Category Archives: History Through Philately

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14E: Casa de Machado-Silvas (de la Bandera)

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The fifth one, San Diego Historical Landmark #14E, is Casa de Machado-Silvas (de la Bandera).

Casa de Machado-Silvas (de la Bandera)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This house was built by Corporal José Manuel Machado for his daughter, Maria Antonia, and her husband, Manuel de Silvas. Sources say it was built as early as 1832 and as late as 1843. Sources also disagree on names, some saying it was Maria Antonio and José Antonio Nacasio Silvas.

Machado was a “Leather Jacket” soldier of the Spanish army and was stationed at the San Diego Presidio in 1782. Leather jacket soldiers got their name from the long, sleeveless coat made of up to seven layers of white, tanned deerskin. Carried on his left arm was a two-ply cowhide and wood shield. Protecting his legs while traveling through thick chaparral was a leather apron that fastened to the pommel of the horse’s saddle and hung down over his legs. The leather apron evolved into the chaps of the American cowboy. The leather jacket soldier was well known for his skill in using lanzas—long, steel-tipped, wooden lances—in close combat.

The house became known as the “Casa de la Bandera,” or “House of the Flag,” when the lady (I could not find out who “the lady” was but I’m presuming she was Maria) hid in it the Mexican flag that had been cut away from the Plaza pole after the Americans had reoccupied San Diego in 1846 at the beginning of the Mexican-American War.

María Antonia renovated the house in 1854, turning it into the Commercial Restaurant, later renaming it Antonia Restaurant. At various times it also served as a saloon and a community church.

Machado Memorial Chapel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Casa de Machado-Silvas (de la Bandera) was listed as a California Historical Landmark in 1932 and a San Diego Historical Landmark in 1970. In 1975, when the Caifornia State Parks took over the property, it was renovated into a house museum.

Casa de Machado-Silvas (de la Bandera)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (3-9-15)—A hundred and eighty were challenged

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I was born and raised in the small ranching and farming community of Kingsville, Texas. I graduated from Texas A&M University, the first public institution of higher education in the State of Texas. I’m pretty much a Texas boy except for their weird politics that seem to have gripped the state within the past twenty years. Coincidentally, I left in April 1993. Maybe if I had stayed, the State would have joined the 21st Century….

When my wise old grandmother took me to HemisFair ’68 in San Antonio, I was overjoyed. Not because I was going to get to go to HemisFair but because the Alamo was close by, and that’s where I really wanted to go. I was more into history than carnival rides….

Scott #1043, The AlamoThe Alamo, a mission in 1843, is now the most visited tourist attraction in the State of Texas. I was familiar with the Alamo only through my hobby as a stamp collector because it was featured on a postage stamp issued on June 14, 1956.

The Alamo is most famous as the site of the Battle of the Alamo, a 13-day siege of the Alamo by Mexican forces under General Santa Ana. The Mexican forces won that battle and it looked like the end of the road for Texas forces. The fall of the Alamo, though, seemed to embolden Texas forces, ultimately resulting in the victory at San Jacinto that won Texas its independence from Mexico.

The Alamo has also been featured in books, in movies, on television, and in song. Here is my favorite song about the Alamo, Marty Robbins’ 1960 hit, “Ballad of the Alamo, from the movie “The Alamo” starring John Wayne:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Alamo in music is more interesting if we start in 1955 with “Remember The Alamo” written by Texas singer/songwriter Jane Bowers. Tex Ritter released the song in 1955 as the B side of his “Gunsmoke” single.

“Remember The Alamo” didn’t make much impact at the time, but through the years it has been covered by the Kingston Trio, Johnny Cash, Donovan, and Asleep at the Wheel, as well as many others.

I’m a big fan of Donovan but I was unfamiliar with his version of “Remember The Alamo” so I went to find it. Here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Donovan would have been at the bottom of my list of people to sing about The Alamo. He’s a British singer, songwriter, and guitarist! I tried to find out why a British singer would record a very non-British song, but nothing special is showing up anywhere. I guess he just liked the song….

“Remember The Alamo” is listed by the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

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Out & About—Mission San Antonio de Pala

Out & About

Father Antonio Peyri of Mission San Antonio de PalaI always thought that a Mission was a Mission was a Mission. Not so!

