Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Goodbye to Lonely Nights

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Harvey Jones and Thad Debrock performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Harvey Jones and Thad Debrock performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour.

185 Orchard Street, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

part of the Blow Up Hollywood album


The sun dipping below the horizon, Saturday is quickly morphing into night in the Big Apple. The street lamps' orangish glow illuminates downward, shining through and emphasizing the flakes of snow now gently but increasingly falling.

Stopped on the sidewalk on West 34th Street not far from the Skylight Diner and 9th Avenue, I am holding a Gibson guitar in its case. Beside me sits a medium wheeled suitcase filled with albums and a few T-shirts.

I am on my way to see my favorite band in concert at a venue in the Lower East Side. Looking down 34th at the lighting and snow, I think to myself how cinematic the scene looks and feels. The temperature may only be nineteen degrees, but it is worth it. Finally, a vacant taxi turns toward and pulls over to pick us up.

My travel companion this evening is none other than Steve Messina — vocalist, lyricist, acoustic guitarist and co-founder of Blow Up Hollywood. Having left the pre-show rehearsal at another band member's home, Steve and I are making our way south for a snack, beverage and the show.

Taking place in the intimate downstairs venue at Rockwood Music Hall called Stage 3, Blow Up Hollywood will be performing the first of several gigs in support of their latest album, Blue Sky Blond, and I will have a front row seat.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Harvey Jones and Thad Debrock performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

Comprised of an eclectic and talented group of musicians, Blow Up Hollywood has been producing a unique, emotional and musically inspiring type of music since 2001 that refuses to pander to the mainstream.

The paradigm of a truly independent music group, Blow Up Hollywood is the best band that you may have never heard. Founded by Steve Messina and Nik Chinboukas and with a roster changing over time, Blow Up Hollywood is as much a collective of friends and collaborators as it is a band.

Their eight thoughtful and creative albums span through genres and each stand alone as unique experiences, while somehow maintaining a signature sound. Ambient, atmospheric, post-rock, progressive rock, folk, experimental, existential… there really is no one descriptor that best describes the Blow Up Hollywood catalogue except for independent.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Thad Debrock, Harvey Jones and Nadia Ackerman performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

I first discovered Blow Up Hollywood sometime around 15 September 2004 thanks to episode 0437C of Echoes with John Diliberto. The episode featured a live "Living Room Concert" set with five tracks that captured my attention.

After an email I sent about possible 2005 shows resulted in a reply from Steve Messina himself, the two of us have since maintained a casual email friendship. Sometimes they were just short notes and other times more in depth conversations, but it was great to discuss music with and ask questions of an admired artist of mine.

It was during an email exchange in early December 2013 that I floated the idea of coming to New York City before my planned January birthday holiday in Alexandria, Virginia. As luck would have it, the Blue Sky Blond album kick-off show was scheduled for Saturday, 25 January 2014, just days before my Washington, D.C. itinerary started with friends Erik and Lauren.

I booked a flight from KTLH to KLGA, an Amtrak train from NYP to ALX and finally a flight from KDCA back to KTLH. Having been to New York City on at least three prior occasions, it was no trouble for me to find things to visit and photograph. You know, non-Blow Up Hollywood related things.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Thad Debrock, Harvey Jones and Nadia Ackerman performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

Steve Messina and I first met in person the day before the concert at Prohibition in the Upper West Side. A bar and restaurant known for featuring live music nightly, Prohibition was ironically a place where Steve's earlier band MJ12 performed many years earlier.

My initial nervousness over having dinner with the man responsible for some of my favorite music was quickly tempered by a combination of Steve's easygoing nature, our hitting it off well and whisky. Referencing his instinctive and roguish nature, the Long Island Pulse said that Steve "realizes he can come across as difficult." That may be true in the context of the music industry and popular culture, but I would see that it is not generally so.

It was great fun to talk with and get to know Steve better over the course of two days. The rehearsal and concert were, of course, a special experience for me as well. Playing around eight tracks from across their twelve-year discography, Steve was joined by band mates Harvey Jones on piano and synthesizer; Thad Debrock on electric and pedal steel guitar; and later by vocalist Nadia Ackerman.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Thad Debrock, Harvey Jones and Nadia Ackerman performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

The set list was already in development when I arrived at the rehearsal hours earlier, but I have to braggingly report that I had a hand in shaping its final form in that a few tracks were present for my benefit. It was something else to then hear this performance in a room filled with seventy people, although at the time everyone else off stage seemed to fade away.

As you can see and probably imagine for yourself substituting your favorite musician, actor, writer or other artist, these two days in New York's exceptional cold of late January 2014 were an amazing experience for me. I have tried to capture some of that magic in my photographs and in this article, though I have left much of the detailed narrative out. Sorry, you had to be there.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Harvey Jones and Thad Debrock performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

It is difficult for me to believe that the roughly twenty-four hour period of this story took place one year ago. I do not know when I will next visit Steve or see Blow Up Hollywood live in concert, but I am looking forward to both. In the meantime, our electronic chats continue and I await future news about the next album. Each one has delighted and surprised me thus far, so I can only imagine what may be in the works.

Following the show and celebration at Rockwood's Orchard Street bar above Stage 3, I was back in the cold of the night. Standing on the sidewalk between the doors for Rockwood and Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, a random passerby stops to ask me something. I reply "no" and they move on. I barely register the interaction whilst off in my own world however, preoccupied with my recent experiences.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Thad Debrock, Harvey Jones and Nadia Ackerman performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

Heading uptown in a taxi, I stare out the windows and watch as bodegas, local stores and street lamps go past. Except for the sounds of the engine and road, it is quiet in the cab. As the orangish glow of the street lamps fades in and out on my face, I cannot help but think about how perfectly everything worked out.

The couple mile ride to 31st Street and Lexington is uneventful. I return to my eighth floor room at the Hotel 31 and quickly realize that attempts to go to sleep now will be hopelessly futile. I leave my camera behind and walk next door to Vezzo Thin Crust Pizza, a place I frequented due to its convenience.

I sit down at the small bar in the front room and am immediately greeted by the friendly waitress who has served me the past few nights. She prepares my usual glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and then takes my order for a personal pizza on nine-grain organic crust.

I take a sip of my wine, put the glass down and stare ahead at nothing… a strange little smile on my face.

Photo Credit: David July — Blow Up Hollywood featuring Steve Messina with Thad Debrock, Harvey Jones and Nadia Ackerman performing on Stage 3 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City during the premiere show in the 'Blue Sky Blond' album tour, New York, New York: 25 January 2014

Related Mount Sutro Articles

You can learn more about Blow Up Hollywood, listen to samples and purchase their albums on CD and electronically at blowuphollywood.com, as well as iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and other retailers of independent music.

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: Blow Up Hollywood

The Unrestrained Possibilities for Adventure

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Photo Credit: David July — United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304 taxiing to Tallahassee Regional Airport Runway 36, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304 taxiing to Tallahassee Regional Airport Runway 36.

Near 3256 Capital Circle Southwest, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

part of the NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour album


An hour and seventeen minutes before the moment pictured above, I was sitting in the captain's seat of this aircraft doing my best to take some photographs and not push any buttons.

Part of the United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" fleet, Lockheed WC-130J Hercules 75304 was one of two storm-penetrating data collection aircraft at Tallahassee Regional Airport for the May 2014 U.S. Gulf Coast Hurricane Awareness Tour.

I have some excellent images as well as a funny story from this event, but for now here is a brief cockpit tour of WC-130J Hercules 75304.

Engine throttle, navigational system input panels and other controls on the cockpit pedestal.

Photo Credit: David July — Engine throttle, navigational system input panels and other controls on the cockpit pedestal aboard United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

Control boost, oil cooler flaps, electrical generators, fire suppression system and other controls on the cockpit overhead panel.

Photo Credit: David July — Control boost, oil cooler flaps, electrical generators, fire suppression system and other controls on the cockpit overhead panel aboard United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

Captain and first officer's seats, control columns, instrument panels and the cockpit pedestal.

Photo Credit: David July — Captain and first officer's seats, control columns, instrument panels and the pedestal in the cockpit aboard United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

Primary control column and instrument panel from the captain's seat.

