My sister came by the house the other day and passed along a sword, a family heirloom, to me. The scabbard is steel, the grip leather wrapped with wire, and the blade decorated with acid etchings. Both sword and scabbard are covered with a warm patina. The sword, as the family legend goes, belonged to an ancestor who fought in the Civil War. I was intrigued, and decided to dig deeper, to learn what I could about my family’s history and, if possible, how this sword fit into it. Continue reading “The Story of Rufus Willis Lampman”
Last time on “City Full of History”, we climbed the last Shot Tower in Manhattan! Come along now as we go from Queens to Brooklyn looking for the geographical center of New York City!
Embedded in the sidewalk at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 58th Street in Woodside lies a curious marker denoting that spot as the geographical center of New York City. There’s only one small problem with this: it isn’t actually the geographical center of New York City.
Last time on “City Full of History”, we paid a visit to Frederick Catherwood’s Panorama! Come along now as we climb George Youle’s Shot Tower and dive into the unique process for manufacturing lead shot in Old New York!
If you head to the block between 53rd and 54th Streets overlooking the East River, you’ll find a charming little sliver of a park. Behind it stands two high-rise apartment complexes, but if you were here in 1823 you would be looking at one of the most interesting manufacturing centers in New York City: the shot tower belonging to George Youle.
Last time on “City Full of History”, we traveled to Inwood Hill Park to visit the Native American caves. Come along this week as we pay a visit to Frederick Catherwood’s Panorama, one of the most popular entertainment spots in early New York City!
By the time Frederick Catherwood arrived in New York City in 1836 he was already well-traveled beyond his 37 years of age. Born in London in 1799 he served as an architect’s apprentice for 6 years, took art classes at the Royal Academy, and spent 13 years studying and drawing ancient ruins around the Mediterranean. Returning to London he worked for Robert Buford at his panorama in Leicester Square, where he learned the business of popular entertainment. Buford painted several panoramas based on Catherwood’s drawings, while Catherwood gave lectures on his travels to an interested public.
Last time on “City Full of History”, we flew with the ‘Bremen’, the first airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean non-stop from East to West! Come along this week as we visit Inwood Hill Park and dig in to the history behind New York City’s Native American Caves!
Inwood Hill Park is a unique place on the island of Manhattan. While Central Park, Manhattan’s other sprawling woodland area, was designed and built from the ground up, the area that would become Inwood Hill Park was largely undeveloped. By the end of the nineteenth century only a few small farms and the occasional mansion called the northern tip of Manhattan home. Because it went mostly untouched the Washington Heights and Inwood areas were ideal for archaeological digging and in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s a dedicated group of amateur archaeologists answered the call.
Last time on “City Full of History”, we followed John Champe in his attempt to infiltrate British New York and kidnap the treacherous Benedict Arnold. This week we soar with the ‘Bremen’, the first airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean non-stop from East to West! Come along as we follow the intrepid aviators of the ‘Bremen’ through 1928 New York City!
The history of transatlantic flight is at once both fascinating and tragic, reflecting the pace of early advancements in aviation. The Atlantic Ocean was first crossed non-stop by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in 1919, a mere 16 years after the Wright Brothers first took flight at Kitty Hawk. Others would follow Alcock and Brown’s exploit; Richard Byrd, Clarence Chamberlin, and of course, Charles Lindbergh. While all of these aviators had crossed the Atlantic they had all done it by crossing from west to east, and there was a reason for that: it was easier.
This week on “City Full of History”, we visit three states to track down the saga of John Champe, the American soldier who defected TWICE and infiltrated British held New York City in an attempt to kidnap the treacherous Benedict Arnold!