Historic Places

Hot in Hot Springs

On July 31st my daughter and I went to Hot Springs.  We got to Arkansas a day earlier than we usually do and decided to take a vacation day sight seeing. I hope next summer we can do even more of this.  

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)

What was my prior knowledge of Hot Springs Arkansas before going there?  Not much, I knew there were hot springs, I didn't know why.  I knew that it was a popular tourist spot and I also knew it wasn't too horribly far from the family place but we had never been there.   

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-2

The water out of Hot Springs average 143 degrees f. and people have been drawn to the springs for hundreds (and likely thousands) of years.  The water that come from the springs are over four thousand years old (well obviously all water is "old" it's just not something we think about).   In 1832 under the Jackson administration the government set aside four sections of land to "reserve" them for the people.  In 1877 the government took control over the springs and approved the private bathhouses which you will see some more photos of.  

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-9

In 1921 Hot Springs National Park was established.  

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-10

Bathhouse Row is an interesting area. I believe one bathhouse is still in operation.  By the 1960s many of the bathouses had closed their doors and fell into disrepair.  By 2004 the park began renovating the buildings to help economically revitalize the area.  

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-13

The water is hot! 

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-12

These photos are more of a documentary style and of a tourist nature.  Not my best shots, but I wasn't trying very hard.

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-15

Some images of Bathhouse Row   

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-16

I hope to add enough historical information to educate you about your visit to Hot Springs or any other unusual places I've been to. I need to start working on educational power points, which was my original plan when I began visiting historical places. 

Hot Springs National Park  (1 of 1)-17

I will do another post about the bathhouse museum we toured in Hot Springs. 

Hot Springs National Park -Ozark (1 of 1)-2

This has a beautiful design. 

Hot Springs National Park -Buckstaff (1 of 1)

Now if you actually want a real bath in Hot Springs the Buckstaff is the operational bathhouse there. 

Buckstaff Baths

Hot Springs National Park -Buckstaff (1 of 1)-2

My daughter really wanted to do this. 

Hot Springs National Park -Buckstaff (1 of 1)-3

We shopped a little and ate and then drove up the mountain to go up the observation tower.  

Hot Springs National Park -Buckstaff (1 of 1)-4

I don't really like observation towers as I learned in Sioux Falls.  I don't like heights that much not in these situations.   

Hot Springs from the Tower (1 of 1)

It's a nice rainy day here in Oklahoma.   I just feel like staying inside.  Next week the job officially begins and I'll be a tired person.  

Hot Springs from the Tower (1 of 1)-2

You really can't see the forest for the trees out here...

Hot Springs from the Tower (1 of 1)-3

Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska

Royal Nebraska is probably not the first place you think of when you want to go view the bones of ancient camels, rhinoceros, and horses but, Royal Nebraska is where you come to find America's Pompeii.  So, mass extinction is probably not at the top of your list to think about today.  But, it was a reality in our very long geologic history on this third rock from the sun.  So before I go into more detail here is a visual for you to contemplate before I show images on the drive to Ashfall.   Ashfall is a site that caused a mass extinction in what will become Nebraska. Please take a few minutes to find some more educational materials on the official site: About Ashfall through the University of Nebraska.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -8977

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2389

So if you are a fossil obsessed person or you love to learn about volcanoes and mass extinctions this is the place for you.  But, a warning you better be ready to drive through a beautiful swath of NE Nebraska farmland.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2393

Close to "home" we were pulling in the local radio station.  But we were almost to Ashfall.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2401

This will probably be a very long post with lots of images (which is why I didn't get these up earlier).  Ashfall was our main destination on our trip to Nebraska.  We did stop at Neligh Mills right before we made it to Ashfall.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2403

So up the hill to the Ashfall beds.  I find it interesting that places look different than you think they will.  I like to do a lot of research before I visit a new place, I don't think I spent a lot of time looking up Ashfall.  I was sick the week I went to Kansas and Nebraska.  This was the first day I was feeling better, which was good because we did a lot of driving.  The night before we ended up in Lincoln and it was the night the big storm of 2014 went through Nebraska, the clouds were pretty wicked in Lincoln.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2404

I love this landscape, it is beautiful.  This is what I see when I think of Nebraska.   

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2405-2

So here is the barn that houses the mass grave.  The horses that went extinct, the rhinos, the mammoths.  All of these animals that died out.  Mass extinctions are no joke.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2414

Yes, what were all these creatures doing in Nebraska? 

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2423

So, what about this Yellowstone Caldera?  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2426

About 12 million years ago, a volcano in southwest Idaho spread a blanket of ash over a very large area. One or two feet of this powdered glass covered the flat savannah-like grasslands of northeastern Nebraska.

Most of the animals which lived here survived the actual ashfall, but as they continued to graze on the ash covered grasses, their lungs began to fill up with the abrasive powder. Soon their lungs became severely damaged and they began to die. 

So, this was not a pleasant way to slowly suffocate..  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -8957

Here this humbling, ancient tragedy is at our feet.  Pompeii of the rhino.   

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -8950

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2452


Undisturbed except by an occasional scavenging meat-eater, the skeletons of these animals are preserved in their death positions, complete with evidence of their last meals in their mouths and stomachs and their last steps preserved in the sandstone below.

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2465

Of the seventeen species of vertebrates recovered from the volcanic ashbed, twelve are mammals. Over 200 fossil skeletons from 12 species of Clarendonian Land Mammal Age have been discovered at the site so far.Related articles

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2467

Geology is fascinating, Yellowstone is a place I'd like to visit before it erupts again.  I hope it waits until I'm dead to erupt again too (I'm a realist AND an optimist).  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2472

I feel like you as a reader gain more when I share snapshots of the information shown at these historic sites and museums.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -8959-2

So if  you ever decide to make this fossil pilgrimage to Ashfall as we did, you will have an interesting day.  

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -8976

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2473

So this is a very long post but I didn't put all the pictures I edited in it.

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -8973


Check out what the Smithsonian has to say about Ashfall

Ashfall State Park in Nebraska -2512-2


Mom's Mudflaps at Chimney Rock

So in the 1970s and early 80s my parents had a trailer manufacturing business in Butte Nebraska- S&S Trailers it was called.  They were pretty successful for a while. 

Butte Nebraska-4452

This is where I spent my early childhood.  This is the kind of town where I could ride my bike to the store a few blocks down at age seven and be safe.  This is the kind of childhood our kids deserve but most don't have.  I was fortunate.   

Butte Nebraska-4453

The paint shop, where some of my earliest memories are helping wipe down trailers to clean them before they were painted.  

So not a lot to say about Butte Nebraska but I'm one of the Sharp kids.  Which even decades after moving away people know whose family you belong to.  That's what small Nebraska towns are like. So when I was a kid my parents sold mud flaps that she designed with the outline of the state map around them.  

Butte Nebraska-4454

One of the shop buildings.   

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -4450

The big green shop.  The old burnt out shop caught on fire before I was born sometime.  The irony of internet addiction when your phone has no coverage is for whatever reason I had 3G coverage if I walked over on the property.  I was staying across the road at my best friend's home.  

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5533

But a few days later I was on the way on a spur of the moment last moment change of plans with my Plainsgirl buddy from Omaha...

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5536

Way out west - we were taking the Great Nebraskan Pilgrimage to Chimney Rock, a place that was far, far away from our Eastern Nebraska.  Yet, it has always been such a huge part of the state's identity having never been there seemed kind of wrong in our advanced ages of the somewhat early middle.  

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5542

So Chimney Rock in the Platte River Valley which was incredible.  This just doesn't seem like the Nebraska I've known.  Yet there it is Chimney Rock.   

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5552

And WOW.  We were there.  

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5558

So there was a museum, cool, we can go learn about this monument.   

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5567

I walk in and see these.  I kind of did a double take.  I told my friend that my Mom designed those and my parents sold them all over Nebraska when I was a kid.   I had to call Mom and make sure I was correct that she did indeed design these mud flaps.  COOL.   My Mom did this and it's in a National Monument Museum that many people walk through and see every day.  

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5576

So were it not for flooding in Omaha, and our random decision to travel west I wouldn't have known about this.  But I'm proud of my Mom's creativity in this museum.   Also, yeah how cool is that to go into a museum and see a part of your own family history preserved. Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5585

I'm trying to work my way through more of my images from The Great Plains tour 2014, because I just confirmed the dates of The Great Plains tour 2015 this evening.  I'm excited!  I love going North in the Summer.  Maybe I just love traveling anywhere, anyways!  Yay for road trips.  I'd be a happy person if I could travel more.  

Chimney Rock Joy Franklin -5587

So it was an interesting day last June when we visited Chimney Rock and Scottsbluff, and I'm even more thankful that we had more time with Grandma that evening.  

Boggy Depot Cemetery- 2015

We were running early on our trip to Atoka on Saturday so I had my husband pull into Boggy Depot so we could stop at the cemetery.   I now think it's worthwhile to revisit places that I have posted about before because I can look at how my photography has evolved over the years.  In June of 2010 I visited Boggy Depot Cemetery for the first time. I did come home with some of the same shots of the same stones, so what caught my eye then, still catches my eye about this very old place that was once Indian Territory. 

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1139

But I can share a new perspective tonight.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1145

I love the trees over this cemetery.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1146

I apparently was interested in the final resting place of C.W. Flint who was born in 1812 during my last visit too.

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1148

My husband joined me in taking in the names of these people who left our earthly realm so long ago.  It is good to read the names of people who are gone.  Just reading their name seems to bring peace that perhaps someday our names will be read in a cemetery and we will be remembered.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1152
The trees tower far above the largest worn headstone.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1156
Names hand scratched into stone.  What we don't think about is these historic cemeteries were probably also once filled with wooden crosses or other types of markers for those who couldn't afford the luxury of a name engraved in stone.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1164

I don't think people who haven't spent time walking these old, abandoned, cemeteries realize how so many of the graves are those of beloved children and infants.  In this age of antibiotics I see the heartache and confusion in the news when a child passes away from strep throat or the flu. The measles outbreak is a wake up call for the importance of vaccination.   If parents spent time wandering old cemeteries they would see that they aren't filled with the elderly, they are filled with children.   Sad, little lambs gracing the grief of a hundred years ago.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1166

When I posted the photo of these old graves a friend who lives in New York State mentioned how the stones were younger than her early 19th century home.  It is fascinating in how your region affects your perception of age.   

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1191

Boggy Depot was a very busy town in Indian Territory.   Boggy Depot  was a town in between Ft Smith, Arkansas and Fort Washita which was closer to Madill and Tishomingo.   During the Civil War it was a Confederate Supply Depot, which my Great Great Uncle was stationed at briefly.   

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1193
Broken stones dot this historical cemetery.  

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1208

It is humbling as a human being to realize that someday this will be us.   

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1209

The items of trade that came to Indian Territory were the stones and items like this fencing, this was before the time of the railroads.   

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1196

The tribes saved Boggy Depot park a few years ago.  I think tribal sovereignty is a wonderful thing that allowed this historic place to be taken from the state and placed into trust in the hands of the Chickasaw Nation.   

Visiting Boggy Depot Oklahoma -1184

I found this interesting blog talking about experiencing a bit of the supernatural here at Boggy Depot Cemetery.  Which I don't usually "sense" anything in a cemetery, if anything cemeteries are extremely peaceful places.  The forgotten ones make me sad, but only because the people whose bodies are forever at rest there - have been forgotten by their loved ones or their entire families are gone now.  

Visiting Boggy Depot Cemetery Oklahoma -1162

Oh here is a Bigfoot story!    Which is funny we were out driving around to do some night photography and this large black animal (clearly furry) darted across the road.  I'm saying it was just a stray dog on the loose - but it seemed huge.   

Boggy Depot at Atoka Oklahoma-1170

One more of the impressive trees that loom over this antiquated cemetery.   

More Abilene, more of the Eisenhower Museum

That last post didn't adequately represent the campus of the Eisenhower Presidential Library so let me continue.  

20140602-IMG_1746Joy FranklinEisenhower Presidential LibraryHere is the Presidential Library. It looks somewhat intimidating sitting here in the middle of this Prairie Town.   This post I will post some Eisenhower images along with some Abilene images.  

20140602-IMG_1908Joy FranklinEisenhower statue overlooks boyhood home in Abilene Kansas

It was rainy when I arrived and hot and muggy by the time I left. Despite living in Kansas and my many visits to Manhattan I never made the journey to Abilene.  

20140602-IMG_1887Joy FranklinEisenhower's Tomb in Abilene Kansas

You can stand at the grave of a President.  

20140602-IMG_1954Joy FranklinEisenhower Presidential Library Abilene Kansas


20140602-IMG_1952Joy FranklinEisenhower's Grave Abilene Kansas

Where a great leader is laid to rest.  

20140602-IMG_1973Joy FranklinCarriage House in Abilene Kansas

There are more museums, mansions and attractions in Abilene.  This old Carriage house is on display. 

20140602-IMG_1966Joy FranklinAbilene Kansas -Abilene & Smoky Valley Depot

Abilene, I was told at the visitors center, has three railroad depots.   Abilene means "City of the Plains"  an entrepreneur Joseph McCoy bought property and built a cattle yard.  In 1867 the Kansas Pacific railroad came through Abilene.  Abilene became one of the most important cattle towns of the Chisholm trail.  So sharing a heritage with Duncan Oklahoma, and Fort Worth, Abilene is a cattle town.   

20140602-IMG_1682Joy FranklinBNSF Train going by the parkinglot of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene Kansas

If trains are your thing.  You can catch a few in Abilene.  I believe you can even ride on one.  

20140602-IMG_1985Joy FranklinMansion in Abilene Kansas

This is just one of the mansions that you can see in Abilene.   

20140602-IMG_1991Joy FranklinAbilene Kansas site of first settlers and pony express

Another historical marker.   

20140602-IMG_1978Joy FranklinAbilene Kansas_

And a view of Abilene from south of the town.  I had to leave and make my way back to Manhattan.  It is an interesting Kansas Community.  


Eisenhower and Abilene Kansas

Independence Day 2014 seems like a perfect day to honor former President Dwight Eisenhower with a post about the museum, library and boyhood home that I had the opportunity to visit in early June.  

20140602-IMG_1710Joy FranklinAbilene Kansas-Eisenhower Oklahoma Joy Photography

Although I taught history for quite a few years I didnt' spend a great deal of time reading presidential histories.  Eisenhower was a President whom I respected and didn't hold any great like or dislike for. 

20140602-IMG_1745Joy FranklinEisenhower Presidential Library


There is a lot to see in Abilene, it's a full day trip.  You could probably spend two days visiting Abilene to see all of the historic sites.   

20140602-IMG_1885Joy FranklinEisenhower's Boyhood Home in Abilene Kansas

You can take a few minutes to step inside the boyhood home of Dwight Eisenhower.  

20140602-IMG_1902Joy FranklinFlowers in the window of Eisenhower House Abilene Kansas

Flowers decorate the window of the Eisenhower kitchen. 

20140602-IMG_1883Joy FranklinEisenhower Presidential Library

Eisenhower was our 34th President.   He was our leader from 1953 to 1961.  He launched the interstate highway system and gave America a way of seeing the country quickly without experiencing the country! 

20140602-IMG_1772Joy FranklinEisenhower Presidential Library

There is no way I can post all of the wonderful photos of artifacts and tidbits of history that you will find in the museum.  It is a fascinating place.   

20140602-IMG_1906Joy FranklinEisenhower Presidential Library Abilene Kansas

  The shot above clearly speaks of the small town president with the towering grain elevators that are so iconic on the American Plains.  

20140602-IMG_1790Joy FranklinEisenhower's Honors and medals

A highly decorated general for his success in defeating the Nazis in World War II. 

20140602-IMG_1788Joy Franklinworries of a commander in Eisenhower's Handwriting

The worries of a General... 

20140602-IMG_1785Joy FranklinEisenhower Letter

It is just fascinating to imagine the level of pressure Eisenhower was under as a General- then later as President of the United States.

20140602-IMG_1797Joy FranklinDDay Invasion Newspaper headlines- Eisenhower Army Lands in Northern France

From the days of when he was a general.  

20140602-IMG_1838Joy FranklinEisenhower's Presidential Seal in Abilene Kansas

The Presidential Seal 

20140602-IMG_1852Joy FranklinTelegram from Mayor of Little Rock asking Eisenhower for help

Museums are fascinating, but my patience to stand and read display after display is short lived.  

20140602-IMG_1858Joy FranklinEisenhower Letter

But you find pieces of a person's character within.  

20140602-IMG_1873Joy FranklinEisenhower' quote %22If All Americans Want is Security they can go to prison%22 in Abilene Kansas

On that note I'll end this post. I am still learning on switching formats from a PC to a Mac and I am going to have to work some more on file formats and other small issues.  Have a great Fourth of July Holiday!  Get out and enjoy this day for what it is. 


Neligh Mills-- Adventures in Nebraska

So If I can have Expedition Oklahoma, surely I can have adventures in Nebraska.   Well, here we go...I need to post some of these photos before I go to Nebraska again and come back overwhelmed with photos and never post them.  

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2299

The Elkhorn River at Neligh

After a stormy night in Lincoln we woke up early to head north to Ashfall (which was our next tourist stop and our main destination of this trip).   But, I had a map, a paper map, which marked Neligh Mills as a historic site, so we stopped by.  Note above the photo of the river.  Rivers were important for mills as well as important means of transportation.   In the 19th century our rivers weren't covered by systems of dams and were much more navigable.  Also, unlike Oklahoma the rivers of North East Nebraska are quite impressive as you shall see in future posts.  

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2374

It is my job as your tour guide to take you to places you may never see otherwise.  Neligh Mills is likely one of those places (unless you're from Nebraska, then really you have no excuse not to go when it's not football season). 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2295

If you click on the link you will see the earliest photograph of the mill

It is interesting to go to these places and think about things that you've never thought about before.  Like where our flour comes from and how difficult it may have been in the past to obtain it.  You think about the geography that allowed these mills and what we've done to the environment to not be able to run mills by the rivers like we did at one time in the past.  You also think about how Nebraska could have had 500 mills in 1890 and wonder how many mills are in the United States in 2014. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2387

I love looking at old machinery and learning about how it worked to create our modern world. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2388

I've always had a fascination with history and how people lived in the past.  No matter what reasoning brought people to this country; to these Great Plains,  life was hard. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2310

The mill started before the railroad went through town. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -8869

 Now it's time to go inside and check out this preserved mill.

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2319

It is a sensory experience to step back in time.  The scent of the old barns remind me of the old barns we had on our farm when I was a kid. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2304

Neligh Mills was built in 1873.  Mr. Neligh settled in Neligh with the intention of opening a mill, after purchasing land from the railroad company. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2327

The old equipment filled a boxcar full of flour a day while in operation in the late 19th century.

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2337

More Info about Neligh Mills

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Flour Mills in Nebraska-2369

Isn't this fascinating.  To think what an importan industry this was for Nebraska.  I had no idea.  It's amazing what you can learn when you stop by these random sites.  

