Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Galveston Fire of 1885


The Galveston fire of 1885, started on Friday, November 13 near the business district. The sheet music to the left celebrating the fire is a song written by Louis Gruetzmacher, with music by Jacob Day.

Cary Cartwright, in his history 'Galveston' writes:

"The fire began at a foundry near 17th and the Strand, and a stiff north wind swept it from rooftop to rooftop.... Flames raged out of control, cutting a four-block-wide swath across the center of the Island-from the Strand, over Broadway, past Avenue O, nearly to the beach. Homeowners raced ahead to save what they could.... In the street, people stumbled about, dazed and bewildered.

"Galveston's first professional fire department was barely a month old and no match for the conflagration. The pressure on its newly installed saltwater system proved insufficient, and bits of shell clogged the nozzles of the firehose. By the time it burned itself out, the fire had consumed forty-two blocks, destroying 568 buildings and homes.... Amazingly, no one died."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cow Patties

Earlier this week someone asked a question about the term 'burlap sack' and its synonyms. I can think of tote sack, potato sack, and gunny sack, but I'm sure there's more.

Just thinkin' about burlap sacks kicked in a memory of the Newton gang heading out bright and early on a Saturday morn for the mine fields of southeast Beaumont, out past Spindletop Road and into the pastures near a sulphur refinery and the Neches River. We'd load up dozens of burlap sacks and a coupla long-handled shovels into the back of the Rambler to gather up big ol' heapin' pie plates of dried cow poop.

I know we did this at least once a year, but I seem to remember it being at least twice or more a year. Mom's vegetable and flower gardens needed their fertilizer!

Being on the kid end of the family, Mary, Tom and I would help for a little while, and then get sent over to the nearby woods to 'explore', and stay outta the way of the grown-ups. I guess Paul and Dave got stuck with the work, along with mom and dad, scooping up the cow patties and bagging them up.
I vaguely remember that sometime during the day we'd have a picnic, but I'm not real sure about that. The thought that after messin' with poop all day long (even with gloves on) we'd sit down for lunch without a major scrub-down with soap and water seems a tad unhealthy.
Was this the same place we found those sulphur core samples?