Lexington Cemetery

Military graves in Lexington Cemetery
Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor

Lexington National Cemetery is a one-acre section of Lexington Cemetery containing about 1,700 graves. It was created in 1861 for Civil War dead. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the graves are arranged in concentric circles around a central memorial.

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Photography, Travel

single frame: Military graves in Lexington Cemetery

A scene from the military section of Lexington Cemetery.


Cherry blossoms in Lexington Cemetery

I love a good cemetery. So, it seems, do the people of Lexington, Kentucky. Their largest cemetery, Lexington Cemetery, was full of people on the spring afternoon Margaret and I visited.

I’d never seen a cemetery with so many people in it. There was no funeral — people were just there to enjoy it, as they would a large park. At first I thought it was a little odd, so many people walking and relaxing in this place of the dead. I like doing that, but I think I’m unusual. I usually have cemeteries largely or entirely to myself. Not in Lexington!

The flowering trees were in bloom on this early spring Saturday. Margaret and I walked and photographed the lovely scenery. And then we came upon the cherry blossoms.

A long lane in the cemetery was blocked to cars, and was full of people strolling slowly through. Easily a dozen people had brought a photographer with them to make individual and group portraits here. We had never seen anything like it!

Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery

Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor

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Recommended reading

πŸ’» In a fascinating take, Paul Graham shares his view of why so many people get wealthy today by starting tech companies — and why they didn’t in, say, 1960. He also shares why today is much like 1892 in terms of how and why people get wealthy. Read How People Get Rich Now

UAW Local No. 9
Kodak EasyShare Z730, 2008

πŸ’» Workers in an Alabama Amazon facility voted not to unionize last week. Nick Gerlich uses this as a backdrop to talk about his personal union experience, how unions have their purpose — and in his opinion, how left unchecked they can do more harm than good. Read Look For The Union Label

πŸ’» J. P. Cavanaugh considers the fire pit, a new American back-yard tradition. Read Ready, Aim, — Fire

πŸ“· Mike Eckman reviews the Kodak Instamatic 500 — the Retina of Instamatics, built in Kodak’s German factory. It offers full manual control! Read Kodak Instamatic 500

πŸ“· You probably know this camera by one of its other names — it was a Vivitar and a Braun. The Phenix DC303N is a K-mount film SLR made in China, and Peggy Marsh liked it a lot. Read Phenix DC303N

πŸ“· When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, most store-brand films available to me were white-labeled 3M “Scotch” film. Yes, 3M made film — because it owned Italy’s Ferrania at the time. The white-labeled film was largely garbage. But Scotch/Ferrania made nice films they didn’t white label. Michael Nguyen came upon some expired Scotch Chrome 1000 recently. He tells the story of Scotch films, and shares results from that roll. Read Film Review: Scotch Chrome 1000

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Road Trips

Finding the original US 31 in northern Indiana

On September 15, 2007, one of my oldest friends and I went in search of the original alignments of US 31 in Indiana from the Michigan state line to Indianapolis. I wrote about this trip on my old Roads site. But I’m slowly bringing all of those articles to this blog so I can repurpose that URL for another project I have in mind. This is the first of many posts about that road trip.

A silver bus rolled along a narrow Indiana highway, a wanted man aboard: Richard Kimble, in the TV series The Fugitive. The bus turned a corner as the camera dollied away, revealing a US 31 shield on the road.

Still from The Fugitive, Season 3, Episode 4, “Trial By Fire”

I leaned forward in my chair, wondering when US 31 had ever been just two lanes in Indiana. All of my trips down US 31 to that time more than 20 years ago had been on the dull four-lane divided highway to Indianapolis. But there it was, a two-lane US 31 on an episode of The Fugitive, shot in the 1960s.

I didn’t know that much of US 31’s original two-lane route in northern Indiana still existed. I also didn’t know that the road had a long and important history before Richard Kimble stepped onto it on TV. But during the years I drove back and forth to college along US 31, I sometimes noticed road signs marked “Old US 31.” I told myself I ought to explore them one day. I tried once near Rochester, and I promptly got lost. I was daunted. But even though I stuck to the well-marked roads for many years after that, my curiosity never abated.

US 31 and I go way back because I grew up four blocks from it on South Bend’s south side. I used to ride my bike those four blocks to a little grocery when my family ran out of milk. Dad always called the road Dixieway, despite the US 31 shields every few blocks and the Michigan St. signs on every corner. Dad said that in the old days you could follow Dixieway all the way to “the South.” Turns out he was right. At a time before highways were numbered, this road was part of a small network of roads called the Dixie Highway that did indeed stretch to the South, to points deep in Florida.

1925 Rand McNally Junior Auto Trails Map of Indiana

This road has had other names. In the 1920s, Indiana created a state highway system and gave this road the number 1. Also, the portion of this road from downtown South Bend to Rochester was originally part of the Michigan Road, which the state built in the 1830s from the Ohio River at Madison, through Indianapolis, and to Lake Michigan at Michigan City, to stimulate migration and commerce through the state.

The excerpt at left from a 1925 Rand McNally map shows all three designations along this stretch. State Road 1 is marked by a circled 1, the Dixie Highway is marked by the number 25 in a dark square, and the Michigan Road is marked by the number 26 in a dark square.

Then in 1926, the federal highway system came into being. US 31 shields appeared along the highway to reflect its new number, and the old names eventually fell into disuse.

