Saturday, May 23, 2015

Harms Woods, Glen View Club and the North Shore and Western Railway

The North Shore and Western is still there -- remnants thereof that is.

When we blogged on the first quarter century of Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, one of the coolest discoveries was the find that the club was once served by a trolley or streetcar line that ran 3.75 miles from the club grounds to Evanston, where the bulk of the membership resided at that time. The line jutted through Harms Woods across the East Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River, and then paralleled Old Orchard/Harrison Road into Evanston. The single track system comprised a streetcar, a snow plow and two employees. It was operated for the convenience of the membership and transported employees and caddies, as well as whatever members of the sparse population who lived along the route desired. It took Evanston picnickers to Harms Woods too. The streetcar line operated between 1907 and 1933, when improved roads and rapidly increasing automobile ownership made it obsolete. 

We identified the right of way's route by reviewing old maps,
USGS 1953 topographic map showing Glen View Club, Harms Woods and the North Shore and Western right of way.
 and aerial photos,
Aerial image of Glen View Club and Harms Woods, 1939, showing North Shore and Western right of way across top.
and satellite images.
Satellite vuew of Glen View Club and Harms Woods, 2005, faint image of North Shore and Western right of way across top.
Looking for more evidence, we put out an "all cameras" bulletin.
From the North Branch trail, which runs just west of the river, it would be straightforward to explore the old right of way, and, identify, perhaps, what remains in the way of old ties, rails or earthworks. I would not be surprised if footings of the trolley bridge over the river remain visible as well. These explorations I cannot perform from Bozeman, Montana, so I can only hope an intrepid reader will do so, and photograph and report on what they find.
Brian is past President of the Professional Photographers Association 
of Northern Illinois, and is a member of the Professional 
Photographers of America , the American Society of Photographers
 and the Associated Professional Photographers of Illinois.
Sure enough, Brian Morrison, an intrepid professional photographer working out of Northbrook, Illinois, responded. Brian found time in between weddings and commercial photo shoots to reconnoiter Harms Woods off of Old Orchard Road and the North Branch trail, searching for remains of the old right of way. He reports
After a trip to Harms Wood this afternoon, I was looking for more info on the NS&W and came across your blog. There are definitely visible remnants of the line. I had done the same recon with old and new aerial photos that you did, and came to the same conclusion - that research onsite was necessary.
Brian found berms that were built up to raise the right of way above the marshy bottom land, remnants of concrete piers and footings, and areas layered with stone aggregate. Here are several of his photos.

Remnants of concrete pier, single wooden bridge/trestle support post embedded, east side of river, short view.
Remnants of concrete pier, single wooden bridge/trestle support post embedded, east side of river, long view
Path trod on right of way berm extending between river and North Branch trail.
Concrete footing embedded in berm.  
Another concrete remnant.
Brian reports no evidence of rails or ties was found. He surmises the rails were scrapped to support the World War II war effort. That thought is fitting for those who we honor for giving their lives for our country this Memorial Day weekend. Thanks to Brian and thanks to those men and women.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Morton Grove During the Baby Boom: Carl Eckhardt, His Filling Station and the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters

We wax nostalgic in our Morton Grove history posts. The research is fun and interesting. The posts are pretty popular too. So I've been poking around, looking for fresh material on Morton Grove people, places and things from the "old days" suitable for research and writing. 

It is an easy call to work toward a post or posts about the Poehlmann Bros. greenhouse operation, but not for today. The firm opened in Morton Grove in 1887 and was a major local employer until it succumbed to the Great Depression. Poehlman Bros. was a sprawling, nationally known and immensely successful business, at its peak said to be "the largest of its kind in existence." 

Ad in the Evening Times (Grand Forks N. Dak.), November 13, 1911. "We are distributors for this territory for the famous Poehlmann Bros. Co, the largest, most modern, best equipped flower growing establishment in the world, employing the most skilled workmen and producing flowers that command the patronage of the most critical public, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Winnipeg to New Orleans.
There is a mountain of accessible research material on Poehlmann Bros. It will take quite some time to sift through the materials and organize thoughts. In the meantime I've been looking for projects that can be digested and presented in more readily manageable chunks.

So I poked around looking for 1950s and 1960s material on Morton Grove public schools, especially District 70 and Park View School, which I attended, hoping to find newsworthy items. I used the name "Eckhardt" in a few searches, keying off of Edward E. Eckhardt, who was superintendent of schools and unquestioned authority during my nine years (K through 8) at Park View. Entering "Eckhardt" together with "Morton Grove" in search engines turned up plenty of hits in the news clipping services. But very little was on Edward. Almost everything was on his brother Carl. Some of the best finds are accidental. 

There are dozens of reports on Carl's decade long standoff with the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters. The brotherhood was an irresistible force. It encountered a man who was an immovable object.

Brother Carl and his modest two pump gas station on the northeast corner of Austin and Lincoln avenues, stood toe-to-toe against the the teamsters union. The union local he took on was so tough that it prevailed time and again in internal turf battles fought against the Jimmy Hoffa led national union. Carl insisted on principle. The teamsters insisted on dues and more dues. Carl withstood pressures that made his competitors wilt. Litigation and lobbying ensued. The resulting publicity revealed Carl's mettle and exposed the seedy side of the United States labor union movement. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Horsing Around

One of the cool things about living in Montana, is you will be driving along East Main Street, look up and see this!

Government Weather Data Are So Accurate

We have had drenching rains in the southwest Montana valleys the last day or so and much welcomed accretion to snow packs at elevation. Here is the southerly ridge view locally at Bridger Bowl this morning. 

I wanted to know just how much rainfall we have had so I looked to the National Weather Service report.

ASUS65 KTFX 171545
 945 AM MDT SUN MAY 17 2015
 :                                       YDAY 12-HR 24-HR  24-HR  SNOW
 :ID    STATION          ELEV            HIGH  LOW   PCPN   SNFL DEPTH
 BHK  : BAKER MUNI APT   2929 :           71 /  48 / 0.05 /      /    
 BIL  : BILLINGS LOGAN   3567 :           61 /  43 / 0.29 /      /   M
 BZN  : BOZEMAN YELL APT 4475 :           50 /  40 / 0.34 /      /   0
 BTM  : BUTTE MOONEY APT 5700 :           45 /  38 / 0.44 /      /
 CTB  : CUT BANK MUNI AP 3838 :           51 /  36 / 0.71 /      /   0
 DLN  : DILLON AIRPORT   5200 :           47 /  39 / 0.79 /      /   0
 GGW  : GLASGOW WOKAL AP 2285 :           51 /  45 / 0.60 /  0.0 /   0
 GDV  : GLENDIVE AIRPORT 2457 :           64 /  46 / 0.53 /      /    
 GTF  : GREAT FALLS APT  3664 :           47 /  41 / 1.25 /  0.0 /   0
 HVR  : HAVRE AIRPORT    2585 :           52 /  41 / 0.72 /  0.0 /   0
 HLN  : HELENA AIRPORT   3828 :           49 /  43 / 0.80 /  0.0 /   0
 JDN  : JORDAN AIRPORT   2662 :           55 /  46 / 0.63 /      /    
 GPI  : KALISPELL GLAC   1865 :           66 /  47 /    T /    M /   M
 LWT  : LEWISTOWN APT    4145 :           49 /  42 / 1.01 /      /   0
 LVM  : LIVINGSTON APT   4653 :           55 /  40 / 0.72 /  0.0 /   0
 MLS  : MILES CITY APT   2628 :           68 /  48 / 0.07 /      /
 MSO  : MISSOULA AIRPORT 3202 :           58 /  45 / 0.00 /  0.0 /   0
 SDY  : SIDNEY AIRPORT   1985 :           59 /  46 / 0.76 /      /    
 OLF  : WOLF POINT APT   1980 :           56 /  45 / 0.94 /      /  

According to the vaunted United States Weather Service the 24 hour rainfall through 0945 this morning at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport was 0.34 inches. Oh hell. During the time alone that we shivered through the lacrosse game last night we got that much rain. Anyone who has stuck their head outside during the last 24 hours knows that the Weather Service reading is aburd.

Then I looked at the rainfall reports for the amateur stations around town. 

 BOZEMAN AGRIMET               08 AM SUN     1.03    
   BOZEMAN WHEATLAND WU          12 AM SUN     0.17    
   BOZEMAN BAXTER MEADOWS WU     12 AM SUN     1.59    
   BOZEMAN S COTTONWOOD WU       12 AM SUN     0.13    
   BOZEMAN GAMTRELL 10ESE DNET   09 AM SUN     1.17    
   BOZEMAN 1SSE MSU WU           08 AM SUN     1.36    
   BOZEMAN HYALIT 6SW WU         09 AM SUN     1.08    
   BOZEMAN WHEATLAND WU          09 AM SUN     1.04    
   BZN SCOTTONWOOD WU            09 AM SUN     0.62    
   BOZEMAN WHEATLAND WU          09 AM SUN     1.04    
   BOZEMAN ROUSE WU              09 AM SUN     1.12    
   BOZEMAN BON TON WU            09 AM SUN     1.08    
   BOZEMAN FG WU                 09 AM SUN     0.83    
   BOZEMAN S BLACK 4.1WSW WU     09 AM SUN     0.87 

A couple of stations have readings that are obviously in error. But the Tayebeshockup station, which is a mile or so up the road from us, measured rainfall of 1.02 inches. Baxter Meadows which is out towards the airport, rings in at 1.59 inches. For our area, which averages about 16 inches of precipitation annually, those are very significant rain totals.

Here is what the Billings Gazette reported locally. 

Steady precipitation since Friday dropped over an inch of water on Billings and set a daily record for rainfall in Livingston.
The National Weather Service office in Billings logged a daily rainfall total of 1.32 inches in Livingston for Saturday, shattering the old record of .74 inches set on May 16, 1977, Meteorologist Brian Tesar said.
The precipitation from the three-day storm was heaviest in the Yellowstone Valley area.
“Generally, the heaviest rainfall fell from Livingston to Park City,” Tesar said
By Sunday afternoon, Friday’s storm had dropped 4 inches of rain in Reed Point and 3.1 inches near Greyclff..
In Billings, totals ranged from 1.13 to 1.74 inches. Big Timber received 2.68 inches of rain, 1.8 inches fell in Red Lodge and Ryegate got 1.73 inches.:

Let's hear it for NOAA. Welcome to systemic bias. The United States government is thy name.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Breaking News!

Congratulations Lisa Mensing and the Bozeman High School girls lacrosse team for winning the state championship tonight in a driving rainstorm and 41 degree temps. Shoveling your practice field clear of snow for those April practice sessions totally paid off. No wimps here. Way to go girls!
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Backwater We Are Not

I was looking for something small and friendly and real, but with three kids in tow and decades of having lived inside the Beltway one of the criteria I laid down when we were deciding where to move for our retirement home, is it had to be a college town. From the adult perspective, a college town has at some level almost anything that you will find in a major metropolitan area. I was thinking of plays, music, art, sports and even a museum or two or three Also, university faculty and graduate students generally demand good public schools and those demands translate into solid education opportunities for our children.

So far we have been very pleased with the elementary schools in Bozeman. And this year with a high school freshman and an exchange student attending Bozeman high school we have been amazed with the vibe, the spirit, the diversity of programs and ideas, and the intellectual challenges available there.

So it was not particularly surprising the other day when it came out that US News and World Report rated BHS the best high school in Montana.
On the state level, the report ranked Bozeman High School as No. 1. 
"I think it's actually pretty cool," said Bozeman High freshman Levi Merwin.
The report named Bozeman in the top 1,000 high schools across the U.S. at No. 731 -- and first overall in Montana. Students at Bozeman High said they think that's due, in part, to the close relationship between the students and community.
"They try to help out and be nice to everyone that they meet and try to help in the community," said Bozeman High freshman Sam Keshinshian.
Others said it came down to the great teaching staff.
"We have really good teachers, so we do learn a lot and we are really, a lot of us are really smart," said Bozeman High freshman Emily Tonkinson.

Our freshman and exchange student
participated on Bozeman High's award
winning "Hawkers" speech and debate
team this school year.
I thought to check to see how Wakefield High School, which is where our kids would have attended in Arlington, Virginia, stacked up against Bozeman. Arlington likes to claim everything it does is "world class." They certainly spend like it is. Arlington public schools expenditure per pupil is close to twice what is spent out here in Bozeman. It is no coincidence that our property taxes here on a dramatically bigger house and an immensely larger lot and scenic views are a little more than half of what we would be paying back in Arlington. We are 731 and Wakefield is 1,257. Check. And mate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Saturday Pictures On Tuesday

The grounds crew at Cottonwood Hills was aerating the greens yesterday so we loaded up Larry's Suburban and car pooled down to Ennis to play golf at Madison Meadows. I got some pictures on the trip out the side window, along Norris road, through the Canyon along the Madison River, and of the snow capped Tobacco Root mountains to the West. In another month or so, tourists in large numbers with their RV's and campers will be headed this way, but they will continue down beyond Ennis, past Quake Lake and on to West Yellowstone, as home base for their Yellowstone National Park excursion. We send an anticipatory welcome. Come one and all. 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

This Bud's For You

... it may be but there are times when you ought to just forget about it.

Michael Brown was up from Texas driving his white Chevrolet Monte Carlo though Belgrade. When stopped for suspicion of DUI, he added a new un-requested element to the Standard Field Sobriety Test.

Belgrade Police Officer Jesse Stovall spotted the vehicle as it passed him on Main Street. Stovall saw the vehicle weave out of its lane. Stovall pulled the driver over and made contact with Michael Brown, the sole occupant of the vehicle.
Brown lit a cigarette and Stovall said, “his dexterity in his fingers appeared to be diminished as he dropped the lighter on his chest,” charging documents allege.  
Stovall asked Brown for his registration and insurance. Brown handed over his insurance card, but not his registration. Stovall noted that Brown’s eyes were watery and bloodshot and his speech was slurred. Stovall said the odor of an alcoholic beverage was wafting from the car.  
Officer Stovall ordered the man out of his car to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests. As he exited his car, Brown grabbed an open can of Budweiser from his center console and attempted to drink it. 
Sobriety test -- check. Brown's BAC registered at .198, more than twice the legal limit.  He is charged with his third DUI, violating the open container law and resisting arrest.

Also in Belgrade, Roy J. Littlefield "borrowed" an acquaintance's vehicle for quick errand which turned into a day, and another day, and then another day. And, as it transpired, Littlefield could not resist letting the police know how much he liked them.

The man told Littlefield he could borrow his vehicle for 30 minutes. The vehicle owner said Littlefield never returned the car.
Belgrade Police Officer Anthony Young was patrolling in Belgrade just after midnight on April 13 when he spotted the stolen vehicle. Young activated his emergency lights in an attempt to get the driver to pull over.
Littlefield instead accelerated in the stolen vehicle.
“A brief pursuit ensued,” Young wrote in his report. “I estimated that the above vehicle was traveling at least 10 miles over the posted speed limit of 25 MPH.”
Littlefield abruptly stopped the vehicle, jumped out of the car and started running through Lewis and Clark Park.
Young followed the man on foot and repeatedly told him to stop.
Littlefield ignored the officer.
“I lost sight of the male due to it being dark at the time,” Young stated in his report. “The male was not able to be located that night.”
A warrant was issued for Littlefield’s arrest. On the Belgrade Police Department Facebook page, Littlefield “liked” his own “Wanted” poster and shared it on his personal page with a salty message to police.

Here is the the Belgrade PD Facebook post. Mom, sister and friends got in on the act too.

We are asking for your assistance in locating the following person:
Roy Jonathan Littlefield...
See More
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Based on his Facebook admission of running from the police and the report of the vehicle owner that Littlefield took his car, Littlefield was charged with eluding and obstructing a peace officer, unauthorized use of a vehicle, driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance. Littlefield was also fined for being in a park after dark during his dash from police.
Littlefield is sitting in jail at the Gallatin County Detention Center on $10,000 bond.