Tuesday, March 10, 2015

View From The Bridge 3/11/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Did you remember to change your clocks? I remembered but I went to bed at the same time I always do after I changed the clocks and lost an hour of sleep. Oh well, it didn’t outweigh that it is now 7:45 p.m. Sunday evening and I can still see out the computer room window and I can see quite clearly as it isn’t completely dark.

How about that full moon? The problem with it lighting up the south side of the house windows is that it comes around too late or I should say early in the morning. That is how it works at this time of year. I’ll check it out next month and decide if I should just stay up all night to see the moon.

Do you have a difficult time backing out of a parking spot on Front St.? I dread it myself.  Do you think that the speed limit should be lowered, say from 20 M.P.H. to 15 M.P.H.? If you are going 20 M.P.H. it is almost impossible to stop and let someone back out. (Think about it and please let me know what you what your opinion is. We would have be on the agenda list and attend a council meeting to make that happen.) Do you stop when you see brake lights go on and let them back out? (It is the courteous thing to do but is not a law.)

A few years ago a friend of mine was backing out from in front of Lehman’s True Value.  A vehicle turned into the parking spot next to her from the opposite side of the street. She backed into him and as a result she had to pay for the repair of her vehicle. Why you ask when it wasn’t her fault and the reason was there were no double yellow lines on Front St?  The insurance company can check that on their computers. She went to Council and it happened. Unfortunately very often, I see drivers still driving across the double yellow lines to park in front of the businesses. Please pass that on if you see it happen. I do that but it makes me just as uncomfortable as it did years ago to tell people, “I mind if you smoke.”

What brought this parking situation up again is that another friend of mine recently had backed out and was waiting for the vehicle on her left about three spaces ahead of her to back out. A big truck on her right began backing out hit her car. He was ticketed and said it was his fault because he could not see her in his side or rear view mirrors.    

Our Chouteau County Library has scheduled another “Bag of Books” for $1.00. Over the years, we had, for a few dollars, accumulated hundreds of books. Honestly, I always seem to find another book by a favorite author, books on Montana, history books, and those you just cannot live without. Have I read them all? No, but I will when I retire. Actually, I have been getting books on tape and now digital tapes from the Talking Book library for 35 years. Why do I buy more books? It is because they are like a security blanket, all warm and comforting. Just to know that I may find another collectable book makes me keep buying. Actually, the books have taken over the house and I really do not have another space to put one more book but I will see you there on St. Patrick’s Day the 17th.

You do not have the weather for an excuse any longer.  It is going to be warmer all week long so remember 2:00 p.m. on Friday. Come join the social group that gathers once a month for delicious homemade pie and a cup of coffee. (I am sure it can be arranged for a cup of tea if you prefer.)

On Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the Elementary School auditorium will be a String Workshop.  All of you who own stringed instruments…come on down. I had such a great time at the Song Writing Workshop a month or so ago that I know you will have a great time.

I own three stringed instruments, a dulcimer, an antique mandolin, and Garth Brook’s guitar, but do not know how to play any of them. I still want to attend the workshop because we had a workshop similar quite a few years back and it was a blast. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon either participating or just listening to those that know what they are all about.

This program is in conjunction with the Chouteau County Performing Arts program the next evening with Two Bit Franks. Besides, I want to know where their name came from.  (Is it like, “25 cents for a hot dog?) If you like Bluegrass, I’ll see you there. I love it because it reminds me of what we used to call “back in the dark ages,” hillbilly music. I loved it then and it should bring back a lot of memories.

Just a reminder it will be Monday the 16th at the Elementary School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

This week will be the last of the “50 Things You Didn’t Know About Montana” that found me on the computer. I do remember some of them but I wonder how accurate they are. If you see me around town, let me know if you enjoyed them.

47.  The population of Petroleum County, Montana is 494 people despite being larger than the state of Rhode Island.

48.  Before being named the Montana Territory, Congress considered naming the state “Shoshone” in honor of the Indians who lived here and “Jefferson” in honor of the former President who commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

49.  For 100 years no one knew the name of the person who sculpted the bronze
of the woman who sits atop the Montana‘s Capitol dome or where it came from. (It would have been interesting for the author to let us know. Now I have to search the internet to find out.)

50.  Roy, Montana (population 108) owes its name to a spelling mistake. When Walter H. Peck established a post office on his ranch in 1892, he requested the name Ray in honor of a relative. However, someone in Washington, D.C. misread the application and returned it with the name Roy instead.
The end.

NOTE:  I did some research on #49 and it is included below.  I was thrilled with the story and it was much like our Culbertson House story that was all about the granddaughter.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller.

I saw quite a bit of red last Friday as we are shedding those winter coats and jackets.

#49 in the Montana section was about the bronze woman on the Capitol Dome.  I commented that it would have been nice if they had told us where it came from and who the woman was after 100 years.

I decided to call the Governor's office and they referred me to the Gift Shop because the last Christmas ornament was of the woman and the dome.  The attendant that answered the phone said that there was a booklet that came with the ornament, he would scan it, and e-mail it to me.

When I got the scan it was so small I could not read it.  I then called the Historical Society and the young woman said that she would go down stairs and check with the gift shop.  She got the booklet and actually typed it in larger print for me.  Thanks to the Historical Society and if you have never visited in Helena...make it a priority.

What you will read below is the story and it is a fascinating one.  Enjoy!

For more than a century, a graceful figure has perched atop the Montana State Capitol's grand, copper-clad dome and has been prominent on the city's skyline. Her true identity, however, was an unsolved mystery for more than a century. The seventeen-foot statue, holding a torch in one hand and a shield in the other, arrived at Helena's Northern Pacific Railroad depot one day in 1897. No one knew who commissioned her, what artist created her, or from where she came.

The copper-clad statue arrived just after the scandalous disbanding of the first capitol commission. In 1895, the group charged with contracting for the construction of the State Capitol planned to inflate prices and embezzle funds. Summoned to appear before a grand jury, the state architect committed suicide and others burned all records, destroying any evidence of criminal action and, incidentally, all information about the custom-sculpted statue. Although no one could trace her origin, the statue served the next commission well, and she took her place atop the capitol dome in 1901. She was always known as "Lady Liberty."

In 2006, Alice Nagle of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, contacted the Montana Historical Society inquiring about her grandfather's statue. She wondered if it still graced the capitol’s dome. Her parents had passed away and in going through a trunk in their attic, she discovered a photograph of the work in progress, solving the mystery of Lady Liberty. Her grandfather, Edward J. Van Landeghem, was a talented Belgian artist who trained at the Academy of Fine Arts School in Brussels. He created the statue in his Philadelphia studio and considered her one of his best sculptures. He named her "Montana." So after more than a century of relative anonymity, her origins surfaced and she can be called by her rightful name.
[Written by Ellen Baumler]