Archive for April, 2016

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The Muddy Crows

I didn’t wait until lunchtime for this bike ride because today I rode to Farragut Square Park (MAP) to see The Muddy Crows, one of D.C.’s best local original bands, who were performing as part of the Spring Concert Series sponsored by Fox 5, the local TV affiliate.  It was an unseasonably cold morning with occasional drops of rain drizzling down from a sky that couldn’t seem to make up its mind what it wanted to do.  But even that couldn’t put a damper on the event.  The Americana/Roots-Rock group played a variety of covers, but it was their original songs like Old Fashioned Love and One of Those Days, as well as some of the songs from the group’s recently-released album such as Warm and Fuzzy and Jezebel, that really made the show.  Unfortunately, the concert had to come to an end.  So it’s too late for anyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to be there.  I took a couple of videos of the #Fox5Rocks performance (see below) so you could get a taste of their music, which is available through their website and on iTunes.  But to fully enjoy The Muddy Crows, I recommend seeing them live.  And if the nearly 100 shows they put on last year is any indication, the prolific performers will providing many more opportunities in the near future.  And now that they are back from their recently-completed first European tour, which included 22 shows over 24 days across 17 cities and multiple countries, I’m hoping many of those upcoming shows will be here in the D.C. area.

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The Silver Man

One of the highlights of this lunchtime bike ride was happening upon a street performance artist who had set up and was performing in front of the White House.  I have also seen him at the Lincoln Memorial. He is “The Silver Man,” and he has a silver backpack, silver guitar and even a silver bike as well.  He stands motionless beside a sign that says he will move if you pay him. He also has a sign that he is running for President, and his campaign slogan is “The best nation is a donation.”  Based on what I’ve seen from many of the other presidential candidates, he may have a chance.  This kind of street performer is common in other cities like New York and Baltimore.  But unlike public artwork, which is prevalent, you don’t see street performers as frequently here in the national capital city.  I, for one, would welcome more street performers like him.  However, I’d have to see what The Silver Man’s platform is and his position on the issues before he would get my support as a candidate for President. 

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

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Pierce Mill

I had no particular destination in mind when I left on this lunchtime bike ride.  Initially, I just rode north.  Then as I was riding and would see a direction that didn’t look familiar, I would follow it.  As I made my way up through the DuPont Circle, Kalorama, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods, I just continued riding.  Eventually I found myself on a long downhill stretch of Park Road, and as I crossed over Beach Road I happened upon Peirce Mill.  Situated in Rock Creek Park, Peirce Mill is located at 2539 Tilden Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.

Peirce Mill was built on 1839 by a Quaker farmer from Pennsylvania named Issac Peirce.  Using the moving water or Rock Creek as a power source, the mill ground corn, wheat, and rye.  However, Peirce was not a miller and did not operate the mill himself.  Instead, he hired other millers to do so.  It remained in operation for more than six decades.  The last commercial load ground was in 1897, when the main shaft broke, while a millwright named Alcibiades P. White was grinding a load of rye.

The Federal government bought the mill as part of Rock Creek Park and it was restored as a Public Works Administration project, completed in March 1936, at a cost of $26,614.  Operation began again in October of 1936 under the supervision of miller Robert A. Little.  The mill was used from December 1, 1936 until 1958 to provide flour for government cafeterias.  Eventually, however, due to a lack of trained millwrights and lack of water in the millrace, it again discontinued operating as a mill, and was used from that time forward as an historical site.

There was a brief period, between 1993 and 1997, that the mill was closed once again.  A restoration effort was begun by the Friends of Peirce Mill, and the mill was restored with the support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The mill officially reopened in October of 2011.

Peirce Mill is currently open from April 1st through October 31st from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, Wednesday through Sunday.  During the month of November it is open on only Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  And from December through the end of March it is open from noon to 4:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. But the best time to plan a visit is on the 2nd or 4th Saturday of each month between April and October, when the National Park Service typically runs mill operation demonstrations.

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

Note:  I recently ran across the following photo in the Library of Congress, taken sometime between the 1880s and 1910s.  It depicts men riding bikes near Peirce Mill, showing that people have been riding bikes to and near the mill for over a hundred years.

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