California

Holiday snaps: Oregon with a dash of California

Where in the world? A good image for the 'Geoguessr' website.

Where in the world? A good image for the ‘Geoguessr’ website. Answer: Crater Lake

Well, Hubby and I had an epic summer vacation last month, and as promised, here are some images of the places we visited. Between the two of us, we took hundreds of photos (actually, over 1,000—but I find that embarrassing to admit, given in the old days, I would have returned from a vacation like this with a few rolls of film and thought that that was a lot). I’d hoped to pick out a representative ‘Top 10,’ but could only whittle the massive heap down to the ‘Top 50’ featured below.

trip_map copyOur Itinerary: We flew into Portland, picked up a rental car and started a clockwise tour—out to Hood River along the Columbia Gorge, then to rodeo-town Pendleton and agriculture-oriented Hermiston to visit some of hubby’s childhood friends, and then on to the La Grande area (hubby’s childhood stomping grounds). We took a day trip out to Wallowa Lake and took time to take the tram up Mt. Howard (8,150′ elevation), before heading southwest to the middle part of the state, passing through the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and then over-nighting in Bend. From there, we visited the majestic and awe-inspiring, sapphire-blue Crater Lake and spent several nights at tiny Rocky Point along the upper northwest edge of Upper Klamath Lake. With that as our base,  we were able to head back up to Crater Lake for a second visit, this one to cover the eastern half of the loop road and take a boat tour. From Rocky Point, we headed west to Grants Pass and then southwest to Kerby, where we discovered a fascinating ‘store/wood workshop/home’ called ‘It’s a Burl’ whose grounds include multiple tree houses that can be climbed by children 12 and over. Then it was on to Crescent City, California, where we stayed at a trailer in the redwoods for a couple of nights, long enough to walk some of the major trails of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Then we headed up the coast, stopping at dozens of gorgeous spots along the way, before ending up back in Portland.

Of course, there is much we did not get to see or do. A future trip will have to take in much more of the spectacular Cascade Range and the NW coast. But we did the most with the time we had. It was a great trip, and I could easily come up with a Top 50 of new things learned (but will spare you the tedium). Here is a list of 10 completely random things I discovered (in no particular order). Or skip this section and head straight to the photos!

Random Things Learned:

pelican

Pelican on display at the Klamath County Museum

1) Pelicans – In my ignorance, I’d always thought they were a coastal bird only found in Florida, so I was surprised to see a giant white pelican hovering over Upper Klamath Lake, part of a significant and vast wildlife refuge for all sorts of birds. Apparently the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) spends time inland at places like Upper Klamath Lake during breeding season.

Redwood burl holds fern bouquet

Redwood burl holds fern bouquet

2) Redwoods – I plead ignorance again. For some reason I’d expected to see giant sequoias (diameter up to 40′) as we toured around NW California’s forests. I did not realize that those are confined to the Sierra Nevadas, quite far down the state, not too far from Death Valley. So instead what we saw were coast redwoods which reach a diameter of 22′-27′ wide at the base. They are much taller (up to 370′—the tallest trees on the planet) than the more rotund inland sequoia (up to 300′). The coast redwoods can be more than 2,000 years old, and the sequoias more than 3,000 years old. While ‘slimmer’ than the sequoias, the coast redwoods are still an astounding sight. It is very sad to think that only 5% of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains today, thanks to uncontrolled logging during and after the California Gold Rush of 1849. Walking through these forests of ‘giants’ is an awesome experience. Let’s hold on tight to the ones that remain.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake & Wizard Island

3) Crater Lake (surface elevation roughly 6,100 feet) – the freshest and purest water in the world according to scientists. The lake, which sits in a vast caldera created by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Mazama, which took place 6,000-8,000 years ago, is six miles wide at its widest point. It is the deepest lake in the Western Hemisphere, with one spot measuring 1,949 feet.  No fish are native to the lake, however some species were introduced between 1888-1941. Today, only Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon survive, and it sounds like the park would be happy to get rid of them—fishing is encouraged, no license is required, and there are no limits. The only caveat: no live bait for fear of introducing more non-natives.

Wizardisland_edge

Edge of Wizard Island, Crater Lake

No snorkeling or scuba diving for that reason too, but swimming is allowed. But, of course, you have to be prepared for the round-trip hike down to the lake, a journey that is obviously much more brutal on the way back up. Far trickier to get rid of are the crayfish introduced in 1914 in the hopes they would serve as fish food. Unfortunately they have multiplied to such an extent that they are pushing out the native Mazama Newt. Both compete for the same food source: insects. The newts are in a ‘be eaten or flee’ situation, and so have ended up pushed to the edges of certain lake areas. So far, scientists are stumped as to how to get rid of the crayfish, or even cut their numbers. Crater Lake is an awesome sight—a life experience I’d recommend to anyone. Just make sure to avoid the annual average of 488 inches of snow, the last remnants of which typically do not disappear until July!

Young Monkey Puzzle Tree, Shore Acres State Park gardens

Young Monkey Puzzle Tree, Shore Acres State Park gardens

4) Monkey Puzzle trees – I’d only ever seen Monkey Puzzle Trees (MPT) when I lived in the UK. So I was completely surprised to run across two during our journey: the first in Shore Acres State Park which has a fabulous seaside botanical garden. The young monkey puzzle tree was tucked to the side of one of the walkways in a not-overly noticeable spot. The other tree was in a completely unexpected spot on the corner of a very busy NE Portland intersection. I can’t imagine it surviving there indefinitely. Its sharp branches are bound to end up scraping someone. If you haven’t heard of these trees, they are native to a small area in Chile; in fact they are Chile’s national tree.  The first saplings were brought to the UK in the late 18th century and eventually the tree became wildly popular there. Their scaly branches are very sharp and spiny, almost reptilian looking. How to climb such a tree would puzzle any monkey (this notion is what gave the tree its common name). As for Portland, I have since learned that there are dozens of monkey puzzle trees spread throughout the city; many are over 100 years old. Their curious presence is explained by the fact that at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition seedlings were handed out to visiting Portlanders who subsequently went out and planted them.

Dutch Brothers drive-thru coffee shop

Dutch Brothers drive-thru coffee shop

5) Dutch Brothers Coffee – Loved the coffee at these little drive-thru stands. Looks like the young people working in them have a blast doing so. Perhaps, the company, which started out in 1992 in Grants Pass, OR, will someday venture beyond Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona? I hope so!

Remnants of a balloon bomb on display at the Klamath County Museum

Remnants of a balloon bomb on display at the Klamath County Museum

6) World War II civilian casualties on the US mainland – I never recall hearing about any civilian casualties taking place on the US mainland during WWII. Then, at the Klamath County Museum, I learned that the Japanese launched thousands of balloon bombs that were carried by the winds to North America, in the hope they would explode somewhere in the US and cause fires calamitous enough to bring troops back to the US to protect the West Coast. The remnants of 15 such bombs were discovered in Klamath County. The only casualties in the US from these bombs occurred in Klamath County on May 5, 1945, when six people on a picnic lost their lives: Elsie Mitchell (26), Jay Gifford (13), Edward Engen (13), Dick Patzke (14), Joan Patzke (13), and Sherman Shoemaker (11). What a tragic time that must have been.

An illegal card game in the underground. A boy posted above ground would pull a string that rang the the bell hanging over the table to alert the players to any law enforcement in the vicinity.

An illegal card game in the underground. A boy posted above ground would pull a string that would ring the bell hanging over the table when law enforcement folks were in the vicinity.

7) Pendleton Underground Tours – a fascinating look at what went on illegally and legally in Pendleton for many years when it was the ‘entertainment capital’ of Eastern Oregon. Historians take you on a tour of an underground area encompassing four city blocks. The underground rooms were connected by ‘service tunnels’ dug and reinforced by Chinese laborers in the late 1800s. Illegal card games, bootlegging, and prostitution were rampant in a town that then boasted 33 bars and 18 brothels. The tour takes in the ‘Cozy Rooms’ brothel which remained in operation into the 1950s. Legal businesses underground included a meat market and a Chinese laundry & baths where the cowboys could clean up before meeting the ‘ladies’.

icecream

Elgin food stand

8) Best soft serve ice cream ever – Hubby had been to this Elgin, Oregon, roadside food stand numerous times years ago, and was delighted to see that it was still there. We stopped by on our way back from Wallowa Lake. Sizes include ‘Baby’, Small, Medium, and Large. The baby size, which I ordered, was huge, prompting us both to quip, “Wow, that’s a big baby!” And it was so inexpensive — just $1.50! Of course, now, I wish I’d gotten the Large ($2.75). 😦 I would teleport myself back there in a heartbeat it I could!

Lan Su Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland

Lan Su Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland

9) Lan Su Chinese Garden – the most authentic outside of China – is located in Portland. Built by Chinese artisans from Portland’s sister city Suzhou, the Garden takes up an entire city block. It was definitely a major highlight of our few days in Portland. I’ve been to China a couple of times, and visiting this place transported me straight back there. It is simply stunning.

Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua

10) Cape Perpetua – Lava flows from volcanoes or underwater eruptions 50 million years ago are responsible for the intriguing, randomly sculpted basalt shoreline at Cape Perpetua. Here, the ocean can be felt in all its power, especially at high tide, when the water explodes its way through ‘Devil’s Churn’, ‘the Spouting Horn’, and ‘Thor’s Well’. The views of the coast from the adjacent mountain top (see image inset) are stunning as well.

Thor's Well, Cape Perpetua

Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua

Well, I shall rattle on no longer. Enjoy your day! To view the below images as a slideshow, click the first image and use the side arrows!

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Categories: California, Miscellaneous, Nature, Oregon, Trees | Tags: , | 2 Comments

As you dig into your holiday turkey leftovers, get to know Luisa Tetrazzini—beloved Italian opera star

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) - CREDIT: Google eBooks

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) – CREDIT: Google eBooks

Turkey and chicken leftovers often find themselves chopped up and tossed in recipes ending in ‘à la King‘ and ‘Tetrazzini‘. Just last weekend, I pulled out Emeril Lagasses’s recipe for Chicken à la King to use up some turkey leftovers, and I have Ree Drummond’s Turkey Tetrazzini recipe on standby for Christmas.

Historically the two dishes appeared within less than two decades of each other—‘à la King’ in the early 1890s was the invention of Chef William King of the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia*, and ‘Tetrazzini’ was lovingly assembled in 1908-1910 by Chef Ernest Arbogast of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California*, a city adored by Italian opera star Luisa Tertrazzini (1871-1940) and the site of her 1905 US debut. I confess that until recently, I’d never heard of Luisa nor did I know the origins of the culinary creation that bears her name. Discovering her has been a wonderful surprise.

Luisa was a huge phenomenon in her day, and it would be a shame if current generations did not get to know who she was and the cultural contributions she made to her adopted country, particularly to her beloved San Francisco, victim of a devastating earthquake in 1906.

After her San Francisco debut, Luisa headed to New York where she was a huge sensation and worked for the great Oscar Hammerstein. Some legal disputes erupted at one point that were preventing her from performing in New York. The feisty Luisa called a press conference and made her famous pronouncement: “I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing there in the streets, for I know the streets of San Francisco are free.” And that is exactly what Luisa did after winning her legal battles.

Luisa Tetrazzini - Photo from 1909 book Heart Songs - Wikimedia

Luisa Tetrazzini – Photo from 1909 book Heart Songs – Wikimedia

On Christmas Eve 1910, she demonstrated her affection for the City by the Bay with a live evening performance before an audience estimated at up to 300,000 people. In the heart of the city, near the famed ‘Lotta’s Fountain‘, accompanied by Steindorff’s Orchestra and choristers from the Good Samaritan Mission and the Church of St. John the Baptist, Madame Luisa Tetrazzini, age 39, sang her heart out. As one newspaper described it: “It was a Christmas party at which San Francisco ‘hung up’ its ears instead of its stockings and filled them with the gold and silver of Tetrazzini’s music.” **

Visit YouTube today, and you can have the privilege of listening to this amazing star yourself. There are dozens of links to choose from, all accompanied by some image of the Italian diva.

Much was written about that Christmas Eve performance so many years ago, and I’m posting a few of the articles I’ve found here, just so you can get a sense of how utterly phenomenal Luisa was and why she truly deserves to be remembered for generations to come.

Suffice it to say that from now on, whenever I reach for my recipe for Chicken/Turkey Tetrazzini or think of San Francisco, I will remember this portly little lady with the heavenly voice who was adored by millions of our ancestors and brought so much joy to the lives of so many.

(CLICK IMAGES BELOW FOR LEGIBLE VIEWS)

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) - CREDIT: Google eBooks

“Madame Tetrazzini singing in the streets of San Francisco, Christmas Eve. On the platform built for her among the people, surrounded by orchestra and choristers, radiant in a jeweled dress under a multitude of calciums***, the great diva sang to a gathering from all classes and all climes. There was such stillness in the crowded square that the upper tones of her song were clearly heard on the roofs of buildings four blocks away.” Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) – CREDIT: Google eBooks

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) - CREDIT: Google eBooks

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) – CREDIT: Google eBooks

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) - CREDIT: Google eBooks

Sunset, Volume 26, (California: Passenger Dept., So. Pacific Company, 1911) – CREDIT: Google eBooks

San Francisco Call, Volume 109, Number 25, 25 December 1910; This and next 3 images courtesy of: California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, <http://cdnc.ucr.edu>. All newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain and therefore have no restrictions on use.

San Francisco’s The Call, Volume 109, Number 25, 25 December 1910; California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, <http://cdnc.ucr.edu&gt;. All newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain and therefore have no restrictions on use.

San Francisco Call, Volume 109, Number 25, 25 December 1910 _p2

San Francisco Call, Volume 109, Number 25, 25 December 1910 _p3

San Francisco Call, Volume 109, Number 25, 25 December 1910 _p4

***Christmas Eve Concert – commemorative plaque unveiled – March 1912***

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 116, 25 March 1912 _p1

Credit this and below image: San Francisco’s The Call, Volume 111, Number 116, 25 March 1912

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 116, 25 March 1912_p2

*****************************************************************************************************************************
*Wikipedia

**San Francisco’s The Call, Sunday, December 25, 1910, pp. 29-36.

***calciums = calcium lights that produce light effects

Categories: Arts & Culture, California, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Luisa Tetrazzini, Miscellaneous, San Francisco | 10 Comments

Winter 1870: William Woodruff in San Ysidro trying his hand at ‘wool growing’

William Woodruff, in June 1870

William Woodruff, in June 1872, photo from personal family collection

A January 1870 letter written by my 2nd great grandfather Francis Woodruff (1820-1883) to my great grandfather William Earl Woodruff (1848-1928) is a joy to read. It reflects the love and warmth of father for son and gives insight into the goings on in that little part of the Woodruff family 143 years ago.

William, it appears, was trying his hand at wool farming out in San Ysidro, California. He was just 21 years old and still a single guy (he married 2 1/2 yrs later), and appears to have gone cross country from his home in Elizabeth, NJ, to work for Hedden Bruen, possibly the John Hedden Bruen (b. NJ about 1815) who appears in Santa Clara County voting records from that period. The letter mentions a “Charles and Sarah” and I’m quite sure this was a reference to Charles Woodruff (1814-1898), a first cousin of Francis’ (they shared Enos Woodruff as their grandfather). Charles was married to Sarah E. Bruen (1821-1899), so I imagine that Hedden was likely one of Sarah’s brothers.

Redmond Granville's Shepherd Herding Sheep in a Misty Landscape, 1911, Private collection in Irvine, CA (Wikimedia: In Public Domain in USA)

Redmond Granville’s Shepherd Herding Sheep in a Misty Landscape, 1911, Private collection in Irvine, CA (Wikimedia: In Public Domain in USA)

California had been a state for almost 20 years, and the transcontinental railway had been completed a year prior, in 1869, an event that heralded a huge influx of visitors from the east. The letter gives an indication of that at one point in reference to the large number of New Jersey folk wandering about San Francisco. This was a long way from home for William, and to his parents, it probably seemed like he’d gone to the edge of the Earth. But at least they had the ability to communicate via letters. How exciting it used to be to get letters in the mail! I can only imagine how exciting it was for them, especially given that the telephone was not yet an option.

San Francisco Harbor, 1850-1851; with Alcatraz Island in the background. Daguerrotype. |Wikimedia: Source - Library of Congress CALL NUMBER: DAG no. 1330]

San Francisco Harbor, 1850-1851; with Alcatraz Island in the background. Daguerrotype. |Wikimedia: Source – Library of Congress CALL NUMBER: DAG no. 1330]

I love the references to William’s younger siblings, Matthias and Phebe, both also still single, and living at home, and the reference to Mary Jane Trowbridge, William’s mother, who obviously had her reservations about her son’s current enterprises. No reference was made to the oldest child Emma, who was also still likely at home. (Within the next four years, all four of the children would be married: William, 20 Jun 1872; Matthias, 21 Nov 1872; Emma, 16 Sept 1874; and Phebe, 23 Oct 1874. Between them, they produced 16 grandchildren for Francis and Mary Jane who both died in 1883.)

I don’t have any more information about William’s life out West, but I do know he was back home in New Jersey in time for the June 1870 census. What happened between then and his June 1872 marriage, I’ve no idea—perhaps, he went off to dabble in whale fishing like the young man mentioned in the letter? I kind of doubt it—I think that morsel of information would have been passed down through the family!

Below is the letter which I have broken into paragraphs and added punctuation for ease of reading. Comments, corrections, and additional information always welcome. Be sure to click on the Henry Winslow link when you get to it.

Here you go—a slice of life from 1870 (the letter was postmarked 4 February):

Elizabeth Jan. 20th ‘70

Dear Will,

We received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you were well. We are getting along here about the same old way. We were not a little surprised to hear of Mr. Bruen’s marriage. I went right down to tell Charles and Sarah. I told them your news from California this time. Sarah guessed right away that Hedden was married and wanted to know all about it: how old his wife was and all the particulars. I told her I was not posted on that score. She had a good laugh over it and I left.

We are having a very mild winter of it. So far we have not got any salt hay yet and at present there is no prospect of it. The weather is warm. No frost in the ground. The roads are very bad today. Matt and I dug that stump of an apple tree that the wind blew down last summer and set another in its place. The Mr. Earles are setting their line fence and they have got a well and cellar dug. Things will look quite different around here in a little while with three new houses between ours and Charles’ well.

William's loving father Francis Woodruff

William’s loving and very supportive father Francis Woodruff; photo from personal family collection

Will, I was going to answer your letter right away as you see from the date but I did not intend to be so long about it. It is now the 30th January and no frost yet. I was at Mr. Jones’ auction the other day and saw a young Sparks [?]. He said he had a letter from his brother. He spoke of your being in San Francisco with him. He said he learned more about the Jersey folks than he could write in a month. I have had a bad cold and was a most sick for a few but am better now. I was afraid I was going to be lame again but have escaped so far pretty well. Phebe has had a slight attack of scarlet fever but is getting better so that she is up today. Matt has gone to Newark for a load of grain with three horses. You know that suits him to make a show with the team. We have a good one now.

Mary Jane Trowbridge, William's concerned Mom

Mary Jane Trowbridge, William’s loving but skeptical Mom; photo from personal family collection

You write about going out tending sheep and as it is Mr. Bruen’s avice [sic] I have some faith in it. It is quite a new kind of life for you but if there is a chance of doing anything worth while and you have a mind to try it I have no objection. But you must do as you think best. You are your own man now and must choose for yourself. We cannot advise you anything about it because we don’t know any of the circumstances. Your Mother thinks it is a wild scheme but I do not think near as bad as whale fishing that Henry Winslow tells us about. By the way he has been here and made us quite a visit. He is a stout fine looking young man. I think he looks something like his Uncle Hedden. He tells us some great whale stories. We were telling about your talking of going round the world. He said if you once got on the water you would never leave it.

Whale Fishing, Currier & Ives, 1850s

Whale Fishing, Currier & Ives, 1850s

You must write as soon as you can and tell us about the country you are in and about wool growing. It would be very pleasant to have you with us here again but if you have a mind to try your luck I’m just as willing to do anything I can for you there as here. I have great confidence in you and think Mr. Bruen would not advise anything but for your good. Mother says give her love to you and I send my own and all the rest of the family.

From your affectionate Father,

Francis Woodruff

Tell us how far out in the country you are.

Envelope and page 4 of Francis' letter to son William

Envelope and page 4 of Francis’ letter to son William

Categories: Ayers, California, Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ, San Ysidro, Trowbridge, US Federal 1870, Woodruff | 3 Comments

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