Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in Hannibal, Missouri

Hubby and I have returned to Juno Beach from Thanksgiving at my parent's house, Robards Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Hannibal, where we had a wonderful time.  (Check them out at www.robardsmansion.com.)  Even though I took my computer, and Verizon connection, evidently Hannibal is located in a black hole for internet so I wasn't able to blog while I was gone.  We found other ways to keep busy though!

We did a little Christmas decorating outside.......

.....and some more inside.  Maggie, the traveling dog, supervised.

Hubby hung some curtains in the 9-foot tall windows - while I supervised.

We even found time to visit a few antique stores where I found these irons with their detachable handle all for $15.00.  (I'm so glad I don't have to really iron with them!)  Midwest antique stores are great!

Left to right:  Hubby Richard, Hayden and daddy Eric, and my own Dad, Leon.
Then there was time to watch my nephew Hayden, the newest member of the family, play while we waited for turkey.

Since I couldn't be with my own grandsons, it was nice to enjoy my sister's grandson!

Mom worked hard to make a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

My nephew Jon, from Pella, Iowa, carved.

Then it was nap time - for everyone.  It's not easy cleaning up after a toddler!

On our way to Hannibal we made time to do a little sightseeing so, later on, I'll be sharing pictures from the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home in Nashville.  While we were there, we discovered a connection between Andrew Jackson and John Robards, the builder of my parent's home.  More on that interesting discovery to come!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wish I Had Seen This Earlier!

Tomorrow morning, the officially pnuemonia-free Hubby, Maggie the Traveling Dog, and I will be leaving for Hannibal, Missouri to spend the week of Thanksgiving at my parent's house, Robards Mansion Bed and Breakfast.  Along the way, we plan to do a little sightseeing in Chattanooga and Nashville.  Today, I thought I'd post a few pictures of a 9/11 Memorial we spotted at a fire station in West Palm Beach.  I wish I had seen this before 9/11!

The Memorial was fashioned from some of the steel girders from the fallen towers.

This plaque shows exactly where the girders had been located in the tower.

We, as a nation, have a lot to be thankful for.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tindall Pioneer Homestead in Jupiter, Florida

While Hubby has been trying to recover from pneumonia we've been staying at home - that is in our 5th wheel.  However, in October, when we visited the Jupiter Lighthouse we also got to see the Tindall Pioneer Homestead located on the same museum grounds.

This historic cracker-style house was built by George Washington Tindall on the Loxahatchee
River in 1892 on his 128-acre homestead and is considered one of the oldest houses in Palm Beach County.

It really wasn't a very big house for a family of nine.  I'm sure Mrs. (Mary) Tindall was kept pretty busy keeping everyone clothed and fed.  All accomplished with no electricity either!

The family's crude furniture was first made of wood picked up on the beach, but they eventually acquired regular furniture and even a sewing machine.

How would you like to iron clothes for nine people?  In those days they ironed everything - even sheets!

Seven babies were rocked in this cradle.

George Tindall played hymns on this pedal organ in the living room.

A nightgown is all laid out on the bed - along with other "necessary" items.

G.W. Tindall is listed as a fruit and vegetable grower in 1896 records.

Fearing fire, and to keep the house cooler, the kitchen was connected to the main house by a covered breezeway.

The large kitchen had all the modern conveniences.
It also served as the dining room.  For such a large brood you would need a large table!

The house withstood several major hurricanes, although the legendary storm of 1928 (the one that destroyed Flagler's oversea railroad) blew its roof off.  It now has a cracker style tin roof.
In the 1920's, the house was sold to Lloyd Minear, whose wife donated the house to the Loxahatchee River Historical Society.  After a full restoration, the house was moved to be a permanent exhibit at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum in 2007.  Hope you enjoyed the tour.  We did!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wildman of the Loxahatchee River

The Loxahatchee Queen II, at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, makes several trips a day seven miles up the Loxahatchee River to the former home of the "Wildman of the Loxahatchee."  You can also paddle your own canoe or kayak up the river to see it - but we opted for the easy way.  Remember, Hubby was starting to not feel well.