Mission San Antonio de Pala was founded in 1810 by Fr. Antonio Peyri (picture ►) as an “assistant mission” to Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, 23 miles west.

Peyri was born in 1769 in the Villa de Porrera in the Archdiocese of Catalonia, Spain. Interestingly, I could not find an actual birth date for Peyri but every source knows that he was baptized on January 8, 1769, and confirmed on October 30, 1772.

Peyri was ordained to the priesthood on March 16, 1793, and embarked for Vera Cruz, Mexico, on May 8. After three years with the Franciscans at San Fernando Collage [sic?], he left for Alto California on March 1, 1796, arriving in San Francisco on June 18. He was called in 1798 to establish Mission San Luis Rey de Francia—the main mission 23 miles west of Mission San Antonio de Pala—where he served for 34 years.

The church was dedicated on June 13, 1816. The campanario is the only free-standing one of its kind in Alta California mission chain.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The campanario was restored in 1998 and is a copy of one in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The two bells were cast in Mexico by Cervantes. The bottom bell is dedicated to St. Francisc, St. Luis the King, St. Clare, and St. Eulalia, and the top bell is dedicated to Jesus and Mary.

The bells are rung only on Sundays and for funerals, weddings, deaths, and for emergencies, such as wildfires approaching. Sadly, the Mission found it necessary to install a large sign telling tourists NOT to ring the bells out of respect for local customs.

The mission was very successful and prosperous, converting over 1,300 Indians to Catholicism. Most of the Alta California missions started to decline in 1846 due to secularization by the Mexican government.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is a plaque placed in 1996 by the Order of Alhambra stating,

“THIS MISSION HAS BECOME THE
MOTHER CHURCH OF CATHOLICISM
AT
CAHUILLA, LA JOLLA, PAUMA, PICHANGA,
RINCON, SANTA ROSA, AND TEMECULA
IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.”

The names are Native American Indian tribes, not cities.

The mission was severely damaged in the Christmas Day 1899 earthquake. Restoration in 1902-03 resulted in archetypal paintings being whitewashed, although they eventually were restored as well.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Restoration of the quadrangle began in 1954 and was completed in 1959. Thousands of adobe bricks were made from the mission ruins, and cedar logs were, once again, brought from Palomar Mountain. The quadrangle is a very peaceful place, unlike most quadrangles that I have visited throughout the United States.

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to one source, the mission was destroyed by the historic Southern California floods of 1916, heaviest and most disastrous in San Diego County, but was rebuilt the same year using the original adobe. Another source says only that the foundations of the chapel and campanario were undermined and caused the buildings to crumble. The story of the 1916 flood will eventually be a blog post of its own; quite interesting.

The chapel and museum wing are original (but what does that mean in light of the paragraph immediately above?), the chapel undergoing extensive restoration in 1992 due to termite damage that threatened to collapse the roof.

I found the museum quite interesting in light of me finding the original “The Peace of the Resurrection” (see my previous post and first picture ▼).

The Peace of the Resurrection by Raul Anguiano at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many of the quadrangle buildings are home to the Vivian Banks Charter Elementary School where I taught chess on Thursday afternoons.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mission San Antonio de Pala is the only original Alta California mission still ministering to Native American people.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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History Through Philately—U.S. Patent #200,521

History Through Philately stamp

On this date in 1878, Thomas Alva Edison was awarded U.S. Patent #200,521.

Scott #945 Thomas Edison

Scott #945, Thomas A. Edison
Issued February 11, 1947

Thomas Edison and his second phonograph, April 1878Without that neat little device that Edison invented, I would never have discovered my wise old grandmother’s 78 RPM collection of Big Band music. That neat little device was the phonograph (picture ►).

I was forbidden from playing my wise old grandmother’s records on the stereo but, being the little juvenile delinquent that I was, being forbidden from doing something certainly didn’t stop me. I never got caught, but I suspect my wise old grandmother knew since I usually did my chores and homework while humming new tunes that I had listened to on her records. Whenever she confronted me about a tune, I always told her that I had heard it in music class, chorus class, or orchestra, to which I got “the look.” Yeah. She knew. Wise old grandmothers are like that…. They know.

While researching this post, I discovered that a guy from France, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, invented a device in 1857 that recorded sound, but Edison’s was the first to both record and reproduce sound.

