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Monday, July 15, 2024

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President Joe Biden calls on the nation to 'lower the temperature' on politics; Utah governor calls for unity following Trump assassination attempt; Civil rights groups sound the alarm on Project 2025; New England braces for 'above-normal' hurricane season.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Historic Iron Riders GPS tour rounding the corner for Sheridan launch

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Monday, February 5, 2024   

Historians are heading into the final stretch as they work to launch a GPS-activated audio tour commemorating a 1,900-mile trek undertaken in 1897 by Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment's Bicycle Corps, known as the Iron Riders.

Kevin Knapp, history program manager for the Sheridan Community Land Trust, said the idea was to test an alternative to horses by sending soldiers through a series of punishing environments from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri.

"Across the Continental Divide, the Sandhills of Nebraska, Alkali Flats of Wyoming," Knapp outlined. "By the time they even got to Sheridan, they had already been on the road for two weeks, and had been through sleet and hail and mud."

Drivers passing GPS markers along a 40-mile stretch from Sheridan to Clearmont will trigger audio narration, through an app, detailing historic experiences of the Iron Riders in Wyoming. The tour is supported by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is set to be unveiled on June 19. The federal holiday known as Juneteenth marks the day slaves in Texas were freed in 1865, nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery in the U.S.

The Iron Riders earned their name from the heavy iron-framed bicycles they rode, but Knapp pointed out it is also a nod to their iron will in completing a journey spanning five states over 41 days. He noted many Black soldiers were assigned to units in places like Wyoming after the Civil War's end.

"Partly it was just to remove them from the South and places where the Civil War was still fresh, where people didn't react very well to seeing Black soldiers in uniform," Knapp explained.

The original bikes had no brakes, and the tires were basically wagon wheels, an iron rim with wood glued to it. Knapp added the soldiers kept notes along the way and gave suppliers feedback and suggestions, which led to some profound innovations.

"These are the guys that are basically responsible for what we know as modern tires," Knapp emphasized. "The new tires that they were testing out on this journey in 1897 were the first pneumatic, rubber, air-filled tires ever attempted."


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