ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0 Mississippi Part 2

Hattiesburg — a very brief history

After spending time in Louisianna we traveled north back into Mississippi to visit Hattiesburg. We were up in the air about visiting Hattiesburg but after a conversation with a former resident of Hattiesburg (that we met in Cleveland, Mississippi) we decided to invest a day and check out the town. Additionally, visiting Hattiesburg would provide an opportunity to ride the Longleaf Bike Trail.

Hattiesburg was founded in 1882 by William Hardy and named after his wife Hattie. The land that is now Hattiesburg became available after the Chicksaw and Choctaw peoples were forcibly removed under the Indian Removal Act which allowed the government to relocate the nations to land west of the Mississippi River.

The city thrived in its early days as part of the burgeoning lumber industry (Hattiesburg sits in the Pine Belt) and is known as the Hub City because of the confluence of rail lines running through the city. While the timber industry is not a major economic force today, the city is still a major rail hub with freight lines bisecting the city.

While Hattiesburg was not founded until well after the Civil War, the town nonetheless did its part to uphold the legacy of slavery and segregation. The Black residents of Hattiesburg were still largely unregistered to vote in 1962 due to the efforts of the municipal government to make it impossible for Blacks to qualify to vote. For more information about the Civil Rights Movement in Hattiesburg click on the link: https://mississippiencyclopedia.org/entries/hattiesburg-civil-rights-movement/

Hattiesburg — home of rock ‘n roll?

One facet of Hattiesburg that we were totally unaware of prior to our visit is the claim that Hattiesburg is the true home of Rock ’N Roll. Musicologists have traced the roots of the genre to the Graves brothers – Blind Roosevelt and Uaroy. The brothers started as Gospel singers but in 1936 joined with pianist Cooney Vaughn to form the Mississippi Jook Band. Two of their songs in particular are now viewed as very early Rock ’N Roll songs. These songs, Barbecue Bust and Dangerous Woman, were performed and recorded long before the genre was clearly defined and popular. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pegm79r1zE

Today, many musicologists consider the roots of Rock ’N Roll began in the African American Churches in the South where the music was “rocking and reeling” and instruments other than the organ were used to accompany the singers (out of necessity as the congregations could not afford an organ). An excellent article on this subject: https://countryroadsmagazine.com/art-and-culture/visual-performing-arts/hattiesburg-birthplace-of-rock-n-roll/

Longleaf trail

The Longleaf Trail is a 45.5 mile paved rails-to-trails bikeway. The southern trailhead is in Hattiesburg and the trail runs in a northwest direction terminating in Prentis. We rode out and back on the southern half of the trail from Hattiesburg and the northern half of the trail from Sumral Station (west of Laurel).

Longleaf is a Hall of Fame trail and for good reason. The trail is paved, in excellent condition and passes through beautiful Southern scenery. Surprisingly, we encountered very few other riders on either of our rides. We highly recommend this trail. The round trip is 91 miles – beyond our current range – so we split the trail and enjoyed two rides.

The town

Laurel is not our ”home Town” but it could be!

Laurel was added to our intinary once we decided to visit Hattiesburg. If you are a fan of the HGTV show Home Town you may recognize Laurel as the small town where husband and wife Ben and Erin Napier help folks renovate local homes. As a result of the popularity of the show, the town has attracted many visitors and new residents.

We visited their retail store and woodworking shop while in town, but there were unfortunately no celebrity sightings. We can tell you their two stores are doing a brisk trade! Good for them – the couple has done a lot to help bring back this former lumber industry town.

We arrived in Laurel on the day of the annual crawfish festival. The festival runs from 11AM to 3PM – all you can eat for $15- Classic Low Country Boil – crawfish, sausage, potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn. Live music to boot. Now that is Southern Hospitality!

Laurel has more than the CrawFest and the TV show to offer. There are several excellent restaurants (The Loft….our favorite) and several neigborhoods with streets lined with live oaks and stately homes. Lastly, the former town library was converted and expanded into an art museum with a very nice collection of paintings and sculptures. We have included several photogrpahs of our favorite paintings at the end of this post.

William Hollingworth (1910-1944) The Mystery of a Southern Night, 1941, Oil on canvas
Charly Palmer (1960) Leadbelly c. 2012, Acrylic on canvas
Alfred Conteh (1975) Preme 2020, Acrylic and Atomized brass dust on canvas
John Winslow (1938) Painting in Marcella’s Studio 1982, Oil on canvas
Janet Fish (1938) Pink Scarf and Daffodils 2008, Oil on canvas

This post is our penultimate post on Mississippi as part of OTR 8.0. If you missed our previous posts you can find them at ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0: Mississippi Part One and Ocean Springs, Mississippi at ontheroadwithmariastephen.net Our final post will cover our exploration of the Mississippi Delta.

Be seeing you!

ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0: Alabama Part Two

Florence

From Birmingham we made our way northeast to the town of Florence. Florence sits on the Tenneesee River and is located in the northwest corner of Alabama in the Shoals. Florence is also home to the University of North Alabama (UNA),the oldest university in Alabama.

Florence is a beautiful town with many well preserved historic homes and buildings, including some grand buildings on the campus of the university which sits in the middle of town.

Florence was not in our original travel plans, but when we mentioned to some folks we met in Birmingham that we were going to Muscles Shoals they recommended a visit to Florence (right across the river).

Rosenbaum House

Rosenbaum house

You may recall from previous trips that we are fans of Frank Lloyd Wright structures (see previous post Falling for Falling Water). An added bonus of visiting Florence is that is the home to the only FLW design in Alabama.

We were fortunate that the Rosenbaum House was open for tours while were in town and that we had a very knowledgable volunteer guide. We spent about an hour inside the house and then did a walk around to view the outside of the home.

Construction of the Rosenbaum House began in 1939 and was completed during 1940. Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum and their children were the only people to reside in the home. After Stanley passed away, Mildred continued to live in the home until 1999. She could no longer maintain the home by this point and none of her sons wanted the home. Fortunately, the City of Florence acquired the home that year and has worked to preserve the home – making repairs to the roof and other areas – that were much needed when the family sold the house to the city. The city did a wonderful job restoring the house.

Rosenbaum House

This house is an example of what Wright called a Usonian House. Usonian Houses were intended for Middle Class Americans – simple but stylish and affordable – also small. That is not how things worked out in many cases. Most of his commissions were for wealthy families such as the Rosenbaums. Additionally, as with a number of the other homes Wright designed, he also designed most of the original furniture in this home.

Another feature of the Usonian House was that it was designed to grow with the family. In the case of the Rosenbaums, they had four sons. Wright designed a significant addition which was completed in 1948 and included dormitory style space for the boys, a larger kitchen and a guest room.

Dormitory Addition for the Rosenbaum Boys

For more information regarding the Rosenbaum House: https://www.wrightinalabama.com/

Muscles shoals sound studio

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

The Muscle Shoal Sound Studio (MSS) opened in 1969. The studio was founded and owned by the Muscle Shoals Rythm Section also famously known as The Sawmpers. The Swampers had established a reputation as super-tight R&B and Funk studio session musicians.

Between 1969 and 1978 the Swampers played on 200 albums. Seventy-five of those album went Gold or Platinum. Some examples of the groups that Swampers recorded with include: Boz Scaggs, Rolling Stones, Lulu, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson and the Staples SIngers.

The studio was abandoned in in 1978 when the Swampers moved to a larger studio in Sheffield. Incredibly, while the studio was occupied by several different businesses and then sat vacant for many years, all of the studio equipment remained intact. The studio was purchased by a non-profit that now gives tours. The studio is once again being used for recording utilizing all of the original gear. For more information on the history of the studio and the Swampers: https://muscleshoalssoundstudio.org/

The shoals: Best food and coffee

Odette https://www.odettealabama.com/

306 Barbecue https://306bbq.com/

Turbo Coffee https://turbocoffee.co/pages/about-us

Our next segment will take us across Northern Mississippi, primarily on dirt and gravel roads. We will pick up the trail south of Corinth, Mississippi and attempt to follow it to the terminus at the Mississippi River. We will jump off the trail at regular intervals to visit some of the tiny towns scattered across this area of the state. Also, in keeping with our visit to Muscles Shoals Sound Studio, we will be visiting Clarksdale while in Mississippi – the epicenter of the Delta Blues.

Be seeing you!

ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0 Alabama Part One

OTR’s only previous experience in Alabama was a couple of days driving across the northern portion of the state in March of 2020 as we were returning home prematurely due to the impact of the pandemic. So we were excited to come back to Alabama and spend some additional time exploring.

Graces High Falls

Little river canyon national preserve (LRCNP)

As we were preparing to leave Chattanooga and looking at potential points of interest on our way to Birmingham, we discovered LRCNP. The LRCNP was a great find – it provides a scenic drive along the canyon rim and a number of hikes on top of the canyon as well as down into the canyon.

Hawks Glide Overlook

The Little River flows across the top of Lookout Mountain and has carved a canyon as deep as 600 feet along the way. A river flowing across a mountain top is unusual but has helped keep this area much as it has been for centuries. There is no development within the canyon. The drive to get to the mouth of the canyon is an eleven mile steep, winding and narrow affair which limits the number of visitors to the day use area.

Little River

If you find yourself in Northeastern Alabama for any reason the LRCNP is a terrific place to spend a day driving the rim and taking a hike. https://www.nps.gov/liri/index.htm

Birmingham

We were interested in visiting Birmingham to better understand the history of this city that was so critical to the advancement of civil rights in America. However, our first stop in Birmingham was a visit to the city’s botanical garden.

We knew the gardens would not be at peak this early in the season but the grounds were still beautiful and provided us with a peaceful afternoon walking the paths.

Sloss furnaces

The following morning we commenced our tour (after fika at Seeds Coffee) of the city. We started at the Sloss Furnaces. The Furnaces is a historic landmark which both represents the industrial might that made Birmingham so prosperous and the racism that made Birmingham so notorius.

Sloss Furnaces

Birmingham is known as the Magic City due to its rapid growth and prosperity. Birmingham was just farmland until the mid 1800’s when it was discovered that the three items needed to make steel – iron ore, limestone and coal were all abundant in the area. Combined with the arrival of the railroad, the path forward was set.

The Sloss Furnaces operated from 1872 until 1970, helping to make Birmingham a prosperous city with culture and arts for the white residents. Black workers made up 70% of the workforce but provided 100% of the back-breaking labor in the mines and the furnaces. All managerial positions were held by white workers. The city was not so magical for African-Americans who were paid low wages for working in intolerable and unsafe conditions. To make the situation even more obscene the companies utilized “convict labor” in the coal mines and paid their wages to the city. Ninety percent of the convict laborers were blacks and many were falsly arrested on vagrancy charges, jailed and then leased to the city. This practice continued until 1928 – that’s right – 1928. So much for emancipation.

The workers at Sloss as well as the other furnaces were strictly segregatedBlack workers had separate showers, time clocks and entrances. The segregated workplace was not abolished until the 1960’s when the civil rights movement forced the company to abolish the policy.

The Sloss Furnaces as a physical artifact of our history are a superlative piece of history showcasing the rapid and impressive technological advances of the United States. It is an outdoor museum like few others and we think it merits a visithttps://www.slossfurnaces.com/

Birmingham civil rights institute

Martin Luther King, Jr – Birminghan Civil Rights Institute

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institue (BCRI) was opened to the public in 1992. The BCRI is part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. In addition to serving as a museum chronicling the civil rights movement in Birmingham, it functions as a research and educational organization .

BCRI

The museum staff has laid out the story of the civil rights movement in a compelling and dramatic fashion. There are many significant artifacts on display but it is the videos, photographs and recordings of the actual events that give life to the history. We found ourselves struggling emotionally a number of times as we watched and listened to the events that demonstrated the cruelty of the segregationists and courage of people fighting for equality in the face of jail, physical harm or even death.

16th street baptist church

16th Street Baptist Church

The 16th Street Baptist Church is across the street from the BCRI. We took a tour of this church that figured so prominently in the fight to end segregation in Birmingham. This church was a central rallying point for the protests that took place in Birmingham.

As a result, white segregationists targeted the church and on Sunday, September 15, 1963, segregationists placed dynamite under the steps on the side of the church. The explosion killed four young girls and seriously injured another young girl.

The 16th Street Baptist Church is still an active and robust parish. The tour of the church is conducted by members of the parish. They are knowledgable and engaging. Several of the elder tour guides were parishioners at the time of the bombing. If you are visiting the BCRI most definitely walk across the street for a tour at the church.https://www.nps.gov/articles/16thstreetbaptist.htm

Fika with fiona: Best of birmingham: Seeds coffee

Seeds Coffee: https://seedscoffee.com/about/

We will be publishing a second post covering the remainder of the Alabama portion of OTR 8.0 in the near future.

Be seeing you!

FINE ART TOURIST PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART (PMOA)

Philbrook museum and gardens- museum photograph

A brief history of the pmoa

From 1927 to 1938 the Villa Philbrook, as it was known, was the family residence of Waite and Genevieve Phillips. The Italian Renaissance style villa as originally built consisted of 72 rooms set on 23 acres of gardens. Phillips donated the mansion to the city of Tulsa for use as an art museum in 1938.

The PMOA opened to the public in 1939. A 70,000 square foot wing was added in 1990 along with a redesign of the garden space ( the new wing also houses a very fine cafe). The museum houses 16,000 works in its permanent collection with a focus on Native American, American and European art.

Historical footnote: Phillips was a member of the Phillips family which founded Phillips Petroleum in 1917. Today the company trades as Phillips 66 and is one of the largest petroleum refiners in the world with revenues of approximately $107b.

Childe hassam, american, bridge over the stour, 1897, oil on canvas

Native american and american artists

Harry fonseca, maidu, Coyote chiefs, from coyotes wild and wooly west show, 1987, acrylic and glitter on canvas
Joan hill, muscogee (creek)/cheroke, war and rumors of war, c.1971, acrylic on canvas
Brenda kennedy grummer, citizen band potawatomi, one sunday at shawnee, 1979, oil on panel
helen hardin, kha’p’oo owinge (santa clara pueblo), vision of a ghost dance, c.1975-1977, oil on board
Tony abeyta, dine’ (navajo), firestorm, 2021, oil on canvas
Joseph henry sharp, american, chief weasel bear, 1906, oil on canvas
WALTER RICHARD (DICK) WEST, SR., SOUTHERN CHEYENNE, THE WEDDING OF ART AND SCIENCE, 1949, OIL ON CANVAS

European art

Pablo picasso, spanish, les pommes, 1947, oil on canvas
Wassily kandinsky,russian, kallmunz, the town hall square, 1903, Oil on board

We enjoyed our visit to the PMOA, and especially appreciated the focus the museum brings to Native American artists. The museum showcases the evolving manner and styles in which Native Americans have been portrayed over the last 150 years – both fascinating and enlightening.

In addition to the finely curated collection, the museum itself is a wonderful piece of architecture. The extravagance and oppulence of a 72 room villa for a family of four is hard to fathom (at least for OTR), but makes for an inspired setting for the art work and artifacts. And of course, the gardens extending down the slope behind the villa are spectacular.

We absolutely recommend an afternoon at the PMOA when you visit Tulsa!

Be seeing you.

P.S. We also recommend having lunch when visiting the PMOA – KITCHEN 27 is excellent.

Fine art tourist: Anderson MUSEUM of CONTEMPORARY art (AMoCA)

After completing our overland segment through the Carson National Forest ( https://ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/2021/11/05/overland-adventure/ ) and a brief stop in Santa Fe ( https://www.instagram.com/p/CVNrZnrF7xK/?utm_medium=copy_link ) we set a course for the Texas Panhandle. Based on the travel time to our first destination in Texas, Roswell, New Mexico appeared to be a good place for an overnight stop (predicated, of course, on the availability of acceptable espresso and tea beverages.)

Roswell Mural Depicting the “Roswell Incident”

Roswell is known primarily as the location of an alleged UFO crash that took place in 1947. Strangely, the purported crash site is 75 miles from Roswell – oh well, close enough for tourism purposes. I do not want to put a damper on the UFO tourist trade (and a our little blog won’t) but the UFO was, in fact, a weather balloon!

Donald B. Anderson, Irish Castle, 2000, acrylic on canvas

From our perspective (with all due respect to UFO fans) there is a much better reason to visit Roswell. As we did a quick bit of research on the town we found a website for the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, and decided to visit the museum the morning following our arrrival.

The next morning (after coffee and tea) we set out to walk to the museum just a short distance away. We feared we had made a wrong turn along the way as the only building we could see ahead looked much more like a warehouse than the exterior of a museum. However, upon getting loser to the building there was signage indicating that the building was in fact the home of the AMoCA.

Donald B. Anderson

Donald B. Anderson, Achil Island, 1987, acrylic on canvas

We were delighted to find ourselves in a bright and colorful space with paintings covering the walls from floor to ceiling. The museum covers 22,000 square feet and is divided into twelve galleries with more than 500 artworks on display.

