1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mr. Spencer Lancaster at the Ocean Beach Cruise Night, July 15, 2019

This is a local show that I try to attend whenever I can:   great beach venue, sponsored by a local radio station and, as the weather gets warmer..... an increasingly interesting turnout of both cars and spectators.  Monday nights, free admission to the beach.... and this past Monday the weather was perfect! Come on down!  

The Baurspotting Baur has even won a trophy this year!   ;)

























But more on the Car Cruise later.  Something very special occurred last Monday night at Ocean Beach that bears telling. 

Worlds Collide Department:   Sometimes my interests overlap, and in this case, it was my interest in cars and my interest in local history that made the the Ocean Beach Cruise last Monday night a very special occasion indeed:  introducing Mr. Spencer Lancaster! 

At 91 years old, Mr. Lancaster is not only a legend in New London Car Circles (he ran Linder Motors in New London for almost 50 years!), but last February I had the distinct privilege of sharing the stage with him for a special Community Conversation panel discussion and presentation at the Groton Library on "The Negro Motorist Green Book" sites in New London, Connecticut.  I presented a slide show on the 10 Green Book sites in New London, and Mr. Lancaster shared his very poignant experiences of living in Jim Crow America. I had discovered that he had actually lived at one of the 10 sites listed in The Green Book, and he was personally familiar with ---and related to! ---- some of the folks who operated those 'Tourist Homes'.   He is not only a Living Legend, but he is also Living History! I was very honored that he graciously agreed to have a photo taken with me, and with my car (at left).  Photo taken by his daughter, Gilda. 

Here are some photos of our first memorable meeting last February at that panel discussion in Groton.
In my hand I am holding a piece of paper that has Mr. Lancaster's name, address and phone number from the mid-1950s, showing that he lived in one of the Green Book sites that is included in my slide show presentation.  And....  he still has the same phone number!  ;)






































Mr. Lancaster and I explaining to Rev. Florence Clarke the extraordinary coincidence that we discovered that night.
Mr. Lancaster and Rev. Clarke during the panel discussion.

(L to R) Dr. James Mitchell, Tom Schuch, Mr. Spencer Lancaster, Rev. Florence Clarke, Mr. Mosely (local author), Attorney Lonnie Braxton, and moderator/host Kevin Booker, Jr. 

So it was a real pleasure to see you again, Mr. Lancaster, and I look forward to seeing you again soon! 

Here is the Facebook post of that evening: 

You can view the "Green Book In New England', a Community Conversation on the Groton Library Municipal TV Channel at this link:

And, btw,  if you are reading this as a member of the New London History, Memories and More Facebook page, there were several other page members in attendance at Ocean Beach Cruise Night last Monday:  Stan Solinsky, Mark Lipman and Gina Debona Carter! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Baur #1475 For Sale in NY!

We know this Baur going way back to 2012 at The Vintage at Saratoga* ---- which is this weekend, btw!   Good luck with your sale, Mike Sarris!  






























https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/2693039280712147/



*Scroll down this link to see back in 2012:  http://baurspotting.blogspot.com/2012/07/glory-day-baurs-at-vintage-saratoga.html






1980 BMW 3 Series 318is Coupe 2D
Franklin Square, NY
$2,250
  • About This Vehicle
    • Driven 100,000 miles
    • Automatic transmission
    • Exterior color: Grey · Interior color: Black
    • Fuel type: Gasoline
  • Vehicle Features
  • Moon Roof
  • Alloy Wheels
  • 4-Cyl, 1.8 Liter
  • ABS
Seller's Description
1980 bmw 318 baur up for sale. Car has usual e21 rust and will need body work/paint. Runs and drives. Has front authentic BBS Lip. Interior is clean. Top is in nice shape with no rips or tears.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Powder House

We interrupt this Baurspotting blog to present this special off-topic post for the benefit of my friends in the New London, Connecticut area who were unable to access the original post where it appeared on Facebook.   ;)  It is an account of our recent investigation, with the help of a noted archeologist, into a couple of curious structures that are located deep in the swamp/forest of my childhood.  ;) 


The Powder House


Part II: The Powder House! CT State Archeologist Emeritus Nick Bellantoni came to Waterford and New London this week to: 1) examine a private graveyard in Waterford with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPF) to search for the presence of some possible graves of the enslaved (see earlier post for photos and description); and 2) at my request, accompany us into the Bates Woods swamp to have a look at the stone bridge and stone foundation known as "The Powder House". We are hoping that Dr. Bellantoni may be able to help us identify the age of those curious structures, which may help us figure out what they are doing in the middle of a swamp!


N.B. THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. DO NOT ENTER THIS PROPERTY WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE OWNER. The owner was scheduled to accompany us on this visit, but, due to professional commitments, was unable to make it that day.


Here are some photos (huge thanks to my sister, Virginia Levasseur for taking these photos!)
















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Fenger's Brook in Bates Woods, historically known as "The Cedar Swamp".


Here is the back story: I grew up in New London on Warren Street (off Colman), which borders the huge wooded, swamp area known as Bates Woods. We were all over those woods for years, exploring, catching frogs, turtles, salamanders and snakes, and we would go ice skating in the wintertime in area we only knew as "The Powder House'. We had no idea where the name came from, other than that we associated it with a small 9'x9' foundation in the ground deep in the swamp. We would don our skates at The Powder House and then follow Fenger's Brook through the woods to emerge about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away at the 2nd Pond at Bates Woods---- all the way on ice skates!. There were always lots of skaters there and a bonfire, and they were always surprised to see us emerge onto the pond from the forest side, instead of arriving by Ashcraft Road, the way everyone else did. And we often did this at night! Magical fun!


That was in the 1950s and 1960s. We know skip ahead nearly 60 years to the present where, doing some unrelated New London history research, I stumbled up on this little paragraph from an old New London Day.
















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The article stopped me in my tracks! Could THIS be the reason we called that area ‘The Powder House’? There is a ledge about 200 yards away from The Powder House, which, as children, we knew as ‘Devil’s Rock’. Christopher Culver’s description seems to fit our little forest playground!


I decided to pursue it further. Somewhere along the line I came upon another related story, that also got my attention, but unfortunately, I failed to bookmark it and I am unable to locate now. The narrative related back to the time of the War of 1812, when the British fleet, in pursuit of Commodore Stephen Decatur, blockaded New London Harbor for a period of 22 months. Decatur escaped by going upriver toward Norwich, where the British fleet would not follow. They would have to ‘run the gauntlet’ between the guns at Fort Trumbull and Fort Griswold, and that was risky. Besides, with Decatur trapped upriver, he could no longer harass British shipping or the British fleet, so he was effectively out of the war. Decatur did plan one moonless night to run the blockade, but that was the night of the infamous “Blue Lights’ that appeared along the harbor. He thought he had been betrayed, and cancelled the attempt. (Google The Blue Lights in New London for more info.)


Anyway, the story was that the the citizens of New London, fearing an imminent attack from the blockading fleet, with the memory of the last British attack led by Benedict Arnold still fresh in their memory, and with many of the men away fighting the war elsewhere, were concerned about the gunpowder at Fort Trumbull falling into British hands. So the gunpowder was removed from Fort Trumbull and hidden where the British would not find it. But where could they hide it? How about.... on an island in a wolf-infested swamp, deep in a forest that was rumored to be .... you guessed it: haunted! And how about a location that is a straight shot up what we now call Willetts Avenue from Fort Trumbull.... yet deep in the woods! Sounds like a pretty good hiding place, doesn’t it? Well the location that I have just described happens to be an exact description of..... The Powder House!


There is only one problem: this is all speculation, since we have no physical proof, nor can we locate any written records. All we DO have is a strange 9x9 stone foundation in the middle of a swamp that is accessed by a crude, but massive stone bridge over Fenger’s Brook. We have no idea when either structure was built, except that we know it was there, already in a deteriorated state when I was a child in the 1950s. Could it date back to the War of 1812? Or could it have been constructed at some later date, for altogether unrelated reasons?


We don’t know. So, in September of 2018, my younger brother, Bob, and I decided to do a little ‘boots on the ground’ investigation. First of all to determine of those structures we recalled from our childhood still exist, and secondly to gather any info we could to help determine the age of the structures. We loaded up with gear and headed into the swamp on a brutally hot September day. Here are a couple of pics of that adventure.


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This is the paved section of the road into Bates Woods off of Warren Street, which leads to a now-abandoned pumping station, built by the City of New London in 1960. N.B. THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. DO NOT ENTER THIS PROPERTY WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE OWNER. We used to sell lemonade to the guys who were building this road. To get to the Powder House, you have to leave this road, and head down an old, overgrown 'path' across the swamp another 300 yards, or so. The 'path' is treacherous footing through briars and brambles, often water-covered from the over-flowing brook, and loaded with white-faced hornets and deer ticks! The path is not visible from the paved road section; you have to know where it is to find it. It is NOT for the faint of heart!
















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This is the stone bridge in the swamp crossing Fenger's Brook.Why would anyone go to the trouble of building such a massive bridge in the middle of nowhere?
















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I am standing on the moss-covered stone foundation looking into the center of what we called 'The Powder House'.
















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For perspective, this is a photo of my brother Bob standing on the bridge. The stones are massive, and note the iron staple at the far end, pinning the stones together. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to move and place these huge stones here.


Although Bob is a Civil Engineer, neither of us have the background to determine the age of this construction. We knew the next step would be to bring in someone with some expertise to look this structure over, and possibly give us some info on approximately when it was likely built. If it is 20th century handiwork, for example, the Fort Trumbull gunpowder story loses its .... credibility.


I began asking around, in the hope of finding someone with the requisite expertise. I shared the story with Town Historians in New London and Waterford, along with several other knowledgeable local historians, and no one had ever heard of The Powder House, nor any of the stories attached.


It was at about this time that my friend, and fellow New London History aficionado Diane Casey -----and Researcher Extraordinaire! ---- sent me this excerpt from the January 1903 New London Day.


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Whoa! A powder magazine in ‘the annexed district’! So where is ‘the annexed district?
















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The ‘annexed district’ is the section marked “B” on the map above. The Town of Waterford was carved out of New London in 1801. In 1899, New London persuaded the State Legislature to allow NL to ‘annex’ a part of that land back. You can see that the annexed area goes right through ‘Bates Woods’ area, where the Powder House is located!


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1890s topological map showing the swamp at Bates Woods and the (dotted) Town Line. You can see that the Powder House is in the middle of the swamp (blue area).


Back story: Peleg and George M. Williams owned G.M.Williams Hardware Store on The Parade in New London. They supplied ‘everything for agriculture’, and, in those days, that could include dynamite. Peleg and George Williams ALSO owned Powder Island, a small island in the Thames River just below Fort Trumbull. In 1883, they bought Powder Island from Captain T.A.Scott, who ran a dredging, demolition and marine construction business. Captain Scott had purchased it in 1878 from Fitch, Barns and Bond, who had in turn, purchased it from the Estate of Perkins and Smith, Haven, Prentis and Perkins, trustees. Those names will be very familiar to anyone who has studied the New London whaling industry. So it may have been Scott’s gunpowder that Christopher Culver knew about on Powder Island...... and that got removed to Bates Woods! Or, the GM Williams Company could have stored their own gunpowder on the island and then moved that gunpowder from Powder island to their remote property in the swamp!


N.B. The property on which the Powder House is located was part of the T.W.Williams (Williams and Haven, whaling agents) Farm. T.W. Williamns had extensive real estate holdings, including a large farm that encompassed this area. At his death, the property passed to his daughter, Mary Williams Cutler around 1856. She, in turn passed it to her son, Colman Cutler, for whom Colman Street and Cutler Street are named. Colman Cutler sold it to Armstrong and Perry in 1897. Although they have the same last name (Williams), I am as yet unable to tie Peleg and George M. Williams to the Thomas W. Williams family. They are not direct descendants, as far as I can tell, but they may be related. More research is needed to determine the connection between the GM Williams Company and any property in ‘the annexed area’.
























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This info may all fit together, or.... it may not. Only time will tell as we continue with this ‘work in progress’. 📷;)


So, it looks like there was definitely gunpowder somewhere in the Bates Woods/swamp area, at least by 1903! It clearly appears that the GM Williams Company had something to do with it. The question becomes.... could ‘The Powder House’ be one of the two gunpowder magazines that were apparently located in the ‘annexed area’, and were ordered removed by the sheriff in 1903?


