Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oregon or Bust

This is one of my favorite photographs from the Great Depression. The picture was taken in 1936, and shows Vernon Evans by his Model T. Ford. The picture was taken on Highway 10 in Montana. Vernon has left the drought-stricken area of the Dust Bowl, looking for a new start in Oregon. He has his tent tied to his back bumper, and he and his family live in the tent.

What I love about the picture is the sign he has on the back of his car, "Oregon or Bust". I think this reflects the indomitable American Spirit. I was not able to find any other information on Vernon Evans, so I really don't know how things went for him once he got to Oregon, but my guess is that he probably ended up back on his feet.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Factory Workers

This photograph was taken in 1909, and shows children working in a factory in Tampa, Florida. The factory makes cigar boxes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dutch Oven

This photograph is from 1939, and shows a Texas Cowboy cooking in a Dutch Oven. Dutch Ovens are heavy cast iron pots with lids. They were used by cowboys and allow you to cook pretty nice meals over a campfire. In the picture above, the man is baking buttermilk biscuits. Note that the oven is placed over a pile of coals, and then coals are piled on the lid.

Since my stove has been out for the last month and a half, I actually went out and bought myself a dutch oven, thinking I would just start cooking in the backyard over a camp fire. I guess I actually did not buy the dutch oven, I borrowed it. Now that I think about it, I did not tell anyone I borrowed it, so maybe I stole it. It belongs to my brother, and I am pretty sure he does not mind me using it, so I think borrow would be the best description of what I did. It had been outside in the weather for the last ten years, so it was very rusty. It took me about 6 hours yesterday to get it all cleaned up, and properly seasoned. About the time I got it all ready to go, the phone rings and it is the stove repair people. They were ready to try and fix the stove again. They showed up, and after about an hour, had the stove working. My wife tried it last night, and made baked potatoes in it. The baked potatoes came out good, so maybe they really fixed it this time. The guy told me he had another box of parts coming in, and when they arrived he wanted to put those on the stove as well, just to be sure. So, finally, after 49 days, my deluxe Dual Fuel range appears to be working.

Monday, July 28, 2008

American Pilot

This is a photograph of an American Marine pilot in World War II. The picture was taken in 1942. When you look at pictures like this of World War II soldiers, it is sad to think of how these men are now well into their 80's and I think something like 1,000 a day are dying. This greatest generation is quickly passing away.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I love this old picture of Texas Cowboys in camp. The picture was taken in about 1902 on the XIT ranch in Texas. When I look at this picture, I have trouble figuring out whether they are eating breakfast or supper. What do you think? For some reason, I think they are eating breakfast.

In any event, they are eating better than my family is. It has now been 49 days since my family has had a hot meal. In case you have not been following the blog closely, you can go here to read the whole story of my KitchenAid Dual Fuel Range Nightmare. I have gotten a number of emails from concerned readers asking if any progress has been made in the last week. I am sad to report that no progress has been made. I got a call from the repair center, and they said that they had gotten a big box of parts in for my oven. Apparently, the box was not quiet big enough, in that there were still several more parts that they are waiting on before they can come and try to fix the stove again. In any case, we are doing as best we can to survive on granola bars, apple slices, peanut butter, and the emergency supplies we had left over from the Y2K emergency that never materialized. Yesterday my daughter went out and was able to pick some algarita berries from behind the house, and we continue to forage for things that can be eaten without a working stove.

Summary of my Stove Debacle as of 7/27/2008:

Calls to the Factory: 7

Visits from the Repairman: 3

Days Since I have had a Hot Meal: 49

Saturday, July 26, 2008

George McClellan

This is a portrait of General George B. McClellan. It was on this day, July 26, in the year 1861 that President Abraham Lincoln put McClellan in charge of the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War. This was done after the embarrassing defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run. High Society in Washington DC had thought that the battle would be a rout, so many of Washington's finest citizens took picnic lunches down to Bull Run to watch the Rebels get a spanking. The Rebels, however, had a different idea, and stood firm, and fought with such valor that the Union Army's lines broke, and a chaotic panic retreat occurred, with virtually the entire army running back to Washington DC, trampling over many of the fine citizens who had turned out to watch the battle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Flying Machine

This is a photograph of French Aviator Louis Bleriot in one of his flying machines. Louis was an inventor, engineer, and an early pioneer in the development of airplanes. It was on this day, July 25, in the year 1909 that Bleriot became the first person to fly an airplane over the English Channel.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Indian Burial

This photograph was taken in 1912 and shows a Native American burial ceremony. The dead person has been elevated onto a small scaffold, which has been decorated by different items. Two people stand nearby. I wish I knew more about this type of ceremony, but I do find the photograph captivating.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mount Sinai

This photograph was taken in about 1900. It shows a man on a camel in the area of Mount Sinai.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This photograph was taken in 1939, and shows a Hispanic Barbershop in San Antonio, Texas. I like the sign showing that a haircut was 10 cents. When I was a boy, I got my haircut in an old-time barbershop, not unlike the one shown in this picture. The cheapest I can remember haircuts being was $1. I can remember at barbershops like this, the men sitting around waiting for their turn to get a haircut would talk politics. I can remember listening to the conversations, and wishing that they would make one of those men President. Such uncommon common sense. One of the biggest issues of discussion was wasteful government spending. It is sort of funny, but I don't know one person who is not frustrated by government waste and abuse . . . at the same time, zero progress has been made in the last 40 years on the problem, it just gets worse. I saw on the news yesterday that a number of the most important Senators on the Banking Committee had been getting sweetheart loans from the very banks that they were supposed to be regulating, and worse yet, the banks primarily responsible for the sub-prime mess. So, while they were supposed to be minding the store, they were in fact taking what looks a whole lot like bribes. Where is the outrage?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thomas Jonathan Jackson

You are viewing a photograph of Thomas Jonathan Jackson. It was on this day, July 21, in the year 1861 that Thomas was commanding Confederate troops at the First Battle of Bull Run. As the Confederate lines began to crumble and retreat under a heavy Union barrage, Thomas and his men stood firm on Henry House Hill. General Barnard Bee, seeing the brave stand of Thomas, exhorted his own troops to be brave by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me."

From that day forward, Thomas Jonathan Jackson has always been known and remembered simply as "Stonewall", perhaps the greatest nickname of all time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


This picture was taken in 1940 and shows a Grocery Store front in 1940. The picture was taken in Salem, Illinois. I like looking at the simplicity of the items being sold, and the prices advertised in the window.

There was lots of discussion yesterday about gas prices and gas mileage. Today, the topic is Grocery Prices. Is it just me, or are food prices really starting to be painful? It feels like the price of everything in the grocery store has doubled in the last year. I think a lot of it has to do with the Ethanol mandate. I read that it takes 30% of the corn supply to make 3% of the fuel we use. This drastic increase in demand has driven up prices. This makes just about anything you eat more expensive, because most things like chickens, pigs, and cows eat corn, so pork, chicken and beef become more expensive. Also, as corn prices go up, more farmers plant corn, less plant wheat, and then wheat, and hence bread and pasta prices go up. Anyway, I am not so sure the whole Ethanol thing was a good idea.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Old Days

I love this old picture from 1938. It shows a sign in front of a Gas Station in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The sign shows Gas at 20 1/2 cents a gallon. The sign gives a breakdown on the cost, showing the various cost components leading to the price. At this price, they also came out and filled your car up, checked your oil and tire pressure, and washed your windshield.

I don't know if it is just me, but high gas prices are really starting to sting. We have started making lots of life style adjustments due to the high gas prices. I had a really nice Toyota Sequoia, but I just sold it because it got about 15 mpg. I wanted to buy a Natural Gas Honda Civic. These run on Natural Gas, and you can fill them up from your home gas connection. In looking in to these, I found that they are only available in California, and there is a ridiculous waiting list, so they basically are not available. Then I looked into hybrids, but my conclusion was that in reality they do not get very much better mileage than a normal small car. So, now I am leaning towards a Honda Civic, which is supposed to get close to 40 mpg. The thing is, it is very hard to find one of these, as they are selling faster than they can get them in. Anyway, I am making lots of adjustments, as I do not see gas prices getting back to the "Good old Days" anytime soon. Is it just me, or are these gas prices starting to cause others to make lifestyle changes also? Any good ideas out there?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dawn of the Nuclear Age

This photograph shows the first Nuclear Blast. It occurred on this day, July 16, in the year 1945 at the top secret "Trinity" site, 35 miles from Socorro, New Mexico. It was the culmination of the "Manhattan Project", one of the Nation's most intense, and successful R&D projects of all time. After seeing the blast, one of the key developers, Robert Oppenheimer, thought of the Hindu verse, "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." Several weeks later, a similar bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Some view the bombing of Hiroshima as an act of Barbarism. Others view it as a quick means to end a brutal war, not wanted by, and not started by the United States.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Run on the Bank

This picture was taken in 1911, and shows a run on the Nineteenth Ward Bank in New York City. Rumors of liquidity concerns created a run, that then in fact, created a liquidity crisis, which led to the bank being closed.
It is interesting that we are seeing similar scenes play out again today, with a bank run occurring at a major California bank just this last Friday, leading to the FDIC closing the bank, and taking over operations. I saw pictures in the newspaper of a crowd at the closed bank, trying to get their money.
No bank can withstand all depositors wanting to withdraw their money at the same time. It looks like we are entering a period where bank runs are going to be common again.

Monday, July 14, 2008


This picture was taken in 1902, and shows two childhood friends playing together. The boy in the cowboy hat is Quentin Roosevelt, the youngest son of Teddy Roosevelt. The other child is the son of a White House steward. Quentin went on to join the Army Air Corps. He was killed on this day, July 14, in the year 1918 in a dogfight with 3 German Fokkers over France. He was loved by his family, the men he served with, and a grateful nation.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Anchorage Alaska

This photograph shows a street scene in Anchorage Alaska. The picture was taken in the early 1900's. The structures appear to be partially wood, and partially canvas.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Indian Chief

This photograph was taken in 1908 by Edward Curtis. It shows an Indian Chief named White Shield. I love the work Edward Curtis did in capturing these images of Native Americans.

Friday, July 11, 2008

World War I Field Hospital

This photograph was taken in 1917, and shows a World War I field hospital. The picture was taken somewhere in the Middle East. Staff in the photograph are from the Red crescent.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Millard Fillmore

This is a portrait of Millard Fillmore. Millard was inaugurated as President of the United States on this day, July 10, in the year 1850. He had been vice president, but became president upon the death of Zachary Taylor, who died in office. Millard is not one of the most remembered presidents. He spent most of his term dealing with serious tensions between Northern and Southern states. He was not able to solve these issues but was successful in delaying the War.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


This photograph was taken in 1939, and shows a Black man drinking from a water can. The sign on the can says "Colored". The other signs indicate separate restrooms for "Colored" people. I grew up in the 1960's and I can not remember at that time any segregated facilities like the ones indicated in this picture, but maybe I was just not aware of them. I am not sure when the practice of separated water fountains and restrooms came to a complete close in this country. I do know, however, that it was on this day, July 9, in the year 1868 that the 14th amendment was passed, giving citizenship to African Americans. This was a big step forward on paper, but I guess progress in real life was a lot slower, as indicated in the photo above.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great Depression

This photograph shows a woman living in a tent during the Great Depression. The woman is the daughter of a migrant Tennessee Coal Miner. The picture was taken in the American River Migrant Camp near Sacramento California.
It was on this day, July 8, in the year 1932 that the Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed out at a low of 41. It was not until the 1950's that the stock market fully recovered from the crash of '29. It is amazing what level of suffering occurred in the 30's as a result of the excesses of the '20's. Lets hope that our present financial challenges only lead to a "recession".

Monday, July 7, 2008

Women Sewing

This picture was taken in 1909 and shows a group of women sewing. They are working in the Brooklyn Navy yard. The shop made flags and other items for the Navy. I can not tell if these are electric sewing machines, or the old "foot-pedal" type.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fort Ticonderoga

This is a photograph of the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga. The Fort is located on the narrows of Lake Champlain, and was an important strategic point controlling trade routes to the state of New York. In 1775 during the Revolutionary War, the fort was captured from the British by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. In capturing the fort, Allen proclaimed he was taking the fort, "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"
Faced with a siege and bombardment, the Americans abandoned the fort on this day, July 6, in the year 1777.
Today the fort has been restored, is privately owned, and is a popular tourist destination.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Striking Miners

This picture was taken in 1922 and shows the camp of a group of striking miners. The miners are Union miners in the Lick Creek district of West Virginia.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Declaration of Independence

On this fine July 4, 2008 we celebrate by displaying this photograph of the original Declaration of Independence. If you look at the original document today, the thing you notice is that the words have become faded, and are barely readable.

Unfortunately, these words have not just faded on the document, but have faded in our lives, our hearts, and our culture. These words that burned in the hearts of our Founding Fathers have become almost forgotten today. I invite you to join me today in reading and renewing in our hearts the powerful words that were the birth of our country. Below, I include the first several paragraphs of this powerful document:
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Note that our Founding Fathers believed that we were Created, that we were Created Equal, that our rights are Unalienable, because they come From God. The Founding Fathers believed that these Unalienable rights included a Right to Life, a Right to Liberty, and a Right to Pursue Happiness.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer Time Ice Cream

This picture was taken in 1940, and shows some boys making ice cream with an old time "crank" style ice cream makers. The ice cream was being made for a church social. The picture was taken near Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina.
I can remember we had this type of ice cream maker when I was a boy. I don't see them much any more. Now, I have one of the new type, with a canister you put in the freezer. I think the old style ones like in this picture make better ice cream.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

James A. Garfield

This is a portrait of James A. Garfield, 20th president of the United States. Mr. Garfield was shot on this day, July 2, in the year 1881. He would die 11 weeks later from infection and complications from the wounds.