Lately, I have been getting what Laura Ingalls Wilder called “itchy feet:” I’m just so itching to get out of the house and explore whatever suits my fancy – and this curiosity is killing me (hence the witty – cough – title of this post). What with teaching, the preps for teaching, the grading, and the work I’m doing on my books and future classes, I haven’t had much time. I did go hunting for some railroad relics this past weekend, and found a few, so I’m not destitute for discoveries, yet.
I encountered this ca. 1915 suspension bridge near Sherman, Texas.
But I just bought a 1934 Conoco Map of Texas from E-Bay. Good grief, does that make for some interesting reading. Ferry crossings are dotted all along the Red River, as well as old toll bridges that do not exist anymore. I went to Google Maps (thank goodness for satellite imagry) and was able to find remnants of these toll bridges, so guess what I’ll be doing in the near future?!
There is nothing in the world that comes close to finding places that time has forgotten. These small pieces of the historical puzzle just fill me with absolute wonder. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of exploring the backwaters around here. And believe me, there are some real backwaters to explore.
I guess my interest in the Red River Valley of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana might seem rather mundane for people who live around really old, settled history – let’s face it, the ghost towns I encounter can’t even hold a candle to the ghosts of Pompeii, and the ruins I photograph are rather puny when compared to the cavernous insane asylums of the Northeast. Yes, consider yourselves envied, you people of the history book places. Still, I LOVE the fact that some of the places I encounter may have never been explored at all – it’s almost pioneer-like, in a way. Like woman on the moon or something.
If you happen to read any of these entries and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, come visit my website, Red River Historian. Also, for a great way to loose yourself for a couple of hours in some fantastic photography and conversation, visit the Urban Exploration Forums. You can also find a kindred spirit in Forgotten New York, a website devoted to exploring the side of New York and its burroughs that urban redevelopment has missed (at least for the moment).
If you know of a cool place you think I’d like, or if you’d like to share what you’ve found, just post a comment!