Seeking Donna

Last September a descendant of the Cooley Brothers named Donna reached out to me. She gave me her phone number so we could chat further and I could learn more about the Cooley Brothers of Chinook, Alberta.

Of course, life was busy and I never got a chance to call. Now I have a little more time and I realize I lost the number.

So, Donna, if you see this, please reach out to me at


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Enoch Sales House Lost to Fire

We lost another one.

It was early on this cold Saturday morning when I saw the news start breaking on my Twitter feed. The historic Enoch Sales house in downtown Calgary was on fire. When something that old catches fire, there isn’t usually anything left to save afterwards.

The house had been abandoned for many years, other than for the occasional squatter or urban explorationist. My personal suspicion is that it was likely a squatter with a candle trying to stay warm during this latest cold snap that will eventually be determined to be the cause. That is pure speculation on my behalf, of course.

Enoch Sales House – February 9, 2012
Photo by Dan Overes

Regardless of the eventual cause, the house is just another example of demolition via neglect. There never seemed to be a solid plan as what to do with the house and the extremely valuable property it sat on in the heart of downtown Calgary. Like too many historic properties, if the owner simply does nothing the problem eventually solves itself.

For some history of the property and interior photos, check out this link to Avenue Magazine which did a story on the house a while back:

I don’t know what’s more frustrating, the loss of another great old structure or the lack of concern so many show for our historic sites. If you want to feel saddened about the fight to preserve history, one only needs to read some of the comments on the CBC news story (link near the top):

“Authorities estimate the fire may have caused as much as $1 million in area improvements.”

“Another building that should have been torn down years ago goes up and smoke. Move along… “

I understand not everyone is as into history as I am, but the blatant disregard for the loss of this structure is baffling to me.

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Encountering Crocodiles in Florida

I’m still catching up with documenting our adventures from over the Christmas break. This time we check out “Croc Encounters”, a non-profit reptile rescue in Tampa Bay, Florida.

I’d like to give a shout-out to the forty people who have subscribed to our YouTube channel. We’re slowly working our way up to the triple-digit club and the 100 subscriber mark. Thank you!

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Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern

You don’t need to know anything about architecture to know the name Frank Lloyd Wright. On our recent trip to Florida, we spent some time checking out the campus of Florida Southern College, which is home to a large collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.

Between 1938 and his death in 1958, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a total of 18 buildings for the campus of Florida Southern. Twelve of those buildings were built during Wright’s lifetime. Come with us as we do a little architectural sightseeing in the sunshine.

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Golden Spike National Historic Site

It’s always a pleasure when you get to visit a historic site that you have wanted to see for many years. This time it was a visit to Promontory Point, Utah and the location of the driving of the golden spike which completed the American’s transcontinental railroad by joining the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways.

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Bonnie and Clyde Death Car

On our way back home from our Route 66 trip, we couldn’t pass up the chance to stop in Primm, Nevada and check out the car Bonnie and Clyde were in when they were gunned down.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious outlaws in the early 1930s. Their exploits are the stuff of legend. That legend was cemented in history on May 23, 1934 when they were ambushed south of Gibsland, Louisiana by a posse of four law enforcement officers.

The car they were driving was a 1934 Ford V8 which they had stolen in Topeka, Kansas from Jesse and Ruth Warren. Since that time, the car has been attracting curiosity seekers who want to see a tangible part of the Bonnie and Clyde story.

I have had the opportunity to see the car three times now and it continues to fascinate me. The first time was in either 1993 or 1994 when I was in my very short stint as a long-haul truck driver. We were passing through Primm, Nevada and stopped at a casino for a break. I had no idea the car was on display there and, while I was aware of Bonnie and Clyde, I didn’t know all that much about them. If my memory serves, the car was at one of the casinos on the east side of the Interstate at that time.

The second time was in 2008 when the car was displayed at Gold Ranch Casino in Verdi, Nevada, just outside of Reno. I was on vacation and on my way to California and seeing the car was again a surprise as I was unaware it had been moved from Primm. Surprisingly, I searched my photos and I don’t have any pictures of the car from that visit.

And, the third time was this visit back in Primm, this time at Whiskey Pete’s Casino. Today it is housed behind clear glass which makes photography difficult.

In addition to the car, the casino displays other Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia, including the shirt Clyde was supposedly wearing when he was gunned down.

These two outlaws have captured the imagination of countless people for almost nine decades. Their death car remains a true piece of depression-era Americana and is worth stopping in to see if you find yourself on I-15 near the California/Nevada border.

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Route 66: The Finale!

I’ll have more to write later, but for now, here is the final of the Route 66 series — the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier, the end…

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