(Monroe Downtown Economic District).
Friday, July 20, 2012
On July 13, Mound Bayou unveiled the city historic marker honoring Milburn J. Crowe. Mr. Crowe was born March 15, 1933 in Mound Bayou to descendants of original settlers. Mr. Crowe's grandparents were among the people who settled Mound Bayou and helped to establish the community.
Following service in the military, and work in Chicago, Mr. Crowe returned to Mound Bayou in 1967, and helped organize and edited the Mound Bayou Voice Newsletter (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, retrieved from the MDAH Historic Resources Inventory database, July 20, 2012).
Mr. Crowe was
...dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of his hometown. (Mississippi History Newsletter MDAH, October 2005).
...was a learned man, pensive and quite passionate, who above all else loved Mound Bayou, its people, and most of all, perhaps, its history. (Rosen, 2011).
This small green space is representative of the Mound Bayou that Milburn Crowe loved: the mound in the center depicting the ancient Indian Mound, and the confluence of the two bayous (seen in the water passage circling the mound) that gave Mound Bayou its name. You cannot see them in this photo, but there are benches placed in the park--inviting one to sit, talk to a friend or stranger--as apparently Mr. Crowe readily did, and to reflect on Mound Bayou's past, present, and future.
In urban areas, they have begun calling these small green spaces "pocket parks." Just a little sliver wherever possible that does not use much real estate, yet creates a public place to encourage sitting, and a bit of green (in design and actual flora) to support the ecosystem. Years earlier, Housing and Urban Development generated similar ideas in public housing spaces--efforts aimed at encouraging a healthier and safer place for people--the idea that the design of space can affect relationships and behavior that occurs in that space.
I tend to get what Rand calls "airy-fairy." It means that I can get so immersed in seeking to understand meanings and connections and relationships and their symbols that at times, it can be confusing to have a conversation with me. Because I have been trained to think in systems, and the more I study systems, the more it makes sense to me about everything being connected, it is why sometimes I can seem to be on a tangent, while to me, it makes perfect sense and is clearly connected to that issue I was thinking about or talking about.
See, you think I am off on one of those tangents now--probably asking, "how the heck did she go from talking about Milburn Crowe, and then green spaces, and now airy fairy tangents?" I never met Mr. Crowe--he died in 2005, and I did not visit Mound Bayou until 2011. From what I have read of his works (he wrote history as well as talked about it and tried to preserve it), he seems like a systems thinker to me. He seemed to deeply understand not just the importance of the past and preserving its artifacts, but the connection that serves to us now in the present and in the future. To understand why we are who we are and where we are today, requires understanding who we were and why we were there in the past. It isn't about preserving the past just because it is the past, or because it seemed like better days--because we can't really hold onto the past literally. All we can hold on to is our interpretation of, our recollection of what went before. But that is true of a all things: it is always about our perception of the reality, or our remembrance of the reality. We humans sometimes have a lot of difficulty in just experiencing our lives, rather than interpreting them and remembering them--what Robert Henry used to call "how you be."
So, here is the connection to me in the beginning about the marker to honor Mr. Crowe, and where I ended up just now about systems. Mound Bayou says something to me about being--or trying to be. From everything I have read, and much of what I have heard in getting to know people from Mound Bayou, it has always been about relationships--being--who you were, and how you made people feel. I tend not to believe in "coincidences" in my life. (Another reason Rand calls me airy fairy). I have always been looking at relationships, and how people feel in those relationships. The road that took me to Mound Bayou seems like chance. It might have been; after all, many factors could have caused me to choose something other than the choice I made the day that I connected with Mound Bayou. But I choose to believe that if not that choice, another road would have led to Mound Bayou. After all, it did for every person who has ended up there, influenced by, and influencing Mound Bayou.
One way or another, we are all tied together--everyone on this planet and beyond. The sooner we realize that--that we are each other and we are each other's future, the sooner we can "be."
Thursday, July 19, 2012
And yes, after spending all morning doing interviews and videos (Linita is great behind the camera, and Deja is a natural at conducting the interview), and working on the panels all afternoon, they were still smiling!
Saturday, July 14, 2012
The metal columns on the front of the building have been painted over so many times that I could not say for certainty which company built them. At first, it looked like Texas City, and there was an ironworks in Corsicana at one time. Their products included castings for the building industry. Closer looking makes the name look more like Pennsylvania, however, and there was an Erie City Iron in Pennsylvania, but no indication they made building parts. Their products included engines. Other guesses include Texarkana AR.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Detail of cable saddle.
"The original towers were constructed of three wrought-iron pipes tied together by tension roads within pipe struts" similar to this early photograph of a suspension bridge. It is unknown why the Austin Bridge Company modified the towers, whether from structural reinforcement concerns or pure aesthetics. Austin converted the triangular bases to rectangles, hooded the rods in wire and then poured concrete to create the obelisks.
Individual wire strands (about 1/8 inch in diameter) comprise the cables, which are about seven inches in diameter.
Most of the cable anchorages disappear directly into the ground, with the exception of one corner (not visible) which is attached with wires to pipes that are somehow anchored.
Rods with turnbuckles suspend the deck from the cables.
Rods with turnbuckles are attached to the cables to provide the support for the deck.
Support for the deck spans consist of 4 1/2 inch diameter wrought-iron pipes, with smaller diameter pipes set at angles to further brace the deck beam. In the 1926 modification, these pipes were reinforced by the addition of the two I-beam posts and two 8 inch channels placed next to the original deck beam pipe.
Additional deck support is evident in the bracing across the span.
Splice plate and tension rod.
The center-span deck was replaced by the Austin company in 1926, as was a railing made of angles and channels to replace the Howe pipe truss. It was not as functional in "stiffening" the deck as the Howe truss, so additional steel channels were installed on the outer decks.
Embossed steel plate runners--18 inches wide--were installed at the same time. Most of the bridges I drove over as a child and young adult in the surrounding county had wooden decks with wooden runners until they were replaced by those uninspiring concrete stretches. I walked from the west approach here, to the opposite end until stopped by the heavy growth of brush. I could hear a humming sound that initially I thought was bees under the bridge. However, I noted it stopped each time I did. I realized that it was the sound of vibrations of the bridge cables.
"The materials and design features of the bridges that Flinn helped construct permitted swift and economical construction in remote areas." Pipes and wire were easily transported, and no large equipment was needed as it was for truss bridges. Timber and rock were readily available at the site. Gruen asserted that another reason suspension bridges were less costly was due to not needing mid-span supports. This was particularly important in areas where soil was unstable or the area was prone to flooding, such as west Texas. It is common to see the river shrink to a mere stream, only to overflow the banks during a thunderstorm.
And as evening was approaching and storm clouds were threatening, it was time to head on back to Young County--another mystery solved: "Where is the suspension bridge on the Clear Fork at Woodson?"