The Real Estate Encyclopedia
Time for Recreation and Remembrance
Category - Real Estate Information Sources - Real Estate Articles

What’s in a Name?

The name of the month of July finds its heritage in the Roman Republic’s obsessive fixation with ancestral honorifics. One emperor in particular, a fellow by the name of Julius Caesar (you may have heard of him), decided to up and reform the Roman calendar in 46 B.C.

After his passing two years later, Roman officials attempted to deify him in a number of ways, most notably by renaming the month formerly known as Quintilis Mensis, or the “fifth month” to Julius Mensis, or the “month of Julius”. The word continued unchanged until its translation into Middle English, when it became Julie. With the exception of its accent flip-flopping from the first to the second syllable in the 18 th century, it’s a short jump from our current pronunciation of the month as July.

Park Yourself Somewhere and Recreate Already!

In 1985 the National Recreation and Park Association designated the month of July as “Recreation and Parks Month”. Seems like they need a few years to catch up with the patron of the month’s name (like 2031, to be exact), but folks have always recognized the summer as prime recreation time, and where better to relax and unwind than in a national park?

The National Park Service welcomed over 430 million visitors to its 388 total historical sites in 1999, when national park popularity peaked. The service currently manages 56 national parks that comprise more than 84 million acres of preserved land. As of 2004, the five most popular national parks are:

  1. The Great Smoky Mountains – North Carolina & Tennessee border
  2. The Grand Canyon – Northwestern Arizona
  3. Yosemite – Central California
  4. Olympic – Western Washington
  5. Yellowstone – Northwest Wyoming

In 2004 alone, nearly 23 million people visited these five parks, with the summer months being the busiest season by far. Visit the National Park Service for helpful information when choosing your next national park getaway.

A State of Independence

July is also home to one of the more important national celebrations Americans enjoy: Independence Day. America celebrates the fourth of July as Independence Day because 229 years ago, on a muggy summer morning, the fifty-six member Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to adopt the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Written by Thomas Jefferson and revised by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, it has become one of the most admired and emulated political documents of all time. All fifty-six men who ultimately signed the Declaration of Independence displayed tremendous bravery in doing so. Great Britain considered an announcement of independence an act of treason punishable only by death.

Following its adoption, the Declaration was read to the public in various American cities. Whenever they heard it, patriots erupted in riotous cheers and jubilant celebrations.

In 1777, Philadelphians remembered the 4th of July with clanging bells, firing guns, and lighted candles, and spectacular firecrackers. When the War of Independence ended in 1783, July 4 th became a holiday in some places. It replaced the date of the Boston Massacre, March 5 th, as the preeminent patriotic holiday. Speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks marked the day.

In 1941, Congress officially declared July 4 th a federal holiday.

Dive Into the Declaration’s History

The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution continue to inspire freedom-seekers the around the world.

  • To see the house in which Jefferson spent three weeks penning the declaration, visit here.
  • To sign the declaration yourself, visit here.
  • To see where the declaration ranks in terms of popularity amongst the 100 most influential American documents, visit here.

To read an interesting analysis on the stylistic skill of the declaration’s prose, visit here.

July Recipes

An American Flag Cake – click for recipe

Foil-Wrapped Campfire Dinners – click for recipe

Smores! – click for recipe

July's Flower – The Water Lily

Water lilies are exceptionally beautiful and fragrant flowers with floating leaves and large blossoms with many petals. The nursery industry has produced hybrids in many color variations for use in backyard ponds and “tub” gardens.

This aquatic plant is native to the eastern United States and is believed to have been introduced in the state of Washington during the Alaska Pacific Yukon Exposition held in Seattle in the late 19 th century.

Water lilies tend to grow in a fairly aggressive fashion, and sometimes other plants, such as “hydrilla”, will hitchhike alongside a grouping of water lily pads. A grouping tends to stagnate water, and for this reason, most botanists suggest against planting the lilies in lakes or large ponds.

July’s Birthstone – The Ruby

The gemstone known as the ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, which also includes the Sapphire. Pure corundum is colorless, but slight traces of the color elements such as chrome, iron, titanium or vanadium are responsible for it’s color. These gemstones are extremely hard with a rating of 9 on Moh’s Scale, second only to diamonds.

Rubies are found worldwide, although the finest stones hail from Myanmar, Burma, sandwiched between East India and Southwest China. Bright red versions of the stone are mined in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

The ruby symbolizes fiery hearts, passion, romance, blood, and power. It’s coveted red color ranges from medium red to dark, orange-red to purplish red. Since it is associated with blood, ancient peoples were convinced of its medicinal powers, and some even believed you would have a magical ability to live among your enemies in peace if you wore a ruby ring or brooch on the left side of your body.

Burmese warriors embedded rubies under their skin to gain protection in battle. Thirteenth century medical literature from India explains how a ruby can cure digestive disorders, and to this very day some Asian cultures believe that a ruby brings peace and prosperity, health, wealth, wisdom, and love to its wearer.

July Poem: Answer July - by Emily Dickinson

Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—
Nay—said the May— Show me the Snow— Show me the Bells— Show me the Jay! Quibbled the Jay— Where be the Maize— Where be the Haze— Where be the Bur? Here—said the Year—


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