T/Blues: 08/12/2012

Spend a rather fascinating morning touring Mandan/ND’s Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

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Ft Abraham Lincoln SP: Commandant Custer Home

Tour General Custer’s house (he was Commandant here before journeying out to Montana’s Little Big Horn). (In that his wife had more money than good sense, Custer “embellished” standard Army issue housing with larger rooms, many more stylish architectural “flourishes”, and a great deal of furniture rarely found on military posts. Though whether this constituted “The Good Life” remains open to question.).

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Ft Abraham Lincoln SP: On-Slant Mandan Indian Village

On-Slant Village is a reconstructed “earthworks” Mandan Indian village. Unlike our “tipi” image, these were not simply “dugouts”, but large, complex, above-ground homes, meeting places, storage locations etc. A central motif was a large “campfire”, around which everyone slept on chilly nights: its hierarchy being young children closest to the fire (if they got up during the night they would likely wake an elder before getting out of the enclosure… how COULD we apply this to teenagers today?) and adults farther away. Personal foodstuffs were often buried under its dirt floor. (A bit of chauvinism though: guys laid around telling war stories; women did all the work… our indigenous docents suggest this is no longer the case).

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Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

Then off to state capitol Bismarck, to peek at their modern, yet beautiful cathedral, wander around Ft Cannon Historic Park (an old US Weather Station; an old church; and an old railroad engine), and, finally dine at Blarney Stone Irish Pub.

Realize this is curmudgeonry at its worst, but shouldn’s SOMEONE working in this pub know WHAT the Blarney Stone IS? (My waitress assumed it is “a big rock in Ireland”).

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