Michael Palmer Column

Nix looks back on moon-landing era

This week America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Most people old enough to remember, can tell you where they were and what they were doing on July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
But for Larry Nix, Armstrong walking on the moon was less about what happened on that day and more about the events that occurred in the decade before the moon landing.
“I’ve always had a big interest in the space program,” Nix said during a recent phone interview.

Pearce’s Mill: A fading monument to the past

There’s a place here in Marion County called Pearce’s Mill that time has not forgotten. The mill community, named for the family that ran it, is being rendered back to nature by time and decay.
Vines, weeds and trees now surround the 19th-century buildings, hiding the former majesty of the once-thriving community. Pearce’s Mill in central Marion County is not even a ghost of its former self. 
The history of Pearce’s Mill is a microcosm of early Alabama history and the history of America itself. 

Searching for the Lost City of Ur

Recently, I embarked on the journey of a lifetime. I went searching for a lost town called Ur and I believe I have rediscovered that ancient place.  
Now, I’m not talking about the ancient city of Ur that you are probably thinking of--the birthplace of the Biblical character Abraham, revered as the progenitor of the world’s three greatest religions--Christianity, Judaism and Islam. That city of Ur, located in modern-day southern Iraq, is approximately 5,800 years old and was the center of a moon-worshiping religion.

Almanacs reflected changes in American society

In my last Palmer’s Almanac (Journal Record, Feb. 20), I traced the evolution of almanacs from the beginning of recorded time to the founding of the United States of America. As American expansion moved west, the publication of almanacs soon followed.
Almanacs began as inscriptions on clay tablets about 5,000 years ago in the fertile Euphrates valley in modern-day Iraq.
Ancient farmers kept records of the seasons, the weather and the climate as a way of predicting when Spring planting should begin and, hopefully, increasing the next season’s harvest.