Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for June, 2016

Remote Sensoring Used at the Moundsville Mound

Bev at Mound 2 (2)

While climbing Grave Creek Mound, this young lady wonders about the past.

What’s inside Grave Creek Mound at Moundsville, WV? That’s a question many people are curious about. Years ago someone actually made a tunnel into the Mound and found some interesting things. An eight foot tall skeleton with copper bracelets and mica breastplate were discovered and actually placed on display for some time in a museum inside the Mound.

Mound Speaker

Alexander is doing a doctoral study on use of varied equipment to receive data on what is inside the Mound.

Now, archaeologists are not able to disturb ancient burial grounds so an alternative method of looking inside is being tried. In the spring of 2016, Alexander Corkum, a doctoral student at the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, UK, used a non-invasive technique to investigate the Grave Creek Mound.

Modern equipment was used, such as: (ERT) electical resistivity tomography, topographic survey, GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey, and photogrammetry. Most of this equipment had never been seen before in the valley. Actually, Grave Creek Mound is the first place this combination of equipment has been used anywhere in America, according to Corkum. The only previous place for gathering data with this equipment was at England’s Stonehenge, where they discovered a new Super Henge.

Mound Explorer

This GPR produces a type of picture of the internal Mound as it gets readings from electronic currents sent into the ground.

In the past, archaeologists have had digs to find pieces of history hidden under the ground. With this new equipment, they are hopeful to find images that will give valuable information about the past without disturbing the ground. Corkum feels that archaeology is destructive.

His team feels that every place does not require excavation. They feel the best way to preserve history is to keep it in the ground, while doing a remote geological survey.

The GPR had been taken up and down the mound in several directions to get as many remote sensory readings as possible. An electronic current is injected into the ground and this produces a radargram. My mind wondered if this was similar to an MRI of the ground.

Mound Drone

This large drone contains a better camera, which produces clearer pictures.

Drones were also used to take pictures – photogrammetry. They were programmed to take pictures every foot and can then produce a model of the object being photographed, in this case the Grave Creek Mound.

When asked why they came to Grave Creek Mound, they replied, “There’s no other place quite like it.”

For several days, data was collected but little legitimate conclusions have been reached at this point in time. They expect valuable data will be available when the results are carefully analyzed. This could take several months.

One thing the data will not clearly show are fossils and artifacts. Radar will show different disturbances in the ground area such as stones, water and soil density.

Mound student

This high school student was lucky enough to get to assist with the experiments.

Jarrod, a sophomore at John Marshall High School, was fortunate to be able to assist with this project throughout the week. His youth enabled him to climb the mound time after time, pulling the equipment. Some days that included as many as seventy trips. Jarrod was very knowledgeable about the mound and interested in the process. Someday this exceptional young man hopes to become a geoarchaeologist.

Mound Drone Overhead

A drone flies overhead taking pictures during its flight.

After the lecture, everyone went outside to either walk to the top of the mound, or watch as they demonstrated the drones taking pictures.

The final result of all this imagery will be to construct a model of the mound both inside and out. There is always something new to explore in the interesting world in which we live.

 

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Hopalong Cassidy Statue Dedicated

Hoppy 1

Laura Bates, Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club founder, stands beside the newly dedicated bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy with the sculptor, Alan Cottrill.

The legend of Hopalong Cassidy lives on in Cambridge, Ohio where he grew up as William Boyd. In June, 2016, a bronze statue was placed at the Guernsey County Senior Center to honor this local hero. June was a fitting month for this to happen as June 5 was both the birthday of William Boyd and the date of his marriage to Grace.

Laura Bates had a vision and a dream to have this memorial statue built for her hero. Through the efforts of Laura and her dedicated Hoppy Fan Club members, money was raised for a life size statue of Hopalong Cassidy. Laura has been the organizer for Hopalong Cassidy Festivals in the Cambridge area for 25 years, and has printed a monthly newsletter that she shares with Hoppy’s Fan Club.

Guests appeared from all over the United States for the dedication, which Laura emceed in a western turquoise and purple outfit – the favorite colors of Hoppy’s wife, Grace. Why, the courthouse in downtown Cambridge was even lit in turquoise and purple to honor this special dedication.

Hoppy 2

John Gilliland was the cowboy, who posed for Alan Cottrill when he designed the statue. He was kind enough to imitate that pose again at the dedication ceremony..

This celebration recalled those special values that Hopalong displayed and taught. He was a good man doing the right thing…the kind of cowboy who was clean living and never shot to kill anyone in his movies or television shows. Hoppy never smoked or drank and supported his home county even when he was in Hollywood. During WWI and WWII, when Hoppy bought savings bonds, he always gave the bond credit to Guernsey County.

Hoppy 4

Laura Bates watches as the Hopalong Cassidy statue is unveiled.

The bronze statue made by Alan Cottrill, international sculptor, was brought to Cambridge a couple days earlier to be set on its foundation. Laura said this was not an easy thing to watch as they had a rope around Hoppy’s neck and were swinging him around so much that she feared he would be broken. No harm was done but it still was a very traumatic experience for her.

Hoppy Grace

A picture of Grace Boyd was presented to the Senior Center and can be found in the entrance hall.

Having this statue placed at our Senior Center makes it the only Senior Center in Ohio with a bronze statue by the talented Alan Cottrill. His work is detailed and outstanding with a couple of his popular creations being the Thomas Edison bronze statue on display in Washington D.C and one of Woody Hayes on the Ohio State campus.

