Friday, July 25, 2008

Jenny Lind, CA & Lind,Wisconsin

Jenny Lind was never an American citizen but she made such a memorable impression that both of these communities were named in her honor. Jenny Lind was a famous European opera singer who came to the United States in 1850 to do a two year tour. P.T. Barnum was her promoter and both enjoyed tremendous success to her standing room only performances. Jenny was known as the “Swedish Nightingale” and her ability to hit high F sharps drew crowds of people to her 91 American performances. When she arrived in America, there were over 40,000 people waiting to see a glimpse of her coming off the ship. It is reported that she made over 250,000 dollars while P.T. Barnum probably made 3 times as much. Unlike Barnum, Jenny Lind gave much of her fortunes to charities. She was well known for her philanthropy of funding many schools, hospitals and churches. Today, you can still find American streets named after her and the Jenny Lind beds and cribs are still popular pieces of furniture.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kate Claxton - Super Star of the late 1800's

Claxton, GA - Before radio, the movies, and television, there was actress Kate Claxton. Her real name was Kate Cone and she was born in 1848. Kate’s career began in Chicago in 1871. In 1873, she starred in a play by the name of “Led Astray” and immediately became a sensation. Her most notable role was Louise in “The Two Orphans”. Kate was a savvy business woman and purchased the rights to this play. She also started her own company and starred as the headline during the rest of her career. In 1876, while performing at the Brooklyn Theatre, a fire broke out and over 200 people perished. A few months later another fire broke out in her St. Louis hotel room. The press published articles about Kate being bad luck. Most careers would be devastated. However, Kate turned the negatives into positives. She became even more famous as people would come see her for the curiosity and intrigue. Kate continued to be successful and became wealthy. She lived happily till her death in 1924. This community was named in her honor.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Intercourse is just not the same today!

Intercourse, PA - The town was originally founded in 1754. It was known as Cross Keys after a tavern in the area. There are several unsubstantiated versions of the origin of the name “Intercourse”. Some say the name described the long entrance to an old race track east of town. This stretch of road was first known as the “Entercourse”. By 1814, the name evolved into Intercourse. Another explanation suggests that the name comes from two well known traveled roads that crossed in the middle of the town. Today, the town is a well-known Amish settlement. Again, it is amazing how meanings of some names have changed and how we view them today.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress