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September
2003 Issue

Compiled by
Bruce Gventer

 I present to you another eclectic mix this month. I found the first site about tourism in Montgomery County, NY, and decided to leave the computer and drive around. Back at the laptop, I visited a museum exhibition currently touring the nation and found a site on architecture. I was captivated by the number of architectural toys, but there is lots of information on architecture here. Finally, we are off to China, to tour the Forbidden City.
Please email me at bgventer@bcn.net  Hope you enjoy.


Fort Klock, 1750 fur trading post with a fortified stone house .

Old Houses, Indians, and the Amish
http://www.montgomerycountyny.com/tourism/index.asp

             This is the tourism site for Montgomery County in New York State. On the first page, you will find a grouping of numbered triangles. If you move your mouse over one of the triangles, the caption above the “I Love New York” logo changes to display text, and the picture changes to match the text. You will need Java enabled on your browser for this to work. It looked interesting, so I shut down the laptop and my wife and I took a drive. We like old stone buildings, find the Amish interesting, and love to look at Indian art. All of these things are in Montgomery County. Driving down the back roads we passed many Amish buggies. There were several hand-lettered signs at different farm entrances announcing hand made woven goods and other Amish-made items. The site offers information on all these places.

            There is also a lot of information about the Erie Canal, which was completed in 1825. The Canal made it possible for business ventures between the East and the West. "At Schoharie Crossing, which marks the confluence of the Mohawk River and the Schoharie Creek, there are remnants of the original Erie Canal (1825) and the Enlarged Erie Canal (1841), with its impressive stone aqueduct remains." There is a restored trading post, a historic lock from the 1850s, and mule-drawn wagon rides. Also on the site you will find a listing of where to find Amish crafts and baked goods and many other attractions.

            There are lots of architectural treats in the neighborhood such as the Nellis Tavern built in 1747; Fort Klock, a 1750 fur trading post with a fortified stone house; the 1773 home of Guy Johnson; the Fort Plain Museum; Sir William Johnson's 1749 fortified home; the Palatine Church stone structure built by the Palatine Lutherans in 1770; The Dutch Reformed Church, a stone structure erected in 1788; and the Trinity Lutheran Church, constructed of wood and built in 1792.

            Mohawk Indians have a long history in this neighborhood. There are two Indian shrines, an Indian museum, and an Indian craft store here. Don't overlook the Mohawk Indian Bed and Breakfast next to the craft store if you want to stay overnight.

            The Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery is something you might easily overlook, but their collection of art and sculpture by Americans is excellent and includes such artists as Homer, Hopper, Whistler, Sargent, Eakins, N.C. and Andrew Wyeth, O'Keeffe, Remington, and St. Gaudens.

            And what old town would be complete without a ghost story? Read about "A Shady Legend" on the site, a tale of a haunting at Guy Park Manor.

 


Architects construction set. Midget town builder.

Architectural Toys and Other Architectural Stuff
http://www.architoys.net/index.html

            Here is an interesting site dedicated to Jackie Britton's obsession with buildings and architecture. While many of the pages are still under construction, the section on architectural toys is informative. It is clear that Jackie has spent a lot of time on it. The site has eight parts: the aesthetic appeal of real buildings; the layout of the rooms in houses and other domestic architecture; literary and mythic images of buildings; links to architectural sites; architectural construction toys; model buildings; other representations of buildings; and finally information about Jackie.

            Take a peek at the links page, but the real meat on this site is architectural construction toys. Lots of pictures and information about these toys can be found here. Jackie is fascinated with this topic and covers 150 years of these toys. The toy kits are made from wood, plastic, metal, terra cotta, rubber, and artificial stone. Castles, houses, churches, railway stations, offices, factories, and anything else you can imagine can be made from these kits.

            Jackie asks for your help in adding more books and links to her site. Aside from architectural toys, she loves cats and has five of them.

 



Teddy Bear, circa 1906, made from Angora plush, with sawdust stuffing.

 

Cherished Possessions
http://www.colby.edu/museum/

            This museum site has a touring exhibition you might like to visit online. The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities’ (SPNEA) traveling exhibition, “Cherished Possessions,” has about 200 objects of fine and decorative arts, including furniture, photographs, costumes, jewelry, paintings, and textiles covering 300 years of New England life. The online version of the exhibition allows you to view a 1665 cradle from Cape Cod; lovely wax figures from the 1700s; a mahogany pulpit carving; a tall 1770 clock made from mahogany, birch, and white pine; silk brocade shoes also from the 1770s; a 1825 stencil kit; a Pembroke table from China; and many other items of historical interest.

            The site is broken into these time lines: 1650-1760; 1760-1790; 1790-1830; 1830-1930; 1930-1970. You can also use the site's search engine if you are looking for specific information.

            Another part of this site features the Payson Collection, an interactive Website of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. This is geared to teaching online, featuring images of the paintings and activities for primary and secondary school classes. There are books listed for further study, and other websites with even more information on art. You can view the paintings or the activities.

 


One of four watch towers of the wall surrounding the Forbidden City.

 

The Forbidden City
http://www.chinavista.com/beijing/gugong/!start.html

         Here is another virtual tour website featuring the Forbidden City, the seat of imperial power for the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

            You can take the tour in three different ways. You can follow the red dragon seal and view all the pages one after another. You can click on the map image you want to see. Or you can simply follow the named links.

            The Forbidden City site features the Meridian Gate, which was built in 1420 and is the main gate of the Forbidden City. There were bells and drums in the gate tower that were used during important ceremonies. Each Watch Tower (of four) is supported by nine beams and 18 pillars with three layers of eaves. The Gate of Supreme Harmony is the square between the Meridian Gate and the Gate of Supreme Harmony, and honor guards would line up in here before important ceremonies. The Hall of Supreme Harmony has the highest walls in the Forbidden City. The Hall of Medium Harmony was where emperors rested before ceremonies. The Hall of Protective Harmony is the banquet hall. In the Hall of Heavenly Peace, the emperor attended to state affairs. The Hall of Union and Peace is between the Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Hall of Earthly Peace. This area was used to store the 25 jade seals of the imperial court. The Hall of Earthly Peace was the residence of the empress. The Imperial Gardens were built in 1417. The Pavilion of 10,000 Spring Seasons is just one of eight pavilions in the middle of the garden. Every year, the emperor and empress would climb the Hill of Accumulated Elegance for the view. The Gate of Divine Prowess or the North Gate leads to the Gate of Divine Might at the rear of the Forbidden City.

            As this is a travel site you can book your trip to China to see everything first hand. ChinaVista also provides tips on places to go, how to get things done (like your visa), and other good advice. Be sure to visit the cultural essentials page for a great deal of information on food, clothes, festivals, and arts and crafts.

 

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