Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘polar bear’

Founder of Piggly Wiggly Built Pink Palace

Piggly Wiggly pink palace

The Pink Palace was built in the 1920s by Clarence Saunders, founder of Piggly Wiggly.

   If you want to impress your friends and neighbors, building a pink marble palace might be one possibility. That is what Clarence Saunders decided to do back in the 1920s.

Piggly Wiggly trucks

Piggly Wiggly had their own delivery trucks.

   Clarence Saunders began working in Owen’s general store at the age of ten by cleaning, oiling, and trimming the kerosene lamps. When he was fourteen,  Owens hired him permanently at a salary of $4 per month plus room and board. A few years later, he received a job at another general store for $10 a month and worked there until he was 17.

Piggly Wiggly store

This is a replica of the interior of an original Piggly Wiggly.

   After working in the general store all those years, Saunders thought of ways to make it more customer-friendly. As a result, Saunders became the founder and sole owner of a new kind of general store. He wanted his store to be unique so named it Piggly Wiggly.

Piggly Wiggly Soup display

You could pick a can off the shelf all by yourself.

   This was the first true self-service grocery store. Previously, the clerk in the store retrieved the items for the buyer and brought them to the counter.  Now, the buyer entered through a turnstile and went down the aisles picking up the things they wanted and brought them to the counter to check out their total price.  By  1921, he had 615 grocery stores in forty states and many more franchises.

Piggly Wiggly Saunders

Clarence Saunders founded Piggly Wiggly.

   Saunders chose to use the fortune he had amassed through Wall Street stock to build a lovely home in Memphis, Tennessee. He purchased 155 acres across the street from the Memphis Country Club. He called his new home Cla-Le-Clare to honor his children Clay, Lee, and Amy Clare.  Since it was being built of pink Georgia marble, the Memphians called it the Pink Palace.

Pink Palace lobby

The Grand Lobby contains restored Burton Callicott murals.

   Sadly, his good fortune on Wall Street did not last. With only the exterior of the house finished, it was sold at public auction in 1925 and plans were to demolish it. However, the Garden Corporation stepped in and had the palace donated to the city with hopes of turning it into a museum.

Pink Palace star

Early controls for their planetarium are on display.

   A group of high school boys formed the Memphis Astronomical Society in 1953. They gathered weekly to look at the stars from the lawn. The city wanted to construct a planetarium and it was finally decided to put it in the Pink Palace. Due to a lack of funds, the high school boys ran the planetarium on the weekends for many years.

Pink Palace shows

Interesting films are shown on a large 3-D screen.

   The Mansion Theater has shows running throughout the day on a large 3-D screen. When visiting, the Dinosaur movie projected creatures flying into the audience and walking close by. Apollo II was to be shown later in the day.

Pink Palace General Store

Take a walk through an old general store where you were waited on personally.

   Explore an old general store like Clarence worked in as a boy. Then visit his first Piggly Wiggly store and see the improvements. His advertisement contained stories like these:

   A customer wants 5 pounds of granulated sugar put up in a cloth bag. She is in a hurry so she runs into Piggly Wiggly and helps herself. She pays the cashier and away she goes.

Piggly Wiggly circus

Enjoy a moving miniature circus in the Clyde Parke Circus Gallery.

   Upstairs the Clyde Parke Miniature Circus filled an entire room. This is a 3D model of a real circus done to 1:12 scale. Parke carved each of the figures from white pine he salvaged from packing crates. There are animals, clowns, a lady on a trapeze, and an audience of 1500 people. He donated the circus so people would remember “when the circus was the biggest show in town.”

Piggly Wiggly bear

This polar bear attracts plenty of attention.

   A large male polar bear from Alaska was donated to the museum forty years ago for educational purposes by Dr. Harold Misner. The bear has been a popular presence at many weddings in the Pink Palace. When the Memphis Grizzlies make the playoffs, he is lit with blue lights.

   The Pink Palace captures the history of not only Piggly Wiggly but that of early natural history in “A Walk Through Time” and the history of the early days of the South. Take time to visit their theater, have lunch at Metro Eats, and take home a memory from the Museum Store.

   “There’s Lively Learning for All at Pink Palace Museum.”

The Pink Palace is located at 3050 Central Avenue, Memphis TN. Your GPS should come in handy to find this location.

 

 

 

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Teacher Learns About Polar Bears in Icy Arctic

bobbie-polar-bears

Sometimes even polar bears just want to have fun.

