Split Rock Lighthouse is a lighthouse located southwest of Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The structure was designed by lighthouse engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham and was completed in 1910 by the United States Lighthouse Service at a cost of $75,000, including the buildings and the land. It is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States. Split Rock Lighthouse was built in response to the great loss of ships during the famous Mataafa Storm of 1905, in which 29 ships were lost on Lake Superior. One of theseshipwrecks, the Madeira, is located just north of the lighthouse. It is built on a 130-foot sheer cliff eroded by wave action from a diabase sill containing inclusions of anorthosite. The octagonal building is a steel-framed brick structurewith concrete trim on a concrete foundation set into the rock of the cliff. It is topped with a large, steel lantern which features a third order, bi-valve type Fresnel lens manufactured by Barbier, Bernard and Turenne Company in Paris, France. The tower was built for a second order lens, but when construction went over budget, there was only enough funding remaining for the smaller third order lens. The lens floats on a bearing surface of liquid mercury which allows near frictionless operation. The lens is rotated by an elaborate clockwork mechanism that is powered by weights running down the center of the tower which are then reset by cranking them back to the top. When completed, the lighthouse was lit with an incandescent oil vapor lamp that burned kerosene. At the time of its construction, there were no roads to the area and all building materials and supplies arrived by water and lifted to the top of the cliff by crane. The light was first lit on July 31, 1910. Thanks to its dramatic location, the lighthouse soon became a tourist attraction for sailors and excursion boats. So much so, that in 1924 a road (now Minnesota State Highway 61) was built to allow land access. In 1940, the station was electrified and the lamp was replaced with a 1000 watt electric bulb, and the incandescent oil vapor lamp was moved to Au Sable Point Lighthouse in Northern Michigan. Split Rock was outfitted with a fog signal housed in a building next to the light tower. The original signal was a pair of sirens driven by two Franklin 30 hp (22 kW) gasoline-driven air compressors manufactured by Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company. In 1932 the gasoline engines were replaced with diesel engines. The steam sirens were replaced with a Type F-2-T diaphone (be-you) type signal in 1936. The station and the fog signal were electrified four years later, but was discontinued in 1961. The light was retired in 1969 by the U. S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse is now part of the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and is operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. The site includes the original tower and lens, the fog signal building, the oil house, and the three keepers’ houses. It is restored to appear as it did in the late 1920s. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. Notwithstanding that the light has been retired, every November 10 the lighthouse emits a light in memory of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald which sank on that date in 1975. On June 30, 2011, the lighthouse was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Back to top|Contact me|Share on Facebook|RSS feed|Email me|Tweet

The Curtis Cup is the best known team trophy for women amateur golfers, awarded in the biennial Curtis Cup Match (not “Matches”). It is co-organised by the United States Golf Association and the Ladies Golf Union and is contested by teams representing the United States and “Great Britain and Ireland”. The same two teams originally contested the Ryder Cup, but unlike that competition, the Curtis Cup has not widened the Great Britain and Ireland team to include all Europeans (nor has the analogous event for amateur men, the Walker Cup). Many women who have gone on to become stars of women’s professional golf have played in the Curtis Cup. The first Curtis Cup Match was played in 1932 at the Wentworth Club in England, and was won by the American team. The trophy, a silver bowl of Paul Revere design, was donated by Harriot Curtis (who had won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1906) and her sister Margaret (who had won it in 1907, 1911, and 1912). The Curtis sisters had competed in the 1905 British Ladies Amateur, where an informal match had occurred between teams of American and British golfers, and they wanted to promote the international friendships in the world of women’s golf. The cup is inscribed, “To stimulate friendly rivalry among the women golfers of many lands.” St. Louis Country Club will hosted the 38th Curtis Cup Match June 6-8, 2014 on the club’s historic Charles Blair Macdonald course. Previously, the club has hosted the 1921 and 1960 US Amateur, the 1925 and 1972 US Women’s Amateur and the 1947 US Open.Constructed in 1914 by Macdonald, with assistance from Seth Raynor, the Country Club was founded in 1892 and is recognized as one of the first 100 clubs in America. St. Louisan Ellen Port, winner of six national championships, including four US Women’s Mid-Amateur titles and the 2012 US Women’s Senior Amateur, was named Captain for the 38th Curtis Cup Match, to be played at historic St. Louis Country Club June 6-8, 2014.  Port, a member of the 1994 and 1996 Curtis Cup Team, and an alternate in 1998, is one of the most decorated women golfers in USGA history.  Her five titles place her ninth on the all-time list of champions.  Married with two teenage children, Port is a teacher and golf coach at a St. Louis area high school.  In addition to her national titles, she has won a record 8 Missouri Women’s Amateur trophies, her last coming in 2012. The U.S. Golf Association released its list of invitees for the first Curtis Cup practice session, which will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Champions Golf Club in Houston. The matches will be played June 6-8 at St. Louis Country Club, and the final squad will consist of eight women.St. Louis native Ellen Port, a six-time USGA champion and two-time U.S. Curtis Cup Team member, will serve as captain of the U.S. team. The list of invitees:

