Saturday, July 31, 2010

Old Man of the Mountain, Cannon Mountain, Franconia, NH

Here I am again, this time from Franconia, New Hampshire.  This shot of the Old Man of the Mountain, the profile in back of me, was taken in 2002, a year before its collapse on May 3, 2003, despite valiant efforts to save it.

The Old Man of the Mountain was a formation created by the ice age. It was originally discovered in 1805 by Francis Whitcomb and and Luke Brooks, part of a Franconia surveying crew.

It was initially made famous by New Hampshire native Daniel Webster who wrote about the site.  In 1832, Nathaniel Hawthorne visited Franconia and in 1850 used the profile in his story, The Great Stone Face.

In 1945, the Old Man became the official symbol of New Hampshire, appearing on everything from license plates to state route signs.  The profile also showed up on the back of the 2000 New Hampshire state quarter.

New Hampshire kept up the special viewing areas along Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch State Park even after its collapse in the middle of the night.  It all started in the 20's with a crack in his forehead.  Chains were used to hold it place.  In 1958, the Old Man undergoes further repair work.  In 1987,  Niels Nielson becomes the official caretaker since working as the caretaker unofficially since 1965. His son, David will become the last caretaker of the Old Man before its collapse in 2003.

Here is a shot of what the Old Man looks like today with an image of the profile superimposed over it. 

The Old Man of the Mountain museum, which used to be at the Old Man viewing area, has moved its memorabilia to the Cannon Mountain tramway building in Franconia Notch where you can see a small model of the new memorial to the Old Man.  The ground breaking for the new memorial was begun in June of this year.  More about this can be read at this Wikipedia site

As always, please look for references at the bottom of the page.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nunley's Carousel, Museum Row, Garden City, LI, NY

Here I am buying my ticket at the newly refurbished Nunley's Carousel located at Museum Row in Garden City, LI.  When Susan and Rob both rode this carousel as children, it was located in Baldwin, NY in the early 60's as pictured below.  It was right around the corner from where Rob lived in Freeport.  Susan used to visit from Long Beach, which is a 10 minute drive.  There were all kinds of amusements there: a great mini golf course, bumper boats, mini trains, race car driving, a tiny roller coaster, a ferris wheel and of course the carousel complete with rings that you would stand up and catch yourself.

When they both discovered that the carousel had reopened, they made a bee line to see it again and brought me along to share in their memories.  We all had a great time.

Nunley's Carousel was originally built in 1912 by the Stein and Goldstein Artistic Carousell Company of Brooklyn, NY.  Eventually brought to Carnarsie's Golden City Park, it would be known to all as "Murphy's Carousel " What is important to note here are the partner's names, Timothy Murphy and William Nunley.  They both worked for the Merley Corp. who operated a large number of carousels in the northeast. 

In the 30's, Robert Moses planned his new highway, now known as the Belt Parkway, to run through Brooklyn and Queens. Golden City Park stood smack in the middle of it.  By 1938, the park was condemned and leveled.  In December of that year, the carousel and a large frame building to house it was moved to the Baldwin site on Sunrise Highway where it opened in 1940 and renamed Nunley's Carousel, which is the name we all know and love today.

Hey, look at me on the horse.  I caught a ring! Can you see it around my leg?  What a great time we had.  Since it was hot, the nearby Cradle of Aviation staff offered us bottled water.  Susan and Rob had a great time as well, taking pictures and riding on the horses as well.  After almost 50 years, it was great seeing the all the animals again in the former glory. 

In 1995, Nunley's Carousel and Amusements closed its doors and its many rides were sold off in sections.  When the carousel was in danger of being sold off in pieces as well, three generations of fans wondered what would happen next. Understanding the frustrations of the people,  Nassau County finally bought Nunley's Carousel and was brought over to what is now known as Museum Row in Garden City where it was renovated and refurbished to its former glory. It opened again last year during the weekend of May 2 and 3rd, where at last it can be enjoyed by its former fans and many, many more generations to come. 

Here are some interesting facts about the carousel:
  • Nunley’s Carousel has 41 horses and one lion.
  • The entire carousel is suspended from the center pole.
  • The carousel is 42 feet in diameter.
  • One bell means the carousel is ready to start, two bells means that it is beginning to turn.
  • American carousels turn counterclockwise, but in England, carousels turn clockwise.
  • The outward facing side of the carousel horse is more heavily carved than the side facing inward.
  • Between 2000 and 3000 carousels were produced in the U.S. during its golden age of wooden carousels (1880s to 1930s); today, there are less than 150 still operating.
  • Golden age carousel figures were not carved out of a single block of wood, instead several body panels were connected producing a hollow body.
  • To relax before taking off on his solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, Charles Lindbergh ventured to Coney Island to ride a carousel. 
 I would like to thank the caretakers of the new Nunley's Carousel for being so patient and kind to us while we enjoyed the ride this morning. Their site,, is informative and interesting and it is where I borrowed their Fun Facts section to let you know more about the carousel.  Please check it out.   Another site to check,, will talk more about the Baldwin site and the eventual refurbishing and renovation. Lastly, I need to mention the Cradle of Aviation Museum site. The building is right next door and it is where Susan bought her Nunley's Carousel tee shirt and ring necklace:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Long Island Motor Parkway

Hi again.  In back of me are remnants of a bridge that went over the very first limited access highway in the country known as the Long Island Motor Parkway.

William Kissam Vanderbilt, great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and a racing enthusiast, created the Vanderbilt Cup races in 1904, with the idea of bringing European car racing to the United States. The cup was provided by Tiffany and the races were run over 30 miles of local roads in Nassau County.

Deciding that local roads were too dangerous, Vanderbilt hit on the idea of a landscaped parkway with banked turns and no grade crossings or commercial vehicles to hinder race cars driving at the top speed of 60 mph.  Originally planned for a 60 mile parkway from Queens to Riverhead, LI, it became a 45 mile parkway from Flushing to Ronkonkoma.  Groundbreaking began in Bethpage in 1908. The Long Island Motor Parkway was born. 

The races were originally run on the first 10 miles of the parkway until 1910. Due  to numerous accidents and the deaths and injuries of spectators, the races were finally banned by the New York State Legislature. In 1911, the Long Island Motor Parkway became a toll road used by everyone from socialites to rumrunners or just motorists taking their families out for a Sunday drive to Long Island.  An inn, known as the Petit Trianon was built at the end of the parkway on the shores of Lake Ronkonkoma.  The inn later became a club and restaurant and was managed by various owners until it burned to the ground in 1958.

The Long Island Motor Parkway met its end in 1938 when it could not compete with the more modernized parkways of Robert Moses's newly built Northern State Parkway.  The parkway was sold and broken off into different sections.  A part of the parkway still exists in Suffolk and is known as Motor or Vanderbilt Parkway.  A section in Queens is used as a bike path in Alley Pond Park. The biggest loss however was in Nassau County where most of the parkway was cut up and built over.

Susan and Rob did do some research on the road due to Rob's continuing interest.  They traced the entire road and took lots of pictures and kept a log about it.  They were also written up in the local paper in the late 70's.  The article is gone and not available on the internet, but there are other articles that I'm including here.

At the end of the article you will find references that will contain more information.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Modern Times, A Utopian Society, Brentwood, NY

Hello again.  In back of me stands the Modern Times original schoolhouse which was to be restored by the Brentwood Historical Society in 2005. As you can see, the school house hasn't been restored as of yet, but I'm not here to tell you about that.

I'm here to tell you about the colony of Modern Times, founded on March 21, 1851 by Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews.  It was based on the principles of individual sovereignty and individual responsibility which meant that you were responsible for yourself  and your actions.  There were no rules or regulations, no jails, no laws and according to records, there was little or no crime.  All land was considered private property except in the alleyways where that was considered common ground.  They had their own private currency based upon the current labor exchange so they could trade for goods and services.

Modern Times did not last however.  Eventually, people found their way into the colony who did not share their ideals and beliefs.  This and the Civil War contributed to the beginning of the end of Modern Times.  As you can see by the above the sign, it was renamed Brentwood in 1864 after the village, Brentwood, Essex in England.  Many of the buildings were completely destroyed.

This octagon house was known as the Dame House built in 1859 by William Upham Dame.  The sign says that it was a Modern Times home and was designed for the economy of space.  The first floor was used as a residence and the second floor used as the Modern Times Assembly Hall.  

The schoolhouse was originally located at 3rd Avenue and 4th Street.  The schoolteacher's name was Mary Swain.  It was a one room schoolhouse and used between 1857 to 1907 and moved in 1989.

I am including two links regarding Modern Times:

Wikipedia article:,_New_York

and from the Brentwood Library

Monday, July 5, 2010

Forgotten Tidbits of Long Island History - Fairchild Republic Corp, E. Farmingdale, LI

Hi again.  Here I am sitting on steps that lead to nowhere.  Well, now they do, but at one time, they led to a Long Island Railroad Station used exclusively for employees of the Fairchild Republic Corp.  This company and Grumman Aircraft were at one time the largest employers on Long Island.

Fairchild Aircraft was founded by Sherman Fairchild in 1929.  They were the manufacturers of aircraft and related aircraft parts from 1931 to 1987. After visiting the American Airpower Museum in East Farmingdale on the former site of Republic Aviation, I discovered some interesting things.  Republic Aviation took over the buildings that Fairchild abandoned in 1930's and expanded their operation in 1955.  In 1965 Fairchild Hiller bought out Republic Aviation to manufacture the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II or "Warthog".  From that point on, Republic Aviation became known as Fairchild Republic Corporation.

Here I am sitting on the right side of the ruins.  These are the steps on the left side of the station, both are closed off to the public.

Below is an original picture of what the station looked like before demolition in 1987.  Note the steps on either side.

The steps aren't the only things crumbling.  In 2006 Fairchild Republic sold off Airport Plaza, a shopping mall which the corporation had built on their former site. On the opposite side of the street, the former buildings stand in ruins. Promises to rebuild the Republic Station never seem to materialize.  Right now it has been postponed indefinitely.

I have a few links to articles that will provide more information.

Wikipedia article:

Pictures of the former Fairchild Republic buildings in ruins:

and finally a link to where I found the picture of the former station