Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dad and Son Hit the Links at Iowa Veteran's Home

On top of the hill at Marshalltown's Iowa Veterans Home is a huge lawn decorated with war monuments, mature shade trees and war relics.  A new IVH resident of just 20 days was out swinging the clubs at a few golf balls aimed at a nearby "hole."  The new resident's son and staff caretaker accompanied him for the short outing.

This gentleman, a U.S. Navy veteran is also an accomplished golfer.  He hails from Eldon, Iowa, home of the house that served as the backdrop in the "American Gothic" painting  by Grant Wood.  Both the son and the golfer worked for the railroad (several companies) throughout the years. 

The golf "hole" at the top of the hill was the 70mm French artillery piece.  Our senior golfer came close a few times to the target - most likely on purpose.

Even the IVH caretaker gave golf a try. After listening to some quick advice she launched a few Titleists towards the French cannon.  Remember to keep your head down and slow down your backswing.  She did just fine for her first time out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Iowa Elk at a Summer's Rest

Photo assignment - snap anything outdoors. So I headed north and found a male elk watching over his herd at the Alexander Wildlife Area at Pinicon Ridge Park (a Linn country park) near Central City, Iowa.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

And in the End There's Dissolution

The closing down of a partnership for all the world to see is documented in this letter from three Beatles to the lawyer of the fourth Beatle. At the physical end of a Beatles exhibit earlier this year is this letter of legal wrangling. The dissolution of the group is well documented and I can't add anything here, except that to reflect on actual historical document associated with the group's demise. Good thing their music lives on and is appreciated by the next generation.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Business of Pre-Beatlemania

What hasn't been written about the Beatles? One of the items on display in the touring Beatles exhibit featured at Davenport's Putnum Museum earlier this year is one of two known business cards of Beatle manager Brian Epstein. While the front side is very modestly designed - a few months before their iconic logo was developed, the back side was signed by all four Beatle members at the time.

On the back side of the business card John Lennon scribbled "Best Wishes" and signed his name. George Harrison and Paul McCartney signed too. The Beatles drummer at the time, Pete Best also penned the card's back. Best was dismissed as the Beatles drummer by Brian Epstein on August 16, 1962. Two days later, Ringo Starr joined the group and the rest is Beatlemania history.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Day After Christmas at Stone's River

This is what the day after Christmas looks like at the Stone's River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Seven months ago I re-visited the site to further understand the grounds and what happened there during the Civil War. Outside of the first class interpretive center visitors will find several well cared for trails. This tree lined path in the park is devoid of signs and monuments but highlights the season during the golden hour with greens and reds. To complement this quiet scene is what the national cemetery located across the park's entrance becomes during the holiday season. See a future blog post.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Corner Music in Chattanooga

A street performer in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee sings a two verse song during a recent visit. I can't really understand his words but he is intent on playing and making sure everyone is happy. Following this performance he boarded a city bus and left the pedestrian-filled area. If you know what song he is playing leave a message or link in the comment section.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Stone's River Battlefield Cannon Study

A big draw for this Midwesterner is visiting any Civil War battlefield. In this case the reward is spending time in the Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I have been fortunate to visit it briefly twice now. The park consists of two sections. The battlefield and the national cemetery.

Park officials have placed chicken wire down the cannon to prevent animals and small children from crawling in.

I plan to visit the park again, educate myself on its history and showcase more of it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Deer Encounter

Sometimes you get lucky to be at the right spot, at the right time, AND have all your photo equipment function properly. Such was the case in spotting this winter fur-sporting deer in Anamosa, Iowa's Wapsipinicon State Park. Our tan friend here was quite approachable, most likely because he/she encounters many park visitors throughout the year.

