A Visit to the Gatekeeper’s Museum / Tahoe City CA

The Gatekeeper’s Museum

Consider visiting the Gatekeepers Museum which offers a fascinating look into the history of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Gatekeepers Museum is located where the outlet for the Truckee River begins from Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City, California. This would be on the western shore of Lake Tahoe. The Gatekeeper’s Museum is located in William B. Layton Park behind Fanny Bridge at 120 West Lake Boulevard. As of this writing, the Gatekeeper’s Museum is open  May through September from 10am to 5pm daily, except Tuesdays, and the rest of the year on weekends only between 11am and 3pm.

lake tahoe museums

Gatekeeper’s Museum, Tahoe City, CA

The existing Gatekeeper’s cabin is a reconstruction of the original cabin built in 1910 in the same location. The original cabin which was built by Robert Montgomery Watson burned down in the early 1980’s.The fire was believed to be arson.

The Gatekeeper’s cabin was originally built to be the home of the “watermaster” who controlled the water flow out of Lake Tahoe. This job would also be described as the “dam attendant“.

The cabin/museum displays Tahoe history, from the Washoe people through the logging and mining eras and the beginning of the tourism industry at Lake Tahoe. Museum exhibits include Native American baskets, resort memorabilia, historical photographs, clothing, oral histories, maps, archival documents, newspapers, and artifacts.

lake tahoe hiking trails

Cottonwood Trail Head at Layton Park, Tahoe City CA

Layton Park

The Gatekeeper’s Museum is located inside Layton Park. Long before this spot was named Layton Park it was a summer home to the Washoe Indians. This was so for thousands of years while the Washoe traveled from the lower elevations of Nevada to the high elevation of what is now Tahoe City. Today, those visiting the Gatekeeper’s Museum and Tahoe City may enjoy a short hike around Layton Park’s “Cottonwood Trail” . This is a loop path that gives you the chance to view a large number of trees, bushes and flowers that are native to the area.

You should be able to pick up a brochure at the trail head which will explain the numerical markers seen along the trail. Near the trail head you’ll also see an exhibit of the old Tahoe Firehouse.

truckee river dam

Truckee River Dam at the Lake Tahoe shoreline

The Truckee River

The Truckee River Basin covers an area of approximately 3,060 square miles in the states of California and Nevada. The river’s basin stretches in a generally north by northeast direction from Lake Tahoe, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the border between California and Nevada. The Truckee river water flows to Pyramid Lake, located about 50 air miles away from Lake Tahoe in the desert of northwestern Nevada. The Truckee River is 105 miles in length.

The Truckee River is the only outlet from Lake Tahoe. The Truckee River is a great place to fish, ride a raft down the rapids, or do some casual sightseeing, all depending on which length of the river you happen to be on at the time. Tourists are gleefully informed of the famed “fanny bridge” or “rump row” which is viewed by sightseers leaning over to look at the river below.

Exploring Lake Tahoe

The earliest known inhabitants of the Tahoe Basin were the nomadic predecessors to the Washoe, Maidu and Paiute Indian Tribes. These tribes existed during the Middle Archaic Period and reportedly returned to the area seasonally to collect medicinal plants, hunt, fish and create stone tools.

lake tahoe dam

Map of the Gatekeeper’s Museum and Truckee River Dam location in Tahoe City, CA

The first European to set eyes on lake Tahoe was John C. Fremont. Fremont came across Lake Tahoe in February of 1844. Along with his exploration party was Kit Carson. Fremont first observed Lake Tahoe from what is today, Carson Pass.

At this time the Lake Tahoe shoreline was inhabited mostly by the Washoe tribe. Interestingly enough the lake had various names until it was officially named Lake Tahoe in 1945. The state line between California and Nevada passes roughly through the middle of Lake Tahoe.

In the 1850’s the California Gold Rush and people resettling resulted in heavy wagon train traffic through what is today Highway 50. Then, wagon traffic was so heavy the route was called the Roaring Road. Today Highway 50, passing over Echo Summit, is the main  route for motorists driving from Sacramento or the Bay Area to South Lake Tahoe. Interstate 80 is the more direct route taken to Donner Pass, Truckee, and the ski areas west and north of the lake.

See these additional Trips Into History articles on the links below…

 A Visit to Old Town Sacramento

Nevada City California and the Lady Gambler

tahoe city california

Tahoe City, California

Tahoe City California

Tahoe City is located on the western shore of Lake Tahoe about 14 miles southeast of Donner Pass. The area was surveyed in 1863 with the Tahoe House built one year later. The town was a stop over point for people traveling to and from the Nevada Comstock Lode. First named simply Tahoe, the name was changed to Tahoe City in 1949.

Today, Tahoe City California is a major tourist destination on Lake Tahoe. During the summer months Tahoe City is a place for rafting, hiking, biking, boating and all types of watersports plus golf and horesback riding. During the winter months Tahoe City is all about snow and all snow sports. Plenty of attractions in Tahoe City and Lake Tahoe to make a vacation or long weekend a great time.

( Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

Drive Wisconsin’s Picturesque Lake Superior Scenic Byway

The State of Wisconsin features several scenic byways that will help make your trip unforgettable and also offer some great photo opportunities.

Wisconsin’s newest scenic byway is in the very picturesque northern part of the state along the shores of Lake Superior on the lake’s western end.

lake superior scenic byway map

Wisconsin lake Superior Scenic Byway route

Wisconsin’s Scenic Byway Program

The Wisconsin Scenic Byway Program began in 1999 when a new state law directed the state Department of Transportation to develop and administer a scenic byway program.

Today, there are a total of four Wisconsin Scenic Byways with the addition of the newest one, the Wisconsin lake Superior Scenic Byway. The other three scenic byways are the Great River Road, the Lower Wisconsin River Road and the Door County Coastal Byway.

The program is a cooperative effort between local communities and WisDOT to identify and promote state highway corridors with scenic and/or historical attributes that provide travelers an enjoyable visual, educational and recreational experience. A scenic byway is at least 30 miles in length and is other than an Interstate Highway.

lake superior shoreline

Lake Superior shoreline

Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway

The Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway  is a 70-mile route of State Hwy. 13 from U.S. Hwy. 2 just west of Ashland to County H in Douglas County. This 70 mile route is beautiful with a variation of forested areas and stunning coastal views. 

On April 18, 2013, a ribbon cutting ceremony at StageNorth Theater in Washburn made the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway official. Among the many sites to visiti and enjoy on this scenic byway is access to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the Northwest Wildlife Refuge Lands and the Chequamegon National Forest.

The route of the Wisconsin lake Superior Scenic Byway includes the cities of Bayfield and Washburn; the Red Cliff Tribal lands; the towns of Barksdale, Bayfield, Bayview, Bell, Clover, Cloverland, Orienta, Port Wing and Russell; and the unincorporated areas of Cornucopia, Herbster and Port Wing.

Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands Lakeshore in Wisconsin is a very popular tourist destination for summer time tourists. Here you will see beautifully forested islands and one hundred year old lighthouses. In all there are eight historic lighthouses on the Apostle Islands. Some of the popular ways to explore the islands is by hiking and by kayak.

Wildlife at this National Lakeshore includes black bears and bald eagles. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is administered by the National Park Service. For more detailed information see website www.nps.gov/apis/index.htm

In Bayfield you’ll want to stop by at the Apostle Island National Lakeshore Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is located inside the old county courthouse. The Visitor Center offers exhibits, audio visual programs and plenty of information about touring the islands and recreational opportunities.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

Driving the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway

Tour Michigan’s Copper Harbor Scenic Highway

Travel the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway

On our Western Trips site see the article on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway

Madeline Island

Madeline Island is the largest of Lake Superior’s 22 Apostle Islands.

lake superior lighthouses

Devil’s Island Lighthouse

Plenty of things to do and enjoy on Madeline Island including cottages and campgrounds, beautiful beaches and biking and hiking. Add to this unique shops and dining and a Robert Trent Jones designed golf course.

Learn all about the history of Madeline Island by visiting the Madeline Island Historical Museum.The museum was opened in the mid 1950’s. The museum was created by joining four historic log structures end to end – a small 1835 warehouse from the historic American Fur Company complex, the former LaPointe town jail, a Scandinavian-style barn, and the Old Sailors Home. Getting to the island is a lot of fun.

You can catch the Madeline Island Ferry for a two and a half mile trip to the island. The ferry runs between Madeline Island and the town of Bayfield. Access to the ferry landing is from Highway 13.

Madeline Island is the southernmost of the Apostle Islands and the only island there that is inhabited year round.

bayfield county wisconsin

Bayfield County Wisconsin Courthouse

Bayfield, Wisconsin

Bayfield, Wisconsin on Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Scenic Byway is a charming and picturesque town. Bayfield is located on the northern tip of Wisconsin and is the gateway to Madeline Island and the Apostle Islands. In addition to that, Bayfield is an active art community with unique shops, accommodations and dining.

If you enjoy B & B’s, you’ll find some excellent ones in Bayfield. One such is the Old Rittenhouse Inn. The Rittenhouse Inn offers 20 guest rooms in two Victorian homes and a private cottage with fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and spectacular Lake Superior views. Another is the Harbor Hill House located two blocks from downtown Bayfield. A third B & B to check out in Bayfield is the Artesian House B & B. This is an Eco-Friendly Contemporary Inn nestled on 25 Wooded Acres. Full Farm-to Table Breakfast, Comfortable Furnishings, Soaring Great Room with Wood Stove, and Natural Views in All Directions.

The route of the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway captures a picturesque area of lake Superior. If your plans call for a weekend trip or vacation to northern Wisconsin this scenic byway would be a great addition to your travel plans.

(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History. Old Bayfield Wisconsin courthouse photo is from Billerti, Creative Commons License 3.0. Remainder of photos and images in the public domain)

Glore Psychiatric Museum / A Fascinating Trip Stop

The award-winning Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the 130-year history of the state hospital and centuries of mental health treatment.The museum is located on the adjoining grounds of the original state hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri. The Glore Psychiatric Museum certainly offers a unique trip back into history and is recognized as one of the 50 most unusual museums in the U.S. The museum’s address is 3406 Frederick Avenue, Saint Joseph, MO.

glore psychiatric museum

Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph Missouri

Establishing the Glore Psychiatric Museum

The Glore Psychiatric Museum was started in 1968 in an abandoned ward of the St. Joseph State Hospital by George Glore. Glore had been collecting historical psychiatric treatment devices as well as interesting items made by the actual patients of the hospital for over four decades.

o hallorans swing

O’Halloran’s Swing

The current collection includes interactive and audio-visual displays. Also, department store mannequins strapped into various psychiatric devices of the era. If this isn’t enough, there is an artistic display of 1,466 inedible items — safety pins, screws, nails, buttons bottle caps that were removed from the digestive tract of a former St. Joseph State Hospital patient.

There’s also the story about a patient who swallowed a Timex clock and when the item was passed it was still ticking. Permanent displays at the museum cover about 400 years of psychiatric history.

The hospital asylum had a working farm and farming equipment used in that period is on display. A work program was in place as a key therapy for patients. In addition to the working farm, a sewing room was in place, a car restoration project was begun, a rug weaving program produced rugs used throughout the hospital and several others programs were established.

Also you’ll view original hospital furnishings and various surgical equipment. Some of the permanent displays also include  the Bath of Surprise; O’Halloran’s Swing; the Tranquilizer Chair; and the Hollow Wheel. It’s been said that patients could spend up to six months in the tranquilizer chair.

tranquilizer chair

Tranquilizer Chair

George Glore

The museum is named for its founder George Glore, who spent most of his 41-year career with the Missouri Department of Mental Health. His work with mental health patients sparked his interest in the history and treatment of mental illness. His collection of  museum artifacts is one of the largest exhibitions devoted to the evolution of mental health care in the United States. The museum fills four floors.

The original Glore collection featured full size replica exhibits of 16th, 17th and 18th centurytreatmentdevices that very much resemble the torture devices used during the same period. George Glore created these exhibits for a mental health awareness week celebration. The exhibits were received well by the general public and Glore was urged by his superiors to expand the exhibit. After additional mental illness treatment items were added the museum came into being.

In 1997 the museum was relocated from the original Lunatic Asylum No.2 to it’s current location when the asylum campus was converted to a correctional facility. The museum is outside the prison fence in a group of brick buildings.

George Glore passed away in 2010. The museum is no longer affiliated with the State of Missouri but is part of the St. Joseph Museum. As of this writing the museum hours are M-Sat 10A-5P, Sun. 1-5P. The Glore Psychiatric Museum phone number is 816-364-1209.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

Historic Missouri Travel Sites

The Quacks

M-Sa 10 am – 5 pm, Su 1-5 pm.
The museum sits right outside the prison fence, in a complex of brick buildings. – See more at: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2142#sthash.PMZTvz4h.dpuf

The Original State Lunatic Asylum No. 2

bath of surprise treatment

The Bath of Surprise

Is the museum worth a visit? We certainly think so.The Glore Psychiatric Museum highlights the ways patients were treated in the old days and presents a glimpse of psychiatric history.

This is in many ways similar to the story of turn of the century medical devices that claimed to heal a variety of illnesses and aches and pains. Many of these were electrical in nature. The harnessing of electricity in the late 1800’s opened the door for quacks to make what seems today outrageous claims for healing.

The original ‘State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, by approval of the Missouri State assembly, opened in November of 1874 with 25 patients on land located east of the City of St. Joseph. At first there was added 120 beds which eventually grew to 350. As mentioned above, the asylum eventually became a prison and the present day museum was relocated adjacent to it.

The name of the asylum was changed in 1903 to the State Hospital No. 2. In 1952 it was renamed the St. Joseph State Hospital.

Visiting the Glore Psychiatric Museum

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Glore Psychiatric Museum is a very unique venue. There’s four floors of exhibits that give the visitor a real good feel for the progression of psychiatric treatment prior to the introduction of the powerful medicines of today.

If your travels take you to St. Joseph Missouri, you may want to take the time to visit what is one of the most unique museums found anywhere in the country. St. Joseph is located about 57 miles north of Kansas City Missouri and about 135 miles southeast of Omaha Nebraska.

(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History. Photos and images in the public domain)


Alberto Santos-Dumont / An Historic Aviator’s Museum and Archives

If you ask any Brazilian who was the world’s first true aviator, the person who invented the airplane, the name you’ll likely hear, and chances are it may be the first time you’ve heard it, is fellow Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont. There is even a city in Brazil named Santo Dumont. Interestingly enough, there’s plenty of evidence to back up all the accomplishments enjoyed by this very unique inventor and aviator.

santos-dumont aircraft

Alberto Santos-Dumont flying in 1909

The Santos-Dumont Archives and Artifacts

Those traveling to Brazil will want to consider stopping by a museum that’s off the beaten path.  At the museum you’ll find a lot of documentation and inventions by Santos-Dumont that may fascinate you.

The museum is located at the Casa de Santos-Dumont in the city of Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro. The home is also referred to as “Encantada“. The address is Rua do Encanto, 22 Petrópolis – RJ 25685-081

The small three story home was built on the side of a hill in 1918 and served as the summer home of Alberto Santos-Dumont and today is filled with the evidence of his stunning achievements.

Alberto Santos-Dumont

Alberto Santos-Dumont was born in Brazil to a father who owned and operated a very successful coffee plantation. The young Santos-Dumont grew fascinated with the plantation machinery as well as with the locomotives that his father owned and utilized to transport his coffee beans to market. This fascination about mechanics and transportation science in general would be the basis of  Santos-Dumont’s future experimentation.

santos-dumont airships

Santos-Durant rounding the Eiffel Tower to thousands of onlookers

When the elder Dumont was dying in the latter 1800’s, he urged his son to move to France. At that time Paris France was in many ways one of Europe’s major centers for science and technology. Santos-Dumont devoted his early years in Paris to the study of chemistry, physics, astronomy and mechanics.

The young Alberto, because of his inheritance, had the time and wherewithal to experiment with his theories of manned flight. Those theories at that time meant balloon flight. Lighter than air flight had been used and experimented with for decades and even centuries previously however there was one aspect that needed to be overcome.

Controlling Balloon Flight

Dumont had the opinion that manned flight would be as common someday as the horse and buggy was at that time. The challenge however was inventing lighter than air flight that could be controlled. At that time a balloon whether manned or not  was at the mercy of the prevailing winds. Dumont’s dream was to harness control of balloon flight where man could use it for everyday activities. Leave your home on your balloon and return later. That was the dream of Santos-Dumont and he successfully demonstrated that it could be attained.

Santo’s Dumont’s Airships

In the course of his early life, Alberto Santos-Dumont had several types of airships/balloons built by professional constructors. One of his finest accomplishments with his lighter than air balloons was essentially what you would say was a dirigible.

On October 19th,1901, Alberto Santos-Dumont rounded the Eiffel Tower in Paris France with his No. 6 hydrogen gas airship to the rousing cheers of the locals. He went on in this flight to capture the  De la Meurthe prize.  To win this prize of 50,000 francs, a pilot of any type of aircraft had to fly from the chateau at the Parc de Saint-Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in just 30 minutes or less in total time. The roundtrip route covered 6.8 miles. You could only hope to do this by having complete control of the airship.

Even though there were some mishaps, Santos-Dumont captured the prize with a flight that lasted only 29 minutes and 30 seconds. By the time this contest was won the purse which over time grew to 125,000 francs. The crowd was so large at the Eiffel Tower that people packed the bridges that crossed the Seine to get a better view.  Santos-Dumont’s No. 6 airship was similar to his No. 5 which had crashed on the roof of the Trocadero Hotel but a bit larger. The No.6, which was finished after only about a month after the crash of No. 5,  was 72 feet and 2 inches in length.

See out Trips Into History articles on the links below…

The First American Aviator and the Controversy

Some of the Finest Western Aircraft Museums

On our Western Trips site you may enjoy our article The F-15 First Responder

One of the best books you can find regarding the life and achievements of Alberto Santos-Dumont is… Wings Of Madness, Alberto Santos-Dumont And The Invention Of Flight by author Paul Hoffman. Another good book is…The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont by author Victoria Griffith.

The First Flight of a Heavier than Air Aircraft

santos dumonts first balloon

Alberto Santos-Dumont’s first balloon

Dumonts aircraftt was called the 14-bis, also known as the Oiseau de Proie. On October 23rd, 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont made history. This witnessed and documented flight was the first successful “unaided take-off”  heavier than air flight.

Obviously there is some controversy if we compare this flight to that of the Wright brothers in 1903, three years before Santos-Dumont’s European feat.

The European group formed in 1905 that was to list aviation records and activities at that time stipulated that the aircraft that would achieve this first flight distinction would have to be able to take off unaided. In other words the aircraft would have to take off by it’s own power. The Wrights contended that their 1903 Flyer had unassisted take offs and had sustained flights three years before Santos-Dumont.

The aeronautical group, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, suggested that both flights, the 1903 Wright Flyer and the 1906 Santos-Dumont 14-bis were both unaided flights however the Wright brothers performed theirs three years prior to Santos-Dumont.

alberto santos dumont

Artwork about the aviation experiments of Alberto Santos-Dumont

Regardless of the decision of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, most Brazilians will tell you that the first successful heavier than air flight was performed by their countryman Alberto Santos-Dumont.

There is no question that Santos-Dumont was an extraordinary individual who was responsible for some of the significant feats in early aeronautics.

Although you may never have heard of Albert Santos-Dumont, if your travels take you to Brazil, and in particular the city of Petropolis, a stop at Santos-Dumont’s former summer home, Casa de Santos-Dumont, would be well worth your while.

