Archive for November, 2010
Narrow-Gauge Railway Car Reflected in the Brandywine
Once upon a time, a family with the locally ordinary name of du Pont fled their native France, embroiled in turbulent Revolution. America proved a haven for these people, who would found the black powder industry in our land. The refugees settled north of Wilmington, Delaware, on the gentle banks of the peaceful Brandywine. One brother, Victor, would launch a successful sheep farm and woolen mill, high on a hill above what had been the Hagley Yards.
Crossing the Mill Race
The river’s steady current had rendered flour mills legendary beyond the Brandywine Valley, –so that top bakers in tony Philadelphia, nearby Wilmington and thriving Baltimore demanded perfectly ground flour for their pastries. That same gentle river’s reliability resulted in black powder (gunpowder)’s being equally and more critically free from lumps. Determined to improve the gunpowder he found and decried in this young nation, scientifically astute E. I. Du Pont’s would become famous the world over for highest quality. Hagley seems to reveal, as well, a remarkable concern for the lives of his workers.
Hagley Building HIgh Above Brandywine
(a turn up the road near this structure takes you to their new organic cafe!)
Hagley is the village that housed not only E. I.’s mansion, but also the company’s office, the powder works, workers’ homes, school, foreman’s home, a narrow-gauge railroad alongside mill race and Brandywine River.
As you stroll the rolling grounds, the word ‘impeccable’ will come to mind over and over and over. Quality was the pride of the founders. Quality is maintained by all who open the Museum to this day.
Allee at the Gate
Hagley Museum (and gardens, and library) welcome visitors to time travel, in which the past lives again, and the American Dream is fully realized.
du Pont Mansion, Hagley Museum and Gardens
It’s not every day that NJ WILD readers find its author tromping through a museum devoted to industry. If you take yourself to Hagley Museum and Library, however, you’ll find out why I can’t resist it. Why, in fact, I soon will have spent an entire day there, twice in a week.
Last Rose of Autumn, Brandywine Cascade, Hagley
So, it could be claimed that the even current of the Brandywine River changed history in our new country. The War of 1812, and then the Union victory in the Civil War could well be ‘laid at the feet’ of the black powder prepared with diligence and artistry by the du Ponts in their new homeland.
Free Power Transfer, in Working Condition, Audible!
Still Life in Foreman’s Home - Docents Eager to Share
Foreman’s Saw and Doorway
The knowledgeable docents of Hagley do a far more stirring version of all this, in person, in situ, baking butter cookies inside the chancy oven of the wood stove; pulling levers to turn on machinery that repaired machinery for the duPonts of Hagley in the early days of our country. Handles of those machine still gleam from steady use by loyal workers. Belts recreate the river’s steady current, causing those historic machines to purr in this, the 21st Century.
Brooding Beauty of Black Powder Buildings
It’s a simple journey to Hagley, for us, as it was not for the duPonts. 95 South to 202 to 141 - then through the ancient gates to life in another era.
Gate Famous not only for du Pont use, but as setting in film: “Dead Poets’ Society“
Kind busdrivers encourage visitors to stroll at the river’s edge: “I’ll be leaving in ten minutes. I’ll pick you up wherever you are.”
Reason to Stroll
Eager staff re-create a world of workers’ cottages; the rather enlightened, though only on Sunday, school for four-year-olds on up; the foreman’s stately home; the owner’s mansion and gardens; the first office (really the second - the first had been in the original mansion; the narrow-gauge railway with its saucy yellow car reflected in the shimmering river.
Boxcar in Narcissus Mode
And, above all, below all, visitors walk past thick stone walls sheltering the setting in which black powder was crafted to ensure sure shots: Three walls of dense stone, one rather flimsy - so that whenever one of the 288 explosions occurred, the light wall would allow that brute force to escape out over the water. Needless to say, such explosions in those confined spaces, carried with them not only powder but also the loyal workers. Hazard was the name of the game, in the time of the duPonts of Brandywine.
Powder Works in Autumn
Allow an entire day here - it opens at 9:30 a.m. Buses take you to the top, to the Mansion, now decorated as it was by duPonts and Crowninshields over the decades, for Christmas. Each floor of the Mansion recreates a different era of family habitation, hobbies, clothes, paintings, drawings, china, crystal and silver.
Hagley Visitors’ Center
Welcome to Hagley Museum and Library!
Hagley Museum and Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, collects, preserves, and interprets the unfolding history of American enterprise.
