Have a Coke

Come in, come in, get your last soda pop.
Hurry now, before we close up shop.
Times are bad, the patrons are few
I can’t afford to stay open so what’s left to do?
The windows will be boarded up, the doors will lock for good.
I will be left to the mercy of the neighborhood.
The weather will fade my beautiful signs
My interior walls and floors will crumble with time.
One day I’ll be a relic that you’ll pass by
And wonder what it was that caused me to die.

Once I was a beautiful building, but time has been unkind.
May I stand as a lesson we all must keep in mind.
No one is immune to hardship and failure.
Not even the most successful retailer.
No one’s future is ever set in stone,
and one day you too could lose everything you own.
So enjoy every day that you have with a smile.
And make all the time you have left worthwhile.

Hopefully someone will rebuild and restore,
If they do, please come in to have a Coke once more.
Hopefully I can still stand to wait until then.
If I do, I would love to see my patrons again.


History Fun Day Monday!

Hi! Happy History Fun Day Monday!

I’d like you to meet George Washington Jones (1846-1914) who was the first African-American recording artist and considered one of the early pioneers of the record industry, singing jazz and blues. Below is his song, recorded in 1891. (Excuse the name of the song. Again, this was 1891).

George Washington Jones, (1846-1914), reputed to be the first African American recording artist during the 1890s and early 1900s.

Hilarious History: War over a Bucket


The Oaken Bucket War (Battle of Zappolino)

To some, taking something that doesn’t belong to you is a harmless prank. To others, it can result in a war, like it did in 1325 Italy.

The Battle of the Bucket was an incident that built up over time with a bit of a complicated backstory. Italy was a divided country with tensions high for decades. The division was caused by a difference in beliefs in politics and religion. The factions were called Ghibellines and Guelphs. The Ghibelline faction supported the Holy Roman Emperor and the Guelph faction supported the Pope. This division had gone on since Medieval times and even though the conflict between the pope and the emperor was over, their supporters continued to clash.
The conflict between the border of the Italian city of Bologna, a Guelph city, and it’s neighbor Modena, a Ghibelline city, intensified in the months leading up to the battle of the bucket. The final straw was when a group of Modena soldiers, maybe for laughs, maybe for malicious intent, who knows, decided to sneak into the town center of Bologna where sat a bucket filled with treasures from the city’s well. They brought it back to their bell tower, called “Torre della Ghirlandina.”
Bologna demanded Modena return the bucket, and when Modena refused, Bologna declared war.

Bologna assembled over 30,000 men and marched against Modena, and 7,000 Modena soldiers met them at the border. The battle ensued until Bologna fled, but when the smoke cleared, about 2,000 men on each side lay dead.

The Guelph v.s. Ghibelline wars continued for the next couple centuries before finally making peace with each other in 1529 when they had no choice but to unite when Charles of Spain seized control of Italy.

To this day, the bucket that sparked that war and caused the death of 4,000 men still sits in the Torre della Ghirlandina.

Hilarious History: The MASTER of trolling


The MASTER of Trolling

Trolling people didn’t just start with the internet. Hoaxes intended to have a little fun and also get a rise out of people has been going on for centuries. It wouldn’t be April Fool’s Day if I didn’t start the Hilarious History segment off with the one I personally think is THE KING of pranksters, and this may surprise some, but it was none other than Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

From the time he was a child, Franklin enjoyed playing jokes on unsuspecting friends and family, and he never really grew out of it. One of his more famous pranks he pulled at the age of 16 on his brother James.
James Franklin was the founder of the New England Courant. Just like sibling relationships of today, older brother James was constantly pestered by his younger brother Ben who wanted to write articles for the newspaper, too. Repeatedly James refused to let him. So Ben one day decided to take a different route to get his articles published in the paper. Under the fake name Mrs. Silence DoGood who had a fake backstory of being a middle-aged widow, Ben penned several letters to James. James, who had no idea it was his younger brother, thoroughly enjoyed the letters and published them in his paper.
Little brother: 1
Big bro: 0
(Silence DoGood letters can be found here: http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/courant/silencedogood.htm)

As an adult, Ben continued his ‘fake letters’ scheme. He would use satire, which people believed was true, to get his point across and also to point out double standards.
In the Boston Independent Chronicle, Ben wrote several false stories to arouse the sympathy of British supporters during the American Revolution and get them to support the colonists. One of the stories was a letter claiming the British hired Native Americans to scalp colonists. This angered and disgusted many British supporters and some of them publicly voiced their opinion on this “disgrace.” Now, scalping was a legitimate issue, but it was not true that the British hired “scalpers.” It wasn’t discovered to be false for 70 years after its publication, but to this day, some insist it was true that the British hired scalpers.
Lesson: Not everything you read in the Boston Independent Chronicle is true.
Nor is everything you read in The General Advertiser, if Ben Franklin has anything to do with it.
Under the fake name Miss Polly Baker, Franklin made up a story saying he was a woman named Miss Polly Baker who was punished for having illegitimate children but wanted to know why the men involved were not punished as well. Most people believed it was a true story, and it may very well have been a real situation a woman was enduring, but alas, it was only Franklin having a little fun, and also pointing out some hypocrisy, which was a hobby he thoroughly enjoyed almost as much as pulling pranks. He did the same thing just 25 days before his death in 1790, penning an anonymous letter to The Federal Gazette about a character by the name of Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim who was a tyrant that fought for the enslavement of Christians by Muslims in 1680. The story, and the arguments for slavery that this “Ibrahim” made were deliberately over the top to rouse people’s thoughts on slavery and to challenge the morals of those who believed in it. Many believed the story was true and some pro-abolitionists and anti-abolitionists used this fictional tale, assuming it as factual evidence, for their arguments. Franklin himself was not pro-slavery, but used the story to illustrate the immorality of it.

Woe to all who called Franklin a friend or enemy, by the way. He not only pulled pranks on the public, but pulled the ultimate prank on one of his friends.
In 1733’s Poor Richard’s Almanack, Franklin, under the fake name Poor Richard Saunders, published an obituary for his friend Titan Leeds, who was an astrologer. Until 1738 when Leeds finally did pass away, “Poor Richard Saunders” accused the real Leeds of being an imposter, thus confusing the hell out of the public AND Leeds, who had no idea who was behind this ridiculousness.

Finally, the grandest of all Ben Franklin pranks, believe it or not, is something we suffer with today. Daylight savings time. Yes. Daylight savings time originally was a prank by Ben Franklin, who wrote an essay that was published in a Paris newspaper that the French could save money and candles if they woke up with the sun in the springtime. He even suggested waking people up by blasting cannons and ringing church bells when the sun came up. In 1895, a scientist by the name of George Hudson thought this was a good idea and presented his reasoning to the New Zealand government. Ten years later, Europe adopted “Daylight savings time” and in 1918, so did the US.
Today, we deal with daylight savings time ALL BECAUSE OF A PRANK!
Thanks, Ben.

Troll level: Legendary

Happy April Fool’s Day to one of my favorite pranksters of all time.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
Hey there Everybunny! Your friendly neighborhood history geek here wishing you a very Hippity Hoppity Happy Easter!
Come hop along with me and I’ll tell you all about it!
Sorry Easter Bunny but the holiday of Easter isn’t about you. Easter is the most important of all Christian holidays, as this is the day that He is RISEN!
Easter Sunday is the day to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
Traditionally, Easter was not celebrated for just one Sunday. It was an entire season honoring Christ. The 40 days before Easter is ‘lent’ which 40, an already significant number in the bible, is the number of days Jesus spent in solitude before he began his teachings. The Friday before Easter is “Good Friday,” the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Following Easter was an additional 50 day period to signify the time Jesus spent with his disciples after his resurrection and before his ascent to heaven.
You don’t have to be a Christian to celebrate this festive spring holiday, though. There are many different ways that other cultures celebrated the time during which Easter falls.
The name ‘Easter’ has unknown origins but the most likely origin is that of Eostre, the goddess of fertility, and many cultures celebrated the season of spring as a season of fertility that started in February and continued on through March, April, May, and ended in June with the first day of summer.
Some traditions such as the egg hunt and some of the symbols of Easter, such as the bunny, were brought on by other cultures. The origins of the Easter bunny came from Germany where they told the story of a hare that would lay brightly colored eggs. This special rabbit became a symbol of fertility. German chocolate makers would make bunny-shaped chocolate bars to give to children on this day, or they would make chocolate or colored candy eggs. These traditions gained popularity and spread, like many other holiday traditions, when German immigrants began to move throughout Europe and over to America, where other cultures could enjoy them as well. In the 1930s, the introduction of jelly beans, and in the 1950s, the introduction of Peeps, only added to this season of delicious candies. Today, Easter candy is the second most sold holiday candy, right after Halloween.
The egg is also a symbol of fertility with Pagans, and the pagan festival of fertility and rebirth was in the spring as well.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolls were typically isolated as individual family traditions but became mainstream in the mid 1800s in America. In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes hosted an “egg roll” for children, and many other families followed suit. Ever since then, the White House Egg Roll has been a tradition that every president after participated in. New York, the birthplace for many holiday parades, hosted the first Easter Parade in the mid 1800s but it didn’t become as popular until the 1940s.
Easter is a holiday that can be celebrated in many different ways today. Whether you are celebrating Jesus’ resurrection or you’re celebrating the beauty of springtime or you’re just enjoying all the candy, it’s a holiday for everyone.
Have a wonderful Easter day!

If I found a genie

If I found a genie, I’d ask for peace on earth

And for people to gain the ability to see how much they’re worth.

I’d ask that everyone would have a home and food to eat

So no more people or animals are left hungry on the street.

I’d ask for the sick to be healed, and that cancer would disappear

I’d ask for the blind to be able to see and the deaf to be able to hear.

I’d ask for all of us to get along, regardless of politics, class, religion or race.

I’d ask that we see each other as we truly are: one people in one place.

I’d ask for our environment to replenish and our waters to run pure

I’d ask for trees to be replanted and the extinct animals to return.

I’d ask for peace and comfort to everyone in grief.

I’d ask that suffering would end, and any illness would be brief.

I’d ask for a world where all the tears would dry, and all the pain would end.

But this can’t be, unfortunately, because genies are just pretend.

Elberton, Washington

Elberton was first settled by C.D. Wilbur. In 1886, the town was platted and named by Sylvester M. Wait (1822-1891), who in 1878 was among the delegates elected to meet with Governor Elisha Perry and discuss Washington Territory’s becoming the State of Washington. Wait chose the name Elberton to honor his son Elbert F. Wait, who died at the age of 25 the year before Elberton was platted.

Elberton’s heyday only lasted a decade. During this time, it was incorporated as a fourth class town on 24 April 1896. It grew to have a population of 500 and at one time had three churches, two stores, a post office, a sawmill, a flour mill, a railroad (the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company) that passed through, and the region’s largest prune dryer. Elberton was also the setting for a major event that was held annually from 1893 to 1924. This event was the most important attraction for the town and it was known as The Elberton Picnic. The Elberton Picnic was a three-day-long fair that was so popular it was known throughout all of Whitman County and the State of Washington and attracted hundreds of visitors. Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan even gave a speech at the event during his 1896 presidential campaign. His speech and the location of it put all eyes across the nation on the small town of Elberton and visitors from all over the country attended the fair to hear his speech after news got around that he would be there.
Despite that brief moment of national attention, in the early 1900s, a series of unfortunate events struck the still rather young town, and were the main factors to the decline. Firstly, the saw mill was forced to close due to the decline of timber, Elberton’s main industry. Next, in 1907, the Oregon Railway & Navigation Co. closed their rail line that went through Elberton. The following year, a fire broke out, followed by a flood came in 1910, and due to the decline in funds and population, many of the businesses and homes destroyed by the fire and the flood were too costly, and somewhat pointless, to rebuild. Still, the town hung on, until the final straw, which was the Depression in the early 1930s. This hurt the town greatly, and Elberton started to decline even more in population, with people packing up what they could carry and abandoning their homes that they could no longer afford to keep and maintain.

Elberton was disincorporated on 6 December 1966, a status that became official with the Secretary of State of Washington on 14 January 1966. Elberton became part of unincorporated Whitman County, Washington again within four years, when the county acquired the property of the town. One of the results of the county control came shortly after its disestablishment, when the Whitman County Fire Department used the vacant buildings as training purposes for new firefighters, and the abandoned homes and buildings were set ablaze so firemen could practice extinguishing fires. The homes and buildings that remained intact were left to weather whatever natural disasters Mother Nature decided upon.

Currently, about 15 people live in the 200 acre area once was Elberton. Many of the homes and buildings have gone or are partially collapsed, with only their foundations and perennial gardens that still bloom to serve as a reminder of what once was. Visitors coming through the Palouse ghost town can enjoy the few buildings, homes, and landmarks that still remain today, such as the fully intact United Brethren Church, built in 1913, and the Elberton Cemetery. They may also read about the town’s birth and death from the small plaque that was erected on the town’s site.

Update: As of 2014, only the United Brethren Church and two abandoned homes remain. The other homes that are intact are only so because they are occupied. If you wish to see Elberton, do so sooner rather than later, because each year sees another Elberton landmark disappear.

-Researched and written in part by A. Lamonte: writer, hobby historian and ghost town explorer.
Other sources for this information:
(source: History of Washington State, Edmond S. Meany, pg 266).
(source: Exploring Washington, Harry M. Majors, Van Winkle Publishing Co. 1975, Pg 143)