those who gave their lives for freedom, 
including the Civil War whose casualties exceeded all of the wars combined. 

A point of interest, all of these Civil War markers were originally wood.  
They were replaced with marble markers in 1878. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Monday Mural

In keeping with the Memorial Day weekend theme...

Dothan, Alabama

Sherman Rose was one of the original members of the all African-American Air Force fighter group of World War II, Tuskeegee Airmen.  He was a resident of Dothan Alabama who died in 2008 at the age of 88.  This mural was done in 2001 so no doubt Sherman was quite proud of it.

For more murals go to Oakland Daily Photo

Veterans Come in All Ages

...and so do heroes.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Promise Fulfilled

St. Germanus Catholic Church
Arapahoe, Nebraska

It wasn't so much the shrine itself but the story behind it that brought me to Arapahoe.

During World War II, Fr. Henry Denis, a Polish army chaplain was imprisoned by the Nazis at Buchenwald and Dachau.  The day his number was called for "extermination" he was silently praying the rosary and never heard the call.  His failure to respond was miraculously overlooked.  That is when he promised God that if he survived the "death camps" he would build a shrine to Our Lady.  After the war Fr. Denis was sent to the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska to pastor the churches in Oxford and Arapahoe.  With the help of friends, parishioners, and many members of the community, the Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima was completed in 1956.  Fr. Denis intended that the shrine be a place of healing and peace for those who had endured the hardships of war.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How Do They Know?

Waynesville, North Carolina

Near here was fired the last shot of the Civil War between the States.

The monument was on one person's property while you parked on the neighbor's property.  The street was very narrow (wish I had taken a photo looking down the road) and while there the local water meter guy came buy.  He'd park his car on the road blocking traffic so as to get out and read the water meter. It was a quick back up cut the wheels and gas it for the Little House on the Highway to get out of there.

I am still wondering how they came to think that was the last shot of the war?
Hope he missed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Master Woodworker

Harlem, Georgia

I said at the beginning of this Laurel & Hardy Museum series how I was fortunate to find the museum had opened early as the caretaker said he didn't have anything else to do.  That cannot be a correct statement as you shall see.  His name was Gary Russeth and he was an extremely friendly fellow, full of information and loved talking about the museum and much more.  While I had the museum all to myself, eventually another visitor came in.  Surprisingly he was from California also, and even more surprising lived in Berkeley less than an hour from where I live.  A conversation ensued between the three of us which is another whole story in itself, but in the end the three of us wound up going to Gary's house about a mile away from the museum.  While we were there for another purpose, Gary shared his hobby with us.  He is a woodworker on another whole level.  What you see below, are all entirely made from wood (except for the glass and leather upholstery), hand crafted and painted by Gary himself.

As before, these were done with my iPhone which I need to learn to hold more steady in low-light situations.

Yep, he made the pin-ball machines.  I just noticed the still in the background.  Didn't see it at the time.

Laurel & Hardy and those tires are wood too.

Gary's wife Jean.

My fellow Californian with the Albert Einstein hair,  and he so happened to be some mathematician professor or something or other who had an appointment that same morning for a tour of a nearby nuclear facility.  I asked if this tour was at one of those power plants like we have in California.  "No, this is where they make bombs."  

Gary with this three dimensional framed piece.  The detailing was incredible.  He wasn't too shy to tell me that someone had written a book about him (copies were for sale back at the museum) "...but I've never read it."  I said he ought to read it and make sure the guy had all the facts straight.  Gary told me that he had never read a book in his life.

He did have this honest-to-goodness real metal car that ran and had been used in a couple of movies.

When we returned to the museum, the third visitor for the day arrived.  Care to guess where he was from?  Yep, only in the southern half near Los Angeles.

You can read a bit more about Gary at this site I found on the Internet.  http://www.laurelandhardy.org/harlem.html  Click here for an instant link-up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oliver Hardy's Home

Harlem, Georgia

I so wanted to see Oliver Hardy's home but I soon learned it is no longer there.  The local police station takes up the space, which is sort of ironic considering how often Laurel and Hardy got into trouble with the police.  Anyway, here is where the home once stood, behind the police station as indicated by the stone marker (looks like a tree stump) to the left of the Little House on the Highway.

Oliver's father died of a heart attack three days before Thanksgiving when Ollie was but ten months old.  His mother Emily moved the family several times during the next ten years finally settling in Milledgeville, Georgia. The house in Harlem was torn down after they left.  I was 121 years too late.

Emily managed the Baldwin Hotel in Milledgeville and visiting vaudeville troops would stay at the hotel.  Being around these performers is what tweaked Oliver's interest in the business.  In 1918 he left for Hollywood, worked for various studios, met Stan Laurel and the rest is history as one of the greatest comedy teams there ever was making 106 movies together.

Plaque on the side of the police station.  

So little Harlem is making the best of that brief ten months just as even smaller Piqua, Kansas is with Buster Keaton being born there while his parent's travelling vaudeville team passed through town.  And how did the Buster Keaton museum turn out?  I think the ladies did a fine job.

As I look over this picture I instantly see that on just these two walls alone they have more photographs Buster than the much larger Laurel and Hardy museum had of the pair.
But then again, there was so much "stuff".
When I pulled up to the Water Works Department in Piqua, nothing had changed since I was there last, seven months ago.  The lady got up from her desk when she heard the bell on the door tinkle as I opened it.    I thought to myself  Is she one of the ladies who I met back then?  She came forward and immediately said "Oh you were here before."
I'm just one of those unforgettable people...or they just don't get that many visitors.