Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Top 10 Posts

Readership surged in April. Measured by page views, last month at Along the Gradyent was our second highest month since inception. A Bozeman story and a caddie life inspired piece were numbers one and two, followed by Morton Grove, golf, Huntsville, caddie life, caddie life, and Morton Grove and Morton Grove. Here are the top ten posts.

1.  Jens Hagen Anderson grew up not far from our home here in Bozeman, up Kelly Canyon Road, near the gap at the canyon's top that was traversed by William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition (guided by Sacajawea) on July 15, 1806, during the return trip. Clark had split off from Lewis in order to explore the Yellowstone River basin, which his party would enter late that day after hiking up the Jackson Creek drainage and crossing Bozeman Pass. 

Jens was an avid backcountry skier and photographer. He was super experienced, super prepared, super careful and a super guy, it is reliably reported.
And my gosh, Safety Sam, you were such a pain to ski the backcountry with. Digging pits even in low risk, low consequence situations. And I know it was how you were raised, but you really took that Anderson Family Adventure Pact to the extreme: "If you have a bad feeling, even if you're not sure why, you have to speak up. I'd rather us all bail than have something bad happen we'll regret." And you clearly had no problem speaking up. Every time you did, we'd spend the day on slopes so flat I had to pole just to go anywhere. But you don't have to tell me. I know you saved your family's lives that one time on Granite Peak, turning everyone back from what would become a deadly lightning storm. And I'm sure you saved mine a few times too.
What's so hard to understand, though, is just where was your Jensie Sense this time? Why didn't it kick in? I know, that snowpack was so stable. You guys managed your risk to a fault. And Jens, when you took the lower section first, saying, "Why don't I go down a little ways and get some pictures of you guys," that was so like you. 
You lugged that big dSLR on your chest everywhere, and sometimes the batteries were even charged. You loved photography, but even more, you loved preserving memories with friends and sharing the beauty you'd seen with anyone who would look. And it wasn't just that boat-anchor of a camera you carried. On every outing, yours was the biggest pack, stuffed with extra clothes for anyone who got cold, a big first aid kit so you could take care of us, and on longer trips, at least one can of Coors Banquet for everyone in the party.
Skiing a couloir down Beehive Peak near Hanging Garden on April 11, 2015 Jens Hagen Anderson triggered the tiniest of avalanches in a chute where there was no room for error. His day and life ended Skiing Into Oblivion. May he rest in peace. Our condolences and prayers to his family and friends. Here is the video of the life celebration in his remembrance held a week after his passing at the Commons out Baxter Lane.  

Jens Hagen Anderson - a Celebration of Life from Journey Church on Vimeo.

Union Station, Wash. DC, by Daniel Burnham, architect.
2. Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois was established in 1897. It was founded at a time when golf in the United States and our country itself were growing up. The country club is an incredible backdrop for stories about both. Founding members included Daniel Burnham, an architect of things grand and a city planner, who was responsible for the design and construction of the Columbian Exposition, a magnificently successful world's fair which entertained on the City of Chicago waterfront in 1892 (the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America) and 1893 (held over due to its enormous success). Also there at Glen View's beginning was William Holabird, an architect whose firm aside from the standard structure and skyscraper fare, was responsible for the design of the iconic art deco hand operated scoreboard that operates in Wrigley Field, Chicago -- home of the Chicago Cubs -- to this day. And there was pioneering landscape architect Ossian E. Simonds who became one before there was such a profession. Read all about it in Glen View Club: Focus on the First Quarter Century, Part I.

Wrigley Field scoreboard and center field bleacher construction project, 1937. Architects Holabird and Root

3. Little did I know when close-up photos of Russian missile sites appeared on the front pages of newspapers and the nightly news in 1962 (I was nine years old) that those images were made possible by the skill, creativity and inventiveness of a man who hailed from my hometown of Morton Grove, Illinois. Read about the man, the times and the places in Morton Grove Before the Baby Boom: Fred Sonne -- Pilot, Innovator and Aerial Photographer.

