Sunday, October 16, 2005

A trip and a question

Just returned from a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a fantastic trip punctuated by great fall weather. A trip to the battlefield is a must to anyone with even a mild interest in Civil War history. It is truly overwhelming and humbling.

The traffic congestion was also a bit overwhelming. 1.5 million people visit each year - it appeared to me that all 1.5 million showed up at the same time.

The trip got me to thinking about tourism and history. It's a big business. Which of course led me to the inevitable question:

What historical assets does New Albany have that (are/should be/could be) tourist destinations?


All4Word said...

Ooh, Ooh. Let me have the easy one.

The Dueling Grounds at the mouth of Silver Creek, currently encompassed by the Loop Island Wetlands preserve on the grounds of the Moser Tannery.

Any public official who lets this treasure wither (and that includes His Honor, the mayor), should have to answer why.

Although tourism is not the only solution, it is a key component in recruitment of all types of businesses.

Loop Island and the Moser Tannery are excellent prospects for an Eastern anchor.

FYI, the dueling grounds were the site of many duels by Kentuckians, who rowed across the Ohio to evade the anti-dueling laws of the older state. Territorial law (or law enforcement) was much more libertarian when it came to dueling.

Cassius Clay (and it is rumored, Henry Clay) dueled here on numerous occasions to defend his honor. I seem to recall the jarring claim that one A. Lincoln may have done so, although Clarksville's Falls of the River interpretive center is the only place I've seen that documented.

Doesn't sound right, though.

Several western anchors have been suggested over the last year, but some of those would be new and not necessarily based on history.

New Alb Annie said...

Whenever I travel, I like to check out the area's older cemeteries. Fairview Cemetery contains the graves of many of the city's notable citizens from its early history. I'd include it as a tourist stop. The Friends of Fairview should be able to provide a great deal of info about the cemetery.

bluegill said...

It's probably not exactly what Ted is looking for, but I'd like to see New Albany concentrate more on a sense of being rather than a particular location.

A lot of our historic sites and significance (Fairview and national cemeteries, non-toxic tannery, first public high school, first high school radio station, first plate glass, steamships, Lewis and Clark, underground railroad) fit pretty neatly into the struggle for freedom, innovation, and the exploration and risk taking necessary for either. Those are themes worth working with, for tourism and otherwise.

The images in the vintage postcard book are fascinating in their abilty to show us both our triumphs and our failures. The one that always gets me, though, is the one with the banner that says "Made in New Albany".

The attitude of the people who made that sign has unfortunately been torn down like so many buildings. Maybe if we try to sell it to tourists we can find it again ourselves.

TedF said...

You are right Jeff, that is not what I was looking for nor expecting. But you've hit a home run with your statement.

On personal note - I've lived here 3 years. I am proud to live in New Albany. I tell that to anyone that will listen and some that don't. I take pride in my home, my neighborhood, and my city - the good and bad. And I work to be a positive agent of change. And the encouraging thing is I am not alone.

Some may say I have on my rose colored glasses or that I'm naive, but things are changing for the better. It is slow. It is painful. But it is happening.

This is also motive for the existence of this blog. I had no particular message to convey with this site other than to get folks to focus on the history New Albany. By God, if there is one thing people agree on in this town it is that we have a rich and varied history. It is something we can all take pride in.

And maybe some pride is what we are missing in that "attitude".

DanainNewAlbany said...

Ted, Last Memorial Day I attended a celebration at the National Cemetery with my neighbors. The cemetery had a brass band, re-enactors, and speakers that spoke on the history of the cemetery. It was very interesting and I felt so fortunate to have something like that so close to home (3 blocks). Being able to walk to it was an added bonus! Suburban-dwellers can't do things like that. It's just one of the many reasons I enjoy living here.