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -8900

This mill is operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society.

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -8912

Now take a moment to check out the historical society website.  This is why I enjoy building my site.  I am a visual person and enjoy sharing high quality images of places with my viewers.

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -2350

I love our history. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site Allis Chalmers Mill equipment-2318

I love Allis Chalmers... Tractors. 

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -8918

Looking out at the old bridge.

Neligh Mills Nebraska Historic Site -8919

So that was fun.  Our next stop was Ashfall, where 12 million years ago mega-fauna met it's fate at the hands of a super volcano in Idaho (which is currently called the Yellowstone Caldera). 

6-4-2014 Me at Neligh-8873

I let my Sister have the t3i while I was shooting and had her try her hand at shooting with a DSLR. Hopefully soon I'll convince her that she needs a Canon not an iPad for her photography.  Oh yeah and it only costs $3 for admission to the mill. It's a bargain.  

Seeing the Sights in Abilene

So today I'm no longer sick in Manhattan. In fact I ventured away from the Little Apple to the town of Abilene to visit the Eisenhower library and museum.   Eisenhower's hometown is Abilene Texas.  It is an interesting town, the railhead for the Chisholm Trail; museums, mansions and a lot of history. 

6-2-2014 Flint Hills and Abilene Kansas  WM-1664

Oh Abilene, there are more posts to come from today's photos (over 400) but to give you a glimpse into my busy day sightseeting up here in the Flint Hills.

6-2-2014 Flint Hills and Abilene Kansas  WM-1666

By the time I made it to Abilene, like my hometown of Duncan it is another Chisholm Trail town. 

6-2-2014 Flint Hills and Abilene Kansas  WM BNSF train depot with train going by-1693

I was told in the visitor's center that Abilene was the home to three train depots.  I imagine so, considering the volume of cattle that came through here in the late 19th century. 

6-2-2014 Flint Hills and Abilene Kansas  American Indian Art Center-1716

This was an interesting place! I had a good discussion with the owner about Native culture and history.   I will be posting more photos of it. 

6-2-2014 Flint Hills and Abilene Kansas  Eisenhower Museum and Library-1959

Next stop, made by the dutiful registered Republican (I'm a libertarian but I tend to vote to the right).  I made my way to visit my first Presidential Library and museum. It was more interesting than I anticipated.  

6-2-2014 Flint Hills and Abilene Kansas D-Day paper from eisenhower museum-1797

So since we're nearing the anniversary of D-Day this week. Guess what - my wifi is awfully slow.  So this is all there will be for this post!  Tomorrow the adventure continues.


The Ft. Worth Stockyards

Monday I went to Fort Worth., I was joined by my friend Summer at Surviving Summer.  I had an important client booked for Tuesday and since my favorite 28-138 zoom lens broke at the Hot Air Ballon Festival in Gainesville, Texas last Fall I had not replaced it.  After a day of searching online for potential lenses I had sort of made up my mind on what I needed.  

Fort Worth Camera Store-9408

I've decided buying camera gear is my equivalent of "getting a new tattoo" or some other addictive behavior.  I left with a Canon 18-135 f/ 3.5-5.6 and a Canon 85 mm f/1.8. Both are amazing and I can finally do indoor portraits and get superb results.   

Ft Worth Stockyards-9456

Since we got to the edge of Ft. Worth around 4pm and the camera store closed at 6 we had to fight horrible traffic.  Everytime I go to Dallas-Fort Worth I have all these plans and intentions of doing things other than my planned errand or trip.   Everytime I get there and fight traffic and give up hope and want to return home.   It's frustrating but it's also  so nice to know that such a great metroplex is only a couple of hours away.  

Surviving Summer in Ft. Worth -9480

Here is summer posing so I can use my new 18-135 lens. I never feel like carrying my camera bag around.  I'm beginning to realize I need two camera bags for my lenses.   