Not everyone would consider sleeping in a tent on the ice the perfect vacation, but Bobbie Henderson thought it a great adventure. Over the past few years, she has made not one, but two trips to the far, far north just to get up close and personal with polar bears.

While she’s had a long-time passion for animals, one day while teaching an eighth grade class, they watched a film about polar bears. At the end of the film, it told about possible tours on the tundra where you could see polar bears just outside your window. Bobbie was hooked.

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Three polar bears relax in the setting sun on Hudson Bay.

Her first polar bear expedition headed to Churchill on Hudson Bay in the far north of Manitoba, Canada. Northern style shops lined the streets of this small town. Sirens went off to alert people when a polar bear came to visit. They even had a polar bear jail, where they placed tranquilized bears until they could be taken back to the wilds by helicopter.

At Churchill, a group of 32 boarded Tundra Buggies set high off the ground to take them exploring. Once they reached camp, the group settled in for a week of visiting polar bears.

Headquarters consisted of a stationary area with seven modular sections. Camp here was spartan, but comfortable…with excellent food. Showers were limited to two and a half minutes as all water had to be heated, while outhouses stood on the edge of camp. Overall, a relaxed atmosphere.

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The highlight of the trip for Bobbie was when this polar bear stuck its nose in the tundra buggy window right beside her.

Half the group would go polar bear watching in the morning, while the other half went in the afternoon. On one of these trips, windows were left down to take better pictures. The thrill of the trip for Bobbie was when one polar bear, 10′ tall, actually stuck its nose in the window right where she sat. She could have reached out and touched him…but took a picture instead.

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Forty polar bears were sighted on her first expedition.

One strict rule here states: “Don’t even think about feeding the bears.” Feeding was discouraged as it would make the bears too familiar with humans, perhaps causing both of them problems. If anyone did feed a bear, they were taken from camp in a helicopter at their expense. Bears find their own food and enjoy a steady diet of seals. They can eat a hundred pounds of blubber in a single sitting.

On that first expedition, Bobbie saw 40 polar bears in their natural environment. There’s a reason that Manitoba is called “The Polar Bear Capital of the World”.

bobbie-tents

Their yellow tents were the only sign of civilization in this Arctic wilderness.

Her second polar bear adventure began in Nunavut near Pond Inlet on the northern tip of Baffin Island. Now she was 700 K north of the Arctic Circle! This small town said their biggest problems were drugs, family abuse, and alcohol. They did have a couple television sets and computers, which broadcast in their native Inuktitut language.

Snow machines pulled them to camp this time on 18′ komitak sleds…three people to a sled. The ride took eight bumpy hours. Camp consisted of bright yellow tents on the ice with an insulated pad underneath and a very warm sleeping bag. Native Eskimos served as guides and someone stood guard around the clock to make certain no bears invaded the camp.

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Bobbie, their guide Dave and Jenny from Australia listen through hydrophones to the world beneath the ice.

The reflection of the midnight sun off the ice gave members the worst sunburns on their faces that they could imagine. They would reach outside their tents at night to get ice to cool off their burning face.

Perhaps it was due to the weather, but on this trip they only saw four polar bears. They first faced blizzard conditions but by the end of the week, it started to rain, so ice was melting in spots especially along the crevices. Now the komitak sleds had to jump the crevices making for a very rough and wet ride back to town.

Living on the frozen ocean, they explored ancient ruins of the Thule people, followed tracks of polar bears in the snow, built snowmen and created snow angels. Each day provided another unique adventure, which made this magical place a once in a lifetime experience.

bobbie-classroom

Ms Henderson brought back her experiences and used them in the classroom.

Upon her return, Bobbie shared her Arctic adventures in her Florida classroom. She used the trip to teach spelling, vocabulary, map skills and wildlife conservation. Bringing personal experiences to the classroom always enhances learning. Now she enjoys sharing her experiences as a substitute teacher here in southeastern Ohio.

bobbie-collectibles

Her house is overflowing with polar bear memorabilia.

While Bobbie was glad she did both trips, she wants to return to Churchill again because she saw more bears there, and camping was a little more relaxing. Since she likes cold weather, Greenland, the North Pole, and Arctic regions are places she would enjoy visiting.

bobbie

Bobbie volunteers at Dickens Victorian Village, where she dresses as a lovely Victorian lady.

Animals like Bobbie. At her home near Cambridge, she keeps several dogs, cats, and rare macaws. Deer hang out at her back deck. But if you happen to see a polar bear there, it’s just Bobbie in her polar bear costume.

bobbie-polar-bear-costume

Sometimes she enjoys dressing as a polar bear.

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