Category Archives: History

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

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Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Below are pictures from my 2001 Navy deployment, on the USS George Washington CVN73. The locations are in the description of the picture. It starts in Crete, then Portugal, onto Naples, then to Rome.

For more of my deployment pictures that I have shared on my blog, click here.

Enjoy!

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To Appomattox – A Mini-Series in the Making


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Most Americans should know of the American Civil War when asked. We learned about it in grade school from our History books. Some of us may have acted in school plays as Lincoln, reciting the Gettysburg Address. Some of us even have ancestors that fought in the civil war. There are also a few movies that could help fill in some of the blanks, Gettysburg, North and South, Lincoln, just to name a few.

On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter. For four years, both the Union (The North) and the Confederates (The South) battled against one another in twenty three different states. The majority of those battles were fought in Tennessee and Virginia.

On April 9, 1865, Lee surrenders to Grant at the Appomattox court house, the Confederates lost, the war was over. The American Civil War still remains one of the bloodiest battles in history, with over 620,000 killed from combat, disease, or starvation, and over 476,000 wounded.

A mini-series is currently being filmed called, To Appomattox. It will be the most historically accurate presentation ever to be filmed. They currently have a Kickstarter page going, where you can become involved with their project by donating. With your donations, you can receive really awesome gifts such as cast autographed items, a behind the scenes DVD, a copy of the script, an opportunity to walk on the set, or be an extra, or have an actual speaking part in the mini-series. You can even be a part of the premiere in New York City or Hollywood, as well as the post-premiere party. You could take a tour of the set, or be a part of the meet and greet at one of the screenings. There are more things to list that you will receive from your donations. To see the full list, click here.

By donating, you get to be involved in the production of the mini-series. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, not just for Civil War historians or re-enactors, but for everyone. Everyone should be involved. Click here to find out more details about the mini-series or to donate now.

To Appomattox has a cast of amazing talent: Jason O’Mara, Stephen Lang, Noah Wyle, Richard Speight, Rascal Flatts, Kim Delaney, Trace Adkins, Kix Brooks, Powers Booth, plus many more other famous talents.

Here are some important links for you to visit:

http://www.toappomattox.com

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1258300090/to-appomattox-a-civil-war-event-miniseries

www.facebook.com/ToAppomattox

I’m asking for everyone to please, re-blog this, and/or share this blog post on every media outlet. Spread the word.

Little Rock’s Turkish Food Festival


Yesterday, my daughter and I ventured out to Little Rock where they were having a Turkish Food Festival at the Raindrop Turkish House. They had bouncy houses for the kids, cultural music and dance, arts and crafts booths, henna tattooing, and plenty of food booths with all types of Turkish food and deserts.

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I stopped at one table, where a guy was writing peoples names in Turkish style calligraphy on a large piece of colorful paper. I had him write my daughter’s name for me of course. We moved on to another booth, where a guy was painting colorful pictures on a giant plate. I couldn’t help but stare as he dabbed his pen every so carefully on the plate. I was mesmerized by the beautiful artwork he was doing, as well as the other pieces of artwork they laid around him, on top of his table.

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We ventured to the desert booth and I had my daughter pick out something, then walked outside to see what else we could find to fill out plates. We watched a small group of young women, dressed in beautiful cultural costumes, dance to some cultural music, then listened to a Mariachi band play.

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One Word Photo Challenge: Peach


Here’s a little bit of knowledge to go along with this weeks ‘One Word Photo Challenge’: Peaches are originally from China, but the nutritious fruit became popular, spreading throughout the world through the trade routes. They’re low in calories and contain no saturated fats. They do contain a lot of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, such as potassium, fluoride, iron, lutein, Vitamin-A, B-Carotene, Vitamin-C, just to name a few.

 

For more about this photo challenge, click here.

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Peaches are one of mine and my daughter’s favorite fruit.

