WALKING IN THE STEPS OF HISTORY IN DALLAS, TEXAS

In January I visited several cities in Texas to explore some of the state’s history and it’s aviation past.  While I could only scratch the surface during my short visit to Dallas, I found three unique museums that celebrate history in Dallas, Texas. 

Sixth Street Museum

SIXTH FLOOR MUSEUM AT DEALEY PLAZA

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza follows the events of a black day in U.S. history, November 22, 1963 and the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.  As Kennedy’s procession passed the Texas School Book Depository building, shots rang out striking the President and Governor John Connally who was seated in front of the President. Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots from an open window from the sixth floor of the Depository building.  Chaos ensued as Kennedy’s car was rushed to Parkland Hospital where the President was declared dead.  Oswald would escape the Depository lockdown then later shoot policeman, J.D. Tippit before being arrested at the Texas Theater. Once in police custody, Oswald would be shot and killed by Jack Ruby during his transfer while in police hands. 

Sixth Floor Window

HISTORY REVEALED

The Sixth Floor Museum preserved the area where Oswald fired the fatal shots.  Here visitors walk through the event from Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas to the investigation of the incident through the findings of the Warren Commission report.  On the Sixth Floor, you can view the window and the street below where Oswald’s shots changed the world.  

Model of route

INVESTIGATION and ARTIFACTS FROM THE SHOOTNG

Artifacts surround the exhibit space including, a replica of the rifle Oswald used, Oswald’s wedding ring and the Zapruder film of the assassination as well as many others. 

Rifle
Photographers

At the Sixth Street Museum, you will walk in the footsteps of history. 

FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT

Frontiers of Flight

For thirty years the Frontiers of Flight Museum has delighted visitors with its aviation displays as well as the massive collection of George Haddaway’s of some thirty-five thousand aviation artifacts. The museum began at Love Field on the mezzanine then relocated in 2004 to an enormous 100,000 square foot facility near Love Field. I had the pleasure of a tour with Dan Steelman, VP of Collections and Exhibits.

Here you will delight in viewing over 30 aircraft, some suspended from above, from the Wright Flyer to Apollo 7 capsule. 

Apollo 7

MODEL SHOP

The model shop is a large draw for adults and kids alike. The talented craftsmen have outdone themselves with the detailed aircraft on display.  One volunteer and modeler, Hal Schneider, who is 90 years old, is working on a Vietnam era plane as a gift for a fellow member. One of my favorite planes, the Gee Bee Model R, is featured prominently in the Air Racing display of the Golden Age of Aviation.

Gee Bee

Another stand out model display is that of Master Modeler Al Duval’s 350 1/48 scale aircraft models. The craftsmanship of these planes is a testament to his 40 years in producing the models.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

Southwest Airlines makes a landmark contribution to the museum with its cockpit simulator and static exhibit of a Southwest 737.  Southwest’s signature plane serves as a unique display of the creation, and evolution of the airline. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest, passed away on January 3, 2019 and Southwest is his legacy to the airline industry.

SouthwestAirlines

BRANIFF

A large Braniff display is featured on the upper level of the main exhibit floor which was arranged by former employees of the airline. Braniff was unique in that it blended fashion, art and transportation in one.

Braniff

THE WORLD WARS

Visitors can walk through the aviation of both World War I and World War II.  Here you will find aviation artifacts from both sides of the conflicts. The Vietnam and Korean Wars displays are presently under renovation.

German WW1 Uniform

DIRIGIBLE FLIGHT

One of the notable exhibits was that of Dirigible flight and the artifacts from the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. On display was the radioman’s chair from the Hindenburg which survived the disaster because the radio room was insulated. The silver cigarette case of Hindenburg Capitan Max Pruss is also part of the display.   

Hindenburg Radio Chair

ONE OF A KIND PLANES

Another aviation marvel on display and is on loan from the Smithsonian is the Chance Vought V-173, “Flying Pancake”. The all wing experimental plane has a similar design to the present day Osprey.  It was powered by a small 4 cylinder 80 hp engine.  Charles Lindbergh flew the aircraft and was impressed with its design.  The plans to continue the plane were scrapped after the war. 

Frontier also plays host to some three hundred events each year and is one of most popular venues in Dallas. This remarkable and vast collection of aviation history is well worth your time when in Dallas and is easily accessible from Love Field.  

https://www.flightmuseum.com/

CAVANUGH FLIGHT MUSEUM

Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas is a true flying aviation museum.  The meticulously restored aircraft from World War One through the Vietnam era are actively flown and visitors can purchase flights in these most treasured aircraft.

WAR BIRDS

This is a bucket list destination for some aviation enthusiasts.  At Cavanaugh, you don’t have to imagine flying in the aircraft; here you can ride in a P-51 Mustang, T6 Texan, B-25 bomber, Stearman Biplane or a Korean War era helicopter.  Flights in the vintage aircraft range from $300-$2000.00 depending on the plane. 

AVIATION ARTWORK

Also featured at Cavanaugh is a stunning gallery of aviation artwork.  Some of the pieces are signed by the artist as well as the pilots in the piece.

Embrace your inner pilot and take flight at Cavanaugh.

https://cavflight.org/

Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail Mobile, Alabama

Eric Finley, host of the DFFAAHT

The Finley African American Heritage Trail in Mobile takes in depth look at the history and contributions of African Americans from the founding of Mobile to the present.  While the trail became the vision of Dora Franklin Finley, it was City Councilman, William Carroll that suggested an African American Tour in Mobile.  Tasking Dora Finley with the challenge, he certainly tapped the right person.  Mrs. Finley worked tirelessly for five years to find the significant places in Mobile of the African American story and heritage.  Today, her legacy lives on in the success of Mobile’s preeminent African American Tour.  With some forty-three historical markers on the tour, it’s best to take some time to investigate them all.

Whether you simply download the Trail brochure and seek out the trail markers on your own or you take the tour in the comfortable air conditioned DFFAAHT van, you will not be disappointed with the stories you will learn while on the trail. There are so many stories on the trial, I have selected just a few:

STOPS ON THE TRAIL

Slave Market

The John Ragland Slave Market where slaves were auctioned sold off to be owned by whoever bought them.  Many went to other regions of Alabama and children were often separated from parents and sold. 

Clotilda

The Clotilda was the last slave ship to enter the US when in 1860, Timothy Meaher, a local plantation owner made a bet that he could smuggle one hundred slaves into Mobile.  Slavery was legal at that time but an 1807 Act prohibited the importation of slaves. The Union authorities were aware of the ships’ return but to complete his bet, Meaher sent out a paddleboat in order to get the slaves ashore. Captain William Foster then sailed the Clotilda up river and burned it to destroy any evidence of the journey.  The slaves were dispersed throughout the area.  Both Foster and Meaher were arrested in 1861 but the Union authorities soon left and they never put to trial. 

Africatown

Africatown is where many of the slaves from the Clotilda settled.  Cudjoe Lewis (Kalooza) is the most famous survivor of the Clotilda.  He died in 1935 at the age of ninety-five.  Cudjoe did interviews with author Zora Nell Hurston and Barracoon was written in Cudjoe’s dialect.  The manuscript was maintained at Howard University since it was penned. The manuscript was finally published in 2018.    The Africatown/Plateau Cemetery was established 1876.  A five foot headstone was placed in the cemetery to mark Cudjoe Lewis’ passing.  Many of the descendents of the Clotilda are buried in cemetery.  Recently, a mural of Clotilda was completed opposite the cemetery on the road that leads toward the Cochran-Africatown Suspension Bridge. The bridge was built in the 1990’s to honor Africatown.

Union Missionary Baptist Church

Union Missionary Baptist Church across the street was established by Cudjoe Lewis in 1867.  Sculptor April Livingston created a bust of Lewis which was place front of church in June, 2017.

Stone Street Baptist Church

Stone Street Baptist is oldest Baptist church in Alabama and was established in 1806.  The deed was transferred to African American congregation in 1843.  

Hammerin Hank Aaron

Honoring Mobile’s Baseball Heritage, the trial pays tribute to “Hammerin” Hank Aaron who played baseball at Central High School.  Aaron is one of five African American Mobilians to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Willy  McCovey, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith, and Billy Williams.

Notable Mobilians

A mural was painted on N. Claiborne Street at the intersection of Dauphin Street to honor three prominent African American Mobilians:

Dr. Regina Benjamin is a former Vice Admiral in the US Public Service Commissioned Health Corps and served as Surgeon General under President Obama. She is the founder of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic.

Dr. Lonnie Johnson a graduate of Williamson High, former US Air Force Officer, NASA engineer, and inventor of the hugely successful Super Soaker.  Maj. General J. Gary Cooper a U.S. Marine, the first African American a Marine Corp infantry company, Ambassador to Jamaica and President of Commonwealth Bank.

A Slave No More

Wallace Turnage was a slave in Mississippi the 1800’s and ran away five times. His owner brought him to the Ragland Slave market.  Wallace would run away for the last time during in 1864, when after being whipped by his owner, he walked away and eventually ended up at a Union encampment on Dauphin Island, a small island off of Mobile.  It was there he told the Union soldiers everything he could about Mobile in return for a job.  He would ultimately relocate to Chicago where he wrote a book about his life, A Slave No More.

These are only a small selection of the stories of African Americans you will learn when on the Finley Heritage Trail.  Seek out this eye opening historical tour when you are in Mobile. 

“You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”

http://www.dffaaht.org/index.php

Experience! The Finger Lakes Waterfalls of Ithaca, New York

Experience! The Fingers Lakes Tours provides just that, an immersive touring Experience. In November, I visited Ithaca for the day and oh what a day it was! A magnificent tour of the waterfalls of Ithaca was awe inspiring.

Waterfalls

I was amazed to find that Ithaca has multiple waterfalls within the city.  Laura Faulk, owner of Experience was my tour guide.  She introduced me to four waterfalls around the city.  Due to the all the rain in the area, the waterfalls were powerful vistas. 

Cascadilla Falls

Cascadilla Falls

We began our tour at Cascadilla Falls at Cascadilla Park not far from downtown.  Then it was onto the campus of Cornell University where Laura had been a student. You can’t get a better guide than someone who studied at Cornell and lived on the campus. Laura explained the history of Ithaca and Cornell as we drove between the waterfall stops.

Fall Creek Gorge

We parked near the Cornell Suspension bridge and walked across Fall Creek.  At over 138 feet high, it provides a campus thoroughfare for Cornell students.

High above Fall Creek Gorge

Triphammer Falls

We drove through College Town then walked across another bridge above Triphammer Falls and Beebe Lake. The lake is a perfect place for kayaks.

Triphammer Falls

Ithaca Falls

Our final waterfall was the magnificent Ithaca Falls. At one hundred and thirty-five feet it three stories higher than Niagara Falls and standing at the base of it you can experience the power of the water.

Ithaca Falls

I highly recommend Experience! The Finger Lakes Tours if you are in Ithaca. You can experience a number of different types of tours, from wine excursions to area sightseeing.  My day in Ithaca was a fantastic way to have and up close experience of the Ithaca’s waterfalls. 

Powerful Ithaca Falls

shttps://experiencefingerlakes.com/

Laurel and Hardy Museum, Hollywood History in Harlem Georgia

Laurel and Hardy Muesum

A friend and I were headed back home on I-20 in south Georgia and we happened across the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem.  Oliver Hardy was born in Harlem in 1892 and the town is proud of its native son.  

Stan and Ollie

The Museum pays tribute to the comedy duo of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Staffed by volunteers who are fans of the comedy team’s films, the small museum features unique pieces of Hollywood by gone days.  Stan and Ollie made only 107 films during their careers, but the fan base is strong.  In fact, each October fans descend upon Harlem for a film festival that swell the small town’s population upwards of forty thousand. 

Cinema at Museum

This is well worth a detour of the main road to visit to this piece of Hollywood history.  Be sure to check at the new movie about the two titans of comedy.  https://www.crescenttheater.com/2018/stan-ollie/

Laurel and Hardy

Read more about the Stan and Ollie on the following links: https://www.facebook.com/The-Laurel-and-Hardy-Museum-of-Harlem-GA-464151136996554/

http://www.laurelandhardymuseum.com/

https://www.sonyclassics.com/stanandollie/

http://www.sonsofthedesertinfo.com/