We now have TWO printed references to a powder magazine being located somewhere in Bates Woods, in addition to the possibly apochryphal story from the War of 1812! We really need to get to the bottom of this! 📷;)


Ok, back to our story! My wife and I attended a lecture at the Waterford Library given by Dr. Nick Bellantoni in February 2019. I approached Dr. Bellantoni before the lecture, and shared the Powder House story and photos with him, and with the Waterford Town Historian, who was also in attendance. Dr. Bellantoni already had a plan with the WTFD Historian to come back to Waterford later in the month with a Ground Penetrating Radar unit to examine some possible graves of enslaved people. He suggested that, since he was already planning to be in the area for that work, we could include a trip to the Powder House afterwards. I was thrilled at the prospect of having such an esteemed expert as Nick Bellantoni come to look at the Powder House site!


Unfortunately, a snowstorm on the scheduled day of the visit in February forced us to cancel, and Dr. Bellantoni was scheduled to be out of the state until May.


I kept in touch through the town historian for a re-schedule date, and we finally were able to arrange it for June 19, 2019. I was hoping again for a two-fer, combining the graveyard visit with a subsequent visit to The Powder House. I am happy to report that that is exactly what happened on that day!


Earlier this week I posted a series of photos in this Facebook page from that very interesting visit to the cemetery in Waterford. After spending several fascinating hours performing the Ground Penetrating Radar survey there, Dr. Bellantoni agreed to make a visit to check out The Powder House.


So we headed over to Warren Street. Our party consisted of my sister, Virginia Levasseur, my brother, Bob Schuch, my son Andrew (Andrew Roquentin), Dr. Nick Bellantoni (CT State Archeologist Emeritus), Debbie Surbanian (CT State Soil Scientist with the USDA), Pat Crotty (a high school classmate who discovered the possible graves of the enslaved in Waterford), Rod McCauley (East Lyme Historical Society) and myself.


I owe a HUGE thank you to my sister Virginia Levasseur for taking the following photos of our Powder House Adventure. Thank you, Ginny! 📷;)


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Leaving civilization.
















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Brother Bob leading the way. The paved section was built in 1960 by the City of New London to give access to their newly-installed sewer pumping station in the woods. The paved section turns east in the distance, but The Powder House is located on an unpaved 'path' off to the west.


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Welcome to Bates Woods!
















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The 'path' to the Powder House.
















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'Many Rivers To Cross'.... 📷;) One of the branches of Fengers Brook that was overflowing from the spring rains. Yes, this was one of two sections of the brook that we had to ford in order to get to the stone bridge over yet a THIRD section of the brook that leads to the Powder House.
















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Bob (blue jacket) can be seen across the brook. We crossed the brook on the stones that you see in the left center of the photo. Very tricky footing! Special thanks to the intrepid Andrew Schuch who, upon seeing the potential danger posed by the rushing water, slippery rocks and muddy surfaces, immediately stepped into the water in his sneakers to give a guiding hand and support to the rest of the group as they gingerly made their way across the treacherous ground! Thank you, Andrew!
















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The stone bridge leading to The Powder House.


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The stone foundation of The Powder House. The stone foundation is about 9'x9', and it is filled with debris, but it goes down about 2 feet. There is evidence of human presence with cans and bottles, a tarp, and tool/fishing box on the site.


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Welcome to the swamp. Gorgeous spring greens and lush vegetation amid old, decaying growth. Spectacular scenery.
















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Stunningly beautiful.


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Bob Schuch, Debbie Surbanian, Dr. Nick Bellantoni, Tom Schuch, and Andrew Schuch standing on the stone bridge. Dr. Bellantoni estimated, based on the style of the blasting marks, that the stones were quarried between 1820 and 1840. However, when they were placed in this location is another question altogether.
















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The stone bridge. Note the fastening pin.


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Examining the foundation. My brother Bob Schuch is a Civil Engineer and he had worked with Dr. Bellantoni a few years ago on a project in Stonington where some construction work had uncovered some Native American graves. So they knew each other, unbeknownst to me. (L to R) Bob Schuch, Debbie Surbanian, Dr. Bellantoni, Andrew Schuch, and Tom Schuch.


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Rod McCauley, Bob Schuch, Dr. Nick Bellantoni, Debbie Surbanian, Andrew Schuch, and Tom Schuch. Andrew and Debbie have begun to dig inside the foundation.


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Dr. Bellantoni has taken a soil sample from the interior of the foundation, which he and Debbie will examine in the lab for traces of nitrates (explosives). (L to R) Nick, Debbie, Andrew, Tom and Pat Crotty.


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Dr. Bellantoni has taken a soil sample from the interior of the foundation, which he and Debbie will examine in the lab for traces of nitrates (explosives). (L to R) Nick, Debbie, Andrew, Tom and Pat Crotty.




































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Bob Schuch, Debbie Surbanian Dr. Nick Bellantoni, Rod McCauley, Tom Schuch, Andrew Schuch, Pat Crotty. The Powder House foundation is behind us, just beyond that fallen tree.Photo by Virginia Levasseur.


OK, so..... Mission accomplished? Well.... yes and no. Yes, we were successful ---and extremely fortunate--- to obtain the services of Dr. Nick Bellantoni and Debbie
Surbanian! Who da thought we would be able to bring in THAT level of expertise??? I wish to extend my sincere thanks to both Nick and Debbie for taking the time out of their busy schedules to come down with us to The Powder House. I can’t say enough about how gracious and friendly they were in accommodating us, not to mention the fact that they shared an amazing amount of knowledge and expertise with us. It was an amazing adventure!


So what did we learn? As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Bellantoni believes the massive stones in the bridge date from about 1820-1840. They could have been installed anytime after that, however, since we have no info on when the bridge was built there. It could have been built much later: more info needed.


It is also clear that someone went to a LOT of trouble to build that massive bridge! Why would they build it in such an inaccessible spot? They had to have a good reason! More info needed!


As for the stone foundation: it was surrounded by a decrepit chain link 20th century fence. I remember that from my childhood. There is evidence of concrete being used in part of the foundation: that is a 20th century technology, most likely. So we know that there has been activity in this area in the 20th century. Debbie and Andrew dug into the center of the foundation, and they hit the water table at about 60 inches down. That would make it a pretty damp place to store gunpowder. On the other hand, such a remote location makes it a very SAFE location to store gunpowder, in that, in the event of an explosion, damage to life and limb, and physical structures, would be minimal. Not to mention the plentiful availability of water to put out any fires, or keep the fires from spreading. Again, more information is required.


Given the shallow depth of the water table, could this structure have been used as some sort of a well or source of water back in the day? Although this area was a swamp, the surrounding area was farmland. Could the farmers have used this as a source of water? That might explain the sturdiness of the bridge, since they may have had a need to transport barrels of water over the brook. Again, more information is needed.


So, as far as Dr. Bellantoni’s conclusions: the bottom line is that we have more questions than answers at this point. We have the physical structures, we have several possible explanatory stories and fascinating theories, but what we DON’T have is very much specific physical evidence. He has taken a soil sample to the lab for analysis, and we await that report. Dr. Bellantoni recommended that more test holes be dug around the perimeter of the foundation to determine if there are any artifacts that might contribute to determining what this site was actually used for. This is complicated, of course, by the fact that there is evidence that the site has been used over the years in connection with a nearby homeless encampment. Could there be other artifacts from an earlier time? We need to investigate that possibility.


So....... what’s next? Well, you are looking at a ‘work in progress’, as I stated above.


We need to follow up on Dr. Bellantoni’s recommendation to see what other kind of physical evidence can be found on the site. And we need to continue researching the land records and whatever other historical documents are available that might shed some light on the origin of The Powder House and the stone bridge!


So stay tuned! 📷;)


Who’s IN to help with the project? 📷;) Contact me on this site if you are interested.


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Aerial view of The Powder House in 1934. This photo shows evidence that there was a rudimentary pathway (heading straight south) to the cleared area of the Powder house location. That pathway, which is no longer in existence, connected to Pine Street in Waterford back in 1934. Why was it built, and what was it used for? Pine Street is now a cul de sac, which ends at ..... what else? An extensive --- and impassable --- swamp! 📷;)