4. A perennial favorite, The Masters (Repost) ratcheted to fourth in April. This year, we suspected that youth would be served, but weren't quite sure which young man that meant.
[T]wenty-five year old Rory McIlroy, ranked world number one, and twenty-one year old Jordan Spieth, currently the hottest player, are the betting favorites. McIlroy is looking for his third straight major victory and to complete his career Grand Slam. Spieth will be looking to impress his buddies, who will be graduating from UT Austin in a few weeks, with his first major victory.
As it turned out, Spieth threatened to lap the field. He finished with a wire-to-wire victory, tying Tiger Woods 1997 scoring record. Everyone agrees there will be many more majors to come.

5. The in-laws are making quite a splash with the design and construction of the new "Cube Square" apartment complex in Huntsville, Texas -- target market, students at Sam Houston State university. 
When driving down Sycamore Avenue, it’s almost impossible not to notice the multicolored shipping containers stacked one on top of another.
These containers are not being used in conventional fashion, however. They soon will be rentable apartments, which Wagamon Enterprises hopes to begin leasing this summer.
“The whole idea behind doing them in shipping containers is just because it’s cool,” general contractor Jack Wagamon said. “It’s student housing so we want to make it look cool. Kids like that kind of thing.
“Most of the growth on Sycamore over the last five years has been all this student housing,” he added. “So, we’re just trying to take advantage of that.”
See the pictures and check out the video links in The Cubes Are Coming, The Cubes Are Coming.

6. One Sunday morning during the 1960s civil rights era we caddies at Glen View Club in Golf Illinois went on strike. We borrowed the anthem and slogans of the cause to make our point for a raise melodically during the wildcat action. In The Caddies Thank You Dr. King! we give the background and a descriptions of one the shortest, most unusual and successful strikes known to the history of labor relations. I mean how many times have you seen a hundred caddies march out to a driving range, sit down on the grounds and sing "We Shall Overcome?"

7. In this big month for our caddie stories the John and Bonnie show repeated on the top ten list. To me they were a member and his wife. To People Magazine in 1981:
As human beings they are poles apart, but together John and Bonnie Swearingen comprise one of the business world's most magnetic couples. At 63, he, the portly, scholarly and conservative $635,000-a-year chairman of Standard Oil Company (Indiana). Bonnie, about 50 (the number is unlisted) is a bubbly Southern belle, who tried four times to be Miss Alabama, had a fling as an actress and is now arching eyebrows in her adopted hometown of Chicago with her sexy outfits and sassy talk. She collects famous friends and calls one and all "Honey." A longtime associate of John's concedes, "She has put a wide smile on his face -- he used to be so grim."
Spokane Spokesman Review, September 12, 1970
John Swearingen swaggered into the public forum, taking on Ralph Nader, Phil Donahue and Jimmy Carter. Bonnie Swearingen sashayed on to the national social scene taking on staid blue blood convention. We report their dance here in John and Bonnie: A Profile in Oil, Finance, Politics and High Society.

8. Growing Up In Morton Grove is another perennial favorite drawing new notice every time we post a vignette on Morton Grove history. 

The Dells 1925 Ad.
9. By the time I was a child the northwest corner of Austin Ave. and Dempster St. in Morton Grove, Illinois was a strip shopping center, with a Rexall Drug, Gene's Bakery, a dry cleaner, the Ben Franklin 5 & 10 and a National Tea grocery store. For two decades it more or less coincident with the Volstead Act and Prohibition, it had bee the site of the Dells.
The Dells was an incredibly popular and successful commercial enterprise. It boasted a spacious dance floor, broadcast its music performances over the radio airwaves, and, because it was not subjected to the musician union local controls within the city, freely imported nationally renowned musicians and entertainers. The Dells had tasty cuisine -- steak, poultry, seafood and even frogs legs -- in a well appointed setting on a tranquil wooded lot.
There was more, of course, because The Dells' prosperous run was concurrent, not the least bit coincidentally, with the Volstead Act and prohibition. Additional attractions included beer, liquor and gambling and gangland wars over the profits of the same. The Dells was said to be owned or controlled by Al Capone and his gang. It is commonly referred to as the most notorious of the Morton Grove roadhouses.
Corner of Austin and Dempster, circa 1960.
In Morton Grove Before the Baby Boom: The Complete Story of The Dells we regaled readers with stories of the turf wars, kidnappings, arson and murders that characterized the roadhouse's tumultuous history. 

10. The March Top 10 Posts makes for a nice bookend to the Top April Top 10 Posts. So it is.

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