Let’s travel together vicariously – on the road taken – back in time. Come along to see places my great-aunt visited one hundred two years ago on her trip West. For us, living in the 21st century, her photos will literally represent a “Reminder of … the west…” Pictures of people who were more rugged and adventurous, and an environment on the edge of being dramatically changed by progress…
First destination: The Tacoma Speedway
In it’s day, this track was considered to be second to Indianapolis. Board track racing was the rage from about 1910 to 1932. Races were held on circular or oval courses constructed with wooden planks. The Tacoma track was built with 2 million board feet of lumber and 15 tons of nails. The boards were gapped with gravel fill in between. A mechanic, Eddie Miller, said of the track:
“(On board tracks) You used to get hit with some terrific blocks and knots of wood. We all came in with pieces of wood bigger than kitchen matches driven into our face and foreheads…Tacoma was worse. You had the splinters and knots and all, but to save on lumber they had spaced out the 2x4s and caulked them with some mixture of tar and crushed rock. When Tacoma began it go it was like a meteor shower.”
Do these photos reveal the beginnings of our fascination and connections with… cars?
Second Destination: Mt. Tacoma (Mount Rainier)
Topographically, this is the most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States. Located in the Cascade mountain range, the 14,411 high stratovolcano is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. At the time of my great-aunt’s visit, eyewitnesses reported eruptive activity just 21 years earlier in 1894.
Are you wondering about how my great-aunt refers to the mountain’s name? At the time of her visit, folks in the City of Tacoma referred to the mountain most often by its Native name.
Other Names: Tacoma, Tahoma, Tacobah
Captain George Vancouver sailed his ship through Puget Sound in May 1792 and was the first European to espy the 14,000 foot mountain. He named it after his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.
He did this in disregard of the infinitely more interesting Native American name, Tacoma. (Since Native Americans have no alphabet, and pronunciation varied from tribe to tribe, the word has been transliterated into the Latin alphabet variously as Tacoma, Tahoma, Tacobah etc.) There are many interpretations regarding the meaning of the word Tacoma. Most of them note that the the word “co” means water in the Lushootseed language, and that Tacoma means “the mother of all waters.” The word beautifully evokes the mountain’s prodigious glaciers, which provide water to the many rivers and lakes in the area. One member of the Puyallup tribe says, “The Earth is our mother and Tahoma gives us drink, gives white water to the land.”
Cut from: The Clymb
Do these photos herald our proclivity for land development and resource management?
Curious to see more of my great-aunt’s “Reminders of the West?”
Please enjoy the following short video-
Weekly Photo Challenge: March 1, 2017 | “The Road Taken”
* 4/35 playing catch-up with 2017 Weekly Photo Challenge Posts | Names, Ambience, Graceful, Re-purpose,
Solitude, Shadow, Against the Odds, A Good Match, The Road Taken, Wish, Atop, It Is Easy Being Green!, Dense, Security, Surprise, Earth, Wanderlust, Danger!, Reflecting, Heritage, Evanescent, Friend, Order, Focus, Transient, Delta, Bridge, Collage, Unusual, Satisfaction, Textures, Elemental, Ooh, Shiny!, Corner, Structure