Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nellie Tallman's Haunted Portrait

No love stems deeper than the love a parent shares with their children. We watch them grow and change from infancy to adolescence to adulthood. Hoping to forever capture the innocent moments of their lives in our memories. Many years past capturing these moments didn't mean pressing a button on a camera and instantly uploading your photo, instead it meant countless hours and some artistic abilities. The process of having your portrait painted was often tedious and time consuming, but not often deadly.

On a chilling somber day Mr. Tallman was working on his own personal masterpiece. His precious 3 year old daughter Nellie, sat patiently while her father painted her portrait. As the world seemed peaceful and serene to the father and daughter bonding, tragedy was soon to strike. Young Nellie Tallman tumbled out of the chair she was resting on and immediately broke her neck. Her young life was abruptly cut short. To forever commemorate his daughter her father continued on with her painting. After completion the artwork was hung for all to admire. But a strange occurrence kept happening. The framed piece of artwork was constantly falling from the walls. Eventually the piece of art was donated to the Thomas Taber museum in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The museum proudly hung the artwork until the same strange incidents began to happen again. Initially the painting fell and was damaged, after being restored it was placed back up and fell several more times. Eventually the museum moved the painting only to have the same fate as before, leaving many to believe that even though Nellie Tallman is no longer with us on Earth, her spirit may be roaming forever.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Little League World Series: Present

Shortly after the Carl Stotz field was replaced by the Howard Lamade Stadium, Little League baseball began to flourish worldwide. Youngsters from foreign lands who had never known the game were quickly beginning to dominate. Japan and Taiwan had won 7 of the past 8 World Series. In 1975 the issue began to concern the officials of Little League. They then fell under much scrutiny and amid controversy banned all Non-United States teams from competing. The ban was short lived and the following year youngsters worldwide were once again able to enjoy America’s pastime. Luckily Little League was able to bypass that brief dark moment in their history, because since then the sport has flourished immensely.

Today there are over 200,000 teams spanning every state in this country and more than 80 others. In 2001 a brand new larger stadium was opened. The Little League Volunteer Stadium was placed directly behind the Howard J. Lamade Stadium. Today the two stadiums host all playoff games and of course the World Series. Little League baseball doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as it deserves. Without the international acclaim, the sport of baseball may have quietly perished. The little league helped to spread the word throughout the globe, opening the door of opportunity for many young men in impoverished countries a place to become superstars. This sport helps to teach young adults the importance of teamwork, dedication and camaraderie, not only amongst themselves but for the entire world.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Little League World Series: Past

In 1939, Carl Stotz gathered a few local neighborhood boys for a game of baseball in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He marked off 60 feet and used an old newspaper for 1st base. On this splendid day he would forever change his legacy and revolutionize America’s pastime forever. This beautiful June day would mark the birth of Little League Baseball.

Originally the league consisted of only three teams. The first World Series was held in 1947 on Carl E. Stotz field, in honor of Little League’s founding father. The boys from Lundy Lumber put a pounding on the Lycoming Dairy, winning the first Little League World Series 23-8.

All World Series games were held on this small field until 1959. Continuously the sport began to grow quickly and quietly. Teams began to sprout up all over the country and even in some foreign lands. By 1959 a much larger stadium was needed. After playing host to 12 Little League World Series, the small Carl Stotz field, relinquished the honors onto the new Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Plum Tree Massacre

Long before the lumber barons made 4th street their home, the area played an important role in Williamsport's history.

On June 10, 1778 the rich area would become forever remembered. Not for large, luxurious estates, but for impetuous bloodshed. American Indians and British Tories occupied a common plum thicket which grew nearby. The two armies hid between the trees and planned their violent attack on the local frontiersmen. An eventual surprise attack led to the scalping and murdering of 12 settlers. Shockingly 6 of the victims were children and 2 were women.

Shortly after, most of the other settlers left town and retreated to other areas of the state. The surprise invasion was deemed to be a short lived victory, eventually the settlers returned and the area thrived immensely. That very same plum field where so much adversity occurred helped to feed the local citizens for another century after the massacre. Today the plum tree thicket is long gone, and has been ironically replaced with a church.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Millionaires Row of Williamsport

The small city of Williamsport, Pennsylvania is often attributed as a blue collar middle class city. But at one time this mountain town boasted more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. The abundance of timber in the area as well as the town’s proximity to the Susquehanna River helped to add an abundance of wealth to the area.

During the 1850’s, large homes began to showing up on West 4th Street in the city. The local lumber barons began to spend their wealth on large luxurious homes. Most of the homes were designed by famed architect Eber Culver. As the timber industry began to expand, the population grew rapidly. Between 1860-1870 the population of Williamsport more than tripled. By the 1880’s, Williamsport was one of the wealthiest cities in the nation. The small city grew so much than an electric street car system was put into place 1 year before Philadelphia’s.

Sadly, by the end of the decade, the money began to wear thin. A flood in 1889 damaged many lumber facilities in the city, and the timber was slowly declining.

Even though the lumber capital of the world was facing many hardships, some growth was still occurring. Up until the 1920’s mansions were still being built in the wealthy west end of the city. But all good things must come to an end. A new decade spawned a great depression that quickly put a damper on the economy. Then in 1936 Mother Nature struck with another flood. This time the disaster affected the homes on Millionaire’s Row. Since the area had become vulnerable, most owners moved to higher grounds. In the 1940’s a community college sprouted up in the area and the large homes were mostly subsidized for renters. Since then most of the owners of the houses have done a tremendous job in up keeping the homes’ historic value. In 1985 Millionaire’s Row was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. What I find so fascinating with Millionaire’s Row, is its uniqueness. Unlike the McMansion neighborhoods of today where every home looks identical, the homes on Millionaires’ Row are each unique. Each home seems to have its own personality. The homes range from Italian Villa, to Greek Revival, Tudor to Victorian. There's certainly something to appeal to our inner architect or the daydreamer in all of us.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Allison's Grave

Traveling through the rural roads of Duboistown, Pennsylvania the natural beauty of the area shines through. Pristine streams rush alongside the back roads. Tiger lilies poke their heads out at passers-by, and tiny farmhouses dot the streets. But not all is quiet on these serene byways. Nighttime visitors who have traversed these roads have experienced engine malfunctions, after witnessing a wandering headless apparition.

The Mosquito Valley Cemetery contains a grave that's been causing a stir for decades, at least the deceased body that's in it has been. Decades ago local citizen Edna Allison was decapitated in a gruesome accident. Mysteriously her head was never located, the rest of her body was badly burned. Her cremated ashes were spread over the cemetery and a small marker was placed to commemorate her life. Numerous witnesses have spotted a decapitated spirit strolling along the nearby roads, while others have seen her headless vision meandering through the gravestones. More disturbing is those who have found amusement in stealing Edna's modest grave marker. Fortunately a much larger marker has replaced the lost one, forever commemorating the lost soul of Edna Allison.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Clyde Peeling's Reptiland

In 1964 acclaimed herpetologist Clyde Peeling saw his passion and dreams come true with the opening of Reptiland. His vision to give visitors an up close and personal look at natures less desirable creatures had come to fruition. The zoo holds some of the World's deadliest snakes. From the highly venomous mambas, cobras, and vipers to the bone crushing constrictors, pythons, and anacondas.

The exhibit hosts daily shows as well as live feedings. But besides vicious vipers, Reptiland also inhabits various other reptiles and amphibians. Docile tortoises, ornery alligators, and delicate yet highly dangerous poison dart frogs. Over the years Clyde has seen his dream grow immensely. Today the accredited wildlife park is over 6,500 square feet and is home to over 40 species of animals. Clyde himself has even been featured on Conan O'Brien. Not too bad for a gentleman who enjoys being nicknamed 'The Lizard Man."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Williamsport, Pennsylvania

In the newest zine were heading into the mountains of Lycoming and Union counties. We'll visit the small city of Williamsport and it's surrounding areas.

We start by taking a ride to a remote cemetery searching for headless apparitions. Then we pay a visit to a ghost town left decimated by the United States government. The only remains are concrete ammunition bunkers left from World War 2. Next we'll pay homage to America's pastime as we visit the birthplace of Little League baseball, as well as it's modern home. Lastly we ride back into the past. We'll take a stroll along what was once on of the wealthiest streets in America, and discover what's happened to the mansions of Millionaire's Row.

Now get outta the way, 'cause we're going Outta the Way!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hadany Twisted Arch

As you approach the Lycoming mall, you're greeted by a large twisted steel arch. As you maneuver your automobile through the large sculpture, it seems to bend and contort around you. Certainly not your normal mall entrance.

The steel arch stands over 100 feet and is the imagination of famed sculptor Israel Hadany. The artist was commissioned to do several large outdoor sculptures for various businesses and municipalities. The twisted arch is the largest sculpture he's ever built, and is one of the largest in the country.

The sculpture hasn't been pleasantly received by all the locals. Some consider it to be an unsightly eyesore. Personally we believe when you add something unordinary to the ordinary it's always gonna raise a few eyebrows, and also make your visit much more memorable!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Curse of Antes Fort, Pennsylvania

There are a number of homes in the Antes Fort area that the locals swear are haunted. Maybe it's not the homes that are haunted, but that the area's cursed.

Originally the land was used by the local Andaste Indian tribe until their chief, King Wi-daagh advantageously sold the region to emissaries of William Penn. A column from the former state capital building has been placed along a nearby river bank to commemorate the event. In a protest to the erroneous deal, the chief has vowed to haunt the land. Autumn time visitors often witness a ghostly mist appearing off the waters of the nearby Wi-daagh springs.

Another rather disturbing tale involves the towns founder. The tale states that shortly after the Revolutionary War, Colonel Henry Antes engaged in an early form of biological warfare. The Colonel purchased blankets from the Harrisburg area, which he then donated to the local Native American tribes in the area. His generous deeds were actually an act of malevolence. The donated blankets were actually full of the infectious small pox bacteria. This led to the untimely death of many of the local natives. The Chief of the nearby tribe vowed revenge, the lost vengeful spirits who were innocently murdered may not have rested since.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mark Twain & "The Remarkable Dream"

While in the city of Williamsport giving lectures. Famed writer Mark Twain found himself on a set of church steps staring in disgust. He found the deplorable conditions of the nearby cemeteries inadequate for housing the dead. As the author gazes off in disbelief he's approached by a skeleton who's gathering up his remains. Soon other residents of the cemetery join in. Together they scour the streets searching for a new final resting place.

Twain shares his conservation with the skeleton in his short story "The Remarkable Dream." The short story first appeared in the "Buffalo Express" in 1870. The author's story eventually raised awareness in the city. The tombs which had become too desecrated were eventually moved to a more fitting resting place.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Picture Rocks, Pennsylvania

The tiny borough of Picture Rocks, Pennsylvania has less than 1,000 residents, but there's a history here that's centuries old. The first European settlers settled here in 1773, though the area was sacred to Native Americans long before we came here.

Originally the Munsee Indians made the community their home. The Muncy creek supplied freshwater and fish, while the nearby rock cliffs provided a great lookout for intruders. The Native Americans found much gratification in telling their story and history through pictographs. For decades the tribe had been carving numerous sacred symbols and animals on the imposing rock walls.

These pictographs had an impression on the original settlers who named the area Picture Rocks. Sadly over many years the pictographs have disappeared. Most lost to the course of Mother nature, but others by the malfeasance of man.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bridge to Nowhere in Lairdsville, Pennsylvania

"There it is! I can see it!"
"Where?" I say, "There behind the trees!" She's right, I can see it. We slowly pull off to the side of the rural route. We both gently slide down the embankment to an overgrown trail. I grab a stick to push thorn bushes out of our way. We slowly proceed down the dirt path. As we approach our destination, I notice the intricately designed layout. Moss and grass grow between each crevice of the bricks. We are on a bridge to nowhere.

This hidden gem fascinates me for many reasons. I can find no source as to when it was built, by whom or for what purpose. The bridge seems to be older, but constructionally sound, and appears to be modernly built.

I am always fascinated with abandoned places. Walking that bridge I felt as though I was retracing someone else's footsteps. Hmmm!! If only I knew! Maybe it's more intriguing letting my imagination run wild. What do you think?