Saturday, July 03, 2021

Eastward, Ho! Day 28: Exploring northern LBL, finding an MOH recipient's marker and getting some perspective on crowding.

 Feeling a bit of angst this morning, guess it was too much time in campgrounds with people around me most of the time.  The heat wave that had been with us during most of the trip had dictated the use of COE (Corps of Engineers) campgrounds that provided electric hookups for little cost.

So I geared up for a ride to go find a site found via google by Martha, the Hotel California as its known within the LBL or Land Between the Lakes.

Here's what it looked like when it was a private home shortly after the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) took it over as part of the effort to create Barkley Lake and the associated dam.

Found a blog posting online that gave a good history of the place: fourriverexplorers and whom I sourced the above photo from.  They obtained it from TVA archives apparently.

Today, the empty shell of the building remains, extensively covered in mostly profane graffiti.  I thought I'd have the place to myself, being in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere within the LBL but I had to wait out several groups of people who were checking the place out.

Finally, there were gone:

How did I find this place?  It shows up  on a google maps search!  It's apparently quite the popular destination within the LBL, and I think some of the people that showed up had simply arrived via boat from the nearby shore of Barkley Lake.

I checked out some other day use areas nearby and they were choked with people and cars and boats all trying to "enjoy" their crowded access to the lake.  Quite unappetizing to me so I didn't tarry at each location.  The teeming crowds lent me a new perspective on the campground we're currently camped at, it seems quite nice and "empty" when compared to the maddening crowds I saw!

During the explorations, I ran across this roadside marker:

A quick google search for Andrew Jackson Smith when I returned to camp resulted in an image of the monument marker set up for Color Sergeant Smith in Eddyville, KY.  Color Sergeant being an Army rank back then, not a reference to the color of his skin.

Here's a photo of this brave soldier, in an era where combat and enemy action weren't all the adversity and fighting he had to face.

image source: wikipedia
Color Sergeant Andrew Jackson Smith
Medal of Honor recipient

The times and the Army being what it was back then, his nomination for the MOH was denied at the time.  It would take 134 years for this wrong to be corrected and for President Clinton to present his family with the MOH.  Color Sergeant Smith died in 1932 at the ripe old age of 88.  

Oh, and if you ever saw the movie Glory, about the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of Black Troops in the American Civil War?  Then Corporal Smith was with the 55th Massachusetts Regiment fighting alongside the 54th!  

So, my Qi centered once more by realizing I was actually camping in a good and uncrowded spot and reminded of the struggles of others who've fought for this, my adopted country, I am better prepared for tomorrow's Independence Day!  Happy Fourth  of July everyone!

PS: Just FYI, the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on July 2, 1776, it was printed on July 4th....

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