If this old tin barn could talk

Tin roofing? Yes, of course. However you don’t often see tin siding on a barn. This old structure needs a little TLC, at least a paint job! You can see at the peak of the roof the overhang indicating that originally there was a pulley and rail for loading loose hay into the barn. This old barn has been around for a long time.

Squirrels show up everywhere

Seems that we run into squirrels where ever we go. And it also seems like they are always eating or looking for something to eat.

Hey! Is that corn over there?

“Mmmm…grapes are good!”

Cherry tomatoes. Yep, they are good.

Glad I remembered where I buried this nut!

Some people like to watch squirrels and like them around. Others can’t stand them. It has been said that squirrels are just rats with a great Public Relations Department. What side are you on?

A bright blue iron bridge

Normally old iron truss bridges are painted in shades of green. Not this one, Shelby County Bridge #117 on CR 600 S. Bridgehunter.com has a 2010 photo showing a rusty green, but a 2016 shot shows a shiny bright blue paint job.

Approaching on CR 600S

The first bridge over Conn’s Creek at this location was a 16′ tall Pratt through truss built in 1892. Ironically it got a new concrete deck in 1912. The irony comes with the historic and horrific disastrous flood of 1913 which washed this bridge away. The original concrete abutments and wingwalls survived the flood and now support the replacement 7-panel, riveted Warren pony truss bridge. This bridge was built in 1925.

Looking at Conn’s Creek through truss

Truss outriggers and abutment and wing wall

Riveted hip connection

Diagonals, side rails and deck grate

You can see all 7 truss panels and deck grate

It is quite a visual as you approach this bright blue iron bridge. Like referenced above, you usually see green iron bridges, not blue. This is, however, a very nice bridge that spans a pretty little country creek.

For those of you interested in truss design details, HistoricBridges.org describes the design and structure: Concrete abutments and wingwalls support the single-span Warren pony truss. The riveted structure extends 87’6″ in seven panels. Its all-interior verticals are manufactured from pairs of angles riveted together with stay plates and reinforced with external sway bracing. Its diagonals are made from a pair of angles (doubled in the outer panel) also riveted together with stay plates. The I floor-beams are riveted to gussets and the verticals above the lower chord and carry the concrete deck. The weight and varied size of the diagonals, the placement of the floor-beams, and the integration of knee or external sway braces into the verticals indicate a late stage in the design of all-riveted Warren pony trusses.


Polygonal barn built in 1910 in central Indiana

In 1910 a Mr. George Rudicel constructed a rather unusual barn. It has twelve sides, thus the name polygonal. The cone shaped roof is capped with a polygonal cupola and it topped by a square smaller cupola. There is also a large dormer facing the road. This barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. It is on CR 700S in Noble Township, Shelby County.

As seen from County Road 700S.

Note the face of the dormer matches the polygonal angled panels

Christmas Star on top

Round barns were designed for dairy farming, and were not useful for general farming use. By the late 1920’s round barns had fallen out of favor: there was an ag depression after WWI, and easy  to construct prefabricated barn packages were now available. There were 226 round barns in Indiana but 100 of these have vanished from the Hoosier countryside. Many round barns have been restored and are well maintained. The Rudicel barn, aka locally as the Montgomery round barn, is in need of maintenance and a good coat of paint.


The haunted Willard Library

No matter if you believe in ghosts or not, this is a very interesting library. Our last visit was in the fall of 2016.


Willard Library reading room Willard Library reading room

Evansville, Indiana is home to one of the most documented haunted structures in the country. The library,  a private enterprise, opened in 1881. The beautiful building is filled with period furnishings and some magnificent interior wood work. Hereis the main library website. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The Willard library started its journey as a haunted site in the 1930’s. A custodian was greeted one evening by the vision of an apparition that is now known as “The Gray Lady”. This translucent form has made many more appearances throughout the decades and has been seen by many. No one knows for sure who this ghost is nor the reason for her continued presence in the library.

One thing for certain is the fact that strange and unexplained happenings have and continue to occur in the building. Water…

View original post 122 more words

Statues of the Presidents in Rapid City, South Dakota

It was in 2000 when a furniture maker and businessman in Rapid City,  South Dakota brainstormed an idea that resulted in yet another attraction in this historic South Dakota city of 70,000. Don Purdue envisioned a City of Presidents with life sized bronze statues of each President of the United States located on street corners along two main streets.

Andrew Jackson

Martin Van Buren

Calvin Coolidge

Ronald Reagan

Dwight Eisenhower

JFK and his son

These statues have very different poses, all of which relate to things common to that president with the goal of humanizing the statue, not dwelling on any political themes. They are all at street level and visitors have great photo ops. Go ahead, sit on Lincoln’s lap or stand next to FDR as he gives the “date which will live in infamy” speech. Trump’s statue has been commissioned, but has not yet been finished nor final location determined.

