March 6 – 13, 2017 – Arcadia All-Florida Rodeo – Veterans’ Luncheon

The highlight of this past week was attending the 89th edition of the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo last Friday.  Never having been to a rodeo before, it was a "hoot"!

The events began with The Shootout Gang, actually the least interesting part of the show.

It was followed by one of the most endearing events … Muttin Bustin'.  The contestants are ages 4-6 years old and the winner is the contestant who rides the sheep the longest … and receives a shiny new belt buckle!

Next up was the Saddle Bronc Riding.  In Saddle Bronc Riding, the rider uses a speacialized saddle with free swinging stirrups and no horn.  The saddle bronc rider grips a simple rein braided from cotton and polyester and attached to a leather halter worn by the horse.  The rider lifts on the rein and attempts to find a rhythm with the animal by spurring forwards and backwards with his feet in a sweeping motion from shoulder to flank.  The rider attempts to stay on the horse for eight seconds without touching the animal with his free hand.  On the first jump out of the chute, the rider "must mark the horse out".  This means he must have the heels of his boots in contact with the horse above the pont of the shoulders before the horse's front legs hit the ground.  A horse who bucks in a spectacular and effective manner will score more points than a horse who bucks in a straight line with no significat changes in direction.  A rider that manages to complete an eight second ride is scored on a scale of 0-50 and the horse is also scored on a scale of 0-50.  Scores in the 80s are very good and in the 90s are exceptional.

In Steer Wrestling (or Bulldogging), a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer and then wrestles the steer to the ground by grabbing its horns and pulling it off-balance so that it falls to the ground.  He then ties three of the steer's legs together. 

The Rodeao also had a Clown who both interacted extremely well with the crowd and also did a solo prefromance.  He was great!

Bareback Bronc Riding presents some additional challenges for the riders.  They (obviously) do not use a saddle or rein but use a rigging that consists of a leather and rawhide composite piece oftencompared to a suitcase handle attached to a surcingle and placed just behind the horses withers.  The rider leans back and spurs with an up and down motion from the horses' point of shoulder toward the rigging hadnle, spurring at each jump in rhythm with the motion of the horse.  As with Saddle Bronc Riding, the rider attempts to stay on the horse for eight seconds without touching the horse with his free hand.  He must also "mark the horse out".  This means he must have the heels of his boots in contact with the horse above the pont of the shoulders before the horse's front legs hit the ground.  A horse who bucks in a spectacular and effective manner will score more points than a horse who bucks in a straight line with no significat changes in direction.  A rider that manages to complete an eight second ride is scored on a scale of 0-50 and the horse is also scored on a scale of 0-50.  Scores in the 80s are very good and in the 90s are exceptional.

We'd never heard of Team Roping.  Also known as "heading and heeling", the event features a steer (typically a Corriente) and two moounted riders.  The first rider is referred to as the "header", the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns … but it also legal to let the rope go around the animal's neck.  Once caught by a leagal head catch, the header must dally (wrap the rope around the rubber covered saddle horn) and use his horse to turn the steer to the left.  The second rider is the "heeler" who ropes the steer by its hind feet after the "header" has turned the steer, with a five second penalty assessed if only one leg is caught.

The Team Riding exhibition was amazing!  Eight pairs of riders were in arena at the same time … "square dancing", going through other difficult formation and then running a "figure eight" at full speed.

They then held an event for the young kids in the audience.  All those under six were invited into the arena.  Three sheep with ribbons were then released.  The first three kids retrieving ribbons were winnder.  Not surprisingly, three of the oldest and largest boys in the group reaped the rewards!

Calf Roping, aslo known as tie-down roping, is a rodeo event that features a calf and a mounted rider.  The goal or this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around the animal's neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by tying three legs together in as short a time as possible.  If the calf frees itself in less than ten seconds the rider is assessed a penalty.

The Barrel Racing event featured all ladies … one group of adults and another between 11-16 years old.  The rider and hores attempt to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in a triangular pattern in the fastest time. It combines the horse's athletic ability and the horsemanship skills of the rider.

The final event was the Bull Riding.  This sport involved a righr getting on a bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck the rider off.  As in the other bucking events, the rider must stay on the bill for eight seconds to count as a qualified rider.  The rider tightly fastens one hand to the bull with a long braided rope.  It is a risky sport and has been called "the most dangerous eight seconds in sports".

We are absoluttely amazed at the condition of each of these cowboys, as most compete in multiple if not all of the rodeo events, and how quickly they bounce up after taking some pretty bone-shattering fallss. 

Unfortunately, the final rider of the day was not as lucky as the others competitiors.

You may have noticed from the above photos that in the Saddle and Bareback Bornc Riding and the Bull Riding that there is a sinch tied around the animals midsection.  It is pulled tight just before the chute's gate is opened and becomes a major impetus to making the horse or bull buck.

Tonight we're its been raining (for only the third time since arriving in Florida in early January) and we were under a TORNADO WARNING … which, fortunately has passed.  Meantime, we're watching the Nor'easter heading for Pennsylvania and New England.  Tomorrow, while our friends and family back home are shivvering and counting 12" to 20" of snow, we'll be relaxing in shorts!


Earlier today, we attended a luncheon at our campgournd honoring more than 200 U.S. and Canadian veterans.  Photos were taken of those who had served in World War II (two US Navy sailors), the Korean War (a larger number), Vietnam (the largest group, inlcuding yours truly) and the Afghanastan/Iraq Conflicts (again, just two vets).

The person in the black shirt and hat

The real hightight of the afternnon was our speaker, Michael Jernigan.

Corporal (Retired) Mike Jernigan was born in St. Petersburg in 1978 and after spending the first 14 years of his life moving with the military, he returned to St. Petersburg and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1997.  Mike is a third generation Marine

His grandfather retired in 1974 as a Colonel, his father left the Marines as a Staff Sergeant, completed his bachelor's degree and retired in 1993 as a Major in the U. S. Army.  Mike enlisted in the Marines on his 24th birthday in 2002.  He was sworn in by his father, Major Michael V. Jernigan, Ret, United States Army. He completed boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina and went to the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger where he received the MOS of 0351, Infantry Assaultman.  Mike’s first duty station was Camp LeJeune with 1st battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.  He soon became an active duty augment to Weapons Company, 1st battalion, 25th Marine Regiment and completed a 6 month deployment to Camp Schwab on the island of Okinawa.

