In the Georgia woods near the little town of White, one can find “Old Car City.” It isn’t really a city at all, more of a resting place for the rusting bones of old cars. While speaking to another photography enthusiast from church, I was informed of the existence of the place no more than an hour and seven minutes from where we are staying! He told me that it was well worth the trip – that it is a phenomenal place for anyone who loves photography (let alone cars).
Old Car City USA bills itself as the World’s Largest Old Car Junkyard. Over 34 acres of natural woods are dotted with over 4,000 old cars (1972 and older). There are over 6.5 miles of trails winding through the woods and among the cars. Cars date back as far back as the 1920’s and include old Packards, Edels, Fords, Studebakers, Oldsmoiles, Pontiacs, Dodge and Chryslers, Volkswagens and Chevrolets to name a few!
I recently wandered the grounds for over four hours taking photographs. The woods have been allowed to grow around and, in some cases, through, the cars. On several occasions, I saw trees that had grown up through the hood or trunk of an old car, or through the bed of a truck. It was incredible! The fallen pine needles, leaves and detritus of the years lie adopt the rusting hulks that sleep in silence.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! In four hours, I shot over 400 photos – a rate of almost two pictures per minute! Talk about a target rich environment for a photographer! If you are coming to Georgia and like old cars, photography, or both – it is worth the price of admission! You’ll be seeing lots of photos from there in the coming weeks!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: According to scholars at the University of Paris, the Black Death was created on this day in 1345, from what they call “a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius, occurring on the 20th of March 1345”. The Black Death, also known as the Plague, swept across Europe, the Middle East and Asia during the 14th century, leaving an estimated 25 million dead in its wake.
Despite what these scholars claimed, bubonic plague is caused by the yersinia pestis bacterium. The plague was carried by fleas that usually traveled on rats, but jumped off to other mammals when the rat died. It most likely first appeared in humans in Mongolia around 1320. Usually, people who came down with the plague first complained of headaches, fever and chills. Their tongues often appeared a whitish color before there was severe swelling of the lymph nodes. Finally, black and purple spots appeared on the skin of the afflicted; death could follow within a week. Later, a pneumonic form of the plague developed that was less common but killed 95 percent of the people who contracted it.
After devastating the nomadic tribes of Mongolia , it moved south and east to China and India. Wherever it went, the death toll was high. It is thought that the disease made its way to Europe in 1346. In one famous incident, the Tatars, a group of Turks, were battling Italians from Genoa in the Middle East when the Tatars were suddenly stuck down by the plague. Reportedly, they began catapulting dead bodies over the Genoans’ walls toward their enemy, who fled back to Italy with the disease. Although this account may not be true, it is certain that rats carrying the plague hitched rides on ships from Asia and the Middle East to Europe. In port cities everywhere, the Black Death began to strike. In Venice, 100,000 people died in total, with as many as 600 dying every day at the peak of the outbreak.
In 1347, the disease worked its way to France and Paris lost an estimated 50,000 people. The following year, Britain fell victim. Typically, countries would believe themselves to be superior and immune to infection when their neighbors came down with the plague, but soon found they were mistaken as the Black Death traveled across Eurasia, spreading devastation in its wake. By the time the worst was over in 1352, one third of the continent’s population was dead.
Devastation on this scale brought out the worst in people. Often, it was blamed on minorities in the community. Witches and gypsies became frequent targets. Jewish people were tortured and burned to death by the thousands for supposedly causing the Black Death. Preachers claimed that the disease was God’s punishment for immorality. Many turned to prayer and those that did survive ascribed their good luck to their devotion, resulting in the rise of splinter religions and cults in the aftermath of the plague’s destruction. Alternatively, some resorted to useless home cures to try to avoid the disease, bathing in urine or menstrual blood in an attempt to deter it.
The plague popped up periodically until the 1700’s, but never again reached epidemic proportions after the 14th century.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Though weighing only 11 ounces on average, a healthy heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day.