Monday, April 11, 2011

Ibi Delivery, Day 3

We stopped by Scott Smith’s shop to see the finishing touches being added to Ibi. On the way, we passed an abandoned one-room school house that was in Orange School District #5, dated 1894. We both have fond memories of such schools. I attended one when I was younger, and Jean taught in a one-room Amish school for a number of years.

Scott would need today to finish the details, so we continued into Portland. It drizzled rain all day, so I’ll apologize for some hazy, foggy pictures, but I had to work with what I had. Portland is a beautiful little town filled with friendly people. You shouldn’t be surprised to see it as a movie set. We looked for a small diner or coffee shop to get in out of the chill and wet, and found the Cheeky Monkey. The cheeky monkeys were apparently the town’s toddlers, whose pictures adorned most vertical surfaces from walls, blackboard, to refrigerator front. There was an assortment of coffee’s, and we carried a mug of our choice to the counter, and then selected a pastry to go with it. The one I pointed to, I was told, was the Happy Crappy, a large, fruit-filled, high-fiber muffin. We both started laughing and were told, with some glee, that the name of the muffin was chosen to see who did or did not have a sense of humor.

Jean’s arthritis was acting up (This is just one of several hundred reasons for not waiting for retirement or old age to start enjoying life. I can enumerate them one-by-one if you wish.). She decided to rest in the motel while I went for a walk. Portland enjoys the benefit of one of the Rails-to-Trails projects, so has a beautiful trail running through the length of the town along the Looking Glass River, with benches, parks, and gazebos scattered along at convenient distances.

Portland is nicknamed the “City of Two Rivers”, the Grand and the Looking Glass. I walked about 8 ½ miles from the motel, through town to Verlen Kruger’s Memorial and back. In 1850 the Looking Glass was dammed. The dam had innovative holes in its face into which were inserted turbines. The turbines provided mechanical power to the flour mill on one side of the river, which is still there, and a wool mill and furniture factory on the other. When the river level was down, the furniture factory also used steam power to fill the absence of natural power. In 1890 the turbines were converted to provide the town with its first electricity. It was later decided to allow the river to return to its natural flow, and the dam was breached, but its remains are still visible.

Beyond the flour mill you come to the confluence of the Looking Glass and Grand Rivers at a park that was once the site of an Indian village. There is now a memorial to those lost in the 9-11 attacks, complete with a section of girder from one of the World Trade towers.

Being a town of rivers, besides pedestrian bridges, there are about five original vehicle bridges, this one from 1891, which have been lovingly preserved in pristine condition to help add to the Victorian taste of the town. Even the ornate street lights are works of beauty.

Crossing the Grand and walking the river trail along the west bank, you eventually come to the Kruger Memorial. You can click the picture to enlarge the photo for reading. It took family and friends from around the country six years to raise the funds for the construction of the memorial and casting of the life-sized bronze statue. The base for the monument has a compass rose done in colored brick with dedication bricks making up the balance of the platform. On the picnic pavilion in the background is a Monarch butterfly, the symbol for the Kruger Canoes. Verlen still rests his arms on his favorite paddle, the Black Bart graphite.
Please support Save The Children. Thanks, Jim


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