Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lowrider Capital of the World

Expanola, New Mexico is proud to call itself the Lowrider Capital of the World because of its tradition of highlighting lowriders as part of local culture and the high number of lowriders per capita. Around the 4th of July, the city hosts the Espanola Low-Rider and Custom Car Show.

Address: Espanola Valley Chamber of Commerce, 710 Paseo de Onata, P O Box 190, Espanola, NM 87532-0190; 505-753-2831; Fax: 505-753-1252. Email: Web:

For more images of lowriders, see

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Snowmobile Capital of the World

Eagle River, Wisconsin, the Snowmobile Capital of the World, hosts the World Championship Snowmobile Derby every year around the middle of January. The 2007 derby will be held January 18 to 21, 2007, at the Eagle River Derby Track, P.O. Box 1447, Eagle River, Wisconsin 54521; 715-479-4424; Fax: 715-479-9711. Web:

Address: Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, 201 N. Railroad Street, P.O. Box 1917, Eagle River, Wisconsin 54521; 715-479-6400; 800-359-6315. Email: Web: and

Friday, April 14, 2006

Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame

The Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame is located in St. Germain, Wisconsin, just down the road from the Snowmobile Capital of the World (see next entry).

In 1983, Mike Trapp, C. J. Ramstad and Loren Anderson were talking about the great and exciting history of snowmobile racing. Mike was a two-time Eagle River World champion and Loren had been a number one bib in open and 650 classes. CJ talked of the fantastic photo library he had which told the thrilling history of racing. Before that day's riding was over, the three had decided that a museum and a hall of fame should be created to honor the race drivers and to display their unique and exciting sleds. The idea for the Hall of Fame and Museum was born.

Address: Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, 8481 Highway 70 West, P O Box 720, St. Germain, Wisconsin 54558; 715-542-4488; Fax: 715-542-4477. Email: Web:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

World's Largest Musky Shop

Rollie & Helen's Musky Shop in Minocqua, Wisconsin is the World's Largest Musky Shop. That's what their catalog says, and I don't doubt them. At their store, you can get anything you want having to do with catching, mounting, or displaying musky.

Address: Rollie & Helen's Musky Shop, 7542 Highway 51 South, Minocqua, Wisconsin 54548; 715-356-6011; 800-453-5224; Fax: 715-356-5719. Email: Web:

Friday, April 07, 2006

Rock Album Cover Locations

Chris Epting, author of Elvis Presley Passed Here and other cultural history travel books, has a wonderful page on his web site that features the actual locations that were used in the cover art of major rock albums by The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Jackson Browne. You really have to visit this page:

Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy album . . .

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Prescott, Arizona: A Special Place

Besides its natural beauty, Prescott, Arizona has three exceptional things about it.

1. Prescott sits amid the largest stand of ponderosa pines in the world.

2. Prescott was Arizona's first territorial capital.

3. Since 1888, Prescott has been home of the world's oldest, continuously running rodeo. This rodeo is still held around the 4th of July.

Address: The Prescott Chamber of Commerce, 117 W. Goodwin Street, Prescott, Arizona 86302; 928-445-2000; 800-266-7534. Email: Web: or

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cowboy Capital of the World

Bandera, Texas bills itself as the Cowboy Capital of the World.

Contact: Bandera Visitors Bureau, 1206 Hackberry, P O Box 171, Bandera TX 78003; 830-796-3045; 800-364-3833. Email: Web:

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Poor Man's Dante's Inferno

In this case, it's Hot Times, Very Hot Places!

Known as the poor man's Dante's Inferno because of an underground fire that has been burning for more than 40 years, the coal mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania has been the setting for the film Silent Hill, starring Radha Mitchell, as well as bestselling novelist Lisa Scottoline's new book Dirty Blonde.

The story of Centralia's fire began sometime in 1962 along the outskirts of town when trash was burned in the pit of an abandoned strip mine, which connected to a coal vein running near the surface. The burning trash set fire to the exposed vein of coal. Thought to be extinguished, the first began burning underground. For two decades, the government battled the fire in a number of ways: flushing water down the mine, excavating burning material, cutting ditches, etc., but all attempts to put the fire out were fruitless. By the early 1980s, when much of the town was abandoned, the fire had encompassed 200 acres. The fire continues to this day and is expected to continue for many years to come.

Note: It is very dangerous to walk or drive in the area near the fire. As the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection notes: "Walking and/or driving in the immediate area could result in serious injury or death. There are dangerous gases present, and the ground is prone to sudden and unexpected collapse. DEP strongly discourages anyone from visiting the immediate area."

The best resource for more information about the on-going fire is the web site at

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Oldest Wooden Merry-Go-Round in the U.S.

