Tag Archives: history

Alaska Day

On this date, 150 years ago, the formal transfer of the deed to the Alaska Territory took place at Fort Sitka. In March of 1867, the United States had purchased Alaska for $7.2 million, but it took until October of that same year to get commissioners from both countries to Sitka.

October 18 was officially designated a state holiday by the Territorial Legislature in 1917.

Here’s to 150, Secretary Seward.


30th La Carrera Panamericana

The 30th run of La Carrera Panamericana starts on Friday the 13th. It’s a 7-day, 3000 km, high speed, stage rally in vintage cars. The race runs between Queretero and Durango, over some challenging backroads.

There are some interesting cars running the race as usual: Several Porsches, quite a few Studebakers, Mustangs, a couple of Beetles and at least one Chevy Bel Air, to name a few.


“Well the good ol’ days may not return…

And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn.”

RIP Traveling Poet


“Land of Sky Blue Waters”


The Bronx Bull


Jake LaMotta in 1949 after beating Marcel Cerdan for the World Middleweight title

Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta, the former middleweight boxing champion, died on Tuesday at the age of 95. LaMotta, was a brawler in the ring (and out), stalking opponents close up, taking blow after blow, in order to deliver an explosion of his own punches.

My father would often mention that he listened to all six of LaMotta’s fights against Sugar Ray Robinson on the radio. One day, my Dad came to my bedroom door, and asked if I’d go see a movie with him. It was slightly out of character, so I was a little surprised. When I asked, “What movie?” He replied, “The one about LaMotta”. The movie, of course, was “Raging Bull” with Robert DeNiro.

The LaMotta/Robinson fights were epic battles. LaMotta only won one of the six meetings, their second fight. In the eighth round of that fight, LaMotta sent Robinson through the ropes and out of the ring. It was Robinson’s first loss of his boxing career. Their fight in Chicago Stadium on 14 February 1951 became known as the Second Valentine’s Day Massacre. The fight was stopped in the 13th Round, with LaMotta a bloody mess.

LaMotta later said about Robinson: “The three toughest fighters I ever fought were Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Robinson. I fought Sugar so many times, I’m surprised I’m not diabetic.”


LaMotta vs Robinson 1943

LaMotta had a professional record of 83 wins (30 by KO), 19 losses, and 4 draws.


Your father’s Suburban


1948 DeSoto Suburban

DeSoto built the long wheel based Suburban from 1946 through 1954.

This particular Suburban was purchased new in Connecticut and used by the Mount Washington Hotel of Bretton Woods, NH.

The car had several variations over it’s nine year run. I do like the suicide doors.

Complete with third row seating.

This particular DeSoto is powered by a 236ci Flathead straight six, coupled to DeSoto’s Tip-Toe Shift, which was their version of the semi-automatic transmission.


The Passenger Pigeon


Martha

Martha, the world’s last passenger pigeon, died on this day in 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Martha was believed to be 29 at the time of her death. The last known nest with an egg was found in 1895 near Minneapolis. They were both collected.

The passenger pigeon bred around the Great Lakes of North America; their range was vast: from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains and from southern Canada to Mississippi. They numbered between 3-5 billion at their peak. Migrating in huge flocks, constantly searching for food, the passenger pigeon could fly at speeds of up to 62 mph. Flocks of passenger pigeons were often described as being a mile wide and 300 miles long, darkening the sky for hours, and even days as they passed overhead.

“The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse; the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow, and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose… I cannot describe to you the extreme beauty of their aerial evolutions, when a hawk chanced to press upon the rear of the flock. At once, like a torrent, and with a noise like thunder, they rushed into a compact mass, pressing upon each other towards the center. In these almost solid masses, they darted forward in undulating and angular lines, descended and swept close over the earth with inconceivable velocity, mounted perpendicularly so as to resemble a vast column, and, when high, were seen wheeling and twisting within their continued lines, which then resembled the coils of a gigantic serpent… Before sunset I reached Louisville, distant from Hardensburgh fifty-five miles. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers and continued to do so for three days in succession.”
— John James Audubon in 1813

100 years later, the passenger pigeon would be extinct.