Tag Archives: photo

Right Place, Right Time

The music world lost another unique voice on Thursday. Dr John, the man who brought the voodoo infused magic of New Orleans music to the world, died “toward the break of day”, of a heart attack. John was 77.

I saw Dr John play live once, when I was in New Orleans during their Jazz Festival. It was pure luck really, but sometimes the train pulls up to the station at just the right moment. It was after Katrina, and there were still a lot of roofs that were covered by blue tarps. Dr John put on quite the show, but this was more than just playing a concert, it was his attempt to use music to help heal his city from a hurricane and apathy.

Dr John simply oozed New Orleans, in all its funky, bluesy, bayou form. I read a review once, where the writer described his voice as a “bullfrog with a hangover”.

Rest in peace, Night Tripper; your bullfrog voice will be missed.


Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site


The Wilcox House from the street

The site in downtown Buffalo, was once the Buffalo Barracks compound. With tensions between the U.S. and Canada back in 1839, a military post was built here. One building remains from the post, which is the oldest building within the historic site. By 1845, the military post had been abandoned, and the property went into private hands, eventually being given to Ansley Wilcox by his father in law.


Side view of the Wilcox House

In 1901, Buffalo was host to the Pan-American Exposition. While attending the exposition, President William McKinley was shot twice in the abdomen by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Cabinet members rushed to Buffalo, but McKinley appeared to improve, so the cabinet dispersed, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt went camping in the Adirondacks. McKinley’s condition worsened due to only one of the two bullets being found. Oddly enough, a primitive X-Ray machine was on exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition, but it was never used on the president. Roosevelt and the Cabinet were summoned once again. President McKinley would not recover.


Roosevelt and Pan-American Exposition display

Roosevelt would arrive back in Buffalo after McKinley had already died. Cabinet members felt that Roosevelt should be sworn in immediately. The Wilcox House was determined to be an appropriate site, so Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated on September 14, 1901 within the Wilcox House, Buffalo, New York.


The desk where TR wrote his inaugural address


The Wilcox library, where Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the U.S.

The Wilcoxes lived in the home until their deaths in the 1930’s. The home was sold at public auction, and was converted into a restaurant. The restaurant closed in 1961, and the home was declared a National Historic Site in 1966.


Omaha Beach, 6 June 1944


Photograph by Robert Capa


Pierce-Arrow Museum

Buffalo, New York


Exterior to the Pierce-Arrow showroom

Officially known as the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, the museum has quite the collection of classic cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, plus one filling station. The museum organized as a non-profit in 1997, and moved into their current location, a former Mack Truck showroom, in 2001.

George Pierce started out making ice chests & birdcages, progressing into bicycles. In 1901, the Pierce Company opened a large factory in Buffalo’s Canalside district. In 1903, the company produced a two-cylinder car called The Arrow. The following year, The Great Arrow came on the market. This car was larger and more luxurious than its predecessor, and it was powered by a four-cylinder engine. In 1905, The Great Arrow won the Glidden Tour, which was an endurance run that determined the most reliable car on the market. By 1909, President Taft had made two Pierce-Arrows the official cars of the White House.

Here are a few of the vehicles I enjoyed checking out at the P-A Museum:


1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 Flyabout

The Thomas Flyer was also manufactured in Buffalo, NY until 1913. This little Flyabout, was a 5 passenger, powered by a six-cylinder/267 cubic inch engine, coupled to a three speed transmission. The motor put out a whopping 40 HP. In 1908, a Thomas Flyer won the New York to Paris Race.


1932 Duesenberg Model J Town Car

This particular Duesenberg was the most expensive ever produced. Custom built for the Countess Anna Ingraham, the car cost $25,000 in 1932.


The Duesenberg


$2.50 down buys you a Harley?

Automatically, I thought $250.00 down, but no, it was $2.50. I asked for clarification.


1940 Lincoln

Frank Lloyd Wright ordered one of these Lincolns in 1940. He proclaimed it the most beautiful car ever designed. Hard to argue with FLW.


1934 Pierce-Arrow Model 1248A

The 1934 Pierce-Arrow was proclaimed an “All Weather Town Brougham”, with its canvas roll up, and solid leather roof for the chauffeur. This model had an aluminum body, and was powered by a V-12 engine. There was only one of these made. It was owned by opera diva Ms. Mary Garden, whose father had the world’s largest Pierce-Arrow dealership.


Pierce-Arrow’s 1933 Silver Arrow; Designed as a car, that can not be ignored

My favorite car in the collection: the 1933 Silver Arrow. They say this car “caused an absolute sensation” when it was introduced in 1933. Powered by the V-12 engine, the Silver Arrow could hit 115mph. Five of these cars were built, only three remain in existence today.


The ’33 Silver Arrow

What a sharp, futuristic looking car for 1933.


Joseph Seagram & Sons’ Pierce-Arrow delivery truck


The Frank Lloyd Wright designed filling station

In 1927, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a filling station that was to be built in downtown Buffalo, on the corners of Michigan Avenue and Cherry Street. The station was never built.

Fast forward to 2002: The Pierce-Arrow Museum, working off of original drawings, create the copper, work of art within the large showroom. Wright called his station design “an ornament to the pavement”. The station is quite the structure. It contains a second story observation room, complete with a fireplace and restrooms. The observation room was meant as a comfortable place for patrons to wait for their vehicle while it was being serviced. It was also to include an attendants quarters, also equipped with a fireplace. The gas distribution system was gravity fed. The two 45 foot, copper poles holding the station’s marque, were described as “totems” by Wright. It would have been an impressive filling station, if it had been built. As it stands, its an impressive & unique addition to the museum.

The museum has several volunteers with a wealth of information about the items on display. I found them more than willing to share their knowledge. Admission for an adult was $10.


National Curator Day


Taking a turn at Arundel

Today is officially The Curator’s Day. Although, for those who know him well, there are very few days that are not his day. But today, it’s legit.

It’s wonderfully refreshing to see years of dedication and hard work rewarded. The honor is well earned, and very much deserved. Kudos.

Much respect and affection from Alaska.


Mount Everest

It’s a long way from the days of Mallory and Hillary:


Traffic jam at the top of the world; Photo credit: Project Possible/AFP/Getty Images

I’m absolutely fascinated by the recent photo to come from the summit of Mount Everest. Over 100 climbers, queued up in a line, in the death zone of Everest, waiting to summit. The death toll on Everest has reached 11 this year, as a result.

A record number of permits, 381, to climb the world’s tallest peak were issued. Which means at least double that number, if not closer to triple, were on the mountain, since guides and sherpas are not included in the permit number.

Also, the window of good weather was extremely small compared to most years, so everyone was forced to summit basically at the same time. Waiting in a line, using up oxygen, stepping over dead bodies that had been left behind, all while trying to combat exhaustion in the death zone.

The entire concept, just spins my head. The desire to climb Everest, I get, although I’ve never really had that great burn to do so. We’ve reached the point where we wait in a line at the roof top of our planet, for what? To take a selfie? Thank about it: One couldn’t take a picture from the summit without people in it! I live in Fairbanks so that I can avoid lines. I walk out of the post office if the line has more than three people in it. I realize, I’m the odd duck on this planet, but I can not imagine my extreme disappointment, if I climbed Everest, only to be forced to endure a conga line before summiting.

One has to ask about the skill level of so many climbers. Are they experienced climbers, or thrill seeking amateurs on a selfie hunt? Peter Beaumont wrote in The Guardian that climbing the world’s tallest peak “has become a trophy experience.” I have to admit, I agree with him.

What would George Mallory think about The Mountain now?


Moose Snorts


Moose out for a swim

I spent one day this week, out in the sun, finishing up a rope bridge that I was commissioned to build. The decking of the bridge had been completed last fall, and now I was back to add the rope-work for the “railings”.

I heard the moose munching on willows long before I saw it. They are not quiet eaters. A shrub or tree would move, but it took quite some time for the moose to show itself. Oddly enough, it was when I was out on the bridge weaving the manila rope into place that the moose reacted. It kept snorting at me.

At first, I was a bit offended, taking the snorts as commentary on my work. However, I came to the conclusion, that the moose simply did not like me hovering in the air, at a height allowing me to look down on the moose. As I continued to work, the snorts were then followed by hoof stomps and another snort. It really did not like me out there on the bridge. Eventually, the moose had enough of my bridge building, and I heard it splash about in the pond behind the house. It had gone for a swim. It was a warm 75F degrees, and I couldn’t blame it.

Unfortunately, the pictures are pretty poor, as I only had the cellphone with me on the job site, and I’m shooting into the sun on top of it. I watched it swim around, and splash about the pond for a good 15 minutes, before I had to force myself back to work.