2011.10.19 Have you had your daily ration of new factoids?

Written by David Green.


It’s not as bad as taking your medicine. Just read on and absorb a brand new batch of factoids. It can’t hurt. Really, it can’t.

The city of Cleveland, Ohio owes the spelling of its name to the typographical needs of a newspaper.  Calvin Noble, founder and publisher of the “Cleaveland Advertiser,” discovered his chosen name was too long to fit on one line on the paper’s front page in the type size he wanted.

His solution was to remove the first “a” from Cleaveland, enabling the rest of the paper’s name to fit. Over time, people came to accept the shorter version, permanently changing the spelling to Cleveland with only the second “a.”  

Isle Royale National Park, off the coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is the only place on Earth where moose and wolves co-exist without the presence of any bears. But a park with no bears doesn’t sound like a park I’d want to visit.

On February 9, 1964, The Beatles made their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” About 73 million viewers tuned in, at the time a record for a television program. For those other acts on the show forced to follow the Fab Four, it was practically a career killer. That is, except for one Broadway actor who probably had no idea at the time what effect the Beatles would have on his future.

The cast of the show “Oliver” also appeared on the Sullivan show that night, doing a short performance from the play. Just two years later, a television series starring a manufactured Beatles-like rock band hit the airwaves. “Oliver”  and Sullivan alum Davy Jones was hired to play one of “The Monkees,” who were for a time nearly as famous as The Beatles themselves.  

 Back in 1961, the Chrysler Corporation was looking for a new president. Several top executives from competitors were approached, as was American Motors Corporation president George Romney, who passed on the offer and instead successfully ran for governor of Michigan.

Next, the Chrysler search committee zeroed in on a famous public figure who was then out of work. Former Vice President Richard Nixon, who had recently lost an extremely close 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy, was offered the presidency-of Chrysler, not the United States. 

He turned down the offer, and the position eventually went to Chrysler vice president Lynn Townsend. But just think how history might have changed had Nixon taken the job instead of staying in politics. And how do you think today’s cars might have looked after years of Nixon’s influence?

Ever visit the state of Sequoyah? Obviously not, but the eastern part of present-day Oklahoma applied for statehood under that name in 1905. With the organization of surrounding states, a much larger Indian Territory was by 1890 reduced to just the current Oklahoma boundary, minus the panhandle region. During that year, the western part of Indian Territory was organized as Oklahoma Territory and the unorganized “Neutral Strip,” roughly 167 miles by 34.5 miles was added to the new territory, giving it a “panhandle.”

When citizens of the remaining Indian Territory tried to join the union, opposition by President Teddy Roosevelt and Congress killed the plan. Two years later, citizens of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories asked for admission as a combined single state. Now named simply “Oklahoma,” the joined areas were granted statehood in November, 1907.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway sits on a 963-acre parcel, bigger than either the principality of Monaco or Vatican City, as well as a few other countries. The 269 acres within the actual racetrack walls could contain Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, Churchill Downs, the Roman Colosseum and four Pentagon buildings at the same time.

At one period in its history, Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge factory contained 2,900 drinking fountains, all with water temperature kept between 55 and 60 degrees. I’m not sure about the Rouge plant, but it’s said the Indianapolis Speedway has 2,200 toilets. Pretty impressive, I guess, but hopefully Rouge workers didn’t have to travel that far for a bathroom. 

 That’s enough factoids for now. Until next time, feel free to make your own pit stop.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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