(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History. Photos and images in the public domain)

Visit the Famous Bat Towers of Dr. Charles Campbell

At one time the world had 14 Bat Towers. Seven of these were built in Italy. Today, there are only a few remaining that you can view. One is in Florida and two are in Texas. This article is about why and how these old towers were built, how they operated, the man who designed them and where in the U.S. you can still see them. If your travels take you anywhere near where the surviving Bat Towers are located you may want to add a stop there to your trip planner.

The story of the Bat Towers designed by Dr. Charles Campbell is quite unique and quite interesting. It’s a story about a medical doctor who devised a plan to fight one of the most feared diseases of his era, malaria.

florida bat tower

Sugarloaf Key, Florida-Perky’s Bat Tower

Bat Towers Built to Help Fight Against Malaria

Dr. Charles Campbell worked as a city bacteriologist in San Antonio Texas around the turn of the twentieth century. Dr. Campbell was a physician who began experimenting with ways to eradicate malaria which accounted for millions of deaths worldwide annually. This was a natural thing for the doctor to do since he personally treated the malarial sick and knew that the disease was carried by mosquitoes. The question was, how do we cut down on malarial carrying mosquitoes.

The Bat Towers, also referred to as Malaria-Eradicating Guano Producing Bat Roosts, were designed and built to be a deluxe bat house that the bats would continue to come back to so they could feast on the mosquitoes. The towers were usually built in wet areas where mosquitoes were most prevalent.

See the Sugarloaf Key Bat Tower

Also named Perky’s Bat Tower, the structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Even though the local county commissioners at the time thought the bat tower plan was laughable they allowed it to be built.

The tower was built in 1929 by Richter Clyde Perky, a fish lodge owner with plans purchased by a  from Dr. Campbell. The tower was pretty well built as it survived several hurricanes. The purpose of this particular thirty foot tall tower was to help control the mosquito problem in the Lower Keys. Perky was also a real estate developer and the mosquito problem, and trying to get it under control, was a major issue for the success of his developments. Probably the biggest problem for tourists at that time in the Lower Keys was the mosquito problem.

comfort texas bat roost

The Bat Roost in Comfort Texas

Perky’s Bat Tower is definitely off the beaten path. The traveler who enjoys adventure will find this somewhat awkward yet very unique historic structure well worth a stop at. The bat tower, which is free to visit, is located just ff Hwy 1. When driving south on Hwy 1 take a right hand turn on Bat Tower Road toward the airport.

Comfort Texas Bat Tower

The Comfort Texas Bat Tower is located off of FM473 East of IH10 on the Albert Steves Property. The name of this bat tower on the banks of the Guadalupe River is the  “Hygieostatic Bat Roost” This is about thirty miles from San Antonio. You can see the tower from the road.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

 Visit Fredericksburg Texas

Touring the Texas Hill Country

 Orange Texas Bat Tower

This bat tower is located at the Shangri-La Gardens in Orange Texas. Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center comprising 252 acres is a world-class venue which is an excellent trip stop for the entire family. Orange Texas is on the border with Louisiana about 110 miles east of Houston.

campbell bat roost

Dr. Charles Campbell

How Effective Were Dr. Campbells Bat Towers?

Most research on the project will tell you that, in it’s entire existence, not one bat ever roosted in the Sugarloaf Key Bat Tower. There’s a story that Perky even sent someone to Cuba to try to bring their bats back to Florida. Perky also put bait in the tower with an unknown bait (obtained from Dr. Campbell) but this also didn’t work because a storm washed away the box. In the meantime Dr. Campbell had passed away and the bait formula was not obtainable.  Campbell reportedly sold the bait for $500 per box.

As a result, mosquitoes continued to rule on Sugarloaf Key and did indeed continue to bother the endeavors of Richter Clyde Perky.

Regardless of the results of Dr. Charles Campbell’s Bat Towers during the early part of the nineteenth century, the surviving bat towers that are largely off the beaten path offer a very unique trip into history.

If your travels take you to the Florida Keys, Comfort Texas or Orange Texas, a short stop at any of these three gives you a glimpse of one man’s experiment to help eradicate malaria.

(Article copyright Trips Into History. Photos and images in the public domain)