Thursday, June 25, 2020

Wallowing Away at Wallum Lake and Other Places

It has been along time since I posted anything to this blog. With many social media outlet methods, the blog seems as old as DOS operating system. The COVUD virus has taken over our lives keeping us home, with all of the Grand Tours I generally participate in being postponed. One of those tours includes equestrian statues, which given the recent protests, has many of them being torn down by protesters.

Given that, rather than wait for these tours to begin I have created my own self directed tour of chasing down places on the National Register of Historic Places and following one of the Tours in one of the American Guide Series book. This Tour was Tour 9 in Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State.

"The American Guide Series was a group of books and pamphlets published in 1937–41 under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), a Depression-era works program in the United States. The American Guide Series books were compiled by the FWP, but printed by individual states, and contained detailed histories of each of the then 48 states of the Union with descriptions of every major city and town. In total, the project employed over 6,000 writers. The format was uniform, comprising essays on the state's history and culture, descriptions of its major cities, automobile tours of important attractions, and a portfolio of photographs" (Wikipedia)

This tour enables me to be in Grand Tour mode and learn some history along the way. For my mode of transportation I use my 2015 Can-Am Spyder RT-S.

Left my house right around 10:30 and hit the first stop at Shrine of The Little Flower. From the AGS book>

NASONVILLE (alt. 280, Burrillville Town), 3.2 m., manufactures worsted goods. Near the center of the village this route coincides for a few rods with the Douglas Pike, on which, 0.3 m. north of the center, is the Shrine of The Little Flower, where hundreds of Roman Catholics attend special services during the summer.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Tour 9 p441
I was expecting one shrine and found many statues. I asked a very timid person, who kept backing up as I talked to her, probably because of COVID paranoia. She indicated the whole place is the shrine.

Thérèse felt an early call to religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15[6], she became a nun. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent her last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith (a time when she is said to have felt Jesus was absent and when she even felt tormented by doubts about the existence of God), Thérèse died at the age of 24, from tuberculosis. (Wikipedia)

Stopped at the Nasonville Mill thinking it might have been one of the many mills on the tour (it wasn't).

The village of Nasonville was founded in 1825 by Leonard Nason who purchased the land on both sides of the river. Previous to that time, it was considered a wilderness. Mr. Nason immediately built a dam, cleared the land, dug a trench and mill race, erected a dwelling house, and put up a small mill for the manufacture of axes and hoes. In the spring of 1826, he had his machinery operating and built houses for his workers.

By 1850, 1000 chopping axes and hoes a day were manufactured there. Mr. Nason purchased tracts of land to expand his acreage and holdings from various landholders. After several changes in ownership, losses by fire, and with additional buildings constructed, Joshua Perkins leased the property in 1886 and started manufacturing fancy cashmeres and woolens. Perkins built a large general store in the village, which supplied not only his workers but other inhabitants in the immediate vicinity. Later, Austin T. Levy bought out Mr. Perkins and continued manufacturing woolens until 1959 when the mill was sold to a plastics manufacturer. LINK

Continuing on Route 7 found myself at the Western Hotel. I have passed this place many times and always said I need to stop to take a picture. From stage coach stop to a is a pizza joint, specializing in serving pizza by the slice. Actually they have a pretty extensive menu.
The Western Hotel (open), corner of State 102 and the Douglas Pike, is along frame building set against a side hill. This 30-room building with a long front two-story veranda, still in use as a tavern, was formerly an important stopping place for the Providence-Worcester stage.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1937 Tour 9 p441


Also located here is the Nasonville Arch Bridge built in 1907 and crosses the Branch River.

Headed down Victory Highway thru Oakdale (a Historic District) into Glendale to a demolished mill site. The site isowed by Metech Recycling, an electronics recycling business. I wonder what is just below the top soil. This was a stop on the Tour 9.

In GLENDALE (alt. 300, Burrillville Town), 4.2 m., is a factory for the making of woolen cloth for overcoats. Most of the village houses are to the right of the highway.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p441


Making a UTurn headed up Central St into Harrisville proper. There are many AGS stops in Harrisville before heading out of the village. The most prominent building is the Harrisville Mill No 4

At the Tinkham Mill site there was a saw and gristmill in 1800, a spindle shop, then a cotton mill in 1832. Five buildings were here by 1893 for the manufacture of fancy worsted cloth. Mr. Tinkham bought out Mr. Farwell in 1884, and continued on for many years. William Tinkham owned the mill complex shown above and needed a better way to get supplies to his mills and the finished product shipped out. He was prime mover with mill owner A. L. Sayles of Pascoag in bringing the railroad to Burrillville. William Tinkham's son Ernest leased the mill complex to Austin T. Levy in 1916 after his father’s death. In December 1919, all four mills, along with 61 tenements, were purchased by the Stillwater Company. The tradition of first quality worsted cloth continued until the mills closed and moved south in the 1950s. LINK

The country around Harrisville is sometimes called 'the plains' because it is more level than most sections of the township. The village itself was once called Rhodesville for the Rhodes family, important merchants of more than a century ago. At present the village manufactures woolen goods. The Harrisville Mill of the Stillwater Worsted Company faces State 102 (L), a few rods east of the village center, and through its large plate-glass windows some of the weaving operations can be seen. The mill was put in operation about 1857, utilizing water-power from a pond on the opposite side (R) of the highway. The treasurer of the company, Mr. Austin T. Levy, is much interested in dramatics, and a company he sponsors has staged, under the direction of a professional coach and dramatic writer, many successful performances. The shows are staged in the Harrisville Assembly Hall, an attractive very broad gabled brick building presented to the town by Mr. Levy.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p442


View down Main Street in Harrisville. Pictured is the Loom and Shuttle Inn (yellow building with green trim on left) and Stillwater House  (yellow building on right) from the Guide

Just south of the Rhodes House is the Loom and Shuttle Inn (open), built about 1840, a large two-and-a-half-story frame building erected by Benjamin and David Mowry. It was for a time operated under the name of the Central Hotel.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.442

Across Main St. from the inn is the Stillwater House (private), a community center run by the Stillwater Worsted Company. This large frame house was built by Smith Wood about 1840, and was later used for a time as a tavern.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.443


Right in Harrisville center is Joseph O. Clark Homestead and Aunt Hettie Harris House. These are located right across the street from the Burrillville Town Offices. Burrillville is made up of little villages, which include Bridgeton, Glendale, Harrisville, Mapleville, Nasonville, Oakland, Pascoag and Wallum Lake.

On Main Street a little north of the village center is the Joseph O. Clark Homestead (private), a two-and-one-half-story white frame building, with four Doric pillars in front, and many outbuildings to the rear (about 1843). There is an old stone oven in the kitchen.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.443

On Main Street in the village center is the Aunt Hettie Harris House (private), a story-and-a-half high gable-roof building erected before 1800. William Rhodes conducted a store here as late as 1818.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p442

Not a stop for Guide purposes, however I have penchant for stopping at cemeteries,. They make for neat photos.

This hot rod, the building and the fact that it is a pizza place, just spoke to me as Americana. Had to stop, walk out in traffic, stand there until the traffic cleared to get the captures I wanted. Spots to capture what you want in photo are not always convenient.

The inconvenient spot

The capture I wanted

The hot rod is sort of lost so I moved to another spot.

George's was right near the Site of the Lincoln Mill now gone but left it marks on the ground.

The Lincoln and Anchor Mills complexes were on North Main Street on the Pascoag River. There was a sawmill here as early as 1790, a cotton spinning mill in 1807, and then a mill for making snuff. Woolen and worsted goods were manufactured until closed in the 1960s.

Back out on Rt100 in Pascoag headed for the site of the Granite Mill, an AGS spot. Today a CVS sits on the site. all that remains is the dam and water chase.

On the outskirts of Harrisville, 2.6 m. (R), is the old Granite Mill. Daniel Sayles and his sons began on this site, about 1800, a custom-carding and cloth draping business. Fancy cassimeres were made after 1838. The present mill was erected in 1865 by Albert Sayles, grandson of Daniel, for the production of heavy cassimeres. It was bought in 1932 by the Service Dyeing and Winding Company.

Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.443


A jog of onto Reservoir Road to capture the Pascoag Reservoir. The shore line is chock full of residences to viewing opportunities of the reservoir from the road are limited.

Pascoag Reservoir, south of the center, and sometimes called Echo Lake, is about 2 1/2 miles long (fishing; cottages and boats to hire; motor boat racing in summer). On the east side of this reservoir, in the home of Welcome Sayles, was held one of the first schools in town (about 1806).
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.443


Continuing up RI 100 (Church St) making stops at the Pascoag Public Library and Pascoag Community Baptist Church which was written as the Free Baptist Church in the Guide. The doors for both the church and library I found stunning.

This route follows Main St. part way through Pascoag, then bears right on Church St., past the Pascoag Public Library (R), a veritable doll's house, and the Free Baptist Church (R), a typical New England frame church, with four plain pillars in front and a tall, too-heavy spire (1839). This Free Baptist Society, the first in the State, was organized by Elder John Colby in 1812.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.443


Continued up RI 100, catching this park out of the corner of my eye, more specifically the dam and bridge. It is known locally as White Mill Park.

Just up the road is the Wilson Reservoir Boat Launch. It's in the Guide so I stopped for a picture.

Wilson's Reservoir, 5.8 m. (R), a little more than a mile in length, is fed from Wallum Lake by way of the Clear River (fishing; boats for hire in season).
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.443


Still on RI 100 is now Wallum Lake Road. Nothing special about this intersection other than it does branch off temporarily for Forger's Cave in the Guide, which looks like a lot of bush whacking to get there. Still stopped for a photo.

At 7.5 m. is the junction with Buck Hill Road, named for bounding deer; left here into a hilly country associated with some of Burrillville's romantic characters. On the edge of Round Top Hill in the Buck Hill woods is Forger's Cave (difficult to find and unsafe to enter). In late Colonial days, Spanish milled dollars were forged here in large quantities. The leaders of the band, though apprehended, were released because they threatened to implicate the first families of the town.
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.444


Last two stops are in the same location. Bill Gifford, a good friend, showed me this place awhile back. Today I had reason to stop and get some pics. It was on the agenda. While I was taking the picture of Wallum Lake in the back of the buildings, I saw a man with a blue shirt walking in my general direction. I realized his destination was where I was standing. He introduced himself as Eric for Security. He informed me there were patients in the immediate area and I would have to stop taking pictures and leave the area. Having been thru this exact circumstance in other facilities of this nature, I nodded agreement and got back on my bike. He was polite and non-threatening and then made the comment he really liked my bike. From there I proceeded toward the large older building and then left the premises.

The village of WALLUM LAKE (alt. 600, Burrillville Town), 8.8 m., which rests in a saucer-like depression wooded with conifers, is almost wholly occupied by the Wallum Lake Sanatorium, a State hospital for tubercular patients. Some of the older frame dormitories lie to the left of the road, and new brick buildings are being erected on both sides of the highway. Wallum Lake itself is behind the hospital (L). The lake is 3 miles long by about i mile in width (fishing and boating).

Wallum Lake Sanatorium
(visiting days Thur. and Sun.) dates from the early years of the present century. The site was purchased, and the first buildings were erected, under a legislative commission established in 1902. In 1935, the control of the institution passed to the State Department of Public Welfare, Division of Hospitals and Infirmaries. At the present time the hospital has a 430 bed capacity; admissions are limited to residents of the State. The resident staff includes the superintendent, a senior and five assistant physicians, pathologist, pharmacist, and registered nurses. An extensive building program is at present under way, which will result in greatly improved facilities. The village of Wallum Lake has a few Armenian residents who work in the hospital or on their own small farms. On Badger Mountain (alt. 720), about 1 mile south of the lake, lived in the 188o's a lawless crowd, who sometimes drove to town 'a hilarious wagon load, the feminine contingent powdered and painted to the last degree.'
Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Tour 9 p.444


So ends this particular days jaunt around my backyard. Not a lot of miles, right around 50+, still took me 6 1/2 hours to get around.

The Whole Trip

The Pertinent Part of the Trip

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Every Which Way But Loose - The Plan

Recently I completed a 40 day ride around the Eastern half of the Country. I could have just rode aimlessly for 40 days targeting only the states I wanted to ride thru, but that is not my style. I have had 3 distinct riding lives, with this riding life I discovered scavenger hunts and Grand Tours.

Cancellation Stamp

First thing I do is select a primary theme for the trip. For this trip it was National Parks to earn my 6th IBA (Iron Butt Association) National Park Tour. Themes can be anything, National Scenic Highways, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, Route 66, Lincoln Highway, 50 Best BBQ Joints. It can be anything.  For the NPT, one must ride to a National Park, Memorial, Battlefield, Historic Site, obtain a Cancellation Stamp at the Visitor Center for 50 sites in 25 States within a year.

For resources, the National Park Service has information about all the sites the fall under the NP service. There are affiliated sites that also have STAMPS , which count.  is an invaluable resource for finding where the STAMPS are. I created a download of these locations to use in MapSource the mapping program from Garmin GPS's  for routing. The newer version is call BaseCamp.

Since I only needed 25 states, I decided to keep the routes confined to states to east of the Mississippi River, sort of. Not feeling challenged enough, I added in Lighthouses for the IBA National Lighthouse Tour. A primary resource I used for researching lighthouses was Lighthouse Friends web site.

Adding the lighthouses in, the selection is widened.  The icons are as follows: Log Cabins are the NP places from above, the yellow and red flag are Lighthouses, the red box with the diamond are places I figured I could view off shore lighthouses and get a picture. I created a base route using these locations

From the sites above I created a base route that would satisfy the 25 states for the National Park Tour and capture a bunch of Lighthouses, as well. This resulted in a 9,000 mile journey thru the eastern half of the US.

Next step was to figure out how many days using 250 - 350 miles a day, with 300 the being the targeted daily miles. I do not camp and purely a motel type person. I use for booking all my hotels and I ALWAYS book the next days hotel the night before or the morning of the days travel. Too many unforeseen events occur if you forward book your rooms and booking the night before/day of affords the most flexibility when traveling. This planning is NOT a 1 day sit at the computer and VIOLA you got the plan. I go thru many iterations of the plan, saving what I have done along the way.  This is a great way to make those winter days go faster.

Once I had the overall route, I then broke that into daily chunks. Using I find hotels that are along the route to satisfy the mileage for the day and then create a day plan. Below is a sample of a 3 days worth of travel. This is plan and not an absolute thus subject to change. The green icons are hotels.

Every year for at least the last 9 years I have participated in TeamStrange's and GLMC's Grand Tour. TeamStrange's Grand Tour is called States of Confusion, GLMC's is the Hidden GEM Tour.

The Flags
Adding the Grand Tour sites into the overall picture, the map looks like this. Looks abit overwhelming, but zooming into the daily routes, you can then pass the route thru the additional places to go. The Red Cubes are towns that have a GEM name contained in it. The faces are GLMC hidden gems, and the yellow hand bags are TeamStrange locations.

Once I have completed that process, the file is cleaned up of waypoints not being used by deleting them from the MapSource file. Cleaned up, its not so confusing  I have a plan. It essentially incorporate everything I want to accomplish.

One final step is to create a daily itinerary. I developed a little application in Excel to extract the data out of MapSource and see what the timing is like for each days routes. No point doing all this planning to arrive at a NP Visitor Center after it has closed for the day or the sun has set and there is no available light to capture that picture of the lighthouse.

In all my travels I bring my laptop with me to adjust routes, accommodate changes in plans either shortening the days miles or stretching the miles to make up some lost time. Another feature I use is the ability to connect to my home computer to enable copy files that I may have forgotten. I use GoToMyPC for this.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Airboat Safari

The big agenda item of the day is to head back out US 41, also known has Tamiami Trail to find us an airboat ride. The Tamiami Trail was for Tampa to Miami, construction started in 1915 and officially opened in 1928. We stopped at Gator Park just long enough for Crystal (aka Gator Girl) to get a really overpriced hat. There was just something about the place we decided to hit the next one down the road.

We ended up at Everglade Safari, bought some tickets, saving money on them because my National Park Senior Pass covered the fee for entering Everglades National Park.

We had to hang around a bit before we hit the water, so I wandered around and grabbed some snaps

We finally boarded and hit the Everglades on our quest to see wildlife and alligators. You would have thought we were in NYC boarding a subway during rush hour the way the folks clamored to get on the boat. We ended up in the back, which was all right with me. They did give us ear plugs for the ride, since the twin V8's powering the boat didn't come equipped with mufflers.

Our Captain did stop a few times to give us some history and background information on the Everglades. He did come to a particular spot, slowing for us to spot the obligatory alligator photo opportunity.

Once he got the alligator, he headed back in and the boat ride was over. I am guessing the ride was 30 to 45 minutes, which in the scheme of things was more than enough time. How long can one look at water, sawgrass and lily pads. Back at the dock Everglade Safari has a little show about alligators and you can even hold one.

After the show and the touchy feely session we headed into the lunch room for some fried alligator. Maybe that was what the farm was all about. All in all it was a great experience. From here we headed into Miami for some more sight seeing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Utopia Isn't Forever

Continuing with the story, we had breakfast (those hotel eggs are consistent across the whole country, don't think they come from chickens) , met Claire and Jim (a couple planning to move to Ft Myers), loaded up the car and headed to our first destination, The Giant Head of Beethoven. Gotta start this trip with some humor after the flight to get here. This was a waypoint from my National Dumb Places to Visit. So a little info

"Former pyramid resident Janice Lassonde provides these insights: "The pyramids were built by Austrian people as a Florida resort property. The Beethoven head was a joke amongst the Austrian originators of the Pyramids. They said that now that they had 'Austrian' pyramids, they now needed an 'Austrian' Sphinx to go with them -- thus the Beethoven 'Sphinx' was erected."
Source: Roadside

Next up is the Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic District.

The Koreshan Unity was a communal utopia formed by Cyrus Teed, who took the name "Koresh", the original Persian form of his name Cyrus. The Koreshans followed Teed's beliefs, called Koreshanity. Eventually, Teed took his followers to Estero, Florida, to form his "New Jerusalem" in 1894. The community was at its peak 1903–1908, when it had over 250 residents. There were apparently another 4,000 believers around the country. Teed had a vision in which he was to establish a utopian city of 10,000,000 with streets up to 400 feet (120 m) wide. Membership declined following his death in 1908.
The group built extensively, establishing a bakery, printing house (publishing their newspaper and other publications), the "World College of Life", a general store, concrete works, power plant (supplying power to the surrounding area years before it was available elsewhere in the region) and more. The colony was extensively landscaped.

Source: Wikipedia

The Art Building where folks did performances

Planetary Court, a boarding house for the VIP Koreshan Women. I guess utopia has different levels of Utopia.

The Founder's House

This is on the National Register of Historic Places. I have visited about 10 of these Utopian Society locations, even lived in one that used to be and the operative word seems to be USED TO BE'. At least these people just got to walk away, whereas some are there for "until death due us part"

Heading south down US 41, we pass thru Naples, FL for the next destination, The Naples Depot Museum, AKA Naples Seaboard Air Line Railway Station.

"The depot was constructed in 1927 when the Seaboard Air Line constructed its All Florida Railway to Naples. The station only briefly saw Seaboard Air Line passenger service in the late 1920s before the railroad reduced its Arcadia to Naples Branch to freight service only. Seaboard ended freight service in the 1930s. During World War II, the depot was home to USO shows for troops stationed at the nearby Naples airfield.
By 1944, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad bought both the depot and the Seaboard tracks to Naples and resumed service, making it one of the few railroad depots to have been operated by both the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line independently prior to their merger. The Atlantic Coast Line's previous depot in Naples was located at the northeast corner of Radio Road and Airport-Pulling Road near Naples Municipal Airport, which was then abandoned.
The Seaboard brand returned to the depot in 1967 when the Seaboard Air Line merged with the Atlantic Coast Line which became the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. Passenger service ended in 1971 when national passenger rail was taken over by Amtrak. On September 10, 1974, the depot was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Freight service was halted for good in the late 1970s, and the adjacent tracks were removed in 1979."

Today it is a transportation museum, which we did partake of.

Source Wikipedia

Continuing south to Marco Island, we had a nice drive thru some very wealthy neighborhoods to our next destionation, Otter Mound Shell Wall.

A unique and noteworthy wall, built of one type of shell from the waters nearby. Not conch, but similar, I believe. Literally tens of thousands of shells went into the construction. Some say the Indians ate the animals in the shell and left the shells piled around. When my uncle bought the land, he built this landmark. The wall is not high (he may have done it to terrace the land) but the term still fits. He died when I was young so his methods and reasoning went with him before I realized the importance of it. Alan Otter, the builders descendent.

Source: Roadside

Across the street from the wall was this tree, which simply mesmerized me. I think it is a Gumbo Limbo Tree

Turning east on US 41S and heading for Miami, we made a diversionary right hand turn to Everglades City to visit 2 places on the historic register.

The bank (the green building) was the only financial institution for the coastal communities of south Collier County from 1926 until 1962. The pink building was constructed in 1927 to house a commercial laundry operation. The building has local significance as part of the original infrastructure and operation of the Town of Everglades, a planned community and company town developed by businessman Baron Gift Collier near the tip of the Florida peninsula during the 1920s.


Back up on US41 and heading further east we just had to stop a the US Smallest Post Office. This was a pump house for a tomato farmer. The building was placed into temporary service in 1953 when the general store that housed the US Post Office burned down. It still is in operation as a US Post Office.

Right down the road is this panther statue.

On US 41 is Big Cypress National Preserve. We hung a right off US41 and drove thru the preserve. We worth the diversion and not really adding a lot more time to our final destination. Scott having spent time in Florida in his younger years was able to spot alligators resting in the water thru the corner of his eye. Some snaps from the Preserve. We made a mess of our car, since we were traveling dirt roads.

There is an alligator in there someplace

One animals tease, another animals dinner.

Waiting for the Grim Reaper to show up

Just before we picked up US41 again we came across this place.

We ended up at our hotel around 8:15PM, having dinner at Scully's Tavern, featured on Triple D. Good food, fun atmosphere, no pic.