1919 travel nightmare that helped lead to our interstate hwys; 1916 SHARK ATTACKS!; Holocaust escape tunnel found; Salem gets funds for historic sites; more praise for Free State of Jones

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You think Clark Griswold’s family had a tough time making it to Wally World? Check out the story of the army’s cross country road trip in 1919 that played a big role in Eisenhower’s determination to create our interstate highway system.

So there was that time in 1916 that an entire New Jersey community was terrorized by a series of shark attacks, forever dispelling the scientific community’s denials that sharks attacked humans. Was it the inspiration for Jaws? (Don’t miss this one).

A team of archaeologists and geoscientists announced today that they have discovered an escape tunnel that was dug by Jews trying to escape a concentration camp in Lithuania. It was 115 feet long and was dug by spoons and hands. Sadly, only 11 of the 40 prisoners who tried to escape through it made it to safety.

Anyone that has ever visited Salem, Massachusetts looking to tour the historic sites can attest that it is surprisingly difficult to navigate around and find them (although, having to hunt for them did make them seem more obscure and special). So I was glad to see this story today that they are getting some help from the Massachusetts Historical Commission in the form of two grants that will help them hire a consultant to survey historic buildings downtown, and allow the city’s historic preservation planner to go from a part-time to a full-time job. You may also recall that they have recently decided that they now know for sure where the “witches” were hung, so I am sure this is all connected and will help them increase tourism.

Historian Matthew C. Hulbert weighs in today on Free State of Jones, with his review for the Civil War Monitor. It is another positive review (and perhaps the most interesting one so far), and it takes some shots (like I did yesterday) at that ridiculous op-ed piece by Charles Blow in the NY Times. Again, if you have not seen this movie yet, I am not sure what you are waiting for!

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