Dual turntablePhonographs were the prevailing way to listen to music in the 20th century, but that began to change in the 1980s with the advent of commercially available digital music. Vinyl record sales of both LP and 45 peaked in 1976, which happens to be the year that I bought my first cassette player. Once alternate methods of listening to music arrived, I was pretty quick to leave vinyl records behind. I absolutely hated coming home from the music store to put on a brand new record that was warped, skipped, was already scratched, or had clicks and pops that were just flat-out annoying.

CassetteStore-bought cassettes solved that problem; self-recorded cassettes did not since I was recording from vinyl records. When digital music and the compact disk (CD) arrived, though, I was forever hooked—no skipping, no clicks and pops, no warping, no melting when left in the car in the hot Texas sun….

52nd StreetThe first CD was pressed in 1979, and the first album to be released on CD was Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” released on October 1, 1982. I do not know the story of why “52nd Street” was chosen to be the first CD release because the album itself had been released in October 1978. I would have thought that in 1982 someone like Michael Jackson or Paul McCartney would have had the first CD release.

I already had the vinyl record of “52nd Street” in my music collection so I did not buy the CD since it was pretty expensive. It wasn’t until February 26, 1987, that I left vinyl records and cassette tapes behind forever. That was the date when the first four Beatles LPs were released on CD. I was first in line at the store to buy my copies—almost $75 on four CDs of music that I already had. The new CD sound, though, was so beautiful and clean, whereas my LPs had been bought almost 20 years earlier, and sounded like it.

78 rpm Big Band musicWe’ve come a long way from the phonograph to the digital music downloads of today. The first 78 RPM records had a maximum of four minutes of music per side. Vinyl LPs from the late ’60s could hold up to about 24 minutes per side; cassette tapes, up to 60 minutes per side; CDs, up to 80 minutes.

All of those are gone from my music collection, which, as of this morning, contains 1,679 hours, 44 minutes, and 55 seconds in my non-classical collection (my classical music collection is even larger). I listen to an average of 11½ hours of music, and since I listen to my music in chronological order, it takes me 146½ days to listen to my non-classical collection.

I no longer have a room full of vinyl records, cassette tapes, or CDs, either. My non-classical collection is stored on an external hard drive capable of holding 500 GB of files; it’s only half full. When I venture out and about, I take music with me on a little MP3 player that holds 7.85 GB of files, or about one hundred hours of music.

I’m never without music!

500 GB external hard drive

7.8 GB MP3 player

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—Almost ready to launch!

Out & About

Back in early 2011, the Maritime Museum of San Diego announced plans to build a full-size replica of the San Salvador galleon. I didn’t find out where they were going to build such a ship until July 2011, at which point I visited the site and got a few pictures:

San Salvador galleon in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Salvador galleon in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Salvador galleon in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scot 2704 Juan Rodríguez CabrilloThe San Salvador was the flagship of an expedition under the command of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. It was a 200-ton galleon built on the Pacific coast of Guatemala in the late 1530s.

Cabrillo and over 170 Spaniards, Portuguese, and other Europeans, together with indigenous workers from New Spain, Central America, and West Africa sailed in June 1542 to explore the northern Pacific and eventually reach Asia.

Cabrillo’s voyage on the San Salvador resulted in the first visit to San Diego bay by a European-organized expedition, as well as the first encounter with native peoples of the region.

Originally, it was only supposed to take fourteen months to build the ship, but all sorts of problems occurred, first and foremost of which was that the European company that was supposed to furnish the wood for the ship went out of business. I think it took several months to find another supplier. It’s not every day that one goes looking for the same type of wood that ships were built with in the 1530s!

A recent email from the Maritime Museum indicated that the San Salvador is almost ready to launch, so I went to get pictures of it still in dry dock:

San Salvador galleon in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Salvador galleon in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Isn’t she purty?

Eventually I’ll have much more about the San Salvador, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Cabrillo National Monument, and Spanish Landing, the place where the Spanish landed on September 28, 1542. I also am planning on making it to the launch to get video, which should prove fascinating to a history buff like me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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History Through Philately—The Gateway Arch

History Through Philately stamp

On this date in 1965, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, was completed.

