National Merry-Go-Round Day!

July 25, 1871 marks the first patent for the carousel (also known as a merry-go-round). If there was ever a holiday meant for Preservation in Pink to celebrate, National Merry-Go-Round Day is the one. It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen a merry-go-round on a playground; most seem to have been eliminated for safety reasons. While I distinguish between merry-go-round and carousel, they are  interchangeable in terms, according to the national holiday calendar. Here’s the explanation:

Along with the roller coaster, the merry-go-round is one of the oldest amusement rides. Also known as the carousel, the merry-go-round rotates on a circular platform around a pole. The platform holds seats for riders.  A motor spins the platform around the large central pole. Between rows of seats, passengers ride wooden horses and other animals. Poles anchor the animals in place.  Once in a while, the colorful animals move up and down. The movement simulates galloping. Meanwhile, calliope music plays, adding a light-hearted atmosphere.

Besides carousels, any rotating platform may also be called a merry-go-round. By comparison, children power the playground merry-go-round. They push off using the bars or handles. The riders cling to the same bars as the platform spins. Since the riders determine the speed, the harder they push, the faster they go. Not surprisingly, one of the thrills of riding the merry-go-round included becoming dizzy.

  • The earliest known depiction of the merry-go-round is in 500 A.D. The Byzantine Empire’s ride depicts baskets carrying riders suspended from a central pole. 
  • In the 1840s, Franz Wiesenoffer created the first merry-go-round in the United States in Hessville, Ohio. 
  • July 25, 1871 – The first carousel patent. 

In honor of the holiday, here are a few merry-go-rounds and carousels that I’ve come across over the years, from newest to oldest. As you can see, there aren’t too many. Slides and swings are much more common.

we found the playground. this is what we do.
Some flamingo fun in 2010 – testing out a newer version of the merry-go-round. 
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1970s merry-go-around in the Outer Banks, NC. 

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1970s merry-go-around in the Outer Banks, NC. 

 

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A homemade merry-go-round found in Waterville, VT. Photo taken 2013. The playground no longer remains. 

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1940s  merry-go-round found in Craftsbury, VT. Photo taken 2014. 

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1940s era playground equipment in Craftsbury, VT (2014). 

Seen any good merry-go-rounds lately? They were always my favorite. Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

Irish soda bread is one of my favorite baked goods and one of my favorite traditions in baking. Just as Christmas cookies belong to Christmas, Irish soda bread belongs to St. Patrick’s Day. I bake it once per year. If you work with me, you’ll probably get a slice of bread every year. My mom would bake one or two loaves per year and we girls would gobble it up with breakfast, or as a snack, or as dessert. I recall having a hard time getting the batter to stick entirely. It took quite a few years of practice before mixing the ingredients wasn’t an entire arm workout. Practice makes perfect.

What is the origin of Irish soda bread? Soda bread is a traditional bread baked in poorer countries, and was very common during the Irish potato famine. The Irish didn’t invent it, but they’re known for it. The traditional recipe calls for basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, soured milk, and salt. The baking soda took the place of yeast. Loaves were baked on the griddle of an open hearth. The traditional cross in the loaf made before baking was to ward off the devil and protect the household. (Read more here.)

The recipe that my mother and grandmother passed on to us girls is not exactly traditional. Our recipe calls for sour cream, baking powder, sugar, and raisins. However, it’s tradition to me.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  

With Your Coffee

My mom and me at the Lake House in Lake Placid, NY. I love my mom!

My mom and me at the Lake House in the historic Lake Placid, NY. I love my mom!

Happy Sunday Mother’s Day (or Happy Monday, depending on when you read this)! To all the mothers out there, may you have a lovely day and know how much we all love our mothers and mother-figures. Here are a few reads from around the internet talking about history, architecture, design and culture:

How was your weekend? Favorite reads? Favorite activities? Have a great week!

Featured: Happy Vermont

Today, find Preservation in Pink at Happy Vermont, a travel blog by Vermont writer Erica Houskeeper. Interested in historic buildings and abandoned buildings, Erica asked if I would be interested in talking about Vermont’s abandoned buildings in time for Halloween. Of course! Read the post here and let Erica know your thoughts.

Click to read the article by Erica Houskeeper at Happy Vermont.

Click to read the article by Erica Houskeeper at Happy Vermont.

Happy exploring!

[Book Signing] Vermont Beer: A History of a Brewing Revolution

Vermont is known for its craft breweries, in addition to our foliage, cheese, ice cream, skiing, and maple syrup. Tonight at Phoenix Books in Burlington, VT, come join the authors, Adam Krakowski & Kurt Staudter, of Vermont Beer: A History of a Brewing Revolution for a discussion of the book and a book signing. (Then go find a good pint around the corner!) It’s sure to be a good event. Adam is a good friend and a fellow UVM HP alum, and is absolutely passionate about his studies and his beer. Knowing the hard work he put into this book, I’m excited to see it presented. Way to go, Adam and Kurt!

beercoverSome information about the authors & the book:

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Adam Krakowski is a decorative and fine arts conservator based in Quechee, Vermont. He holds a BA in art history with a minor in museum studies and a MS in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. He has worked at museums, historical societies, art galleries and restoration firms all over New York and New England. He was the recipient of the 2010 Weston Cate Jr. Research Fellowship from the Vermont Historical Society for his project A Bitter Past: Hop Farming in Nineteenth-Century Vermont.

Kurt Staudter is the executive director of the Vermont Brewers Association, which represents all the breweries in the state. He is also the Vermont columnist for the Yankee Brew News and has written about beer and politics in the Vermont Standard and Vermont Magazine. He learned about beer at a very early age (perhaps a little too early by today’s standards) from his first-generation German American father, who made sure that his love for good food, great beer and family were passed on to the next generation. Along with his wife, Patti, he runs the trade association for the Vermont brewers from Springfield, Vermont.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Vermonters love all things local, so it is no surprise that the Green Mountain State has had a thriving craft beer scene for more than twenty years. Early Vermont brewers, though, faced many obstacles in bringing their beer to the thirsty masses, including a state-imposed prohibition beginning in 1852. Conditions remained unfavorable until Greg Noonan championed brewing legislation that opened the door for breweries and brewpubs in the 1980s. About the same time, beloved Catamount also began brewing, and Vermont’s craft beer scene exploded. Years ahead of the rest of the country, local favorites like Hill Farmstead, Long Trail and Rock Art Brewing have provided world-class beers to grateful patrons. From small upstarts to well-recognized national brands like Magic Hat and Harpoon, Vermont boasts more breweries per capita than any other state in the country. With brewer interviews and historic recipes included here, discover the sudsy story of beer in Vermont.

Hope to see you there!

Phoenix Books, 191 Bank Street, Burlington, VT @ 7pm

Being a Tourist by Trolley

The Burlington Traction Company trolley in Burlington, VT, 1906. Photo source: UVM Landscape Change program.

The Burlington Traction Company trolley in Burlington, VT, 1906. Photo source: UVM Landscape Change program.

Eighty-four years after burning a trolley in the street, to signify the end of the streetcar era, Burlington, VT once again has trolleys rolling about the city. Maybe these aren’t electric streetcars on steel rails, but they are historic and do take people around the city.

The Historic Trolley Tours of Burlington began in summer 2012, offering historical tours of the city as well as chartered trolleys for special events. Ride onboard one of trolleys and you’ll likely have the owner, Ric Crossman, as your tour guide. He gives the tours, instructs the drivers, and his wife does the research and script writing. The couple got the idea for Burlington trolley tours after visiting places like St. Augustine, FL and enjoying the trolley tours there.

In Burlington you choose between the north tour or the south tour. A few weeks ago, I hopped on the trolley for a north tour, hoping to learn more about the city. The 1.5 hour tour did just that, taking loops through the north side of Burlington in places that I don’t often get to explore. I appreciate a good tour. This one was accomplished by making figure 8s through some areas that way you were able to see both sides of the street and hear the history, without having to look in every direction at once. The tour is given by recording, but it is keyed to the GPS location of the bus, and our tour guide was able to pause the recording, add more information and comment.

On a sunny spring afternoon, it was fun to play tourist in my own city – see some photos below. Ric Crossman hopes to add tours, improve the tours and expand operations. He’s off to a good start.  Next time, I’ll take the south tour. Any trolley tours by you?

All aboard. When not in operation, the trolleys are parked near Perkins Pier in Burlington.

All aboard. When not in operation, the trolleys are parked near Perkins Pier in Burlington.

Otherwise you can catch a ride from the bottom of College Street, at the Visitor Info building at the RR tracks (near the Echo Center).

Otherwise you can catch a ride from the bottom of College Street, at the Visitor Info building at the RR tracks (near the Echo Center).

The owner found this trolley from a company in Quebec. Keeping it local (basically).

The owner found this trolley from a company in Quebec. Keeping it local (basically).

The immaculate interior of the trolley.

The immaculate interior of the trolley.

Trolley view of Church Street.

Trolley view of Church Street.

Funky new redevelopment in the Old North End.

Funky new redevelopment in the Old North End.

A historic firehouse.

The oldest firehouse in Burlington on Mansfield Avenue.

Crossing into Winooski, the Champlain Mill in the background.

Crossing into Winooski, the Champlain Mill in the background.

Over the Winooski River (Winooski is Burlington's neighbor). Don't look too closely at the railing.

Over the Winooski River (Winooski is Burlington’s neighbor). Don’t look too closely at the railing.

Owner, tour guide, Ric Crossman dressed to play the part.

Owner, tour guide, Ric Crossman dressed to play the part.

Boston Marathon Day

Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts, which commemorates the first battle of the American Revolution. Today is also known as the day of the Boston Marathon to us runners. Boston in an important race, this year more so than others due to the tragic events of the 2013 race. Some are running for those killed, those injured, in support of Boston and runners everywhere, and for countless other reasons. To many runners, Boston is THE race. Since you have to qualify based on time and age, it’s often a personal triumph to marathoners. The spirit of the Boston Marathon is contagious. Having not run Boston myself (maybe some day), I’m cheering on a few dear runner friends today, wishing them the absolute best experience.

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A few Boston facts for you.

  • The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897, though it was only 24.5 miles as opposed to the full 26.2 miles that we know today.
  • Why the Boston Marathon? The 1896 Olympic Games in Athens included a marathon race, which was based on Pheidippides’ fabled run from Marathon to Athens. When the Boston Athletic Association wanted a race in 1897 of similar style for the New Patriots Day, they chose a route from the Revolutionary War. (See more in this article from The Atlantic).
  • The race begins in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street in Boston (see map).
  • Heartbreak Hill is at mile 20.5. While it’s not the worst hill by itself, any hill at mile 20 is not welcome (at least the uphill part). And since mile 20 is often referred to as “the wall,” this hill packs an extra punch.
  • Women were not allowed to run in the marathon until 1972 (no joke!). From the History Channel: Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb couldn’t wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.
  • There are approximately 36,000 people racing Boston today. 

Are you watching? Have fun!

Preservation TV: What to Watch

Winter remains. I know, I’m a broken record. How about the bright side of a long winter? Ready? Historical documentaries. Who’s with me? A cold night, a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine and good company make the perfect setting for absorbing history and the perfect antidote to winter. My top three favorites are:

(1) The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns (PBS)

If you’ve read The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, this film will sound familiar. The story of the Dust Bowl is incredible. With amazing images and interviews, you’ll come to understand the greater context of the Dust Bowl in American society and beyond.

(2) The Men Who Built America – the History Channel

John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford – their stories are weaved together in a way that you’ve never thought of or realized. It’s fascinating.

(3) New York: A Documentary Film by Ric Burns (PBS)

In full disclosure, I’m not yet finished with this eight part series, but I’m completely engrossed. There are so many pieces of history left out of history class. Did you know Wall Street in NYC is called as such because there was originally a wall from Dutch settlements? There were riots led by Irish immigrants. The NYC subway was constructed in only four years. From the beginning of New York (New Amsterdam) to the modern day (pre 9/11/2001, however), this is entirely engaging.

Telling history accurately while captivating the audience is a true art form. I’m grateful to those who do it so well.

What are your favorites? Please give me more to watch and study!

St. Patrick’s Day

The nation turns green today – food, drinks, clothing, rivers – and we feast on Irish Soda Bread, corned beef & cabbage, and perhaps have a drink or two, and wish each other Irish blessing. While we do this, it is important to remember that the Irish were among the waves of immigrants to New York who toiled for low wages, lived in sordid conditions, and struggled on a daily basis to make end’s meet and to make the lives of their children and grandchildren better than their own. Let’s be grateful to everyone who fought so hard, and respect those who continue to fight hard for better lives ahead. Are you Irish? Where from? With a name like O’Shea, I can’t hide the Irish (not that I would!)

Previous St. Patrick’s Day posts on PiP: Irish Soda Bread & A brief history of St. Patrick’s Day & an Irish blessing.

 

 

Bread Loaf Mountain Campus

A view to the Green Mountain range.

A view to the Green Mountain range, with a ski meet set up in the background.

Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Mountain Campus sits in the hills of Ripton, Vermont, among the Green Mountains and Robert Frost’s country. Driving by, you could not miss this striking collection of matching buildings with yellow ochre wood cladding and deep green shutters, mostly in meticulous condition. What started as a summer resort in the 1860s by Joseph Battell, a prominent Middlebury resident, became the Bread Loaf School of English in 1915. Robert Frost lectured at the school from 1921 – 1963. In the summers, the campus hosts the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. In the winter the Rikert Nordic Ski Center operates out of the campus. It’s a beautiful site, winter or summer.

One of the many residential cottages on the campus.

One of the many residential cottages on the campus.

Steamboat type porches adorn this campus residence.

Steamboat type porches adorn this campus residence.

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Another view of unique windows and impressive porches.

These diamond shaped windows are an interesting feature.

These diamond shaped windows are an interesting feature.

Real shutters, original winows, and well maintained buildings are highlights of this campus.

Real shutters, original windows, and well maintained buildings are highlights of this campus.

Utilities are well hidden on these porches.

Utilities are well hidden on these porches.

The Bread Loaf Inn (not a public inn), built in 1861 is in need of more maintenance than the other buildings.

The Bread Loaf Inn (not a public inn), built in 1861 is in need of more maintenance than the other buildings.

A view from the fields (currently used for skiing).

A view from the fields (currently used for skiing).

Bread Loaf Campus is worth a weekend drive if you’re in Vermont, whether you are skiing or sight-seeing.