Saturday, May 18, 2019

Unrelated Questions

I notice in art galleries that painters, and perhaps photographers, like to show city intersections at an angle.  So do you think this is to show twice as many shops, from an interesting perspective, or in order to clearly show which intersection it is and identify the neighborhood?

Why does Western North Carolina have so few Indian names? I am not used to this, being familiar with NH, MA, and Eastern VA places.  Come to think of it, VT also has fewer Native names, so it may relate to when in colonial history the places were settled.

When did erecting trees as a "permanent" memorial become fashionable?  I saw a few in New York, now old enough that they are in danger of dying and being removed.  I have a sense that in NH it didn't really get started until later in my childhood. It reminds me of the weekend of the Kennedy funeral while we were watching the procession to Arlington National Cemetery.  My mother was crying, but she couldn't help but start giggling when the announcer told us that the Eternal Flame we were seeing was only a temporary eternal flame, until the permanent one was installed.

Is the kudzu situation improving or deteriorating?  I recalled long roadside sections around Greenville, SC covered with the stuff a dozen years ago.  There was a lot around Asheville, but it didn't look quite that bad.


Sam L. said...

I thought about commenting on kudzu (never seen it, only heard about it), but it would have been a political comment, and I'm not going to impose on you.

JMSmith said...

This is pure guesswork, but a relative paucity of Indian place names may result from a relatively rapid displacement of the Indians. The Cherokee were removed from western North Carolina relatively rapidly. The replacing culture is also clearly a factor. The French were famous for their assimilation to Indian ways, and all the great rivers of New France and French Louisiana thus retain their Indian names (the Platte is an exception, but this simply translates the Indian Nebraska). The difference is most striking when contested with the near complete obliteration of Indian names in New Spain. The Spanish simply re-named all the major rivers here in Texas (a possible exception being the nearby Navasota), and when the Anglos swept in they re-named all the smaller streams.

The English colonists were midway between the assimilating French and the conquering Spaniards, so that east of the Appalachians we find names like Hudson and Delaware mixed with names like Connecticut and Susquehanna. The same mix is evident in the names of mountains roundabout you.

The cultural differences between French, Spanish and English are so striking that there may well be more subtle cultural variations. One last factor might be the nature of the original cadastral survey. Where this was done by metes and bounds, creek names at the time of first settlement were immediately codified in property deeds. Where this was done by the national grid or some similarly geometric survey, there was less incentive to stick with the original Indian name. I think the cadastral factor explains the relative density of Indian names across the old South.

Grim said...

In support of that hypothesis, Georgia has many Cherokee names because it hosted the Cherokee nation for a long time. White people who wanted to settle there had to apply for permission which, to their credit but probably also to their cost, the Cherokee were generous about providing. As a result, the locals learned the Cherokee names for places before the Cherokee were removed. Even some of the English names, like "Ballground," are translations of Cherokee names.

You would have encountered more, though, if you'd gone south on the Blue Ridge Parkway instead of north. The northern route is easterly. The southern route, after a spur that is mostly southerly, turns west and runs to Cherokee, NC, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. You'd have seen road signs in Cherokee, even. (Also some beautiful country on the way: the best country north of Asheville on the BRP is Linn Cove near Grandfather Mountain, which you didn't get to if you only went as far as Craggy Gardens; south of Asheville, between Mt. Pisgah and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'd have traveled above the Shining Rock wilderness of the Nantahala national forest. It's amazing country. I spend a lot of my time there.)

james said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
james said...

Intersections at angles...

Looking down the street is maybe a little too much like those old exercises in perspective from the 1400's, and they don't want to be like those old guys?

Or maybe: the more angles in the picture, the more variety it has and the more interesting it is to try to paint. (If so, I'd predict that stonework would be a popular feature in paintings.)

Or maybe it is safer to take the reference photos while standing on the sidewalk rather than in the middle of the street.

RichardJohnson said...

Is the kudzu situation improving or deteriorating? I recalled long roadside sections around Greenville, SC covered with the stuff a dozen years ago. There was a lot around Asheville, but it didn't look quite that bad.

I have no idea about whether kudzu is up or down. My guess is about the same. I should ask my Asheville relatives about that. My take on Asehville versus Greenville kudzu is that Asheville has harsher winters,as it is in the mountains, and thus less hospitable to kudzu.