Canal Bridgetender’s Houses

These three small houses are located along the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Trenton, where movable bridges formerly crossed the canal. Houses were provided so the bridgetenders were always available to swing the bridge out of the way as a canal barge passed through.

The Hanover Street house was renovated when Thomas Edison State College built the large building that partially surrounds it. The Calhoun Street house appears to be stabilized, while the Prospect Street house looks occupied.

Hanover Street Bridgetender’s House. Source: TCM
Hanover Street Bridgetender’s House. Source: TCM

Hanover Street Bridgetender’s House. Source: TCM

Calhoun Street Bridgetender’s House. Source: TCM


Calhoun Street Bridgetender’s House. Source: TCM
Prospect Street Bridgetender’s House. Source: TCM

James Bond’s Passenger Pigeon Egg

Passenger Pigeon egg. Source: Didier Descouens Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

This passenger pigeon egg is from the collection of James Bond, the real ornithologist and inspiration for the fictional spy. Bond worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and specialized in Caribbean birds. According to the label, the egg was collected in 1849 (not by Bond, who was born in 1900). It was later obtained by Jacques Perrin de Brichambaut and is now in the collection of the Muséum de Toulouse (Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de la ville de Toulouse) in France.

Medieval Arms at the Cleveland Art Museum

The Cleveland Museum of Art has just made over 30,000 images from their collections available for reuse under a creative commons zero license. Here’s a few examples of Medieval arms in their Armor Court.


Crossbow of Elector Augustus I of Saxony, c. 1553-1573. Source: Cleveland Museum of Art, Creative Commons CC0 1.0
Battle Axe, 1400s. Source: Cleveland Museum of Art, Creative Commons CC0 1.0

Left-Handed Dagger or “Main Gauche” c. 1650. Source: Cleveland Museum of Art, Creative Commons CC0 1.0

Carhartt – Are You Keeping the Faith?

Source: Carhartt.

After writing about Lee’s Union-Alls the other day, my thoughts naturally turned to Carhartt’s coveralls, the archaeologist’s cold-weather friend.

The Carhartt company, coincidentally, was founded the same year as the H.D. Lee Company, 1889, when Hamilton Carhartt started selling bib overalls in Detroit, Michigan. Carhartt’s coveralls appeared by the World War II era, and likely earlier, but Lee’s claim to be first seems valid.

Source: Popular Mechanics January 1946.

Like the original H.D. Lee company, the Carhartt company proudly proclaimed their support of Union workers. The modern Carhartt company, unlike Lee, is still a family-owned business, and about half of their workers are Union members.

Source: Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen’s Magazine 1919.

Lee Union-Alls : Union-Made in Trenton

Lee Union-Alls Building, E. State Street, Trenton, NJ. Source: TCM

The H.D. Lee Mercantile company was founded in Salinas, Kansas, in 1889, but by the early twentieth century, it was focused on making clothes and had factories in several cities, including Trenton, New Jersey. Lee Union-Alls, a jumpsuit for mechanics and other blue-collar workers, were created in 1913 and became their signature product. The name touted the fact that they were union-made.

H.D. Lee Mercantile Company Factories, 1920s. Source: H.D. Lee/www.union-made.blogspot.com
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Voila, an American Dream – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I had forgotten this song existed for decades. When I heard it, it was instantly recognizable, but I had to look up who sang it. An American Dream was released by the Dirt Band in 1979 and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1980. The singer dreams about getting out of Augusta, Georgia on a Jamaican vacation, but is willing to settle for a trip to Coconut Grove in Florida. That’s Linda Ronstadt helping out on the vocals.

The Dirt Band was previously and subsequently known as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Back in 1972, they had released the triple album – yes, three whole LPs – Will the Circle Be Unbroken, in which they sang traditional songs with several old-timey country and bluegrass musicians, including Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, and Mother Maybelle Carter.

Back to An American Dream: This song was written by Rodney Crowell and released on his 1978 album with its original title, Voila, an American Dream. That album, which was not particularly successful, also contained his song Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight which was later covered by Emmylou Harris and, more recently, Shovels & Rope.

Explorers Club and Infiniti Celebrate Roy Chapman Andrews’ 1920s Gobi Desert Expedition with SUVs

Source: Infiniti.


The Explorers Club, Hong Kong Chapter (which for no real reason immediately brought to mind the Flying Elvises, Utah Chapter) and the Mongolian Institute of Paleontology and Geology (IPG) recently teamed up for a twenty day jaunt into the Gobi Desert to look for dinosaur fossil and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expedition.

Point of order here: On his trip to Mongolia one hundred years ago, Andrews was actually working as a spy for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence during World War I. His more famous Central Asiatic Expeditions, where his team from the American Museum of Natural History made so many important paleontological discoveries, including the first dinosaur egg fossils, began in 1922.

That 1918 mission did result in valuable information that helped make his later scientific expeditions to Mongolia so successful – including his conviction that a motorized vehicle expedition was feasible.

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