Author Archives: roadsrus

About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey.

Towns Named University

You would think that there would be more towns in the United States with the word “university” in their names, but there are only 9 of them. All states have state universities, but they have not inspired towns to develop near them that incorporate their names. There are far more “Union” towns in the United States. Pennsylvania has lots of them. What does this say? Are unions stronger than universities? Very doubtful. In all of the United States there are only 2 University Cities.

One University City is in the Saint Louis area. I know it well because I taught in its schools. It does indeed have a university close to it. It is called Washington University, and it has a national reputation for excellence. University City is one of the older suburbs of St. Louis and a ring community. The other University City is in the San Diego area of California. About 61,500 people currently live there, and it is described as a quiet, little community. It has a mix of residences, commercial areas, and a Mormon Temple.

There are 4 University Parks in the USA. They are in Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, and Texas; and almost 40,000 people live in them. The University Park in Texas is in the Dallas area. The one in Maryland is close to Baltimore and Washington DC and the University of Maryland. The University Park in New Mexico is just south of the city of Las Cruses and not too far from El Paso, Texas. The Illinois University Park is way south of The Loop and barely in the Chicago area.

There is a town called University Gardens on Long Island not too far from New York City. About 4,200 people live there. The only other university towns in the entire US are University Heights in Ohio in the Cleveland area and University Place in the state of Washington. That’s it!

There are 2 international university towns, however. There are truly only 2 towns in the whole world with the word university in their name. They are in Mexico and Costa Rica. The world’s first university was in the city of Fez in Morocco. It was founded by a woman.


Julia Morgan

I’m about to finish a new book about Julia Morgan. The book’s title names her and has a subheading that explains who she is, “An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect”. I have 2 personal reasons for having read it. It’s by Victoria Kastner. She is the official historian of Hearst’s Castle, and has been associated with it for many years. It’s yet another book by her about this California architectural icon.

Is it worth reading? Yes. Is it a book that will appeal to a wide audience? No. Will it make a good series for TV? Yes. Julia Morgan designed more than 700 buildings, mostly in California. Her grandest and most talked about design is Hearst’s Castle. She had a long and prosperous relationship with the newspaper magnet who built it, and she worked on his famous estate for many years. He asked her, the first licensed, practicing female architect in California, to build and maintain it.

There were 2 personal reasons why I read this newly published book. First, my brother Jim currently lives in a home designed by Julia Morgan. Second, I discovered a St. Louis connection. William Randolph Hearst’s mother hailed from Missouri, and I had an Uncle in St. Louis who seriously influenced my travel career. Tom was a traveler who listened patiently to me when I wanted to talk about seeing more of the world. Julia Morgan was in charge of West Coast design for many of the facilities built by the Young Women’s Christian Association. She designed 16 buildings for this organization, and she really liked the one in St. Louis where he worked.

She lost many of her personal drawings and files in the 1906 earthquake that destroyed San Francisco. She had been a practicing architect in the area for only a couple of years when it struck. She was affected because even though she lived in Oakland her office was in this damaged city. She was selected immediately after the quake to rebuild the Fairmont Hotel atop its Nob Hill. It had been completed just 6 weeks before the earthquake occurred that leveled the city. This new hotel had shifted seven feet from its massive concrete foundation. With rats sometimes scampering across her feet Julia Morgan redesigned this landmark hotel to complete post-quake repairs.


Towns Named TaylorVILLE or TaylorsVILLE

There are at least 12 places in the world named Taylorville or Taylorsville. Most of them are small but not all. The Taylorsville in Maryland, for example, is an unincorporated burg 17 miles from much larger Frederick, my US roots, and is described as a mere intersection.

The Taylorville in Idaho is a tiny place near Idaho Falls, a town Ruth & I have been to many times. The 2nd largest Taylorville in the United States is the town in Illinois with a population of over 10,000. We have been there too and really like this town. There is a famous ferris wheel in Taylorville, IL. There are Taylorvilles or Taylorsvilles in Alabama, Indiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. However, few of them with the exception of the West Virginia Taylorville are large enough to be on road maps. The Taylorvilles in Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Utah are all mapped. The Taylorsville in Utah is a suburb of Salt Lake City near its downtown that is now quite large with a population of more than 58,000. I doubt if there are many tailors among them.

There are 2 international towns named Taylorville. The New Zealand Taylorville is in a rather unusual place on the South Island. Most towns on the South Island are on the East Coast because of constant rain, but Taylorville is on a river on the West Coast. It’s an old mining town because of the Brunner Mine. More than 600 New Zealanders, among the world’s friendliest people, live in this Taylorville. There was a disaster in this coal mine many years ago. It has been completely closed for more than 50 years. The other Taylorville is 165 miles from South Australia’s city of Adelaide on Australia’s largest river, The Murray. Taylorville is opposite the larger town of Waikerie, and more than 300 people live there. Many of them grow fruit but are not tailors.


Towns Named Taylor

There are an inordinate number of towns named Taylor in the world. This is due, not to an individual but to a profession. There were a great number of tailors, cutters of cloth, in all countries. Hence, there are many towns named Taylor in the world. The extreme number of towns named Taylor comes from England, and the concept of naming the town where you live Taylor originated in this country. Taylor is a common last name in England, so it’s a very popular and common town name everywhere in the English-speaking world.

In the United States there are or were at least 21 towns with this name. Most of them are still in existence. There are large Taylors in states like Michigan where Taylor has become a major suburb of Detroit. There are even many counties with this name. Taylor counties exist in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. The Taylor in Pennsylvania has more than 6,000 people living in it in the Scranton area. If you add -ville to Taylor, there are even more towns.

There is a town called Taylors Falls. It’s on the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul. There is a Taylortown in the state of North Carolina. Taylor, Arizona, is a fairly large, stand alone town 3 miles south of the appropriately named town of Snowflake. There are even Taylors in Wyoming and Utah. Many states have both a town named Taylor and a county with this name.

There are towns named Taylor in Australia and Canada. Taylor is reportedly the 4th most common surname in England after Smith, Jones, and Williams. It’s little wonder there are so many towns named Taylor out there. There was even a US President named Taylor. Zachary Taylor was the 12th President and a national hero. However, few of the towns named Taylor were named after him.


Park City, Utah

Park City is unlike any other Utah community. It’s the most unMormon town in this mostly Mormon state. Perhaps this is due to its past. It did not develop like other Utah communities. Park City happened because of silver. From its lodes about 400 million dollars worth of this precious metal was extracted. One of the main benefactors of this booming mining endeavor was George Hearst, father of William Randolph Hearst. He owned the productive Ontario Silver Mine. Thirty-two miles from Salt Lake City and its Mormon Temple, Park City developed into a raucous silver town with many active businesses, not all morally legit by Mormon standards, that depended on silver mining.

By the 1950s the population of Park City was down to about 1,500. The last mine had closed in 1972. Park City needed a new endeavor and it got 2, skiing and movies. At 7,000 feet it eventually hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002 long after the Sundance Film Festival came to town and stayed. Most of Park City’s downtown urban business enterprises were reopening and thriving. Many had burned down. The Utah Olympic Park is now north of town and a training facility, and the winter Sundance Film Festival has put down deep roots and stayed.

In December of 1982 the Deer Valley Stein Erikson luxury resort opened. It evolved into one of the first truly deluxe condo hotels in the USA with its 170 rooms, and it’s still in business. Now it’s only one of the fine resorts in Park City with an excellent restaurant and a reputation for “perfection”. Since snow tends to fall later here and after the major holidays, one of the more common signs about Park City beginning around Thanksgiving begs, “Pray for Snow”, and Park City has become one of the most popular mountain towns in The Western US for skiers.

Park City has also become over time an art center of real consequence.