Archive for January 2008
One of the problems of investigation, is what is under our “noses”. I, having worked for a Texas-based power plant builder EBASCO, on the archaeological research of Fort Drum prior to the since relocation from Camp Hale, CO of Senator Bob Dole’s paraded US Army 10th Mountain Division, to NY and all the changes, hoped to find more about that. EBASCO was offered apparently free rent in the WTC so to move from 40 Rector Place by then Mayor Koch. I worked in archaeology, across the street from it’s former address, and I’ve read in a tearful posting of a former employee, one of its secretaries, who had moved to the 79th floor, her thankful appreciation of a job (floors 79-94?) A few years later it had moved to New Jersey, perhaps due to “power plant” market forces.
Having worked on the archaeology of Mead Hall at Drew University where the former NJ Governor Kean the now former university president who chaired the 9/11 commission, a university where roses in the US were first cultivated, I half expected a cover-up of people who want to walk away smelling like one. Well I’m glad something is happening, on behalf of its victims, truths still owed, in my opinion.
The ill-advised Emergency Center in Bldg. 7 had a remarkable archaeology, having a 18th c. horse harness recovered from the end of the former dock in its construction, before the Landmarks Commission had an archaeologist. I was denied access with one during its construction to see a wooden ship said to be in it. Later, I found one on the other side of the island, at 175 Water Street.
There’s an interesting young “Van the Man” music video with “Them” in the leftside.
From the borough of Edgar Allen Poe, whose cottage was saved by the Shakespeare Society of NY (source: Willa Cather)
Photo: “Taken in Edinburgh, Scotland, from Edinburgh Castle, looking out over the city towards the Firth of forth. Adele McLennan” (Travel Shots at canada.com) They fire a cannon there every day. It’s one of the few, if not the only one, in Europe never captured or taken over. Must be the lousy plumbing! Actually it is on a hill, like many. New York Native American “castles” (Castle Hill in the Bronx, NY, where singer/actor Jennifer Lopez is from, about to have twins her dad reports, was seen and recorded as a “castle hill” by explorer Adrian Block. Block Island, Rhode Island is named after him, off Montauk Point, NY, a ferry there too from Montauk) in Upstate New York were on a peninsula with water on three sides. Or they were like the one at Fort Drum, NY, a “palisade village” surrounded by a wall of upright logs. They, however, were moved when the distance to cultivated fields became too long, and soils became depleted from agriculture, at least that’s what the exhibit in Canada stated.
Thomas Scott (1774-1823), the younger brother of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832, known also for “Manners, Customs, and History of the Highlanders of Scotland” of whom Lowland Scots knew little about, the clan MacGregors figures prominently in the film “Rob Roy” starring Liam Neeson) was a friend of the Mohawk on the St. Lawrence River, where I’ve also done archaeological survey. He spent some time as an army officer in Canada and wrote two letters to Walter Scott one about ” A Mohawk Chief” and that he “…preferred the manners of the native Indians to the insipid conversation of our own officers…” – 15 July 1815 and another letter to Walter Scott (no date) about Captain Norton, “A literary Red Indian” (it’s titled) “the chief of the Five Nations”:
I had the pleasure to be his intimate acquaintance, and he is a man who makes you almost wish to be an Indian chief. What do you think of a man speaking the language of almost twelve Indian nations, English, French, German and Spanish, all well, being in the possession of all modern literature — having read with delight your Lady of the Lake, translated the same, together with the Scriptures, into Mohawk — having written a history of the five nations, and a journal of his own travels, now in London, ready for publication, and being at the same time an Indian chief, living as they do and following all their fashions. For, brother, you ask doth he paint himself, scalp, etc. etc.? I answer yea, he doth; and with the most polished manner of civilized life, he would not disdain to partake of the blood of his enemy at the banquet of sacrifice. Yet I admire and love the man, and would cheerfully give fifty guineas that you would see him for one half-hour. He is afraid that the Edinburgh Review will be hard on his book, I promised to write to you to have it reviewed in the Quarterly. It surely is a strange circumstance that an Indian Chief should produce a literary child… (p. 122)
From, A Scottish Postbag: Eight Centuries of Scottish Letters, edited by George Bruce and Paul H. Scott, (and © 1986) published in association with the Scottish Post Office Board and the Saltire Society, by W & R Chambers Ltd., Edinburgh. Printed by Martin’s of Berwick.
See: Six Nations “Located on the Grand River, the Six Nations Reserve is the largest First Nations community in Canada.” and further about Captain Norton in that site’s: St.Paul’s, Her Majesty’s Chapel of the Mohawks
In the New York State Bear Mountain Park, I helped record the remains of two centerboard Hudson River cargo carriers for the SHPO with Grossman & Associates. The frames were part wood and part iron, without nuts. The pieces appear joined with a short iron rod through the frame sections and then planked on the outside. The centerboard box, to lower and raise the centerboard in shallow or deep water and counteract the effect on the large sail tipping the hull and to steer, was also made with iron rods through wood without end attachments. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with this type of ship construction perhaps made in the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, NY. They held records in sailing from NYC to West Point. These, seen abandoned in the background of a photo of a Henry Hudson “Halve Moon” replica sailing by Bear Mountain in 1939 (? Worlds Fair in NYC? 330 year anniversary, the 400th next year) were perhaps similar to the circa Civil War constructions used in transporting the “green sand” for iron moulding mined nearby.
How come the first solar powered boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean arrived last May (2007) and no one heard about it? How come a solar boat the “Loon” traversed the New York State canal system from Oswego to New York’s capital, Albany and we didn’t hear about it? I remember the first solar boat to circumnavigate Long Island, NY just a year or so ago electric motors from a former torpedo company I think. Maybe President Bush should have. John Ericsson Society, New York, Newsletter, Volume 17 No. 1, Summer 2007. Gus Alm, a once Bronx resident and one of the too few Merchant Mariner Congressional Medal of Honor recipients would have liked to have heard about it!
Listening to this interesting composer’s “Quiet Places” online, who’s now back in his native Norway (I remember the interesting “Norwegian Hall” in St. James, NY I once attended) I seem to recall another composition I once heard, “Pea Point” that I think I might have been to, in Maine, a guy there in a US Army “jungle hammock” with tarp and attached screen netting. “Pea Point” we heard in an “experimental” residential college of the “Visual and Performing Arts” – College B in Buffalo, NY (who will be the “Berkeley of the East”?) There were a couple of other alphabet colleges within the university, a Vico College, a Pre-med College, a Math College, a Women’s Studies, “B” also had off-campus attachments, Oakstone Farm for philosophy, the A.C.T. for performance, and was to have been centered in new residential/education facilities designed or assisted by the architecture, also late in arriving. The idea, perhaps, was to put “like-minded” students together. I transferred in from the separate adult Millard Fillmore College night school into the day school after a semester.
One of the classes, a “Seminar in the Arts” was held in one of the lounges of then newly opening dorms and law school, one dorm designed by the architectural firms I.M. Pei, another by Davis-Brody both known in NYC. A different artist would come to the lounge every week from the greater Buffalo, NY area and discuss their work. It was quite an interesting class. We had to read for example an essay written by Leslie Fiedler on the Altamont, California charity concert on the West Coast, produced by the “The Rolling Stones” shown in the documentary “Gimme Shelter”. I was not at it, though attended the “Woodstock Music and Arts Fair” in 1969 and had visited a number of times, Woodstock, NY the year before as a summer-camp dishwasher at Timber Lake Camp near Phoenicia, NY when I was sixteen for food and entertainment. I had been hired when a BSA Explorer friend, Louie Lieb, who worked there, suggested it.
Some of the ambient music here and there remind me of the Maine coast, visiting as it were, nearby Grand Manan Island, in the Bay of Fundy, where relatives live, a short way from Campobello Island, but an over two hour ferry ride from Blacks Harbour, historically a closer trip to Eastport, Maine. My cousin was one of the last lighthouse keepers and “right whales” there have a nursery and swim up and down the coast to Florida. DNA studies were done by Guelph University, a crossbow and string would retrieve a small piece of skin to study. Down at “The Whistle” where one can see the Fourth of July fireworks over the US, where the Eddystone Point is, the Grand Manan Channel is deep, and I stood alone not two feet from two whales parked at the shore! Nearby on Indian Beach, I once spread dulse to dry on the large cobbles, having picked the red seaweed with relatives back in 1967 at a lunar low tide, and the Sun, after 29 days of fog and rain, did shine on the larger than ostrich egg size cobbles and dried the edible seaweed now also harvested in the US, some of this music reminds me of the Quoddy tides. Willa Cather once lived nearby in Whale Cove in the only house she ever owned a cottage there near “the hole in the wall”. “O Pioneers! ” has it’s “Norway Creek” Grand Manan its dangerous tides and fogs and people down the island in Seal Cove that sound like ‘downeasters” from the States. Seal Cove was settled by a Dr. Faxon, who built the island’s first square-rigger but left over the questions of loyalty over the War of 1812 returning to Maine I think which didn’t become a state until 1820.
* Maine Gov. John Fairfield (1797-1847) declares war on England, resulting in the bloodless Aroostook War, the result of an ongoing dispute about the northeastern boundary of between Maine and New Brunswick. – Maine Memory Network (mainememory.net Maine’s online museum)
A lot of potatoes come from Aroostook. The big highway I-95 ends at the US/Canada border, across the border is Woodstock, New Brunswick.
On WNYC-TV I saw a travel show about Bangor, Maine, home of the famous American horror author Stephen King. I haven’t been through there since 1988 when I think he found he had an unwanted guest secreted in his house! They said, Bangor, on the Penobscot River was once the busiest port on the East Coast of the US. Today, it has an international airport.
Sometimes I got to be in the middle of great pitched word battles between forces beyond my control, purposefully (?) and that involves what many would, given the choice, maybe walk away from. For example, the environmental health issues that arise alongside large projects that require, by law an archaeological assessment and if needed testing and data recovery, i.e., EPA: Marathon Battery Superfund site in Cold Spring, NY, once also home to the large 19th c. West Point Foundry, across the river from “The Point”; PCB Upper Hudson River cleanup, that for most is just starting, for me start back in the early 1980s on surveys; a few in New Jersey, one on the Delaware River, others in the Hackensack Meadowlands, or next door to some of its most vocal critics, in Neptune, NJ; others involving burials of old New York, it’s first Almshouse (or “poorhouse”) or in Ohio the buried descendants of the Shakers of Watervliet, in New York, today, a famous arms research arsenal like perhaps another I was on the survey of when non-weapon anthrax was found in the US mails, at Picatinney Arsenal in NJ and the West Point Academy in NY; being inspected then and after to do archaeology there and later at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, overseen by armed service people there and more recently at Quantico, Virginia, as examples.
Recently I wrote I was hired to do some survey in the Green Mountain National Forest alongside a windfarm there on federal property, for a proposed expansion of the windmills generating electricity for Vermont’s Sleepy Hollow Substation, the road nearby. That required carrying screens, shovels and other equipment up on the planned ridges, in what turned out to be light snow, and digging .5m x .5m x 1m deep square shovel-tests and screening all the materials for potential artifacts within GPS found boundaries of former surveys where the impacts of construction are or will be. We three crew had an interesting time there a short distance, enough to pop your ears anyway, from Bennington, Vermont, where snowmobile tours are offered in the winter. Today, most newspapers carry “letters” for a short time and I thought this letter, a “stonecrop” (quarry flower) that I would share to show sometimes this field I work in is not always what it seems:
Not feeling the shame
Editor of the Reformer:
I feel the need to defend myself, my position and to educate your readers, especially the author of the Oct. 10 letter, “Backyard views don’t rival climate change.” That author, when he wrote “Shame on the letter writer, only thinking of her backyard views,” apparently believes my only reason for opposing Deerfield Wind’s proposed energy facility project in Searsburg and Readsboro is that my ridgeline view will be ruined. Untrue. For the record, I live within one mile of this proposed project. I would hear the wind turbines from my home but probably not see them. There are many negative aspects of this particular proposed project. Allow me to list some of them here, condensed for space constraints:
1. This proposed project would destroy 80 acres of pristine ridgeline on National Forest Service land. This would set a detrimental precedent for this state and the nation.
2. The U.S. Forest Service’s 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Green Mountain National Forest identifies 37 sites, with a total of 19,700 acres, as viable and suitable locations for wind power development. This proposed site in Searsburg and Readsboro is one of these sites that the Forest Service has classified as “Diverse Forest Use.”
3. Seventeen 410-foot-tall turbines are proposed. They would be 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The existing Searsburg turbines are just under 200 feet tall.
4. The turbines will have red flashing lights per FAA regulations which will make our clear Vermont night skies a thing of the past.
5. Not enough energy will be produced (a potential maximum of only 1.5 percent of Vermont’s annual load) to warrant the sacrifice of our National Forest lands.
6. The turbines are so tall that migrating birds and bats will be susceptible to colliding with the rotating blades and killed.
7. The beech stand most used by bears in this state (almost 500 trees) will be destroyed.
8. More than 50 homes are located within one mile of this proposed site.
9. Numerous documented medical studies have shown many adverse health effects of wind power for those living closest to turbines from the noise and shadows of the blades. These include insomnia, irritability, depression and many other conditions.
10. Wind energy is not entirely “clean” energy. Fossil fuels are still required to power the turbines.
11. There are no guarantees that any energy produced will be available to local residents or even other Vermonters. It will be sold to the grid.
12. This proposed site, on National Forest land remember, will be closed to the public, denying all of us our rights to snowmobile, hike, or hunt on that land.
13. When the turbines are finally decommissioned, the area will never return to pre-existing conditions. Tons of concrete and rebar will be left in the ground forever.
14. And, yes, current pristine ridgeline views for miles around will be ruined. These proposed turbines with red flashing lights are so massive that they will be a blight on the land.
In my original letter of Oct. 12, I mentioned that these proposed turbines would be visible from many towns merely to point out that this project will not only affect Searsburg and Readsboro. If turbines are allowed to be built on National Forest land, it will start a freight train of ridgeline industrialization that we will not be able to stop. If the author of “Backyard View” had read my entire letter, he would have read my statement “Alternate energy sources are needed and should be developed, but a wooded ridgeline in a National Forest is definitely not the right place for a wind energy project.” As for the giant lit turbines, if the author of “Backyard View,” after reading all these negatives and educating himself about wind energy, would still “welcome the day they sit in my fields,” then good for him. I think he, and others who feel the same way, should contact wind farm developers and offer their own private land as future sites. That would save me and everyone else fighting this proposed Searsburg/Readsboro project (and there are many of us) a lot of time and money.
Searsburg, Oct. 24
It appeared in Brattleboro Reformer in the 14th of the original states of the United States of America.
I find it an interesting connection between Captain Hulbert, of Bridgehampton, NY, his father a cobbler there next to the Sag Harbor Turnpike, that he who served with the Green Mountain Boys, and it is written that he is said to have submitted a flag for the design of the US Flag, a 19th century facsimile of which purports to represent it in the Suffolk County Museum in Riverhead, Long Island, NY. That “Hulbert Flag” was studied by the Smithsonian Institution textile experts and said to have been made at the earliest, on a 19th century machine loom, casting doubt on the stripes and 13 stars in the shape of the “Seal of Solomon” or what is today called the “Star of David”. However, it’s known he did submit one and the Green Mountain Boys, had one too, a flag that is, of the stars in a constellation of sorts, the actual placement in the sky one would have to research, perhaps over the mountains near Bennington, Vermont?
One of them, Ethan Allen was reportedly tortured by a British Major Cunningham in the prison once next to City Hall Park, in New York City, which the 1903 NY Times reported as “blacker than any Black hole of Calcutta” (which in itself is also controversial) and that the Major had a predilection for that infamous practice as did many of the armies of the world, less we hope today by agreement, an agreement thought needless by the current administration, it’s been reported. Back in 1999, when then Mayor Giuliani came out to visit the “almshouse” burials I was working on that summer, I would sometimes wonder about the remains so close to that infamous prison setting, and wonder if enough forensics were being brought to bear to determine the “facts” temporary though employed, I had researched the “finding” of it, next to Horace Greeley’s statue, for a number of years with a number of archaeologists as impacts permitted examination often not in the right location. One would hope no “unknown” Vermont American Revolutionary War soldier is buried in City Hall Park under New Hampshire’s Horace Greeley.