Backroads America: Submerged

Returned to the Wild

Section of the C&O Canal in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, along Berm Road, near Hancock, Maryland

Trees growing in the historic Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, along Berm Road, near Hancock, Maryland. By design, the 19th-century canal ran parallel to the Potomac River in the states of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. The 185 mile canal moved coal, lumber, and agricultural products down from Cumberland, Maryland to markets in Georgetown, Virginia. Built between 1828 and 1850, plans originally called for the canal to connect to the Ohio River; exorbitant costs and construction issue resulted in the canal terminating in Cumberland. Goods began moving down the lower section of the canal in 1831. But even as canal construction continued, the newly expanding railroad system brought competition to the waterway. The canal’s best years in the early 1870s were followed by an economic depression and several devastating floods. After another flood in 1924, canal operations ceased and no further repairs undertaken. By then, the railroad had captured most of the regions trade.

In a way, though, the railroads  are responsible for the preservation of  the historic and natural features of the canal. In 1889, a flood forced the canal company into receivership, and the B&O Railroad bought the majority of the canal’s bonds. In 1938 the railroad sold the entire canal to the U.S. Government for $2 million, and it was placed under the supervision of the National Park Service. In 1961 President Eisenhower designated it a national monument, and  in 1971 Congress authorized the C & O Canal a National Historical Park. Check out the Park’s website for information  walking and biking trails, information centers, and other activities in the park.  The Western Maryland Rail Trail runs along the canal in this area.

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Backroads America: Beaver Dam

A new beaver dam on the edge of a small channel in Big Mantrap Lake, Minnesota.

The other side of the channel.

Waving Goodbye

K’lee & Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge: Where the Wild Things Are

Gray Langur

Gray Langur monkey, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Join K’lee & Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge: Where the Wild Things Are

Goodbye WPC: You’ll Miss Us When You’re Gone

All-Time Favorites

 

It’s sad to see the end of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. It was a great community, and I found some great blogs to follow every week.

WPC: All-Time Favorites

Variations on a Theme: Portuguese Tiles in Aveiro

Infinite Patterns

Beautiful hand-painted decorative tiles cover the interior and exterior of  many buildings in Portugal, the most famous works found churches, palaces, schools, and train stations. Patterned ceramic tiles were introduced to Spain and Portugal by the Moors in the 13th century. Known as azulejos, the painted tin-glazed ceramic tiles were used for both artistic and utilitarian purposes. At the height of  azulejo popularity in Portugal, blue and white figured tiles covered flat surfaces with scenes of Portuguese history, cupids hanging from vines, historical figures, the lives of the saints, or architectural and floral elements. But not all of tile surfaces were so grand. Walk down any street in Aveiro and be amazed by the infinite number of tile patterns used purely for surface decoration, patterns that go on into infinity.

In the mid-19th century, Brazilian immigrants introduced industrialized tile production. As the Portuguese adopted the Brazilian fashion of decorating the facades of businesses and houses, Lisbon factories began using transfer-print methods to produce large quantities of blue-and-white or polychrome patterned azulejos.  As I walked through Aveiro last week, I tried to find two facades with matching tiles—No such luck. I’m not sure of the age of the tiles in the gallery. Most appear to be transfer-prints, but one or two may be hand-painted.

 

 

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