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.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Moonrise on the Ohio River


Last month's journey through the mid-South included a stop in Paducah, Kentucky. One evening was capped off with very warm temperatures, Oktemberfest, a zombie walk and this spectacular moonrise as seen beyond the floodwall on the Ohio River. I timed this photo to include a tow and barge moving east upriver. Paducah is an operational port for the Ingram Barge Company.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Pixie Street Performance


Usually street performances play out in larger cities but not in Paducah, KY. This pixie strikes a pose on a downtown street corner for a few dollars tip. Street art - like them or avoid them. Interesting at the least.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Zombies Walk in Paducah


Zombie family selfie moment in downtown Paducah, Kentucky. Just four of an army of zombies.


Harley Quinn or Zombie Blondie - Call me, I'm alive.


Captured Nazi SS zombie soldiers - the worst kind of zombies.


Zombie prom queen and her mom.


Zombies apparently love to eat their own leg.


Alienated lost soul teenage zombies in search of angst.


Another family of zombies walk in Paducah looking for brains but only finding the Ohio River in front of them.




Sunday, October 30, 2016

Industrial Transition in Cedar Rapids



In August 2016, construction work along one of Cedar Rapids' once busy industrial zones changed again. The area on the city's NE side was once home to heavy industrial manufacturing. As the local economy shifted throughout the last 30 years, buildings that once housed industrial machining were downsized or shuttered or demolished.


In this case, the work in August involved pulling up dormant rail lines that once serviced the industrial neighborhood. A bike way is planned as a replacement for the rail, which will connect other trails in the area to Coe College's new athletic complex.


A bit of rail iron still remains in the ground prior to the bike path's completion. Perhaps it serves as a reminder of what was once produced here. Now the rusting iron pieces are but part of an industrial-economical change debris, representing how cities, technologies, and market forces morph over time.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fiddlin' in Paducah KY



A bit of Irish inspired music following Paducah's Oktemberfest and Zombie Walk on a very warm October 15th evening downtown near the Ohio River. This talented musician was excited to play a selection of three songs - "Young Ned of the Hills", "Streams of Whiskey" and "Rocky Road to Dublin."

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Somewhat Rare Storm Shutters in Eastern Iowa


Many homes here in the Midwest have window shutters as decorative attachments. They are usually thinner than the windows and are securely bolted to a wall. But true storm shutters, those that actually are able to move on a hinge and close, are somewhat rare. True, the Midwest has its fair share of wind, rain, snow and ice, so the need for closed window protection seems slight compared to coastal dwellers. But sometimes if you look closely, especially on century old homes here, you may find properly hinged shutters such as this multi-painted wooden example found in Mount Vernon, Iowa.