The Project Gutenberg eBook of Seeing America First, with the Berry Brothers

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Title: Seeing America First, with the Berry Brothers

Author: Eleanor Colby

Illustrator: F. W. Pfeiffer

Release date: October 9, 2017 [eBook #55713]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by ellinora, David E. Brown and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)







Grown-ups talk a lot about "SEEING AMERICA FIRST." They say that this is the most wonderful land in the world and that everyone ought to see it before going to any other country. That is exactly what we Berry Wagon Boys are going to do, and as we travel we are going to write this little book for other boys and girls to read.

Our home city, Detroit, is as interesting as any place we shall visit. We love to hear of the days when Cadillac and his hundred men landed here and built their fort and how within a year six thousand Indians had camped within sight of the stockade. Detroit does not look much as it did then. It is now one of the leading Metropolitan Cities of the United States, and is growing as fast as Jack's famous beanstalk. It has grown from 400,000 to 800,000 within the past ten years, and it is lucky that there is lots of room for it to stretch in, for when people once get the craze for living in Detroit, no other place satisfies them.

We always take visiting friends to see the sights of Belle Isle, our island park. They are amazed at the wonderful fish in the big aquarium and interested in the zoo, the public bath house with its 800 rooms, and the beautiful casino. After taking them to a fine lunch at the Boat Club, we auto around the five and one-half miles of shore drive, and they "oh" and "ah" till it sounds as though they were taking a singing lesson.

There is no fleet of fresh water passenger steamers in the world equaling those which call Detroit their home port, and our Detroit River is too fine and dignified to cut up any of the antics in which some rivers indulge. It never rises and messes up the city for it is too busy carrying its countless boats of precious freight.

Detroit is a great manufacturing city, and it is quite likely that the flowers and vegetables in your garden, the medicine that cures you when you are sick, and the auto that you ride in, came from our city, for Detroit leads the world in these manufactures.

One thing is certain, if the varnish on your floors and furniture is the best that can be bought, it came from BERRY BROTHERS.

Canada is larger than the whole United States including Alaska, and probably it would keep on forever if the Pacific ocean did not stop it on the west, the Arctic on the north, and the Atlantic on the east.

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and the Parliament buildings are among the finest buildings in the world. Just to look at them makes one think of kings and queens and all sorts of grandeur. We found it hard to imagine that a little over a century ago, terrible Indian massacres were taking place here. The Hurons and Algonquins used to come down the Ottawa river with their canoes loaded with furs, and the cruel Iroquois used to lie in wait to torture them in order to get those pelts.

Montreal, on the St. Lawrence, is another beautiful city. Here we saw great ocean steamers unloading freight from all parts of the earth. The harbor of Montreal was the first port in the world to be lighted with electricity, so that the loading of steamers can go on by night as well as by day. They put in as many hours as possible, for during four months of the year the river is frozen so that no commerce can go on.

In the old Chateau de Ramezay, which used to be the governor's residence, were signed the papers which made the colony an English instead of a French one.

A hundred and seventy two miles beyond Montreal lies Quebec. No, it does not "lie," for it stands way up on a high bluff above the St. Lawrence. This bluff is called the Citadel and is one of the strongest fortresses in the world. It is sometimes called "the Gibraltar of the Western Hemisphere."

Quebec is divided into two parts called the "Lower Town" and the "Upper Town," so that the city seems to have an upstairs and a downstairs. You can climb up or down through some queer, crooked, narrow street like Mountain Street or Breakneck Stairs, or can ride in a big "lift" which is the English word for elevator. The Lower town is very picturesque and artists like it, but we boys think the Upper town is much more cheerful and beautiful.

We often read of walled cities, but until we saw the ruins of the old wall in Quebec, we had never seen a walled city.

We are visiting Aunt Penelope who lives in a part of Boston which is called the "Back Bay." The waters of the bay used to roll right where her house stands, but by filling in with earth the Bostonians made the land and some of the finest buildings in the city stand on this "made land."

We can see the golden dome of the State House from our window and in walking over to see the building we went through the Public Garden. It seems like a magical spot, for yesterday the flower beds were filled with violets and crocuses, and today those are gone and tulips are in their places. When these begin to fade, other blooming plants will be set out.

In the old part of Boston are some very narrow crooked streets and people say these were once the path made by cows across the meadows. There are very few of these streets left and the newer part of Boston has some of the finest streets in the world. Commonwealth Avenue is famous for its width and costly homes, and Brookline, the finest part of the city, is said to have more wealth and beauty to the square foot than any other city in the United States. The roads around Boston are fine and besides the interesting buildings, lovely parks, and historic spots, one is constantly catching glimpses of the blue harbor.

Climbing up the 295 winding stone steps of Bunker Hill Monument was "some climb," but the view from the top was wonderful.

Old North or Christ Church is interesting because from its belfry the two lanterns were hung as a signal to Paul Revere to start on his famous ride, and from Old South Church the patriots who took part in the Boston Tea Party started. They disguised themselves as Indians so that the British would not recognize them. It took a lot of courage to pitch that cargo of tea into Boston Harbor, and if I could choose a Boston ancestor, I would choose one of those brave men.

One of the most historic spots in Boston is Faneuil Hall. It was given to the town by Peter Faneuil as a place in which to hold town meetings, and the most fiery speeches of those old Revolutionary patriots were made in this old building which is called the "Cradle of Liberty."

Harvard is the oldest university in America. It was founded sixteen years after the Pilgrims landed. In Memorial Hall we saw over a thousand students eating dinner. The collection of glass flowers at Harvard is famous. There is only one man in the world who knows how to make them, and unless he tells someone before he dies, his secret will be buried with him. He has made flowers exactly like those in all parts of the world.

We went up to New Haven to see Yale, for these two universities have been rivals ever since Yale was founded fifty years after Harvard. The wonderful old elms on the campus are famous, but we Berry Wagon Boys would rather see a football game between Yale and Harvard than to see all the glass flowers or historic elms in the world. The Harvard fans would wave their deep crimson pennants and yell: "Rah-Rah-Rah (9 times) Harvard!" Yale champions would wave the Yale Blue, and shout: "Rah-Rah-Rah (9 times) Yale!"

Although Princeton is much smaller, its students love it just as well, for of course a fellow would not love his mother any less because she did not weigh 400 pounds. Anyway, in athletics, the orange and black of Princeton are as well known as any college colors and their yell has cheered Princeton boys to victory on many gridirons: "'Ray, 'Ray, 'Ray! Tiger, Tiger, Tiger! Sis, Sis, Sis! Boom, Boom, Boom! Ah, Ah, Ah! Princeton! Princeton! Princeton!"

The buildings of Cornell University at Ithaca, N. Y., are at the top of a high hill and the campus is as fine as any in America. When Ezra Cornell founded this university he said: "I would found an institution where any person can receive instruction in any subject," and when we had been through the buildings we decided that his wish had come true. The Cornell colors are red and white, and their yell is: "Cornell! I Yell, Yell, Yell, Cornell!"

West Point, is the finest military school in the United States and we wish we had space to tell about the wonderful drilling we saw there. It is way up on the cliffs overlooking the Hudson. The West Point colors are black, gold, and gray, and their yell is "Rah, Rah, 'Ray! Rah, Rah, 'Ray! West Point! Ar-may!"

There is not very much of Old New York left. The great sky-scrapers have crowded out most of the ancient landmarks, but there are a few relics. For instance, way down town is the Sub-Treasury building. It looks like a nice dignified old gentleman dozing and dreaming of the past, while the great high buildings around it with their rushing life are like hustling boys and girls, full of energy and spirit.

Another old-timer is Fraunces' Tavern. In Washington's day it was the most popular tavern in New York. When the British evacuated New York there was a great celebration, and that night General Washington dined at Fraunces' Tavern. A few days later he went there to say good bye to the generals who had served so bravely during the Revolutionary War. Those small-paned windows have looked out on over a century and a half of New York life, and if the old walls could speak, they could tell thrilling stories.

The most historic house in New York is the Jumel Mansion. In Washington's time it was the handsomest house in the city, and besides, it had a fine situation way up on Harlem Heights overlooking the river. It was there that General Washington made his headquarters. It is what grown-ups call "very quaint," and the glass for the windows and the hand-painted paper for the walls came over from France. We saw the narrow hall where the sentry paced back and forth as he guarded Washington's slumber, and the council chamber where the general and his staff decided so many questions. There is the cupboard where Andre, the spy, hid, but the secret passage down to the river has been closed because of the river rats.

After the war the Jumels, (some wealthy French people) bought the house, and later Madame Jumel married the famous Aaron Burr. Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the Emperor Napoleon, once visited Madame Jumel in this house, and many other distinguished people have slept under its roof. It is the most interesting house we have ever seen, and someway it has made United States history seem more real than it does in the school books.

Anyway, when at sunset we went down to the harbor and looked out at the Statue of Liberty, she seemed to sort of belong to us and to all American boys and girls.

An architect said to us: "New York has a wonderful skyline." He explained that the "skyline" is the silhouette that the buildings make against the sky. In some cities the buildings are so nearly one height that the skyline is level and uninteresting, but in New York there are tall sky-scrapers, low buildings, domes, towers, and smokestacks, so that the skyline is full of variety. The picture shows the skyline of lower New York as we saw it from Brooklyn Bridge, which is the oldest bridge connecting Brooklyn with Manhattan. It is over a mile long. The bridge was designed by John Roebling, but he died before it was begun. His son took his place, but he worked so hard planning and superintending the work that in three years he became an invalid. Then he took a house overlooking the bridge, and from his invalid chair he watched through a telescope and directed all the work till it was completed ten years later.

Not far from Brooklyn Bridge is the Stock Exchange, which is the most famous business building in New York. We never knew that tame men could act as wild as they do there. It is where they buy and sell stocks and of course they are all anxious to make as much money as possible and everyone seems to be gesturing and screaming and no one seems to be listening. It is as exciting as a football game.

After all the wild noises of the Stock Exchange, we went to the most quiet place in the city, Grant's Tomb. We thought it would look like a cemetery, but it is a beautiful white granite building high up above the Hudson. The inside of the building is finished in white marble and there are the great red porphyry tombs of General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife. People who have traveled across the sea say that Napoleon's Tomb is more showy, but we were satisfied with Grant's Tomb. Someway it made us proud of America and its heroes.

By this time the sun was setting behind the Palisades on the other side of the river, and those great cliffs looked like pictures of castles on the Rhine. The Hudson is far wider and more beautiful than the Rhine, though, which is another good reason for "seeing America first."

One of the finest parts of SEEING AMERICA FIRST is the trip around the Great Lakes. They are so large that people call them "inland seas," and when you are out of sight of land, it is just like being on the ocean. Our steamer was what grown-ups call "a floating palace," and we learned many interesting things as we went along.

We never saw so many kinds of boats before. Great barges full of iron and copper ore, small steamboats tugging a whole line of lazy big barges, fine sailing vessels looking exactly like picture-book ships, and little naptha launches that came out and played around our big steamer when she neared a port. The great whaleback steamers looked like angry sea monsters snorting smoke out of their high stacks, but they are really kindly creatures for they carry immense loads of wheat or ore from the Lake Superior region to the southern and eastern ports. Another kind of boat is known as a "rabbit," and the pictures on the opposite page show you these queer craft.

People had told us that Lake Superior is twenty feet higher than Lake Huron, and we boys were dreading the plunge which our steamer would have to make, but it was as quiet as a mill-pond, for our boat merely sailed into a sort of box or "lock" and the water was slowly lowered till we sailed out on Lake Huron without even a jolt. There are locks between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, too, for Niagara Falls would not be very easy for a steamer to climb or descend.

It is wonderful to watch the loading and unloading of the huge freight barges. There are great derricks which reach out giant arms and pick up monstrous loads and carry them up or down to deck or dock.

Before the Erie Canal was built, the steamers could only go as far as Buffalo and there the freight had to be taken from the boats and loaded on trains in order to be sent farther east. The Erie Canal crosses New York state like a great water boulevard and connects with the Hudson at Albany and a boat sailing from Chicago can go clear to New York City and get a glimpse of the ocean before starting back to the inland seas.

We Berry Wagon Boys thought we had seen big machinery before, but when we went to the huge steel mills at Gary, Indiana, we felt about as small and unimportant as a couple of undersized ants standing before the Pyramids of Egypt!

Gary is called "the steel capital of the world," yet only a few years ago the spot where the city stands was just miles of dreary sandy beach on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Columbus discovered America all ready-made, but Judge Gary and the other men who were in the big steel company did not discover Gary, they actually made it! Way up in the Lake Superior country were enormous stores of ore, but there was no coal and no limestone, so the ore had to be taken far away to be made into steel, and the freight made the steel very expensive. These men decided to find a place where the materials could be brought together more cheaply. It had to be on the lake, so that steamers could haul the ore. It had to be near several railroads, so that they could bring the coal and limestone. It had to be near a big city so that there would be a near-by market for the steel. Besides, they needed a lot of space to grow in. They bought 9000 acres and seven miles of that barren shore 25 miles from Chicago and they set their designers to work. The whole thing was built on paper before they began to build it out of concrete and cement. If anything was in their way, they just moved it. They had to move a river and a hundred miles of railroad track. Even then they had to build four of their big blast furnaces right out in the lake. It cost over two million dollars just to get things ready for the buildings.

If you were to go to Gary today and see the fine city they have built for their workers to live in, the paved and electric-lighted streets, the pretty homes, the parks, the wonderful steel plants, the fine harbor and the docks where great steamers are always loading and unloading, you would find it hard to believe that all of these had grown up out of that sand in ten years.

Until today all that we Berry Wagon Boys knew about meat was that we liked our steak rare and our pork well done, and we never thought where all the meat comes from or how it is prepared for the market. Here at the Union Stock Yards of Chicago we have learned many interesting things. Almost every farm in the United States has some cattle, hogs, and sheep, and out in the far west there are huge ranches where thousands of cow-boys are employed to care for the great herds of cattle. In Texas there is a ranch larger than the whole state of Connecticut.

Farmers used to kill their own stock and sell the meat in the nearest town, but now there are great meat-packing centers to which they ship the live stock and where it is turned into canned meat or sent in refrigerator trains or ships to all parts of the world, and because of the intense cold in which it is kept, the meat will remain fresh for months. The packing industry amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

In the stock yards of Chicago, there are over twenty miles of streets filled with huge pens, each pen containing hundreds of cattle, pigs, or sheep. While they are waiting to be killed, they are fed on good food and watered with pure artesian water, so their last hours are made as pleasant as possible.

If the creatures could know how very useful they are to be, it would be quite a comfort to them, for besides being made into dried, canned, smoked, or fresh meat, they furnish materials for fertilizer, brushes, oils, glue, lard, leather, hairpins, mattresses, and many other things. The packers say that they can use every part of an ox but its kick and every part of a pig but its squeal.

After the meat is prepared for the market, it is kept two days in a great chilling room where ten thousand sides of beef can be chilled at one time.

It was interesting to see the sausage meat being pressed into the intestines of the pigs, for the big machines can fill a mile of skins a minute. We saw them making lard, too, and are proud to say that American lard is shipped all over the world and is considered the best. The reason that American meat products are so good is because the inspectors do not allow any carelessness.

Chicago has so many fine sky-scrapers that we Berry Wagon Boys had almost passed the splendid Harvester Building with just a glance when the man we were with stopped us and said: "Take a good look at that building, for if a boy had not had ideas and perseverance, it would never have been built. His name was Cyrus McCormick, and he lived in Virginia. In the blacksmith shop on his father's farm, Cyrus and his father used to make lots of labor-saving things and the boy decided that he would invent a machine which would harvest the wheat better and more quickly than could be done by hand. He spent every spare minute working on the invention and was twenty-one years old when he saw his first reaper at work in the harvest field. He thought that every farmer would want to buy one, but it was ten years before he sold his first machine. Soon after this he sold another and after that, the orders came so fast that he went out west to the little city of Chicago, which was quite young in 1847, and built his first factory. This factory was the father of the nineteen huge factories in which the International Harvester Company now makes every machine that a farmer needs for any season and any crop." We saw only three of these plants, but when we had been through the McCormick Works, the Deering Works, and the steel mills and had seen all the wonderful things that are done in those factories, we did not wonder that America is famous for its farm implements.

People complain a lot about the high cost of living, but if the grain had to be planted and plowed and harvested by hand, I guess the American kiddies would have to eat their bread and jam without the bread.

We Berry Wagon Boys are visiting our Uncle Silas who owns a great farm of fifty thousand acres in the northwest. When we look out over the big wheat fields that stretch for miles, it is like looking out over a great yellow sea, only the waves are made of wheat instead of water.

Uncle Silas says that wheat is among the earliest known foods, and that bread is the earliest known cooked food. The people of Egypt were eating wheat bread four thousand years ago, only it was not like the bread we have today. It was called "koscoussoo," and consisted of flour and water cooked together in a basket over boiling water. Wheat was brought to America by our forefathers, and George Washington was a great wheat grower for those days. He had a mill at Mount Vernon and shipped flour to the West Indies.

When Uncle Silas and Aunt Mollie came west thirty years ago, this country was just bleak prairie and one could travel miles without seeing a sign of human life. They lived in a mover's wagon while building a sod house. After three years they built a four-room house and they were as proud as kings. As fast as they made any money they bought more land, so now they own miles of this wonderful country.

It is great to see the threshing machines out here. They mow down those wheat heads just as the great machine guns across the sea mow down the armies. Some of these machines are drawn by twenty or thirty horses, and it takes as good a horseman to handle all of those horses as to do chariot races at a circus. One of these threshers comes along through the grain like a great giant, and with its huge claws and arms and feet, it cuts the wheat, threshes it, puts it into bags, and weighs it.

The grain is shipped to some city and stored in enormous elevators until it is sold to the millers to be made into flour.

Uncle Silas says that the life of the modern farmer is far from "slow." There is something doing every minute, and when he looks out over those fields of waving wheat and realizes that he is growing enough food there to keep thousands of people happy and healthy, he would not exchange places with anyone.

Most boys and girls think of a park as a little plot of ground with a fountain in its center and neat little flower beds arranged primly around. The Yellowstone Park is almost as large as Connecticut, and Uncle Sam has given it to America so that no one can ever spoil its beauty by building factories or cities there. Think of a park containing mountains two miles high, cataracts higher than Niagara, great canyons, and geysers which are the wonder of the world. There are hundreds of these geysers which are huge natural fountains spouting mud, boiling water, steam, and minerals. They burst out of the ground and then sink back leaving pools where wonderful colors seem to be painted on the rock. Each geyser has its own name and its own habits. Old Faithful used to spout every sixty minutes to the very second, but lately takes a little more time. He is getting old, but he still sends up a column of boiling water and steam 150 feet high, which is "going some." The Giant deserves its name for it spouts 200 feet, while the Black Growler fusses and mutters a lot but does very little real work. The Constant sends up a spout every minute with only a few seconds for rest in between.

You would not think that with all this boiling water there could be any lakes of cold water, but the Yellowstone Lake is as clear and cold and its fish as fine as any you could find in the world. People claim that they have caught fish in the lake and then without moving a foot have cooked them in a pool of boiling water. We could believe this only we do not think the soldiers would let anyone fish there. Soldiers are stationed all around the park to keep tourists from carrying off souvenirs. Some tourists would run away with everything but the geysers if they had a chance. A geyser would be pretty hard to carry in ones suitcase.

This great park has plains where bison run wild, great cliffs where the eagles rear their young, and forests where Mr. Grizzly makes himself quite at home. He even comes up to the hotels and carries off garbage and though he seems quite tame, we boys did not feel like getting too familiar with him.

Glacier Park is way up at the northern edge of Montana. If it were a little farther north, it would be a Canadian citizen instead of being subject to Uncle Sam. It was the favorite hunting ground of the Blackfeet Indians but about 27 years ago copper was discovered there and Uncle Sam thought that the mines should be properly opened so he bought the land. There was not enough copper to make mining pay, but there was a stock of scenery so large that it would last forever, so Uncle Sam gave the land to his big family for another playground and the Blackfeet Indians now live on a reservation east of the park.

There is lots of big game among the mountains, and the Rocky Mountain sheep and mountain goats seem able to climb up the steep sides of the rocks as easily as a fly goes up a wall.

The park is named from its 60 glaciers, but is even more famous for its 250 lakes. People used to think that they had to go to Switzerland to see the most beautiful lakes in the world, but before long the Swiss will get the habit of "Seeing America First," for the lakes of Glacier Park are as fine as those in the Alps. There are tiny little ones high up among the mountains and large ones in the valleys and they are so deep and clear and still that they are like mirrors. The streams are wonderful, too. At the Triple Divide, the water separates and goes in three directions. One stream flows to the Pacific, another to Hudson Bay, and the third to the Gulf of Mexico.

Perhaps you think that tourists have to endure a lot of hardship to visit this wild spot, but if you could see some of these hotels (built like Swiss chalets), and could eat some of the meals they serve, you would change your mind. The fish from these mountain lakes have a flavor that beats anything we have ever tasted, and we have lived beside the Great Lakes all our lives. If we could stay here longer we should join a camping party, for they have great fun living in tents, fishing, hunting, tramping over the trails, and climbing glaciers. We will do our glacier climbing when we get to Ranier Park.

Uncle Sam has given the American people eleven national parks covering over seven thousand square miles of the finest scenery in the world, and Rainier Park in the State of Washington, is one of the most wonderful of these. Think of a park containing one mountain nearly three miles high, and having 28 rivers of ice or "glaciers" flowing down its sides. Thousands of years ago Mount Rainier was a hot-tempered old fellow and he and the smaller peaks in his range spent their time belching out fire, but at last in a frightful fit of passion, Mount Rainier blew off his entire head and where his brains were is now a huge crater filled with thousands of feet of ice. The other volcanoes put out their fires long ago, too, and now they all have snowy beards on their wrinkled old cheeks.

We climbed up one of the glaciers and it surely was "some climb." Everyone in the party used an alpine stock and it gave us fellows a kind of shaky feeling in our knees when we could look down a wall of ice a thousand feet deep into a great crevasse or crack. We were glad to stand pretty close to the guide who was big and strong and who knows these glaciers as we boys know the streets of Detroit. We never knew before that ice can flow like water only much more slowly. The center of a glacier moves down the mountain about 16 inches a day. There are tiny little insects living in this ice. We saw them through the microscope and they were hopping around as though their feet were cold. There are wee pink plants growing in the ice in some places and they make the ice look rose colored. They are so small that you cannot see them without a microscope.

Rainier Park is one of the famous wild flower gardens of the world. Blooming at the very edge of the snow fields are miles and miles of wonderful flowers. There are daisies, columbine, larkspur, and many others and they are much taller and finer than those in common gardens. Grown-ups tell us boys that if we associate with great people we shall grow to be like them, and perhaps these flowers grow so big and tall from living so near Mount Rainier and the great cedars and firs. We do not wonder that this part of the park is called "Paradise Valley."

Fishing here on the Columbia River is not just a sport. It is a business which brings in millions of dollars a year. There are single factories where a half a million cans of salmon are put up in one day, and over a hundred million dollars worth of salmon have been taken from the Columbia river since the white man first came here.

The large salmon are called chinook, and one of these fish weighing eighty pounds is not an unknown thing, though their average weight is about twenty pounds. There are many small kinds of salmon, so the chinook is called "the King of Salmon."

The baby fish are hatched way up in the mountain streams and as they grow friskier and larger, they swim down the stream into the Columbia river and on to the ocean where they stay about four years till they are quite grown up. Then they get homesick for the scenes of their childhood, and, choosing their mates, they start back to a sort of "home-coming." It takes a long time, for the current is strong, but if they are lucky enough to miss getting caught and canned, they arrive at the "spawning place" after several months, and lay their eggs, and soon their little fish children are starting out to see the world as their parents did before them.

The salmon are caught with traps, nets, and water wheels, and ninety thousand fish have been caught at once in one of the large netted traps while one wheel has caught fifteen thousand fish in a day. These wheels are covered with netting and are turned by the swift current of the river, which raises the fish into the air and tosses them into the boat.

When the boat is full, it is unloaded at the canning factory at the edge of the river. The Chinese men who kill the fish are very swift, and the machines which clean the salmon can handle about forty-five a minute. They are then cut into pieces by machinery before being packed into cans, and in these cans the salmon is steamed till thoroughly cooked.

We went through the warehouse of a great canning factory, and it seemed as though there could not be enough people to eat all that fish, but Columbia river salmon always finds a market. It is famous everywhere.

There is no country in the world which has kept for its people such playgrounds as we have in the United States. Probably that is because we are the only people who have an Uncle Sam. A king or an emperor would never dream of putting great tracts of land aside for his subjects to enjoy without paying a cent of toll or a penny of taxes, but our Uncle Sam has given his nephews and nieces hundreds of miles of the most wonderful land in the world and these huge parks belong to you and to us just as much as they do to the Astors and Vanderbilts.

The Yosemite Park is one of the finest of our National Parks. It is nearly in the center of the state of California. Here you would almost forget whether it is summer or winter for up on the mountains you are in the land of perpetual snow, while down in the valley it is like the finest summer day and birds and flowers are as plentiful as on a June morning. There are all sorts of trees, too. Some of them are giant redwood trees, cousins of the big sequoias. As you go higher and higher in a mountainous country, the trees grow smaller and smaller until they become dwarfs. Our guide showed us trees fully sixty years old whose trunks were no larger than a pencil.

The largest mass of solid rock in the world is in Yosemite Park. The Indians used to worship it as the great chief of the valley and the early Spaniards named it El Capitan which means "The Captain." On a clear day the people in the San Joaquin valley sixty miles away can see this giant rock.

The cascades of the Yosemite Park are among the finest on earth. The Bridal Veil is like a shower of lace or mist and is called "the birthplace of the rainbow," because there are so many rainbows playing in the spray. One of the cascades is called by the queer Indian name of Lung-oo-too-koo-ya. The Yosemite Falls would make Niagara seem like a dwarf so far as height is concerned, though a much larger volume of water flows over the rocks at Niagara than at Yosemite Falls.

Today we Berry Wagon Boys have seen the oldest living thing. It began to grow at least 2000 years before Christ was born, and will probably be living thousands of years from now. If it could talk, it could tell wonderful stories of things it saw when the world was young, but it can only stand and wave its arms gently when the wind blows, for it is just a tree. It stands with many other giant cedar trees in Sequoia Park, California, and until a hunter discovered it in 1879, probably no white man had ever seen it. This hunter named the tree "General Sherman," and it surely looks like the commanding officer of this huge tree regiment. It is a sequoia tree 279 feet high and so large that twenty men standing with outstretched arms can just reach around it.

The Grizzly Giant, the biggest sequoia in Yosemite Park, is much more shaggy-looking and battered than the general, and its heart has been eaten out by fire, but it is a brave old giant and keeps right on living in spite of that painful accident.

The sequoias are named after Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian who invented an alphabet and a written language for his tribe. These trees will surely "keep his name green" long after any other monument would have turned to dust. The sequoias are sometimes called "the Methuselahs of the forest," but that old Bible character only lived to be 969 years old, and these giant trees are mere babies at that age.

We boys think the sequoia forest the most solemn place we were ever in. The trees tower up so high above you and make you feel so sort of small and new and useless! Then there is scarcely a sound, and you cannot hear your own footsteps on the soft carpet of pine needles.

It seems dreadful to cut down trees which have been growing so long, yet occasionally one is made into lumber. After standing for a thousand years or more in the forest, it must seem strange to be cut into sections, loaded on flat cars, and started on a journey to some distant place to be made into ship masts or furniture or some other thing of which the tree never dreamed when it stood in its home on the slope of the Sierras.

The Grand Canyon of Arizona does not look like a real place. It seems like a place for giants, everything is so huge and wonderful. It is as though some great giant had dug his house out of solid rock. He did not make the walls smooth, but chiseled them out in strange shapes like castles and towers and temples, and he made the sides so steep that for thousands of years no human being dared to go down into his cellar. Instead of leaving the walls gray, he stained them with purples and pinks and browns and reds, and yellows, so that Joaquin Miller, the California poet, called the Grand Canyon a "paint pot 218 miles long and 15 miles wide." Our giant was a thirsty old fellow, so he let the Colorado river flow through his cellar. When you stand on the rim of the canyon, the river looks like a little thread of silver ribbon, but if you were to descend 6000 feet, you would discover that the Colorado is a wild, dashing, terrible river—so wild that only a few men have ever tried to launch their boats on it, and some of those few have lost their lives in the attempt.

The Indians found several trails leading into the canyon, but they did not tell their secret to the pale-face. However, when the white men did discover the trails, they spread the good news and now you can go to the very rim of the canyon in a Pullman car, can stay at a splendid hotel, and can make the descent to the bottom of the canyon in perfect safety, for there are guides to lead the way and sure-footed little donkeys to carry you. The "hurricane deck" of one of these mules is not the most comfortable place to spend a day, but the views one gets on the trip are worth all the trouble. These pictures can only give you a faint idea of the wonders of the Grand Canyon.

It would be foolish for us to try to describe the scenery because grown-ups have tried it and failed, but we would like to tell about the Hopi Indians who live in their funny little huts near the hotel and who may be seen weaving baskets, making jewelry and pottery, and dancing their queer dances, but this page will not hold any more words.

It must have been a pretty dark old world before people found out about making kerosene from petroleum, for candles and queer little lamps burning lard, sperm-oil, or camphine, furnished all the light there was at night. All that time there were great lakes of petroleum down deep in the earth, but when it oozed out to the surface, people thought it was a nuisance and often abandoned their greasy farms. Later these same farms were worth a fortune.

It was a Pennsylvania man who first decided to bore for oil, and people thought him a little bit flighty to do such an unheard-of thing. When his oil well began to spurt out 35 barrels of oil a day, and people learned how valuable this oil was, the whole country got excited and in almost every neighborhood someone bored for oil. Of course in many states they were disappointed, but vast fortunes have been made from the oil wells of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, California, and Texas.

The Texas oil fields we visited were interesting although very greasy and smelly. The great derricks made the fields look as though a lot of war vessels were lying at anchor, for they resemble the masts of modern battle ships. These derricks hold the heavy steam drills which bore down into the earth. When a big gusher is struck, it sometimes spurts out a thousand barrels of oil a day, and you may be sure that no one is allowed to be careless with matches on the oil fields, for if a gusher or an oil tank gets afire, it is almost impossible to stop it, and immense damage is done.

The oil is piped from the oil fields or taken in huge tanks to some city to be made into kerosene, gasoline, benzine, and scores of other useful articles. Nothing is wasted, for from the left-overs, perfumes, chewing-gum, and lots of other surprising things are made. These are called by-products.

On some of the railroads oil is used instead of coal in the engines, and oil is also used in large quantities to keep the roadbed hard and free from dust. In many parts of the country there are fine oiled auto pikes. All of these things take a lot of petroleum, and it is a lucky thing for America that she is the oiliest country in the world.

Among all the sights that Columbus and his men saw in the new world, nothing amazed them more than to see the Indians "eating fire and breathing smoke from the nostrils," but evidently the explorers were not very much afraid to learn the trick from the Indians. When they went back to Spain they took a lot of tobacco with them, and the Spanish men and women soon had the smoking habit. It was Sir Walter Raleigh who started the fashion in the court of Queen Elizabeth in England. It seems as though he might have found something more useful to do. The custom grew and spread all over the world. It is lucky for us that the early explorers did not get the scalping habit along with the tobacco habit or by this time we Americans would be a scalpless race!

The settlers learned from the Indians how to grow the tobacco and before long the great plantations of Maryland and Virginia were bringing a lot of wealth to the colonists, and people even paid their taxes in tobacco. Today it is grown in many states and almost every land, but the United States raises more than any other country, and when we speak of the wealth of our nation, we must include tobacco because its sale here and abroad brings in vast sums of money.

Tobacco seeds are as small as grains of sand, and we BERRY WAGON BOYS have held in our hands enough seeds to furnish plants for a large plantation. A field of tobacco is a beautiful sight, for the plants grow quite high and have huge, smooth, dark green leaves. When the leaves grow yellow, the farmers cut off the stalks and hang them on sticks or wires, and when the leaves are stripped from the stems they are hauled to the "curing barn" to be "cured" or dried. These barns are kept hot all of the time, until the leaves are cured when they are started off to market.

In many places tobacco is grown under great tents which make the fields look like an army encampment.

A cotton field is a great sight. The plants come up about to our waists and the fluffy tufts of white cotton pop out of the green pods or bolls just as chestnuts burst out of their burrs. The negro cotton pickers go up and down the rows many times, for the cotton does not all ripen at the same time.

We saw loads and loads of cotton being taken to the ginhouse where the cotton gin picks out all the seeds and leaves the snowy cotton ready to be pressed into bales. The seeds are not wasted for the oil is pressed out and sold to be used, as olive oil is used in cooking and salad. Sometimes this oil is sold to men who get mixed in putting on the labels and instead of marking the bottles of oil with American labels, they get marked as fancy olive oil from Italy. This must be very humiliating to the cottonseed oil, for it cannot speak a word of Italian and is ashamed of the lie that is printed on its front.

When the cotton is taken out of the gin, it is ready to go to the compress and be pressed into bales or huge bundles. A bale is about the size of a traveling man's sample trunk and the cotton is squeezed in so tightly that the bales have to be wrapped in burlap and bound with iron bands to keep the cotton from bursting out. These great bales weigh about five hundred pounds and we have seen the river boats loaded down to the water's edge and railroad stations piled high with them. They are sent to the cotton mills in various parts of our own country and in foreign lands to be made into cloth. People all over the world use cloth that once grew on our southern plantations. When we learned this, we looked at the fluffy tufts with new interest. Perhaps this tuft would be woven into a Kimona for a Japanese girl. Maybe that one would someday be in the sail of a fishing boat off New Foundland or a tent on the Sahara Desert, or a sheet on a hospital cot in San Francisco or New York.

Cotton is grown some in other countries, but American cotton is considered the best and brings in great wealth to our Uncle Sam.

In SEEING AMERICA FIRST, we have left Washington till the last just as you have cake and ice cream to wind up a dinner.

The capitol is like a great marble palace and it would be easy to get lost in those long corridors. We saw the House of Representatives with the congressmen sitting at their desks like grown-up schoolboys in a very handsome school-room. We climbed into the huge dome, and we went into the Senate Chamber. The most impressive place was the Supreme Court with the Chief Justices in their long black silk robes. We wondered how people ever dared to break any American laws.

We walked a mile on Pennsylvania Avenue to get to the White House, where the President lives and has his business offices. It certainly is a fine place and its grounds and rooms are very grand and stately.

The American flag never looked better to us than when we saw it floating at Arlington, the National Cemetery, where 16000 soldiers are buried. Our country honors its heroes here and by many fine monuments, and buildings, in the parks and squares of Washington. Some of these, like the Lincoln Memorial, are very fine.

If a person were very old and had seen all the sights in the world, he might possibly auto over 200 miles of smooth pavement in Washington, visit the Capitol, White House, Department Buildings, and Arlington without having a thrill, but it would be a dried-up old Methuselah who could go through the Library of Congress without getting excited. We heard a man say as he stood on the great stairway, "It is so wonderful that it takes all my words away!"

Best of all was our trip to Mount Vernon, the home of Washington for forty years. It is an old-fashioned white colonial house on the banks of the Potomac river. We walked through halls where Washington had walked, saw the queer old kitchen and brick oven where his meals were cooked, the dining room and banquet hall where the Washingtons entertained, and the room where "The Father of his Country" died. He is buried out in the garden he loved so well and thousands of tourists visit the spot each year.

We Berry Wagon Boys are as proud of being Americans first as we are of SEEING AMERICA FIRST! We hope that all American boys and girls feel just the same about it.


Inconsistencies in spelling and punctuation have been standardized.