Sunday, March 28, 2010

Americus, Georgia

In 1497, Amerigo Vespucci discovered a new continent when he landed in present day South America. During this time, map makers were trying to decide on a new name for Vespucci’s continent. Famous German map maker, Martin Waldseemuller, created a map signifying this new continent as “America” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. The map maker chose the Latin version of Amerigo because he wanted to have the new name of the continent end in an “a” similar to other continents like Africa and Asia. The name “America” and other derivatives of Amerigo caught on and became very popular in naming the “New World”. Names like Americus, Liberty and Independence followed and became synonymous with the spirit of freedoms being found in this new land.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tuxedo, NY & the TUXEDO SUIT

In 1886, Pierre Lorillard IV built an exclusive country club here. He named it the “Tuxedo Club”. It was a private country club and only exclusive socialites were included in its membership. One of its members was wealthy millionaire, James Potter. Potter was friends with Edward VII of England, the Prince of Wales. The Prince fancied Potter’s wife, Cora, and invited both of them to come visit him in England. Potter was impressed with Edward’s smoking jacket. The Prince replied that it was manufactured by the Henry Poole Company in England and that the company had exclusively designed it for him. Potter liked the Prince’s suit so well that he had a duplicate made. When Potter returned to his hometown to show it off, his wealthy friends at the Tuxedo County Club were ecstatic. It was such a hit that all of the country club members started sporting this new fashion in apparel and the tuxedo became the popular attire for the club’s social events. Later, other wealthy American socialites joined in on the new fashion. However, no one knows for sure how impressed Cora Potter was with the Prince of Wale’s tuxedo. I guess only the Prince and Cora know!

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, March 1, 2010

Angels Camp, CA - A Great Story!

Angels Camp, CA - In 1848, Henry Angel was looking for gold in this area. Henry was from Rhode Island and not having much luck with his venture. He decided to open up a trading post. Gold was finally discovered nearby from other fortune seekers and his town began to flourish. At one time, there were over 4,000 miners searching for gold around Henry’s new town. The town became known as Angels Camp and Henry began to rake in the profits. Later, the town became famous for frog jumping contests.

According to legend, Mark Twain spent a few days here around 1865. During a drinking session, Ben Coon, the bartender, told Twain of a story about a jumping frog here in Calaveras County. Mark Twain elaborated on the information and published another one of his famous books “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. The town became famous from this Mark Twain story. Twain tells of a gold rush town named Angels Camp with a frog jumping contest. Today, the community lives up to its name. Since 1928, the community hosts the Annual Frog Jumping Contest.

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress