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The Roadtrip-'62 ™ Blog

I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:

  • 1962 News of the World
  • 1962 News of the Nation
  • 1962 Local News
  • 1962 in Sports
  • 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
  • 1962 in Science
  • Cars of 1962
  • Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
  • On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
  • More Fun From 1962! (everything else that sounds like fun, like special events and more pop culture)
 
 

Favorite Places on a US-33 Roadtrip

June 22, 2021

Continuing the US-numbered highways in order, today Roadtrip-'62 ™ should look at US-32. But there was no US-32 by 1962! It once existed and a bit of its story is at a page about several defunct highway numbers. We traveled most of that old route as Days 19-24 of our US-6 trip! Instead, let’s look at the next route, US-33. US-33 is one of those unusual routes that is numbered with and odd number, which should indicate a north-south direction, but which actually travels mostly east-west. It is even signed as east-west along its 709 miles from Elkhart, Indiana to Richmond, Virginia. It roughly follows an historic trail used by Native Americans from Chesapeake Bay to Lake Michigan. The northern end was at Coloma, north of St. Joseph, Michigan, in 1962, though it had ended in the latter town until 1959. Route US-33 was signed together with US-31 between that point and South Bend, Indiana. It was shortened to end in Niles, Michigan in 1986, in South Bend in 1999, and Elkhart by 2008. Our Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels have crossed US-33 in Columbus, Ohio while driving on US-23, and at Ligonier, Indiana on our US-6 trip.

 
Map of US-33 shortening in Michigan and Indiana
Map of US-33 shortening in Michigan and Indiana (Map by Milne Enterprises, Inc.)

Let’s look at some places we could have visited back in 1962! Five miles southwest of old US-33 at Berrien Center, Michigan is Bear Cave. This is Michigan’s only naturally formed cave. Many states have extensive cave systems, but as Michigan was covered in ice during the last glacial period, the state is mostly covered in the sand, clay, and gravel that settled out of the melting ice, so that no caves show at the surface except this one. The walls of the cave are tufa, a type of limestone formed when certain minerals precipitate out of water, such as in the braided channels found at the meltlines of glaciers. Bear Cave has multiple rooms, though the whole thing is only about 150 feet long. After heading down some stairs, you will see various formations and fossils throughout the passage and rooms. There is even a pool in one room. Another room was used to hide slaves fleeing north in the Underground Railroad system of the pre-Civil War days. There is also a small waterfall on the property, another geologic rarity in southern Michigan.

 
Bear Cave RV Resort, Buchanan, Michigan postcard
Postcard of Bear Cave RV Resort, Buchanan, Michigan, circa 1960 (postcard from an online auction)

South Bend, Indiana was the home of the Studebaker Corporation. The last new car designed by Studebaker, the Avanti, was created in 1962, as the company was nearing the end of its life. It was not enough to save the company and they closed their South Bend plant in December of 1963. After closing, The Studebaker Corporation donated its collection of 37 vehicles and company archives to the City of South Bend in 1966. The collection was housed at a number of South Bend locations thereafter and now resides at the Studebaker Museum there. Studebaker was a wagon, buggy, carriage, and harness manufacturer based in South Bend. It was founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868. It entered the automotive business in 1902, building electric vehicles (yes, they are an old idea). Since 1916, it has kept a museum collection at its headquarters, which later became a full-fledged public museum. I’m sure we could have seen some company history and maybe even a couple of cars from 1962.

 
Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana (photo from City of Fort Wayne, used for publicity purposes.)

We already saw the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo at Fort Wayne, Indiana, when I traveled The Lincoln Highway, US-30. So what else can we see in Fort Wayne? Not The Old Fort, also known as Historic Fort Wayne, as this recreation was only constructed for the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976. The original fort, constructed in 1815, deteriorated until it was finally torn down in 1852. Fort Wayne was a strategic location in the late 18th century because you could connect from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River with only a short canoe portage between the Maumee River and the Eel River. Instead, I’m in the mood for flowers today, but the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is also too new for our road trip. The Conservatory only opened in 1983. But Lakeside Park & Rose Garden opened in 1920! Before Parks Superintendent Adolf Jaenicke had the garden constructed, the depression of the lake had been used as a neighborhood dump. Besides the rose garden, his park design features sunken gardens, a lakeside walk, plus fountains and pavilions. The completed rose garden, elevated above a sunken garden with reflecting ponds, was finished in the early 1920’s and has brought many thousands of visitors to Lakeside Park. It displays over 1500 roses of 150 varieties, including climbing roses over the long pergola. By 2005, the original garden structures were showing their age, so the city rebuilt all the retaining walls, stairs, sidewalks and reflecting ponds. It has been a National Rose Garden since 1928.

 
Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio
Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio (Photo by Chris Light at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Just inside Ohio, Grand Lake St. Marys is an artificial lake originally constructed as a feeder reservoir for the Miami & Erie Canal, between 1825 and 1847. It was dug by hand and was the world's largest man-made lake when constructed. It is still the largest inland lake in Ohio. The area was a wet prairie before lake construction and has an average depth of only 5–7 feet. href="sailing-we-shall-go.htm#canals" title="Sailing We Shall Go" >Ohio’s canal system flourished for only about thirty years before it was replaced by the railroads as faster and less expensive transportation. Before the lake became a recreational destination, another attempt at making money from it was made. By 1891, oil was discovered in the area and oil derricks proliferated. Grand Lake became the first offshore oil drilling location in the world. The discovery of greater oil reserves in Texas put an end to Ohio’s first oil boom. A state park was established in 1949 and now Grand Lake St. Marys State Park offers 52 miles of shoreline for boating and fishing, as well as a family campground, swimming pool, and picnic areas. There are four public swimming beaches scattered around the lake. The park also has 3 miles of trails and a hiking connection to the canal feeder junction near the historic Miami and Erie Canal. This connects to the Miami-Erie Trail, Buckeye Trail, and North Country Scenic Trail. The park is a great location to see migratory waterfowl including geese, loons, ducks, grebes, and swans. American white pelicans have been seen here every year for almost a decade, with the first nests seen in 2019. These birds historically bred in the western United States and Canada, but appear to be expanding their range east. St. Marys Fish Hatchery is located on the lake's eastern shore and raises saugeye, walleye, channel catfish and bass for stocking in Ohio’s public fishing waters.

 
Ash Cave, Hocking Hills region, Ohio
Enchanted view from under Ash Cave, Hocking Hills region, Ohio

Continuing southeasterly, we cross US-23 at Columbus, Ohio. Beyond Columbus, we arrive at my favorite place along US-33, the Hocking Hills region in southeastern Ohio. While only one of the region’s natural sights is close to the highway, others are from 6 to 15 miles away. The scenic sight along the highway is the Rock Bridge, where a hike off the road will take you to the bottom lands along the Hocking River. Near the end of the trail, you cross the natural rock bridge that gives the site its name. A small stream is still carving away at the sandstone under the bridge. Other small streams are still carving such nearby features as Conkles Hollow, Ash Cave, Rock House, and Cedar Falls. Ash Cave is the most spectacular feature of the park and my favorite. After a pleasant hike upstream, you reach the largest recess cave in Ohio. If you are lucky enough to arrive when no one else is around, it seems a fairyland setting, standing under the overhang and waterfall, looking out at towering, moss covered trees and jumbled boulders covered with ferns. Old Man’s Cave has the most extensive trail system in a small area, encircling a canyon for overlooks and offering steps down to streamside trails within the canyon. The bridges and trails within the canyon have been flooded out and rebuilt many times over the years. Timing your visit is tricky, because sometimes high waters and flood damage close the area, but in midsummer the streams have only a trickle of water, so the waterfalls dry up. Cedar Falls is the largest waterfall in terms of volume, so even if you visit during low stream flows, you might see this falls.

 
Shenandoah River Valley from Skyline Drive, Virginia
Shenandoah River Valley and blue ridge from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

We’ll end our journey at Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. However, US-33 continues on to Richmond, Virginia. Within the park, Skyline Drive forms an extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway and Skyline Drive form one of the most beautiful roads in the country, running mostly on the ridges of the highest mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. It’s one of my favorite roads because of the frequent parking turnouts with wonderful views off the mountains. In addition to the beauty of the roadway itself and the surrounding mountains, you can find historic sites, waterfall hikes, dining, camping and more along the route. It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of Shenandoah National Park, if you don’t stop for too many of the 70 overlook turnouts. Highway US-33 crosses the park near the middle, at Milepost 66, and also crosses the Appalachain Trail within the park. We cross about 14 miles south of the largest developed area in the park, Big Meadows. Here you’ll find a visitor center with exhibits, ranger programs, a bookstore, and access to activities and hikes. The park was established in 1935 after many years of property purchases and condemnation takings by the State of Virginia.

You know, as much as I enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, I’ve never traveled the entire road. I’ve been on many bits and pieces, some many times. But since I’m near the north end, this would be a great opportunity to see it all. Maybe that’s where you’ll find Roadtrip-'62 ™ when we meet again!

 
 

1962 Children's Books

April 27, 2021

No travel this week, instead Roadtrip-'62 ™ will be staying indoors. Imagine you’re a kid and it’s a cold, rainy day, so let’s play with our toys! I’ve already talked about toy guns, card games, and candy that we might have had in 1962. Today I’ll review some children’s books published that year that we might have read. I was only 9 years old that year, so I’m sure I read some of these!

 
Cover of “Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes”
Cover of “Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes” (photo from online sale)

The World Book Encyclopedia lists the following categories of children’s books. Mostly, I remember and think of books that fit the Folk Tales and Fantasies category. While the categories covering science and history are important, I doubt that most of us looking back at our time as kids would think much about those books. And the categories “Abridgements of Adult Books“, “Mostly for Older Boys”, and “Mostly for Older Girls” are what we call Young Adult books. Here’s a few representative books from each category: which ones do you remember?

For Reading Aloud and Sharing

  • “Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes” by Sesyle Joslin, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard – a story of Christmas gifts, one of several in the Baby Elephant series. A lot of text per picture, this is good for reading to children. It is easy to find used copies online.
  • “The Snowy Day” written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats – Told with simple pictures evoking innocence, it follows an African American boy exploring his neighborhood after winter’s first snowfall. It was awarded the 1963 Caldecott Medal for Keat’s collage artwork, making it the first picture book with an African American protagonist to win a major children’s book award. It is still in print and available on Amazon.
 
