Glacier Park Launch Listed on National Register

from NPS Glacier National Park

Earlier this summer, the tour boat Morning Eagle was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally named Big Chief, she was built in 1945 and first placed on Swiftcurrent Lake in Many Glacier. By 1961, she had been transferred to nearby Lake Josephine and given the name Morning Eagle. The boat is a 45-foot long by 12-foot wide carvel planked cedar on oak frame vessel and has the capacity to carry 49 passengers.

In the fall of 1974, the boat was removed from the park for repairs, but it returned in spring 1975 and has stayed on Lake Josephine ever since, spending winters in a boathouse along the shore.

The Morning Eagle joins three other boats in Glacier that were added to the National Register earlier this year: the DeSmet on Lake McDonald, the Little Chief on St. Mary Lake, and the Sinopah on Two Medicine Lake. All four of the boats are owned and operated by the Glacier Park Boat Company.

This photo was taken in June of this year and shows Morning Eagle on Lake Josephine with Mt. Gould in the distance.

A boat with "Morning Eagle" written on the bow sits on a calm lake with a mountain in the distance.
Note from Malcolm: Apinákui-Pita (Morning Eagle) was a famous Blackfoot Warrior.

Florida in Pictures – Tallahassee’s oldest church

The First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee is the capital’s oldest building in continual use. It was dedicated in 1838. Atypical in the South, the church accepted slaves as members who sat in a balcony that runs along three sides of the sanctuary’s “second floor.” Earlier, the church served as a refuge during the Seminole Wars and then, in the 1960s, as a leader in the civil rights movement.

I was a member of this church during my K-12 years in Tallahassee. My brothers and I were also members of Boy Scout Troop 101 sponsored by the church during those years. All three of us became Eagle Scouts, so it saddens me that the church at some point ended its association with scouting. It also saddened me when a large number of members who disagreed with the church’s civil rights stance split off during the mid-1960s and formed a new church.

The church is on the National Register of Historic Places where its Gothic Revival architecture is noted. The foundation included rifle slots that, by now, have probably been covered over. In contrast, solar panels now provide a portion of the church’s power and were–in 2010–considered the county’s second-largest solar panel array.

My father, Laurence, wrote the church’s sesquicentennial booklet of poems called “The Future of Old First in 1982.” He had, in earlier years, been a deacon, elder, Cub Scout pack leader, and explorer post leader.

The photograph shown here was taken sometime in the 1800s:

Florida Memory Photo

The church as it appears today, with the Methodist Church in the background and the church’s education building on the right hand side of the picture:

 

I don’t know if the church ever rings the bell in the steeple these days. At some point, the steeple was renovated and those of us attending Sunday school classes were allowed to ring the bell on Sunday mornings. The bellrope was accessed through a trap door above the balcony pews just above the church’s narthex. Everyone wanted to ring the bell! We loved it for its old fashioned sound, a sound out of history.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s Florida Folk Magic novels are set in the panhandle west of Tallahassee.

 

 

 

USS Ranger added to Washington State Heritage List

The decommissioned (1993) and mothballed aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61/CVA-61) was added to the State of Washington’s Heritage Register on Friday. The carrier, which has been scheduled for scrapping this year, is currently at the Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington.

The application form includes multiple interior and exterior photographs.
The application form includes multiple interior and exterior photographs.

Acceptance to a state’s register of historic places typically occurs when the state preservation department accepts and passes on a national register of historic places domination for an object, structure or site within the state.

According to the national register application, “”Despite being berthed in the inactive reserve fleet in Bremerton since 1993, Ranger’s current condition is outstanding, particularly inside. Any visitor would wonder why the ship wasn’t heading back to sea, and any shipmate would certainly know his way around. Much of the current condition of the ship is attributable to the excellent material condition at decommissioning and to the continuing rangernatregphoto2mainntenance it has undergone since being ‘moth-balled.'”

Acceptance to the state and national registers usually carries no obligation on the owner of a historic property, so unless other efforts to save the ship are successful it seems likely that the navy’s plans to scrap the ship will not be altered. (This is supposition on my part and not based on a comment from the navy.)

It’s nice to see the listing regardless of the ultimate fate of the carrier.

Click on the graphic to read a PDF copy of the nomination form
Click on the graphic to read a PDF copy of the nomination form

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Malcolm

Author Malcolm R. Campbell’s novel “The Sailor” was inspired by his experiences on board the USS Ranger during the Vietnam War.

Hotels in the National Parks – a sternly worded memo

Why we’re out there – NPS Photo

When many of today’s historic hotels in the National Parks first opened, America was a different kind of place, so people appreciated “rustic” and didn’t expect to have all the comforts of the city out in the woods because, well, if they preferred the comforts of the city they would stay in the city.

From time to time, I complain about the inconsiderate people who ruin camping experiences for everyone else by “serenading” the woods with loud music, loud TV sets, video game racket, and various other hobbies that have no place in a wilderness setting. Frankly, I’m there to get away from all that. Those who are addicted to racket can (a) wear earphones or (b) go away.

The same Internet that makes it possible for me to say a few kind words about old hotels gives others an opportunity to say nasty things about those hotels even though old buildings in a restricted environment can’t (and shouldn’t) compete with one’s favorite, modern resort. But, I can’t help but wonder why people complain about the very things they should have expected to find.

People, The Hotels are Really Old

I wonder why we can’t tolerate “rustic” these days as good sports rather than griping on line about things that are, quite frankly, to be expected in a hotel built 100 years ago in an environment that isn’t kind to structures and in a place that cannot be disturbed by the kinds of “improvements” we take for granted in big city hotels that operate year-around with full access to the best transportation, water, power, DSL and everything else anyone could possibly ask for in a hotel.

Old hotels are likely to have smaller rooms, older-style bathrooms, thinner walls, floors/ceilings that creak and groan, balcony doors and windows that might rattle in the wind, no television or hotel-wide WiFi or DSL. We used to call this kind of thing charming because going to a National Park was traditionally considered “roughing it” even if you didn’t sleep in a tent. Light sleepers can take white noise machines. WiFi addicts can: (a) find the designated WiFI areas (if any), (b) consider entering a 12-step program before staying in a historic hotel so that the lack of instant access to the world outside the park won’t be more important than enjoying what is there, (c) Go away.

When staying in a National Register listed hotel, it’s good to remember that preservation of historic structures always trumps restoration, much less renovation.  Buildings are updated to comply with codes. But updating them because people want modern bathrooms, TV sets in rooms with less insulation between rooms, and a five-star, New York City experience in a wilderness setting is not only destructive to the historic building, but down right lousy management. In the preservation business, we often talk about Paul Bunyan’s axe. If you keep using it, you have to tolerate its fragility and construction and chop accordingly; otherwise, when you replace the handle one year and replace the axe head another year, it might look like Paul Bunyan’s axe. But it isn’t. It’s now a replica and no longer a historical treasure.

You Don’t Expect Granny to Dance Like a Teenager

I don’t know, maybe fewer people are tolerating granny these days because she’s old and acts her age and cannot do this or that with the same efficiency and style as a much younger person. Yes, I know, science will probably figure out how to keep replacing granny’s parts so that one day granny will be a teenager again. Of course, she won’t be granny any more either.

Old buildings also act their age, especially when their age=history. We cannot have it both ways. If we want to stay in a historic hotel, then we need to love it for what it is rather than taking away all of its history by modernizing the original building away over time with “improvements.”

In many ways, the National Park Service is the ultimate steward of these properties, because NPS  controls what can be changed and what cannot, how the hotel must function within a pristine environment, and even how much you pay for a room. Suffice it to say, the hotels are old, expensive to maintain and difficult to operate.

We’re there for nature, not pampering; so it would be nice, I think, for some constructive reviews on sites like TripAdvisor rather than listing “faults” that really are the realities of rustic accommodations in century-old hotels.

Malcolm

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