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General Interest

150 years on, South shedding romance of Dixie

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Written by BOB LEWIS, AP Political Writer   
Monday, 18 July 2011 11:17
The Jefferson Davis on Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., the capital of the Confederacy. Davis (1808-1889) was its president. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Fifty years ago, the Confederacy's former capital marked the Civil War's centennial with rebel flags fluttering and marching bands blaring Dixie—a celebration of romanticized Old South icons and stereotypes as an emerging New South clashed over issues of race and civil rights.

While this year's 150th anniversary observances in Richmond and across the South take a more objective, realistic look at the war, its causes and its consequences, there are reminders aplenty that old times are not forgotten.

Charles Bryan, the president and chief executive officer-emeritus of the Virginia Historical Society, said the perspective in Virginia and elsewhere across Dixie toward the Civil War is much more mature and evenhanded in its sesquicentennial commemorations.

“The centennial in the South was basically a glorification of the Confederacy,” Bryan said. “There was no African-American participation in the centennial to speak of.”

Then, in this city of massive monuments to such Confederate heroes as J.E.B. Stuart, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee, “Yankee” was still a derisive term.

And now?

Workers last week carefully muscled a 900-pound bronze sculpture titled Brothers into place in the state Capitol's extension just beneath the 200-year-old legislative chambers where the Confederate Congress held its first Virginia meeting 150 years ago Wednesday.

The sculpture by Pennsylvania artist Gary Casteel depicts a tearful battlefield reunion of sibling soldiers—one rebel, the other Union. The presentation is more allegorical than historical, said Capitol historian and tour supervisor Mark K. Greenough. But its meaning, he said, is clear: reconciliation.

“Maybe there's a message in that for our modern generation,” Greenough said.

From the Civil War's aftermath through Reconstruction, firsthand memories of its widespread death, privations and heartbreak were too fresh for romanticized notions of it to take hold, Bryan said. That didn't happen, he said, until the early 20th century, when Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and the film Birth of a Nation helped nurture a sanitized, glorified popular fiction about the war and the South's sympathetic “Lost Cause.”

“I think it probably closed our minds in the South—not everybody, obviously—to the need for change and the need to embrace new ideas,'' Bryan said of an era that put the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, on a collision course with the civil rights movement. “It may have led to a certain mindset that, ‘by God, we're not going to change.’ In some ways, that's good, but in some ways it leaves a region and a people behind.”

And slow though change may be, Richmond itself has produced poignant and even striking examples of it.

On Capitol Square, an obscure bronze plaque in the shadow of a massive equestrian statue of George Washington marks the spot where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the Confederacy's lone president. About 100 yards away, at the north entrance to the Capitol, L. Douglas Wilder, a grandson of slaves, took his oath of office as the nation's first elected black governor.

A building just downhill from the Capitol is named for Oliver Hill, the black Richmond lawyer who was lead counsel in a case later known as Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that struck down racially segregated public schools. In Hill's youth, that building housed the state library and the Virginia Supreme Court, places where Hill's color made him unwelcome.

Wilder, 80, notes major milestones toward a more reconciled society that he has experienced and even created. He won't say the state or the nation has fully come to terms with the war or with slavery, even in discussing some of history's most towering figures.

“You might not want to look at the savagery of it, but you can look at the realism of what took place, and when you still hold up as heroes of the nation and of the world Jefferson and Washington—they're slaveholders,” Wilder said.

Some say slavery is overemphasized today as a cause for the conflict. Tracy Clary of Brunswick County, 2nd Lt. Cmdr. of the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said taxes and tariffs imposed on the agrarian Southern states figured heavily in pushing the North and South to arms, he said.

“We tend to look today at what happened in 1860 (and) 1861 through today's glasses, and that's a very, very obstructive view. Things were very different at that time,” Clary said. “Morally, slavery was probably the ugliest stain upon American history.”

Politicians must tread gently on the Confederacy and its legacy. In 2010, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell designated April as Confederate History Month in a proclamation that made no mention of slavery. McDonnell quickly apologized for the omission and revised his decree to denounce slavery as “evil and inhumane.”

Within days, his fellow Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi renewed the furor by saying in a nationally televised interview that while slavery was bad, the flap over McDonnell's initial proclamation “doesn't amount to diddly.”

Such instances, Wilder suggested, prove that the past isn't yet in the past.

“I would predict that maybe in this next century, we would have a more correct understanding of this country, of where we are and how we got to be where we are. Right now, we don't know,” he said.

___

Bob Lewis has covered Virginia politics and government since 2000.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-17-11 1642GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The Jefferson Davis on Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., the capital of the Confederacy. Davis (1808-1889) was its president. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 16:02
 

Bisbee, Ariz., prospers from its copper-mining history

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Written by TOM BEAL, Arizona Daily Star   
Friday, 15 July 2011 09:02
Brick storefronts build in the early 1900s line Bisbee's Main Street. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. This work is licensed unter the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – Bisbee was the most prosperous city in the new state of Arizona on Feb. 14, 1912.

It retained its rough edges, however, and celebrated statehood in true mining-camp style—setting off 48 sticks of dynamite in a mining hole near its downtown.

Next year's centennial festivities will mimic that raucous salute—with a decrease in firepower necessitated by Homeland Security concerns.

Copper mining ceased in Bisbee more than 30 years ago, but it remains the best place to envision what life was like in an Arizona mining town 100 years ago.

Its handsome Main Street, lined with substantial brick buildings, looks much the same as it did then.

That streetscape was new when its residents celebrated statehood. Disastrous fires in 1907 and 1908 had leveled the wooden buildings in Tombstone Canyon.

The wealth of the city's mining and merchant class made rebuilding a snap. Merchants set up shop amid the ashes, and most buildings were rebuilt within a year, using stone and brick this time.

Bisbee was officially Arizona's third-largest city when President William H. Taft signed the statehood proclamation, with a population in the 1910 census of 9,019.

That figure, though, failed to include the residents who lived outside of what is now called “Old Bisbee,” including those who lived in Warren, Arizona's first planned community, where stately mansions lined five-block-long Vista Park.

Bisbee historian Gary Dillard said the city's population was closer to 20,000, which would rank it ahead of Tucson and Phoenix at the time.

It was a substantial place. It boasted the state's only golf course, baseball stadium and stock exchange. It had three theaters, all making a transition from vaudeville shows to motion pictures.

An electric streetcar ran the length of Tombstone Canyon, headed south to Warren, and then beyond to the golf course, tennis courts and shooting range of the Bisbee Country Club.

Bisbee's mining wealth attracted rail lines and had just created the nearby border city of Douglas—sited as a convenient spot to smelt copper from mines in Bisbee and Mexico.

Relocation of the smelter provided relief to Bisbee's smoke-choked canyons. The air grew cleaner as the town grew richer.

The Bank of Bisbee, “the largest in Southern Arizona,” advertised an astounding $1 million in assets in the Bisbee Daily Review—$22.8 million in today's dollars.

Today, Bisbee's population has shrunk to 5,575.

It remains the Cochise County seat—an honor it stole in 1929 from nearby Tombstone, whose population dwindled after its silver mines flooded in 1887.

Bisbee, which built its fortune on copper, was prosperous for a longer haul.

It didn't start out as a copper-mining town, said Dillard, native son, journalist and longtime student of Bisbee's history.

“Everyone was looking for gold and silver,” Dillard said.

The ore discovery made by Army scout Jack Dunn in 1877 and followed up by George Warren was actually cerrusite, said Dillard, a compound of lead often found in association with silver.

Copper was also present, but until Thomas Edison began building power plants in the late 19th century, it was not a coveted ore.

Bisbee lucked out, said Dillard. Its copper ore body was rich and its mining infrastructure was in place when the electrification of America created a demand for copper wire that all the mines on Earth couldn't fill.

The oxides in the first 300 to 500 feet of the upthrust Mule Mountains were up to 40 percent pure copper. “You're talking about materials that today would be collected as specimens,” Dillard said.

In 1911, Bisbee mined 133 million pounds of copper, almost half of Arizona's total. In the coming decade, it would ramp up production as World War I created even greater demand.

By 1912, Bisbee had been transformed from a hardscrabble mining camp to a sophisticated city where women bought the newest fashions from merchants named Levy and Goldwater, among others.

Italianate villas and Victorian mansions were built.

“It had a huge merchant class,” said Dillard. Many residents were partial owners of the mining enterprises, trading their shares on the stock exchange, now a tourist bar at the mouth of Brewery Gulch.

A hotel, built by the Copper Queen Mining Co., advertised itself as “the Copper Queen Hotel and high-class cafe.”

It was an important place. “Industries like copper were driving the American Industrial Revolution,” said Carrie Gustavson, director of the Bisbee Mining and Mineral Museum.

Bisbee was Arizona's first urban outpost, she said—“a Western version of an American industrial city.”

By 1917, it had reached a population of about 22,800, said Boyd Nicholl, Bisbee photographer, tour operator and city councilman for the historic center of town.

1917 was also the year of Bisbee's most notorious episode—the forced deportation of 1,300 miners who were organizers or sympathizers of the Industrial Workers of the World, a labor outfit considered seditious by the mining interests consolidated under the Phelps-Dodge Copper Co.

The mining bosses controlled the newspapers and the authorities, and they hatched a scheme under which Sheriff Harry Wheeler, his deputies and an army of armed volunteers rounded up the union men and put them in boxcars. They were shipped to the desert near Columbus, N.M., with orders not to return.

Over the decades, Bisbee's fortunes rose and fell with the price of copper.

As the richer veins played out, Phelps-Dodge turned to open-pit operations as early as 1917. A major expansion came in 1950, as P-D moved homes and highways and leveled hills to create the Lavender Pit - 900 feet in depth and 300 acres in breadth.

Those activities subsided by the early 1970s. The last underground mine closed in 1974 and the pit in 1975.

Bisbee had produced 8 billion pounds of copper in its day, but its day was over.

Property values plummeted as population dwindled. Miners moved on and hippies moved in, attracted by Bisbee's low cost of living and its charm.

Entrepreneurs came as well, buying up properties that had potential for creating a tourism-based economy. The Copper Queen Mine became a mine tour. The Copper Queen Hotel was refurbished. Old mansions and schoolhouses became bed and breakfast inns.

Bisbee's mining past became its future.

The entire city is on exhibit, Gustavson said. “Because the historical landscape is so well preserved, you can walk around Bisbee and feel it.”

Beyond the townscape that copper built is the pit where it was mined and the housing developments it spawned, including Warren, whose mansions are now dwarfed by low mountains of broken rock—the tailings from the pit.

Bisbee continues to shrink. It lost 900 residents between 2000 and 2010, but Dillard thinks the numbers are deceptive. It has become a place where folks from Tucson and Phoenix have second homes, attracted by its mild, mile-high climate and its picturesque setting in the Mule Mountains.

It is not just a tourist town, though shops, restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, galleries and antique sellers abound.

Its economy is fueled first by government jobs. In addition to being the county seat, it is also a convenient bedroom community for government employees of the Douglas prison, the community college, Univeristy of Arizona South in Sierra Vista, the Border Patrol and Fort Huachuca.

“A caravan leaves every morning for Fort Huachuca. I did that myself,” Nicholl said.

Bisbee is also home to self-employed telecommuters and artists, and a growing number of retirees.

Dillard thinks Bisbee's copper days are far from over. There is plenty of ore left beneath the ground. “Look at the market worldwide. There is just huge demand,” he said.

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Phelps-Dodge's successor in ownership of Bisbee's mineral wealth, has not announced plans to resume mining, but Dillard expects it will one of these years.

In the meantime, Bisbee remains a copper town.

___

Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-14-11 0807GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Brick storefronts build in the early 1900s line Bisbee's Main Street. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. This work is licensed unter the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 16:05
 

Old W.Va. pottery plant to undergo major cleanup

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 12:56
Tankard from a set that included five mugs, all with images of dogs, produced by Taylor, Smith & Taylor. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Tom Harris Auction Center.

CHESTER, W.Va. (AP) - A former pottery plant in Chester that's been mostly vacant for 30 years is being targeted for cleanup and reuse.

The Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle announced Monday that it has acquired the former Taylor Smith and Taylor ceramic pottery plant from Rock Springs Enterprises Inc.

The corporation plans to work with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a voluntary remediation plan for the property. The plant closed in 1981.

The second phase of an environmental assessment will be conducted to determine contamination at the site, said Patrick Ford, executive director of the corporation. He expects contaminants to include lead and asbestos.

"Our Board recognized that there is a public urgency at the TS&T site,'' Ford said in a news release. "The unchecked deterioriation of this site would result in an immediate threat to the health and safety of the residential neighborhood, in addition to the economic wellbeing of Hancock County.''

Residents have complained about the property for years.

Ford called the site "a longstanding environmental eyesore for the residents of Chester.''

He said the corporation paid $125,000 for the site, which is less than 10 acres.

The corporation plans to involve a task force of community stakeholders in the site's remediation and planning for future uses.

"A development on this site that includes business and housing will help breathe life back into this community,'' said Bill D'Alesio, chairman of the development corporation's board.

D'Alesio said all the buildings on the property will be razed.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Tankard from a set that included five mugs, all with images of dogs, produced by Taylor, Smith & Taylor. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Tom Harris Auction Center.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 16:50
 

Antique-themed 'Restoration' wins Czech film festival

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:31

PRAGUE (AP) - The Israeli movie Restoration has won the top prize at the 46th International Film Festival in the western Czech spa town of Karlovy.

The film, directed by Joseph Madmony, is a psychological study of characters in the contemporary Israeli society. It examines problems of an owner of an antique furniture restoration shop with his son and business after his business partner dies.

The movie was chosen from 12 contenders for the Crystal Globe by the festival's grand jury, led by Hungarian director Istvan Szabo.

Saturday's award also comes with a $30,000 cash prize.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Restored WWII bomber flies to N.Y. museum

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 09:38
The A-26 Invader, a light bomber built by Douglas Aircraft, was first used in by the U.S. in World War II. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. LANCASTER, Ohio (AP) – A World War II bomber restored during 12 years of volunteer work in central Ohio has been flown to a museum in New York.

The Historical Aircraft Squadron in Lancaster donated the labor needed to get the twin-engine plane back into flying condition, and the California plane collector who owns it paid about $200,000 for parts.

The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reports the 26,000-pound plane was flown Tuesday to the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum in Geneseo, N.Y., for display.

Tuesday was its seventh – and potentially last – flight.

"They'll keep it a flyable plane, but who's to say if it will fly again," said Branson Rutherford, a volunteer with the organization who oversaw much of the plane's restoration.

The squadron says the aircraft was introduced to combat late in World War II and flew in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Squadron and museum officials say the plane that originated as an A-26 bomber was later designated as a B-26 (1948-1965). They say operational planes of either type are rare.

___

Information from: Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, redistributed, or rewritten.

AP-WF-07-06-11 1518GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The A-26 Invader, a light bomber built by Douglas Aircraft, was first used in by the U.S. in World War II. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2011 10:02
 
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