« PreviousContinue »
in a gigantic dome-like swelling, as large as the dome of the capitol at Washington. Then it subsided, only to rise again. Before each subsidence there was a tremendous escape of gas, like a huge bubble pushing its way through the water.
Following this phenomenon great clouds of smoke and steam issued from the same spot, gradually growing in immensity until the spellbound spectators began to fear they would be engulfed in a terrific cataclysm. The sky was filled with seething clouds of vapor, while fire, smoke and white hot lava streamed from this sea-level volcanic crater. The column that rose heavenward officers of the Albatross declare was three miles in diameter.
The cutter Perry was the next visitor to the islands, and found a new-made
peak on the site of the old Perry Peak. Members of the crew led by officers braved the danger and stood upon the shore of Bogoslof, but the heat was so great they could not long remain.
It was September 10 of this last season when the revenue cutter Manning first approached the Bering Sea volcano, and the adventurous spirits insisited on going ashore. Changes were many since the Perry had been upon the scene. Again Perry Peak had become two small mountains. Evidence of terrific heat was plain, not only in the coating of lava, moulten and dust, that covered the island, but in the skeletons of multitudes of seafowl that plainly had been roasted alive in the twinkling of an eye. The bones, scattered by thousands crumbled to fine dust at the touch.
The Tahotna's men found a crater fifteen hundred feet in diameter, seething with lava, fire, boiling water and steam. They describe it by likening it to a huge colander with streams of boiling water spurting upward through the holes, and a geyser in the center much larger than the rest. On insecure footing of baked mud, which in places gave way under their weight, the situation of the observers was perilous, and the roar of the crater drowned their voices.
Nine days later the Tahoma was again approaching Bogoslof when, at 4 o'clock in the morning, the lookout reported to Capt. J. H. Quinan that a terrific thunderstorm, with lightning of unusual brilliance was raging dead ahead. The captain issued orders to fix the vessel's lightning rods, and then inquired the exact location of the storm center.
"That's Bogoslof in eruption again," he exclaimed, and soon all the revenue cutter's officers and men were on deck to witness the display, which was then about twenty miles away.
Lieutenant F. E. Bagger gives a detailed account of the Tahotna's remarkable experience at the birth of a new mountain on Bogoslof:
"We were on a northeast course, making about ten knots an hour when the officer of the watch noticed perhaps twenty-five miles ahead flashes of vivid lightning. Through the gloom we could discern a mass of dark and lowering clouds, and as the day dawned one immense cloud hung over the group directly in our path. Flashes of blinding light lit the sea and sky to the horizon, and showed us the rough outline of Bogoslof as the center of the disturbance. Every eye was strained to watch the developments of the awe-inspiring spectacle.
"By six o'clock the Tahoma had drawn within twelve miles of Bogoslof. With the rays of the rising sun old Fire Island could just be distinguished at the edge of heavy clouds of ashes, steam and smoke that completely enveloped the remainder of the island.
"When the revenue cutter had approached within ten miles of the scene it was plainly to be observed that the flames, molten lava, ashes, steam and smoke were issuing from the old crater, which had been partly surrounded by a salt lagoon. Titanic forces were at work creating a prodigious disturbance, and the heat which was being freed from the center of the earth began to produce an eddying wind that even from our distance could be plainly felt. As we continued to near the land the force of the increasing wind began to scatter the clouds of smoke which hovered over the northeast end of Bogoslof, and by 6:15 o'clock the land sprang plainly into view.
"Soon the Tahoma had reached a point sufficiently near for the eye of the camera, and we obtained some very fine views of the spectacle. At 6:30 we were only six miles distant, and the heat began to be oppressive. The continuous shower .of ash and lava dust made it necessary for us to keep to windward of the island.
"A little before 9 o'clock we were only four miles from this belching, roaring volcano. A column of red-hot glowing lava was rising to a height of half a mile, through the center of the vapor and clouds. The steam from the crater reared its head as high again into the clouds, in immense billows. Even above the vapor streams of living fire rose and fell in a pyrotechnic shower.
"Accompanying all this display there was a constant roar while sounds like thunder issued from the cauldron on the island. Still keeping to leeward to escape the heat, we crept to within a mile of the shore. But we did not long remain there as ashes and sparks lighting on the deck told of our imminent danger, and Captain Quinan turned the Tahotna's prow about and we headed for the Aleut village of Chenofski, near Unalaska. But as we left we could see through the clouds of vapor that a new mountain had been born on Bogoslof, and doubtless it will be known as Tahoma Peak."
Since the Tahotna's return to winter quarters the coast of Alaska has been racked by quakes and jars, so that it is more than probable Bogoslof has assumed a new shape even since September.
WITH the ever increasing cost of lumber, the value of cement as a building material is growing more and more apparent. It is, moreover, becoming one of the most prized of materials to the engineer, who uses it for bridges, for retaining walls, for substructure and other purposes. For side walks it is unrivalled and has usurped the place of all other materials. Mr. Edison considers it one of the most pliable, esthetic and economical of house materials, and Mr. Lorado Taft, the sculptor, is demonstrating the fact that it is amenable to the purposes of art.
Mr. Taft is causing to be erected in Ogle County, Illinois, near the delightful village of Oregon, on the banks of the Rock river, a statue of Black Hawk, once chief of the Sac and Fox Indians, who possessed the rich and picturesque country of that region. A chieftain at once wise and brave, he is worthy of commendation, and Mr. Taft has chosen to place his statue upon a rocky bluff which commands a fine sweep of the river both North and South. Tradition says that this was a favorite retreat of Black Hawk's.
The dimensions of this statue are 48 feet without the pedestal, and being set as it is, upon a bulwark of rock, the effect from the river is one of melancholy and imposing grandeur. Mr. Taft has not attempted a portrait of Black Hawk, but has made what might be regarded as a composite face of the Indians of the Middle West.
As is his custom, the first figure Mr. Taft designed was but eight inches high; the next two feet; the third six feet. This figure was set in a frame which forms a part of a pointing machine, and by means of a system devised by Mr. Taft and his assistant, Mr. John Gottlieb Prasuhn, it has been possible to enlarge this figure seven times, and to preserve accurately every feature of the finely finished, six foot model.
The builders of this huge statue had no precedent by which to work, and the successful development of Mr. Taft's idea is the result of the ingenuity and mathematics of Mr. Prasuhn.
First a central tower of wood was built, and upon this and from it was developed an edifice which indicated the form of the figure. Small sticks were nailed over this at close intervals and numbered. These showed wherever there was to be a curve or a variation, and the extent of that variation. A sketch of the frame work in this condition, with each point numbered was then made on paper, and every proportion was tested with plumb line and square. When all corresponded to the working model—a correspondence which the pointing machine could prove or disprove by its infallible comparisons, with one end operating from the small model, and the other indicating the point at which a seven-fold enlargement was to be made—the whole surface was covered with chicken wire. Mr. Prasuhn began at the neck and wrapped this around and around the figure, and then modeled it carefully, fastening it with two-pointed tacks to the frame work. Next he draped it in two hundred yards of burlap, fastening this to the frame with nails, and once more modeling it all. The burlap was then sprayed with plaster water to stiffen it, so that the heavy plaster mold which presently was to be put on, should not intrude through the wire, and clay water was sprayed over the thin coat of plaster to separate it from the plaster mold.
A temporary plaster model of the shoulders and head were then made on the ground, and hoisted into place by means of a hinge derrick. It was not absolutely necessary that these should be placed upon the statue, but their presence gave meaning to the work, illustrated to visitors what was to be done and encouraged the men in their labors. It also determined the precise location of the figure, and the whole structure was swung around over a foot after the erection of the head, in order to present a cleaner profile to the road along the bluff. The derrick by which the great head was lifted in place was in itself a clever contrivance fashioned with a triangle on a boom, with a rope to each of the four derrick points, and a back guy.
The next thing was to prepare for the
heavy concrete work. Four heavy steel beams each thirty feet in length, Were placed on cribbing timbers and bolted together. Scaffolding was then raised, and a mold of common plaster and fiber was put on by hand. Around this scaffolding was finally put hoops of copper wire to prevent spreading, while within the statue was erecting a net work of strutting and cross beams to guard against crushing.
When the plaster mold was completed, the temporary head and shoulders were sawed up and cast to the ground, and everything was removed from within the now hardened mold. This mold was painted within with wall sizing to keep the plaster from absorbing the water in the cement. The solid rock at the bottom of the fourteen foot excavation beneath the statue was pierced and twentyfour rods of steel dipped in brimstone and plaster were anchored in the rock. Into this cement was poured making a solid substructure for the visible pedestal, which was six feet in height. On this was erected a steel tower, composed of rods, reinforced, and wrapped about with galvanized wire. A steel dome surmounted this, designed for the purpose of supporting the head and shoulders of solid cement.
The difficulties were many, and not the least of these was the securing of the water, of which many thousand gallons were required. A small Erickson air engine was pressed into use, and made to lift water from the river two hundred feet below, but as the power of this engine was not equal to the demand that would be placed upon it when the work of mixing the cement began, a reservoir was constructed and the water stored. A steam mixer capable of preparing a cubic yard of cement every six minutes was then installed. This had a hopper which held six barrels of cement for each dumping, and a continuous line of men with barrows was required. Cement sets in about thirty minutes, and to avoid unevenness, continuous work was demanded. Twenty -four hours finds cement in a condition to support itself, and a collapsible frame of steel was therefore devised, which could be lifted up in sections as the concrete hardened. The amount of cement used was about three hundred and fifty barrels, and no less than one hundred and twenty wagon loads of sand were required to mix the cement for the pedestal alone.
The molds for the shoulders and head were lifted into place, and the cement was poured in the top of the head until
A Comparison Of Heads.
the upper portion of the figure w as one solid casting.
One of the pictures shows the plaster mold over which the mold was made, being lifted into its temporary position.
The statue has been erected not only to celebrate Black Hawk, but also to
leave a souvenir of Eagle's Nest Camp, where for years a group of artists, sculptors, writers and musicians have passed their summers. This is above Ganymede Spring, which the American authoress, Margaret Fuller, named on her visit to the West. Beneath the cedars at the crest of the cliff which arises above it, she wrote "Ganymede to His Eagle," as the tablet at the spring bears witness.
Plaster Model Six Feet High From Which The Statue Was Pointed.