Scott #4044 Gateway ArchScott #4044, Gateway Arch
Issued May 27, 2006

The Gateway Arch is the tallest memorial in the United States, the tallest stainless steel monument in the world, Missouri’s tallest accessible building (you can go in it and up to the top), and the world’s tallest arch.

It is 630 feet wide at the base and 630 feet tall at its peak. My mathematics skills, admittedly lacking in today’s world of computer calculators, tells me that something 630 feet wide by 630 feet tall is a square. So why does this look like an arch?

Tidbits

  1. It was designed in 1947. Construction began on February 12, 1963; it was completed on October 28, 1965; and it opened to the public on June 10, 1967.
  2. The proposal to build a memorial on the St. Louis riverfront was first suggested in late 1933 during the Great Depression.
  3. Construction costs were estimated at $30 million, an unbelievable expenditure during the Great Depression, and an estimated 5,000 jobs were to be created for three to four years. Actual construction costs came in at $14 million, but only 100 jobs were created.
  4. On December 31, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 7253 to declare the 82-acre site as the very first National Historic Site. The Order also provided $3.3 million through the Works Progress Administration and another $3.45 million through the Public Works Administration.
  5. The City of St. Louis acquired the 82 acres through public condemnation rather than purchase.
  6. A design competition for the memorial was suggested in November 1944, and such a competition opened on May 30, 1947. Submissions were first received on September 1, 1947, and the winner was announced on February 19, 1948.
  7. Not everyone supported construction of the arch. Many St. Louis residents considered it a “stupendous hairpin” and a “stainless steel hitching post.”
  8. During the height of the railroad building empire, railroads bought or were given prime property in many cities. Such was the case with St. Louis with railroad tracks passing between the location of the memorial and the riverfront. Ultimately, the tracks of the Missouri Pacific Railroad were relocated 105 feet west and lowered 18 feet below ground.
  9. Moving the railroad tracks was first suggested in early 1949. It took another ten years before an agreement was reached between the city and the railroad, and funds were made available.
  10. Construction bids were accepted through January 22, 1962. As seems to always be the case with, the lowest bidder won. Ground was broken in 1959, the foundation was completed in 1961, and construction on the actual arch began in 1963.
  11. The arch is resistant to earthquakes and is designed to sway up to nine inches in winds up to 150 mph.
  12. MacDonald Construction Company won the construction bid. Hmmm. MacDonald building a huge McDonald’s arch……………

Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Labor Day and the violence accompanying the labor movement

History Through Philately stamp

Happy Labor Day!

I was eleven years old when my youngest cousin was born. Her family lived across town, and she had an older brother and sister. I remember when her dad came over to announce that mom had “gone into labor.” A couple of months later, school started, the Tuesday after Labor Day. I put two and two together and got, uh, four?

In today’s world, if I have a question about anything, I go to Wikipedia first, and if that’s not helpful, well, Google is my friend. In this case, I find Wikipedia quite adequate.

Labor Day in the United States is a celebration of the American labor movement, the movement that brought us such things as workers’ compensation for accidents in the workplace, at least one day’s rest each week, maximum limits on the length of the work day, and minimum wage laws. Many improvements in the plight of the common laborer have been accomplished through collective bargaining.

Scott #1558 Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining often meant strikes, which usually involved violence, injury, and death. Newspapers, then as now, created names for events of public interest such as strikes:

  • the “Haymarket Riot” in Chicago in 1886 (7 police and 4 strikers killed, 70 wounded; 4 strikers hanged after being convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to death)
  • the “Colorado Labor Wars” of 1903-04 (66 killed)
  • the “Pullman Strike” of 1894 (13 strikers killed and 57 wounded)
  • the “Great Railroad Strike of 1922″ (11 killed)
  • the “Ludlow Massacre” of 1914 (22 killed, including 4 women and 11 children), part of the “Colorado Coalfield War” of 1913-1914 (reports on deaths vary from 50 to 200).

The “Ludlow Massacre” became folklore…

Woody Guthrie sang about it in his song, “Ludlow Massacre.”

Scott #3213 Woody Guthrie

Upton Sinclair’s novel, “King Coal,” is loosely based on the event and its aftermath.

King Coal by Upton Sinclair

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States, as well as state holidays in all 50 states.

7 things to be thankful at work

Labor Unions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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