At the end of this deployment he volunteered to transfer to Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.  He then  deployed to Iraq where he served as a squad leader with Weapons Platoon.  Mike served in Mahmudiyah, Zaidon, and Fallujah during the summer of 2004.  On August 22, 2004 his Humvee was struck by an IED (roadside bomb).  Mike lost both eyes, suffered a crushed cranium and severe trauma to his right hand and left knee. 

He recovered at the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, MD, completed the Traumatic Brain Injury program at James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa, FL, and then completed a 16 week blind rehabilitation program in Augusta, GA at the VA.  He was medically retired December 29, 2005. 

Mike subsequently attended Georgetown University in 2008/2009.  He graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, majoring in History.  He started his first job after college as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs immediately after graduation in the spring of 2012.  He is scheduled ot be married next month!

He has written a book, "VISION", which Debbie and I would recommend to everyone!  Amazingly he was able to autograph the copy of his book which we purchased;

To Debbie and Dick

Thank you for your support.

Semper Fideles

(Marine Corps Motto – "Always Faithful")


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February 7 – March 5, 2017 – It’s Tough to Spend the Winter in Sarasota

The past month has seemingly flown by as we continue to discover that since retirement it’s increasingly hard to recall how we had any time for work!

While Debbie continues her yoga, line dancing (more later) and stretching exercises, I have managed to hit the golf course several times a week; often with wildly varying results.  Debbie got in one evening of Bingo, where she was a winner and I have discovered two versions of shuffleboard, which I really enjoy.

We have also spent time with Debbie’s brother Dick and his wife Kate; my cousin Sandy and husband Jeff; and our best friends for over 50 years, Ken and Cheryl.

I had a one –day trip to Jupiter, FL to meet with the Els for Autism foundation and its Center of Excellence,

founded by former world’s No.1 PGA golf great, Ernie Els and his wife Leizl after their son, Ben was diagnosed with autism spectrum,  

They will be the primary recipients of our Rotary Club’s annual charity golf outing this coming June.   Seeing what they have accomplished and what is yet to come was an amazing experience into this extraordinary project designed to show the world what resources can be available to children and young adults on the autism spectrum (which affects 1 in every 45 children between 3 and 17) as well as the numerous program elements and research plans that will expand its reach far beyond South Florida.  More on the event can be found at

We made a couple of trips to Fort Myers to visit with friend we met and became close to during our winters in Naples as well as a trip to Naples to visit with Debbie’s friend, Wendy

and also for another reunion with Naples’ friends.

We had to put our new Jeep in the shop for several days to have a “base plate”, wiring and auxiliary breaking system installed to we will be able to tow it behind our motorhome.

Sometimes $2,000 doesn’t look like much!

Sunsets which paint the sky in a variety of … sometimes pastels and at other times brilliant colors … whether at the beach or when seen form our motorhome, are almost always an example of Nature’s beauty.

Here at Sun N Fun, they held a 50th Anniversary luncheon for all couples who had been married fifty years or more.

While we’re in our 51st year,

one of the couples was married in 1947 (Debbie was just 1)  and were celebrating their 70th!

We also took in a movie, the first time I have been to a movie theater in several years.

This past week, I actually joined Debbie at one of her line dancing classes.  While I was able to catch on to a couple … I decided to sit out others as the circuity between my ears (to listen to the cuing and music), brain and feet was out-of-sync!

Last evening, the campground put on another very lovely event … for cancer survivors.  

While there was a dinner … where we met several couples and singles, one a 30-year survivor … and some “fun” entertainment

and dancing … including a line dancing demo (from which I was self-excluded) …

there was a somber yet celebratory side which celebrated those who’ve beaten or are presently battling cancer.  It began with the presentation of US and Canadian colors

followed by a symbolic parade of survivors

and ending at a pathway lit by luminaries in remembrance those who had lost their battle with cancer.

This morning we went to see a chalk art contest.  Upon arrival, we discovered the drawings were mostly done by young children.  However, it was fun and some of the sketches were quite good.

Tonight, we and friends

Robert, Ken, Cheryl, Debbie and Sue Ann

headed to Siesta Key Beach for the Sunday “Drum Circle

and sunset.  Where people watching is concerned, these weekly events rate a strong 8.0 and above.  This evening, the “free spirits” dancing, twirling, hula hooping, and otherwise just having fun to the incessant beat of the drums were a far larger group than usual and spanned from young children

to, teenagers, college students and adults (some “regulars” who not surprisingly seem to have a need to be noticed),

Mother and Son

We never could figure out what this guy was doing!

to “seniors”!

Away from the Drum Circle …

While tonight’s sunset was less colorful than usual, it was still a wonderful show of nature’s beauty!

From there, we made a stop at Sub Zero,

a unique ice cream shop where they actually make your ice cream

“to order” … right in front of you!









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January 24 – February 06, 2017 – Friends – Golf – Dancing – Highland Games – Fruitville Grove Farmer’s Market – Siesta Key Beach Drum Circle and Sunset

Debbie recently commented we might have to go home to find some time to relax!  Seem like we’ve been busy almost every day since arriving in Sarasota.  However, we’re really not complaining!

In late January, Frank and Lynn Fowler, friends from our years in Naples arrived at Sun N Fun for a week’s stay.  Meantime, Joe and Jeanne Warwick, one of the couples we traveled to Alaska with in 2011 checked-in for the month of February. 

We decided on getting together with both couples and took them to Linger Lodge,

an eclectic restaurant set amid large, live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss.  Untouched by time and located the picturesque banks of the Braden River, Linger Lodge is "Old Florida" at its best.  With preserved native Florida animals

adorning every inch of the restaurant, it was also named by Forbes as one of the "Most Unusual Restaurants in the World" and Al Roker as one of the "Top 5 Weirdest Restaurants in America”.

