Mansfield, Ohio – September 2020 – Surprising Interesting Architecture

Mansfield, Ohio is another old industrial city, where much of the industry has left. Mansfield, unlike many of those towns, has managed to keep much of their downtown buildings in use and in excellent condition.

We start with an impressive old house that is currently undergoing restoration – it will be grand when finished.

St Peters Catholic Church

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building

The tallest building in town – the Farmers Bank Building

This building dates from 1926.The upper level cornices are very detailed.

Mansfield is very proud that the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed in the area, including Central Park.

Around this nice space are a couple of Art Deco style buildings.

We end our tour with a number of restored buildings along North Main Street.

Buenos Aires – March 2020 – The Colorful Characters of La Boca

Our visit to La Boca continued with a stop in the Caminito, a small street full of colorful houses and buildings.

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La Boca has the reputation of being a bit rough around the edges, but in this area it is completely touristy.

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While originally there was a stretch of colorful houses that reputed became that way because they used spare paint from the ships, it is now full blown style of the entire area.

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Busloads of tourists pile off, wander the streets a bit, and pile back on. But it provides lots of income to the neighborhood so I guess it works.

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Throughout the neighborhood are a number of fiberglass statues. With the current Pope being from Buenos Aires he is a favorite subject.

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Apparently his twin with a soccer player.

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The shops have taken over old buildings and are amusing to wander through them.

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Most of the restaurants have a small dance floor where local dancers work hard for tips.

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La Boca – sort of a funky Times Square for Buenos Aires. You have to see it when you are in town.

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Tigre, Argentina – January 2020 – Living in the Delta

One of the most hyped tourist activities in the area is to take a boat out through the delta from Tigre. We had a chance on a Sunday afternoon, taking one of the small wooden boats.

I was expecting to see a large expanse of nature but instead we passed by kilometers of dwellings – some shacks, some palacios.
























































































Colonia, Uruguay – January 2020 – A Historic Town

The town of Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese in what was then a southern territory of Brazil. Over the next 140 years it changed hands numerous times between the Portuguese and the Spanish, always remaining an important port.










The historic district is designated by UNESCO as a World Site. Many of the cobblestone streets date from the 17th an 18th century.

The buildings, while not as old, are still very historic.




















The Basilica dates from the early 1800s.





Nearby are the foundations of the buildings from the 1600s.





After visiting the church we continued our tour of the old town.













The lighthouse is situated next to a 17th century convent remains.











































Portions of the original city wall remain, having been restored.





We ended our walk around town crossing through the gate that lead originally to a drawbridge.






Cleveland – July 2019 – The Garden Walk

A beautiful Saturday afternoon was the perfect time to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Only in this case we chose to go to the ‘Detroit Shoreway’ neighborhood in Cleveland for our walk.

Why – because this neighborhood, and many others in Cleveland, were participating in ‘GardenWalk Cleveland 2019’. We were fortunate enough to meet one of the founders of Cleveland’s, who said they go the idea from Buffalo, New York’s.

The Detroit Shoreway neighborhood is named so from Detroit Avenue, which is the original road from Cleveland to Detroit, and it is located along Lake Erie. Most of the homes in the neighborhood are over 100 years old, with many being exquisitely restored.

For the Garden Walk there were over 80 gardens to see, each with their own unique interpretation! Each had a sign indicating they were participating in the walk, and to guide us to which part of the yard was open (front, side, back)
































































Buenos Aires – June 2019 – Views of the City

It was a great 10 days in Buenos Aires. I am not certain what I was expecting but whatever it was, BA exceeded it!

The Nueve de Julio Avenue is the center of the city. Created in the 1930s by wiping out an entire city block wide, and nearly 3 miles long, it is an impressive sight.



The city exists because of the huge estuary of the Rio de La Plata, creating one of the world’s great ports.



The city is full of great architecture starting with the Retiro Train Station.





The Torre Monument is in the plaza in front of Retiro. The tower was completed in 1916 by the same architect who built Big Ben.



Just down the street is the Kavanagh Building, an Art Deco masterpiece.



One of the highlights of the city is the number of ‘Palacios’ remaining from the early 1900s. While there were once more than 100, less than 40 remain, but those that still stand are magnificent.













In addition to the Palacios there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of impressive buildings.

















The city was the first city in South America to have a subway, starting over 100 years ago.





As with any city, not all are enjoying the good life. Buenos Aires has some ‘Villa’s, basically shantytowns for the very poor. The city says they have a plan to help improve the lives of the people living in the Villas, but only time will tell.



No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without a stop at the Obelisk.



For now it is time to fly, but not before joining the crowd to watch a soccer game while waiting on the plane. True Buenos Aires!






Terlingua, Texas – May 2019 – Pretty Busy for a Ghost Town

The town of Terlingua, Texas is billed as a ghost town, which is amusing because there are all sorts of random structures serving as homes, as well as numerous artist studios, and apparently the Chili Cook Off Capital of the World!




As with Boquillas, this was a mining town where the mines closed long ago, leaving numerous structures to fall into disrepair.





















No clue why there is a stake through a cactus.



Newer buildings are scattered throughout the ruins.






The Terlingua Cemetery is quite interesting as well. Next time you find yourself in the area stop by for some interesting sights, people, and some chili.











Langtry, Texas – May 2019 – Views of a (Mostly Former) Town

Langtry, Texas is a town in west Texas, but just barely. In the early 1900s it was a busy place as they built the railroad nearby. Today it is a post office and the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (detailed on another posting).



Most of the buildings in the area have been abandoned.















Those that remain have a sense of humor, as evidenced by a sign pointing toward the Rio Grande that says ‘Mexico’ this way.





The town does have a beautiful view of the Rio Grande Valley, and the cliffs and caverns across in Mexico.









And with that we took the lonely road west.




San Antonio – May 2019 – Historic Homes and Buildings

As a historic city San Antonio had a decent amount of older homes and buildings in the center of the city.

The King William Historic District is just south of downtown. It has a great collection of restaurants and shops, but the highlights are the beautiful old houses.







As we reached downtown we passed by a couple great old buildings.





A classic clock, which we appear to have caught at high noon.



Nix Hospital s housed in a very fine example of an Art Deco building.






There are still a couple vintage theaters in town.





The Post Office and Court House is located across the plaza from the Alamo.





The Tower Life Building was completed in 1927. This eight sided classic Art Deco skyscraper also housed San Antonio’s first Sears store when first opened.








The Drury Hotel occupies the former Alamo National Bank building. Located along the famed Riverwalk the 24 floor building has many impressive details in the lobby.









We chose instead to stay at the Gunter Hotel, another great old hotel.



The Gunter Hotel is famous for being the location that blues legend Robert Johnson recorded most of the 29 songs he ever recorded. The bar celebrates the fact that he recorded in room 414, by calling themselves the Bar 414.



Despite the fact that Robert was from Mississippi, he was brought to San Antonio by a talent scout for Vocalion Record, Ernie Oertle. A producer from the label, Don Law, set up a recording studio in room 414 and 413 of the Gunter Hotel.

The drawing below is from an album cover of Robert’s music that was re-released in the 1960s depicting this recording session.



This is the room today, with the small white chair in the corner where Robert was sitting, facing the wall for the acoustics. How do I know this? This was our room for the night!!!

When we arrived every cushion was turned on end, every drawer was open. I immediately assumed it was Robert welcoming us! We spent the night hanging out listening to Robert’s music, either his original or the hundreds of covers from the Stones, Clapton and others.





Houston – May 2019 – The Beer Can House

The website Roadside America is one of my favorites, and easily one of the most ‘classic Roadside America’ is the Beer Can House of Houston!

As you arrive you are greeted by a fence of (of course) beer cans.





In the late 1960s a retired upholsterer named John Milkovisch started inlaying thousands of marbles and rocks into concrete and wood to make landscaping features because as he said at the time ‘he was tired of mowing grass’.



For the next 18 years he flattened beer cans, that supposedly he and his friends emptied, and attached them to his house. Today the estimated 50,000 beer cans cover the entire house and former garage.




The early morning sun shining through the beer can top fence made an interesting pattern on the driveway.




It is owned today by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, who have the interesting exhibit next to Smithers Park.




The stringers on the front of the house sing in the wind. It is said that the beer cans actually help keep the house cooler in the hot Houston summers by reflecting the sun rays away from the house.




The Beer Can House – a Houston classic!