This stunning pyramid shaped monument is dedicated to the Ames brothers Oakes and Oliver. The two brothers were credited with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. Whilst Oliver was the president of the Union Pacific Railroad from 1866 to 1871, Oakes was a representative of the United States congress. Sadly, though Oakes was investigated in 1873 for fraud associated with the railroad and resigned later that year. He sadly died soon after.
The monument, which was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1880, marked the highest point on the transcontinental railroad at 8,247 feet. The Ames monument was added to the national register of historic places in 1972, and Union Pacific donated the monument to the state of Wyoming in 1993.
The Ames monument is open all year round (weather permitting) and is free of charge. Visitors can look around at their leisure and read all about the two famous brothers on the information boards leading up to the 60-foot monument. Located off I-80 at exit 329, the monument is 20 miles from the city of Laramie, Wyoming. So be sure to stop off on your next road trip, stretch your legs and take in some local history.
Tom Meaykin was born and brought up in the moorlands village of Rushton Spencer, but moved twenty miles south to the town of Stone to find work. He became a servant in the household of the town apothecary, with responsibility for looking after his horses.
He was a good-looking young man and he worked hard. He made many friends in Stone and was a popular lad. However, he did encounter a serious dilemma. A petty young lady took a fancy to him, and she ‘set her cap at him’. She was determined to make him fall in love with her. This may not sound much of a problem, but the young lady in question was the daughter of his employer, the apothecary.
Everyone in Stone was highly amused by this, but when Tom’s employer heard about his daughter infatuation, he was outraged. Tom was a servant; far too lowly for his daughter. However, when he told his daughter that she was to have no more to do with the stable boy, she defied her father, saying that one day she would marry Tom Meaykin.
The apothecary’s social problem remained, until one day it resolved itself. Although he had been a fit and healthy lad, young Tom Meaykin suddenly dropped dead. His employer quickly had him buried in St Michael’s churchyard in Stone. His daughter was heartbroken, but her father’s social standing was restored.
One of the horses Tom had looked after got into the churchyard several times, and was seen pawing at Tom’s grave. When Tom’s ghost began to be seen wandering about the churchyard in winter of 1781, the townspeople began to speculate whether the apothecary had in fact killed the boy. After the ghost had been seen observed on numerous occasions over a period of eight months, the body was exhumed. The coffin was dug up and opened. A horrifying and macabre sight met the eyes of the men who were present. Although Tom had been buried in the usual position on his back with his arms crossed on his chest, the body in the coffin was now lying face down.
The implication was obvious. When Tom Meaykin had been buried he was not really dead, but had been rendered into a state of paralysis, in which he couldn’t move or speak. After the burial, he had come around in his coffin, under six feet of earth, and in his panic and terror he had managed to turn over. Tongues began to wag. Wasn’t it convenient for the apothecary that his social problem had ben sorted out by the boy’s death? The apothecary had a motive for killing him, and no doubt he had the means at his disposal to paralyse the boy with drugs. Most of the town was convinced that the girl’s father had done the terrible deed, but nothing came of it. The evidence was all circumstantial, and moreover the man was of good social standing in Stone, a man of some importance.
Tom’s body was transported back to his native village, and his tomb is in the churchyard of St Lawrence in Rushton Spencer. On his gravestone, his tragic story is remembered with words referring to his “dead by violence caused by the wickedness of men” This time, Tom’s body was buried the wrong way around, with his head to the west and his feet to the east, in order to lay his ghost. But the ploy has not worked. His ghost has been seen in recent years near his second buried place in Rushton Spencer, bemoaning the fact that his murderer, the apothecary of Stone – escaped without punishment.
Above – St Lawrence’s Church in Rushton Spencer and the grave of Tom Meaykin.
During the heyday of RT.66, travellers passed hundreds of signs, murals and other forms of roadside advertising, each hoping to grab their slice of attention. Among the more famous of these stood the fibreglass giants which were created in the 1960’s by International Fibreglass of Venice, California.
Originally designed to hold an axe the first of these was a “Paul Bunyan” figure, done for the Paul Bunyan Café on Rt. 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona, in about 1962. Most of the statues were derivatives of that one mold. As the retail attention-getters became popular, many of them were placed in front of service stations, holding such things as automobile mufflers and tires. They soon became known as “Muffler Men.”
In 1965, H.A Stephens purchased one of these giants, swapped its original axe for a hotdog, and placed it in front of his restaurant on Rt.66 in Cicero, Illinois. Mr Stephens purposefully misspelled the name of his business “Bunyons” in order to avoid a potential trademark conflict with the Paul Bunyan café. A legend was born, and over the next 38 years, “Bunyons Statues” became a Rt.66 landmark.
Stephens, with the help of his family and long-time manager, Agnes Abruzzo, operated Bunyons through January 2003. At the time, he sold the real estate, and was faced with the prospect of relocating the giant (which still serves as the business’ trade symbol). The family was approached by John and Lenore Weiss representing the preservation committee of the Illinois Route 66 Association. Even though large cash offers had been made for the giant, the Stephens’ generously agreed to keep their Bunyons Statue on Route 66, so he could remain a Route 66 icon. Because of its central location, enthusiasm and support Rt.66, Atlanta, Illinois was chosen as the statue’s new home, and welcomes all Rt.66 travellers to this friendly mid-west town.
The “Motown Sound” was created on this site from 1959 to 1972. The company was started from a $800 loan from the savings club of the Bertha and Berry Gordy, Snr., family. Originally called Tamla records, the company’s first national release was “Money (that’s what I want)” in August 1959. The founder, choosing a name that reflected the Motor City, coined the word “Motown” for the company that was incorporated as the Motown Record Corporation on April 14th 1960. That same year it produced its first gold record, “Shop Around.” In 1968 the company, which had grow from a family-oriented business to an international enterprise, moved its business operations to 2457 Woodward. Motown provided an opportunity for Detroit’s inner-city youth to reach their full potential and become super stars.