Impeccably Restored Buildings
Located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine River in Wilmington, Delaware, Hagley is the site of the gunpowder works founded by E. I. du Pont in 1802. This example of early American industry includes restored mills, a workers’ community, and the ancestral home and gardens of the du Pont family.
Frost Evidently Has Not Been ‘On’ du Pont Pumpkins
Hagley’s library furthers the study of business and technology in America. The collections include individuals’ papers and companies’ records ranging from eighteenth-century merchants to modern telecommunications and illustrate the impact of the business system on society.
The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society organizes and administers the Hagley Museum and Library’s interaction with the world of scholarship. It brings attention to Hagley’s research collections and generates intellectual dialogue at Hagley.
Our Exquisite Atlantic Ocean, in Solitude: This is New Jersey
Something startling, sent by a college friend who is now a nun,
honoring the recent weekend known as All Hallows Eve and so forth.
My sentiments, precisely! I have had enough of graves and graveyards. Those two final phrases are my mantra.
Not mountains, but New Jersey calls to me — from wind-strafed dazzle of Bay to tumultuous oceans and rivers on either side of Sandy Hook. All day Friday, all day today - Saturday — New Jersey at her scintillating best.
Not for me grey yards with serried rows of crooked stones, incised with worn-out words, with names no longer useful
Never, please, fading plastic bouquets.
We know the dead aren’t there! The dead know they aren’t there.
Why must there be graveyards? It’s not the grave that awaits: it is LIGHT.
For the dead, death is not loss but birth. The dead aren’t lost, they’re home.
Meanwhile and forever, I borrow from Adelaide, and give you most of her stirring lines below.
But with a spirit all unreconciled
Flash an unquenched defiance to the stars.
Better it is to walk, to run, to dance,
Better it is to laugh and leap and sing,
To know the open skies of dawn and night,
To move untrammeled down the flaming noon,
No, I will NOT LIE STILL!
There are WORLDS out there!
“Life piled on life were all too few!”
To The Dead in the Graveyard Underneath My Window
by Adelaide Crapsey
Written in A Moment of Exasperation
How can you lie so still?
All day I watch
And never a blade of all the green sod moves
To show where restlessly you toss and turn,
And fling a desperate arm or draw up knees
Stiffened and aching from their long disuse;
I watch all night and not one ghost comes forth
To take its freedom of the midnight hour.
Oh, have you no rebellion in your bones?
The very worms must scorn you where you lie,
A pallid mouldering acquiescent folk,
Meek habitants of unresented graves.
Why are you there in your straight row on row
Where I must ever see you from my bed
That in your mere dumb presence iterate
The text so weary in my ears:
“Lie still And rest; be patient and lie still and rest.”
I’ll not be patient! I will not lie still!
There is a brown road runs between the pines,
And further on the purple woodlands lie,
And still beyond blue mountains lift and loom;
And I would walk the road and I would be
Deep in the wooded shade and I would reach
The windy mountain tops that touch the clouds.
My eyes may follow but my feet are held.
Recumbent as you others must I too Submit?
Be mimic of your movelessness
With pillow and counterpane for stone and sod?
And if the many sayings of the wise
Teach of submission I will not submit
But with a spirit all unreconciled
Flash an unquenched defiance to the stars.
Better it is to walk, to run, to dance,
Better it is to laugh and leap and sing,
To know the open skies of dawn and night,
To move untrammeled down the flaming noon,
And I will clamour it through weary days
Keeping the edge of deprivation sharp,
Nor with the pliant speaking on my lips
Of resignation, sister to defeat.
I’ll not be patient. I will not lie still.
Historic D&R Canal Towpath, Haven of Beauty, Source of Water
A national organization just sent a bulletin of good news for our environment, all too scarce in MY book!
In fact, among all the ‘Talking Heads” to whose palaver I was subjected this week, I heard the word ‘environment’ but once, in a tragically dismissive tone.
Our Congressman, Rush Holt, is a friend of the environment without peer. As a naturalist and conservationist, I am profoundly relieved that he won this, his only narrow victory in all these terms.
While thankful to learn the news they conveyed, I felt compelled to write back to the national organization, alerting them to our Congressman Rush Holt’s ENVIRONMENTAL VIGILANCE in our state, in the Capitol. I share some of my response with NJ WILD readers.
As I bolded line after line in Rush’s web-page on environmental matters, –even I, loyal constituent so long as I have known this man–, learned ways in which our Rush Holt tends to Nature.
It is particularly significant that this former rocket scientist continues to instruct Washington to base environmental decisions upon sound science, not upon politics, not in reaction to special interest groups who continually despoil our land.
What I treasure about Rush is that he’s out there noticing what’s wrong, facing problems, solving problems, not merely reacting/vouchsafing sound bites, as do so many politicians…
Lavalette, New Jersey: Calm After Storm
You’ve read my anguished posts and my Packet article on the peril of birds in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf. (from his web-site) Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
He weaves the young into his work: Holt is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
(from his web-site) On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee
For this alone, I’d have voted for Rush: Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
And this: Rep Holt is committed to the preservation of America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives.
And this: Rep. Holt does all in his power to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas.
When I think of Rush, I experience him as listener – need I remind how rare that quality is in politicians in our time?
Our Congressman is also known for his strong historic perspective, terrifically important in this, our most populated state, where not even the events without which we would not be/have a nation, do not effectively protect sites where these events transpired.
Rush remembers and dynamically teaches the remarkable truth: Ours is the state in which the highest percentage of successful Revolutionary War battles took place, –two in nearby Trenton and the significant one here in Princeton on January 3, 1777.
How many realize that that sacred battlefield could be developed even now by of all entities, the Institute for Advanced Studies?
Rush also knows that lands held open for historic purposes also protects and enhances life chances for native species.
History & Beauty - Historic Batsto Preserve
Pine Barrens of New Jersey - Former Iron Forge Town
His commitment to clean water is vital, as our Canal serves the water needs of millions. Rush is well aware that New Jersey is the ONLY state with THREE coastlines - Atlantic, Delaware Bay and Delaware River. He is determined to maintain these treasures at the highest level, not only because of tourism dollars, but due to their essentiality to humans and native species on all levels.
Rush remembers, reminds others, and acts. All that, and he writes personal thank you’s, even for my minuscule contributions.
From Congressman Rush Holt’s website page on Environment: http://holt.house.gov/ Issues - Environment:
John F. Kennedy said in March 1961, ‘It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.’” –
Rush Holt Rep. Rush Holt has stood up for our nation’s environmental crown jewels, and is committed to safeguarding our National Parks and Preserves. He supports efforts to clean up our air, land, and water, and to preserve open space.
A member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, he is a leader in promoting environmentally sound alternative energy sources that do not harm our environment. For his work, Rep. Holt has earned a 100 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Throughout his career, Rep. Holt has been a strong advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and its State Assistance program, which provides matching funds to states and communities to preserve open spaces. Early in his career, he was able to restore the state-side grant portion of the program, and he has since fought to retain and increase funding for it.
In the 110th Congress, Rep. Holt led a bipartisan coalition that helped secure $125 million for the LWCF and $25 million for the state-side grant portion. He is leading the effort to secure LWCF in the current Congress as well. The LWCF State Assistance program has aided local recreation projects in over 98% of all U.S. counties, including the preservation of over 73,000 acres of land in New Jersey alone. This is land that otherwise may have been developed for private use or otherwise rendered unusable. Due to the crucial work done by the LWCF, Rep. Holt has fought for full LWCF funding every year.
In July, Rep. Holt voted for and the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act). In addition to fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill would raise operations standards on offshore drilling, making it safer for workers, as well as for our environment.
Northern Gannet at Cape May -
One of most devastated birds during and after BP Oil Catastrophe in Gulf
In light of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the CLEAR Act adopts a provision written by Rep. Holt to hold oil companies accountable for the damage they inflict, should an accident occur. The bill is currently awaiting approval from the Senate.
Black Skimmer Glory by Brenda Jones
Bird deeply endangered by oil in water - as it skims waves to feed on resident fish
Rep. Holt supports states’ rights to lead the way on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. He has supported legislation to allow states such New Jersey to create stronger regulations regarding vehicle emissions.
Rep. Holt strongly supports efforts to protect the Clean Water Act. He has cosponsored legislation that would reestablish the original intent of Congress in the 1972 Clean Water Act, ensuring that it applies to all water of the United States.
He also supports efforts to fully fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Holt also is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
On his web-site, you can read Rep. Holt’s work on clean energy, including his efforts to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Rep. Holt supports the “polluter pays” principle that the financial burden to clean up toxic pollution at Superfund sites should not fall on the backs of taxpayers. Congress created the Superfund in 1980 to clean up the nation’s worst toxic waste sites. Congress placed the financial onus for cleanups on polluting corporations. [This system worked as it was intended until 1995 when the 105th Congress let the Superfund revenue authority expire.]
Superfund still had funding until the Fiscal Year 2003 budget. Yet, the Bush Administration failed to request renewal of the Superfund taxes in any subsequent budget, resulting in the Superfund running dry. This has stalled cleanup efforts in Superfund sites throughout the country, including in Marlboro, NJ, which had waited for the clean up of the Imperial Oil Company site for more than 25 years, until finally receiving approximately $25 million for cleanup from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Rep. Holt continues to work to reinstate the Superfund tax on corporate polluters.
Rep. Holt has led the effort in Congress to preserve historic lands, as he believes that preserving historic spaces is essential to educating the current generations and future generations and about our rich cultural heritage. This year, he reintroduced the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, legislation that would help preserve open spaces by authorizing additional funding to protect historic sites dating from these two wars.
Pre-Revolutionary Blue Mill, Blue Mill Pond, Walnford Village NJ
Additionally, in 2007 Rep. Holt secured $150,000 in federal funding for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, which he helped to create in 2006. The Crossroads of the American Revolution highlights the role of New Jersey during the American Revolution and brings protection to many historic landmarks, including battlefields, lighthouses, mills, wells and the other Revolutionary War area sites in New Jersey. Crossroads of the American Revolution is headed by D&R Greenway Trustee Cate Litvack, who has become a friend and member of my Willing Hands Committee at the Land Trust, regularly arriving early for events to greet our guests.
Representing a state that is highly dependent on the ocean for its economy, tourism, and recreation, Rep. Holt is committed to ensuring that our coasts and oceans are clean.
Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
Where History and Waters Meet
Calling to Migrant Birds…
Cape May Light and Ocean Beach in Winter
Cape May Bird Observatory Photo
In January 2009, Rep. Holt reintroduced the School Building Enhancement Act, legislation that would help schools implement energy saving measures to reduce their energy costs. Energy bills are the second-highest operating expenditure for schools after personnel costs, with the annual spending by schools on energy at $8 billion in 2007. Holt’s bill would authorize $6.4 billion over five years for school construction, including funding to help schools become more energy-efficient.
On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee.
WILD (literally! & SCENIC DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Holt has worked to preserve America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives. The bill preserves New Jersey’s heritage as one of the leaders of the Industrial Revolution by creating the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park and the Edison National Historic Park.
Rep. Holt has led efforts to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas, including: In 2007, Rep. Holt led an effort, with 86 of his colleagues, to urge the Secretary of the Interior to oppose increased snowmobile use – which can damage the air and land - in Yellowstone National Park.
In December 2007, Rep. Holt spearheaded a successful effort, with 57 other Members of Congress, asking the Obama administration to overturn a last-minute decision by the Bush administration to auction off pristine public land in Utah’s Wilderness to oil and gas companies.
In 2007, Rep. Holt successfully offered an amendment to the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act that would ensure that national parks are protected from the hazardous byproducts of hardrock metal mining.
Rep. Holt opposes proposals to drill for oil within sensitive environments like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He does not believe that we should harm irreparably the nation’s remaining wilderness in order to produce oil that will not meet the demand for energy.
Rep. Holt believes it is important for the federal government to designate and protect critical habitats that are vital to the continued survival of endangered and threatened species.
He strongly supports allowing scientists - not politicians - to identify what is needed to enhance and de-list endangered species. Holt is working to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and has participated in a number of hearings on this issue as a senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Fox on Ice, Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Rep Holt believes that the humane treatment of animals is a mark of civilized society.Because of his efforts on behalf of animal rights, Rep. Holt was awarded an A+ from the Humane Society Legislative Fund in 2008.
Rep. Holt has cosponsored legislation to prohibit the use of birds in animal fighting, to ban the riding of captive elephants in road shows, and to require wounded livestock to be humanely euthanized, rather than be left to suffer a slow and painful death.
Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
Rep. Holt has introduced the Fox-Penning Prohibition Act, legislation which would prohibit the transport of foxes and other animals for the purposes of “wildlife penning.” “Wildlife penning” is an inhumane treatment of animals by which they are put in fenced enclosures where wild animals are ripped apart by packs of dogs in competitive animal fights — they are torn apart by dogs in an escape-proof enclosure. “I have introduced legislation to stop this practice by outlawing the transport of animals for the purposes of fox penning.”