Hoppy Plaque

This plaque beside the statue acknowledges all those who contributed to keeping alive the memory of William Boyd, best known as Hopalong Cassidy.

Many dignitaries were in attendance to give words of praise for this legendary cowboy. Several mentioned that his words should continue to resonate throughout America. He stood for those values that we long to see come back. He always reminded children at the end of his programs to be mindful of how we treat each other.

Hoppy DirtAt the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, several honored guests placed special soil around the bottom of the statue. This soil came from near the cabin where the Boyds stayed when films were being made in California.

The program ended with the reading of Hoppy’s Creed. The final words were:

Be glad and proud to be an American.

 

 

 

Final Days to Tour the Historic Marx Toy Museum

Marx Toy Museum

Marx Toy Museum has been in Moundsville, WV for fifteen years.

Closing  June 30, 2016.

When this day arrives, the Marx Toy Museum will close the doors on a vast collection of Marx toys that have stood the test of time. Located in Moundsville, West Virginia at 915 Second Street, Francis Turner opened Marx Toy Museum in 2001. This former Boner’s Meat Market seemed the perfect place to display his large collection of toys, which he accumulated over thirty years. It’s the largest collection of Marx toys in the world.

Marx Big Loo (1)

Big Loo, the robot, is the only known one in its original box. This 1963 robot can shoot darts, squirt water and even talk.

Back in 1986, Francis began buying and selling Marx toys. Why Marx? Because many of the toys were made up the river at the Marx factory in Glen Dale, West Virginia from 1934-1980. There were also two plants in Pennsylvania. Over the years, they made everything from dollhouses to ride-on toys.

The plant in Glen Dale was the largest toy factory under one roof in the world for many years. Formerly, this location housed an airplane factory, Fokker Airplanes, who built the trimotor, Josephine Ford, flown by Commander Richard Byrd over the North Pole in 1927.

August 4, 1927 was a big day for the Fokker air strip in Glen Dale. That was the day that Charles Lindbergh, famous American aviator and explorer, landed there in his Ford Tri-Motor airplane. Over 140,000 came out to see this famed aviator.

Marx Doll House 2

This Colonial Dollhouse in its original box would have been quite the gift.

Francis is passionate about finding choice Marx toys from all over the world. When describing his extensive toy collection, his voice showed pride and enthusiasm. “All the toys in the museum are in their original condition. Nothing has been repaired or repainted.” He has no favorites as likes them all, and enjoys demonstrating them since they still work quite well.

Marx Creation center

The Marx Prototype Room displays original sketches and one-of-a-kind ideas that were never actually produced.

Tour groups always stop at the museum when in the Moundsville area. Francis recalled, “Visitors love the museum. There are a lot of memories here. It’s a piece of history.” People frequently shed a few tears as one of the toys brings back a memory of a gift they received as a child. This museum is packed with room after room of memories.

Marx Francis 2

Francis likes to use his Toy Chest to show visitors some of the oldest Marx toys. Pinocchio the Acrobat is 76 years old, while Marvel the Monkey is 80 years old. Francis holds the famous Climbing Monkey.

Louis Marx began working in 1912 at the age of sixteen in the office of toymaker Strauss, before Marx served in WWI.  In 1916, that company went bankrupt and Marx took one of their popular items, Zippo  the Climbing Monkey, and tweaked it just slightly to start his own business and make millions from this one toy.

Marx Louis Figures

Marx always had a passion for the military so made these famous figures in his own image: Commander Mao, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon.

Marx was the Henry Ford of toy-making as he wanted toys that everyone could afford. All the early toys were made of metal until WWII, when metal was needed for the military. Then it became necessary to find an alternative, and plastic seemed to be the best choice.

Over the years, Louis Marx earned the name, “King of Toy Makers”, throughout the world. His toys were not only creative, but of high quality. In 1955, one of every three toys made in America was made by Louis Marx & Co.

Marx Brad Paisley

A display of Brad Paisley’s toys shows his Big Wheel on the top. Francis said Brad used the Big Wheel most of the time, but drove the 727 Marx Jet when in a hurry.

The most popular toy ever sold was the Marx Big Wheel back in 1960. Disney even had Mickey Mouse riding Big Wheel. At the peak of its popularity, three assembly lines ran 24 hours a day at the Glen Dale plant, and made 9,000 Big Wheels each day. Brad Paisley’s Big Wheel is on display, since he grew up in Glen Dale and participated in the Big Wheel races there

Marx Diner

This vintage 1950s dining area provides a great place to relax while having a Coke and some popcorn as you watch old television commercials from that era.

Plans for the future include a virtual website of Marx toys with the intention of preserving the history of Marx around the world. Francis and his son, Jason, also plan to have traveling toy exhibits of the most popular Marx toys. These displays will be available to museums throughout the country, where Francis will be able to share his toys with more people than ever. Their goal is to keep Marx history alive.

Everyone will find something to enjoy at the Marx Toy Museum. It definitely brought back many memories of my childhood and that of my sons. Better hurry down and see this great collection before it closes at the end of June, 2016. Step back into The Toyland of Yesteryear.

Visit Marx Toy Museum at 915 Second Street in Moundsville, WV or at their website: http://www.marxtoymuseum.com for continued information about Marx toys.

 

 

 

 

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