In 1905, the Kit Carson County Carousel, the oldest wooden merry-go-round in the U.S., opened at Elitch Gardens in Denver, Colorado. It was later moved to Burlington, Colorado in 1928. It is the only antique carousel in America that still has the original paint on the scenery and animals.

Address: Kit Carson County Carousel Association, P O Box 28, Stratton, Colorado 80836; 719-348-5562. Web:

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pinto Bean Capital of the World

Dove Creek, Colorado is the Pinto Bean Capital of the World. Pinto Beans are the most widely produced bean in the United States and is one of the most popular in the Americas.

Address: Dove Creek Chamber of Commerce, P O Box 613, Dove Creek, Colorado 81324-0613; 970-677-2272; Fax: 970-677-2271.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

World's First Rodeo

The world's first rodeo was held on July 4, 1869 in Deer Trail, Colorado.

Address: Town of Deer Trail, P O Box 217, Deer Trail, Colorado 80105; 303-769-4464; Fax: 303-769-4466. Email: Web:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Movie Star: Durango & Silverton Railroad

Established in 1881, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has appeared in more than a dozen movies including Colorado Territory (1949), Ticket to Tomahawk (1950), Denver & Rio Grande (1952), Viva Zapata (1952), Three Young Texans (1954), Run for Cover (1955), Maverick Queen (1956), Around the World in 80 Days (1956), Night Passage (1957), How the West Was Won (1963), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Support Your Local Gunfighter (1970), Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (1984), The Tracker (1987), Rebirth of a Locomotive (1992), Tracks Through Time (1999), Durango Kids (1999), Golden Dreams (2000), and The Claim (2000).

Address: Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, 479 Main Street, Durango, Colorado 81301; 970-247-2733; 877-TRAIN-07. Email: Web:

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

World's Largest Natural Hot Springs Pool

The world's largest natural hot springs pool, over two blocks long, is located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Address: Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, P O Box 308, Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81602; 970-945-6571; 800-537-SWIM; Fax: 970-947-2950. Web:

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oldest State-Funded Archival Agency in the U.S.

The Alabama Department of Archives is the oldest state-funded archival agency in the U.S.

Address: Alabama Department of Archives, 624 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100; 334-242-4435. Web:

Sunday, February 19, 2006

World's Only Monument Dedicated to an Insect Pest

The Boll Weevil Monument was dedicated on December 11, 1919, at Enterprise, Alabama. It is the world's only monument dedicated to an insect pest.

Address: Boll Weevil Monument, Intersection of Main and College, Enterprise, Alabama 36331-0577; 334-347-0581; 800-235-4730; Fax: 334-393-8204. Web:

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Even More Pennsylvania Firsts

1831: The Oxford Provident, the first building and loan association in America, was established at Frankford, Pennsylvania on January 31, 1831.

1831: On April 25, 1831, Matthias Baldwin tested the first locomotive which established the largest locomotive building works in the world.

1834: The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, began the first systematic study of meteorology in the aid of agriculture.

Address: The Franklin Institute, 220 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103; 212-448-1200. Web:

1835: The city of Philadelphia began laying the first gas pipes in the U.S.

1848: The first regularly published comic paper, the John-Donkey, was published in Philadelphia.

1852: The Female Medical College of Philadelphia (later Woman's Medical College) granted the first medical degree for women in America. In recent years, the college has joined with Drexel University's college of medicine.

"Drexel University College of Medicine ... is the consolidation of two venerable medical schools with rich and intertwined histories: Hahnemann Medical College and Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Established in 1848 and 1850, respectively, they were two of the earliest medical colleges in the United States, and Woman's was the very first medical school for women in the nation."

Address: Drexel University College of Medicine, Queen Lane Medical Campus, 2900 W. Queen Lane, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19129; 215-991-8100. Web:

Friday, February 17, 2006

Still More Pennsylvania Firsts

1807: Joseph Hawkins of Philadelphia created the first carbonated water made in America.

1809: In September, Scotch millwright Somerville constructed the first experimental rail track in the U.S. near Bulls Head Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Thomas Leiper.

1810: The first savings fund society in America was established at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1818: Joseph Lancaster started the Model School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the first normal school in the U.S.

1819: The Philadelphia Analectic Magazine printed the first lithograph in America.

1819: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania erected the first water power works in the U.S.

1824: The first American manufacturer's trade show was held at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1827: The first horticultural society in America, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, was founded in November, 1827, under the leadership of Dr. James Meade of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Address: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 100 N. 20th Street, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103; 215-988-8800; Fax: 215-988-8810. Email: Web:

1829: G.A. Shyrock of Philadelphia became the first to make paper and boards from straw and grass by using machinery.

