Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chief Taimah (Tama) Memorial Along Iowa's Mississippi River

Living at one time in central Iowa I am very familiar with the town of Tama, the county of Tama and of course the Tama Indians. Today the natives are known as Meskwakis, having lived on a settlement near Tama for roughly 150 years following their purchase of the land. I had no idea that there was a Chief by the Tama name until last weekend! I previously thought Tama was a native name for the area like the word Iowa.

While in Burlington, Iowa near extreme southeast Iowa along the Mississippi River, I came for a Sunday outing to check out a rail road depot restaurant, the Old Man river, historic homes, rail roads and Snake Alley. Taking a different way out of town that afternoon brought us along the Great River Road on X99 headed north. Just a few miles out of town (maybe seven miles) is this Chief Taimah memorial on the west side of the road. A light colored granite marker has been in place for 58 years and acknowledges the Chief's work. 

The marker indicates that Chief Taimah is buried 20 rods east of the marker. I found where a rod length is 16-1/2 feet. So that makes his grave some 330 feet east of the roadside marker. That places it somewhere in this cornfield. I was standing in the middle of the road which was about 30 feet from the marker looking east. That means the Chief may be buried in the darker brown region of the cornfield near mid-photo. A passerby told me when he was a kid the cornfield never came this close to the road. I suppose the high price of corn and perhaps the loss of knowledge of where the Chief is buried somehow lead to the an obliterated site. This part of the state is rich in history. Take time to read the historical markers when you find them .

Monday, September 24, 2012

Burlington's Snake Alley Winds Through Time

Ripley's Believe it, or Not touts Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa as the crookedest street in the world. Judge for yourself. The alley on a hill is located between an old time residential area of the Port of Burlington and its business district. In 1894 a city crew designed and built the alley in an unique way. It consists of five half-curves and two quarter curves along the 275 stretch of brick pavement. The alley measures some 58 feet high and has a 21% grade in the one block stretch. While the street has been known to host a few cars down its winding trek most often bikers (both motor and foot powered) and pedestrians managed the crooked course. 

Snake Alley's pavement consists of bricks carefully placed. The lay of the brick is not totally decorative but was engineered to allow horses better footing as they made their way down the slope back in the day. Years of wear have produced black marks from turning tires. On this day a professional photographer used the alley as a backdrop for a high school senior's portraits. At other times the alley is used as part of a race course for bikes and foot. 

When you travel to Burlington, one of Iowa's oldest cities (which was the former second Wisconsin territorial capital, then Iowa territorial capital) make a stop at Snake Alley. You will enjoy the view and maybe make the claim that you tamed the crooked path of bricks.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Goodbye Summer 2012 - Too Hot and Dry

Summer 2012 produced severe drought for the American Midwest. Here in Iowa, despite rains that finally arrived in August, drought conditions have not yet abated, and have some eight inches of rain needed to recharge subsoil moisture. But the trend during the past 30 days or so was for cooler temps and bouts of occasional rain. Stark brown lawns in July slowly turned green again by late August. As most weather patterns move in cycles it is possible that our portion of the state will get needed moisture during the Fall - which begins today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Round Roof - Barn Charm

Somewhere along E36, east of Clutier in central Iowa is this rounded roof barn. Currently this farm raises livestock in addition to corn. The barn is orientated east-west with the large roof facing south.

I am linking up with the weekly Barn Charm blog series. Click the icon below to discover photos of barns around the world.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Larry's DX Without the S

Another DX sighting, this time in Garwin, Iowa. DX gas stations once existed all over the Midwest until its parent, Sun Oil Company re-marketed the DX name into the Sunoco brand by the 1980s. DX signs and former stations maintained by petroleum enthusiasts can be found throughout this area. Although this particular building displays the familiar DX sign there is little else to suggest this was a gas station. Thanks to Garwin's Larry (without the S) for preserving the DX legacy in central Iowa.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gladbrook, Iowa Barn Charm

Late afternoon sun highlights a barn located south of Gladbrook, Iowa near Union Grove Lake's dam last Sunday. This particular farm produces corn and feeds cattle. I photographed the red barn because of the lighting and the almost pyramid shape of the roof line.

I am linking up with the weekly Barn Charm blog series. Click the icon below to discover weekly photos of barns around the world.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dressing Up Ditches with Feathery Grasses

Along these parts during late summer, some roadside ditches explode with feathery grasses. Yesterday afternoon this stand of over six-foot-tall grasses formed the south wall along a country road. Sometimes you discover an empty car parked nearby with people cutting bunches of these white topped grasses for some decorative purpose. At quick glance these cotton colored runs look like snow drifts but thankfully that thought is generally two or three months away.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Antique Airplane Association Annual Fly-In - Blakesburg 2012 Part 2

More photos from the Antique Airplane Association fly-in near Ottumwa, Iowa. At a grass strip in Blakesburg hundreds of old time planes (and their pilots, families and friends) gather annually to do a bit of flying and share stories. The private airport is situated on a hilltop surrounded by wooded ravines and corn fields.

Pilot stories can be as colorful as their planes. Most talk about the aircraft's age, mechanics, performance and restoration characteristics. Some will talk about how they bought the plane and others talk about the next fly-in. For three days its a chance for them to step back in time, be a bit insulated from the public and enjoy a long weekend near the end of summer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Antique Airplane Association Annual Fly-In - Blakesburg 2012 Part 1

What better place to show off your old airplane than at the Antique Airplane Association Fly-In near Ottumwa, Iowa? This year the oldest flying Boeing airplane in the world, the 1928 Boeing 40C airplane made the stop at the grass strip near Blakesburg, Iowa just southwest of Ottumwa.

Airplane's owner, Addison Pemberton explained that the Boeing 40C was the first passenger aircraft used commercially in the U.S. before the more famous Ford Tri-motor. Boeing's 40C can accommodate four passengers, 749 pounds of cargo (mail) and a pilot. Spokane, Washington is the home of this restored aircraft.

This planes history is a story in itself. According to its information panel the plane started transporting mail between Spokane and San Diego in July 1928. Three months later on October 28 the plane crashed in Canyonville, Oregon and killed its sole passenger, a diamond dealer. The pilot was badly burned but lived. Some of the loose diamonds were recovered at the crash site in 1928. Others were reportedly found by explorers years later. In the late 1980s the plane was discovered, later sold to a restorer.

The restored plane flew again in 2008 after eight years of rebuilding with thehelp of over 60 volunteers. Its designation of the oldest flying Boeing plane is remarkable considering the plane's age, crash history, exposure to harsh elementsand scarcity of original parts.

The Antique Airplane Fly-In is officially reserved for members of the Antique Aircraft Association; however, plane enthusiasts may join (about $40 per person) at the gate during the Antique Fly-In held every Labor Day weekend at the Antique Airfield.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Along Iowa's Great River Road

Iowa's portion of the Great River Road along the Mississippi River stretches from Lansing to Keokuk in the south. These roads are part of confederation of national, state and county roadways running three thousand miles from Minnesota to Louisiana. Both sides of the river have designated roadways where travelers can experience the Mississippi close-up. Scenic roadways wind through small and large towns and rural areas. These photos are from Guttenberg, in northeast Iowa. Here Lock and Dam #10 maintains a thirty-some mile long pool of navigable water for upper Mississippi River commercial and pleasure craft traffic.

Today being Labor Day, the river hosted fleets of pleasure craft. A bit of rain tried to move through the area which added to the hazy and warm conditions. Near the end of the day many boats were seen being towed home, indicating the end of the long weekend or end of the boating season.