  • Casie Cathrea, Livermore, Calif. (Oklahoma State)
  • Doris Chen, Bradenton, Fla. (USC)
  • Karen Chung, Livingston, N.J. (USC)
  • Lauren Diaz-Yi, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Virginia)
  • Kyung Kim, Chandler, Ariz. (USC)
  • Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (UCLA)
  • Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (UCLA)
  • Ally McDonald, Fulton, Miss. (Mississippi State)
  • Nicole Morales, South Salem, N.Y
  • Grace Na, Alamedia, Calif. (Pepperdine)
  • Annie Park, Levittown, N.Y. (USC)
  • Ashlan Ramsey, Milledgeville, Ga. (Clemson)
  • Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale, Ga. (Stanford)
  • Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky. (Alabama)

That list includes four USGA champions in Chen (2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior), Diaz-Yi (2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links), Kim (2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links) and Talley (2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur). Alison Lee is the top-ranked female in the World Amateur Ranking. An invitation to the USGA’s practice session does not guarantee selection, and players not at the session are not excluded from consideration. Conspicuously missing from the list, however, is 2012 Curtis Cupper Emily Tubert. She is the only member of that eight-woman squad still eligible to compete in 2014 as the other seven have turned professional. Also, no mid-amateurs were invited to the practice session. The U.S. team will be looking to reclaim the Curtis Cup after losing to Great Britain and Ireland in 2012. Photos from the 2014 Curtis Cup.

Back to top|Contact me|Share on Facebook|RSS feed|Email me|Tweet

Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It encompasses the southern half of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, while the northern half of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its capital is Philipsburg. The French and Dutch, on the other hand, both coveted the island. While the French wanted to colonize the islands between Trinidad and Bermuda, the Dutch found San Martín a convenient halfway point between their colonies in New Amsterdam (present day New York) and Brazil. With few people inhabiting the island, the Dutch easily founded a settlement there in 1631, erecting Fort Amsterdam as protection from invaders. Jan Claeszen Van Campen became its firstgovernor, and soon thereafter the Dutch East India Company began their salt mining operations. French and British settlements sprang up on the island as well. Taking note of these successful colonies and wanting to maintain their control of the salt trade, the Spanish now found St. Martin much more appealing. The Eighty Years’ War which had been raging between Spain and the Netherlands provided further incentive to attack. Spanish forces captured Saint Martin from the Dutch in 1633, seizing control and driving most or all of the colonists off the island. At Point Blanche, they built Old Spanish Fort to secure the territory. Although the Dutch retaliated in several attempts to win back St. Martin, they failed. Fifteen years after the Spanish conquered the island, the Eighty Years’ War ended. Since they no longer needed a base in the Caribbean and St. Martin barely turned a profit, the Spanish lost their inclination to continue defending it. In 1648, they deserted the island. With St. Martin free again, both the Dutch and the French jumped at the chance to re-establish their settlements. Dutch colonists came from St. Eustatius, while the French came from St. Kitts. After some initial conflict, both sides realized that neither would yield easily. Preferring to avoid an all-out war, they signed the Treaty of Concordia in 1648, which divided the island in two. A legend grew up around the division of the island. According to legend, in order to decide on their territorial boundaries, the two sides held a contest. It began with a Frenchman drinking wine and a Dutchman drinking jenever (Dutch gin). When both had sufficiently imbibed, they embarked from Oysterpond on the island’s east coast. The Frenchman headed off along the coast to the north, while the Dutchman followed the coast south; wherever the two groups met was where they would draw the dividing line from Oysterpond. But as the Dutchman met a woman and stopped to sleep off the effects of the gin, the Frenchman was able to cover more distance, but apparently also cheated as he cut through the northeastern part of the island, and therefore ended up with more land. Though oft-repeated, the story is not historically accurate. During the treaty’s negotiation, the French had a fleet of naval ships off shore, which they used as a threat to bargain more land for themselves. In spite of the treaty, relations between the two sides were not always cordial. Between 1648 and 1816, conflicts changed the border sixteen times. In the end, the French came out ahead with 21 square miles (54 km2) to the 16 square miles (41 km2) of the Dutch side. In 1651, the Compagnie des Îles de l’Amérique sold the French part of the island to the Order of Saint John which was sovereign over Malta. The Order’s rule lasted for fourteen years, and in 1665 it was sold back to the French West India Company along with the Order’s other possessions in the Caribbean. Although the Spanish had been the first to import slaves to the island, their numbers had been few. But with the new cultivation of cotton, tobacco, and sugar, mass numbers of slaves were imported to work on the plantations. The slave population quickly grew larger than that of the land owners. Subjected to cruel treatment, slaves staged rebellions, and their overwhelming numbers made them impossible to ignore. On July 12, 1848, the French abolished slavery on their side of St. Martin. The Dutch followed suit fifteen years later.

Back to top|Contact me|Share on Facebook|RSS feed|Email me|Tweet