NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The High Museum of Art - Murderous Medea to Playhouse Windows

In addition to stopping at the Capitol in Georgia I took a look at the High Museum of Art thanks to that radio program about the MLK photography exhibit on my drive down.

Atlanta's modern buildings behind the High Museum of Art

Richard Meier was the architect, the design open and full of natural light.

The collection was great, though the museum is spread between two buildings and at first I had a hard time figuring out where to go. I'm usually good with maps but I had to ask for assistance from staff.

The marble sculpture collection was nice, I was especially drawn to the sculpture of the brooding Medea.  Not a nice story, the mythological lady has a mean streak.  She not only killed her children after her husband left her for another woman, but his new wife and father-in-law as well.  He should have known better than to leave her when she killed her own brother by dismemberment when her father chased them when they left town.

Medea Contemplating the Death of her Children

From ancient mythology to the futuristic present - gone are the good old days of carving chairs out of wood?  Who knows, it seems that 3D printing can tackle anything these days including furniture making.  The artist whose many chairs were on display combined computer techniques with craftmanship to assemble chair designs that were whimsical and interesting but I don't know how long I'd want to sit in one!

There was an exhibit featuring the work of Reverend Howard Finster.  An evangelical Baptist preacher most of his life in 1975 he heard a voice telling him to paint sacred art and he is now one of the most well known self-taught artisits.  The piece pictured below was the only one I found tolerable, I found most of the subjects on display to be emphasizing the darker side of religion and humanity and some even had what looked like dripping blood. It's always alarming to me what people will find inspiring who "hear the voice of God".  Especially with the recent 25th anniversary of the destruction of the Waco compound. Though at least one of the survivors still believes David Koresh heard the voice of God.

And let's not forget that until the September 11th attacks, the tragedy in Jonestown on November 18th, 1978 represented the largest number of American civilian casualties in a single non-natural event. More than 900 American members of a San Francisco-based religious group called the Peoples Temple died after drinking poison at the urging of  Reverend Jim Jones in a secluded South American jungle settlement. Some of the group no doubt were forced to do so, especially the children.

Let's move on from that disturbing image and on to the pleasing image of Portrait of Mrs. Morse and Two Children. Painted in 1824 by Samuel Morse who began as a portrait painter and then in his middle age contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.  Who says you can't be creative and excel in the sciences! The painting glowed and I could pratically hear the children giggling, such a delightful portrait from a man who also painted two U.S. Presidents.

window from the Avery Coonley Playhouse in Riverside, Illinois

I recognized the work of Frank Lloyd Wright immediately in the stained glass window that was one of over 30 in an independent kindergarten's clerestory.  Did you catch that word when I used it in my post about the Capitol of Georgia?  That's the line of high windows designed specifically to let in light.  Here's a link about those windows.

Nocturne Radio 1934, Walter Dorwin Teague
Walter Dorwin Teague sought to create heirlooms out of mass-produced manufactured objects lke the Nocturne Radio above which stands 4 feet tall and whose cobalt blue mirror you can see my reflection in. His first big client as an industrial designer was Eastman Kodak. How about this lovely Gift Kodak camera  designed by him from 1930? You can get one of your own on Ebay right now ranging from $200-500.  If I were a collector vintage cameras might be something I would be interested in, but I just collect photographs, not cameras.

As an architect he was involved in exhibition design on the Ford Building at Chicago's The Century of Progress 1933-34 fair, the Texaco exhibition hall at the 1935 Texas Centennial Exposition and the Ford pavilion for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park in San Diego. He also made a substantial impact on the 1939-40 New York World's Fair as one of seven members of the Fair's design board, and introduced the new National Cash Register 100 Model with a seven-story high cash register placed atop the NCR exhibition shown at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco.  To see an image of that you can click this link to postcards from the exhibition.

Of course the museum holds many different collections, these are just a few of the things I was most interested in.  I wonder what the children below who were visiting during spring break found to like?

Bad hair day selfie

Coming this summer to the High is an exhibit about Winnie the Pooh, which not only the kids would enjoy but  I'm sure Sherry and David would like that one if they are passing through.  Sadly, I will have to miss it because my summer plans include a trip home to Newfoundland in July!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Georgia State Capitol And A Look at Literacy Disparity

On my way to meet the gang in Georgia I stopped in Atlanta to see a few things that I missed on my visit there with Katrina in 2013.  On that trip we stopped at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site  , the Carlos Art Museum at Emory, and the Carter Presidential Library and Museum, click the links if you missed those posts.  That reminds me that my daughter Katrina and I haven't taken even a weekend getaway together in over a year now...guess I better get something on the schedule!

If you are not interested in the architecture information to follow, I urge you to skip ahead to the end where I have information about a cause I want to share with everybody please!

Ms. Freedom tops the 75 foot gilded dome of the Georgia State Capitol - she is 26 feet tall from her torch to her feet and weighs 1,600 pounds she carries a sword and a torch to commemorate the dead.  No one knew these specifications until she was removed in 2004 and sent to Canada for restoration!  At night her torch is lit, a retractable tube holding a light bulb is inside the hollow statue.

Statue of General John B. Gordon, first Governor to occupy the Capitol

The Capitol was completed in 1889, its exterior of Indiana limestone looking pretty good after more than one hundred years! Originally the dome was tin plated, the 43 ounces of gold necessary for the gilding was a donation from the  citizens from Dahlonega and Lumpkin County in 1958.  Unfortunately it was originally applied during the winter so it did not adhere properly and only lasted 19 years before having to be reapplied.  Now they reapply as needed when it starts to wear, and only ten other states have capitol domes covered with gold leaf: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Corinthian columns and the Georgia State Seal carved on the triangular pediment

When I visited most of the entrances were closed for security reasons and I had to circle the building twice to find an open door. 

The interior is stately but simple, with Georgia marble and oak wood used throughout.  It was among the earliest buildings to feature elevators and centralized steam heat, what luxury those early figures of government had to work in compared to their peers in other states!

As I mentioned, I couldn't see much inside the Capitol due to security tightening.  This was due to the fact that former Governor Zell Miller had died and I actually passed his casket which was under guard.  If you want to know more, here is a link about the Governor and his passing.

Clerestory windows to admit light in the atrium

I don't think there was anything I missed of interest though.  I didn't find any information online about murals or pieces of art.  I did find the rotunda interesting with its pilasters on the wall which give the appearance of columns.

Most of the art is truly in the public's eye here, on display outside competing with the blossoming trees.

One of the statues is of former President Carter, amazing ambassador for peace who is still with us at age 93.

Another statue puzzled me, and I had to read the plaque to find out its meaning.

The “Expelled Because of Their Color” monument sculpted by John Riddle is dedicated to the 33 original African-American Georgia legislators who were elected in the first election (1868) after the Civil war. Black citizens were now allowed to vote, but there was no law that allowed black representatives to hold office. The 33 black men who were elected to the General Assembly were expelled from office. Symbolizing the whole struggle for African Americans in Georgia to vote, the first tier depicts a sailing ship full of slaves arriving in Georgia. The second tier shows black soldiers who served in the American Revolution. On the next level antebellum columns represent southern plantation life. A pregnant woman next to a ballet box symbolizes future generations on the top level.

I am always appalled and then awed by the struggle that black people have had to undergo in this country.  Unfortunately their struggle still continues.  Recently I was listening to NPR and heard about something that inspired me.  Alvin Irby founded Barbershop Books which provides books to 100 barbershops in black neighborhoods across the country.  The goal is to help black boys ages 4-8 identify as readers, something that is desperately needed especially in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin posted the second largest gap across the whole nation on the national standardized test for fourth grade reading for the difference between white students and black students. Only Washington DC scored worse for disparity between the reading competency of black and white students.

I donated $50 to their cause, and I urge you to go to this link  for Barbershop Books and donate also! If you are interested in helping girls grow up strong, I always recommend helping out the Girl Scouts in any way you can.  I know in Milwaukee they have an Urban department which specifically works to get girls from impoverished neighborhoods in Girl Scouts so they can become confident young women someday and even has staff leaders to lead the troops since these neighborhoods seldom have the ability to have parent-led troops.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Amicalola Falls and Bear Creek Trail - The Gang Goes to Georgia

So while I drove down to Georgia and had my adventures at The Hermitage and Foster Falls, Wayne and his buddies were making their way south with campers and ATV's in tow.

Tom and Roxy

He even brought along a friend for me! Not that he didn't enjoy hanging out with her, I almost fell down the hill when he started racing Vicky to the top - I don't remember the last time I saw him move so fast without wheels!

Vicky and Wayne

One of our neighbors had a friend in Ellijay so we got a personal tour of some of the local trails, including Bear Creek Trail.

It turns out Vicky likes to walk, but she isn't used to creek crossings.  Don't worry, I'll get her trained her up - when the weather warms up in Wisconsin she wants to start checking out the Ice Age Trail.

The Bear Creek Trail can be as long or short as you like, I would have loved to go further but the gang's destination was the Gennett Poplar, the second largest living tree in Georgia.

Here's a shot with Wayne from a little farther away to give a bit of perspective.  I'm not used to seeing true old growth trees, it's hard to imagine this forest once full of them.

Out to the Poplar and back is two miles round trip, after that Vicky and I were just getting warmed up so we split off from the guys and hopped in my car for another hiking adventure.