Machine Show – Blogging From A to Z Challenge


During the Spring, Summer, and Autumn months, my daughter and I usually take a drive on the weekends, ending up at some destination where a civil war re-enactment, historical event, or any type of festival that is occurring. This past weekend, we ended up in Sheridan, Arkansas, stumbling upon their 22nd Annual Antique Machine and Tractor Show. I decided to drive a few miles down the road to pick up my nephew and have him join us.

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My daughter was in awe of the many tractors lined up around the courthouse square. Then she saw a train, set up with a passenger car and caboose and immediately wanted to get on it. It was a very windy day, so they weren’t able to set up the inflatables, but they did have a few other activities set up for children. I let the kids play for a little while, then we walked around the square, looking at all the tractors and machines and as well as a few antique cars. They had a few booths set up with knick knacks, crafts, jewelry, clothes, shoes, and home made baked goodies.

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We followed our tractor tour with a trip to a few antique shops adjacent from the courthouse square. It didn’t take too long for the kids to become bored and for me to notice just how warm it was outside. We headed back to my sister’s house where we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

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Digging for Diamonds


There is a small town in the Southwestern corner of Arkansas, called Murfreesboro where you can dig for diamonds, for a small price, and keep what you find. It’s the 8th largest diamond mine in the world, but it’s the only diamond mine open to the public. Crater of Diamonds became a State Park in the mid 1970’s. Since then people have been finding diamonds of many sizes; at least two diamonds a day can be found.

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This Spring Break, I took a few friends to hunt for diamonds. It was their first time and my second time. Though we found many color rocks, such as Jasper, quartz, and calcite, but no diamonds. The park has a desk, made specific to help you go through your finds and tell you what each rock is and if you have found a diamond or not. They also have a museum to help you distinguish what the diamonds look like there at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

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The digging areas are marked where all of the diamonds have been found, and a bulletin board showing how many diamonds were found on what day and how big the were; this bulletin board is updated daily. You can rent sifting screens, shovels, and buckets or you can bring your own. They have water tubs,that make sifting through some of the tougher clay, much easier. It also helps the shiny rocks become more noticeable.

Even though the only shiny rocks I found were quartz crystal and calcite, I still enjoyed myself and didn’t mind get dirty. I’m hoping to make another trip in May with my youngest sister when she comes up from Georgia to visit.

Note: Even though they say they plow the 37 1/2 acres weekly or daily, the best time to go digging for diamonds is right after it rains. This allows some of the sediments to wash away and help the diamonds become more noticeable. The best clothes to wear for digging diamonds are, a pair of boots (trust me on this one) and a pair of jeans and a tee that you don’t mind getting dirty. You can bring a sack lunch, umbrella, and a lawn chair out on the field with you and they are pet friendly (I’ve seen many dogs out there having a great time).

For more information about the park, prices, location, etc. visit their website.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life


I went through my US Navy (2002) deployment (USS George Washington CVN73) pictures and found a few photos to post in this weeks photo challenge. Enjoy!

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Vendors in Crete

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Souda Bay, Crete

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Lisbon, Portugal

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Coliseum actors – Rome, Italy

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Venice, Italy

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Venice shops – Venice, Italy

One Word Photo Challenge – Red


 

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My daughter’s toy – firetrucks are one of her favorite things.

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Red building – Jordan’s BBQ; the best BBQ place in Arkansas (Bryant, Arkansas).

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Red stripes on old glory (1890 – 42 star flag). Hanging above the stairs at the MacArthur museum in Little Rock Arkansas.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandon


This weeks photo challenge, abandon, has me thinking a lot of my visit to Italy. What better way to show abandon through pictures, than Italian ruins.

Most of these pictures were taken while I was in Rome, but the rest were taken either in Naples or on my way to Rome; there’s even a picture of the leaning tower of Pisa.

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This is where they did chariot races as seen in the movie Ben Hur.

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I could be wrong, but I think this was Nero’s palace. It is located right next to the Colosseum.

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Same as the picture above. If someone knows what this is, please let me know. It has been 13 years since I visited Italy.

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One of the many feral cats that lives in the Colosseum.

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The Colosseum.

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More Italian ruins.

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The leaning tower of Pisa.