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Old 09-28-2010, 06:06 PM   #1
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No-budget touring with Stella

This might eventually get turned into some sort of meaty Ride Report, but for now, I figured my Scooter Homies would enjoy this kind of thing.

My premise: when you don't have the money for a big tour, you concentrate on finding neat stuff nearby.

And the nearby stuff is tailor-made for small scoots.

I revisited the Dorothea Dix campus today. It was founded in 1856 as North Carolina's first hospital dedicated to the treatment of mental illness.

First, some neat background on the namesake of this particular campus comes from this website.

Quote:
A noted social reformer, Dix became the Union's Superintendent of Female Nurses during the Civil War. The soft spoken yet autocratic crusader had spent more than 20 years working for improved treatment of mentally ill patients and for better prison conditions. A week after the attack on Fort Sumter, Dix, at age 59, volunteered her services to the Union and received the appointment in June 1861 placing her in charge of all women nurses working in army hospitals. Serving in that position without pay through the entire war, Dix quickly molded her vaguely defined duties.

She convinced skeptical military officials, unaccustomed to female nurses, that women could perform the work acceptably, and then recruited women. Battling the prevailing stereo types-and accepting many of the common prejudices herself-Dix sought to ensure that her ranks not be inundated with flighty and marriage-minded young women by only accepting applicants who were plain looking and older than 30. In addition, Dix authorized a dress code of modest black or brown skirts and forbade hoops or jewelry.

Even with these strict and arbitrary requirements, relaxed somewhat as the war persisted, a total of over 3,000 women served as Union army nurses. Called "Dragon Dix" by some, the superintendent was stern and brusque, clashing frequently with the military bureaucracy and occasionally ignoring administrative details. Yet, army nursing care was markedly improved under her leadership.

Dix looked after the welfare of both the nurses, who labored in an often brutal environment, and the soldiers to whom they ministered, obtaining medical supplies from private sources when they were not forthcoming from the government. At the war's conclusion, Dix returned to her work on behalf of the mentally ill.

Source: The Civil War Society's "Encyclopedia of the Civil War" principal writer and researcher Suzanne LeVert
There's a lot more here and it's well worth the read, particularly given what we know now about mental health. So many soldiers coming home from the civil war had what we now call PTSD, and it's sobering to think of how they were treated.

After winding through the campus, I arrived at the cemetery.

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Old 09-28-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
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Looking back, there's a large stone proclaiming where you are...



...and a large stone greets visitors as they enter the cemetery.



The site overlooks Raleigh.



This is how a bird's-eye-view of the site was imagined, back in 1872

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Old 09-28-2010, 06:21 PM   #3
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There weren't many gravestones there...most were simple markers.





The few standing were fairly easy to read despite the weathering.







One was knocked over.



Grasping it and heaving with all my might, I was unable to right it, and I was worried I'd cause more damage. I paused and wondered how silly it was to even attempt it, but I suppose I was just trying to protect something--memories, maybe, but more likely the preservation of respect.



Thinking about this, I backtracked to where some garbage had been carelessly tossed.



I took it off to a table near the entrance, and was rewarded for my efforts with a string of ant bites along my arm.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:25 PM   #4
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A newer monument watched over the eastern side of the cemetery...



...while a sundial kept track of time.



The sun was dropping, and it was time to leave.

No one really knows what will happen to this campus. Some plans call for the place to be turned into condos. Another plan calls for much of it to be preserved as open space. I'd love to see a mix of park and space for artists and non-profits. It's hard to visit the campus--still active with patients there--and not feel that its history should play some part in its future as a place set aside from the ravenous growth in the area. A sanctuary for some, it could continue to be a sanctuary for all. As I rode away, I saw some some K-9 officers tossing a ball to their dogs, a man flying a little R/C helicopter, and some soccer games going on at the nearby fields. I think the place could continue to provide that sort of feel if not developed into yet another condo farm.
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Photog screwed with this post 09-28-2010 at 06:30 PM
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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Heading back towards the western side of Raleigh, I connected with Highway 54 so that I could find an old Art Deco building that I've passed for decades without ever stopping to grab a shot.



WPTF is a 50,000 watt AM station that's been around for a while. This is their transmitter site. And, as usual, my poking around was thwarted by a chain link fence.



Drat.



It started life as WFBQ in 1924, with 50 watts of power. By 1927 the call letters had changed to WPTF, and it was broadcasting with 500 watts. In 1929 it became an NBC affiliate--the only one in North and South Carolina. In 1933, with permission to move the transmitter site and increase power to 5,000 watts in the day and 1,000 watts and night, the transmitter was relocated.

And here we are:



I'd like to get closer, being the urban exploration nut that I am.

But that's for another day.

I fired up Stella, and headed home.

As we say in broadcast operations, "that's a good night".
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #7
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Great stuff! Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #8
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Nice Photog, enjoyed the trip.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:39 PM   #9
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Yup, livin' vicariously through other peoples ride reports..

I luvs Photog's little local photo essays.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:41 PM   #10
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Interesting. I like your orange Stella.
Sneak in,climb the tower,give us a pic from the top.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:38 PM   #11
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:13 PM   #12
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VERY cool! Thanks for taking me there with you.

Many cool things around my humble town here that may be of interest to folks (other than and including the obvious).
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:58 AM   #13
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Thanks Photog!

I'm nearby so, can go check this out myself. Didn't know it was there nor the history. Never saw the AM station either. Gotta go find that.

Great photos.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:05 AM   #14
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very cool, need a nice leather sheath mounted on the stella for your fence cutters
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:41 PM   #15
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...Love the pics...cool premise thanks for sharing, I really like the historical bits.....
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