I have spent the majority of my adult life as a science educator. As a K-5 science specialist for a major Florida School District I designed and developed the first-two stand-alone dedicated K-5 science classroom in the State — developed through a $100,000 grant by the Monsanto Corporation. I have worked as a naturalist and director of a 120 acre environmental center, as well as an Instructional Specialist for the U.S. Navy (Financial Management), U.S. Army (designing and developing medical interactive multimedia and distance learning courses,) and Department of Defense Dependent Schools (Science Specialist.)
Traveling north on I-110 in Pensacola a few weeks ago I happened to spy a few murals just west of the RR tracks. I had never noticed them prior to that drive. So when I had a day that was not blazingly hot, on an early Sunday morning I took what “we” use to call back in the day a “Sunday drive.”
I usually like to drive to view area murals on Sundays during the fall and spring months, because normally, not many people are moving about, which allows photographs to be unimpeded with clutter (people and parked cars.) The mural on the Court of DeLuna Building is still under construction. These new murals can be found with a link near the bottom of the Pensacola Mural page.
Santa Fe has got to be one of the most interesting cities in New Mexico. The building murals on this site were found mainly in the Railroad District, although a few I photographed were in the surrounding areas. The Road Runner train is a regional train that basically runs between Santa Fe and Albuquerque with a few stops to the south of Albuquerque. Looking at the fare schedule, a one day pass which takes the rider through 8 zones is only $8.00 and the yearly pass is $595.00 if purchased online. Although I didn’t have the time to ride the train, the scheduling and fare requirements reminded me much of the way the European regional trains are set up.
You may have heard that Santa Fe is a very artsy town, well you heard correctly. There are well over 150 art galleries in the area. In fact everywhere you look there are sculptures.
Without getting into a lot of detail about Santa Fe I will just write a little bit about the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The cathedral was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1866 on the site of the older Adobe Church La
Parroquia(built between 1714 and 1717. An older church on the same site which had been built in 1626, was destroyed during the 1680 Pueblo revolt. The new cathedral was built around La Parroquia, which was dismantled once the new construction was completed. However, a small chapel on the north side of the cathedral was kept from the old church.
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge shown below, approximately 10 miles from Taos, New Mexico, crosses the Rio Grande Gorge at a height of 600 ft above the Rio Grande River..
In the distance, from the bridge, there was a dash of color on the horizon. Overcome with curiosity, I began to trek towards the the color. As I approached closer and closer, the dash of color turned into a bus. The bus (“The Dragonfly Bus”) reminded me so much of the hippie era I grew up in. The time of free love, Woodstock, and the Haight-Asbury district of San Fransisco.
The art on the bus evoked within me a sense of freedom, to not care what others may think about how one expresses themself. Art can do that, and more. Art can be transformative, for it can shape the way we view ourselves and the world around us.
When I caught up with this bus, LeRoy Herr and Heather Platen were driving this 1953 custom Chevy bus around the country to get people excited about art. In fact they encouraged people to paint on their bus, much
like those found on the Cadillacs at the Cadillac Ranch off of U.S 40 (use to be Rt 66) in Amarillo. For me the writing the word “science” spoke to me because of my science background and teachings.
Viewing the portrait of Saddam Hussein reminded me of the Gulf War and the Iraqi War. However, the painting of Van Morrison transported me to the time of my high school and college years with such songs as “Riders on the Storm,” “The End,” and of course who could forget “Light My Fire” were all the rage.
Some of the phrases found were:
Love is Real Freedom
Donations are Welcome
God is Love
We Love You
You are here for a reason
Fueled by Dreams
On my honor I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others to be accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community and agency I serve.
If inclined, more information about the Dragon Bus and its journey can be followed on FaceBook.
“Founded in 1880 prior to Arizona’s mining boom, Benson developed as a stopping point for the Butterfield Overland Stage mail delivery route. Soon thereafter, the Southern Pacific Railroad came into Benson and continued to serve the area until 1997, when the line was purchased by Union Pacific Railroad.” https://www.bensonvisitorcenter.com
Benson, Arizona was a stop on my 10,000 + mile trip a few years ago. The artwork helps to illustrate much of the history in the area. This link you take you to the page with the artwork
Houston has an extensive array of street art. Probably one of the best places to start is Graffiti Park. Located at 2102 Leeland Street, one can find many people walking around the buildings and photographing the artwork. However there are other murals not far from this area. Take a walk further down the street and city blocks, you will find a mural of Wonder Woman holding up a pick-up truck, or a yard of curious children painted on the side of the Energy Institute High School, formerly the Dodson Elementary School in East Downtown.
About 70 miles north of San Antonio, along I-10, lies the town of Kerrville, home of the fighting Tivy Antlers High School.
“Kerrville is named after James Kerr, a major in the Texas Revolution, and friend of settler-founder Joshua Brown [see wall mural,] who settled in the area to start a shingle-making camp.”
“Archeological evidence suggests that humans dwelled in the area known as Kerrville as early as 10,000 years ago. The early modern residents were successful shinglemakers whose mercantile business became a hub that served the middle and upper Hill Country area in the late 1840s. One of the earliest shinglemakers was Joshua D. Brown. With his family, Joshua Brown had led several other families on an exploration of the Guadalupe Valley. These early pioneers organized their settlements near a bluff just north of the Guadalupe River in the eastern half of today’s county. The settlement was referred to as “Brownsborough”, but after the area was formally platted in 1856 by James Kerr, a major in the Texas Revolution, the settlement was formally known as “Kerrville” and maintained a county seat with Texas.”
“Starting in 1857, a German master-miller named Christian Dietert and millwright Balthasar Lich started a large grist and saw mill on the bluff. This mill established a permanent source of power and protection from floods, and became the most extensive operation of its kind in the Hill Country area west of New Braunfels and San Antonio. ” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerrville,_Texas
Using this link, learn more about the history of Kerrville through the city’s very extensive murals celebrating that history.
The Wiregrass Region—or Wiregrass Country—is an area of the Southern United States encompassing parts of southern Georgia, southeastern Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. The region is named for the native Aristida stricta, commonly known as wiregrass due to its texture.
The region stretches approximately from just below Macon, Georgia and follows the Fall Line west to Montgomery, Alabama. From there it turns south and runs to approximately Washington County, Florida in the northern panhandle. From there it runs east, roughly making its southern boundary along Interstate 10 to Lake City, Florida. From there it turns north, roughly following the Suwannee River back into Georgia and along the western fringes of the Okefenokee Swamp. From here it runs due north back to Macon.
The region includes Fort Rucker, a U.S. Army post located mostly in Dale County, Alabama. The post is the primary flight training base for Army Aviation and is home to the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) and the United States Army Aviation Museum, as well as Moody Air Force Base located in Lowndes and Lanier County, Georgia. Moody AFB is the home of the 23d Wing. The wing executes worldwide close air support, force protection, and combat search and rescue operations (CSAR) in support of humanitarian interests, United States national security and the global war on terrorism (GWOT). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiregrass_Region
One of the murals photographed in the area was of the Boll Weevil, where there is a statue honoring the little critter. If it hadn’t been for the destructiveness of this insect on the cotton industry, the peanut industry may have started later than 1919.
The Street Art of Iceland has now been posted. Click this link to directly access the artwork.
According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before Scandinavian settlers arrived, possibly members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. Carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned sometime between 770 and 880. In 2016, archeologists uncovered a longhouse in Stöðvarfjörður that has been dated to as early as 800.
Swedish Viking explorer Garðar Svavarsson was the first to circumnavigate Iceland in 870 and establish that it was an island. He stayed over winter and built a house in Húsavík. Garðar departed the following summer but one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Náttfari settled in what is now known as Náttfaravík and he and his slaves became the first permanent residents of Iceland.
To learn more about the history of Iceland, click this link:
The Street Art of Roswell, New Mexico has now been posted. Click this link to directly access the artwork.
“The first non-indigenous settlers of the area around Roswell were a group of pioneers from Missouri, who attempted to start a settlement 15 miles (24 km) southwest of what is now Roswell in 1865, but were forced to abandon the site because of a lack of water. It was called Missouri Plaza. It also had many Hispanic people from Lincoln, New Mexico. John Chisum had his famous Jingle Bob Ranch about 5 miles (8 km) from the center of Roswell, at South Spring Acres. At the time, it was the largest ranch in the United States.
Van C. Smith, a businessman from Omaha, Nebraska, and his partner, Aaron Wilburn, constructed two adobe buildings in 1869 that began what is now Roswell. The two buildings became the settlement’s general store, post office, and sleeping quarters for paying guests. In 1871, Smith filed a claim with the federal government for the land around the buildings, and on August 20, 1873, he became the town’s first postmaster. Smith was the son of Roswell Smith, a prominent lawyer in Lafayette, Indiana, and Annie Ellsworth, daughter of U.S. Patent Commissioner Henry Leavitt Ellsworth. He called the town Roswell, after his father’s first name.”
“In 1857, Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a Naval officer in the service of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, was ordered by the War Department to build a government-funded wagon road along the 35th Parallel. His secondary orders were to test the feasibility of the use of camels as pack animals in the southwestern desert. This road became part of US 66.
Parts of the original Route 66 from 1913, prior to its official naming and commissioning, can still be seen north of the Cajon Pass. The paved road becomes a dirt road, south of Cajon, which was also the original Route 66.
Before a nationwide network of numbered highways was adopted by the states, named auto trails were marked by private organizations. The route that would become US 66 was covered by three highways. The Lone Star Route passed through St. Louis on its way from Chicago to Cameron, Louisiana, though US 66 would take a shorter route through Bloomington rather than Peoria.
The transcontinental National Old Trails Road led via St. Louis to Los Angeles, but was not followed until New Mexico; instead US 66 used one of the main routes of the Ozark Trails system, which ended at the National Old Trails Road just south of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Again, a shorter route was taken, here following the Postal Highway between Oklahoma City and Amarillo. Finally, the National Old Trails Road became the rest of the route to Los Angeles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66
A fews years ago I drove the “mother road” from Victorville, CA to Gallup, NM, before turning south and continuing the trip to Texas. Without going into any more history and information about the road, clicking on this link will provide the reader with a very good description: Route 66 From End to End
However I will provide the following information from the above website. The photo of the general store was take during the above trip.
“Probably no other road in the world hosts as many interesting and strange sights as Route 66. People say it’s part of the charm of the historic highway. If you’re planning a road trip down Route 66, here are some one-of-a-kind attractions you shouldn’t miss.
Hackberry General Store (Arizona) — Located at mile marker 80 on Historic Route 66, this general store is jam-packed with any kind of Route 66 memorabilia you can imagine. There are vintage gas pumps and automobiles out front, although it’s no longer a filling station. Inside you can shop for souvenirs or pick up some Route 66-branded root beer.” Rt 66 Gas station in Hackberry, AZ