Saturday, July 31, 2010
“After four years of trial General Wallace has located a splendid colony of fox squirrels in the big forest trees about his residence. The pretty little animals and their young can be seen at all hours frisking about the lawn and they are jealously guarded from dogs and the air gun boy.”
Perhaps General Wallace felt that the large size and reddish color of the squirrels better complimented the artistic effect of the Study. Whatever the reason, after 110 years, the descendants of the General’s efforts at selective breeding are still frisking about on the lawn.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
He faced a similar situation when he heard that the Elston’s had recently purchased a piano. He had no idea what a piano was but he was able to find out from friends that it was a musical machine. Again, he crept into the Elston home uninvited and saw the mysterious machine without being discovered. This led the curious boy to his next question—just how did the machine make its music?? More research was necessary. He waited many days until the Elston’s hosted a party one evening in the double parlors. After dark, Lew crept “Indian-like” through the Elston grove and up to the windows glittering with candlelight. Lew watched and waited in the dark. In a little while a young lady went to the machine, opened it, and miracle of miracles, she began playing “One little, two little, three little Indians. . .” His research had paid off.
Throughout his life, Lew remained a person with an extraordinary curiousity about the world around him. He was also a man of action who didn’t always wait for an invitation before proceeding. In reading his autobiography, it’s easy to see how the curious boy became the military leader we remember and the creator of characters from worlds beyond Crawfordsville.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Students trained with the signal corps to send messages across camp.
New this year was a visit to the embalmer.
Several students prepare to assist the surgeon in "amputating" their classmate's leg. They seem VERY pleased to be helping with this task...
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Dr. James Norton, a scholar of Wallace's inventions, discusses the fishing poles of the 19th century and the improvements that Lew Wallace tried to make with his design.
Surveyor Jim Swift worked with small groups of students to find Lew Wallace's reflecting pool from historic photos of the grounds. Each group consistently found the same place! Plans are in the works to excavate the remains of the reflecting pool in the fall.
Architect Judith Kleine led students in assembling a 3D model of the Study building.
Just as in real life, some buildings could not be built without teamwork! Several students commented that designing a stable structure and taping it together were big challenges - but that also made it fun.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Pencils kept moving as students used both their imaginations and memories to write biographies and autobiographies.
Students paired up to interview each other as if they were running for president. Based on some of their professed goals - helping the poor, keeping libraries open, solving environmental problems - we have a few politicians and activists in the group!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Several students worked in groups, sharing ideas and occasionally paint. Getting the right color when mixing the paint proved a challenge for some!
All the budding artists sketched out their paintings before putting brush to canvas.
At the end of the day, Karen Patton held up each student's painting for all to provide their feedback . The kids supported one another's artistic endeavors with compliments and suggestions.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The first day of the Academy ends with a performance of singing and playing instruments.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Hart gained fame in Hollywood after his stage career faded playing in Westerns. His ability with horses in the movies was no act. He was a gifted horseman and raced Messala’s team on stage over 400 times. He said he always felt bad that his four horses (Tom, Jerry, Rosie and Topsy) raced Ben-Hur’s team of four bays every night and lost. His horses tried with all their might every night to win. No matter how hard they tried, the result was always the same—just at the moment it looked like they would win, Hur’s treadmill would speed up and the bays would draw away—winning the race.
Hart described the night that the race was reaching its climax. The eight horses racing for all they were worth. Hart’s (Messala’s) horses raced faster and faster, stretching until their bellies were almost on the treadmill—and then Hart realized that his team was going to win. He crawled out on the chariot tongue; put his hands on their backs imploring them, urging them to slow so Ben-Hur could win but “. . . They ran like creatures possessed—their veins stood out like ropes—they were out in front—they were gaining! They strained every muscle to the breaking point, then they lunged ahead in a deathlike dash! And—they won! They Won!” After 400 tries, his team finally out-raced the treadmill.
Hart was always proud that after the first performance, he was sent for and Lew Wallace singled him out telling Hart: “Young man, I want to thank you for giving me the Messala that I drew in my book.”
William S. Hart was one of the most successful early film stars. Hart passed away in 1946 and left his estate to the people of Los Angeles because the community had treated him so well. His Spanish Revival mansion with its outstanding collection of western art, Hollywood memorabilia, and Native American artifacts and its surrounding 260 acres are now part of the Natural History of Museum of Los Angeles.