Bull Moose at Dawn in Rocky Mountain National Park

A bull moose stands in Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, at dawn.

A bull moose stands in Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain Park at dawn in late September 2019. The moose seems to be posing for the many photographers who lined the lake. I was lucky to be one of them, thanks to my friend Lynn who drove me there. She also took some great photographs.

Moose (Alces alces) are the largest members of the deer family. On average, an adult moose stands between five and seven feet high at the shoulder. Large males can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds while females are roughly three-quarters of this size.

National Park Service: About Moose in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Where to see moose in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

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Dead and Company Shows in Boulder, Colorado

On July 5, 2019, Mother Nature provides a lightning light show as Dead & Company play “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” at Folsom Field football stadium on the University of Colorado campus, Boulder.

My husband and I joined many family members to enjoy two nights of the Dead & Company at Folsom Field football stadium at the University of Colorado, Boulder, on July 5 and 6, 2019. This was my first “Dead” show since 1993 when my husband and I saw the Grateful Dead at R.F.K. Stadium in Washington. D.C. I’d seen them three other times in the Kansas City area. My husband, a very ardent Dead Head, has seen them many more times and listened to countless of their recorded concerts.

Storm clouds threatened, and during the second song, the very appropriately timed “Cold Rain and Snow,” it started to rain and lightning flashed. The more than 50,000 of us were evacuated to under the stadium concourse, where we were crammed together like sardines. But it was very orderly and even a little fun, other than my being soaked. An optimist, I’d left my poncho in the van. When the evacuation began, we were near the field, so it took us a long time to climb the bleachers. Hail began to pelt us. We were separated from our group of eight others, not sure what to do. Fortunately, the rain did stop, and the show resumed, John Mayer launched right back into “Cold Rain and Snow.”

The second night, we did bring in our ponchos, and not a drop fell. For which we were grateful.

We enjoyed the beautiful mountains, including where were staying — a house in the mountains, where during the day we watched mule tail deer and a hummingbird that lived in the yard. The last night, returning from the show, a black bear ran across the road a mile from our house.

Dead & Company and Grateful Dead shows are well-documented. I’ve linked some sources below.

 

Concert goers begin to fill Folsom Field football stadium for the Dead & Company show on July 5, 2019. Storm clouds roll in over the front range of the Rocky Mountains, which provide a magnificent backdrop.

On July 6, 2019, the crowd enjoys the second night of the Dead & Company’s two nights in Boulder, Colorado.

 

Check out this page for photos of the Dead & Company’s tour photos.
Dead and Company Facebook Page Photos.

First of two-night stand is long strange trip for Dead & Company fans

Dead & Company Closes Summer Tour 2019 In Boulder

Setlist, Dead & Company, July 5, 2019, Boulder, Colorado

Set list, Dead & Company, July 6, 2019, Boulder, Colorado

Grateful Dead at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, June 25, 1993.

The sunrise view from our mountain deck. From this same deck, we watched lightning flashing over Denver, Colorado, on the Fourth of July — Mother Nature’s fireworks.

Front Range Sunrise, Colorado Poster

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Council Grove, Kansas — On the Santa Fe Trail

Hays House Restaurant on the Santa Fe Trail.
Seth M. Hays, a grandson of Daniel Boone, was the first white settler in Council Grove in 1847 in what is now the state of Kansas. In 1857 he opened the Hays House Tavern and Restaurant. Today, Hays House is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River. Its customers have included Jesse James and George Armstrong Custer (and me!)

My children’s elementary and middle schools were near the start of the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas City, Missouri, but I didn’t pay that much attention to the trail until much later.¬† Now I’m slowly visiting towns and cities along the trail — not in any particular order. In fact, it wasn’t until I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, the end of the trail, that I thought “Hey, this trail starts near my house!”

This post focuses on Council Grove, Kansas, one of the more significant towns on the Santa Fe Trail.¬† The town¬†was named after an agreement between European Americans and the Osage Nation about allowing settlers’ wagon trains to pass through the area and proceed to the West. Pioneers gathered at a grove of trees so that wagons could band together for their trip west. Council Grove has 15 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One is the Post Office Oak. Travelers left their mail at this tree to be picked up by others going in the right direction.¬† General George Armstrong Custer slept in the town with his troops during the American Civil War, under a large tree known now as the Custer Elm.

The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to Wikipedia. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, the trail served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which carried trade from Mexico City.

Farmers and Drovers Bank, Council Grove, Kansas.

Built in 1882, the Farmers and Drovers Bank, Council Grove, Kansas, is one of the oldest banks in Kansas, and is still in operation today.  The bank is on Main Street, which is the old Santa Fe Trail, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 21, 1971

Council Grove Carnegie Library, Kansas Photo Print

Council Grove Carnegie Library, Kansas

 

The one-story, brick eclectic Neo-Classical Carnegie Library building sits on the south side of Main Street in Council Grove, Kansas. Red rose bushes flank the entrance steps.

Main Street is a section of the old Santa Fe Trail. Council Grove is a Santa Fe Trail National Historic Landmark town.

The library, built in 1916, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1987. Now the Carnegie library building is the home of the Morris County Historical Society.

Kaw Mission, Council Grove, Kansas Photo Print

Kaw Mission, Council Grove, Kansas

 

A sycamore tree and a white oak shade the historic Kaw Mission in Council Grove, Kansas.

Kaw Mission is a historic church mission at 500 N. Mission Street that was home, school and church to 30 Kaw boys from 1851‚Äď1854. It is near the Santa Fe Trail in the Flint Hills.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The site is now administered by the Kansas Historical Society as Kaw Mission State Historic Site. The state of Kansas was named for the Kaw (or Kansa).

Last Chance Store, Council Grove, Kansas Poster

Last Chance Store, Council Grove, Kansas.

 

Built in 1857 by Tom Hill, the Last Chance Store in Council Grove, Kansas, was the last opportunity for freighters bound for Santa Fe, New Mexico, to pick up supplies for their journey. It is also the oldest commercial building in Council Grove. The building has served as post office facilities, government trading house and polling place. The building’s architecture marks a transition from the Frontier style of construction to the Prairie Vernacular style.The store is on Main Street (Highway 40) which is also the Santa Fe Trail. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 21, 1971, and is part of the National Historic Landmark Council Grove Historic District.

Madonna of the Trail, Council Grove, Kansas Photo Print

Madonna of the Trail, Council Grove, Kansas

 

The “Madonna of the Trail” sculpture in Council Grove, Kansas, is one in a series of 12 monuments dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States. The monuments were commissioned by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). They were installed in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Road, which extended from Cumberland, Maryland, to Upland, California. Much of the National Old Trails Highway later became U.S. Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 66 (Route 66.)

Dedicated in 1928 and 1929, the twelve statues, created by sculptor August Leimbach, have become sources of local pride and all are currently in good condition and on display, thanks to local and national efforts.

Terwilliger House, Council Grove, Kansas Poster

Terwilliger House, Council Grove, Kansas

The Rawlinson-Terwilliger House was built by Abraham and Mary Rawlinson in 1860-61. This stone home was the last house that freighters carrying goods passed going west on the Santa Fe Trail when leaving Council Grove as late as 1863. The Rawlinson-Terwilliger Home is the oldest stone home and the second oldest home remaining alongside the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas.

Cottage House Hotel, Council Grove, Kansas.

According to the Cottage House hotel website, the hotel began as a three-room cottage and blacksmith shop, built in 1867. Today the hotel has 26 rooms in the main building, 10 rooms in adjacent motel unit and a honeymoon cottage. The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 4, 1988.

All rooms in the main hotel building are decorated and furnished in keeping with the period in which they were built.

Lace curtains and selected antique furnishings are featured throughout the building, though each room is different.  All rooms have private baths, cable TV, WI-FI and modern heating and air conditioning.

Learn More About Council Grove, Kansas.

Cottage House, Council Grove, Kansas, Website.

National Register of Historic Places Listings in Morris County, Kansas.

 

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Remembering the New London, Texas, Gas Explosion of 1937

John Davidson, head docent at the New London Museum, talks about some of the victims of the 1937 gas explosion at the school, including his sister, Ardyth. John was born three years after the explosion.

 

Twice a year, my mother and I visit my sister and her family in Texas, and we tour different areas of East Texas.¬† Last fall, I was fascinated to learn about the New London, Texas, school explosion of 1937, which killed more than 295 students and teachers. We visited the London Museum and cafe, which is across the street from the school complex that replaced the school destroyed in the explosion. It was so sad, especially to hear the story from John Davidson, a brother of one of the students killed in the blast. I can’t even imagine the pain that the community felt to lose almost a whole generation in one day.

On March 18, 1937, a natural gas leak caused an explosion, destroying the London School of New London, Texas,¬†a community in¬†Rusk County previously known as “London.” As of 2019, the event is the third deadliest disaster in the history of Texas, after the 1900 Galveston hurricane¬†and the 1947¬†Texas City disaster. (From Wikipedia)

Northeastern Texas was a sleepy rural area until oil was discovered in 1930 in what turned out to be the second largest oil field in the United States outside of Alaska. The area suddenly boomed, attracting thousands of new workers and their families.  The area became very wealthy from oil, and a large new school complex was built to educate the children.

A model of the New London, Texas, school before the explosion.

By 1937, despite the Depression, the London Consolidated School District was very rich due to the “black gold” and provided well for its students, including sports uniforms, band instruments and buses.¬† Even so, despite this wealth, the school district decided to use a cheaper method to heat the school.

“Early in 1937, the school board canceled their natural gas contract and had plumbers install a tap into Parade Gasoline Company’s residue gas line to save money. This practice‚ÄĒwhile not explicitly authorized by local oil companies‚ÄĒwas widespread in the area,” according to Wikipedia. “The natural gas extracted with the oil was considered a waste product and was flared off. As there was no value to the natural gas, the oil companies turned a blind eye. This “raw” or “wet” gas varied in quality from day to day, even from hour to hour.”

Natural gas is odorless and in 1937, natural gas was not treated with the “rotten egg” bad smell that is now added to make gas leaks noticeable. Gas built up throughout the school, and it’s thought that an electric sander ignited the gas, causing the massive explosion. The New London explosion prompted regulations to require a malodorant to be added to natural gas.¬† Carolyn Jones, a student survivor, led the crusade.

The gas explosion prompted the introduction of a malodorant in all natural gas. Natural gas doesn’t have a smell, which is why it can accumulate in dangerous amounts without warning.

Walter Cronkite, on his first major assignment, was one of the first to reach the scene of the explosion. He said of the experience: “I did nothing in my studies nor in my life to prepare me for a story of the magnitude of that New London tragedy, nor has any story since that awful day equaled it.”

Thousands from throughout the world expressed their condolences, including Adolf Hitler, who was the German Chancellor at the time. Hitler send a telegram, a copy of which is on display at the London Museum. Ironically, oil from the East Texas oil fields was essential in fueling the U.S. military’s fight against the Nazis.

Survivors and their families meet every year now after years of not talking about the event.¬† In October 2018, I met John Davidson, head docent at the New London Museum, whose sister Ardyth was killed in the explosion.¬† Davidson said his parents said little about how his sister died. John Davidson is quoted in some of the articles linked below. The New London Museum is a fascinating look at the town, the history as well as the explosion. It’s officially called the London Museum because that was the name of the town when the explosion occurred. The town rebuilt the school complex, perhaps like a phoenix rising from the fire. Be sure to check out the slide show of photographs, which includes additional photographs.

The New London, Texas, school complex and the memorial to those who died in the 1937 explosion.

 

New London Museum Website.

About the New London School Explosion.

A Look Back at the New London, Texas, Gas Explosion.

About the East Texas Oil Field.

‚ÄėPeople Didn’t Talk About This‚Äô: New London, Texas Remembers The Day A Generation Died

Click on any thumbnail to start the slideshow.

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Kansas City Ikebana 2019 Spring Exhibition

The Japanese Tea Room was open in conjunction with the Kansas City Ikebana group’s 2019 Spring Exhibition. The Loose Park Japanese Tea Room and Garden, dedicated in July 2006, was conceived as a cultural exchange between the Sister Cities of Kurashiki, Japan and Kansas City, Missouri.

Beautiful floral artworks were on display the first weekend of April in the 37th annual Kansas City Ikebana Spring Exhibition in the Garden Center in Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri. The 2019 theme was “Branches & Baskets” in which many of the displays used branches “bestowed on Kansas City by this winter’s storms.”

The Ikebana exhibits are not judged ~ they are an exhibit of the art for its own sake.

Kansas City Ikebana, begun in 1978, is a group of people who study, teach and create displays of Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging in Kansas City.

History of the Japanese Tea Room in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City Ikebana Group

A tea tasting was offered in conjunction with the Kansas City Ikebana 2019 Spring Exhibition at Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Please Stop Taking Pictures of This Sign While Driving

Sign on the highway heading into St., Louis, Missouri, from Illinois. You can see the St. Louis arch in the lower right hand corner.

 

PLEASE STOP TAKING
PICTURES OF THIS
SIGN WHILE DRIVING

A sign warns drivers on the highway heading into St. Louis, Missouri, from Illinois.
It’s Okay. I was a passenger.

You can see the St. Louis arch in the lower right hand corner.
#funny #StLouis #Sign

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Shark Attack

A shark chased a fish to the beach at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

I was standing at the edge of the surf on the beach at Cape Canaveral, Florida, looking for dolphins to photograph, when I heard thrashing sounds in the surf on the beach about ten feet away. It was a shark, about five-feet-long, attacking a fish. It was a ferocious struggle. Too close for comfort. Another reason why I never swim in the ocean!

I don’t know what kind of shark it was.¬† I’m guessing that it was a tiger shark, because of the shape of the head and because it was so aggressive. But I’m not a shark expert.

Here’s a list of sharks you might find off the coast of Cape Canaveral and nearby Cocoa Beach, Florida.¬† Seven Florida Shark Species.

A fishing site describes the seven shark species: Descriptions of Seven Florida Shark Species. 

About the Tiger Shark.

Click on this photo to see more details:

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