Deer made Iowa news this week when the DNR reported another confirmed case of chronic wasting disease was found in Allamakee County (NE Iowa.) Efforts by DNR and hunter alliances are seeking to manage the spread of CWD, which was first diagnosed in Iowa during 2013.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lincoln on Inauguration Day 2017

From America's heartland, a statue of Abraham Lincoln overlooks Galesburg, Illinois. Sworn into office today, the 45th president of the United States joined his predecessors in creating the latest chapter of the American experience.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Godspeed John Glenn

Mercury astronaut John Glenn died this week. He was the last of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and a true American hero. I found this 45 record two years ago from the Hasbro GI Joe collection. It was a companion piece to the astronaut version of GI Joe, complete with space suit and Mercury capsule. Side two contains audio clips from John Glenn's Mercury 7 flight that orbited the earth. Listen to the recording here. Although not included on this recording, fellow astronaut and mission Capcom, Scott Carpenter issued, "Godspeed John Glenn" as a traditional voyage wish during Freedom 7's liftoff from the Cape.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Remembrance Day Gettysburg - Iowa Connection

This year is the 153rd anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address delivered at the dedication ceremony of Soldiers' National Cemetery. Remembrance Day is an annual event to reflect upon the Gettysburg battle, watch modern reenactors parade through Gettysburg and hear Lincoln's famous speech. While I have detailed the Iowa connection before in the 42N blog (post here), today's anniversary of the Lincoln speech (actually it was yesterday) served as a reminder to re-photograph the monument in the Lisbon, Iowa cemetery before the winter snows come.

I submitted a story idea to the Cedar Rapids Gazette some time ago for their Sunday column about area history. The reporter did a great job in crafting the story of how the boulder got from the battlefield to Lisbon, Iowa. It is only one of two boulders to have been removed from the Gettysburg battlefield for display purposes. Read the Gazette article here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Iowa Union Soldier Christian Brenner Buried in Tennessee

I visited Stone's River National Battlefield where Union and Confederate forces fought on December 31, 1862 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Across the road from the battlefield park is the National Cemetery where 6,100 Union soldiers are interred among others. While many of those buried in the cemetery are from the battle, several other buried dead are from area battles or other time periods up to the modern day.

On the white headstone markers are the names of the soldier and the State where he was from. I sought out my state, Iowa since that's where 42N Observations is based. Near a small tree in Lot L, a marker (number 271) stands for the Union soldier Christian Brenner, who served in Iowa 5th Cavalry, Company C. He died on Christmas day, 1864.

From web research on the unit and its history, Christian fought in the Battle of Anthony's Hill (also known as the Battle of King's Hill) just south of Pulaski, Tennessee, two years after the Stone's River battle. Christian was born in 1835 in Hancock County, Ohio. At the time of his death he was married to Sarah J and had one daughter, Mary C. Brenner. The family lived in Clarinda, Iowa. Christian enlisted as a Private on September 28, 1861 at the age of 26 and was mustered on Oct. 2, 1861. He re-enlisted and re-mustered January 14, 1864. Christian transferred to Company C, Fifth Veteran Cavalry Consolidated, on August 8, 1864.

Christian Brenner was killed during the Pulaski battle as the Union troops pursued the fleeing Army of Tennessee following the Battle of Nashville. There is a summary on that battle here. Brenner was initially buried near Pulaski (Giles County, Tennessee) and later re-interred at Stone's River National Cemetery with other soldiers who died at the Pulaski battle. The Iowa 5th Cavalry lost 20 men during the skirmishes around Pulaski.

Brenner served just over three years in the Iowa 5th Cavalry. That unit was involved in several major battles in the western theater and would later conclude in Selma. Following the end of the war, the unit was stationed in Atlanta and Nashville during August 1865 before traveling to Clinton, Iowa where the unit was disbanded.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

TVA Survey Mark Mag Spike

The 8,000 feet long Kentucky Dam is a TVA project on the Tennessee River that was designed for many uses including electricity generation, commercial navigation and flood control. On top of the dam is this survey marker. Apparently to make it easier to sight, a layer of bright orange paint marks the survey spike's location. Its not hard to miss.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Illinois Central 1518 Locomotive in Paducah

Nighttime near Paducah, Kentucky's floodwall is highlighted by one of Illinois Central's best examples of steam power. Locomotive 1518 on outdoor display represents one of several railroad related fixtures at the city's rail museum. According to railpictures.net this locomotive was built by Lima in 1923. It is classified as a 2-8-2, that is the wheel count on the engine, 2 on the front, eight in the middle and two wheels on the back. The lead locomotive is massive, well preserved and worth returning for more of an extensive investigation, perhaps during the day light.