Photo Credit: David July — Primary control column and instrument panel from the captain's seat in the cockpit aboard United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

Pedestal and instrument panel from the captain's seat.

Photo Credit: David July — Pedestal and instrument panel from the captain's seat in the cockpit aboard United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

Oxygen regulator and radio controls, oxygen mask, lower window and tiller wheel from the captain's seat.

Photo Credit: David July — Oxygen regulator and radio controls, oxygen mask, lower window and tiller wheel from the captain's seat in the cockpit aboard United States Air Force Reserve 403d Wing 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 'Hurricane Hunters' WC-130J Hercules 75304, Tallahassee, Florida: 22 May 2014

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Illusions of Perceptual Organization

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Photo Credit: David July — The swinging wooden suspension bridge (1935–1936) reflected in the waters of the Santa Fe River at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida: 29 November 2014

The swinging wooden suspension bridge (1935–1936) reflected in the waters of the Santa Fe River at O'Leno State Park.

Near SE O'Leno Park Road, High Springs, Florida: 29 November 2014

part of the O'Leno State Park Thanksgiving 2014 album


Is the bridge being reflected in water or is the photograph simply upside down?

A Rubin's vase or rabbit–duck illusion it is not, but I am quite pleased with how this image turned out. View it in the gallery to see it larger and get the full effect.

Photo Credit: David July

The More Things Change

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Photo Credit: David July — White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) mother and fawn foraging in the woods near the parking lot at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida: 15 February 2014

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) mother and fawn foraging in the woods near the parking lot at O'Leno State Park.

Near SE O'Leno Park Road, High Springs, Florida: 15 February 2014

part of the O'Leno State Park 2014 album


While I have many things for which to be thankful, I appreciate most my great family and the time that we spend together camping, travelling or just hanging out. Although we try to visit as many state parks as possible, we keep finding ourselves returning to O'Leno State Park in High Springs, Florida.

The former site of the Town of Leno (1840–1896) on the banks of the Santa Fe River, O'Leno is an over 6,000-acre preserve of natural Florida. First settled by Henry Matier and named Keno for a then-popular wagering game, Leno (pronounced lean-oh) was an industrious town with two grist watermills, six cotton gins, a saw mill, general store, hotel, doctor and livery stable.

Photo Credit: David July — Metal grist watermill vertical gear from the Town of Leno (1840–1896) on display in the Grist Mill Pavilion at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida: 15 February 2014

The name change from Keno to Leno took place in 1876 after general store operator Colonel G. M. Whetstone applied to start a post office for the town. His request was denied because of the gambling connection to the name Keno, so he changed the name, reapplied and became postmaster of Leno. Whetstone would run his post office and store until 1890 when he moved three miles north to settle in the town of Mikesville.

Photo Credit: David July — A metal chain on a grist watermill driveshaft from the Town of Leno (1840–1896) on display in the Grist Mill Pavilion at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida: 15 February 2014

The town's prosperity would come to an end in 1894 when the Savannah, Florida and Western Railway was "diverted to pass through Fort White instead of Leno." Within two years Leno was an empty ghost town, though it continued to be visited by locals — who called it Old Leno, later abbreviated to O'Leno — for use as a picnic area and swimming hole.

Photo Credit: David July — Bolts and washers of the attachment connecting one of the main cables to a hanger on the wooden suspension bridge (1935–1936) across the Santa Fe River at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida: 15 February 2014

After the Florida Forest Service acquired the property in the early 1930s, they began development on a training camp for employees and youth groups. Opening in 1938, Camp O'Leno was later transferred in 1940 to the Florida Park Service, a division of the forestry board created in 1935.

Photo Credit: David July — Looking east from the swinging, wooden suspension bridge (1935–1936) across the Santa Fe River at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida: 15 February 2014

It was then that the Works Progress Administration, joined by workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps, began a project to further develop the site. Within two years, they completed most of the project's improvements building roads, trails, the wooden suspension bridge, a dining hall, pavilion and museum/tower building. These structures are all still present today.

For those curious, although Reno, Nevada is presently known as a gambling town, it was not named under similar circumstances. Establishing a station in the growing mining and agricultural center known as Lake's Crossing, Central Pacific Railroad chose the name Reno in 1868 in honor of Jesse Lee Reno (1823–1862), a career Union Army officer who died in the civil war Battle of South Mountain.

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Way Down Upon

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Photo Credit: David July — The Suwannee and Withlacoochee River confluence from a lookout in Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak, Florida: 10 November 2012

The Suwannee and Withlacoochee River confluence from a lookout in Suwannee River State Park.

Near River Road, Live Oak, Florida: 10 November 2012

part of the Suwannee River State Park 2012 album


Acquired by the state in 1936, Suwannee River State Park in northwest Suwannee County first opened to visitors in 1951. Originally the site of Columbus, a small town established in 1841, the park's main attraction is the eponymous river and its confluence with the Withlacoochee.

Photo Credit: David July — Fall foliage along the river from the boat ramp at Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak, Florida: 11 November 2012

Winding for about 266 miles from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico at Suwannee in Dixie County, the Suwannee River is a federally designated wild blackwater river featuring fifty-five springs along its path. Once frequented by steamboats in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Suwannee River today is a tranquil and mostly unspoiled naturalistic setting.

Photo Credit: David July — Bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum) near the banks of the Suwannee River from a wooden bridge at the beginning of the Suwannee River Trail at Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak, Florida: 11 November 2012

Its flow demarcating a majority of Suwannee County's border, the river separates Suwannee from Hamilton and Madison County in the area of Suwannee River State Park. There are numerous opportunities within the park to see and access the river, including favorites like the boat ramp, Suwannee River Trail, Balanced Rock Trail and an area near the Confederate-built earthworks of 1863.

Photo Credit: David July — Limestone outcropping Balanced Rock over the Suwannee River from along the Balanced Rock Trail at Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak, Florida: 11 November 2012

Nearby, the pedestrian-only Old Hillman Bridge (1926) to Ellaville (1860–1942) that once carried U.S. Route 90 across the river also has great points of view. Running parallel just a bit upstream, a railroad bridge carries what was part of the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad across the river at CSX Milepost SP 728.2.

Photo Credit: David July — Railroad bridge over the Suwannee River at CSX Milepost SP 728.2 near the Suwannee and Withlacoochee River confluence from the now pedestrian-only Old Hillman Bridge (1926) in Ellaville (1860–1942) which once carried U.S. Route 90, Live Oak, Florida: 10 November 2012

Appropriate for the rural setting, the park's campground only has thirty sites situated a short walk from the boat ramp. We have been twice so far and enjoyed each visit, finding the trails and surrounding ghost towns fun to experience and photograph.

The most unusual thing at Suwannee River State Park is the fifty-foot right of way clear-cut through the forest for the South Georgia Natural Gas underground pipeline (1991). It runs next to the campground, is crossed by trails in several places and can be quite surprising to discover along a wooded trail.

Photo Credit: David July — An abrupt break in the canopy on the Balanced Rock Trail along the Suwannee River where a fifty-foot right of way was clear-cut for the South Georgia Natural Gas pipeline (1991) that runs underground through Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak, Florida: 11 November 2012

A contentious matter to locals and environmentalists in the late 1980s, the pipe would be invisible if not for the abrupt clearings. The ecological impacts such as the destruction of red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) habitat were originally dismissed, although the state later fined the gas company over $100,000 for damages caused, nearly 100 water quality standards violations and uncontrolled stream sedimentation.

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July Photo Credit: David July Photo Credit: David July Photo Credit: David July

The Tapestry of History

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Photo Credit: David July — The back wall of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

The back wall of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished.

334 West Spring Street, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

part of the Drake Well Museum album


Following a visit to the Drake Well Museum and lunch at Sam's Restaurant, we briefly stopped at the Sheetz gas station in Titusville. I immediately grabbed my camera and walked next door to where I had spotted a neat old building.

It was a brick structure with two floors and displaying signage for Titusville Moose Lodge 84. It looked like another building once stood behind it, where I was walking and taking pictures. Since we still had to drive to Pymatuning State Park an hour west, I quickly shot nine frames and headed back to the truck.

Special UpdateSunday, 31 May 2015

Photo Credit: David July — The back wall of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

I rather enjoy researching the places and things that I photograph after the conclusion of a trip. Using this information to write photo titles and articles is not only educational, but can also provide a broader context that augments the original experience in sometimes surprising ways.

In the case of these photos, I had two main questions to answer. How old is the building and did another once stand right up next to it?

Photo Credit: David July — Closeup of the northeast corner of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

I typically start by accessing the local property appraiser's database, a generally reliable primary source for building data. Making things easier, even the smaller municipalities have mostly moved to electronic maps and record searches.

Crawford County is no exception to this, but they do charge fees to download their records. Since the year of construction was not listed in the brief amount of data shown, I decided to seek out alternative sources.

Fortunately, the Titusville Herald established in 1865 maintains a free archive of articles. Even though Titusville is a small city of under 6,000, I managed to find around twenty Herald articles that helped answer my questions, provide context and set the scene. Long live independent newspapers!

Photo Credit: David July — A house sparrow (Passer domesticus) on the northwest corner of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

Although I got the answers to caption my pictures, I may as well summarize the timeline and share the full story. In a small community like this, the following events must have been the absolute talk of the town for at least three years.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Altoona-based gas station and convenience store company Sheetz, Inc. signs sales agreements with the owners of three properties east of South Monroe Street and between West Spring Street and West Central Avenue.

The properties include a two-floor Kentucky Fried Chicken at 327 West Central Avenue that closed around Tuesday, 12 August 2008 after thirty-three years of business; the former steelworkers union building at 340 West Spring Street occupied by Genesis Family Center until around Wednesday, 17 June 2009; and The Medicine Shoppe at 329 West Central Avenue which closed on Monday, 23 July 2012 after about thirty years of business.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Rather than sign a similar sale agreement with Sheetz, the Titusville Moose Lodge Number 84 at 334 West Spring Street instead votes to accept a sale offer from United Refining Company. Although Moose officials will not comment, it is reported that United Refining's offer included a two-year building use agreement while Sheetz' terms only included continued use for less than one year.

As a result of the successful bid on 334 West Spring Street by United Refining — a "major provider" of Titusville gasoline that owns Sheetz competitors Country Fair and Kwik Fill — Sheetz announces that they "no longer [have] plans to construct a convenience store and gas station" after the failed real estate deal.

Sheetz says that they "have no plans to build in Titusville at this time" and are not "developing any plans" while still remaining open to the idea. Two of the affected property owners express surprise and confusion over the Moose club's decision to sell to United Refining over Sheetz.

Wednesday, 05 May 2010
Moose Lodge 84 applies for a city zoning variance to move into a building at 1003 Industrial Drive owned by Precision Manufacturing Institute of Meadville. The variance is required because Industrial Park West is zoned for industry, while the Moose organization's "lodge is legally defined as a place of assembly."

Moose officials will not comment on the situation "until the [Titusville zoning hearing] board's decision [is] finalized." The matter is scheduled to be heard by the board the evening of Wednesday, 19 May 2010.

Monday, 17 May 2010
Two days before the hearing, Moose Lodge 84 withdraws their variance request citing their decision to abandon pursuit of the 1003 Industrial Drive building. Instead they say the club is searching for new sites to consider.

Photo Credit: David July — Bricks on the back wall of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

Friday, 16 July 2010
Amid local gossip, Sheetz reiterates that they "do have an interest in possibly locating to Titusville, but [have] no definite plans at this time." They also state that they have not purchased any buildings in Titusville.

The owner of 340 West Spring Street claims that Sheetz "still 'has an interest' in purchasing" his building, but the owner of 327 West Central Avenue says that "Sheetz was no longer interested in purchasing that building."

Wednesday, 18 August 2010
In response to customer queries, The Medicine Shoppe announces that they would move elsewhere in Titusville should they sell their property to Sheetz. Although no deal has been made and the owners do not say so, the announcement suggests that Sheetz continues to be interested in their property.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010
It is revealed at a Titusville City Council meeting that Sheetz does indeed maintain their original plan to purchase the properties in question to open a new gas station and convenience store.