The photographs of the large scale landscape paintings directly above and below are by Donald B. Anderson, who was a highly successful businessman and artist. He founded the museum in order to bring more art and culture to Roswell and southeastern New Mexico. While a number of his delighful landscapes occupy one of the galleries, the museum is about much more than Mr Anderson.

Donald B. Anderson, Dark Valley, 2001, acrylic on canvas

roswell artists-in-residence (rair)

Jessica Kirkpatrick, Chora 1, 2013, oil on canvas

In addition to the museum itself, Mr Anderson created and funded the Roswell Artists-in-Residency program to bring artists from around the world to work in Roswell. The photograph above and all those below are of artworks by artists that participated in the program since its inception in the late 1960s.

Linda Long, View From My Window, 1991, oil on canvas

In 2002 the RAIR Foundation assumed full reponsibilty for the management of both the museum and the residency program. RAIR provides a full year residency and includes lodging, studio space and a stipend; over 250 artists have participated in the program since its inception.

Jerry R. West, Roswell Cotton Warehouse with Black Dog and Broken Moon, 2012, oil on linen

AMoCA is a first rate museum with a wide range of work by the artists that have benefited from RAIR. If your travels will be taking you in the vicinity of Roswell or even if you are just passing through we recommend that you visit this gem in the desert.

Brian Myers, On Borrowed Time, 1994, oil on canvas

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: Oklahoma city museum of art (okcmoa)

Pierre-August Renoir, Portrait of a Girl, ca. 1895, Oil on canvas

The OKCMOA is the product of two Oklahoma City art museums that merged in 1989. The current modern and architecturally impressive downtown location was newly constructed and opened in 2002. OKCMOMA is a fully privately funded organization that has significant local individual and corporate support.

The museum has a diverse collection which we found to be well curated. As an example, the portrait gallery includes portraits that were painted in a period spanning 1820 through 2018 and brings a focus less to the style of painting and more to the culture and norms of the period. We have included photographs of several of our favorite paintings from the portrait gallery below.

Kehinde Wiley, Jacob de Graeff, 2018, Oil on linen

Dale chihuly

Many are familiar with the beautiful glass work of Dale Chihuly and his studio. The OKCMOA has one of the largest collections of his work anywhere. The pieces included in the OKCMOA collection span over 30 years of Chihuly’s work.

The collection is exquisite. What really adds to the collection is the staging of the various pieces – the lighting is set perfectly and most of the installations can be viewed from multiple perspectives adding greatly to the experience (and allowing for the possibility of reasonably good photographs!).

Southwestern art

Followers of OTR know that we admire many styles and schools of art while having a special affinity for art from the southwest. We have included photographs of several of our favorites from the collection on display at OKCMOA.

Doel Reed, The Canyon, 1958, Oil on board
EL Blumenschein, New Mexico, 1921, Oil on canvas
John Sloan, Two Black Crows, 1924, Oil on canvas
Oscar Brousse Jacobseon, from the Trail Ridge, 1936, Oil on canvas board
Alexandre Hogue, Soil and Subsoil, 1946, Oil on canvas

Realism

Our two favorites from the genre of Realist paintings.

Janet Fish, The Ox Bow, 1977, Oil on canvas
Dhimitri Zonia, Saturday Morning, 1969, Oil on canvas

OKCMOA is a very fine mid-sized museum which can be viewed in two to three hours, and should be included in your Oklahoma City itinerary. We will be writing about another OKC museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in an upcoming post.

Be seeing you.

Butte…..the Big Hole

We spent two hot days in Butte as we traveled south from the Sweet Grass Hills. Butte is a town we wanted to visit more from a historical perspective than because of its beautiful scenery or recreational opportunities.

Headframe, Orphan Girl Mine, Butte

Butte’s origins are exclusively related to the mining of silver and copper. The land area that is now Butte was nothing more than a scattering of mining camps on “the hill”. Of course, once silver and copper was discovered in 1870 the boom was underway.

The town grew exponentially for a number of years until a fire in 1879 leveled the town. The town was quickly rebuilt using only stone and brick which is why so much of the Uptown Butte (downtown) area remains intact today.

All of the photos above are from the Orphan Girl mine. We toured the mine and were able to walk down (with a guide) to tunnels about 150 feet under the surface. The mine ultimately operated at 3000 feet under the surface.

The mine operated from 1875 until 1950 and produced 7.6 million ounces of silver as well as lead and zinc. In 1965 the mine was repurposed as a mining museum and opened to the public for tours. The mine is also utilized by students at the Monatana Technical University School of Mines and Engineering as a hands on laboratory for their Mining Engineering students. The campus sits adjacent to the Orphan Girl site and the school has its own entrance into the mine from within the campus.

While the Orphan Girl produced primarily silver, it was copper that drove the growth and prosperity of Butte. The introduction of electricity on a widespread basis created an insatiable demand for copper wiring. World War 1 added to the demand as military rifle ammunition used copper jackets.

Mine Elevator

Butte, unlike many other mining towns, continued to prosper well into the 20th century owing to the massive deposit of copper and the demand for copper for use in modern electronics. Over time the various copper mines were purchased and operated by the Anaconda Mining Company.

In the aftermath of all of the acquisitions, Anaconda sought to reduce expenses through the 1930s and 1940s which led inevitably to labor disputes and costly strikes. Ultimately, during the 1950s the company responded by beginning to strip mine for the copper.

Berkley Pit

All of silver and copper in and around Butte had been conducted as underground hard rock tunnel mining until 1952. The area around the mines were dotted with neighborhoods and small towns. The strip mining completely destroyed the area as people and businesses were forced to relocate. The photos above and below are of the flooded portion of the Berkely Pit.

The strip mining continued until 1982 by which time the pit was 7000 feet long, 5600 feet wide and 1600 feet deep. Two entire towns, Meaderville and McQueen as well as much of the east end of Butte were ultimately consumed by the pit.

When the mine ceased operations, the water pumps were shut down and the pit began to fill with heavily acidic water, resulting in the leaching of heavy metals and toxic chemicals into the water in the pit. The water level is currently at 900 feet.

Not surprisingly, the pit was declared a superfund site and is the largest such site in the United States. The site has been remediated and a water filtration plant is in operation to remove the metals and toxic chemicals that continue to leach from the sides of the pit.

The land adjacent to the Berkely Pit is still rich with copper – yes – strip mining for copper resumed in 1982 right next to the Berkely Pit. Let’s hope the environmental regulators have stayed on top of things with this mine.

P.S. We took the photos of the Berkely Pit from the viewing stand on top of the pit. Just three dollars per person to see the largest superfund site in America in person – yep, the pit is a tourist attraction – exit through the gift shop!

Berkely Pit, 1972, Courtesy Montana Standard

Mining is the reason for Butte and is still a major part of the local economy. The Berkley Pit will always be there as an ugly reminder of the decision to switch from tunnel mining to strip mining in order to lower labor costs. In the end, labor costs were minor in comparison to the initial cost of remediating the pit and associated ongoing costs.

Butte certainly has a colorful history as a mining town and a tough legacy as the location of the largest superfund site in America. A lesser claim to fame is that the longest continuosly running brothel in America was located in Butte, closing – you guessed it – in 1982 when the Berkely Pit shut down.

There is beautiful country and plenty of recreational opportunities all around Butte. Butte proper is not an attractive city but worth a quick visit if you have an interest in seeing and better understanding local history and the impact of large scale mining.

Be seeing you!

Falling for…Fallingwater

Fallingwater

After our visit to Pittsburgh we decided to head south to Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece Fallingwater. Fallingwater was designed for the Kaufman family. Edgar and Liliane Kaufman were prominent members of Pittsburgh society and owners of the highly successful Kaufman’s Department Store.

The Kaufmans owned the property at Bear Run in the Laurel Highlands where they had a rustic weekend retreat. The met Frank Lloyd Wright through their son Edgar jr. The younger Edgar studied with Wright for a short time at Taliesin in Wisconsin.

Edgar jr sold the home and 1500 acres of land to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy with the proviso that the home be open to the public. The conservancy purchased another 3500 acres adjacent to the former Kaufman property to assure that the area remains unspoiled for future generations.

Bear Run

Wright designed the house in 1935 after visiting the site and integrated the house into the waterfall and landscape in brillant fashion. Wright practiced what he called “organic” architecture and Fallingwater is undoubtedly unparalled in that regard.

Wright also designed many innovative and one of a kind pieces of furniture which can be found throughout the main house and the guest house.

