Where we're always on the road, and it's always 1962! TM
I know I’ve been away for a long time, but as is often the story for internet sites, my real world life got in the way. Here’s a very big THANK YOU to all of you who kept reading for the past couple of months. I hope you’ve had a chance to look at some of the pages you’ve missed, reread a favorite, or even just play with the map of route US-23. Within the next couple of weeks, I’ll buckle up, grab the steering wheel, and get back on the road for you!
Don Milne, your Roadtrip-’62 host
For a rousing, feel-good movie ending, it’s hard to beat the climax of 1962’s "The Music Man". The story was set in the imaginary town of River City, Iowa of a hundred-and-fifty years before, but was inspired by Mason City, Iowa, the home of the musical’s composer, Meredith Willson. Mason City sits at the intersection of US-18 and US-65, so a good roadtrip could reach it from more than one direction. While not many landmarks remain from when the movie was filmed, there are tributes to it everywhere. Music Man Square is part of the community theater complex that features a life-size, indoor copy of the set designs of the 1912 streetscape from the motion picture. There's also an interactive museum highlighting composer Meredith Willson, and a display of original production photos. Elsewhere, the small footbridge over Willow Creek, which was seen in the movie, is still in service. Some of the people who were connected with the film are also still in town, such as Ken Anderson. He was the driver for Shirley Jones, who played Marian the Librarian in the film, when she came to town for the June, 1962 premiere. Ken and about 15 other members of the Iowa National Guard served as drivers for the celebrities at the premiere of "The Music Man."
“The Music Man” DVD box (from Amazon.com)
I couldn’t decide on just one issue to highlight this week, so I’m going to discuss all the U.S. comics with a September 1962 cover date. The Grand Comics Database lists 92 issues, in addition to 36 that were dated for more than one month, such as August-September. Many people think of comic books as just superheroes, but these 92 issues span quite a range of genres. We were reading romance, TV and Disney cartoon characters, fantasy-supernatural, war, funny animal humor, westerns, parody-satire, movie and TV adaptations, outer space science fiction, general humor, biographies, racing humor, and jungle stories along with our superheroes! The range of publishers was also rather wide, with American Comics Group, Archie Comics, Charlton Comics, National Periodical Publications (now DC Comics), Dell Comics, E.C. Publications, Fawcett Publications’ Hallden unit, Harvey Comics, Marvel Comics (under a variety of names), Prize Publishing, Gold Key Comics, and some paperback book publishers all providing issues. You could spend a long time down at the newsstand or drug store thumbing through comics to spend 12 cents from your allowance on!
comic scans from Grand Comics Database
A small town museum with some interesting collections is what you will find at the Bureau County Historical Society of Princeton, Illinois. The society occupies three historic buildings just off US-6. In these buildings, the Society holds a varied collection including Native American artifacts, farming equipment, Civil War and military memorabilia, and ephemera of bygone days. It is also home to the Henry W. Immke photography collection of equipment and over 20,000 glass photograph plates. Mr. Immke was a local photographer from 1866 until 1923.
Princeton Postcard History Book (buy at Amazon.com).
If you're new here, discover what Roadtrip-'62 TM is all about and why it's always 1962 here.
There’s always someone trying to do something that no one else has ever done. The year 1962 was no exception, when Erline Christopherson became the first woman to swim the length of Lake Tahoe. The idea to swim the long way had been around for some time, at least since 1931 when Mrs. Myrtle Huddleston became the first person to swim the width. In 1955, Fred Rogers, a bartender from San Francisco, became the first person to swim the length. Perhaps Ms. Christopherson was inspired by this, because she first dreamt of swimming across the lake that year, when she was only nine years old. Over the years, she became an excellent swimmer. At age 10 she was competing in Amateur Athletic Union meets and later was on the Junior Olympics team. She made her first attempt at Lake Tahoe in 1961. There weren't many boats on the lake back then, and certainly no jet skis or wakeboarding, so Erline didn’t need to be concerned about wakes. But there also were no books on how to swim such long distances. The family figured that protein and sugar were needed, so Erline's mother made a broth from a roast and they put that and brown sugar water into plastic ketchup and honey bottles. Wetsuits are not allowed during record attempts so she used a grease from her father’s work creating bailing wires. Erline was successful on her third attempt, in 1962. Today, her swimsuit and other items from that special day are on display in the Lake Tahoe Historical Museum in South Lake Tahoe, California.
Erline Christopherson swimming Lake Tahoe (from Denise Haerr, used by persmission).
I don’t have a new page to point you to today, but you might want to check out Day 4 of our virtual roadtrip down US-6. We started the day with breakfast at Wein-O-Rama in Cranston, Rhode Island: what a great name! Then we saw a few more sites in Rhode Island and plenty of history in Hartford, Connecticut.
Soldiers And Sailors Memorial Arch, Hartford, Connecticut (Photo by John Jasiulevicius at Flickr, used by permission).
If you enjoy postcards of old motels and hotels, The Downtowner is the blog for you. The collection has hundreds of old postcards, including 38 from our favorite year, 1962. Host Jordan Smith continues to add new cards from his extensive collection, so you never know what you’ll find. Hey, I just realized I once stayed at the Skyland Motel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee that he has a ways down the front page! Maybe you’ve stayed at one of these motels, too.
Skyland Motel, Gatlinburg, Tennessee (from Cardboard America, used by permission)
For Day 19 of our US-23 roadtrip, we got some great pecan candies at that highway icon Stuckey’s. Then after wandering through some small Georgia towns like small towns like McRae, Lumber City, Hazlehurst, and Alma, we ended the day at the Okefenokee Swamp and even spotted an alligator!
old Okefenokee parks brochures
As the end of another year approaches, it’s time to think of the start of next year. What better way to watch the year go by than with a Roadtrip-’62 Calendar?
You’ll find all kinds of tidbits about 1962 on our Facebook Page! I post many things there that never appear on the website or the newsletter. Along with photos and links to interesting places on the internet, including resources on US-6 and US-23. And, it’s updated more often than this front page!
Find Roadtrip-’62 on Facebook
Speaking of that great finale to The Music Man, the 5th highest grossing film of 1962, made me want to watch it. You too? OK, here it is!
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Our front page changes almost weekly, so you may have missed some fun stuff if you don't check in frequently. Check the Home Page Archives for all the previous iterations of our front page. Discover links, videos, roadtrip suggestions, and lots of news from 1962!
Remember, you can find ALL the ROADTRIP-'62 TM articles listed conveniently on the Archives page. That will take you to all the great roadtrip destinations. And you can send me a Comment if you want: I'd love to hear from you.
Today we finish with Illinois and enter the American West, crossing the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities. Fittingly for this farm country, we visit the John Deere factories.
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Events Calendar: happening for over 50 years!
, Glenwood Springs, Colorado - September 24-28, 2014.
Since its 1962 founding, the festival has developed into one of the largest and most popular non-juried art shows in Colorado. Enjoy artists demonstrations, bargin bins, and more!
Weather for Mason City, Iowa on September 23, 1962, from the National Climatic Data Center: