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Showing posts from March, 2018

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

One of the more interesting features that you can still explore along the former routing of old US Route 66 is the old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans 5353 feet across and about 60 feet over the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri and Madison, Illinois. Constructed in 1927 and 1928, the bridge opened in 1929 and is named for the rocky shoals along this part of the Mississippi River. Because of these rocky shoals, the bridge has a 22 degree bend to accommodate boaters who had to navigate the Chain of Rocks around two water intake towers nearby. It was argued that navigation would have proven to be difficult if the original design for a bridge in a straight line had taken shape. The bridge had opened up in July 1929, over budget at $2.5 million, complete with beautiful landscaping on both ends of a bridge and a toll booth on the Missouri side of the river. By 1936, US 66 was routed onto the bridge.

In 1967, a new Chain of Rocks Bridge carrying I-270…

Nexus of the Universe; the Bulter, California ghost town site

Near the far flung eastern expanses of the city of Fresno in a County Island there is a roadside oddity along Butler Avenue.  Just west of the junction with Fowler Avenue there is a cross-street signed as Butler/Butler.






If you are a Seinfeld fan you'd might consider a junction where a street intersects with itself to be the "nexus of the universe."  Howsoever it appears the Butler/Butler street blade signage is simply the result of Fresno County not often signing; street, place, lane, road, drive, or boulevard for whatever reason.  However, the location of Butler/Butler is approximately located a half mile north of the Butler ghost town site.  Butler was located on the Southern Pacific Railroad line heading east out of downtown Fresno towards Sanger.


Butler was a rail siding town along the Stockton and Tulare Railroad which was apparently built likely in 1887.  The first map reference to Butler I can find is on the 1889 map of the State of California.

1889 Map of Californ…

Florida Friday; Fort Clinch

Back in 2013 I visited several Civil War era fortifications in the Southeast United States.  During a blustery winter day I made my way north from Jacksonville to Amelia Island via Florida State Road A1A in Nassau County to see Fort Clinch.






Construction of Fort Clinch began in 1847 after the conclusion of the Second Seminole War.  Fort Clinch only saw one major battle during the Civil War in 1862 when the Union recaptured the fort.  Fort Clinch apparently was a headquarters for Union activity in northeast Florida through the duration of the Civil War.  Fort Clinch is in very good condition and has been maintained well through the years, my understanding is that it became a state park in the 1930s.  Fort Clinch is mostly known for Civil War reenactments which is somewhat ironic given it was not really part of major combat operations.








Throwback Thursday - March 27, 2018

This week's Throwback Thursday takes us back to August 2008 to Paterson, New Jersey. This old sign for towns can be found on CR 504 approaching Paterson from neighboring Haledon. There are a few of these signs still remaining around New Jersey.


Throwback Thursday; Catalina Highway

Back in 2012 I took a drive up the Catalina Highway through the Santa Catalina Range to Summerhaven near the 9,159 foot summit of Mount Lemmon.






The Catalina Highway is a 27 mile scenic route which starts at Tanque Verde Road in northeast Tucson and ends at Summerhaven within Coronado National Forest.  The Catalina Highway was constructed from 1933 to 1950 and is designated as Arizona Forest Route 39.  The original Catalina Highway was considered somewhat dangerous with narrow roadways and steep cliff-faces that were a hazard to traffic.  The Catalina Highway improved to the modern configuration from 1988 to 2007.

I started out fairly early in the morning ascending the Catalina Highway.  The lower elevations of the highway have typical plant life seen in the Sonoran Desert.





The Catalina Highway ascends rapidly but never had what I would consider a steep grade.  The Catalina Highway has wide shoulders which makes the road very popular with cyclists.  The increase in elevation yields a c…