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Friday, April 25, 2008

Foto Friday: The Conquest of Conquest

Every few days I come across something interesting enough to write about. But I don't have time then. By the time I have time to write, the event has become ancient history (2 days in normal time, 2 millennia in blog years). So that's why no blog.

To make up for the lack of Foto Friday last week, here's a three-fer: the George Rogers Clark Memorial:

George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, IN, June 2007George Rogers Clark Memorial
Vincennes, IN, June 2007

I took Niles here last summer, and he was mildly interested in this large memorial park, until he learned that Clark was celebrated for kicking British butt. Doh! Guess I forgot to mention that part.

Check out the inscription at the top:

Closer view of the George Rogers Clark Memorial

You can only read part of it. The whole thing reads, "The Conquest of the West - George Rogers Clark and The Frontiersmen of the American Revolution."

You don't often see an uncritical, unabashed reference to conquest these days. The Memorial was dedicated in the benighted days of 1936, by the benighted FDR.

Be sure to check out the park's web site. Enjoy the nice pictures of the redbuds, then look inside the Memorial at the seven murals. I have pictures of them, but they're pretty crummy. My flash was not powerful enough, and I was unable to make the tourists go the hell away.

The murals are by an artist named Ezra Winter. Most of them are very colorful, but mural number 3 is very dull. Questioned about this, Winter explained that, hey, Vincennes is very dull in the winter (depicted in the mural), and he wanted to be accurate.

If you look at the first photo, above, you might see a chunk of stone near the riverfront, just in front of the Memorial. That's this:

Statue of Francis Vigo, Vincennes, IN, June 2007Statue of Francis Vigo
Vincennes, IN
June 2007

Francis Vigo, honored in the names of counties and townships and countless businesses around Vincennes. On Memorial Day that year, the city woke to find that someone had broken Vigo's nose. It was still buzzing with indignation weeks later. A park ranger told us with satisfaction that the culprits -- teenagers -- had been identified and would be Dealt With.

I think Vigo looks like he's preparing to get out of his seat and give chase. "You damn kids BRING BACK MY NOSE!"

Visible behind Vigo is the Lincoln Memorial Bridge which carries the business loop of US Hwy 50 into Illinois. Supposedly this was the place where the young Abe Lincoln forded the Wabash to get to Illinois (which he had heard was calling itself the "Land of Lincoln", and he wanted to know what that was about).

Like Lincoln, Niles and I likewise crossed the river on foot, but we were sensible enough to use the bridge, so as not to get wet. I believe that's the only time I have crossed a state line on foot.

So, exciting, eh? Now, wasn't that worth the wait?

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