Cover of “The Snowy Day
Cover of “The Snowy Day”
 
 

For Beginning Readers and Picture-Book Audiences

  • “How Do You Get from Here to There?” – by Nicholas J. Charles, illustrated by Karla Kuskin – The pictures answer the question in fun ways. It is hard to find used copies, or even library copies to borrow.
  • “Policeman Small” – Lois Lenski – This was the final book in one of Lenski’s best-known bodies of work. The "Mr. Small" began in 1934 with “The Little Auto”. Each book showed the life of a friendly person in a simple world. Most have been reissued and are still available.
  • “The Big Honey Hunt” – by Stan and Jan Berenstain – This was the first in the Berenstain Bears series by the couple. It introduces Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Brother Bear, but Sister Bear was not yet born. It was edited by Dr. Seuss. Their cartoons had been appearing in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
 
Cover of “Policeman Small
Cover of “Policeman Small (photo from online sale)”

Abridgements of Adult Books

  • “Ten Great Plays” – by William Shakespeare with commentaries by Sir Tyrone Guthrie. This is exactly why I don’t think this entire category should be part of children’s books.

Folk Tales and Fantasies

  • “Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book” – by Dr. Seuss – This takes a look at the sleep habits of some fantastical animals, all set in motion by a yawn from one small bug. It also reports the latest news in the sports of sleeptalking and sleepwalking, all in typical Dr. Seuss rhyme. As with most of Dr. Seuss’s books, it is still in print and available on Amazon.
  • “The Genie and Joe Maloney” – by Anita Feagles, illustrated by Don Sibley – In a somewhat typical tale of a genie, Joe meets a jovial one who offers him three wishes. Of course the first two are granted in ways not quite as Joe expected, so he is uncertain if the genie will correctly grant his most important wish. You can read it at The Internet Archive.
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Cover of “Fury and the White Mare”
Cover of “Fury and the White Mare” (photo from online sale)”

Nature Science and Animal Stories

  • “Fury and the White Mare” - by Albert G. Miller – At the time, Fury was America's most famous horse. The adventures of this black stallion and his young master, Joey were broadcast on television from 1955-1960. As always, the story is a heartwarming tale about a boy, his horse, and life in contemporary western ranch country.
  • “Owls in the Family” – by Farley Mowat, illustrated by Robert Frankenburg. A short humorous story about a boy who brings home animals, and especially about his adventures with an injured owl. Many libraries still have this available.

Mostly for Older Boys and Mostly for Older Girls

  • “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet” – by Caroline Keene – This is the 39th book in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series and the actual ghost writer was Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, who wrote many of these books. Nancy searches a mansion's dark, musty attic for clues and runs into jewel thieves. My wife used to enjoy reading these mysteries when she was young.
  • “The Clue of the Screeching Owl” – by Franklin W. Dixon – Of course, if the girls had a mystery series, the boys needed one too! This is the 41st book in the Hardy Boys Mystery Stories and the actual ghost writer was James Buechler. Frank and Joe Hardy help their father's friend, a retired police captain, solve a mystery in the Pocono Mountains. We had several of these books when I was kid and I don’t believe I ever read one.
  • “A Wrinkle in Time” – by Madeleine L'Engle has to be my favorite book from 1962, though I didn’t read it until about 3 years later. I read it early in my entry into reading science fiction, and it showed me the wide possibilities of the genre which held my attention for the next 20 years or so. It is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg Wallace and her brother and friend, in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem. The book was the winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963.
 
Covers of “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet” and “The Clue of the Screeching Owl”
Covers of “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet” and “The Clue of the Screeching Owl” (Photos from Wikipedia, used for identification only under fair use rules.)

The other categories of children’s books all strike me as close to school text books. I used to read some of this type, mostly about the solar system or chemistry, as my elementary school had a great library. But I’ve listed one representative title in each category to give an overview of what was published in 1962 anyway.

Books About Other Lands – “Playtime in Africa” – by Efua Sutherland – This uses photographs to explore how children of Ghana played, showing popular games like hopscotch and marbles.

Books About the United States – “On the Way Home” – by Laura Ingalls Wilder – The author of the popular Little House book series tells of her married life with parts of her diary, detailing a trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894.

Important People in Books – “Grover Cleveland” – by Edwin Hoyt – One of many biographies of presidents and other important historical figures published in 1962 and designed for younger readers.

Psychology, Mathematics, and Science – “Oceans” – by Irving and Ruth Adler – This book explains ocean plants, animals, currents, tides, and more with many illustrations.

Using Science Today – “The Fabulous Isotopes” – by Robin McKown, illustrated by Isadore Steinberg – A history and examples of the use of radioactive isotopes in medicine, agriculture, and industry. This sounds just like the kind of books I read back then! This book is also available to read at the Internet Archive.

Music and Art Books – “Sand Sculpturing” – by Mickey Klar Marks, photos by Sidney G. Bernard – Directions on creating sand sculptures suitable for all ages. Besides authoring other books, Mr. Marks was a frequent writer of humor comic books targeted towards children during the 1940s and 1950s.

 
Cover of “The Fabulous Isotopes”
Cover of “The Fabulous Isotopes” (photo from online sale)

I always enjoyed the Mary Poppins books by P. L. Travers when I was young and over the past several years I have reread them. They’re still a lot of fun. They were very popular in the early 1960s, so Walt Disney brought out its “Mary Poppins” movie in 1963. I have one more left to read in the series, “Mary Poppins From A to Z”. It just so happens to have been published in 1962, so I guess it’s time to reread it! I’m off to my local library to find it now. And after I read it, I’ll be off on the next Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey!

 
 

5 Postcards from a US-31 Roadtrip

March 23, 2021

Today’s mini-trip on a US-numbered highway takes Roadtrip-'62 ™ to US-31, which currently runs 1280 miles from just south of Mackinaw City, Michigan to Spanish Fort, Alabama. In 1962, it was a little longer on both ends. The north end went to the Mackinac Bridge and before 1957, it went to the nearby Michigan State Ferry Docks. It shared this location with the beginnings of both US-23 and US-27, which I discussed in more detail on the first day of my US-23 roadtrip. The south end went into downtown Mobile, Alabama through the Bankhead Tunnel. From Mobile to Indianapolis, Indiana, much of the route runs near or together with a freeway, I-65. I have to confess that I have not driven any of the route south of Kentucky, but I have some favorite spots on the Michigan portion. The highway passes through five states, just missing Florida’s Panhandle corner by approximately 1000 feet.

 
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire, Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire, Michigan (Yes, they really have that steep, 40o slope!)

While Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is well known for its spectacular sand dunes and sweeping Lake Michigan views, it’s too far from US-31 for my five-mile Roadtrip-'62 ™ rules. However, many other dunes are within the limit, including Ludington State Park, at Ludington, Michigan. You can hike up and down dunes for the entire day if you want, beginning with the low dunes on the south end and ending with miles of open high dunes on the north end. Trails abound and will also take you past the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, along the scenic Hamlin River for some salmon and waterfowl watching, and through some deeply shaded woods. My favorite trail is the Lost Lake Trail. This trail uses a series of boardwalks to hop from island to island in Hamlin Lake, and makes an easy loop of about 2¼ miles. I’ve seen deer, swans, frogs, beaver, herons, and even river otters on this trail! On the other hand, if you want to enjoy things from the water, you can rent canoes, kayaks, or paddleboats and paddle around Hamlin Lake on the canoe trail. Or just stay out on the great beach all day and enjoy the lovely sunset at night! If you would rather catch your sunset back in Ludington, head back to town at the end of the day and watch it with an ice cream cone from Park Dairy House of Flavors. They’ve been around since 1948 and have both great food and a great hometown ice cream parlor atmosphere.

Other sand dunes are all along the Lake Michigan shore and are also easy drives off US-31. You can find them at Lake Michigan Recreation Area in the Huron-Manistee National Forest just south of Manistee, Charles Mears State Park at Pentwater, Hoffmaster State Park at Norton Shores, Saugatuck Dunes State Park at Saugatuck, and Van Buren State Park at South Haven.

 
Races of Man sculpture, Holliday Park, Indianapolis, Indiana
Races of Man sculpture, Holliday Park, Indianapolis, Indiana

Near Lapaz, Indiana we cross US-6, which we last saw on day 18 of our roadtrip down that highway. Our next stop down US-31 is at Indianapolis, Indiana, the capital of the state. Here, we cross many US-numbered routes, which radiate like spokes on a bicycle wheel from downtown: US-36, US-40, US-52, US-136, and US-421. On the west side of town along US-136 is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the oldest motorsport tracks in the world. We’re stopping at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum (IMSM). The museum was established in 1956, and moved to its current building in 1976. It houses both passenger cars and race cars, trophies, photographs, racing records, memorabilia, and fine art interpreting motorsports. The passenger cars lean toward those built in Indiana, including Duesenbergs, Marmons, and Stutzs. In addition to race cars, other vehicles that have set world land speed records are displayed, including motorcycles and dragsters. The museum displays about 75 cars at any given time, including the winning 1962 Watson Roadster driven by Rodger Ward.

Other sights to see in Indianapolis are the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Holliday Park. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is a museum and memorial to the only U.S. President elected from Indiana. Harrison was the 23rd president of the United States and this building was his home. He and his wife Caroline built the house in 1874-1875 and lived here except when he was a US Senator and President. After Mr. Harrison’s death, his second wife rented the property out until 1937, when she sold it to the Jordan Conservatory of Music. The Conservatory maintained the artifacts and certain rooms as a museum, and offered tours by appointment only from the 1950s to 1974. After a renovation that year, it was opened as a full time museum.

I’ve visited the Garfield Park Conservatory several times. It’s an enjoyable stroll through their 10,000 square foot tropical rainforest and outdoor Sunken Garden and fountains. The original building was designed and constructed in 1916 and consisted of a palm house, two show houses, two plant houses, a propagating house, and a service building. In 1955, that aging wooden Conservatory was replaced with a welded aluminum-framed building. This art deco style building was the first aluminum building in the United States.

The “Races of Man” sculpture in Holliday Park was a mystery to me the first time I visited. I went to the park for their 3.5 miles of hiking trails and views of the White River and saw this looming overhead. The sculpture was not signed at that time, but I have since found it is part of the ruins of the St. Paul Building of New York City. It was moved here after demolition as part of a contest. These sculptures by Karl Bitter have sort of traveled back home, as they were carved of Indiana limestone.

 
Drapery Room, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Drapery Room, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky (postcard circa 1960, from author’s collection)

At Sellersburg, Indiana (just north of Louisville, Kentucky), US-31 splits into two routes, US-31E and US-31W. These rejoin at Nashville, Tennessee. US-31W passes near both Fort Knox and Mammoth Cave National Park, while US-31E passes by the Abraham Lincoln National Historic Site. It’s easy to see why highway planners could not decide which route to sign as US-31! Fort Knox is a United States Army installation in Kentucky, 30 miles south of Louisville. Though the name conjures the storehouse of gold used as movie plot devices, the United States Bullion Depository is actually a separate but adjacent facility. The army fort was first constructed in 1918 and has grown and changed missions several times over the years. Fort Knox is named after Henry Knox, the country's first Secretary of War. It mostly housed the US Army Armor Center and Armor School, used by both the Army and the Marine Corps to train crews on tanks. The last tank trained on was the M1 Abrams main battle tank in 2011. The United States Bullion Depository is a fortified vault building operated by the United States Department of the Treasury. It stores over half the country's gold reserves, with the remaining gold held in the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository, and the San Francisco Assay Office. The Depository was completed in December 1936. Unfortunately for us, no visitors are permitted and they never have been.

Farther down US-31W, at Park City, Kentucky, is Mammoth Cave National Park, which has the world’s longest known cave system. Different cave tours use different cave entrances, some natural and other manmade. The Broadway Tour uses the cave's most famous entrance and a path used for nearly two centuries. The Cleaveland Avenue Tour requires a bus ride to another entrance. It’s sights include sparkling walls of gypsum and unique tube-shaped passages. For folks that have already heard enough cave tour guides’ bad jokes, the Discovery Tour is self-guiding! The Domes & Dripstones Tour begins in a sinkhole, passes through huge dome rooms, and ends in the dripstone section known as Frozen Niagara. It ascends and descends hundreds of stairs and several steep inclines. Besides the caves, there are over 80 miles of trails in the park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trails offer wildlife spotting, river views, sinkholes, cave-fed springs, cemeteries, and views of the historic entrances to Mammoth Cave and Dixon Cave. The cemeteries, and old church buildings, remain from the 30 small communities that were on the land before it became a national park in 1941. Some of the church buildings are open for viewing.

 
Drapery Room, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Aerial view of The Parthenon and Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee (postcard circa 1965, from author’s collection)

This is the farthest south on US-31 I have been and one of the first places I visited when I began working and had vacation time to spend. It’s a bit odd to see a replica of an ancient Greek temple in Tennessee, but Nashville has one! The Parthenon is a full-scale replica, complete with a full-scale replica of the Athena statue of the original. It’s here because Nashville was once known as the “Athens of the South”, so of course when Tennessee held a Centennial Exposition here in 1897, Nashville wanted to look like ancient Athens. As with all the buildings of the exposition, it was built to be temporary. But while the others were removed at the end of the celebration, Nashville’s citizens had grown so fond of The Parthenon that they kept it. As the exterior coating, sculpture, and decorative work were all made of plaster, they soon deteriorated and in 1920, the city began construction of a permanent replacement. Casts were made of the original marble sculptures dating back to 438 B.C., housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Great Britain, and the building was rebuilt from concrete and brick to last. The building was completed in 1931 but the great statue of Athena in the naos was not finished until 1990, with final gilding and painting finished in 2002. The Parthenon serves as the City of Nashville's art museum. The main focus of the Parthenon's permanent collection is 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. It also holds a variety of temporary shows and exhibits throughout the year.  

Alabama State Capitol at night, Montgomery postcard
Alabama State Capitol at night, Montgomery (postcard circa 1960, from an online auction)

Montgomery is the capital Alabama, the last of three capitals we visit on this trip (Indianapolis and Nashville being the others). The Alabama State Capitol is open to walk-in visitors. The current building is the second Capitol; the first burned in 1849. The Capitol is a working museum and underwent a major restoration in 1992. Restored areas open to the public include the House of Representatives, Senate Chamber, Old Supreme Court Chamber & Library, and Rotunda. The Senate chamber, restored to its 1861 appearance, has a trompe l'oeil ceiling - a style of painting in which objects are painted to fool the eye into seeing depth. The twin cantilevered spiral staircases are one of the most famous features. Monuments, statues, and gardens are contained on the five-acre surrounding grounds.

One block south of the Capitol is the First White House of the Confederacy, a 1835 Italianate-style house in which President Jefferson Davis and family lived in 1861, while the Confederate capital was in Montgomery. It is furnished with original period pieces from the 1850s and 1860s, and is also open to the public. It was owned by many different people after 1861 until the White House Association of Alabama bought it with the intention of preserving the building. It was moved to its present location and restored in 1921.

 
West entrance of Bankhead Tunnel Mobile, Alabama postcard
West entrance of Bankhead Tunnel Mobile, Alabama (postcard circa 1960, from online auction)

The end of US-31 is in Mobile, Alabama, and the highway passes under Mobile Bay in the Bankhead Tunnel to reach the city. Here’s a bonus postcartd for you! The tunnel was opened in 1940, and allowed a shortcut of nearly 8 miles off the old route using a bridge north of town. The tunnel was built in sections, floated to position, sunk next to the previous section, joined underwater, pumped dry, and finished in place. In 1973, a new freeway tunnel opened adjacent to the old tunnel, but you can still come in the old route on what is now US-90 and US-98. The Bankhead Tunnel required paying a toll back in 1962, but that was abolished when the freeway route opened.

I’ve never been to Bellingrath Gardens, about 23 miles south of Mobile, as I’ve never been to this southern coastline of the country. But I need to start traveling in person again and this is on my list! The gardens opened to the public in 1932 and is the state's oldest public garden. It is at the historic former home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. Walter made his fortune as one of the first Coca-Cola bottlers in the Southeast, which allowed the couple to build the house and gardens. The home is also open for tours. If I get there, I’ll of course write it up here on Roadtrip-'62 ™.

 
 

Last-Gasp Win for the Celtics - Remembering NBA Finals of 1962

February 2, 2021

The 1962 NBA Finals brought together the Western champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Boston Celtics, who were the Eastern Division champions. It turned out to be an engrossing affair that went down to the wire and that set the scene for one of the sport’s enduring rivalries.

  The History

The Celtics were playing in their sixth consecutive NBA finals and were in the middle of a golden era, driven by the iconic Bill Russell, that would see them win 11 out of 13 NBA titles, including eight victories in a row. This was one of seven Finals meetings between these teams in the same decade, as they fought to become the league’s top team. Ultimately, the Celtics dominated the 60s, but it was in 1962 that the Lakers were a single throw from toppling them. The Celtic got to this stage by winning 60 regular season games and only losing 20 of them. Across on the West coast, the Lakers won 54 and lost 26.

 
Boston Garden 1962
Boston Garden, where the Celtics played in 1962 (Photo Copyright by Steve Lipofsky, Basketballphoto.com, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.)
  The First Games in Boston

These Finals started off with a young Lakers team lining up against a far more experienced Celtics lineup. As well as the formidable Russell, who was arguably even better than Michael Jordan, the Boston team had top scorer Tom Heinsohn and other great players such as Sam Jones and Frank Ramsey. It is fair to say that Russell is one of the most underrated NBA players in history, even though he doesn’t figure in BetAmerica’s top 10. You can check the complete list here: https://extra.betamerica.com/nba/the-nbas-most-underrated-players/ .

The Lakers relied on big names like Elgin Baylor and Jerry West and were thought to be more athletic than the Celtics, if less experienced. Russell inspired his team to a 122-108 victory in the first game in Boston, with 15 points, 28 rebounds, and 6 assists. Baylor outscored him, with 35 points, but was unable to guide his team to victory. The second game took place the following day, also in Boston, but the LA team won by 129-122. Baylor scored 36 points and Jerry West discovered his best form with 40 points. So, it was 1-1 after the first couple of games.

 
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, where the Lakers played in 1962
  The Next Games in Los Angeles

The next two games in LA were incredibly tense, as both teams understood the critical importance of winning. The third game of the series was enthralling, with the Lakers finally edging a 117-115 win. A day later, the Celtics turned in a powerful performance to win the fourth game of the series by 115 to 103, leveling the Finals at 2-2. Even if you bet on NBA games regularly and watch a lot of basketball, you will be hard pushed to find a more finely-balanced series of games.

  Back to Boston for Match 5 and LA for Number 6

The fifth game was another close affair, with very little between the teams all the way. This time, though, it is the turn of Elgin Baylor to lead the way with his 61 points still the top performance in any NBA Finals game. Baylor’s genius inspired a 126-121 victory for the LA team. The Lakers were now expected to win the sixth game on their home territory to seal the Finals victory. However, Baylor was limited to 34 points by Tom Sanders this time and the Celtics won by 119-105 to set up a thrilling decider in the seventh and final game of the series.

  The Seventh Game Turns into an Epic

April 18, 1962 saw these closely-matched teams meet yet again, this time in Boston. It was an eagerly-awaited affair, as the Lakers were looking to get their first title since 1954 while the Celtics wanted to keep a stranglehold on the NBA. It was incredibly tight and tense. With five seconds left of regulation time, the Lakers’ Frank Selvy missed an open 12-footer from the baseline that would have sealed the title. Instead, it ended 100-100 and overtime was needed. Bill Russell had a memorable performance, as he set a remarkable record of 40 rebounds, giving him a Finals-best record of 189 over the seven games. On the other side, Elgin Baylor was forced off after six personal fouls, having scored 41 points. The Celtics won 110-107 to set themselves up perfectly for a period of domination, while the Lakers were left to rue a missed opportunity and wait for another chance to claim basketball’s top title.

 
1962 NBA champion Boston Celtics
1962 NBA champion Boston Celtics team photo (Photo from Fortis Media, used by permission.)
 
 

Roadtrip Highlights Along US-30, The Lincoln Highway

January 12, 2021

This week, Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels US-30 and the Lincoln Highway. Route US-30 is the third longest US-numbered route, after US-20 and US-6. It runs 3073 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Astoria, Oregon: ocean to ocean. While the east end has always been in Atlantic City, the west end was originally intended to be in Salt Lake City, Utah when the US system was planned. However, the states of Oregon and Idaho protested their proposed route of US-20 because it went through Yellowstone National Park, which charged a toll and was closed in winter. To provide those states with an all-season, toll-free coast-to-coast highway, US-30 was relocated during final planning in 1927. You can read more about the route planning at my US Highway Systems page. It became the first route to be paved from coast to coast, in 1935.

 
Lincoln Highway marker
Lincoln Highway marker (by Matthew Bisanz, from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version.)

The route’s association with the Lincoln Highway also goes back to that original planning, and as a consequence, US-30 from Atlantic City to Granger, Wyoming follows that route. The Lincoln Highway continues southwest from there to San Francisco, California instead of following US-30. We have crossed US-30 on our US-23 trip in mid Ohio at Upper Sandusky and Marion. We also crossed it twice on our US-6 trip. Once at Joliet, Illinois and once beginning at Council Bluffs, Iowa through Omaha, Nebraska.

 
Atlantic City, New Jersey 1962 postcard
Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1962 (postcard from an online auction)

If you’re looking for history in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the famous board game of Monopoly was designed around the streets of Atlantic City. Highway US-30 begins near the Boardwalk and you can see other well-known streets nearby, including Tennessee Avenue, Vermont Avenue, other streets named after states, Atlantic Avenue, Mediterranean Avenue, and the railroads that once came here like Reading Railroad and B&O Railroad. If you’re looking for 1962 history here, look no further than the Ash Wednesday Storm, a violent and destructive storm of March 7, 1962. It affected the coast from Florida to New England, smashing 45,000 buildings and killing 32 people in New Jersey alone. Most of the hotels in Atlantic City were flooded and it even destroyed the weather recording equipment on the Steel Pier! I have more information on the storm in the Front Page News of March 10, 1962 page.

 
The Gates of Hell”, Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Detail from “The Gates of Hell”, Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo by bobistraveling at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.)

The Lincoln Highway and US-30 run through the center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, crossing the tree-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This street is the home of some of Philadelphia’s best cultural tourist attractions and I spent several days there on one vacation. The star attraction is The Franklin Institute, one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the country. It was founded in 1824 and has become the most visited museum in Pennsylvania! The current science museum building dates from 1934, so we could have seen it on a 1962 roadtrip. There have since been several remodelings and additions, and the institute now contains more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, and the Fels Planetarium, the second oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. You can easily spend a whole day at the science and technology exhibits. Other places to visit line the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including Swann Memorial Fountain, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the Rodin Gardens and Museum, and the Parkway Central Library. You can even make your own run up the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art! Besides The Franklin Institute, my favorite is the Rodin Museum and Gardens. The museum opened in 1929. The entire museum is a tribute to the late 19th-century French sculptor Auguste Rodin and includes nearly 150 bronze, marble, and plaster statues, such as The Thinker, and related materials such as studies for them. The adjacent Rodin Gardens provide a lovely and calm distraction from the stress of the city.

 
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo by Wally Gobetz at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.)

As US-30 is a transcontinental highway, many of my other roadtrip pages have mentioned cities and attractions along the route. Gettysburg National Military Park, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was covered when I discussed highway US-15. The Fort Pitt Bridge, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was discussed when my US-22 trip went through that city. And I also wrote about the Andy Warhol Museum of the same city after I made a visit there. Artist Andy Warhol is uniquely tied to 1962 as he had his first showing of his Campbell's Soup Cans on July 9, 1962. More notably, we crossed two parts of US-30 on our US-23 roadtrip: US-30N at Upper Sandusky, Ohio and US-30S at Marion, Ohio. Upper Sandusky still has a section of the Lincoln Highway paved in brick, only 16-feet wide. In 1962, US-30 traveled two paths through much of Ohio, but has since been reduced to a single route approximately along old US-30N. Sometimes several cities wanted to be on a particular numbered route, even though they were located along two parallel roads. The solution adopted was to split routes, creating for such roads as US-30N and US-30S. These divided routes were not popular even after adoption though, as AASHTO (the organization governing US highway route numbers) has been trying to eliminate them since 1934.

 
Grave of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), Fort Wayne, Indiana
Grave of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), Fort Wayne, Indiana (postcard from an online auction)

If you’re driving across Indiana on US-30, a pleasant afternoon can be spent at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. This zoo had its beginning in 1952 as a nature preserve, but in 1962 planning began to turn it into a full-fledged zoo. I opened three years later and has been expanded since. Today it has everything from a Canadian lynx to a Sumatran orangutan to a Madagascar giant tortoise. Also in Fort Wayne is the grave of Johnny Appleseed. Born John Chapman, he spent nearly 48 years planting apple orchards throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. At the time of his death in 1845, near Fort Wayne, one of his orchards contained 15,000 apple trees! He is buried in Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park in a fenced-in plot. Continuing west into Illinois, though US-30 never enters Chicago, it gets close enough that it was also given an alternate route, US-30ALT, to connect to the city. This no route longer exists, and US-30 uses its old route through Joliet, Illinois. There, it crosses the most famous US-numbered highway of all, Route 66. It also crosses US-6, so I covered Joliet on two pages of that roadtrip.

 
Viewing area, Palisades-Kepler State Park, Iowa
Viewing area, Palisades-Kepler State Park, Iowa (Photo by Iowa Department of Natural Resources at Flickr.)

