Thursday, July 6, 2017

(42) The Aesthetic Ideal

Window in Roycroft Inn, East Aurora, New York

Tuesday July 5, Syracuse New York to Cleveland Ohio

The Yellowstone Trail in Central New York

Today we awoke just outside of Syracuse, New York. I decided to skip driving into some of these large cities of the Northeast because I'm a trafficaphobe. I tell myself that there is little in these big cities that resembles the way they appeared in 1912 through 1927; which is when they would have been part of the Yellowstone Trail or Lincoln Highway. Since I've never really gone into these cities, I don't know if my assumption is correct or not. In any event we skirted the big cities of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Syracuse New York
I have quite a few antique postcards, however, and I've decided to include some here. The postcards represent the Lincoln Highway and the Yellowstone Trail that I am searching for. There are only shadows of the two highways that remain. I enjoy seeing the shadows, but I've really set myself up for disappointment as what I want to see is the scenes in the tinted postcards come to life. Since I couldn't take photos of cities I didn't visit, I've provided copies of a few old postcards at the end of this journal entry.

Barn in Central New York, along The Yellowstone Trail
We proceeded west from Syracuse through the rolling countryside of New York. This does resemble how it would have appeared in the early part of the 20th century. Not all of the East is urban. Not all of it is excessively crowded. We enjoyed a pleasant drive through the country today.
After getting past Syracuse we entered the Finger Lakes region of New York State.
One of the Finger Lakes of New York

We also drove past some beautiful homes that lined US Highway 20 and State Route 5 which alternate in representing the Yellowstone Trail in New York State.

We admired the Federalist style of homes that dated from the 1840s and 1850s. We also were captivated by the picturesque towns along the route. We sought to take pictures which would do them justice. That eluded us.

We came to Waterloo New York which is the birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo became the first city to recognize Memorial day, or Decoration Day as it was initially called.

Both the North and the South, very early on, sought to recognize their Civil War dead. It was in Waterloo, however, where there was truly an organized effort for an entire town to remember its war dead. The date chosen was May 30. Waterloo's effort was later recognized in a congressional resolution as well as a bill signed by President Johnson in the 1960s.

We left the Yellowstone Trail in order to avoid the traffic congestion in Buffalo and instead proceeded to alternate route US 20 further south.

This brought us to the city of East Aurora New York. While driving through East Aurora we recognized the Roycroft Inn.
Roycroft artisans, like Gustav Stickley, were prominent in the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. The entire Arts and Crafts movement was a reaction to the opulent styles of the Victorian era with all their decoration and excess. The Roycroft movement was led by Elbert Hubbard who, like Stickley, urged his followers to adopt a more simple and natural lifestyle.

The trouble with adopting that simple and natural lifestyle, was that it can be very, very expensive. I think that to furnish a house with Roycroft furniture, pottery or copper ware, one would need to be a very successful, driven and highly paid Wall Street lawyer, a workaholic on the fast track. Living the simple life proves to be expensive.

Nonetheless, even though we can't  afford it, we appreciate it. We also appreciate its goals even as we recognize that they are incompatible with the prices charged for reproductions or for original pieces - antiques. They were expensive when they were made in the early twentieth century too.

Elbert Hubbard,
Founder of Roycroft
After leaving East Aurora we proceeded west towards Lake Erie. We stayed on State Highway 5 and drove along the shore of Lake Erie through the city of Dunkirk, New York.

Lake Erie, Dunkirk, New York
This technically was not the Yellowstone Trail. But it was nice to get a good clear view of Lake Erie and the weather favored us.

Near the Yellowstone Trail
We got back on Highway 20 and proceeded west into the tip (only 40 miles wide) of Pennsylvania and  then Ohio. When we reached Ohio, we left the US and State highways for the interstate. We recognize that we were cheating, but there really wasn't a lot to see here. We decided it would be better to make time and to use the time saved in the Midwest which is the heart of Yellowstone Trail country just as the Midwest and Pennsylvania is the heart of the Lincoln Highway.

We covered a lot of miles today and are sleeping tonight in a motel west of Cleveland Ohio.

Postcards From The Edge

Lafayette Square, Buffalo

Erie, Pa. Public Baths
Downtown Cleveland Ohio 

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