In June 1777, British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne headed south along Lake Champlain in one prong of a multi-pronged attack designed to split New England from the rest of the American Colonies. On July 5, the British recaptured Fort Ticonderoga after hauling artillery up to the summit of Mount Defiance. The roughly 4,000-strong American garrison fled without a fight. Major General Arthur St. Clair left Colonel Seth Warner of the Green Mountain Boys Regiment near Hubbardton with a 1,200-man rearguard while the main body continued its southern retreat.
Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser, commanding some 1,030 of Burgoyne’s most experienced troops, including German Brunswick jägers and grenadiers, was in hot pursuit. They initially surprised Warner’s rearguard in the early morning hours, but the Americans regrouped on a hill and put up stubborn resistance. Though wounded, Colonel Francis of the 11th Massachusetts Regiment directed his men to attack a vulnerable point on the British left flank.
After the Battle of Freeman’s Farm (or First Saratoga), the British and American armies sat licking their wounds. British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s 5,000 supply-starved men hugged the Hudson River near Saratoga, New York. In late September, Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton moved his 3,100-man army north to relieve Burgoyne and open the Hudson River to British ships. Standing in his way was New York Governor George Clinton with 600 men and 20 artillery pieces at Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery, plus the warships Montgomery and Congress and three smaller vessels.
British Maj. Gen. Clinton split his army in two in order to assault both forts simultaneously by land. Nine hundred men under Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell were to attack Fort Montgomery and 1,200 men under Clinton and Maj. Gen. John Vaughan would attack Fort Clinton. They would be supported by seven ships on the Hudson.
Built in 1938 at a cost of $90,000 in Art Deco style, the Will Rogers Theatre has been a fixture of downtown Charleston, Illinois for generations. It was named after William ‘Will’ Rogers, a famous Cherokee actor, humorist, and newspaper columnist of the Progressive Era who died in a plane crash in 1935. When I was an undergrad at Eastern Illinois University, my Friday night routine was to walk down to the Will Rogers and watch whatever movie had been released that week.
During the 1980s, Kerasotes Theaters divided the 1,100-seat auditorium and began showing movies on two separate screens. The Will Rogers was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and designated a Landmark Property by the City of Charleston in 2011.
When I entered EIU as a freshman in the fall of 2000, Kerasotes still owned Will Rogers Theatre. They showed two films per week on two screens, one at 7:00pm and the other at 7:15. Movie tickets were only $2, and popcorn was cheap too. My first visit was to see The Replacements with a sorority girl named Valerie who my roommate introduced me to (for more on him, read my article on Carman Hall).
Swan Point Cemetery, at 585 Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, Rhode Island, is a private rural cemetery established in 1846. It was one of the country’s first rural cemeteries, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It encompasses 200 acres and is the final resting place for approximately 42,000 of the city’s former residents. Swan Point contains many beautiful bronze and white marble sculptures.
Monument to William Clarke Sayles (1855-1876), son of William F. and Mary W. Sayles. William Francis Sayles was a textile manufacturer, state senator, and trustee of Brown University. His son, William, died as a young man at the age of twenty. He is portrayed as a scholar wrapped in robes in this bronze statue.
This hauntingly beautiful white marble moment is dedicated to Mary Waterman (1850-1860) and William Comstock (1857-1860), children of Byron and Harriet Sprague. Their epitaph reads, in part: “Farewell darlings we have laid you side by side beneath this sod, buds of earth all fadeless blooming in the garden of our God.” Byron Sprague was a businessman and real estate mogul.
In 1860, members of the Methodist Church began having tent meetings along the Des Plaines River, and after a few years erected hardstand buildings at the site. The small spiritual community grew to 35 acres and contained a large tabernacle, approximately 100 cottages, 30-room hotel, cafe, and even a swimming pool.
I have fond memories of the old Methodist Campground at 1900 E. Algonquin Road. My dad and I would ride bikes along the Forest Preserve trail and venture into the campground for an ice cream or cold soda at the cafe. The camp sometimes hosted Civil War reenactments. I spent two summers at day camp there, and swam in the pool (which was open to the public) on hot days.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Unfortunately, severe flooding in recent years made renting the cabins undesirable, and only 20-30 are currently occupied. Water sometimes rose to the second floor. Heritage House, a cabin built in 1870, is sagging and appears in danger of collapse.
The camp’s core, around the snack shop and old hotel, appears well maintained, but it’s sad to see the state of disrepair in the rest of the camp. A New Age group plans to revitalize the location, but when I passed through last summer, it didn’t look like much progress had been made.
Miss Bellows Falls, at 90 Rockingham Street in Bellows Falls, Vermont, is a 1930s Worcester Lunch Car (#771). It is the only intact example of the barrel-roofed Worcester Diner in Vermont. John Korsak and Frank Willie originally opened the diner in Lowell, Massachusetts as Frankie & Johnny’s, and Francis A. “Frank” Cutler brought the diner to its current location in 1942. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Look for a new diner every Tuesday in 2019! Click to expand photos.