At issue now is their August 2010 request to close the segment of South Monroe Street between West Spring Street and West Central Avenue. The council tables their bill on the topic citing a need to discuss the impact with a professional traffic engineer. The plan will also need to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and a traffic study conducted.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010
In a special meeting, the Titusville City Council unanimously approves Council Bill Two closing the small segment of South Monroe Street as per the Sheetz construction plan. The final 1.71-acre lot will consist of the Genesis and Medicine Shoppe plots, the roadway segment and a closed BP station immediately to the west of the roadway segment.

Wednesday, 07 December 2011
Sheetz representatives officially present their plans to the Titusville City Council, which include a projected start date in mid-2012. At this time, Sheetz has already purchased the Genesis and BP properties while "The Medicine Shoppe sale is expected to close in January or February" of 2012.

The plans — already reviewed and recommended for approval by the Titusville Planning Commission — include the physical layout of the property and parking, the design and appearance of the building and pump island, considerations for delivery trucks and other details. It is anticipated that the council will vote on the plans during their regular meeting on Tuesday, 20 December 2011.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011
The Titusville City Council unanimously approves the Sheetz construction plan.

Monday, 06 February 2012
The Medicine Shoppe property sale to Sheetz closes. The terms of the sale give the business six months to relocate, which must be done before Sheetz can begin construction. This is the final sale of property to Sheetz for this project.

Photo Credit: Titusville Herald/Mary Hill — The Medicine Shoppe, 329 W. Central Ave., will be closing its doors on July 23.
Titusville Herald/Mary Hill

Thursday, 10 May 2012
The Titusville Herald makes its final newspaper delivery to United Refining's County Fair location at 103 South Perry Street. As of the following Tuesday, the location will be a GetGo station owned by Giant Eagle.

The Herald notes that United Refining still owns two area Kwik Fill stations as well as the Moose Lodge building. During a telephone interview, a United Refining representative "would not comment on the future of the Moose building."

Thursday, 31 May 2012
Sheetz begins "moving dirt and excavating the site" in preparation for construction. Assuming no delays, the store should take three months to build and be ready to open in the summer. This is dependent on when The Medicine Shoppe moves out however; they have until Monday, 06 August 2012 to do so.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012
The Medicine Shoppe announces that they will close on Monday, 23 July 2012. Instead of relocating as originally stated, the business will merge with the CVS Pharmacy at 110 East Central Avenue. Explaining the decision, they credit the insurance industry's "ever-changing demands and programs" and the resultant inability to provide "the services that [they] believe [their] patients deserve."

Photo Credit: David July — Upper part of the back wall of the Titusville Moose Lodge building (1873) that abutted a two-floor KFC until Tuesday, 27 August 2013 when the latter was demolished, Titusville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

Tuesday, 11 September 2012
It is reported that Moose Lodge 84 will relocate to a new building under construction at 614 West Central Avenue, site of the former Carriage City Car Wash, in early 2013. The club says that limited parking and disabled access at the current location are their primary reasons for moving.

The car wash was demolished on Thursday, 23 August 2012 and construction started on a new 5,600-square-foot building. The new facility is expected to be finished in early January 2013. Moose officials state that they currently have 3,700 square feet of space available on the first floor of 334 West Spring Street. United Refining again fails to comment on their plans for the building once the Moose move out is complete.

Attributing lodge officials, the Titusville Herald states that the 334 West Spring Street building was erected in 1873.

Thursday, 21 March 2013
The Titusville Herald learns that Sheetz has scheduled an opening date of Thursday, 30 May 2013 for their new location. They also confirm that Sheetz purchased the old KFC building abutting the Moose Lodge building to the north earlier in the month.

Thursday, 02 May 2013
Sheetz announces a grand opening and ribbon cutting event on Thursday, 16 May 2013 at 1100 ET. Local radio station WGYY/WGYI Froggy 100.3 FM and 98.5 FM was later on hand for the event.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Crews begin demolishing the old KFC building. Sheetz representatives are unable to answer questions about their future plans for the site.

