Historic Homes in Greenfield Village

Henry Ford moved several historic homes to the Greenfield village, including his own childhood home:

Then there was the Wright brothers’ childhood home and their bicycle shop. Just a couple of months ago, I read a book The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. And now I remember that the author visited Greenfield village, but when I read the book, I didn’t pay attenention.

This bike is one of the actual bikes from the Wright brothers’ shop
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Greenfield Village: Eagle Tavern

Today is Thursday, and my Michicgan visit already seems far away. However, I have at least two hundred pictures which I didn’t show yet, and I want to share at least some of them.

Here are more pictures from the Greenfield Village – the place where we had lunch.

The name of the place is Eagle Tavern, and it was operating in Clinton, MI in 1850. The tavern owner were also farmers, and they served pretty much what they grown on their farm.

We liked that the tavern preserved the atmosphere of 1850s, but at the same time, it’s not a theater, it’s the place where you can have a simple good meal. Both Lena and I agreed, that although our meals were very non-pretentious, they tasted great!

The tavern was large enough to have a separate room for women. However, these days, everybody eat together
Locally produces bread and butter
Pimm’s cup
Lena’s meal with trout.
Peach pie

Model T Ride

The only thing which was not perfect with this trip was the weather: it was bare 70F, and it rained on Saturday evening, but honestly, the weather did not stop us from having fun.

We spent the whole Sunday in the Henry Ford village and museum; we arrived 15 minutes after it was open and left 15 minutes before it closed. We hardly saw a half of everything, and my brain was exploding with all the new information! I won’t have time to blog about everything, so there will probably be bits and pieces, not necessarily in order of importance.

Speaking about Henry Ford and Model T, you can’t stop feeling the mixture of amazement with the greatest human mind achievements and, at the same time, the realization of all nowadays environmental problems starting back then.

That’s where it all began!
Waiting in line for Model T rides
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San Juan Bautista Mission

One more part of our California trip. Our friends wanted to take us to see a mission, and I liked this idea a lot because I saw one. Moreover, I didn’t even know about these catholic missions, nothing about that part of the US history. And there was so much to see and to learn!

Our hosts’ original plans were altered by the Memorial weekend traffic (frankly speaking, after living for a year without a car, I forgot how it feels when you can’t go anywhere without a car!) But we all agreed that this change of plans worked well – there was so much more to see at the San Juan Bautista Mission!

Several rooms in the main building
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California Trip

We are visiting my friend in Campbell CA – I decided that I do not need to have an excuse of a conference to visit her, so I exchanged the tickets for San Francisco one more time and added Boris to that trip.

Yesterday we were on the go for the whole day: we visited the Rose Garden, the St. Juan Bautista mission, and Monterey, and I have a million pictures 🙂

As usual, not sure whether I will have time to write in detail about all of it, but here are some:

More to come!

Newly Discovered Pictures Of The Great Chicago Fire

We know that cameras and photographs already existed at the time of the Great Chicago Fire. And we all saw the photographs which were taken during those days. However, one hundred and fifty years ago, there was a disconnect between technologies: the cameras were able to capture way more details that could be printed.

The glass negatives were huge, and the prints were small. And the most disappointing part is that most of the negative didn’t survive. Not all of them, however! And can you imagine what could happen when the exceptional quality of the glass negatives was combined with the digital printing technologies?! Now, you can see the results at this exhibit. The wall-size prints, including a panorama combined of five different shots taken from the roof of the survived warehouse.

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And More To The Previous Post

Two things I forgot to mention in the previous post. 

One is about the resemblance between the Long COVID and the long-term effects of the Spanish flu on people’s ability to think and concentrate. John Barry even analyzes the behavior of President Wilson during the peace negotiations in Europe. He goes as far as speculating that his inadequate after-flu decisions affected the resulting treaty in such a way that it late made it easier for Hitler to come to power. 

And once again, about an extremely important balance between panic and informed decisions. As John Barry states, people should know the truth. When the government officials are honest in their communications, they help to maintain trust in society. Also, he cites Lincoln about the importance of identifying the thread – only when the thread is identified can you fight it. I would add to this what I’ve already said many times: whenever there is a need to change the course, it is important to explain why these changes are made, what prompted these changes, and why it was not the case before. We all know what would be the reaction otherwise 🙂

“The Great Influenza” book

I have so many things to say about this book! I started reading it because, like many others, the current COVID pandemic prompted my interest in the 1918-1920 flu pandemic. I wanted to know more about it, how people handled a pandemic a century ago, what was the effect on society and the economy, and most importantly – why we know so little about it?! 

The book gave all these answers and even more. It is more “medical” than I thought it would be; sometimes, I felt like there were too many medical details, but that’s what makes this book so convincing. 

 It starts with a survey of medicine and medical science history in America. I could not imagine that there was such a lack of science until the beginning of the 20th century! And then, the book proceeds with documenting the development of the flu pandemic, covering all medical, social, and political aspects. You can’t stop making parallels with the COVID pandemic, even though the book was written more than ten years ago. (The last version of the afterword was written when the COVID pandemic had already begun, so some similarities are discussed)

The big question I had from the very beginning of the current pandemic was the following: why do we know so little about the Spanish flu pandemic? Historical textbooks mention briefly that “one hundred million people got sick,” but that’s pretty much it. When you read anything related to the 1918 – 1920 period, the flu is never mentioned as a background of events. 

The most important reason why it all but disappeared from world history is that it was forbidden to write about it! The world was at war, and none of the participating countries wanted to spread panic or “hurt the morale.” That statement explained much of what was going on. It’s unbelievable: people were getting sick and dying. In some cities, like Philadelphia, dead bodies were piling in the houses because there was nobody to carry them away and nobody to bury them. And newspapers said nothing!

It was primarily because of the wartime censorship, but also because there was (and there is) nothing heroic in dying from a disease. 

The government kept saying, “it’s nothing but the common cold.” Same as know there were people in denial. A quote from the book:

The government’s very efforts to preserve “morale” fostered the fear, for since the war began, morale—defined in the narrowest, most shortsighted fashion—had taken precedence in every public utterance. As California senator Hiram Johnson said in 1917, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.”

Barry, John M.. The Great Influenza (pp. 333-334). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

And one more – especially pronounced because it was written way before the pandemic:

So the first two items on the list are the lessons from 1918, which COVID has confirmed: 

Number one, tell the truth. 

Number two, NPIs work.

Barry, John M.. The Great Influenza (p. 467). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

The author notes that not only the newspapers were silent, but also almost no works of literature mention the Spanish flu pandemic (that prompted me to start actively looking for such books, found some). You can’t stop thinking that our COVID memories might vanish in less than a hundred years! And you can’t stop thinking that the Spanish flu lessons were not learned!

Black Cinema – It All Started In Chicago

I listened to this show on WBEZ when it was first aired (about ten days ago), and meant to go back and find the link on the WBEZ site. Then, Igor emailed me about the same show several days later, and I thought – I have to post it – and then life happened…

So, before I forget about it again – here is it! Like many other things, Black Cinema started in Chicago Southside. Like it happened to most of the silent movies – almost none survived. Still, we know something about the first producers and actors, and what these movies were about, and how they were received.

When you visit that link, please make sure not only to read the story but also listen to the recording of the episode – it has more interesting facts!

Open House Chicago 2021 – Part 2

The next neighborhood we visited was Bridgeport. I never knew Chicago had a maritime museum, but there it was! The building where the Chicago Maritime Museum is located is a former Spiegel Catalogue Warehouse, on the banks of Bubbly Creek (Now, it’s a Bridgeport Art Center, and the Maritime Museum is in the basement).

The museum is wonderful; honestly, it’s a pity it is so far from the Loop! If it were closer, I would take more people there :).

One of the curators explained to us how the large ships could not sail in the Chicago River because it has so many bends
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