We drove to Amicalola Falls State Park which is home to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

I'm sure things are greener there now, but even so the thru hikers for the Appalachian Trail were starting out with their large packs.  I can't imagine what the weather is like on the top of the mountains overnight in March...I'll stick to the valleys.

A fair bit of spring wildflowers were showing, including the largest, healthiest Toadstool Trillium that I've ever seen. Vicky got a wildflower lesson that day, and the benefit to the bare trees was being able to see the waterfall the whole way from the Visitor Center.  From the Visitor Center to the staircase I'd say it was about 3/4 mile on a slight to moderate incline.

Plunging 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the South and to get to the bridge crossing the falls there is a climb of 175 stairs from the Reflection Pool parking area. 

We are Wisconsin gals, so of course we got winded easily.  We stopped often to let the oxygen make its way to our lungs and trembling legs, but that just gave us more time to look for wildflowers!

We considered going on another 250 stairs to the top, but in my experience the top of the falls is never as much fun to look at.  At the bridge we noticed the path was made from recycled tires which made it springy and soft, a welcome treat after all those stairs!

I failed to stop in the visitor center and ask about the truck wedged between the trees, but some internet searching reveals that legend claims moonshiners were racing to get away from the "Revenuers" and the truck slipped 200 feet down the steep incline to rest against a stand of Poplar trees. There was no way to pull the truck from its position, so there it has remained for well over a half-century. 

The section of trail past the falls leads .3 mile to a parking area where those who don't want to walk stairs can park and enjoy the views.

From there we opted to take the Spring Trail to the Mountain Laurel Trail to the Creek Trail to make our way back down to the car.  This zigzag descent was much easier on our knees than those stairs would have been, and we had it all to ourselves though we moved along fairly quickly as the wind was picking up  and the temperature was dropping. Our total hike was about a mile to the falls (that's including all those stairs!) and a little under 2 miles back down.

recycled tire trail was so comfy!

Combined with our earlier hike that day we hiked almost 5 miles, so I'm looking forward to doing more hiking with Vicky...if it will ever stop snowing here...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Meanwhile Back in Wisconsin

We've had a few "nice" days here in Wisconsin since we've returned from Tennessee and Georgia.

turkeys in Lake Geneva graveyard

It's all about perspective, "nice" in April in Wisconsin means the sun came out and maybe it stayed above freezing for a few days.

mural in Waukesha

The wind has kicked back up though, making even those few days it got closer to 50F frigid if you were out in the open.

While in Milwaukee for work I finally stumbled upon the Colectivo Coffee that is located inside an old pump station built of Cream City brick in 1888.

I wish I could say I resisted the temptation to get a goodie, but all that cold weather tricks you into thinking you need calories to put on fat.

175 feet of Victorian Gothic architecture - North Point Tower

Just up the hill from Colectivo I finally passed North Point Tower in Milwaukee on a day that the sky was blue! It was part of the first water works that began pumping in 1874 and it remained in service until 1963.  Like Colectivo it also features some Cream City brick, but on the inside.  The exterior is made from Wauwatosa cut limestone.

Sheboygan harbor

The sun came out to play in Sheboygan one day too, but it was 30 degrees colder the next morning.  Welcome to Wisconsin!

Giraffes on the road! Katrina always gets sent my giraffe photos

There has been lots of snow here still, I drove through the beginnings of a blizzard up near Wausau last week...

...and yesterday another winter storm blew through the state.  I had one group of daffodils valiantly greet the spring only to get clobbered with sleet and then buried by about 6 inches of snow.  That's okay though, because Green Bay and other points in Wisconsin got hit with another blizzard and up to 2 feet of snow so we feel fortunate in comparison.

Dr. Goga's mural plays with color deficiency test design in Wittenberg

I'm supposed to be on my way north to the Upper Peninsula...but as you might imagine with 2 feet of snow piled on top of ice to worry about I just rescheduled and stayed home instead.  I still have to post about Georgia, so warmer pictures yet to come this week.

Linking up to Monday Mural

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Chattanooga - A Complicated Past

This past trip down through Tennessee I stopped in Chattanooga for the first time.

Chattanooga’s first sky scraper, the James Building 1906, Sullivanesque style

Ruby Falls and the Chattanooga Choo Choo are the big attractions here, but I came for some Starbucks wi-fi and to see the downtown architecture.  On my way I drove along the Tennessee River, where Cherokee Chief John Ross started a trading post, warehouse, and ferry back in 1815.  Ross's Landing is now a public park along the river just below the Tennessee Aquarium, I wish I had known so I could have visited the site!

The area would remain known as Ross's Landing until after 1838, when the Indian Removal Act was executed, thanks to President Andrew Jackson.  The area around Chattanooga was a staging point during Indian Removal; more than 16,000 Cherokees started their long journey to Oklahoma from this part of the state.

Reflection of 1926 Georgian style Read House Hotel, designed by Chicago architects Holabird and Roche

Chief John Ross was only 1/8 Cherokee by blood, but in the Cherokee Nation of old that did not matter, what mattered was that you belonged and you were part of the people if they said you were.  Before opening that trading post on the river he fought in the War of 1812 and in the Creek Indian War along with General Andrew Jackson and 1000 other Cherokee.  The Cherokee fought in both wars without pay and still were not considered true Americans.  Oh, what irony.

Volunteer Life Building, 1917

He was noticed for his ability to negotiate and made his way up the ranks to become Assistant Chief of the Eastern Cherokee over the next few years.  He participated in the drafting of the Cherokee Constitution in 1827 which was modeled after the U.S. Constitution, including a Senate and a House of Representatives. John Ross was elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1828, a position he would hold until his death in 1866.

Andrew Jackson above doorway of Volunteer State Life Building
The story is an old one, in 1828 gold was discovered nearby in Georgia and the government wanted the Cherokee and other nearby tribes gone so they could have the rich land to themselves.   Chief John Ross and the majority of the Cherokee people remained adamantly opposed to removal.  A separate party believed removal was inevitable and started negotiations without approval from the majority. In the end, 500 of the Cherokee (out of thousands) supported a treaty to cede the Cherokee lands in exchange for $5,700,000 and new lands in Indian Territory in what we know as Oklahoma. 
From Legends of America websiteChief Ross and the Cherokee National Council maintained that the document was a fraud and presented a petition with more than 15,000 Cherokee signatures to congress in the spring of 1838. Other white settlers also were outraged by the questionable legality of the treaty. On April 23, 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson appealed to Jackson’s successor, President Martin Van Buren, urging him not to inflict “so vast an outrage upon the Cherokee Nation." But it was not to be.

Read House behind sculpture under construction

 Along the 2,200 mile journey, road conditions, illness, cold, and exhaustion took thousands of lives, including Chief John Ross’ wife Quatie. Though the federal government officially stated some 424 deaths, an American doctor traveling with one the party estimated that 2,000 people died in the camps and another 2,000 along the trail. Other estimates have been stated that conclude that almost 8,000 of the Cherokee died during the Indian Removal.

Hamilton County Courthouse

I didn't mean to turn this post into a history lesson, but sometimes one little fact leads you somewhere you didn't intend to go.  As for the architecture I saw, it turns out much of it was probably designed by Rueben Harrison Hunt, Chattanooga's version of Louis Sullivan.  He built the above Hamilton County Courthouse, a Neo-Classical design of Indiana Bedford limestone that sits solidly on a hill.

He also designed the Maclellan Building, now a luxury apartment building as so many of the old ones in Chicago have now also become.  It was built in 1924 in the Beaux Arts style.

Here I will add that information on all the buildings in Chattanooga was hard to discover on the internet.  Most of them weren't even on Wikipedia, but I did find a link to this architectural walking tour - almost an exact replica of the walk that I aimlessly discovered just letting my eyes take me along.  Unfortunately it did not give much beyond the barest of details. Above is the Dome Building which dates back to 1892 and its dome roof is made of sheet copper weighing about 1,300 pounds and was gilded in gold.  I was so busy admiring it that I missed the Carnegie Library across the street!

The story behind the Tudor Gothic church tower of the First Methodist Episcopal Church was more easily located.  It was constructed on this lot in 1927 by R H. Hunt - Stone for the church was quarried on the Joshua Beck farm, loaded on barges, was floated down the river and carried by ox cart to the location.   The church was demolished when they merged with another church but the steeple was left intact.

Designed by R. H. Hunt the Tivoli theater was said to be an exact replica, but smaller, of the Tivoli
in Chicago.  Noticing a theme here?  No wonder I felt so at home walking around Chattanooga, much of the architecture is Chicago influenced. I also passed families on their way to see Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, the children chattering excitedly about the outing.

Besides families on their way to the theater I also saw quite a few weekend afternoon joggers and folks walking their dogs.  For a Saturday this area of town actually seemed quite empty, something must have been going on elsewhere that kept residents away or perhaps everyone left town for Spring Break.

Strangely empty streets

Built in 1971 the "Gold Building" was erected for Blue Cross Blue Shield but now is home to the Westin Hotel. It features live music on an open-air patio, mountain views, an atrium and a sky bar.  It turns out to be the only building I feel like I should have walked inside to poke around, but by that point I had been walking well over an hour and was ready to head back to the campground at Foster Falls.

Westin Hotel's gold exterior

I should have done a little research and not missed Ross's Landing, and I'm sure there is more I missed as well. If I drive past again I'll check it out and perhaps the famed Ruby Falls and Chattanooga Choo Choo as well. Keep your eyes open when you are in a new town, you never know what you might be missing!