Photo Credit: Titusville Herald/Joshua Sterling — A wrecking crew tore into the former KFC building Tuesday afternoon in downtown Titusville.
Titusville Herald/Joshua Sterling

How the KFC building appeared in October 2008…

Photo Credit: Google — The Kentucky Fried Chicken building at 327 West Central Avenue in October 2008.
Google

Photo Credit: Google — The Kentucky Fried Chicken building at 327 West Central Avenue in October 2008.
Google

Tuesday, 08 April 2014
Sheetz engineering consultants present a plan to build a car wash at their new location. The plan calls for a "sewer planning module" to be installed on the land vacated by the KFC building.

The engineers unsuccessfully "approached the owner of the former Moose Lodge building to sell the vacant structure." Instead, their plans have the car wash accessible from West Spring Street and wrapping around the Moose Lodge building. Several reviews and approvals will be required, the first of which was scheduled for vote on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. It was approved unanimously.

Monday, 24 November 2014
As far as I can tell, the future of the old Titusville Moose Lodge building is still unknown. Regardless of whether or not United Refining bought the building to screw Sheetz, they may yet keep it around. But with increased local development being welcomed, I fear that a demolition date may be inevitable.

I would of course prefer that a building from 1873 be preserved and repurposed like has been done elsewhere. Four days later on this trip, I would see an example of this along the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda, New York. Opened in 2011, Remington Lofts is an "apartment complex with eighty-one luxury units, an upscale steak and seafood restaurant, a yoga studio and a hairstylist school."

That complex was repurposed from the former Remington Rand factory first built in 1895 as the power house for the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Electric Railway. After later being used to make wooden carousel horses, the facility was occupied by engine maker Herschell Spillman Motor Cars. Later, Remington Rand used the space to manufacture typewriters (the first to use the QWERTY keyboard layout) and the UNIVAC computer.

Aside: I am unsure if they made them here, but Remington Rand also started a line of electric razors in 1937. The Remington razor is still around today although the brand was sold in 1979 to Victor Kiam who coined the phrase, "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company."

Now armed with all of this additional information, I wish that I would have shot the front of the Moose Lodge building. With any luck, it will still be around the next time I am in the area.

[UPDATE] Sunday, 31 May 2015
On the afternoon of Saturday, 23 May 2015, I received an email from Titusville Herald Reporter Joshua Sterling. He came across this article and wanted to share an update on 334 West Spring Street.

"Unfortunately, the building was recently razed," wrote Sterling. "No future plans are known, yet."

Demolition began on Thursday, 12 March 2015 by Keith White and Son Excavating of Warren, Pennsylvania and was expected to take about a week to complete. Afterward, further work would be done to fill in the hole remaining.

According to a worker interviewed by Sterling at the site, "demolition was originally slated for five years ago, but was delayed due to necessary asbestos removal." The same worker additionally indicated that the building's walls were very strongly constructed.

Sterling also took and emailed a photograph of the demolition in progress on Saturday, 23 May 2015.

Photograph of the demolition of 334 West Spring Street in Titusville, Pennsylvania on Saturday, 23 May 2015.
Joshua Sterling — Special to Mount Sutro

An earlier photograph of the unfortunate demise of the 1873 building was published by Sterling on Friday, 13 March 2015.

Photograph of the demolition of 334 West Spring Street in Titusville, Pennsylvania on Friday, 13 March 2015.
Titusville Herald/Joshua Sterling

Special thanks to Joshua Sterling for emailing me the update and photograph!

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: Titusville Herald/Mary Hill
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: Titusville Herald/Joshua Sterling
Photo Credit: Google
Photo Credit: Google
Photo Credit: Joshua Sterling
Photo Credit: Titusville Herald/Joshua Sterling

The Impedimenta at Science Lake

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — Metal railings lining the northern walkway to Science Lake Dam (1926) in Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014

Metal railings lining the northern walkway to Science Lake Dam (1926) in Allegany State Park.

Near ASP Route 3, Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014

part of the Allegany State Park album


As there are only three main roads crossing the 67,000 acre expanse of Allegany State Park, you get to know particular landmarks and wildlife hotspots. Only a few miles east of the Quaker Area, Science Lake is one such location.

Science Lake was formed by damming the upper end of Quaker Run Creek in 1926, five years after the New York State Legislature established Allegany State Park on Monday, 02 May 1921. The building of Science Lake Dam allowed the new lake to be used as the park's first swimming area.

Photo Credit: David July — Looking across Science Lake at the fishing pier and ASP Route 3 from the far side of Science Lake Dam (1926) in Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014

In addition to the dam, adjacent construction included the Allegany School of Natural History, forty-two cabins and a building with a library, science laboratories and the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences and the State Museum's assembly room. At some point later, the buildings and cabins were removed from the area leaving only the dam and lake from these early constructs.

Today, Science Lake is one of three lakes stocked with trout for fishing. While the larger Red House Lake and Quaker Lake are stocked with thousands of fish annually, only 500 yearling brown trout are added to Science Lake each spring.

Photo Credit: David July — Sky and clouds reflected in the waters of Science Lake at Science Lake Dam (1926) in Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Transitus ad Inferos

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — A chaise longue next to the windows in Thomas Woodrow Wilson's second floor bedroom, the location of his death on Sunday, 03 February 1924, in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915), Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014

A chaise longue next to the windows in Thomas Woodrow Wilson's second floor bedroom, the location of his death on Sunday, 03 February 1924, in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915).

2340 S Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014

part of the Woodrow Wilson House album


As I was recently listening to a friend's opinions on the Ferguson, Missouri situation, there was one thing I kept thinking again and again: post hoc ergo propter hoc. Not only did I disagree with their assessment of the events, but much of it seemed to be hinged on that common logical fallacy.

It was a discussion among friends so we shared our opinions and then moved to the next topic. Since then however, I have had a particular scene from television intermittently running through my mind, one that does a nice job of explaining post hoc ergo propter hoc.

The scene in question comes from the second episode of The West Wing appropriately entitled "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" (S01E02). You can currently watch the scene on YouTube and I have also transcribed it below.


Chief of Staff Leo McGarry: What else? Press Secretary C. J. Cregg: The Ryder Cup team is declining our invitation to come to the White House. McGarry: You're kidding. Cregg: Because of the joke. President Josiah Bartlet: You're kidding. Cregg: I'm not. Bartlet: The Ryder Cup team? Cregg: It's a group of the best golfers in the country. Bartlet: I know what the Ryder Cup team is. Thanks, Mrs. Landingham. Cregg: Sir, this may be a good time to talk about your sense of humor. Bartlet: I've got an intelligence briefing, a security briefing and a ninety-minute budget meeting all scheduled for the same forty-five minutes. You sure this is a good time to talk about my sense of humor? Cregg: No. Bartlet: Me neither. McGarry: What else? Cregg: It's just that it's not the first time it's happened. Bartlet: I know. Communications Director Toby Ziegler: She's talking about Texas, sir. Bartlet: I know! Cregg: USA Today asks you why you don't spend more time campaigning in Texas and you say it's cause you don't look good in funny hats. Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn: It was "big hats". Cregg: What difference does it make? Bartlet: It makes a difference. Cregg: The point is we got whomped in Texas. Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman: We got whomped in Texas twice. Cregg: We got whomped in the primary and we got whomped in November. Bartlet: I think I was there. Cregg: And it was avoidable, sir. Bartlet: C. J., on your tombstone it's gonna read "post hoc ergo propter hoc". Cregg: Ok, but none of my visitors are going to be able to understand my tombstone. Bartlet: Twenty-seven lawyers in the room, anybody know "post hoc ergo propter hoc"… Josh? Lyman: Uh, uh… Post, after. After hoc. Ergo, therefore. After hoc, therefore. Something else, hoc. Bartlet: Thank you. Next? Lyman: If I had gotten more credit on the four-forty-three thing… Bartlet: Leo? McGarry: After it, therefore because of it. Bartlet: After it, therefore because of it. It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other. But it's not always true; in fact it's hardly ever true. We did not lose Texas because of the hat joke. Do you know when we lost Texas? Cregg: When you learned to speak Latin? Bartlet: Go figure.

"Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" was written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Thomas Schlamme and first aired on Saturday, 29 September 2001.

Photo Credit: David July — A plate from Lenox's 'Wilson Service' White House china set (1918) designed by Frank Holmes and bearing in raised gold the presidential coat of arms on display in the first floor kitchen in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915), Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July