Once we arrived, a park ranger told us all about this mysterious man.  His given name was Vincent, or Victor, Nostokovich from Trenton, New Jersey where he was born in 1909.  He served time in a Mexico jail for gun running then made his way east, arriving in Jupiter, Florida around 1936.  By the time he reached here he had a new name - Trapper Nelson.
Trapper set about making his home on the banks of the river, eating whatever he could kill, trap or find.  He planted all sorts of fruit trees and plants to supplement his diet and sold alligator skins and raccoon pelts for extra money.
By all accounts, he stood 6 feet 4 inches and weighed in at 240 pounds of muscle - rarely donning a shirt.  It wasn't long before people were making their way upriver to see this "wildman" who many people likened to Johnny Weismuller of Tarzan fame.  Trapper even built ramadas and fire pits so the Palm Beach socialites (the Kennedy family among them) could have their picnics. 
Trapper Nelson built every structure on the property himself, including this cabin and water tower.
The park ranger is standing next to an alligator skull that decorates the cabin wall.
Despite never having electricity, Trapper tried to make his home as comfortable as possible and somehow installed this sink in his cabin.
He even had a propane powered refrigerator.
The shower may have been a little cramped for someone his size though.
Trapper eventually owned 858 acres of land - some of it acquired by paying the back property taxes on adjoining parcels of property.  This (among other things) did not make him very popular with the neighbors!  When he died (more on that later) people figured he had money hidden somewhere around the property and tore his cabin apart looking for it, to no avail.  However, a few years ago when the park staff was repairing the fireplace they found over 5,000 coins, valued at $1,800.00, hidden behind some mortar.
For many years Trapper welcomed visitors, even allowing them to stay in this guest cabin.
A sign on the cabin is how he kept track of the hurricanes that hit the area, giving them stars for how strong they were.
He even constructed his own wildlife zoo which people could visit - for a fee.  For an additional fee, he would jump in the pen and wrestle an alligator.
Finally, faced with complaints from neighbors, and badgered by authorities about safety and sanitary conditions, Trapper shut down his zoo and refused to allow anyone to visit, with the exception of friends and family.  He became more and more reclusive, threatening anyone who trespassed on his property with a shotgun.  One day in July, 1968, a friend found him under one of the picnic ramadas he had built, dead of a shotgun blast to the stomach.  Some people believed it was suicide and some people said he had made too many enemies.  The only thing anyone knows for certain is that his extended family became rich when they sold the land to the state of Florida.  The mystery continues!

Hubby pneumonia update:  He is slowly, but steadily, getting better.  Each day he's a little stronger - and extremely bored of just laying around the trailer!  Thank you for your prayers.  They are greatly appreciated!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Hubby is home with pneumonia this week so I've been running him to the doctor today and picking up his prescriptions at the drug store.  Before he started feeling bad, over the weekend, we made a visit to a beautiful State Park just 8 miles north of Juno Beach.  The 11,500-acre park is named for Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker merchant whose vessel shipwrecked nearby in 1696.  During World War II, the land was home to Camp Murphy, a top-secret radar training school.

There's only a few buildings and foundations remaining of what was once a huge camp.

Little did we know Hubby was coming down with pneumonia when we traveled this boardwalk to the Hobe Mountain  Observation Tower.
The tower is on an ancient sand dune, rising 86 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest points of land in south Florida.
Then it was back down the boardwalk to explore the rest of the park.

The Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research center is open every day with a variety of programs.  The park also has two family campgrounds, plus rental cabins, canoes, kayaks and motorboats.  There are also nature trails for bicycles, hikers and horses.
Hubby is reading about the "Wildman of the Loxahatchee."  More about that later!

The park also has some beautiful picnic areas too.

But watch out for the alligators!

We decided to take a two-hour tour of the Loxahatchee River aboard the Loxahatchee Queen II.  The poor captain didn't get rich on our trip.  There were only four of us on board.

This river was designated as Florida's first "National Wild and Scenic River" in 1985.

We even spotted a young gator on our way up river to the former home of Trapper Nelson, otherwise known as the "Wildman of the Loxahatchee."  It's a story of an eccentric man who died an mysterious death.  But, I'll save that for next time!  I have to take care of Hubby right now.