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A poster child for our nation's urban experimentation a century ago, Gary was forged with hype and hope, dreams and sweat, political agendas and tons of steel. The hardscrabble city attracted all kinds, from shady scoundrels and famous architects to hardworking immigrants and brilliant entrepreneurs. Boasting 180,000 residents at its peak, the booming melting pot eventually faded away under the afflictions of urban decay, racial unrest and political upheaval. Jerry Davich explores the remnants of Gary's glory days, from Union Station in ruins to City Methodist Church stripped of its soul. Revisit the Sheraton Hotel's demise, Emerson High School's hard lessons, Vee-Jay Records' last release and a devastated downtown filled only with façades and fond memories.
After the Civil War, state and national Prohibition galvanized in Atlanta the issues of classism, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. While many consider flappers and gangsters the iconic images of the era, in reality, it was marked with temperance zealotry, blind tigers and white lightning. Georgia's protracted and intense battle changed the industrial and social landscapes of its capital city and unleashed a flood of illegal liquor that continually flowed in the wettest city in the South. Moonshine was the toast of the town from mill houses to the state capitol. The state eventually repealed prohibition, but the social, moral and legal repercussions still linger seventy years later. Join authors Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle as they recount the colorful history of Atlanta's struggle to freely enjoy a drink.
The ruins of Philadelphia's grandest structures show the city's dramatic evolution. Smoke no longer spews from the Philadelphia Electric Company's hulking riverside power plants. Nature long ago reclaimed the rusted steel bones of the Frankford Arsenal. Graffiti artists tag the Beury Building, while Philadelphia's Gilded Age elite rest beneath the weeds of the forgotten Mount Moriah Cemetery. Such sites mark three centuries of progress and destruction in William Penn's "Holy Experiment." Through deep research and his stunning photography, J.P. Webster documents the slow decay caused by neglect and the passage of time in Philadelphia's factories, military sites, schools, cemeteries and more. Discover a bygone American era through Philadelphia's vanishing cityscape.
Inspired by Florida's famed Mai-Kai restaurant, Bill Sapp and Lee Henry opened the Kahiki Supper Club in 1961. They set out simply to build a nice Polynesian restaurant and ended up establishing the most magnificent one of them all. Patrons lined up for hours to see the celebrities who dined there--everyone from Betty White to Raymond Burr. Outside, two giant Easter Island heads with flames spouting from their topknots stood guard while customers dined in a faux tribal village with thatched huts, palm trees and a towering fireplace moai. One wall featured aquariums of exotic fish and another had windows overlooking a tropical rainforest with periodic thunderstorms. For nearly forty years, the Kahiki was the undisputed center of tiki culture.
Traveling throughout the South during the 1950s was hazardous for African Americans. There were precious few hotels and restaurants that opened their doors to minorities, and fewer still had accommodations above the bare minimum, to say nothing of the racism and violence that followed. But in Birmingham, black entrepreneur and eventual millionaire A.G. Gaston created a first-class motel and lounge for African Americans that became a symbol of pride of his community. It served as the headquarters for Birmingham's civil rights movement and became a revolving door for famous entertainers, activists, politicians and other pillars of the national black community. Author Marie Sutton chronicles the fascinating story of the motel and how it became a refuge during a time when African Americans could find none.
As general manager for Erwin, Tennessee-based Clinchfield Railroad, Thomas D. Moore found an eighty-six-year-old vintage 4-6-0 ten-wheeler steam engine--the Clinchfield No. 1. Miraculously, the engine had escaped the cutter's torch when, in the mid-1950s, the railroad retired its steam fleet, shuttered passenger service and embraced the diesel era. Moore wanted the No. 1 fully restored and its long life on the rails--which had included being the first train to reach the victims of the 1889 Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood--celebrated as a goodwill ambassador for the railroad. The revived Clinchfield No. 1 led beloved excursion trains that visited seven state capitals, bringing joy to passengers from the Appalachian Mountains to Tampa, Florida. Join authors Mark A. Stevens and A.J. "Alf" Peoples on the journey of the real-life little engine that could.
The Tennessee Campaign of November and December 1864 was the Southern Confederacy's last significant offensive operation of the Civil War. General John Bell Hood of the Confederate Army of Tennessee attempted to capture Nashville, the final realistic chance for a battlefield victory against the Northern juggernaut. Hood's former West Point instructor, Major General George Henry Thomas, led the Union force, fighting those who doubted him in his own army as well as Hood's Confederates. Through the bloody, horrific battles at Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville and a freezing retreat to the Tennessee River, Hood ultimately failed. Civil War historian James R. Knight chronicles the Confederacy's last real hope at victory and its bitter disappointment.
Texas would not be Texas without the formidable women of its past. Beneath the sunbonnets, Stetsons or high-fashion couture, the women of the Lone Star State carved out ranches, breathed new life into spreads and expanded acreage when husbands, sons and fathers fell. Throughout the centuries, the women of Texas's ranches defended home and hearth with cannon and shot. They rescued hostages. They nurtured livestock through hard winters and long droughts and drove them up the cattle trails. They built communities and saw to it that faith and education prevailed for their children and for those of others. Join author Carmen Goldthwaite in an inspiring survey of fierce Lone Star ladies.
Lexington has dozens of well-restored landmarks, but so many more are lost forever. The famous Phoenix Hotel, long a stop for weary travelers and politicians alike, has risen from its own ashes numerous times over the past centuries. The works of renowned architect John McMurtry were once numerous around town, but some of the finest examples are gone. The Centrepointe block has been made and unmade so many times that its original tenants are unknown to natives now. Join local blogger, attorney and preservationist Peter Brackney as he explores the intriguing back stories of these hidden Bluegrass treasures.
Scenic sites and a proud community make Raymond the bucolic New Hampshire town it is today. The local cast of characters has its own unique story set in the heart of the Granite State. Local author Paul Brown has mined 250 years of town history, from the early settlement to the post-World War II boom. Search for the truth behind the conflicting stories of how the original Freetown became known as Raymond. Meet legendary locals like Dudley Tucker and dig into local legends like the mystery of Scud Lyman. The stories behind the Great White Rock and even Clint Eastwood connections color the history of Raymond. Join Paul Brown as he charts the remarkable course of Raymond history.
Long Beach State grew up right along with the sprawling Southern California suburbs. Born in 1949, it swelled to accommodate the post-world war enthusiasm for education and land. The rapid expansion brought its share of growing pains. Students took classes in a cramped converted apartment with no books and playing ring-around-the-rosie for physical education. Money was scarce, and faculty at times feuded with the administration. But the new college's "let's put on a show" spirit produced a scrappiness that endures today. Read about the personalities that grew the college from Fred Bixby's bean fields into one of the largest universities in California.
The old country stores along the back roads of rural Mississippi are the treasures that remain of a bygone era. Travel back to the Mississippi of yesteryear and hear of the deadly can of molasses that once caused a massacre in Carrollton, Mississippi, in the late 1800s. Find the church near Alston's General Store in Rodney with a Civil War cannonball lodged in its front facade. Or discover the haunts of Causeyville General Store among shelves and corners stocked with relics of the American past. These and other stores remembered here by local author June Davis Davidson were the cornerstones of their communities, and harken back to a time when the sweetest things in life were the smell of peanuts roasting and reaching into the penny candy jar.
A childhood in Florida's charming Northern Palm Beach County creates genuine nostalgia for sun, sand and running barefoot under palm trees. Those memories include hurricanes and Hetzel Brothers Christmases, Sir Harry Oakes's haunted mansion and James Munroe Munyon's Fountain of Youth. The once quaint little coastal towns from Riviera Beach to Jupiter are now much larger, but the memories of s'mores and summer camps remain. Author Ruth Hartman Berge weaves memories of a boomer childhood in Northern Palm Beach County with the history of the people and the places so many loved in this glimpse into a Florida that no longer exists.
From the halls of Syracuse University to the quiet neighborhoods of Fayetteville and Marcellus, the communities of Onondaga County have a haunted history. Some sites are hotbeds of paranormal activity, like Syracuse's Woodlawn Cemetery, the Jamesville Penitentiary and Split Rock Quarry, where a blast killed several workers. Visitors at the Clay Hotel debate whose ghost walks the halls of the former German beer house and restaurant. Patrons of the Ancestor's Inn in Liverpool have also encountered unregistered and unwelcome guests. After Albert Fyler murdered his wife in a jealous rage, their spirits refused to leave the home they shared. Even the iconic Syracuse City Hall cannot rid itself of the otherworldly. Local author Neil K. MacMillan delves into this eerie past to uncover Onondaga County's most haunted locations.
More than two thousand ships have been lost along California's 840 miles of coastline--Spanish galleons, passenger liners, freighters, schooners. Some tragedies are marking points in U.S. maritime history. The "City of Rio de Janeiro," bound from Hong Kong to San Francisco in 1901, sliced the fog only to strike a rock and sink in twenty minutes, sending 128 passengers to watery graves. Seven U.S. Navy destroyers, bound on a fateful 1923 night from San Francisco to San Diego, crashed into the rocks at Honda Point on the treacherous Santa Barbara County coast, killing 23 sailors in one of the military's worst peacetime losses. Join author Michael D. White as he navigates the shoals of shipping mishaps with both salvage stories and elegies to the departed.
SANDUSKY BUILT ITS REPUTATION on the appeal of a picturesque lakefront and the opportunities of a manufacturing hub. Not only did its factories keep pace with the transportation industry, but the Ohio city also boasted the headquarters of international paper maker Hinde and Dauch and enough crayon production to be called the "Color Capital of the World." The amusement park at Cedar Point helped launch a new form of entertainment that continues today. But while the town remains a vacation destination and retains some heavy industry, it misses much of its former glory. Join M. Kristina Smith in revisiting those landmarks of Sandusky's past.
Spiritualism flourished in Boston from the first rumblings of the Civil War until the early twentieth century. Numerous clairvoyants claimed to bring messages from beyond the grave at seances and public meetings. Motives for belief were varied. Wealthy John Wetherbee sought business advice through supernatural means. Psychic Fannie Conant attributed her restored health to spirit intervention. Grieving theater manager Isaac B. Rich wanted to contact his deceased wife. While many earnestly believed in the movement, there were those who took advantage of naive Bostonians. Determined to expose charlatans, world-renowned magician Harry Houdini declared the famous medium and Bostonian Mina "Margery" Crandon a fake. Join author Dee Morris as she navigates the complex history of Boston's spiritualist movement.
The story of Tulsa's transformation from a nineteenth-century cow town into the "Oil Capital of the World" has been above ground for years, but a great reservoir of Tulsey Town's heritage has remained beneath the surface. These neglected tales include the dirigible flyover of 1929, the Hominy Indians' victory over the New York Giants and the legendary final performance of Spade Cooley, convicted killer and the self-proclaimed "King of Western Swing." From the horrors of the city's early race riot and the proud legacy of Greenwood (aka Little Africa or Black Wall Street) to Tulsa's iconic landmarks and unforgettable personalities, Steve Gerkin provides an evocative and enjoyable voyage through T-Town's hidden history.
North Florida's proud folk music heritage reaches back more than half a century. The region claims many talented artists and song writers, including Frank Thomas, Bob Patterson and Charlie Robertson, while hundreds of solo, duo and group performers regularly inspire audiences at local venues. The Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs is the home of the Florida Folk Festival, the longest continuous state-sponsored folk festival in the country, held every year on the banks of the Suwannee River. Join author and folk musician Ron Johnson as he shares some of the stories and insights into the folk music of North Florida and those who define the tradition.
Four generations of Japanese Americans broke down racial and cultural barriers in California by playing baseball. Behind the barbed wire of concentration camps during World War II, baseball became a tonic of spiritual renewal for disenfranchised Japanese Americans who played America's pastime while illegally imprisoned. Later, it helped heal resettlement wounds in Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Central Valley and elsewhere. Today, the names of Japanese American ballplayers still resonate as their legacy continues. Mike Lum was the first Japanese American player in the Major Leagues in 1967, Lenn Sakata the first in the World Series in 1983 and Don Wakamatsu the first manager in 2008. Join Kerry Yo Nakagawa in this update of his 2001 classic as he chronicles sporting achievements that doubled as cultural benchmarks.
A century of aviation research and military flights over Los Angeles County has left the San Gabriel Mountains, Mojave Desert and the near-shore Pacific Ocean strewn with more than 1,500 aircraft crash sites. Barnstormers and test pilots too often made unexpected final landings. Accidents occurred on a nearly daily basis during World War II training maneuvers. Private planes, a sign of 1950s prosperity, also met tragic ends. These epic incidents include the 1971 tragedy of Flight 706 in which an airliner collided with a marine fighter jet above Mount Bliss, killing fifty people. Renowned aircraft crash search specialist G. Pat Macha recounts dozens of sorrowful, triumphant and surprising true stories of those who lived through these ordeals while offering touching tributes to those who did not.
When Mark Warner left office in 2006 with an 80 percent approval rating, TIME magazine called him one of "America's Five Best Governors." Virginia was ranked the best-managed state in the nation, the best state for business and the best state for educational opportunity. When Warner began his term in 2002, the commonwealth was in the midst of its worst fiscal crisis in forty years, and partisan bickering had brought political discourse in Richmond to a standstill. An entrepreneur from a young age, Warner became the world's first cellular industry broker and later co-founded Nextel. The conservative Democrat came in with a plan to turn Virginia around and restore the public's trust in state government, winning the support of battle-hardened Republican legislators. This is the story of how Mark Warner entered the governor's office a hands-on dealmaker and emerged a statesman.
Whether it was Winston, Salem or Winston-Salem, the city has a rich history in the strange, unusual and ghostly. Colonial Salem was once visited by George Washington, and accounts tell of the president entering the cave of three witches. Locals still see an old tobacco wagon rolling around the streets of Winston in the early morning, harkening back to the days when tobacco was king. Elaborate systems of tunnels and pipes once existed beneath the city that many believe were home to groups of chanting monks. Join author and historian Michael Bricker as he vividly retells these stories and more in a historically haunted guide to Winton-Salem.
One year before the United States granted women the right to vote, the Sisters of St. Joseph broke ground on the construction of the first all-women's college in Kansas. Escalating construction costs put the school's future in jeopardy until Mother Antoinette took her plea for additional funds to Pope Benedict XV himself. Dubbed the "Million-Dollar College," the hilltop campus overlooking the Smoky Hill River finally opened its doors in 1922. The thousands who matriculated throughout its sixty-seven-year existence created a lasting legacy in the Sunflower State. Join alumnus Patricia Ackerman as she preserves the inspiring history of Marymount College.
Washington, D.C.'s Rock Creek Park stands as a wild and wonderful natural gem among a burgeoning metropolis. But while local residents flock to its trails and roads on weekends to hike, jog and bicycle, they are largely unaware of its diverse history. The park's grounds were the site of the bloody Civil War Battle of Fort Stevens, and presidents like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson exercised and picnicked in the park the same way many visitors do today. From the cabin of eccentric poet Joaquin Miller to the oldest house in Washington today, the many stories and legends surrounding the park are sure to entertain and inform. Join National Park ranger, author and historian Scott Einberger as he traces the human, natural and urban history of Rock Creek Park, the largest park in the nation's capital.