Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cleaning

The Cleaner

            The Vacuum cleaner today is pretty much an everyday household item.   The electric gadget called a vacuum cleaner did not get invented until the late 1800’s.  Then it was only a luxury item for the well to do.  Most homes had wood floors and some still had dirt floors so a broom and mop were in the cleaning closet. 
            Rugs were again for the rich and the rest had homemade rugs.  Old material did not get thrown out, instead granny would make something of the old rags.  Hook/latch rag rugs were the wonders of grannies tedious work during the evening.  Much like the quilt, these rugs became a folklore craft.
            To clean these rugs, they would be hung out on the line and beaten, knocking the dirt out.  When the vacuum cleaner came out, there were only a few who could afford the contraption, so outside did the rug hang. 



            Carpet had been developed but only a few could afford this new thing.  The Great Depression forced many new things to sit on the back burner.  Then with the war, manufacturing was in the war effort.  At the end of the war, things changed.  No longer was their rationing and factories could now produce consumer goods.   With new homes being built and suburbia a new phenomena, consumerism began to grow.  Wall to wall carpeting was one of the features the new home builders used to sell their homes in the ‘burbs.
            The vacuum cleaner came to the forefront, for the carpet could not be pulled up and hung on the clothes line, and sweeping it with a broom was not very effective.   To the rescue came the new contraption and with it new factory jobs were created.   Up until the carpet and vacuum, the broom was the queen of house cleaning.  Scattered around the land were small broom corn factories and soon they began to decline and consumerism changed buying habits. 
            The drummer boys had a new gadget to sell and they could be seen trekking down the sidewalk toting their vacuum with them, going door to door pedaling their ware of the day. 
            Something like a little gadget for cleaning had an impact on homelife and how people lived.  It was one of the things that helped bring luxury to the work a day families. 
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               The blog will be shifting focus for a short time.  I found some old Life magazines from the early fifties.  This era, for me, is when the focus of the USA shifted from an agrarian country to a powerhouse industrialized nation.  The country had survived the “The Great Depression,” and transitioned to a powerful war machine. 
          The war and the depression were powerful impacts on the psyche of the American people. 
          With the end of the war, The United States no longer was a second on the stage of world politics, they had become a world leader.  This was reflected in the confidence of the people in the States.  With the rationing of the war over, consumerism was the forefront of life in America. 
          There were jobs in the factories for the returning soldiers, who had their combat pay in hand.  The American dream was approaching, a chicken in every pot and a car in the driveway.  With the jobs in the factories, the Lower Class was shrinking and the Middle class was expanding.  The dream of owning their own home was at hand for most citizens. 
          Housing developments and suburbs were a new phase in the America fabric.  Products were needed to fill these new dream homes and there new automobiles to park in the driveways.
          Life magazine along with their counterparts, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, chronicled this emerging new American middle class.  Back in the 50’s, the news was not real slanted and the agenda of a few was not apparent.  The advertising set the tone for the changes and reflects life of the transitional decade.  Technology of the day, was the television and the Atomic Bomb, both impacted how people lived during the 50’s. 
          I will be taking ads from the magazines, along with stories and writing my impression of life back then.  I’m old enough to of been a wee lad back then and I remember a few things from way back then. 
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Inventions

             


            The blog will be shifting focus for a short time.  I found some old Life magazines from the early fifties.  This era, for me, is when the focus of the USA shifted from an agrarian country to a powerhouse industrialized nation.  The country had survived the “The Great Depression,” and transitioned to a powerful war machine. 
          The war and the depression were powerful impacts on the psyche of the American people. 
          With the end of the war, The United States no longer was a second on the stage of world politics, they had become a world leader.  This was reflected in the confidence of the people in the States.  With the rationing of the war over, consumerism was the forefront of life in America. 
          There were jobs in the factories for the returning soldiers, who had their combat pay in hand.  The American dream was approaching, a chicken in every pot and a car in the driveway.  With the jobs in the factories, the Lower Class was shrinking and the Middle class was expanding.  The dream of owning their own home was at hand for most citizens. 
          Housing developments and suburbs were a new phase in the America fabric.  Products were needed to fill these new dream homes and there new automobiles to park in the driveways.
          Life magazine along with their counterparts, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, chronicled this emerging new American middle class.  Back in the 50’s, the news was not real slanted and the agenda of a few was not apparent.  The advertising set the tone for the changes and reflects life of the transitional decade.  Technology of the day, was the television and the Atomic Bomb, both impacted how people lived during the 50’s. 
          I will be taking ads from the magazines, along with stories and writing my impression of life back then.  I’m old enough to of been a wee lad back then and I remember a few things from way back then. 
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                               One of the more profound inventions to come along was the television.  This machine changed the way America viewed the world.  No longer did the listener have to rely on descriptions from the broadcaster, they now could see it in their home.  No longer were the newsreels in the moving picture houses, they were now beaming into the front room.  The theater of the imagination, the radio show, was on the wane.  People could now sit down in the easy chair and watch their favorite characters from the radio come to life in person. 
                              It was a new phenomena, social scientists were watching and the politicians were learning how to massage the tube for their advantage. 


                              Another new contraption that came along after the war was the refrigerator.  It would change how people would buy.  No longer did they have to rely on a block of ice to keep things cool.  They also could have frozen foods stored.  Soon the ice man would disappear from the streets making his rounds delivering ice. 
                              With the end of the war, raw products were freed up from the war effort and things could be mass produced were the war effort had produced goods for the war.  No longer was the refrigerator a luxury item only a few could own.  Appliances like this need production/manufacturing plants to produce the product.  These new factories created mid level semi skilled jobs for workers. 
                              A new chapter was opening for the American worker.  Here at these new factories, the worker could get a job.  It provided enough income, for a house, an automobile and few other amenities in the home.  No longer was the American worker standing on the street corner begging or later being a soldier.  Now he could live the American dream.  Have his own home, own a car and provide for his family. 

                              What had been considered luxuries, were now in reach of the average person.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Heartstrong, Colorado

Happyville, Colorado
            Scattered across the plains of Eastern Colorado, were a variety of Post Offices.  Most of the early ones were located in a farmhouse, that served a small community.  A general store would open and the Post Office would move but the town would keep the original name of the Post Office.  So when I saw the name Happyville on the map, all my assumptions went away.  During one of my trips across the prairie, I went looking for this village of happy folks.

            Didn’t find anything that looked like a town, It was more like a spot on the corner.  There was an abandoned church and nearby was a crumbling home and a few foundations.  The happy folks of Happyville had left.
            On a ridge nearby was another abandoned farmhouse where Heartstrong Post Office had been.  This area of southern Yuma County was pretty empty.  On distant horizon could be seen other dwellings.  Here at Happyville was empty building a memory of other times. 
            Heartstrong shows up on some weather maps, so it will be a spot on the map for times a coming. 


            Bouncing along CR 26, the dust boils up behind the pickup and reminders of yesteryear are few and far.  Yet during the early 1900’s, this was the promised land.  Here the settlers could have a piece of the dream and raise their family.  Here they could be happy.  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Joliet, CO





Arlington, Colorado
           
            Arlington, began its life as a railroad camp on the Missouri Pacific RR, in Eastern Colorado.  The trains have stopped running and the rails collect rust.  No longer is there the clicking of wheels flashing over the tracks.  Cars and trucks can be heard rumbling along the highway that followed the rails to Pueblo. 
            There a couple of hardy ranchers that still call this little prairie burg home.  The Post Office closed and moved to Hasewell a few years back.  The roadside businesses are gone and the few store fronts are now silent.  The roadside park has a caretaker and the occasional traveler will stop for a moment.  Silence is the main companion for the few that pause.



            The main feature of the town is the schoolhouse that sits in far corner of the town.  The two story building dominates the land, yet years of neglect is showing.  Number of years ago some locals wanted to buy the school but the scrapper that owned it would not sell.  Today the junk that had littered the yard is gone except the tires left in the weeds.  The winds whistle through broken windows, the bell tower is sliest for the few birds and it appears that the school may be doomed. 

            The town has set vacant for so many years that the weeds dominate.  The few streets are overgrown and the remains of houses and building rise above them.  Street signs mark where the roads had once been.  Rooflines are barely visible in the overgrown town. 
            Yet someday the tracks may hear the clicking of wheels again.  A group wants to buy the rails but the transaction is held up in court and government agencies.  Arlington has no farming, most of that is to the east.  Trains would just pass through the remains of what once was on their way to Pueblo. 

            Nearby is a WWII auxiliary airstrip and little further is Adobe reservoir.  The canals today carry dust of yesteryear when the sugar beet ruled the country.  


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Vernon



Vernon, Colorado
            Located on the north central plains of Eastern Colorado, the little village has more memories on Main Street then pedestrians.  It is a country settler’s village that has hung on.  There are no major highways through town or a railroad.  Yet the town has maintained a small population of around 30 souls.  Main Street is empty, boarded up and the sidewalks are rolled up.  Down at the end of the road is the Post Office, there are enough residents in the area to keep it going. 


            For one weekend a year, Vernon comes to life, people stroll the town park, tractors pop and sputter and horses have the right of way.  Vernon Days is celebrated just before Labor Day.  It is a day to remember when their forefathers came into the area and homesteaded.  The few town folks roll out the old time carpet to celebrate yesteryears. 
            Otherwise the other 51 weekends are pretty noiseless as the sleepy little goes about life.  Surrounded by farmland, the whirr of farm equipment is more common the laughter of school children, from the now shuttered school house.  The little country church is well kept and hears the word on occasion.  The shops of Main Street remind one of when they could stop in and pick up supplies.  Across the street is the town park square, well groomed and cared for.



            Off in the distance on a ridge can be seen the community cemetery.  Looking at it one could see that the area was populous at one time.  Yet like so many prairie towns, the people left to try and find greener fields in the city. 



            Those that remain have different pace of life, the nearest towns with shops are miles away.  Sometimes the bus ride to school can be over 100 miles.  Yet the people take it in stride and live out a life from the land.  


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Carr Crossing, Colorado


Carr Crossing

Situated in the southern end of Lincoln County, Colorado, Carr Crossing was a community/rural Post Office during the early 1900’s.  For the visitor of today, it is some of the most empty land in the state.  Lincoln County is called a Frontier area, there aren’t enough people to qualify as rural.  Population density is less than one person per two square miles.  In the areas of Carr Crossing the density is probably 1 person per 10 square miles. 

Yet during the early 1900’s scores of people came out to this area to settle and homestead.  Scattered through the area are the sites of numerous empty and abandoned homes.  Moisture is extremely sparse and farming is almost impossible.  Today it is mostly range land with a few cattle grazing on the rolling hills.
The Car Crossing Post Office was located on a wagon road that overlooked the valley of Horse Creek.  Today there are no roads that go past it and way out there in the pasture is where it used to be.

The same is for the school, way out there in another pasture is where the school was located.  As the crow flies, it is about 5 miles from the PO to the school.  First time I visited the area, I had no idea there was a school because it was way off any road. 
When talking to some local people, they mentioned that the merry go round still sat out in the pasture form when the Carr Crossing School was teaching the children of the settlers.  So when I went through the area, I made it point to go looking a little closer to try and see the merry go round.

Driving down the road, I spotted a dead tree off in the distance sitting on a ridge and an outline next to it.   Pointing the camera off that direction and zooming way out, I snapped a couple of pics.  Sure enough there was the merry go round.  I tried finding a road to get closer but no luck.  So I have an ethereal picture of school playground out in the middle of a pasture, I would of never found if not for idle conversation. 
Carr Crossing is one of those places that will probably stay unexplored for decades because of their locations.  Then that is okay, I don’t know many people that like folks walking across their backyard. 


Here is an open area that has not changed much over the eons.  


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Song on the Land.

Heartsong, Colorado
            The name of a said, it would make a good song title.  Yet it is the name of a little village in Eastern Colorado that is no more.  Heartsong shows up on weather maps, so it had to of been a place at one time.  Doing some map searching, it showed up on satellite view as a collection of buildings.  Doing more searching an interesting story for the town came to light.

            Heartsong had its beginning in 1909 as Happyville.  1908 a settler homesteaded in the area and decided there should be a Post Office for the surrounding settlers.  Awarded the contract for mail service, Happyville was on its way to becoming a growing prairie town.  Stores and shops were built and when the auto showed up a gas station was added to the town. 
            Conflict arose between the founder and other settlers over the stores and various other arguments.  So the founding father got upset and threaded to move his stores to another location.  Sure enough, later that year, the stores and his house were loaded up and teams of 8 horses hauled the building down the road a few miles. 
            Leaving Happyville to a new location, called for a new name and Heartsong was chosen. The new town thrived, business was good.   Happyville became a ghost of itself and faded into not much.  The “Dirty Thirties” arrived, farmers were blown out and lost their farms.  With people moving out, Heartsong was in decline.  Then in 1940, fire struck the little village, burning up most of the town.  Heartsong disappeared into the ashes to be no more. 

            Today, there is a ranch where Heartsong once stood and at Happyville is an abandoned farm and nearby sits an empty church. The memories of the Prairie towns linger on with the people that survived the hardship of the land.  Farms dot the land, fields wave in the breeze and cattle watch the passing truck.