Gettysburg Battlefield on Lincoln’s Birthday 2018

Our practice while taking a long trip in the car is to travel during the day, when possible, and to stop for a rest and some exercise every two hours. We were returning to Ithaca from a long trip down south when, at about the time for a rest stop we crossed the Mason-Dixon line to approach the city of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on US Route 15.

The signed for the Gettysburg Battlefield pulled us in and we spent three hours looking around, longer than we planned for a rest stop.

The staff at the visitor center were very helpful with our off the cuff visit plan. With the auto tour in hand we made our way to the “High Water” of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the Union battle line that marked the end of Lee’s second invasion of the north and the turning of the Civil War.

Pennsylvania Memorial Fact Display
The Pennsylvania Memorial near the Highwater Mark of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

The expanse of the Gettysburg National Military Park warrants a stay of three days, at least.

These photographs from my cell phone, augmented with titles and description, will give you a taste of what this national historic site has to offer.

Fact board Soldiers' National Cemetery
Gettysburg National Military Park includes the graves of more than 6,000 United States Servicemen, including 3,580 Union soldiers killed in the Civil War.

Notably, the day of our visit, February 12, is Lincoln’s Birthday. February was a quiet time to visit and we were blessed with a sunny, mild day. In the warm weather the place is packed with visitors.

I have a feeling for the place because my 10th birthday in 1963 coincided with the hundredth anniversary of the Civil War. Also because a figure in the aftermath of the battle, David Wills, shares my surname. A lawyer who lived and practiced in Gettysburg, David Wills organized the burials and it was at his home that President stayed before the dedication of the cemetery and where the final touches of the Gettysburg Address were written. His home, a museum, is closed in the quiet season.

Most Americans alive today would not exist if this battle turned out differently.

One of the chilling realizations from the day is almost half the Union graves are for unknown soldiers.

Graves of Unknown Soldiers
Nearly half of the Union graves are unknown soldiers.


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Copyright 2018 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Dennis-Newton House National Historic Place

first photographs for a recent National Registry of Historic Places listing

Wiki Loves Monuments 2017 is a contest coming to a close at the end of September.

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The National Register of Historic Place # 16000590, the Dennis-Newton House of Ithaca, New York is a recent listing, dated September 6, 2016.  In researching potential for the Wiki contest, I discovered this place was absent a photograph.  Seizing the opportunity, I grabbed these photographs the same session as the suppressed Ithaca Pottery Site, published in my blog yesterday.

The location was a revelation, around the corner and a few blocks down from our son and daughter-in-law’s house where they are raising three (of our 12) grandchildren, across the street from where the children take swim lessons.  Parking in downtown Ithaca is incredibly coveted and I was not motivated to shoot during the golden hour where cars would, maybe, not be parked out front and the light perfect for the west-facing façade.

Dennis-Newton House Street Frontage


Click this link for my On Line gallery, “Finger Lakes Memories.”

Above is the street frontage of 421 N. Albany Street, Ithaca, New York, a home privately owned.  The house is as originally constructed and considered the birthplace of Cornell’s Alpha Phi Alpha, the first Greek letter, African-American collegiate fraternity established from this location in 1907.

Named for the original owner, Norman Dennis who built it around 1870 and a later owner, Edward Newton, who is directly connected with the early years of Alpha Phi Alpha; the house was recently renovated with a building permit still posted in the porch window, partially obstructed by glare.

The frontage view is partially obstructed by a Black Maple (Acer nigrum) and provides shade from the afternoon sun.


Dennis-Newton House Door, Porch


To compensate for the time of day, the tree and parked cars I captured interesting details of the front porch.  The time was day was perfect for photographing these and, in the golden hour, will be unevenly illuminated.  Note the elegant door glass panels, solid wood door and trim with original porcelain and metal door knobs and lock.  Porch trim includes decorative brackets, spandrels, posts.

Dennis-Newton House Porch, Window

Click this link for my On Line gallery, “Finger Lakes Memories.”

Here is a different angle on the porch trim to include the porch’s fancy balusters and rails.  The decorative head on the window is wonderful. The private owner recently renovated the property, there is a building permit still posted in the window.

Much of the information for this blog came from this web page.

In preparation for shooting, I mounted the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens on the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II body.  The frontage and second porch shots were at 70mm, 1/200 second, ISO 1,000, f/7.1.   The middle shot, of the door, was 1/250 second at f/5.0.

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved









Ithaca Pottery National Historic Place

finding a suppressed location

Wiki Loves Monuments 2017 is a contest coming to a close at the end of September.

Click for Wiki Loves Monuments 2017 contest

The National Register of Historic Places, online, lists the Ithaca Pottery Site(# 79001635) as “address restricted”.   There is no photograph published for the site either on the register or Wikipedia.  Here is an opportunity and a mystery.  Where is the suppressed location of this historic place?  There is the opportunity of completing the record by capturing a photograph.

There is another online reference listing the site as 423 E. Lincoln Street.  The site is “I Love the Finger Lakes”,

I researched the physical location of the site and found it to be in a historically industrial area of Ithaca, close to Ithaca Falls.  The correspondence I found online named Ezra Cornell as the owner when the pottery concern was active.  He donated the land for Cornell University and the location is consistent with his ownership.  There is a large wooded lot behind the building.

Last week I visited the address and guess the best light was the morning, returned yesterday to acquire the photograph.  There was a knoll across Lake Street that gave this view.  There are conflicting elements in this photograph:  the far hills are beautiful, the pole with wires very difficult to remove.  Also, the address is not visible.

Ithaca Pottery from the Knoll

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The street passing left to right is Lake Street.  Crossing lake street I took several shots, negotiating the light traffic to eventually stand in Lake Street for this shot.

Ithaca Pottery from Lake Street

In preparation for shooting, I mounted the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens on the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II body.  This shot was at 70mm, 1/200 second, ISO 1,000, f/7.1.   I hated the power lines and could not avoid them from any acceptable angle.

The only solution was to spend hours in Photoshop to achieve the result in the header.

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved