Monthly Archives: January 2022

Towns Named York

There are reportedly 35 towns named York in 8 countries. I have been to the Yorks in England, South Australia and Alaska. There are also Yorkvilles, Yorkshires and Yorktowns, like the Yorktown in Virginia where the Revolutionary War concluded. It’s now a mere village of about 100 people appropriately near Williamsburg. There are said to be 23 Yorks in the United States, but some are unincorporated and others are completely out of business, like the York in Indiana.

There are some fairly big towns named York in the USA. The York in South Carolina is a stand alone community of 8,000 and a county seat in the north central part of the state. York, Alaska, is an old mining camp on the Seward Peninsula not too far from Nome. York, Nebraska, is a thriving town of 8,000 between Grand Island and Lincoln. York, Washington, is a very old community in the Seattle area that has more than 2,500 people. York, Pennsylvania, is a town of 4 to 5,000 people with a historic old pub called the Golden Plough and is known as the White Rose City. The York in North Dakota is an interesting small town with a forensics lab and is named after the York in England.

The York in England is a diverse city of more than 200,000 north of London. It is the largest town in the world named York. It was once a Viking settlement that now has many tourist attractions like a splendid Viking museum. Ruth and I went there by train the last time we were in England, and we really liked this city with several carousels. I would go back, but the York in Western Australia has nothing for the international traveler and is not, in my opinion, worth returning to. The same is true for the York in Canada’s Ontario.


Cleveland Museums

It got late in the day. Ruth & I had time for one more attraction. We were in downtown Cleveland. It was down to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Cleveland Museum of Art. The woman at the visitor center helped us decide. She told us that the Cleveland Museum of Art was this city’s biggest and best attraction. It was fairly close at 11150 East Blvd. so we chose it and later wished we hadn’t.

Our problems began almost immediately. We could not find the attached parking garage. This museum is free, but parking in its garage costs $10. We chose meter parking on the street in front of it. The meter was distressed. We had quarters but could not read the time we had. Then we could not find the entry door. It was 3 pm before we were inside this vast museum.

We decided that we had better see its greatest treasures because of the hour. These began with its rare Apollo Sauroktonas. Attributed to the great Greek sculptor Praxiteles and dubbed The Cleveland Apollo, we headed for it. Most works of art of this quality were melted down, but this Apollo miraculously survived and arrived in Cleveland in 2003. This museum was closed due to COVID and did not reopen until January 18, 2021. We got a museum map and tried but failed to find the Apollo. We found a museum employee and asked about what to see. He told us that Monet’s “Waterlilies” was their biggest attraction among its 45,000 works, and he reminded us that this museum is one of the top museums in the USA. Many rank it the 4th best museum of its type in the country. Monet produced more than 250 paintings of waterlilies in his later years, and we had seen several of them. “Where is it?” I asked. “Up that escalator,” he said. So we abandoned our desire to see this museum’s Egyptian and African art galleries that it’s known for, its Tiffany display, its Shiva, its Armor Court, and its famous Rodin Thinker that this museum bought directly from Rodin for display. We headed for the Monet. It took a while to find it and it had gathered a crowd not too far from another of this museums’s listed treasures, an Andy Warhol “Marilyn Monroe”.

Neither of this museums temporary exhibits, Motherhood Across Time and Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain” held appeal to us although 2 of its upcoming exhibits, a Giacometti show and the Keithley Collection both sounded interesting. In retrospect, we should have tracked down its special Caravaggio called “The Crucifixion of St. Andrew” and its newishly acquired Lorenzo Lotto, our favorite Renaissance artist, but we did not.

We left exhausted and dissatisfied after having taken great effort to visit this admittedly great museum.


Towns Named Houston

If you asked me the most common town name in the United States, I would have to say Houston. The experts will tell you that there are 24 places in the world with this name. This is because Sam Houston of Texas was, for a period of time, considered a national hero. But the fact is that not every town with the name Houston was named for Sam. When I first learned about all the Houstons, I assumed that most were named for Sam. But this is not necessarily true. The Houston in Scotland, for example, was named for a castle. When I first heard about it on the important World War II Scapa Flow, a body of water in the Orkneys that was very important to the British and Winston Churchill, I assumed that Houston, Scotland, was named for Sam Houston, but it was not. It’s a fairly large Houston with a population of 6,400 people.

The largest place named after Sam Houston was the city in Texas. Houston, TX, is the United States’ 4th largest city. A cosmopolitan town, it has a population of 2.3 million, and is famous as a place with no zoning restrictions. Ruth and I got into the habit of visiting it every January when we lived in St. Louis because being somewhat tropical it provided a temporary escape from winter weather. We got to know this city well and loved being there.

However, we got to know Houston, MO almost as well because Ruth had so many relatives who lived near it. We would pass through it several times each year. In Texas County, Houston, MO was Ruth’s Uncle Kenneth’s favorite town. He lived in Washington State but made it to Houston, MO often on his way to Summersville, MO where he was born and raised. Many places in Houston, TX were named for the city including a ship canal, a library, and a tollway. Houston, MO has a steady population of 2,500 and is a thriving community that is very proud of its relatively new hospital.

There are towns named Houston in British Columbia, Canada, and in the state of Alaska. The Houston in Alaska is 33 miles from Alaska’s largest city Anchorage, but it was not named for Sam Houston. It was named after a Tennessee Congressman. Not incorporated until 1966, Houston, AK is a thriving town of about 2,400 residents. The Houston in British Columbia is also doing well with about 3,000 residents. There are viable Houstons in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Delaware, and Arkansas. The PA and MI Houstons were named for Sam Houston. There is a giant statue of Sam Houston overlooking I-45 near Huntsville, TX. It is one of the largest statues in the world and mighty impressive. Three US counties in MN, TN, and TX are named for Sam Houston. There are many unincorporated towns named Houston scattered across the USA in states like Ohio and Colorado.

Houstons are everywhere.


Getting Reacquainted With The Palouse

Ruth & I discovered one of our best attractions on our way back from Salt Lake City to our Camas base. The Sage Center was only 162.9 miles from Portland, OR and very informative. I had often seen this building and wondered what is was, so we decided to stop. What I figured was a local entertainment complex for the City of Boardman turned out to be an 8-year-old museum of note.

It was not just a state-of-the art museum, the Sage Center was also that increasingly disappearing but traditional visitor center for the area. And what an area! Boardman is an agricultural powerhouse. Sage is an acronym for Sustainable Agriculture and Energy, and this center’s appeal is to both passing tourists and local schools. Our learning began immediately when we were told that the Port of Morrow on the Columbia River where we were is this mighty river’s 2nd most productive and important port after the city of Portland. From here, agricultural products go all over the world. Boardman is the source for such valuable commodities as potatoes, blueberries, and melons. Its melons go all over the world on boats from here. Only its dairy products remain local commodities for reasons that will become clearer as I proceed. One of the activities that children who visit learn is how to milk a cow as they review modern milking techniques and consider low-impact farming. They eventually get to sample Tillamook dairy products.

Our tour began downstairs with a large potato exhibit that continued on the 2nd floor. I thought that Idaho was the potato colossus in the Northwest, but I quickly learned that Washington is also a center of significant potato production. But other food products do as well here in what was once a desert. This area has the best onion yields on Planet Earth, but onions are not its most significant commodity–wheat is.

When we were newly married, Ruth and I used to visit and bond with her Aunt Ollie who lived in Pomeroy, Washington, a town that was east of Boardman. Aunt Ollie had 13 children. All but one of her sons became wheat farmers. One year we were there for the wheat harvest and spent a lot of time on combines participating in the harvest. The Palouse area of this state was mostly devoted to growing wheat and ascending and descending into gulches.

to be continued by Hank