Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shreveport, LA

Finally, after three weeks, I have both cell phone service and internet.  Still no TV, but at least I can check the news online.  I was beginning to feel very isolated, in fact, I didn't hear about the Colorado fires until a couple of days after it started when a friend's daughter had to evacuate.  How did we ever get along without immediate access to the world?
But I can finally start updating my blog again, so I will start where I left off, on my way to Arkansas from Lousiana.  We stopped at Shreveport for an overnight stay at the Elks Lodge.  The Red River runs right through the downtown.  Unfortunately, because it was a Monday and like every place else there have been budget shortfalls,  most of the museums and places of interest are only open Wed-Sat.  But we could still drive around and look and we did find one interesting place which was open.

The park which lines the Red River.  Lots of outdoor ampitheaters, walking and biking trails.  In fact, Shreveport seems to have miles of really nice bike trails which I would like to come back and do someday.

We all liked this elaborate Purple Martin condo.

Across the river was the shopping area and Shreveport's river walk area.

And of course, they had their casino on an old steamboat.

Walking along the river we spotted this snake.

Remember, I said we stayed at the Elks Lodge?  Well, this Elks Lodge was sitting on one of the little lakes/bayous off the Red River.  I thought I got a picture of the deck overlooking the water, but I guess not.  They also have a fishing pier and are talking about putting in a boat dock.  But they also have this really nice pool.  The lodge sponsers a swim team which has done quite well in previous years at various swim meets.  Needless to say, this lodge is doing well.

As we were driving around we spotted the stacks of this older power plant.

And right next door was the newer plant.

But across the street was the city's original waterworks.

We pulled in, not sure whether it would be closed too.  But it is staffed by volunteers, and yes, it was open and we got a personal tour.

A really unique landmark.


As we toured the plant, we got a great explanation of how they filter the water we get out of our taps.  I know I never really thought about the entire process.  They used steam power for the engines, so water could be pumped even when there was no electricity.  This pump dates back to 1898 and is believed to be one of only a few still in existence.

The building was built in 1887, but was expanded several times in later years.  This pump was built in 1920 and installed sometime after, but it is still a steam powered pump.  They have this pump now connected to an electric engine and they can operate it to show how it worked.  

This is an early day air compressor, and yes, again, it was steam powered.  Built by Westinghouse Air Brake Co., it was adapted from the same equipment used on steam locomotives.

These are some of the large filtering vats.  In 1890, when the first of these were installed, less than 10% of the nation's water works filtered their water.  Filters used gravel, sand and carbon, much as is done still today.

The remains of a 1911 raw water pump house on the banks of the bayou.


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