Tag Archives: history

Huzzah!

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing the USS Constitution “sail” through Boston Harbor for the last time for the next 3 years.  The weather was glorious and I timed it just perfectly to be able to see the ship as she passed Faneuil Hall and Old North Church.

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Also got to hear the Dropkick Murphys as they played on the deck.

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Sooo many people were on board the ship, over 500 people.  When I went on my turnaround, there were many fewer people and you could wander the deck a lot easier.

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The Constitution then fired a 17-gun salute near the Coast Guard base.  When she was built and launched, it was around that part of the North End.  Hearing the cannons was fun, but you could also feel it inside your knees.

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Road Tripping Through New England

Took a road trip up to Saint Gaudens National Historical Site in Cornish, NH. Attempted to get to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller too, but their signage SUCKS!!! But we managed to walk around the town and drove around the entire park site, so that counts as a visit in my mind.

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The Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial in Cornish, NH.

The park property is gorgeous and the staff that greeted us today were quite enthusiastic. Only $5/person to get in and tromp about the grounds. I would love to go back and go along the trails that they have as well. We had limited time since we planned on hitting 2 parks today, but only got to one. And then we got tired and hungry and cranky. lol. The whole site, though provides beautiful photos.

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I only wish that we had gotten there before 1 p.m. Its a long drive up, especially with leaf peepers, but there was a ton of rain today and it made everyone move even slower. The season ends at the end of the month, so we’ll have to wait until 2015 to go back again.

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So, I had planned on getting this blog back up and running with my entries in the Historical Sew Fortnightly. And then I got sick. I couldn’t even make chocolate chip cookies properly last night and my typing right now is horrific!

However, I have planned out a few things that I will be doing for all the different challenges:

  1. Bi/Tri/Quadri...: I will be remaking the dress I did this summer so that it actually comes out properly for the War of 1812. Will have to change it a smidge to fit 1813, but not much.
  2. UFO: I actually do not have a UFO, so I think I might try to make a little something like an 18th century pocket.
  3. Under it all: Already finished my stays, so I think bloomers are next! Or a chemise.
  4. Embellish: I will embroider my pocket that I made in challenge 2!
  5. Peasants & Pioneers: Maybe the beginnings of my Abolition dress?
  6. Stripes: No idea yet…stripes are hard!
  7. Accessorize: maybe bags for my outfits to hide my camera in? Hmm…

Lowell National Historical Park

Yet another field trip to another National Park, this time Lowell. Not a lot of people would think that Lowell would have a National Park, but it is a great example of what happened all around the country during the Industrial Revolution.  Not only are a lot of the buildings still there, many of them have been revitalized into new spaces.

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Excavated by two of my professors (One from UMass Boston and another from Boston University) the Boott Cotton Mills Museum presents the history of the Industrial Revolution in a way everyone can understand. By using the oral histories left behind by former workers and actual artifacts from that time period, you can really get the feel of what it might have felt like.  Inside the Boott is a room with a number of machines that are needed in the process of the creation of fabric.  Here is a video that has only a few of the machines running:

Lowell is also known for having one of the best education centers in the National Park Service and they provide a huge variety of programs for children to attend and learn math, history, language arts, and science during.  One of the programs has children weaving on a loom:
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They are also in possession of Jack Kerouac’s backpack from when he went off on his tour of America. Not only was Kerouac an important poet and writer, he was also a native son. At one event, they gave away bobbleheads of him 🙂
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There is also a lot of artwork in the surrounding area and a stage for performances during the summer.
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All in all, Lowell is an awesome National Park and quite worthy of a visit. Go in the spring when you can ride the canal!

USS Constitution

I had a great post here about the neighbors who want the USS Constitution to change the way she fires her cannons because they feel lit is too loud.  They want the cannons to be quiet until 9 AM on the weekends and the National Anthem to not be played so loudly and the charges to be smaller.

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To which I say: shut up.

This tradition has been going on since before 1800 and the charges have been made smaller over the years already. They barely use any black powder to set the cannons off already and oh yeah, we are at war. These cannons are shot off twice a day in honor of the men and women who are serving and who have served. Many of these sailors will be going off to active duty combat after their 3 years at the Constitution is up and many of the National Park Rangers have also served in some capacity.  This ship is the mascot of the entire Navy and it is only appropriate for her to fire her cannons off as a sign of respect…and its pretty cool to watch them do it, as well.
I was lucky enough to get to take a trip on the Constitution a few years ago with my Dad. It was Armed Forces Day and so there was a 19 gun salute (why are they always odd numbers?) to the men and women of the Armed Forces. While I couldn’t really see over the sides of the ship, I knew enough to get down to the gun deck in time to see them load and fire the charges. Afterwards, I got one of the shells as a souvenier of my trip…it stunk to high heaven for a few weeks, but it is awesome. See:

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So, be quiet people living at Flagship Wharf…Nomar would have never been a jerk like you are. Oh, and I hope you enjoy it next summer when they are turning the Yard back into a working one and putting the USS Cassin Young into drydock! That should be exciting…lots of banging and crashing and melting and tearing. Its going to be awesome to see what kind of letter you send to the NPS unit.

Saugus Iron Works

Another National Park here in Massachusetts is Saugus Iron Works. Located in Saugus, MA it encompasses one of the first Iron works in the colonies and created some of the best iron outside of Spain.

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There is a collection of buildings that can be visited including a nail forge as demonstrated by Ranger Brandon here:

One of my favorite pieces of this park was the small map of the original site. Reminded me of a similar map I saw in Munich…

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There is also a project to get the river cleaned up by taking out the phragmites that are choking the river. By taking them out, the river will flow quicker and take out the sediment that has settled on the bottom. It will make the river healthier and bring back even more animals. When I was there, they had orioles, frogs, eels, little fishes, and signs of groundhogs. So well on their way.

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Saugus Iron Works is open until the end of the month and is free.

A Scottish Tramp

John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt

Perhaps the most significant event in the history of the National Park Service was the early friendship and influence of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt.  It is because of him that we have Yellowstone National Park, as well as Rocky Mountain and other areas preserved by people influenced by him.

I think, though, that the best thing about John Muir was his writing. It is very accessible and entertaining; he was not writing to impress people with his knowledge…he was writing to impress people about the importance of nature.  Some of my favorite quotes follow:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — from Our National Parks (1901)

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” — from Our National Parks (1901)

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” — from The Journals of John Muir

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”