Tag Archives: Buffalo

Western ND Roosevelt Notes

RooseveltThis afternoon I’m doing a bit of research and reading of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1884 diary from the digital collections of Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Center. A very, very, very sad diary entry from February 14, 1884, the day his wife and mother died (on the same day!).

Teddy wrote an “X” on this page, and followed it with the short, heartfelt statement: “The light has gone out of my life.” Sad!

On June 9, 1884 he arrived at his Chimney Butte Ranch on the Little Missouri River in western North Dakota (then Dakota Territory). From here he proceeded to blow everything away for a while. For example, the June 13, 1884 entry reads, “One jack rabbit, one curlew. Both killed with double barreled express rifle, 50 caliber, 150 grains of powder.”

The next day, Saturday, he blew away two more cerlews. He must’ve took the day of rest on Sunday. But on Monday he was back in the saddle, blowing everything away again. He drilled “one badger; found out on [the] plains away from [his] hole, galloped up to him and killed him with revolver.” This hunting spree goes on for some time. I’m sensing a foreshadowing for future conservation efforts around the turn of the 19th century. We’ll see what happens next…

A Great Plains Airport

On the morning of August 31, 2013, Molly and I took an early morning flight from Fargo to Buffalo, New York, with a connecting flight in Chicago. That morning in Fargo’s Hector airport, while we waited to board our flight, I typed out a description of my surroundings. The trinity takeaway from Buffalo: it is the birthplace of Richard Hofstadter and the Buffalo chicken wing, and it is also the city where Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated after McKinley died from an assassin’s bullet.

Okay, enough of that. Here is the late-August 2013 Fargo airport description in unadulterated form:

It’s 5:12AM at the Fargo Airport, Gate 5, and Molly and I are waiting for the United Chicago flight to board around 5:30. I thought I’d give some descriptions of my surroundings, as this airport has a different social atmosphere than the Chicago hub we’re flying into.

The view: there are about 15 of us so far, waiting to board. A slow trickle of passengers continues advancing toward their respective gates in the terminal. A lot of us are wearing sandals or easily removable shoes. This is for utility, as they are easier to slide off and on when entering and exiting the security checkpoints.

The terminal itself has strip-mall aesthetics (in fact, it is unusual today to be in new construction that is non-strip mall-like). The color scheme is grey, blue, peach, and terracotta. Molly thinks elementary schools used to have this color scheme in the late-80s, at least around these parts, and at least if they were new back then. “New” is an elusive word, like “modern.” The floor and ceiling are carpet, and the walls smooth either with paint or wallpaper. Lighting here is recessed halogen fluorescent, or whatever they are called.

It is dark in the early morning outside too. It is pitch black out there, the “United Express” logo on the plane illuminated by exterior lighting. Within the windows, we can only see the reflection of our Gate. There are three plants at Gate 5 too. They look real. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has static signage near this gate, too, an information booth on local species.

The sounds: a steady gentle hum persists from the black rectangular vending machine. It rattles occasionally, as the refrigeration compressor keeps the beverages cool. A couple of the families have young children, and they are a bit chatty. Other conversation, at least amongst the adults, is muffled. There is a silent kind of still, folks a bit groggy from getting up at 3:30 or 4:00AM, and others wanting to respect the quiet associated with this morning hour. A hum outside, toward the plane, is also audible. The conversations increase as we draw nearer to the boarding time, and as more and more folks arrive.

The sensation: some folks feel like they want to sleep, but can’t. But they so would like to. Everyone knows that in 10 or 17 or 23 minutes or so, we will be asked to board the plane. For myself, there is slight warmth in my forehead, a kind that a person sometimes feels when without enough sleep.

The smells: it smells similar to a hospital waiting room with occasional whiffs of coffee.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Inaugural Home and Buffalo Wings

This past weekend Molly and I visited Buffalo, New York, primarily to attend one of our friend’s weddings. While in Buffalo, we enjoyed the hospitality of Rich and Susan Bring Tobe. Rich and Susan know the deep culture of Buffalo, New York, and they showed us a variety of historic architecture and landscape architecture (including homes by Frank Lloyd Wright, and parks designed by Frederick L. Olmsted). In addition to this, they also pointed out the home where Theodore Roosevelt was sworn into office, this after William McKinley died from an assassin’s bullet in Buffalo. Before Molly and I departed yesterday, we stopped to take some photos of the home. I thought I’d upload and share one here (the house is on the National Register of Historic Places, the site narrative linked to here).

A photo of the home in Buffalo, New York where Theodore Roosevelt was sworn into U.S. Presidential Office after the death of McKinley.

This also got me to thinking how altered the monopolistic trust-busting might have been had Teddy not become president through this awful tragedy (that’s kind of the way with life, though: redemption can result from tragedy, at least in this case). Of course, had McKinley survived, we would not even know how things would have been otherwise. But that’s another discussion entirely (arguably presented much more intelligibly by Doc in Back to the Future).

While in Buffalo, I also got to thinking about just how many chicken wings Teddy could have inhaled at the Anchor Bar, the birthplace of the “Buffalo” wing (in Buffalo, they just call Buffalo wings “wings” much in the same way that the French refer to French onion soup as “onion soup.”).

Anchor Bar merchandise at the original birthplace of the Buffalo chicken wing, this in Buffalo, New York.