1830: C.C. Conwell published the first penny newspaper in the U.S., the Cent, in Philadelphia.

1830: Louis Godey of Philadelphia published the first successful women's magazine, Godey's Lady Book.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Pennsylvania Firsts

1791: The first public canal company, the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Canal Company, was chartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1791: The first carpet factory in the U.S. was established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1792: The first U.S. Mint was established in Philadelphia by the U.S. Congress.

Address: United States Mint, 151 N. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-1886; 215-408-0110. Web:

1794: Charles Wilson Peal, Joseph Cerrachi, William Rush, and others formed the first society for the promotion of fine arts in the U.S., the Columbianum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1796: Binney & Ronaldson formed the first type foundry in America at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1804: Charles Eneu Johnson established the first printing ink factory in the U.S. at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1805: The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the first arts institution in the U.S., was established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was chartered on March 28, 1806.

Address: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,
118 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102; 215-972-7600; Fax: 215-569-0153. Web:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Some Pennsylvania Firsts -- More

1780: Dr. Benjamin Rush published the first American work on medicine.

1780: The Pennsylvania Assembly passed the first abolition act in America.

1780: Robert Morris organized the first public bank in the U.S., the Pennsylvania Bank.

1781: On May 26, 1781, the Bank of North America was established by resolution of the U.S. Congress as the first lasting corporate banking institution in the U.S. It opened on January 7, 1782.

1784: The first zoological garden in the U.S. opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July.

Address: Zoological Society of Philadelphia,
3400 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-1196; 215-243-1100. Email: Web:

1784: The Pennsylvania Packet or General Advertiser, the first daily newspaper in the United States, was published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 21, 1784, by John Dunlap and David Claypoole.

1785: Dr. Benjamin Rush, Robert Morris, Richard Peters, and others established The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, the first agriculture society in North America.

1786: John Fitch operated the first steam vessel on water on July 20, 1786, on the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On August 22, 1787, he operated the first steamboat in the same location. In 1790, the he operated the first regularly scheduled passenger and freight steamboat in the world.

1790: The oldest law school in America, the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, was founded by James Wilson at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1790: The first stock exchange in America was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Some Pennsylvania Firsts

1753: Pass & Stowe cast the first bell made in the U.S. for use in the State House located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1753: On March 4, 1753, Captain Charles Swaine took off in the schooner Argo in the first North American expedition for Arctic exploration.

1762: Dr. William Shippen opened the first North American school of anatomy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 26, 1762.

1765: On May 30, 1765, Dr. John Morgan opened the first medical school in the U.S. at the College of Philadelphia.

Address: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2002 Penn Tower, 399 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4385; 215-662-4000. Web:

1766: The first permanent theater house in America was built in Southwark, Pennsylvania.

1773: The American Medical Society was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1774: The first Anti-Slavery Society in the U.S. was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1775: Johann Behrent built the first piano in the U.S. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He named it Piano Forte.

1776: The U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1777: Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Monday, February 13, 2006

World's Smallest City Park

Measuring only two feet across, Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon is the world's smallest city park. Created in 1948 for the leprechauns, snail races are held there every St. Patrick’s Day.

Address: Mills End Park, Corner of Front Avenue and Taylor Street in the middle of a crosswalk, Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Deepest Lake in the United States

Known for its intense blue color and spectacular views, Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest lake in the United States.

Crater Lake National Park was created on May 22, 1902. The park receives more snowfall than any other place in the country,
averaging 533 inches a year!

Address: Crater Lake National Park, P O Box 7, Crater Lake, Oregon 97604; 541-594-3100; Fax: 541-594-3010. Web:

Saturday, February 11, 2006

National 4-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum

This unique museum features America's premier collection of vintage banjos. Inductees include Tim Allen, Mel Bay, Ralph Martin, Jack Canine, Buddy Wachter, Harry Reser, Cathy Reilly-Finn, Bacon & Day, Shakey Johnson, Freddy Morgan, Jubilee Banjo Band, Don Van Palta, Sandy Riner, Roy Smeck, Smokey Montgomery, Eddie Peabody, and many others.

Address: National 4-String Banjo Hall of Fame, The International Banjo College, 116 E. Oklahoma Avenue, Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044; 405-260-1323. Email: Web:

Friday, February 10, 2006

Largest Scottish Rite Complex in the World

Completed in 1929, the largest Scottish Rite Complex in the world is located in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The great Temple of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Guthrie is a place in which the glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe is celebrated.

Address: Scottish Rite Temple, 900 E. Oklahoma, P. O. Box 70, Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044; 405-282-1281. Web: