Even More Ladylike Places

On April 16, 2017 · 3 Comments

Most readers probably anticipated that after slogging through Manly Places, Even More Manly Places, and Ladylike Places, that the next in this series would be Even More Ladylike Places. That seemed absolutely necessary in my mind so I could create symmetry and closure. However I’d written a variation on this theme already with the recently-published Ladysmith. I tried to keep things on the more obscure side this time around, sidestepping better known ladies by design.


Ladies of the Reef


lady elliot island viewed from the west
lady elliot island viewed from the west. Photo by wo de shijie on Flickr (cc)

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef offered a case in point. I noticed a couple of different islands that fit this topic. Lady Musgrave Island (map) took its name from the wife of a colonial administrator, Sir Anthony Musgrave. He served as governor of South Australia 1873–1877 and then of Queensland 1883–1888. From those dates, Lady Musgrave must have been his second wife, Jeanie Lucinda Field. I don’t know how she ended-up in Australia. She was born in New York City.

Another spot along the reef became Lady Elliot Island (map). This one featured a roundabout derivation. Lady Elliot definitely existed although I don’t think she ever set foot in Australia. She married Sir Hugh Elliot, governor of Madras, 1814–1820, then a crown colony on the Indian subcontinent. I’m going to go out on a limb and say she was probably Margaret Jones, his second wife, because his first marriage ended in divorce long before his diplomatic career took off.

However, the name of Lady Elliot Island didn’t come from Lady Elliot directly. It came from the name of a ship. Captain Thomas Stuart, commanding a ship registered in India and named for the lady in question, first spotted the island in 1816. Later, on the return voyage, the ship struck a reef farther up the coast. It sank and everyone died. That dangerous feature also got its name at that time, Lady Elliot Reef (map).


The White Lady of Brandberg


Namibia 2016 (228 of 486)
Namibia 2016. Photo by Joanne Goldby on Flickr (cc)

Namibia’s highest point of elevation occurred at the Königstein (King’s Stone) on Brandberg Mountain. The mountain hid a secret, the renowned White Lady. Indigenous people, probably bushmen and probably living two or more thousand years ago, drew representations of their world in thousands of images. Much of their artwork survived in remote, dry, desolate corners of the Namib Desert (map).

One image in particular caught the imagination of archaeologists and then tourists after its rediscovery in 1918. It showed what appeared to be a shaman in white, in an energetic ritual dance. Researchers noticed its similarity to depictions that came from Egypt and the Mediterranean during a similar time period, although that proved to be coincidental. Nonetheless the White Lady continued to captivate many who gazed upon it. Ironically, later interpretations seemed to demonstrate pretty conclusively that the lady was actually a man.


Lady’s Island Lake


Our Lady's Island
Our Lady's Island. Photo by Emmet & Kathy on Flickr (cc)

A little village in Ireland’s County Wexford got its name, Our Lady’s Island, hundreds of years ago in reverence to the Virgin Mary. As the village explained,

Tradition has always existed that Our Lady’s Island was founded by St Abban, nephew of St Ibar, in the sixth century and its reputation as a place of pilgrimage and of devotion to Our Lady was established by or before the year 600 A.D.

However, I decided to focus on the lake (map) where the little village — now connected to the mainland — grew and prospered. Perhaps not too creatively, it came to be known as Lady’s Island Lake. The lake more properly qualified as a "back-barrier seepage lagoon." Various sources on the Intertubes claimed only one other lake in Ireland fit that same definition. I couldn’t prove it so I’ll just leave it at that.

The lake doesn’t have a natural outlet although water seeps into it from the ocean, creating brackish conditions. It offered a great environment for birds such as Sandwich Terns and Roseate Terns. Occasionally the barrier between sea and lake must be breached.

Breaching of the barrier, which has been carried out since at least the 17th century, is needed to relieve flooding of farmland and also the pilgrimage route around Lady’s Island. The cut is made in Spring when water levels are highest and the water level then falls until the lake becomes tidal for variable lengths of time. The practice has become contentious, however, because water levels sometimes fall too low, allowing predators to cross over the exposed bed of the lake to the important tern nesting sites.

I’m surprised they hadn’t figured out a way to accommodate both the birds and the pilgrims.


Dames



I could look for ladies in other languages, too! Dames seemed reasonable. I probably could have written an entire article on the hundreds of places and features named Notre Dame ("Our Lady," for the Virgin Mary). It might have featured the university in Indiana, the cathedral in Paris or the island in Montréal.

Instead I focused on Dame Marie (map) in Haiti. Twelve Mile Circle included very little Haitian coverage so this offered a rare opportunity for me to add a pushpin to my Complete Index Map. Otherwise I found very little information about Dame Marie. It fell pretty much at the end of the road, about as far west on Haiti as one could travel. Unfortunately Hurricane Matthew damaged it rather extensively in October 2016. Hopefully Dame Marie will recover.

For More Birds

On January 23, 2014 · 4 Comments

I kicked-up a lot of material as I researched Audubon, Iowa in the recent For the Birds. Originally I’d hope to feature several Audubon towns in the United States — and I do believe they are found only in the United States — and was completely overwhelmed by wonderful delights in rural Iowa. Today I present the rest of the story, or at least a trio of standouts amongst the 213 different Audubon features listed in the Geographic Names Information System. Actually, a case could be made that I’ve featured three-and-a-half. One spawned another in a specific instance.

Audubon, Pennsylvania



Audubon Mill Grove House by Montgomery County Planning Commission
via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license

I began with Audubon, Pennsylvania since that particular spot had a genuine, tangible connection to John James Audubon through a property called Mill Grove. He moved there in 1803 when he was 18 years old. Only weeks earlier he’d been known as Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon — He adopted his anglicized name as he boarded a ship to immigrate to the United States. The young Jean-Jacques started with a bit of stigma during his earliest years although he flourished once he arrived at Mill Grove, as the National Audubon Society explained,

Audubon was born in Saint Domingue (now Haiti), the illegitimate son of a French sea captain and plantation owner and his French mistress… he was sent to America, in part to escape conscription into the Emperor Napoleon’s army. He lived on the family-owned estate at Mill Grove, near Philadelphia, where he hunted, studied and drew birds, and met his wife, Lucy Bakewell. While there, he conducted the first known bird-banding experiment in North America, tying strings around the legs of Eastern Phoebes; he learned that the birds returned to the very same nesting sites each year.

The National Audubon Society now manages the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove and operates a museum on the historic site.



Mill Grove, Audubon, Pennsylvania, USA

The adjacent town of Audubon served as a fitting tribute, with streets labeled for birds that starred in Audubon’s artworks: Lark; Owl; Sparrow; Thrush; Cardinal; Wren and so on.


Audubon Park, New Jersey



Audubon Park, New Jersey, USA

Audubon Park also had historical significance albeit of a much more recent vintage, and completely unrelated to John James Audubon. The United States government constructed Audubon Park to house workers employed at the nearby New York Shipbuilding Corporation’s shipyard in Camden during the Second World War. The United States needed ships and workers needed a place to live. Audubon Park offered a solution.

Audubon Park was a part Audubon Borough until the borough held a referendum in 1947 and voted Audubon Park out of Audubon. As New Jersey’s Courier-Post explained,

Secession from Audubon was Audubon’s idea, with the cost of educating Audubon Park’s children a point of contention. Politics, though, was really at the heart of the move… Audubon Village was Democratic while Audubon leaned Republican. Audubon outnumbered its neighbor at the polls and the referendum passed.

Apparently the thought of commingling with blue-collar shipyard workers was too much for original residents to bear. Audubon Park got the boot and became its own borough.

Like the Audubon in Pennsylvania, Audubon Park in New Jersey featured numerous streets named for birds. I counted about twenty five different species.


Audubon, Minnesota



Audubon, Minnesota, USA

Similarly, the Audubon located in Minnesota hid an interesting origin assuming its true. Audubon was one of the many towns that emerged along railroad tracks in the latter half of the 19th Century America. An old book, A Pioneer History of Becker County Minnesota (1907), described How Audubon Received its Name when railroad officials traveled through the region investigating potential routes.

About the middle of August, 1871, Mr. Thomas H. Canfield came through on a tour of inspection, and with him was quite a party of aristocratic looking people, and they camped where the Audubon depot now stands. The prairies were then covered with flowers and lilies, and there were several ladies in the party who were filled with admiration at the beauty of the surrounding country, and I remember that one lady asked Mr. Canfield if a railroad station could ever be established there that it be called Audubon. Another man took out a memorandum book and noted down this request. I afterwards learned that the lady was a niece of John J. Audubon, the great American naturalist.

I have my doubts about the accuracy of an anecdote recalled a quarter-century after the fact from something someone "learned" from someone else. Maybe John James Audubon had a niece who traveled through Minnesota in the 1870’s. I don’t know. I couldn’t find any such niece after a perfunctory Intertubes search for whatever that’s worth. It still made a great story though.

Islands Split by Time Zones

On October 21, 2010 · 7 Comments

I captured the query of an anonymous reader. He or she wanted to know whether there were an islands split by time zones. I’d never pondered that before but I came up with a couple of quick examples off the top of my head. That didn’t satisfy me so I turned to a worldwide timezone map. Sure enough I came up with a few more instances. I can’t guarantee that I’ve compiled the definitive and complete list but it’s a good start. These are the obvious ones so please let me know if you find others.

Various Canadian Islands and Greenland


Island Split by Time Zone Canada Greenland

Canada has a whole set of islands in its northern reaches with time zone splits, theoretically. I put that disclaimer in place because the time zone concept is rather complicated in remote and borderland areas of Canada, with the "official" time zone frequently ignored. The whole wacky situation is described in Canadian Geographic, in "It’s about TIME."

We are a country of chronic lawbreakers. From east to west, Canada is neatly divided into six time zones. But many Canadians choose to make their own time and ignore the time zone boundaries. And the rule that clocks spring forward on the first Sunday in April and fall back on the last Sunday in October? In some parts of Canada, the times are never a-changin’: we all know that Saskatchewan doesn’t use daylight savings, but other pockets of the country don’t bother with it either. And while Alberta’s time-abiding citizens strictly follow Mountain Time – violators can be slapped with a $25 fine.

Yes, there are a number of Canadian islands that happen to be split by time zones on paper but I’m not sure these have much practical meaning. People in those areas will seemingly follow whatever time appears convenient.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, has four time zones. The vast preponderance of Greenland follows Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)-3. A small area located in the far northwest including the United States’ Thule Air Base observes UTC-4. Maybe that’s to make it closer in time to the eastern United States? There are also two small areas of eastern Greenland that follow UTC-1 and UTC+0 respectively. I have absolutely no idea why no portion of Greenland follows UTC-2. It seems odd. Maybe someone in the readership knows the answer.


Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego


Island Split by Time Zone Argentina Chile

Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego is the largest island in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. This island was a topic of discussion on one of my recent articles, "Ushuaia". The time zone split follows the border between Argentina (UTC-3) and Chile (UTC-4) just like the remainder of the border between these two nations.


Borneo and New Guinea


Island Split by Time Zone Borneo and New Guinea

Borneo has been split by two time zones associated with Malaysia (UTC+8) and Indonesia (UTC+7). Brunei — including it’s odd exclave — also shares a small portion Borneo but it’s just along for the ride in UTC+8.

Indonesia stretches far enough to require three time zones. It makes a second appearance on the list of islands split by time zones on New Guinea. Here it’s UTC+9 with the portion forming Papua New Guinea located in UTC+10.


Hispaniola


Island Split by Time Zone Haiti Dominican Republic

I found one more example on Hispaniola which is shared by the Dominican Republic (UTC-4) and Haiti (UTC-5).

I was able to find six examples of islands split by time zone, perhaps more if one counts each of the Canadian instances separately, in just a few minutes of searching. Canada and Greenland represented instances within a single country. The other instances followed international borders.

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12 Mile Circle:
An Appreciation of Unusual Places
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