Historic Starr Piano and Gennett Recording Studio

Original Gennett Records logo

Richmond Indiana is a history filled city on the Ohio-Indiana border in the central part of the state. Both I-70 and Historic US 40 run through Richmond. One of the historic sites in Richmond is the remains of the old Starr Piano manufacturing plants and the Gennett Recording studios.

Starr made high end pianos beginning in the 1870’s. The remaining Starr pianos are highly sought after by collectors and musicians alike. The Gennett recording Studios were in business from 1920 to 1934. The records were made in a primitive concrete and brick building with little acoustical features. Legend says that an Oriental rug from the Gennett mansion was used as a wall hanging to deaden the echo sounds during the recording sessions.

Louis Armstrong’s place on the Walk of Fame

Today the Starr Gennett Foundation continues to keep the music history of the 20’s and 30’s alive with many events at the site of the old factory building. One of the many memorials to music is the Walk of Fame. The Starr-Gennett Foundation website details this feature: “In 2007, as part of its ongoing effort to promote and celebrate the music legacy of Starr Piano Company and its subsidiary, Gennett Records, the Foundation inaugurated the Gennett Records Walk of Fame to honor those who recorded for Gennett Records and whose work contributed significantly to American history. Selected by a national panel of music experts, those honored are musicians who created the distinctly American musical genres of jazz, blues, country, gospel, and popular music. However, the Gennett studio recorded the spoken word as well as the music of American Indian and other ethnic groups.”

Many famous musicians of the times got their first recordings made at Gennett. Hoagy Carmichael’s big band recorded there. Louis Armstrong got his start in the Gennett studio. The Great Depression, however, signaled the end of Gennett Records as it did many other record companies of the times.

The old factory now refurbished for concerts

Unique view of the old factory






The remaining portion of the brick factory now has a modern steel structure and metal roof system. This building is used for concerts, meetings and other civic events. It is interesting to think of the tremendous musical history represented at this Indiana site. Hand made pianos and the beginnings of several genres of music began here. When in Richmond be sure to seek out the old Starr Piano building. You just might hear echoes of music from the past.

Devils Tower: the first U.S. National Monument

Northeast Wyoming is home to one of the most remarkable landscape features in the United States. The towering mass of volcanic rock known as Devils Tower has long been the destination of curious travelers and is the source of several Native American legends describing the origin of the rock formation. In the fall of 2014 we made a short detour on our way from Indiana to Seattle to see this striking and beautiful gift from Earth.

One of, if not the most striking geologic feature in Wyoming

Detail image of each “column” that is about 8 feet across!

One of the legends of the origin of the tower tells the story of girls who were pursued by a huge bear. The girls prayers were answered when the Great Spirit caused the rock to raise from the ground with the girls safely on top. The bear attempted to climb the smooth sides of the rock, and his claws made the distinctive shapes we see today.

Geologists tell us that the tower was made when volcanic intrusions of lava pushed up into thick layers of sandstone, now eroded away after millions of years. The rock, an igneous basalt type, took on the shapes of columns when it cooled. Called a columnar formation, this shape is not uncommon and can be found in rocks all over the world.

The Devils Tower was the first designated US National Monument, so declared by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The first Caucasians saw the tower in the 1850’s. It was the site of the famous finish of the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

New viewing deck overlooks Blue River

Craftsmen just yesterday put the finishing touches on the new viewing deck overlooking Blue River in Shelbyville, Indiana.

This nice observation deck is just across the Blue River Trail pavement at the end of the new A to Z Storybook Trail. We just published a post about that trail feature here. Shelbyville and Shelby County are in central Indiana, and are continuing to expand the popular Blue River Trail. These additions add to the enjoyment of trail users.

Dignity of Earth and Sky in South Dakota

Here’s another look at this remarkable art work in South Dakota that we saw during our travels in 2018.

Traveling on I-90 through South Dakota provides some remarkable scenery. In addition to the natural wonders of the state, one man-made marvel really stands out. Near Chamberlain at Exit 294 you’ll see the signs for a rest area with a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. As you exit the interstate and drive up a decent slope you see a very large stainless steel sculpture with a geometric pattern. Then you soon realize that it is a star quilt being held by a beautiful Native American woman.

The star pattern

Person on the left to gives you sculpture scale







This is the statue titled “Dignity of Earth and Sky”. The creation of South Dakota Artist Laureate Dale Claude Lamphere is a magnificent example of very large scale public art. The  statue represents the courage and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota people who come from the area. The star quilt pattern is traditionally used to honor people or peoples.

We enjoyed our rest stop. Oh, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center? Well, it was closed for the season, to reopen mid-May. We were there mid-October. At least the restrooms were still open for those without their own facilities in their RV.