Harley checks out the Henry Villard Monument

One of the more impressive sculptures in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It’s called The End of the Day’s Work

Henry Villard (born Ferdinand Heinrich Gustav Hilgard) grew up in a well-to-do family in Bavaria. He was a rebellious child, which his father tried to curb by sending him to military school. Then in 1853 and without his parents’ knowledge, he immigrated to the United States. To conceal his identity he changed his name to Villard. In the next few years he took a series of jobs at newspapers as he slowly made his way west. He got as far as Colorado and then took a job with a couple of New York papers following Abraham Lincoln’s campaign and eventual election. After the Civil War he took a series of correspondent jobs in Europe. Because he was fluent in German and English, he was hired as a negotiator of German interests in American railroad securities.

He acquired some German clients and traveled back to the United States. He went to Portland, Oregon, in 1874 and impressed with the natural wealth and transportation, he convinced his clients to invest in building a railroad. That railroad (with Henry Villard as president) eventually became the Northern Pacific Railway. Like many financiers, his interests changed and varied. He acquired the New York Evening Post and The Nation newspapers in 1881. He helped inventor, Thomas Edison merge his companies in the Edison General Electric Company, which became General Electric.

In later life, Villard became involved in philanthropic interests, giving large amounts of money to the University of Oregon, Harvard, Columbia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Villard’s monument was executed by Vienna-born sculptor Karl Bittner in 1904. Although trained in classical styles, Bittner began to drift toward more modern forms. The Villard Monument was sculpted in 1904, and it exhibits the beginnings of forms that, decades later, would evolve into Art Deco and Moderne. The monument depics a man with a sledgehammer (perhaps a reference to Villard’s position as president of the Northern Pacific Railway) looking towards the stars. (Stories in Stone New York. A field guide to New York City area Cemeteries and their residents by Douglas Keister).

The rear of the monument reads:

HENRY VILLARD

BORN

HEINRICH HILGARD

AT SPEIER

RHENISH BAVARIA

APRIL 10TH 1835

DIED AT

THORNWOOD DOBBS FERRY

ON HUDSON

NOVEMBER 12TH 1900

IN VIEW OF THIS SPOT

JOURNALIST

CIVIL WAR CORRESPONDENT

SOMETIME SECRETARY

OF THE

AMERICAN SOCIAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION

EARLY PROMOTER OF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM

COMPLETOR OF THE

NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD

FINANCIER

GENEROUS FRIEND

TO LEARNING SCIENCE AND THE ARTS

TO SUFFERING HUMANITY

HIS BOUNTY WAS BOUNDLESS

AS THE SEA

HIS LOVE AS DEEP

Taken with a Sony A6000 and Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM (I think).

Another new bird

This time a Pileated Woodpecker. Seen in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Interesting Facts. According to TheCornellLab:

The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.

The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.

The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. In young forests, it will use any large trees remaining from before the forest was cut. Because these trees are larger than the rest of the forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting birds.

A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate new arrivals during the winter.

The oldest known Pileated Woodpecker was a male, and at least 12 years, 11 months old when he was recaptured and r-ereleased during banding operations in Maryland.

Taken with an Olympus OM-D EM-10 and Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42 f3.5-4.6 II

Birds in the Garden

The garden was teeming with the birds the other day. I believe they are American Robins.

The American robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the true thrush genus and Turdidae, the wider thrush family. It is named after the European robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the Old World flycatcher family. The American robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering from southern Canada to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

According to the Partners in Fight database (2019), the American robin is the most abundant bird in North America (370,000,000), ahead of Red-winged blackbirds, introduced European starlings, mourning doves and the not-always-naturally-occurring house finch. It has seven subspecies, but only one of them, the San Lucas robin (T. m. confinis) of Baja California Sur, is particularly distinctive, with pale gray-brown underparts. (Wikipedia)

They’re quite different from the robins where I grew up in the United Kingdom. British robins are much smaller, chunkier and much cuter (see below. Imagine source PublicDomainPictures.net)

The distinctive orange breast of both sexes contributed to the European robin’s original name of “redbreast”, orange as a colour name being unknown in English until the 16th century, by which time the fruit had been introduced. In the 15th century, when it became popular to give human names to familiar species, the bird came to be known as robin redbreast, which was eventually shortened to robin. As a given name, Robin is originally a diminutive of Robert. Other older English names for the bird include ruddock and robinet. In American literature of the late 19th century, this robin was frequently called the English robin. Dutch roodborstje, French rouge-gorge, German Rotkehlchen, Italian pettirosso, Spanish petirrojo and Portuguese pisco-de-peito-ruivo all refer to the distinctively coloured front. (Wikipedia).

Taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f4-5.6