Wright designed over 1000 structures in a career that spanned 70 years. Just over half of his designs were constructed. He was a pioneer in many facets of design and was acknowldeged by the American Institute of Architects in 1991 as the greatest American architect of all time.

Wright’s designs were not limited to just his well known private residences. He designed churches, schools, museums, hotels and office buildings. Additionally, he designed one gas station (which we stumbled upon during our previous wanderings in Michigan.)

In addition to achieving phenomenal fame as an architect Wright also achieved significant noteriety in his personal life. During his life he was married and divorced several times in very public fashion and suffered the tragedy of having a lover and her children murdered at his studio while he was away on business. Recommended reading -The Fellowship:The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship.

Fallingwater is located near Ohiopyle, Pennsylavania. Ohiopyle State Park encompasses over 20,000 acres of beautiful scenery for hiking and camping. The Youghiogeheny (yawk) River runs though the middle of the park and provides serious whitewater rafting and kayaking opportunities. Additionally, the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail runs through the park with a trailhead in town for easy access to ride towards the Pittsburgh or Cumberland, Maryland terminus points.

The combination of outdoor activites and Fallingwater makes Ohiopyle a popular destination with many visitors. As we visited early in the season there were no crowds. We definitely recommend the Ohiopyle area as worth a several day visit.

Be seeing you!

P.S. There is a second Frank Lloyd Wright designed house (Kentuck Knob) close by which is open for tours. Kentuck Knob is an example of Wright’s Usonian (affordable) designs.

Georgia O’Keffee

We are off the road for several days to explore Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our first stop (well second actually – fika at Iconik Roasters – we spent the afternoon basking in the brillance of the 300 or so works on display at the eponymous museum dedicated to her life and work.

Maria has long been an avid fan of her painting. Stephen on the other hand had not given her work serious attention – thinking her a painter of pastel colored flowers.

O’Keffee produced about 3000 works in her 60 year career. The museum owns 1100 of her works – phenomenally all but two were donated to the museum. The 300 paintings on display are grouped across eight galleries that relate to various phases of her life and creative focus.

O’Keffee split her time between New York and New Mexico for about thirty years. After her husband passed away she moved to New Mexico permanently although she traveled to South America and Japan several times.

O’Keffee was initally critized by the male dominated artistic community for her use of bright colors. She loved color and refused to adopt the darker tones that the prominent artists of the time considered appropriate. Her strength as a woman and commitment to what and how she wanted to paint what she saw is evident through out the exhibits and the narrative of her life.

We have included a small sample of photographs of we took at the museum. The paintings featured below cover the period 1917-1958 and represent work from New Mexico and New York.

The Georgia O’Keffee is a must when you visit Santa Fe.

Mesa and Road East, 1952

Ritz Tower, 1928

Green and White, 1957-1958

Church Steeple, 1930

Autumn Trees – The Maple, 1924

Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur, 1930

Church Bell, Ward, Colorado, 1917

Mesa Verde National Park

This trip will take us through New Mexico and deep into (the heart of) Texas before turning east along the Gulf Coast and eventually driving back to Connecticut. As usual we began our trip in Salt Lake City where we have been storing the Beast between trips.

After a day of travel to SLC and a day of preparing the Beast for this journey we departed for Moab, UT. We spent an overnight in Moab, UT (Moab Coffee Roasters) before traveling to southwestern Colorado to view some of the finest examples of Peubloan cliff and mesa communities in existence today.

Mesa Verde National Park was created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 for the explicit purpose of preserving the remarkable Ancesteral Peublo architecture. Mesa Verde was occupied by the Pueblo people for about 750 years beginning in 550 A.D.

MVNP is definitely a bit off the beaten path but we think more than worth the drive. The park is laid out with a loop drive that allows you to see many of the cliff villages from excellent view points. There are a number of kivas that have been excavated which are easily accessible by foot.

In the summer months you can also tour several of the cliff dwellings on ranger guided tours. The Far View Lodge offers acommodations with outstanding views of the mesa and canyons below. There is also a small musueum located in the park about twenty miles from the entrance.

There are a number of indigenous sites in the Four Corners area which could easily be combined with a visit to MVNP for an extended tour; Canyons of the Ancients and Chaco Culture National Historic Park are two major sites.

A definite recommend on our part.

Be seeing you!