Kristin on the Potomac

Model Kristin Spealman at Leesylvania State Park on the Potomac River in northern Virginia earlier this summer. A storm was rolling in, and we finished the shoot just as it started raining. I love this location, but the weather can be unpredictable!


This definitely wasn’t a “glamor shoot.” I opted for a grittier, more dramatic look with deep grays in the shadows. I thought it would fit more with the gloomy, overcast sky.

Continue reading “Kristin on the Potomac”

Sleep Mirrored

Burden of Contemplation
Monument to Aaron Erickson and family, titled “The Weary Traveler” and designed by Vatican artist Nicola Cantalarnessa-Papotti, in Mount Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mount Hope Avenue, Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Buried here are Aaron (1806-1880), his wife Hannah Bockoven (1805-1897), and their son Aaron, Jr. (1838-1871). Their family home, at 421 East Avenue, is now the Genesee Valley Club.

Mount Hope Cemetery, adjacent to the University of Rochester, was founded in 1838 as a municipal rural cemetery and sprawls over 196 acres. More than 350,000 former residents are interred there, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass, suffragette Susan B. Anthony, and city founder Nathaniel Rochester.

Old Stone Fort and the Battle of the Flockey

A roadside sign is all that marks the location of the first documented cavalry charge of the U.S. Army.

Click to expand photos

The Battle of the Flockey was fought on August 13, 1777 between Tory militia forces commanded by Capt. John MacDonald (McDonnell) and American militia and dragoons commanded by Col. John Harper and Capt. Jean-Louis De Vernejoux southwest of Middleburgh in Schoharie County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory and quelled the first Tory uprising on the New York frontier.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys were divided between Patriots supporting independence and Tories supporting the British Crown. When British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne began his campaign down Lake Champlain toward Albany, British loyalists on the frontier rose up. Patriots fortified several buildings along Schoharie Creek (a Mohawk River tributary), including a stone church near present-day Schoharie.

Local loyalists led by John McDonnell, Adam Crysler, and tavern owner Capt. George Mann trapped 20 Patriots in Johannes Becker’s stone house near Middleburgh, which was later called Middle Fort. Col. Harper escaped and rode to Albany, where he enlisted help from a 28-man troop of 2nd Continental Light Dragoons commanded by French mercenary Jean-Louis De Vernejoux. He returned with the dragoons and freed the militia at Middle Fort. From there, they rode south to clear the valley of Tories.

Continue reading “Old Stone Fort and the Battle of the Flockey”

Boulevard Diner in Worcester, Massachusetts

Boulevard Diner, at 155 Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a 1936 Worcester model, #730. The Worcester Lunch Car Company operated in this city from 1906 to 1957 and manufactured hundreds of lunch carts and classic diners. Frank Galanto and his family owned and operated the Boulevard Diner until 1969, when John “Ringo” George, an employee, took the reigns. His son, Jim, has continued the tradition. The Boulevard Diner was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Look for a new diner every Tuesday in 2019! Click to expand photos.

Diner Resources

Slavery and the Land of Lincoln

Today, Illinois is considered the “Land of Lincoln”, but prior to the Civil War, it straddled the line between slave state and free.

That Illinois would help elect the “Great Emancipator” was not a foregone conclusion. For much of its early history, Illinois had a close relationship with slavery and was openly hostile to abolitionism. Yet, by 1860, enough voters embraced the Republican Party to elect Abraham Lincoln president, a change that was hugely consequential for African American freedom, and the nation as a whole.

Populated by immigrants from Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, Illinois entered the Union in 1818 with strict black codes on the books. The Illinois Constitution prohibited the introduction of slavery, but permitted residents already holding slaves to keep their property. As historian Suzanne Guasco explained, Illinois was “the only state created out of the Old Northwest Territory that failed to abolish slavery outright during its constitutional convention.”[1]

Missouri, bordering Illinois to the west, came into the Union as a slave state in 1821. Kentucky, Illinois’ neighbor to the south, was also a slave state. The Mississippi River connected Illinois economically with other slave holding states to the south, and the bottom third of Illinois lay below the cultural Mason-Dixon Line. It’s a little-known fact that slave labor was used in at least one southern Illinois industry.

Though Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance banned slavery in Illinois, as did the Illinois Constitution of 1818, an exception was made for the Gallatin County salt mines. By 1819, the Gallatin County salines produced nearly 300,000 bushels of salt. Approximately 1,000 black slaves worked the mines and processed the salt.

Continue reading “Slavery and the Land of Lincoln”

Hoss’s General Store

Hoss's General Store
Hoss’s Country Corner, at 1142 Main Street in Long Lake, New York, has been a vacationer’s destination in the Adirondack Mountains for over forty years. Ice, beer, bait, souvenirs, books, food—they sell pretty much anything you’ll need and are open year-round. Seven to ten million tourists flock to this picturesque region annually to enjoy hunting, camping, boating, and fishing in the summer, skiing and snowboarding in winter, and to see the beautiful autumn colors in the fall.