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Archive for the tag “Lewis and Clark”

Dayton, Washington, and the Fields of the Palouse

June 29, 2022
(Photos and memories from June 18, 2009)

It’s a glorious day in Dayton, Washington.  A few wisps of cirrus clouds accent the bright blue sky.  On the horizon, I see the white of high clouds above the blue sky, which meets the spring green of Palouse hillsides.  The canola fields of The Palouse are spectacular.

Canola fields of the Palouse above the town of Dayton, Washington

The small town of Dayton (population 2,500) lies in a valley below hillsides of grain; some are striped with brown fallow portions.

Downtown Dayton, Washington, below the Palouse’s striped fields of wheat.

Dayton lies at the southern edge of The Palouse, a spectacular grassland region of southeastern Washington and northwestern Idaho. The town wasn’t named for Dayton, Ohio, as you might suspect, but for early settlers Jesse and Elizabeth Day, who came here in the 1870s. The population here is about 2,500 persons.

There’s only one commercial street in Dayton.  The Liberty Theatre is at one end; Disney’s “Up” arrives in town in two weeks.  A few coffee shops surround that, but there’s plenty of activity here.

Main Street Dayton, Washington

Down the street, an Eagle’s aerie dominates the main business block.  A nostalgic mural is painted on the front wall and provides a reminiscence of life in 19th Century Dayton.

Here are a few more photos of Dayton: if your thing is boutique hotels, then try The Weinhard Hotel; the old-fashioned reliability of Elk Drug provides both prescriptions and a soda fountain; enjoy the look of a beautiful old Victorian home; and the Dayton train depot is the oldest in Washington state, dating from 1881. Dayton’s business district has been designated a National Historic District.

Across the street from the Liberty Theatre on Main Street, the Columbia County courthouse is a gem of gingerbread.  It’s gray wood with stone trim.  The square dome is three stories above a fine green lawn that was being mowed as I took photos.  The front and back entrances have statues of Lady Justice above them; the east and west entrances have golden eagle statues. It’s been in use since 1887.

The Columbia County courthouse has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 1887 Columbia County courthouse, Dayton, Washington.

More photos of the courthouse, including the interior stairwell, a closeup of the statue of Lady Justice on the roof, and a historical plaque explaining Dayton’s history.

Lewis and Clark rafted down the Snake River in 1805 during their voyage to the Pacific Ocean. For their return trip in 1806, they traveled overland, passing through present-day Dayton along an old Indian trail that connected Celilo Falls on the Columbia River with the Nez Perce lands of the Palouse. A town mural memorializes their journey.

Mural showing the travels of Lewis and Clark through Columbia County, Washington.

On the hillsides outside of town are seemingly endless fields of canola flowers.  The yellows against the sky and the distant Blue Mountains were spectacular.

Columbia County within the state of Washington.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

All photos were taken by the author on June 18, 2009.

I’m trying to travel to all of America’s county courthouses, and each month a post about my visit to the most interesting county seats. It’s a hobby, and donations are greatly appreciated to help defer my costs.
Thanks,
Tim

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Paducah, Kentucky’s Murals and Townscapes

September 30, 2020

Paducah, Kentucky is a small city situated on the south bank of the Ohio River at its junction with the Tennessee River, which comes up from the south.

The Paducah waterfront looking northeastward up the Ohio River with the Tennessee River joining it

Paducah is an old city in terms of the American west, founded in 1827 by William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame with a purchase of 37,000 acres of land for the sum of $5. A historical sign downtown explains the circumstances.

Colonel George Rogers Clark had claimed the land as a warrant for his army service during the Revolutionary War, in which he effectively gained the entire Northwest Territory for the new United States of America.

Much of Paducah’s history is recounted by murals painted on the town’s Ohio River floodwall. A walk along the wall is a walk through history.

Kincaid Mounds near Paducah, around 1300 A.D.
Chickasaw tribesmen along the Ohio River in the early 19th Century. The Lewis & Clark flotilla is shown passing by on their way downstream to the Mississippi.

The name “Paducah” was given by William Clark. Some say Clark named the town for the “Padoucas”, a Great Plains tribe he encountered in his travels to the Pacific with the Corps of Discovery. Others say Clark named the town for Chief Paducah, leader of a nearby Chickasaw band.

Scenes of early white settlement in Paducah
Steamboats docked at Paducah

The town was a major prize in the early days of the Civil War. In 1861 while Kentucky was trying to remain neutral in the impending conflict, General Ulysses Grant took Paducah on September 6 before his Confederate counterpart could do so. Later in the war, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest conducted a successful raid on the city.

The Battle of Paducah, 1864
Paducah, Kentucky in 1873
Paducah in the early 1900s
Paducah Townscape in the 1930s
Paducah as the “Atomic City”. Home to the nation’s only uranium enrichment facility.