A wonderful spot to hike along US-30 in Iowa is Palisades-Kepler State Park. The park was established in 1922 and is home to the oldest trees in Iowa, the Eastern Red Cedar. Many can be found clinging to the limestone bluffs above the Cedar River. The trees in this area are estimated to be over 400 years old, with one dating back to 1523, according to core samples taken in the 1960s! You can see the trees and more along Cedar Cliff Trail, which is part of the 6-mile trail system. You will also see dramatic river bluffs, deep ravines, Indian mounds, and a large variety of wildflowers and wildlife. For non-hikers, the Cedar River offers excellent fishing for a variety of species, including channel catfish, bass and bluegills.

Highway US-30 used to split again as it left Iowa, with a US-30ALT heading south to Omaha, Nebraska, while the main route crossed into Nebraska at Blair. Since 1969, only the main route remains. Speaking of Omaha, Nebraska in 1962, Roadtrip-'62 spends the entire day there for Day 25 of our US-6 trip. What's left in Omaha from 1962? As usual, quite a bit, but quite a bit has been lost. We saw museums, a zoo, former industrial sites, and even a cathedral. Leaving Omaha, the Lincoln Highway and US-30 bumps up against The Platte River at Fremont, Nebraska for a long trip west along this broad, shallow, meandering river with a sandy bottom and many islands. The Platte River was one of the most significant rivers in the westward expansion of the United States, as it provided the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Bozeman trails. The Pony Express mail route also used this river corridor. It seems a fitting route for a major transcontinental highway like the Lincoln Highway. Today, the I-80 freeway also travels this river route all the way west to Ogallala, Nebraska. Among several State Recreation Areas and State Historic Parks along the river, Fort Kearny State Recreation Area offers 186 acres of river bottom lands dotted with eight sandpit lakes. In the spring, the world's largest concentration of sandhill cranes and waterfowl gathers in the central Platte River valley. You can see them from the nature trails, along with some 100-year old cottonwood trees. And visit the historical exhibits at nearby Fort Kearny State Historical Park.

 
Sandhill Crane Migration on the Platte River, Nebraska
Sandhill Crane Migration on the Platte River, Nebraska (Photo by Larry Crist, US Fish and Wildlife Service, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.)

At Ogallala, US-26 heads northwest and you can read about that route and its journey to the Pacific Ocean, where US-30 will meet it again. In Wyoming, US-30 crosses through the Great Divide Basin, an area that does not drain either to the Atlantic Ocean or Pacific Ocean. The basin is a high, dry desert with sand dunes in its central western part. A monument to Henry B. Joy, the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association, was placed here, at what was once thought to be a crossing of the Continental Divide, but was later moved to nearby Sherman Summit. Antelope are all over the Red Desert, which is one of the most important pronghorn antelope ranges in the state. Near the west edge of Wyoming, US-30 again splits into two parts. The old US-30S went southerly to Ogden, Utah, while US-30N headed northwesterly to Pocatello, Idaho. They rejoined near Burley, Idaho, but US-30S has been decommissioned and replaced by the I-84 freeway.

 
Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho
Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho (Photo by Frank Schulenburg via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Through Idaho, US-30 largely follows the Snake River, and passes by several waterfalls. First up was American Falls, at the city of the same name. Unfortunately, this falls no longer exists, as it was obliterated in 1925 when the American Falls Dam was constructed to provide power for the area. This dam also inundated to city of American Falls, which was moved. The old townsite sits at the bottom of the reservoir, northwest of the present city. Only the Oneida Milling and Elevator Company’s grain elevator remains in its original location, with part of it above water. At the city of Twin Falls, Idaho, Shoshone Falls still exists, and at 212 feet high it’s 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls. That makes it high enough to form the upper limit of fish migration, including salmon, in the Snake River. In summer months, you will see a much smaller flow than historically, because a dam above the falls diverts most of the water to irrigation uses.

   

In Oregon, US-30 travels through the Columbia River Gorge, providing roadtrip travelers with spectacular scenery of cliffs, waterfalls, dense vegetation, and beautiful old concrete arch bridges. Emerging from the gorge at Astoria, Oregon, the landmark Astoria Column is a fitting endpoint for the highway. This historic column provides a panoramic view from the top of the splendor of the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River, and the Coast Range of mountains. The monument was dedicated in 1926, and is located just a few blocks from the end of US-30, so we could have visited in 1962. The Astoria Column is one of a planned group of monuments along the highway, of which few were built. The monument stands 600 feet above sea level and was modeled after the Trajan Column in Rome. It features a hand-painted spiral frieze on the exterior, and a spiral staircase on the interior. Italian artist Attilio Pusterla created the exterior decorations using a method called sgraffito, commemorating the historic events that occurred at the mouth of the Columbia River. That brings us to the end of US-30, so I’ll see you soon on another Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey.

 
Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon
Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon (Photo by Another Believer at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)
 
 

All photos by the author and Copyright © 2021 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.

All other content Copyright © 2021 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.

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What's the weather in 1962?

Weather on February 22, 1962 for Adrian, MI, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 30°F
  • High = 38°F
  • Precipitation = no data
  • Mean Wind Speed = 13mph

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Smokey Bear is the longest running public service ad campaign in Ad Council history, running since 1944. At the beginning, Walt Disney loaned Bambi for use on a poster for one year, but that image proved so popular that it is still being used. The original message was slightly different, as "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." I hope you enjoy this ad, similar to what you might have seen in 1962, and heed Smokey's message.

Smokey Bear Ad

Discover  Heritage Route 23 in northern Michigan U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association Historic US Route 20 Association