Joe, Jeanne, Debbie, Dick, Lynn and Frank

Turns out that Jeanne worked in the school system where Lynn lived many years ago.  We’re always amazed at what a small world it really is!


Not surprisingly, Debbie has continued the Yoga and stretching classes as well as joining in on not one but two line dancing groups.  Meanwhile, I have been playing far more golf than I’d have a chance to play if back in Pennsylvania.

Dick, Jim DeCarlo (a frined from Cape Cod), Tom Briggs (golfing buddy from Newtown PA) and Ken Grenier (best friend for more than 50 years)

With many of our friends from Naples staying in the Ft. Myers area, we were invited for a mini-reunion … some we’d not seen on 2-3 years.

Wayne & Joyce Sorrel, Nancy & Morley Kenway, Dick & Debbie, Weldon and Nancy Wallace and Lynn & Frank Fowler

We also discovered a local Farm Stand

less than ½ mile from our campground … with incredible grapefruits and a menagerie of Billy goats,







This past Saturday we went to the 23rd Highland Games held in Sarasota … which featured Scottish, Celtic and Irish music and dancing.

We also continue to make a trip to Siesta Key Beach on Sunday nights for the Drum Circle

with its hard-to-beat people watching,

Just an hour before the 2017 Super Bowl

Sand sculptures,

and predictably spectacular sunsets.

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January 16 – 23, 2017 – 999 Days on the Road

Tomorrow will be our 1,000th day of RVing since we head out on our first trip in 2010.

Meanwhile, Debbie continues to find things to do here at Sun N Fun in Sarasota … a stretching class, yoga and even gospel line dancing … who knew!

I have found time to play another three rounds of golf … one a disaster (after losing eleven balls, Ken suggested I try for an even dozen … inspiring me to aim my tee shot directly into a nearby lake.  After striking the ball, I turned only to hear, “I can’t believe it, the ball struck a tree and bounced back in play.”  I couldn’t even hit a bad shot when I wanted it to) … and yesterday the best round I’ve played in months!

On Saturday, we drove to Tamps to visit with Bill and Carol Irvine.

one of the incredible couples with whom we traveled to Alaska in 2011 and whom have seen  during a several reunions since then, including coordinating our monthlong trip across Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas.

Sunday, we joined friends Ken and Cheryl to visit Sarasota's

which showcases the research of the Mote Marine Laboratory.  With its scientists working in waters all over the world, the organization is investigating new cancer-fighting substances from the sea; finding innovative ways to restore, in our lifetime, dwindling coral reefs; explaining and mitigating the impacts of climate change, ocean acidification and major oil spills; educating the public on conservation techniques and marine science; developing new technology and expanding vital ocean observation efforts; uncovering threats to sharks, sea turtles, marine mammals and other imperiled wildlife; and seeking ways to sustain fisheries while boosting sustainable seafood farming.

It is a well laid out facility with a host of volunteers prepared to answer any questions one might have.

Just some of the marine life we were able to observe and learn about included;

Bubbletip Anemone

Bullhead Sharks

Cannonball Jellyfish

Cownose Rays

Diamondback Terrapin Turtles

Garden Eels

Gray Angelfish



Moon Jellyfish

Queen Angelfish

Kemps Ridley Turtles

Spiny Lobsters


Striped Burrfish


Sandbar Sharks

Nursing Sharks

An “Inquisitive” Turtle

A Visiting Sparrow

and … of course

A Trio of Playful River Otters

Since mid-afternoon , we’ve been in one of the bullseyes for the storms racing across the southeastern United States and  into the late evening remain under heavy rain, high wind and possible tornado warnings. 

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January 8 – 15, 2017 – Our First Week in Sarasota

After arriving at Sun N Fun and getting settled in, we’ve had a hectic and productive week.

Debbie has discovered and gotten involved with both Stretching and Yoga classes while Dick joined Tatum Ridge Links, a local golf course just a mile-and-a-half from our campground.

We’ve also spent time with the Ken & Cheryl (the friends we met on our honeymoon in 1966), Dick Louis (Debbie’s brother) and his wife, Kate Morse, and Sandy and Jeff Fitts (Sandy is Dick’s favorite cousin and was like a second sister to him growing up).

We also had time for some shopping this past week …

Replacing our 2008 Jeep Liberty with its 125,000 miles (which does not include nearly 70,000 additional miles we towed behind our motorhome) for a 2017 Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk

which seems to have every imaginable doodad we could have asked for and then some; including air conditioned seats, a heated steering wheel and even the ability to self-park both perpendicular and parallel.  It’ll take us weeks to figure out how to operate all of the systems on it!

This evening, Ken and Cheryl joined us in going to Siesta Beach for the “Drumming” and spectacular sunset.   The Drum Circle, in which anyone with a drum can participate,

takes place every Sunday evening from an hour or so before sunset to shortly after the sun’s orb disappears beneath the Gulf of Mexico’s distant horizon.

As enjoyable as the pulsating sounds of the drums are, the people watching is second-to-none!  

Youngsters ranging from young elementary school aged to seniors  proudly “demonstrate” their dancing,

martial arts,

and hula hoop skills (some incredibly talented)

for a crowd of several hundred onlookers!

Meanwhile, fifty to one hundred yards away along the beach and at the water’s edge, occasional sand sculptures can be found

as hundreds more

wait with anxious anticipation … most with smart phones in hand … to capture the last rays of the day’s sun.


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January 7, 2017 – Sarasota

After some torrential overnight rain storms, we woke to cool and overcast skies.  A bigger problem were the 16-17 MPH winds which, when hitting us broadside, made driving a challenge. 


We were again passed my more Clemson

clemsonand Alabama fans that were making their way toward Tampa for Monday night’s game.


Unfortunately, too few of them seem to know how to use their directional signals when changing lanes!

Still flying is a Confederate Flag at the intersection of I-95 and I-4 in Tampa.


We made it to Sarasota around 2:00 PM … and which will be our “home” for the next 3½ months.



While it’s still cool and the temperatures are forecast to drop to the mid-30s by tomorrow morning.  However, not complaining as we have heard that it’s snowing with wind-chills in the teens back home … and the temperatures here in Florida are predicted to rebound to the 70s over the next couple of days!

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January 6, 2017 – Florida and Warmth … at least for the moment!

Today’s drive from Columbia, SC to Jacksonville, FL was relatively uneventful … always a good thing!

We were passed by a really cool 1935 Ford pick-up truck

1935-ford-pick-up-truckand several cars full of Clemson fans


clemson-fans-2and a lone Bama supporter,

alabama-fanlikely headed to Tampa for the National Championship game on Monday.

There was also another of the incongruous lighthouses far from any ocean of other major body of water.  This one in a shopping mall parking lot!


The temperatures are predicted to plummet to the low 40s by tomorrow morning and the weather for our drive to Sarasota could be wet and windy!

This evening, we invited one of my second cousins who lives in Jacksonville for dinner and had an absolutely wonderful  time!


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January 5, 2017 – South Carolina Capitol and Columbia, SC

Columbia is the 40th state capitol we’ve now visited. 

However, Charleston , not Columbia, was the home of South Carolina’s first State House.   In 1753 construction of the two-story building began at the northwest corner of Broad and Meeting Streets.  The building was built with brick and covered with stucco.  At this time James Glen (1738-1756) was Governor of South Carolina.  The first meeting of the South Carolina Assembly in the Charleston State House occurred in 1756. 


By 1785, bowing to increased pressure from the upcountry, the South Carolina Legislature decided to move the state's capital inland from Charleston.  In 1786 the South Carolina Assembly voted to move the state capital to Columbia, a more geographically, centralized location; although there was hardly any city there at the time.  Thus, Columbia became one of the first planned cities in the United States.

The Commissioners designed the new capital to be two miles square with two principle streets 150 feet wide.  All the rest of the streets were 100 feet wide spaced ten streets per mile.  These provisions called for 400 square blocks, each approximately four acres in size, to be divided into eight rectangular one-half acre lots.  The State House was built at the intersection of the two principle streets, which were named Assembly and Senate in honor of the legislative bodies.   All the north-south streets were actually laid out slightly northwest-southeast so they could run parallel to the Congaree River.

The legislature first met in this State House in 1790.  The structure was built of wood with a brick basement and by the 1840’s the State House had deteriorated and repairs were being made frequently.

The General Assembly had become concerned that official public records being stored in the State House would be damaged as a result of the deteriorating conditions; so, in 1850 they decided to build a fireproof building next to the State House.  The fireproof building would serve as storage for the official public records and as a wing to yet a third State House, the second in Columbia, which would become the present State House. 

Construction began in December 1851, but the original architect was dismissed for fraud and dereliction of duty.  Soon thereafter, the structure was largely dismantled because of defective materials and workmanship. 

John Niernsee redesigned the structure

state-capitol-architectual-plan-in-1862-columbia-sc-2017-01-05Original design

and work began on it in 1855, slowed during the Civil War, and was suspended in 1865 as William T. Sherman and his Union army captured the State Capital on February 17th  leaving city-wide destruction. 


The old State House was destroyed by fire. A monument is displayed on the grounds where the old State House stood.


The war left South Carolina in poverty and the General Assembly contemplating the major problems of the State.  The Governor of South Carolina at this time was Andrew G. Magrath (1864-1865).  Due to inadequate funding, completion of the State House was halted; however, a temporary roof was placed on the building. 


 Subsequently, South Carolina’s third State House would not be completed until 1907.

Between 1995 and 1998, the interior was remodeled and the building was made handicap-accessible.  A seismic protection system was installed to minimize the damage in the event of an earthquake similar to the Charleston earthquake of 1886. 


The State House is in the Greek Revival style; it is approximately 180 feet tall, 300 feet long, 100 feet wide and has 130,673 square feet of space.

The dome,



state-capitol-d-columbia-sc-2017-01-05and exterior steps were the last features added.

The columns on the porticos are each carved from a single piece of stone and are believe to be the largest monolithic columns used in a public building in the United States.



The Governor’s office

state-capitol-governors-office-wing-columbia-sc-2017-01-05and Lieutenant Governor’s office

state-capitol-lt-governors-office-wing-columbia-sc-2017-01-05are located in the west and east wings, respectively, and separated by the “Lower Lobby”.

state-capitol-lower-lobby-columbia-sc-2017-01-05Blue granite columns

state-capitol-lower-lobby-ceiling-bricks-columbia-sc-2017-01-05Hand-crafted brick ceiling from local kilns

Wrought iron staircases


With yellow jasmine (the state flower) decorations on the banister

state-capitol-lower-lobby-railing-post-a-columbia-sc-2017-01-05ascend to the spectacular Main Lobby.





Above the center of the Main Lobby is the internal dome.

state-capitol-main-lobby-ceiling-and-interior-dome-columbia-sc-2017-01-05South Carolina’s capitol dome is unique. Rectangular buildings with a round dome has to have a transition from rectangular to round.  Most domed capitols carry the roundness of the dome down to the Rotunda.  South Carolina’s is different, maintaining the rectangular shape all the way up through the top floor with the huge rectangular Main Lobby.  Thirty feet above the floor the dome begins.



The walls of the Main Lobby are adorned with paintings, plaques, busts and statues that reflect the state’s history.





state-capitol-bust-of-robert-e-lee-columbia-sc-2017-01-05General Robert E. Lee

state-capitol-battle-of-cowpens-painting-columbia-sc-2017-01-05“The Battle of Cowpen”, worth more than $1 million … it depicts a14-year old African American boy saving the life of William Washington (white horse), cousin of George Washington.  It is noteworthy that during the Revolutionary War many of the armies were integrated … something which would not happen again until the Korean War!

A statue of John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) stands in the center of the Main Lobby. 

state-capitol-john-c-calhoun-statue-a-columbia-sc-2017-01-05John Calhoun was born in 1872n, and educated at Yale College.  He served in South Carolina's legislature and was elected to the United States House of Representatives serving three terms. In 1812, Calhoun and Henry Clay, two famous "warhawks", who preferred war to the "putrescent pool of ignominious peace", convinced the House to declare war on Great Britain.

Calhoun was secretary of war under President James Monroe from 1817 to 1825 and ran for president in the 1824 election along with four others, John Q. Adams, Henry Clay, Crawford, and Andrew Jackson. However, Calhoun withdrew from the race. Calhoun was vice president of the United States in 1824 under John Quincy Adams and was re-elected in 1828 under Andrew Jackson … the only person to serve as vice president under two different presidents.  He was also the first vice president to resign on October 10, 1973.. Calhoun and Daniel Webster opposed each other over slavery and states' rights in a famous debate. In 1844 President John Tyler appointed Calhoun secretary of state. In later years he was reelected to the Senate, where he supported the Texas Annexation and defeated the Wilmot Proviso.

John Caldwell Calhoun died in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 1850 and was buried in St. Phillips Churchyard in Charleston. In 1957, United States Senators honored Calhoun as one of the five greatest senators of all time.


Three chambers are off the Main Lobby:

Senate Chamber




The Sword of State – The Sword represents the authority of the Senate.  The Sergeant-at-Arms places the Sword in brackets (above its case) in the front to the President of the Senate’s desk, which activates the original lamps on each side of the desk.  The presence of the Sword symbolizes the Senate in session.  The original sword, which dated to 1904, was stolen in 1941.  Lord Halifax, a former British Ambassador to the United States, presented the current Sword to the state in 1951.  It etched silve blade bears the state seal and the Yellow jessamine.

House Chamber

state-capitol-house-chamber-a-columbia-sc-2017-01-05As there was a training session going on for new legislative pages, we had limited access to the House Chamber

state-capitol-house-chamber-mace-columbia-sc-2017-01-05The Mace – represents the authority of the House.  The Sergeant-at-Arms places the Mace on the front of the Speaker’s desk to symbolize the House is in session.  As the Mace is placed in its brackets which activates the original lamps on each side of the desk.  The Mace was made in London in 1756 and is the oldest original mace used in the country.  Hidden during the American Revolution, the Mace disappeared for over 40 years.  It was ultimately discovered in a Philadelphia bank vault.

Joint Legislative (former State Library)





The State Seal of South Carolina


was adopted in 1776. The seal is made up of two elliptical areas, linked by branches of the palmetto tree. The image on the left is dominated by a tall palmetto tree and an oak tree, fallen and broken.  This scene represents the battle fought on June 28, 1776, between defenders of the unfinished fort on Sullivan's Island, and the British Fleet.  The standing palmetto represents the victorious defenders, and the fallen oak is the British Fleet. 

Banded together on the palmetto with the motto "Quis separabit?" ("Who Will Separate [Us]?"), are 12 spears that represent the first 12 states of the Union.  Surrounding the image, at the top, is "South Carolina", and below, is "Animis Opibusque Parati" ("Prepared in Mind and Resources"). The other image on the seal depicts the Roman Goddess Spes walking along a shore that is littered with weapons. The Goddess, symbolizing Hope, grasps a branch of laurel as the sun rises behind her. Below her image is her name "Spes", Latin for "Hope", and over the image is the motto "Dum Spiro Spero", or "While I Breathe I Hope".


While walking around the outside of the state capitol, we looked … and found … the six gold stars on the outside of the building marking the locations where shells from General Sherman’s cannons struck the building during his advance on Columbia (five of them shown below).






The grounds of the capitol complex are dotted with twenty-seven statues, monuments and historic trees.  Among those are:

Confederate Monument


Spanish-American War Monument


Robert E. Lee Highway Marker


Revolutionary War Generals Monument


African American History Monument



Representation of a slave ship

state-capitol-grounds-african-american-history-monument-c2-columbia-sc-2017-01-05The dark areas representing how slaves were crammed into the holds of these ships

state-capitol-grounds-african-american-history-monument-b-columbia-sc-2017-01-05A map of the America, the Atlantic Ocean and Africa … with stones from four of the countries the majority of the slaves brought to the United States were (from left to right; Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Ghana and The Congo)

General Wade Hampton Monument


North Carolina’s Replica of the Liberty Bell


Confederate Women’s Monument


Strom Thurmond Monument



Grave of Captain Swanson Lunsford

state-capitol-grounds-grave-of-captain-swanson-lunsford-columbia-sc-2017-01-05The only person buried on the capitol grounds

Palmetto Regiment Monument


Law Enforcement Monument


Veterans Monument



George Washington Statue

state-capitol-grounds-george-washington-monument-columbia-sc-2017-01-05Note Washington’s broken cane.  During the time when General Sherman’s army was occupying Columbia, some of his troops didn’t know who was depicted (remember, there were no generally circulated or available photos of people) and decided to stone it, as they did with other statues of South Carolinians … breaking the cane.


After leaving the State Capitol grounds, we grabbed a quick lunch and then decided to take a walk.  Along the way, we passed two beautiful street clocks,


main-and-hampton-streets-b-columbia-sc-2017-01-05“Rita the Meter Maid”,

lovely-rita-the-meter-maid-sculpture-columbia-sc-2017-01-05two buildings “chained” together,

chained-buildings-main-street-columbia-sc-2017-01-05appropriately-themed bicycle racks,

bike-rack-columbia-sc-2017-01-05five “tractor” seats where pedestrians can sit and play Caribbean-style steel drums (made from discarded propane tanks),

tractor-seat-and-propane-drums-main-street-columbia-sc-2017-01-05a sculpture, “Mother and Child Harvesting the Field”,

mother-and-child-harvesting-the-field-main-street-columbia-sc-2017-01-05the world’s largest fire plug (measuring 40’ in height and weighing 675,000 lbs.),


and several incredible building murals,

tunnel-vision-mural-columbia-sc-2017-01-05“Tunnel Vision”

farm-field-mural-columbia-sc-2017-01-05“Hay Fields”

including five which highlight the history of South Carolina.


building-mural-discovery-columbia-sc-2017-01-05In 1700, the Congaree Indians encounter explorer John Lawson’s party as it makes its way up the Congaree River.


building-mural-industry-columbia-sc-2017-01-05Columbia is chosen as the capitol of South Carolina.  In 1855 construction of the state capitol begins.

Civil War

building-mural-civil-war-columbia-sc-2017-01-05The effects of the Civil War intensify in 1865 when one-third of the city is burned by Union Troops under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman.


building-mural-government-columbia-sc-2017-01-05The mill industry was essential to the reconstruction.  In 1893, Columbia Mill becomes the world’s first fully-electric mill.


building-mural-agriculture-columbia-sc-2017-01-05Agriculture has always been important to the region as the farmer looks over the horizon we ask, “What lies ahead?”

There are also many beautiful churches all over the city.  These include The Presbyterian Church (unfortunately not open … as with all but one of the others we stopped by)

first-presbyterian-church-columbia-sc-2017-01-05and Trinity Episcopal Church.




















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January 4, 2017 – Staying Ahead of the Cold Weather

We left the Raleigh area and struck out for Columbia, South Carolina.  For the most part, it was an uneventful drive and, while mostly overcast, we did get a few glimpses of sun and saw temperatures climb to 70 degrees for the first time since leaving. 

Within less than half-dozen miles after crossing into

entering-south-carolina-from-north-carolina-on-i-95-2017-01-04we ran into a traffic jam.




The congestion continued for neaarly an hour and a quarter during which time we covered less than seven miles (a breakneck speed of 5.6 miles per hour) before the cause became apparent, two lanes merging

traffic-jam-dinto one. 


Less than a mile later, the apparent work area (there was no evidence of any roadwork) cones were being picked up and normal speeds could be resumed.

Two decaying barns


barn-along-i-95-southern-north-carolina-2017-01-04and two water towers later,



we arrived at our destination in Lexington, SC.


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January 3, 2017 – North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh

We headed into Raleigh this morning under overcast skies to tour our 39th state Capitol.  However, the current building was not the first capital of the State.

Royal Governor William Tryon and his family brought architect John Hawks from London to design and build the Georgian-style structure. Completed in 1770, Tryon Palace served as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina and home to the Tryon family.

tryon-palace-new-bern-ncTryon Palace was the site of the first sessions of the general assembly for the State of North Carolina following the revolution and housed the state governors until 1794. In 1798, fire destroyed the original Palace building.

Meanwhile, the state's population had moved westward, and in 1788 a State Convention voted to fix the capital within ten miles of Isaac Hunter's plantation in Wake County. A committee later purchased 1,000 acres and a plan for Raleigh was drawn, based on the then nation's capital of Philadelphia. Construction of a State House began on the town's central square in 1792. First occupied in 1794, the building served as the capitol until it burned in 1831. The cornerstone of the present State Capitol, constructed on the site of the former State House, was laid in 1833 and the building was completed in 1840.


On the morning of June 21, 1831, the State House was being fireproofed, following several disastrous fires in Raleigh.  Workmen laying sheets of zinc on the roof left the project untended and a boiling pot of lead solder spilled setting the roof ablaze over the western portico.  Within three hours, the fire consumed and razed the entire building. 

The current North Carolina State Capitol, completed in 1840 at a cost of $532,682.34 (including furnishing), is one of the finest and best preserved examples of a major civic building in the Greek Revival architecture style.


The Capitol is a cross shape, centering on a domed rotunda where the wings join. It is 160 feet from north to south, 140 feet from east to west (including the porticoes), and stands 97½ feet from the rotunda floor to the crown atop the dome. 


state-capitol-rotunda-dome-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Looking up from the Rotunda floor.

The exterior walls are built of gneiss, a form of granite.


The stone was quarried in southeastern Raleigh and hauled to the site on the horse-drawn Experimental Railroad, North Carolina's first railway. The interior walls are of stone and brick. The massive, original wooden truss system still bears the weight of the roof.

This Rotunda’s centerpiece is a 1970 copy of Antonio Canova's original statue of George Washington, which had been displayed in the original State House from 1820-1831.


state-capitol-george-washington-statue-b-in-rotunda-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Canova sought to honor and even glorify Washington by depicting him in a Roman general's uniform with tunic, tightly-fitting body armor, and short cape fastened at the shoulder. The figure's short hair style is that of a Roman officer. Shown with a pen (stylus) in his hand, the seated Washington is writing (in Italian) the first words of his farewell address as president on a tablet.

Did you notice the No. 2 pencil someone humorously placed in Washington’s right hand?

Around the rotunda are several plaques and busts that honor important people and significant events in North Carolina's history:

state-capitol-virginia-dare-plaque-in-rotunda-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03In Memory of Virginia Dare — Born on August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare was the first child born to English-speaking parents in the colonies. She was the daughter of Ananias and Eleanor Dare, and granddaughter of John White. She was born in John White's colony on Roanoke Island, which later became known as the "Lost Colony."

state-capitol-tea-party-house-plaque-in-rotunda-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03In Honor of the Women Who Participated in the Edenton Tea Party — On October 25, 1774, 51 women met in Edenton, North Carolina, and declared they would not participate in the buying (or consumption) of tea or wear articles of "British Manufactures." This meeting has been called the "earliest known instance of political activity on the part of women in the American colonies."

state-capitol-halifax-resolves-plaque-in-rotunda-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Halifax Resolves — This document, adopted by the Fourth Provincial Congress on April 12, 1776, made North Carolina the first colony to recommend American independence.

state-capitol-gov-samuel-johnson-bust-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Bust of Samuel Johnston — Governor from 1787 to 1789, he then became the first United States senator from North Carolina.

state-capitol-gov-willaim-graham-bust-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Bust of William A. Graham — Governor from 1845 to 1849, and later a United States senator. He was nominee for vice president in 1852 with Winfred Scott from the Whig Party. He served as Secretary of the Navy under President Millard Fillmore.

state-capitol-gov-john-motley-moorhead-bust-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Bust of John Motley Morehead — Governor from 1841 to 1845, he was the first governor to serve in the Capitol for a full term. He is known for his emphasis on railroads, public schools, and better care for the blind, deaf, and insane.

state-capitol-senator-matt-ransom-bust-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Bust of Matt Whitaker Ransom — United States senator from 1872 to 1895 and minister to Mexico from 1895 to 1897. He attained the rank of brigadier general during the Civil War. He also served in the N.C. House of Commons and as the state's attorney general.

While the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s offices are located off the Rotunda, untypically, they were not open for visitors … apparently a recent change due to some “security issues”.

A flight of stairs leads to the second floor where large wooden doors lead to an area around the Rotunda.



To the North another set of similar doors lead to the Senate chambers.



state-capitol-old-senate-chamber-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03This room served the 50-member Senate until 1961, and resembles a Grecian temple in the Ionic style.

state-capitol-old-senate-chamber-b-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03The rostrums at the front are slightly smaller than those in the House and originally seated the Speaker of the Senate who is now known as the President of the Senate (i.e., lieutenant governor). There appear to be public galleries on all four sides of this chamber.  In fact only three sides contain functional balcony seats. 

state-capitol-old-senate-chamber-c-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03The entablature above the columns on the north side was added for symmetry as the fireplace arrangement did not allow balcony access above this area. 

The window shades feature olive wreaths, a symbol of victory and honor.  The lithographic print of the Canova statue of Washington hangs to the right of the rostrums.

state-capitol-old-senate-chamber-lithograph-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03This 1840 print features the only known interior view of the 1794-1796 State House.

The chamber has been returned to its 1840s color scheme of sky-blue walls and white trim.

state-capitol-old-senate-chamber-desks-and-chairs-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Original Senator’s desks and chairs


state-capitol-old-senate-chamber-fireplace-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03One of four fireplaces

Other original furniture.



On the South wing, the House of Representatives chamber is located.

state-capitol-old-house-chamber-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03This room served the 120-member House of Commons from 1840-1868 and the House of Representatives from 1868-1961. The semicircular plan mirrors the design of a Grecian amphitheater.

state-capitol-old-house-chamber-b-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Local carpenters built the rostrums in the front of the chamber, and local cabinetmaker William Thompson made the desks for the House and Senate Chambers.

state-capitol-old-house-chamber-desks-and-chairs-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03 Thomas Sully's portrait of George Washington (ca. 1818), which hangs above the Speaker's podium, is a copy of the Gilbert Stuart "Lansdowne" portrait. This painting was saved during the State House fire of 1831.

The original 84-candle brass chandelier was lowered each day by a pulley to light the candles. The mid-nineteenth-century brass and copper chandelier that now hangs in the House is also lowered on that same mechanism to change the light bulbs.

state-capitol-old-house-chamber-chandelier-and-ceiling-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Records indicate that the original 1840 window shades were decorated with painted Grecian borders, so the reproduction window shades mimic decorative plaster designs in the room.  The building originally was heated by 28 fireplaces, four of which are in this room.

Carpet was installed in 1854 to make the chambers more comfortable.

state-capitol-old-house-chamber-31-star-carpet-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03The 31-star patters symbolizes that that there were 31 states in the Union at that time.

The blue curtains located behind the speakers' chairs in both chambers were added to block any drafts from the windows behind them. Both the carpets and the curtains are reproductions.

The West Hall Committee Room served as a joint committee room for the House and Senate.  After the Civil War it briefly served as the "Third House (1868-1869)," the Capitol keeper's office (1893-1939), a snack room (1939-1961), and a post office.  This room was restored to its original 1840 size and appearance between 1974 and 1976.


state-capitol-committee-room-b-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03It is reported that during Reconstruction in large part due to ample supplies of liquor and cigars more legislations was transacted in this room than in either House of Senate chambers.

A narrow staircase leads to a third floor


state-capitol-stairway-balusters-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03where spectators can view the Senate and House chambers from the galleries; and where three additional rooms are located.

The State Library was located in this room from 1840 until 1888.  The room was completed in the Gothic style in 1842, when the staircase, gallery, and shelves were added to hold the growing collection of books and papers. The collection began with more than 2,000 volumes and grew to nearly 40,000. 


state-capitol-state-library-b-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03It was open only to state officials until 1845, when policies were eased and the general public was admitted. By 1859 the State Library had outgrown its small, cramped room and was spilling its contents into other offices of the Capitol, including the building's closets. In 1888, the State Library moved to a larger building and is now housed in its third location since leaving the Capitol — the Archives and History/State Library Building on Jones Street. This room's 1856-1857 appearance has been re-created based on information contained in legislative papers and other records in the State Archives.

The State Geologist's Office was occupied by the Supreme Court from 1840 to 1843, before the court relocated to the northeast suite on the first floor for convenience.  Afterward, the State Geologist's Office — with its "Cabinet of Minerals" display — occupied the room from 1856 to 1865.  Here the state geologist, Dr. Ebenezer Emmons, conducted a geological survey to determine the commercial and agricultural value of minerals and plants native to North Carolina.

state-capitol-state-geologists-office-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03In glass cabinets, he displayed specimens from the Piedmont counties, including soil, seeds, rocks, and mineral samples. In 1858 a Gothic gallery was added to expand the collection, but it is likely that the upper shelves were actually used to store the overflow of books from the State Library.  In April 1865 Union troops occupied Raleigh, and General Sherman's troops rifled the mineral collection.  In 1866, the collection's remnants were donated to the University of North Carolina, and by 1868 the mineral cases were removed from the room.  After the Civil War, the room housed the office of the superintendent of public instruction and was used for various legislative functions until 1961. The room's restoration to its 1858-1859 appearance is based on historical documentation and reflects its use by the geologist and legislative clerks, and as an additional reading room of the State Library.

The Capitol Documents Room, where, before the Civil War, the Capitol’s documents and primary legal records were stored.  Shortly before the peaceful surrender to Raleigh to the Union Army of General William T. Sherman, Governor Zubelon B. Vance requested the Capitol with its “library and museum” be spared.  While the building and its contents were for the most part left intact, many departing Union soldiers took North Carolina artifacts and documents as “souvenirs”  or trophies.  One key document stolen was North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights!

bill-of-rightsNorth Carolina’s Bill of Rights is one of fourteen original copies of the document prepared for each of the thirteen colonies and the federal government in 1789.  George Washington sent the governor of each state a copy to review the twelve proposed Amendments to the Constitution.  North Carolina, which had not yet ratified the Constitution, became the 12th state to do so upon receiving this document. 

It was kept in the Capitol from 1840 until it was stolen in April 1865.  Most of the records removed from the Capitol were recovered in 1906.  However, it wasn’t until March of 2003, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered the document in a private collection and, after a lengthy legal battle, it was returned to the state in 2005. 


The grounds surrounding the State Capitol have many statues and monuments including:


state-capitol-grounds-three-presidents-from-nc-b-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Presidents North Carolina Gave the Nation – This work honors the three presidents born in North Carolina: Andrew Jackson of Union County, seventh president of the United States (1829-1837); James Knox Polk of Mecklenberg County, eleventh president of the United States (1845-1849); and Andrew Johnson of Wake County, seventeenth president of the United States (1865-1869). Although North Carolina claims all three presidents as native sons, all were elected while residents of Tennessee.


state-capitol-grounds-charles-duncan-mciver-statue-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Charles Duncan McIver – Dr. McIver was a renowned promoter of education in North Carolina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is remembered as the founder and the first president of the State Normal and Industrial School for Women (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro).


state-capitol-grounds-zebulon-vance-statue-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Zebulon Baird Vance – A native of Buncombe County, Vance was one of this state's most popular political figures during the Civil War. He helped organize state troops for the Confederacy and was promoted to full colonel shortly before his election as governor in 1862. He again served as governor from 1877 to 1879 and was a United States senator from 1879 until his death in 1894.



George Washington – This bronze statue is one of six cast by William J. Hubbard of Richmond, Virginia, from a mold of Houdon's Washington which stands in the Capitol in Richmond, Virginia. It was intended to replace the destroyed Canova statue. Unveiled on July 4, 1857, it was the first statue placed on the grounds.


state-capitol-grounds-charles-aycock-statue-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Charles Brantley Aycock – Known as the "education governor," Aycock was responsible for beginning the public school system existing today in North Carolina. It is said that one new school was opened for nearly every day of his term, 1901-1905.


state-capitol-grounds-women-of-the-confederacy-statue-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Women of the Confederacy – The Women of the Confederacy monument was a gift to the state by Confederate veteran Col. Ashley Horne, and was unveiled in June 1914. It was the wish of Colonel Horne to recognize the suffering and hardship faced by women during this tragic period in our nation's history.


state-capitol-grounds-ensign-worth-bagley-statue-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Worth Bagley – Born in Raleigh in 1874, Ensign Bagley was the first American naval officer killed in the Spanish-American War. Bagley, the executive officer of the torpedo ship U.S.S. Winslow, was killed May 11, 1898, by a shell from Spanish shore batteries at Cardenas Bay, Cuba.




state-capitol-grounds-confederate-monument-c-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Confederate Monument – This monument is in remembrance of North Carolina's Confederate dead (nearly one quarter of all Confederate deaths were from North Carolina). The three statues on the monument represent Confederate infantry, cavalry, and artillery soldiers. The inscription, "First at Bethel – Last at Appomattox," represents the forwardness and tenacity of North Carolina's soldiers during the Civil War.



state-capitol-grounds-wwi-wwii-veterans-monument-b-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03North Carolina Veteran's Monument – This monument honors the veterans of the state who served in World Wars I and II and the Korean War. The base features scenes and lists major battles from each of the wars, and atop a granite shaft stands Lady Liberty holding a palm frond to symbolize peace and victory. The flags of each of the armed services fly at the rear of the monument.


state-capitol-grounds-vietnam-memorial-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Vietnam Veteran's Memorial – Entitled "After the Firefight," this memorial honors the more than 206,000 men and women of the state who served in Vietnam. The monument depicts two soldiers carrying a wounded comrade to a nearby landing zone to await medical help. This monument is unique in that it is the first to be sculpted by a woman, and the first to depict an African American.



The Tree of Life is dedicated to the 1,387 people who lost their life as a result of crashes on North Carolina roads in 2015.  The 431 red ribbons and lights represent teh people who lost their life as the result of an impaired driver.  The 955 white ribbons and lights represent all other traffic fatalities statewide.  The one blue ribbon and light represents an officer who lost his life as the result of a traffic-related crash.

As hard as we tried, we could not locate the blue ribbon or light.  Unfortunately, however, we did spot an empty blue beer can under the tree


Adjacent to the four corners of the State Capitol grounds are found four distinct and historic churches.

first-presbyterian-church-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03 First Presbyterian Church


first-baptist-church-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03First Baptist Church Raleigh (established 1839)


christ-chruch-episcopalChrist Episcopal Church


first-baptist-church-new-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03First Baptist Church

From the State Capitol Grounds we walked Bicentennial Park where North Carolina’s replica of the Liberty Bell resides

liberty-bell-bicentennial-walkway-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03This exact replica is the same size (3’ tall from lip to crown and a 12’ circumference and measures 3” thick at the lip), weight (2,080 lbs.) and material (85% copper) as the original.  Therefore, it has the same tone.

to the new Legislative Building

legislative-building-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Officially occupied on February 6, 1963


which now houses the State Senate

legislative-building-senate-chamber-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03and State Assembly


Looking back at the Capitol, the low overcast ceiling is evident as the tops of the surrounding building are enveloped.


Next, we walked by the elegant Executive Mansion


executive-mansion-a-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03Constructed between 1883-1891 by prison labor.


Two North Carolina anecdotes we discovered:

  1. A three-story globe sits outside the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

science-museum-globe-raleigh-nc-2017-01-03 Inside the iconic globe, this three-story theater with a 45 x 45-foot HD screen and multi-channel surround-sound plays host to cutting-edge science presentations and scenes from nature.

The nation’s first gold discovery was in North Carolina.


reed-gold-mineJohn Reed (Johannes Reith) was a Hessian soldier who left the British army near the conclusion of the Revolutionary War and came to settle near fellow Germans living in the lower Piedmont of North Carolina. Most of the people dwelt on modest family-run farms in rural areas, where they raised small grain crops such as corn and wheat.

The life of farmer John Reed would have been long forgotten had it not been for a chance event one Sunday in 1799. On that day, Reed's son Conrad found a large yellow rock in Little Meadow Creek

little-meadow-creekon the Reed farm in Cabarrus County. This rock reportedly weighed 17 pounds and for three years was used as a doorstop at the Reed house.

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