Fort Worth Stockyards-9431

I love the colors!  I've been using my small telephoto more often and I really have to edit to get the colors that I want out of a photo.  This lens is great.  It also gives me a slightly wider angle than the 28-135 did.  It's great.  If I really want a wide shot I do have the wide angle lens too!  

Ft Worth Stockyards-9474

The lasts time I visited Cowtown I was in a hurry.  I was running through it in the Ft. Worth Cowtown Half-Marathon.  So it was good to slow things down a bit on Monday.  

Fort Worth Stockyards-9436

A Bill Pickett statue outside of the coliseum.  

Fort Worth Stockyards-9443

There is a lot of interesting history in this area.  There are also a lot of touristy type shops and steak houses.  

Fort Worth Stockyards-9444

I'll post separately about where we ate dinner.  

Fort Worth Stockyards-9493

If you've never been here, you should take time to visit the next time you're in Fort Worth.  

Fort Worth Stockyards-9502

The signs add unique character to the area. 

Fort Worth Stockyards-9482

Boots? Did someone say boots? 

Boots! Yes! Please! -9460

Besides camera lenses this is my other expensive vice.   Look at the pair with the crosses all over them, aren't they lovely.  

Jewelry incorporating warbonnet imagery-9505

Of course in a town for cowboys you will find the indians.  The one dimensional warrior image with the war bonnet.   This is a town which pulls in a lot of international tourism.  I hope this jewelry "trend" will soon be a thing of the past.  The fashion designers, are working from the perspective of "Art for Arts sake" while holding little regard for any cultural boundaries.  How can we move our education to help people understand that there is more than just this image representing 500 nations?  It is very much like 19th century romanticism.  We desire something that is not real, society places it before us and idealizes certain moments in history.  

St Patrick's day -9512

Did I mention it was St. Patrick's Day?  

Bullriding Contestants-9543

Now that is my kind of entertainment!  Bull riding.   

Billy Bob's Texas-9546

You've got to go here sometime! Billy Bob's Texas.  I went to see Rick Springfield perform here a few years back.   I know not very country, but very entertaining. I can't believe that was five years ago now!   Well there you have it, Ft. Worth Texas.   

Ardmore, Oklahoma

George Shirk in his Oklahoma Place Names says that Ardmore was established on October 27th, 1887 and was named after Ardmore, Pennsylvania, a town along the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

Ardmore Oklahoma-4438

I followed my iPhone's directions to my anticipated location until I crossed the railroad tracks and ran out of town to drive in.  I then phoned my destination and was guided in step by step, because Ardmore and virtual maps do not agree on where places are.  

Railroad Depot at Ardmore Oklahoma-4416
So I was stuck and knew I was lost.  So I backtracked to the train depot where I could stop and make a phone call.  It was a pretty day so I stopped and got out my camera. Unfortunately I had to use lens that came with my first camera because despite $150 repair the lens that broke a few weeks ago still isn't working correctly.  

Railroad Depot at Ardmore Oklahoma-4423
I like the old brick buildings in these old towns.  They are filled with history and character and stories we will never hear.  

Railroad Depot at Ardmore Oklahoma-4439
North of Ardmore is Pauls Valley the other town where I've found Amtrack stops.  But you never know what history you might learn when you stumble upon a new place.  Ardmore had a tank car explosion in 1915 as you can see from the photo below. 

Tank car explosion of 1915 Ardmore Oklahoma-4440
Forty three people were killed and many were injured in this disaster which happened nearly 100 years ago. Read more here: Ardmore Gas Explosion.  Wow, here is an image from the explosion that I found online: 1915 Image of Ardmore after Explosion

Railroad Depot at Ardmore Oklahoma-4427
Here is more history of the town of Ardmore, please click on the links and they will redirect you to the pages. 

Ardmore Oklahoma-4445
I love the echoes of history on these old brick buildings.