128 Slices
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Medium 9781574416565

Violence and Religion in Texas

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Byrd IV, Christmas and birthday 1960

Growing up in Texas

Baudelaire is credited with coining the term modernity (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.

Texas is not unique to America in its unencumbered love of firearms and openly devotional mindset. The best I can tell, these cultural attributes are salient to any of the Southern states, at least in proportion to the Northeast and Northwest. The Byrd Williams archive is rife with photographic evidence of violence and religion throughout. I would be remiss not to address this aspect of our heritage.

Cultures evolve. My family was never very religious but we were armed to the teeth. I always loved cameras, but for the life of me I cannot remember why we had so many guns. I somehow lost that meme, maybe because our societal norms are shifting. My immediate ancestors were not particularly racist, violent, gender biased, homophobic, or fundamentalist about any ideology. By hobby and trade we were “observers” but close examination of the visual and written evidence indicates complicity in many of the above areas. I am chagrined about this. One could pass the buck and say, “Oh well, it was just the way it was in those days,” but my life of anthropological scrutiny prevents this. Photographing people carries with it a hint of exploitation. I offer myself for the same.

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Medium 9781603442015

Springing to Life Keeping the Waters Flowing

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Dianne Wassenich

SPRINGS seem miraculous to me. Water pouring from the ground! The sight of it reminds me of the nature books I read as a child, like Gene Stratton-Porter’s Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost and the fairy tales that told of spring water having magical properties.

Go stand on the lowest porch of the Texas Rivers Center in San Marcos and look at one of the springs that feed the San Marcos River flowing into Spring Lake. It is a strong flow, strong enough to ripple the surface in a rainy year when water is plentiful. But even in the dry years, when the sight may be different, I’m drawn again and again to this deep blue spring. I think of the countless people who have admired the flowing water at this spot, one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America.

Central Texas can be dry, with predictable droughtlike stretches in summer for at least a few hot months. Though the archeological records include longer and far worse drought periods, the local yardstick remains the great drought of the 1950s, when nearby Comal Springs stopped flowing and San Marcos Springs slowed to a trickle.

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Medium 9781574416565

Night

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WHEN I WAS A KID MY FRIENDS AND I WOULD HANG OUT on the street corners at night under the mercury vapor lights that provided a 200-foot circle of pasty illumination. If one of us had a paper route with the Fort Worth Press or Star Telegram, we were allowed to remain until sunrise when the newspapers had to be rolled and thrown to neighborhood subscribers. Our parents were more than happy to encourage our entrepreneurial spirit, inadvertently handing us the key to the city…at night.

For a twelve-year-old, it was one's first taste of unencumbered freedom. The summer sidewalks were still warm but the breeze was cool and no authority what-so-ever was in sight. Of course there was a bit of early ‘60s mischief, but for the most part, it was just fun being there.

I continued to roam the city at night for the rest of my life, as did my Dad. We never talked about the source of our fascination with gloomy urban spaces, but I know mine and can guess his. Cities are lit like movie sets.

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Medium 9780892728060

Have you crossed this covered bridge?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Could this be the covered bridge that Jumbo the elephant once walked gingerly through, testing the timbers to make sure that the lions and tigers and bears of P.T. Barnum’s circus could cross safely? Perhaps it’s the one built under the supervision of Jefferson Davis, before he became president of the Confederacy? Or maybe it’s the span that a Portland film company attempted to blow up during the filming of a silent movie? Of course, it couldn’t be the latter. Pine Tree Pictures was successful in its bridge demolition and the Union Falls Bridge, like more than 100 of the covered bridges once standing in Maine, was blown into the history books. Because covered bridges have been heavily romanticized as icons of a simpler time, they are all surrounded by legends and lore. This one, too, has its own claim to fame — but it involves neither pachyderms nor rebels. It’s the only bridge remaining in Maine to be shingled top to bottom; the others are made of board and batten, lattice, or other types of siding. This span stretches seventy-three feet across Kenduskeag Stream in a quiet section of a town of 2,500 in central Maine whose name alludes to both Greece and a book of the Bible. The bridge is used only for local traffic, one vehicle at a time. There are only nine covered bridges remaining in Maine, which narrows down the odds for those inclined to guess. (As for Jumbo, he stepped lightly across the old international covered bridge between Calais and St. Stephen. According to one report, the elephants were never asked to open their trunks at customs.) To find the location of this storied span, turn to page 98.

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Medium 9780892726301

chapter four GENTLE GIANTS

Silliker, Bill Down East Books ePub
Medium 9780892728060

Ever given this precarious boulder a good shove?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Don’t mess with a glacier. That might be the story that this rock star would tell if it could talk. During the Ice Age, a sluggish sheet of ice and snow dragged the boulder some forty miles from its home before depositing it in a precarious position, balanced on a ledge halfway up a famous hill Down East. (According to local lore, the granite it’s made of is of a type that can only be found in Lucerne, a village south of Bangor, so everyone supposes that’s where it originated.) In the years since the ice melted, the plucky boulder has become a tourist attraction simply by sitting here and defying gravity. From the road below it seems certain to fall, and soon. (It also seems smaller than it is — a geology professor at UMaine has called it “about the size of my two-car garage.”) But it isn’t going anywhere. A bulldozer has tried to unseat it, as has an entire high-school football team, both to no avail. During the forties, after a local tragedy that made national headlines, a group decided it was best to remove the glacial erratic before it fell on someone’s head. Thus the bulldozer. The football team came later, and many others have hiked up the hill to give the rock a heave. Lucky for these self-appointed Sisyphuses the stone has a very pretty view — at least in their defeat they’ve had something to look at. Another green mound, much like the one on which the rock sits, lies nearby and beyond it, mountains and sea stretch in a paisley pattern off into the horizon. Turn to page 99 to learn more about this dramatic perch.

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Medium 9780253019561

15 Reminders of the Past

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Outside of the Adolf Hitler Sportsplatz looking rather bare without the great gilt swastika framed in oak leaves that topped its center.

Nürnberg, Ger—8 July ’45

One side of the huge open amphitheater that was one of the foremost prewar Nazi Party meeting places. Now renamed Soldiers Field and used for the GI Olympics and 3d Army baseball finals.

Nürnberg, Ger—8 July ’45

GIs relax in courtyard of the castle Wachsenburg. Though originally built in 933 AD by monks, this castle has been restored several times and is now the official Museum of German Wars—1600 thru World War I.

Near Gotha, Ger—9 June ’45

Strictly candid. I’m perched on the wall of a tower getting a nice all-over shot of castle towers. ’Twas one of the Drei Gleichen. Lt. Rosenmann is holding the tripod in place. Another guy was holding me for awhile.

Near Gotha, Ger—9 June ’45

Lt. Rosenmann and me view the ruins of Burg Gleichen from atop one of its towers. This castle was built in the 1000s. The best preserved part is the eerie network of underground passages and dungeons.

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Have you been soaked by Maine’s Ol’ Faithful?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Granite chasms don’t come much more renowned than this foaming sea pocket. And you’ll look long and hard to find one that speaks with its own basso profundo. Maine’s answer to Ol’ Faithful, it sits at the edge of a Down East island, where it gurgles and belches and occasionally blasts water into the sky. Like its counterpart at Yellowstone, it works on its own schedule and requires patience from its audience. When most people visit they find it quiet, the sea gently rocking in and out of the twisted cavern, and they wonder what all the fuss is about. When the surf and turf decide to put on a show, though, it’s a sight, one of the Pine Tree State’s great natural wonders. The waves leapfrog madly off the rocks, soaring as high as fifty feet in the air. They crash spectacularly with a resounding, earth-rocking thud (Thor would be proud), soaking everything in the vicinity, including anyone who might be standing near these railings. In summer that’s all great fun, and hordes line up to bathe in the spray. Come February it’s another thing altogether. The great irony is that one of the best times to view this particular attraction is on a blustery winter day, and that’s when the viewing platform here is usually empty. If there are flakes aplenty, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, even the odd snowshoer, might have a look at the spectacle. If not, walkers and hardy hikers might wander down. Other than these and a handful of folks who work in the area, the only witnesses to the tempests of winter here are shorebirds. See page 101 to find out how to track it down.

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Medium 9780253019561

13 Displaced Persons, or DPs—A Nice Name for Slave Labor

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

By hand and by cart these former slave laborers move their “households” onto the waiting trains for Russia, where, their homes perhaps destroyed, they must begin again from scratch.

Chemnitz, Ger—2 June ’45

Having just piled off American trucks, these Russian DPs haven’t just yet found out how to get their duffels to the train.

Thousands of these people are arriving here daily from all over American-occupied Germany. We had just filmed a story of 1,200 being brought from Ohrdruf, 85 miles distant. Finding ourselves for the first and last time with a little freedom in a Russian-occupied German city, we snooped a bit. The Germans we talked to were glad to see Americans, wondering how long we were going to stay, and complaining about the skimpy ration of food.

Chemnitz, Ger—2 June ’45

Polish children hungrily munch an afternoon snack of rations that were once in the Red Cross PW Packages. This is part of the DP Camp’s nursery program.

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Medium 9781607321927

THE CODY ROAD

Michael A. Amundson University Press of Colorado ePub

1903 & 2008

1910

1. #613 Bird’s-eye view of Cody

GPS coordinates: 44 31.373n, 109 03.523w

The road to Yellowstone begins in Cody, and this view is a classic Stimson shot. As with many of his town photographs, Stimson composed this one from a nearby hill to give the viewer a “bird’s-eye” view of the town. The vantage point is the north side of Cody’s upper bench below the current community building. The photo looks to the northwest, with Heart Mountain on the right horizon, the Shoshone River in the center, and Rattlesnake Mountain to the left. The absence of the far distant mountains attests to the fact that Stimson’s dry-plate emulsions were very sensitive to blue light; thus they are washed out in his image. Stimson’s shot was taken in the early morning, as evidenced by the well-lit right walls and the long shadows. The lack of any trees taller than a person allows one to see into every property.

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Medium 9780892726301

chapter nine IN THE PRESENCE OF FOXES

Silliker, Bill Down East Books ePub
Medium 9780892726301

chapter one PRIMEVAL BIRDS

Silliker, Bill Down East Books ePub
Medium 9780892726301

chapter three BIRD ISLANDS

Silliker, Bill Down East Books ePub

Circling, calling terns protect their nesting area at Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.

There are great colonies of seabirds on many of these islands that lie scattered variously from the Bay of Fundy, whose tides are the greatest in the world, to the calmer waters off the serene and sandy shores of southern Maine. And it is here in these wild colonies that bird enthusiasts are given opportunity to observe closely the home life of many of our most fascinating birds, providing living proof that, if intelligently protected by man, birds will once more fill our ears with natural music and our eyes with wild beauty.

HELEN GERE CRUICKSHANK

Bird Islands Down East, 1941

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12 People on the Move following Victory in Europe, May 7

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Part of the lineup waiting to cross a narrow bridge. Traffic was one way at a time and very slow. The VE Day news is out, and many of these people are former slave laborers making a break for it.

Weissenfels, Ger—8 May ’45

Young German farm folk, looking a bit amused at the prospect of having their pic taken. They are stopped at a checking station at the end of town and an MP is investigating their wagonload behind for stowaways etc.

Sangershausen, Ger—11 May ’45

The CIC and Photo Units of 3d Armd. pause for a rest and ration stop on the autobahn to Frankfurt.

Between Sangerhausen and Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Presumably in VE Day glee, American fighters swarm playfully over Frankfurt.

Near Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Wreckage in the streets of Frankfurt am Maine. The nuns wearing packs and carrying suitcases appear to be on the move to some more habitable city or place of greater need.

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Medium 9780892728060

Do you know where to find this coastal park?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

This little lighthouse looks out across the “finest bay in North America,” if we’re to believe the governor of Massachusetts in 1759. Stand on the shore here, with your eyes wide to the bay — said to have an island for every day of the year — and it’s hard to argue with the old man who ordered a fort built on this site to protect these important waters from the French and Indians. It was a wise move, since the major river that runs through the region was a fault line of sorts between the English to the west and the French Down East. The same year the fort was being constructed here, Quebec fell to the English, and the French were effectively given the boot from the region. During the Revolutionary War, British troops snuck into the fort in 1775 to remove its guns. Fast forward to the 1880s, and this was a very fashionable spot to be, red coat or no — that’s when a hotel was built here in 1872 with the hopes of making the point a rival to bustling Bar Harbor. Well-heeled Bostonians made the trip up by steamboat and stayed in the enormous place, luxuriating amid its running water, gas lights, stables, bowling alley, and dancing pavilions. Unfortunately for the resort, the tony types never found the finest bay in North America as much to their liking as the bays and mountains of Mount Desert. Rather than become a fancy national park visited by millions, this spot turned into a 120-acre state park that all too often gets lost in the great waves of summer tourists that sweep over the region. The square sentinel does its best to attract visitors, but they largely speed by. Those who do visit here know there’s some nice fishing to be done on the park’s pier, and that there is some exceptional cross-country skiing when the snow’s right. Whatever the time of year, the scenery is stunning. Turn to page 98 to see its location.

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