The Ohio landing areas near the riverfront provide an insight into late 19th Century Paducah. The area abounds in old brick merchant buildings now used as restaurants, bars, and antique shops.

Downtown Paducah
19th Century brick buildings in Paducah, Kentucky
Tree-lined merchant shops converted to restaurants
Paducah, Kentucky. Red brick streets downtown

The McCracken County Courthouse occupies an entire city block seven blocks away from the river. This two-story red brick structure was built between 1940 and 1943 under the auspices of the WPA.

McCracken County Courthouse
McCracken County Courthouse. Paducah, Kentucky
McCracken County in the state of Kentucky

Here’s a final floodwall mural of some of the most prominent old buildings in Paducah. Most of them are churches.

The churches of Paducah, Kentucky

All photos were taken by the author on September 3, 2019.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

I travel as a hobby and not for a living (yet) — but donations are happily accepted if you’d like to help defer my costs.
Thanks,
The TimMan

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Along the Pathways of Exploration: Fort Pierre, South Dakota

Missouri River vista at Fort Pierre, South Dakota

October 31, 2019

South Dakota may be sparsely populated but the landscape is grand. I passed miles and miles of fertile fields getting here, saw many herds of cattle and free antelope. The photos above and below this paragraph show the wide Missouri River in the central part of the state as taken from a hill above the old trading post of Fort Pierre.

Missouri River vista at Fort Pierre, South Dakota
Stanley County in the state of South Dakota

Clinging to the west bank of the Missouri River, Fort Pierre was founded in 1832 as Fort Pierre Chouteau, a fur-trading post. Pierre Chouteau, Jr. was a prominent fur trader from St. Louis, and his name can be found on towns and streets as far west as Montana. But Chouteau wasn’t the first white man to arrive in this area.

Not even Captains Lewis and Clark can make that claim.

Two French explorers, Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye arrived here on March 30, 1743, during an expedition from French-held Quebec. Claiming the region for the King of France, the Verendrye brothers left a lead plate buried in a hill above the river to mark their claim. The Verendryes are thought to be the first Europeans to have crossed the Great Plains to see the Rocky Mountains. In 1803 the United States would purchase this claim from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

170 years later on February 16, 1913, two boys discovered the Verendrye’s lead plate, which had since been forgotten. The historical marker below provides further details. The grand landscape photos shown above were taken from this natural vantage point.

Historical marker at the Verendyre Site

Down the hill from the Verendrye site lies the old town of Fort Pierre. It’s small — only 2,000 inhabitants today — but can still brag that it’s grown exponentially from its days as a fur trading post. Here are some photos around town. Most of these buildings can be found along Deadwood Street:

“Prairie Traders” in Fort Pierre, South Dakota
The Verendrye Museum
A vital drinking establishment serving the Fort Pierre community.
View down Deadwood Street, Fort Pierre, South Dakota

I remained very quiet while taking this next photo of a sleeping dog and a juicy bone. I was careful not to wake the dog nor approach the bone.

Sleeping dog and bone

Fort Pierre is also the county seat of Stanley County, South Dakota. Their courthouse was built in 1976 and looks new and well-kept. The buffalo statue is appropriate for the region.

Stanley County Courthouse South Dakota
Stanley County Courthouse, Fort Pierre, South Dakota

There’s more history to this place than just the Verendryes though. Just two blocks south of the Verendrye Museum is a small city park at the junction of the Bad River and the Missouri. It was at this spot in late September 1804, 61 years after the Verendryes, that American explorers Captains Lewis and Clark had their famous confrontation with the Teton Sioux.

For details of the confrontation I can recommend Stephen Ambrose’s fine “Undaunted Courage,” page 170, but in short, here’s what happened. The Sioux sought a test of wills with the white explorers and demanded additional presents from Lewis and Clark — a tribute of sorts — to allow them to continue up the Missouri. The Americans refused. Guns were drawn, bows were strung and aimed, and even the American’s cannon mounted on their keelboat was aimed at the Indians onshore. But no shots were fired. The Sioux backed down, and Lewis and Clark continued on their way.

Junction of the Bad and Missouri Rivers at Fort Pierre, South Dakota

The settlement around old Fort Pierre grew slowly after its founding. By the 1840s the fur trade had declined precipitously. In 1880 the town of Pierre, South Dakota was founded on the east bank of the Missouri across from Fort Pierre. Because the railroad reached the east side of the river before the west, Pierre grew quickly and was eventually designated state capital of South Dakota.

Pierre, South Dakota as seen from the Verendrye marker across the river in Fort Pierre
South Dakota State Capitol Building in Pierre

Although Pierre has the state’s capital, Fort Pierre has a better history.


All photos taken by the author on October 7th and 8th, 2010.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

I’m trying to travel to all of America’s county courthouses, and each month a post about my visit to the most interesting county seats. It’s only a hobby — but donations are greatly appreciated to help defer my costs.
Thanks,
Tim

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