Monday, July 25, 2011

The History Road Warrior's Abilene Adventures
(by Brenan Smith, M.A. candidate)

I went to Abilene for research, but also managed to find a fantastic museum and fascinating assortment of roadside attractions.  The giant saluting "Chieftain" welcomes travellers to a motel just down the street from the town highschool.  I was impressed not only by the fact that it had zero graffiti on it, but that the people standing beside us wondered, "What does he mean by 'Aboriginal?",  when I commented on the statue to my wife.  A real cultural difference!

Louis Lamour Lane, other than being a poorly maintained street dedicated to a Western author, leads to the giant buffalo statue -- which I did not see, as it was closed to visitors without money.  (That includes travelling grad students.)

The next two pictures are the grounds at the Eisenhower museum, every part of which essentially tells the story of the Eisenhower family and how soldiers are great.

The semi-pointilist semi-pixelated Eisenhower mural is on the side of a liquor store, obviously a nice slice of Americana...

I also found a drive through liquour store, which seemed to be uniquely American.

The following pictures are from the Eisenhower Museum, including Mamie's hats.

Then... something I found both hilarious and a tad risque for the time:  "I like Ike" pantyhose and garters.  I'd never thought of such provocative campaign tools before (especially since the men were simply given branded ties).

The safe conduct pamphlet below interested me because it was a type of psychological warfare.  It guaranteed that any German soldier who surrendered would receive fair treatment, as opposed to any other treatment that German soldiers might otherwise receive.

One of the first teleprompters was also at the museum -- a great example of early technology!  Eisenhower apparently distrusted cameras and such technology, but understood the necessities of them.

Once outside the realms of the museum, I discovered the world's largest spur.

Which, in turn, reminded me of something that I should be doing: