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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Place, Things and Gaspee Point

I have focused often in this blog on the tangible pull of place, and the emotions and associations we make when physically standing on the site of an historic event.  Sometimes it is an artifact in a removed location that can have a comparable, if not the same, effect.

The Tribune Building in Chicago is a well-recognized Gothic structure.  At ground level, the building integrates stones, bricks and other components of famous sites.  On a recent visit, I noticed this:

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island was the site of an attack on a British customs ship on June 10, 1772 as it was seeking to enforce the unpopular British customs laws with regard to the packet boat Hannah.  After the Gaspee ran aground.  The Gaspee's captain, Lieutenant William Dudingston, was wounded and captured.  For William R. Staples' 1845 account titled Documentary History of the Destruction of the Gaspee, click here.

So while it is not the same as standing on the bank of Narragansett Bay and imagining the scene unfolding, nonetheless, the observant Chicagoan passing by can touch this rock and have a "one step removed" experience from this critical event that became part of the mosaic of the Revolutionary War.

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