I don’t know just when, but it was probably in the 1960s and 1970s that US 31 was widened to four divided lanes and rerouted to bypass several towns. I’m sure the road was a welcome relief for travelers. But I grew to dislike the four-lane US 31 for being so boring to drive, and I tried to avoid it. I discovered the network of state highways, which usually added a little time to my trip but were a prettier and more engaging drive. Still, sometimes I ended up on US 31, where I was still curious about the original route. Then I discovered that old routes are often labeled on online maps. And then I found some old state maps and learned about the old Automobile Blue Books of the early 20th century and their turn-by-turn directions along the old routes. It was pretty easy to determine the route.

I was telling my old friend Brian, with whom I grew up in South Bend, about wanting to explore US 31’s original route in northern Indiana someday. He enthusiastically recalled that trips to visit family in southern Indiana as a small child always began on the old two-lane US 31. He remembered that somewhere along the way it merged into the newly built four-lane. The more we talked, the more we knew we had to schedule a road trip as soon as we could. We managed to make our trip on September 15, 2007, a crisp and sunny early-autumn day.

At the time I made this trip, there was serious talk of upgrading the entire route to freeway standards as part of Governor Mitch Daniels’ Major Moves initiative. The new road would bypass every town between South Bend and Plymouth, create a bypass of the bypass around Kokomo, and possibly even replace the existing intersections through Westfield and Carmel with depressed roundabouts, allowing through traffic to sail overhead. It all happened, changing US 31 permanently. This road trip shows US 31 before these projects started and, as such, is a historic record.

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Spring is here, spring is here, life is skittles and life is beer

I’m off to get my second shot of the Moderna vaccine this afternoon. I’ve heard from several people that they didn’t feel well the next day. In anticipation, I’ve taken tomorrow off. If I feel bad, I’ll lounge about the house and rest. Otherwise I will probably grab a camera and go on a long photo walk. I just got my Pentax KM back from Eric Hendrickson, who repaired it after it was damaged in a fall. I’m itching to put some film through it.

One of my sons works in a plant that manufactures the Moderna vaccine, so I’m happy that’s the vaccine I got. He’s been working a lot of overtime as the plant meets demand. Not long ago I tried to work out a time when I could see him, but we couldn’t find a time that worked for both of us. “I’m just too busy saving the world,” he said, nonchalantly.

Now that Margaret and I are in the vaccination process, we’ve expanded our bubble a little to include some family members who are also in the vaccination process or are vaccinated. I sat in my brother’s condo Tuesday night and shared a whiskey and conversation with him. Margaret’s sister was in town recently and we had her in one evening. We recognize that the vaccine doesn’t eliminate risk, and we know our understanding of the risk is based on good but incomplete information. We’re comfortable with our choices.

We made it through the winter! Spring has arrived in Indiana. Our tulips are up and the callery pear trees are in full, flower, their rotting-shrimp scent in the air. It’s been a little chillier than normal for this time of year, but there have been a couple evenings warm enough for us to walk over to the Mexican restaurant near our home and enjoy a meal on their patio. That was so welcome! I stayed home all winter, except to do the family shopping and to walk the neighborhood. I was starting to feel cabin fever.

I took our bikes to a bike shop for a tuneup. Margaret has a nice Trek bike and of course I’m still riding my old Schwinn three speed. Mine needs new brakes and tires too. I chose a shop I’ve not used before, a little family-run place right by Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, which is one of my favorite photographic haunts. I lucked out — the technician I spoke with went to Schwinn school 40 years ago to learn to service bikes just like mine, and he had gumwall tires in stock to fit my bike. Schwinn uses an odd tire size, and lots of bike shops don’t bother stocking it. Last time I got new tires, ten years ago, they couldn’t find gumwall tires so they sold me solid black. The bike looks just that little bit more authentic with gumwalls. Here’s a photo of my Schwinn from 2009, shortly after I bought it from a Craigslist seller. Those gumwall tires are probably the originals from 1986, when the bike was manufactured.

1986 Schwinn Collegiate

The bikes should be done in a couple weeks, at about which time temperatures should consistently be above 60 degrees during the day for comfortable riding. I know people who put on layers of cold-weather gear and keep riding even in freezing temperatures. I am not among them! I ride in warm weather only.

But as spring emerges, Indiana has done away with its mask mandate. It looks like our Republican governor bowed to mounting pressure within his own party. Some counties immediately announced that they would retain the mask mandate, but others, including the one in which I live, are following state guidelines. I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday and none of the employees wore masks. I don’t know just yet how best to respond to situations like this.


The round barns of Fulton County, Indiana

I can’t believe that when my friend Dawn and I made our tour of Fulton County’s round barns ten years ago that I didn’t upload all of my photographs to Flickr. I uploaded photos of only one round barn, the one below. Dawn and I got to tour it. I wrote about it here.

Round barn

Fulton County has eight round barns, though I’m sure it used to be far more. Several of the barns are easily seen from county roads.

Round barn

A few of the barns are on the Fulton County Museum site. This is one.

Round barn

This is another. On the day we visited, they were celebrating old tractors and there was a bit of a fair/flea-market atmosphere.

Round barn

A couple round barns were partially hidden from the road. We weren’t about to trespass to get better photographs, but that didn’t prevent one property owner from driving out to warn us away.

Round barn

This final round barn is the pro shop for the golf course in Rochester’s Lakeview Park. It was built in 1910, but received extensive renovations when it was moved to the park.

"Round barn"

Most of these barns were built in the 1910s after Purdue University began recommending them. They were efficient and economical in their time. For an explanation of why, check out this article at the Fulton County Historical Society.

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