since 1905

The Midway, 1933, Century of Progress World’s Fair, 1933, Chicago. Lou Fowler

The spiral on the left was a ride called Helter Skelter, where riders would simply climb to the top and slide down. 

Helter Skelters, named for the British term for “disorderly haste or confusion,” had been around since 1905, appearing in many fairs and amusement parks.

In 1968 the Beatles recorded their hit, Helter Skelter. Paul McCartney has said it was “to be the most raucous vocal, the loudest drums, et cetera” and said he was “using the symbol of a helter skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom; the rise and fall of the Roman Empire – and this was the fall, the demise.”

Inspired that same year by the Beatles’ song, Charles Manson would talk to his “Family” about Helter Skelter, an “apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions between blacks and whites”, which would eventually lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders.

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Here’s how the Nation’s T. rex will be posed in the new fossil hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

The mount was assembled temporarily at the Research Casting International workshop in Toronto for Smithsonian staff to inspect. The Nation’s T. rex (a.ka. Wankel Rex) is poised over a cast of Hatcher, a composite Triceratops that has been on display in one form or another since 1905.

It’s a long Fossil Friday for the long weekend.

Apatosaurus excelsus is one of the best-known and most common of the large sauropod dinosaurs. This skeleton, formerly known as Brontosaurus, is actually a composite of several skeletons, although most of the mounted bones come from a single individual. Despite its much heavier body and shorter neck, Apatosaurus is very closely related to both Diplodocus and Barosaurus

This specimen of Apatosaurus was the first sauropod dinosaur ever mounted. After the skeleton was collected, the specimen was prepared and readied for display, a task that took several preparators six years. Figuring out how to support the large skeleton was another challenge, since no specialized materials existed for this purpose. The mount was later revised to be more anatomically accurate, but the original framework—which consists of repurposed pipes and plumbing fixtures—still supports the dinosaur’s torso.

In 1992, workers began remounting the specimen to reflect what we have learned about sauropods since 1905. The skull, the number of neck vertebrae, the configuration of the wrists, and the length of the tail were all changed. 

Apatosaurus lived during the Late Jurassic, about 140 million years ago. See this specimen in the Museum’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

Image: AMNH/R.Mickens

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Worthington, Iowa
Population: 381

“Rev. George W. Heer, pastor of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic parish, Dubuque, since 1905, is one of the best and most widely known clergymen, personally, in Dubuque county. He is a native of the Prussian Province of Westphalia, Germany, his birth occurring April 25, 1849, and a son of Lawrence and Theresa Heer, who came to America in 1855 and died at Fort Madison, Iowa, where both are buried. When but six years old, Father Heer came to this country with his parents. He received his literary education at the Quincy (Illinois) College, and his theological training at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, where, on March 16, 1872, he was ordained to the priesthood; succeeding which, he was stationed at Keokuk, Richmond, Centralia, Worthington, Dyersville and Dubuque, but it was in this county that he became most widely known. Through his instrumentality the church and school at Worthington were built; at Dyersville he remodeled the church, established a high school and founded an academy for girls. His activities did not cease upon his removal to Dubuque. He has established St. Mary’s high school in connection with his parish, and in many other ways has become a power in religious circles. Father Heer is loved and honored for his many sterling qualities of mind and heart.”