Windsor, ON – June 2017 – Riverfront Scenes

With a weekend in the Detroit area it was decided to spend the night in Windsor, which is just a mile away through the tunnel.

The Windsor Riverfront offers excellent views of downtown Detroit (other post) as well as the scenes on the Canadian side.

 

The Ambassador Bridge

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Riverfront Park

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A carnival was being held in the riverfront park

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Chicago – June 2017 – Historic Skyscraper Tour

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a non profit organization that encourages learning about the city’s architecture by volunteer docent lead tours. Compared to the commercial tours, these are always more informative, with the passionate volunteers adding much to the subject.

Our tour started out in their headquarters, the former Railway Exchange Building.

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The Railway Exchange Building was built by Daniel Burnham in 1904 for the Santa Fe Railway. Having previously designed the World’s Columbian Exposition a decade earlier which used the Greek and Roman-inspired, this building featured the same. The glazed white Terra Cotta of the Railway Exchange is similar in use to those used in the ‘White City’ of the Exposition.

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In the impressive two story lobby is a large model of downtown Chicago, along with impressive skylights.

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Marquette Building – Built in 1895 it is also one of the earlier steel frame skyscrapers, and is renown as the example of a ‘Chicago School of Architecture’ building. The reddish terra cotta has darkened over the years due to pollution. When entering the two floor lobby you are greeted by beautiful mosaics of native scenes as well as reliefs.

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Field Building – As the last building finished between a lull in construction between the Great Depression and World War II, the Field Building was completed in 1934. With a fantastic Art Deco interior, including the elevator indicator panel and mailboxes in the lobby, the building was an early adaptor of air conditioning and high speed elevators to take people up the 535’ high skyscraper.

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The Rookery – Name after an old City Hall building that had previously stood on the ground, it was a reference to not only the pigeons and crows that took residence there, it was also a pun towards shady politicians that worked city hall (a rook is known to scavenge things). Designed by Burnham and Root in 1888 it is considered their masterpiece. To add to that Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned the lobby in 1905.

An amazing building both inside and out, Burnham and Root combined a great mix of old materials (for time time) like plate glass, elevators and metal framing, with the traditional brick and ornamentation.

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Chicago Board of Trade – Opened in 1930 in a perpendicular position across the end of LaSalle Street it is striking in it’s 605’ height, copper roof, and limestone exterior. Built with ‘wedding cake’ setbacks to allow some light onto the street surrounded by buildings, a concession to being the first building in the city to crack the 600’ mark, and remained the tallest building until 1965 when it was exceeded by the Daley Center.

The highlight of the interior is the 19,000 trading floor, which at the time was the largest in the world. Also prominent is the black and white polished marble, along with the vertical hallway trim.

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Monondock Building – Boston real estate developers Peter and Shepherd Brooks were building a number of buildings in Chicago when, in 1881, they worked the then young Daniel Burnham and John Root on the Monondock. Of note is the 6’ thick walls at the bottom to support the load of the building.

With the success of the building, they purchased land to the south and built an addition. When completed it was the largest office building in the world, with space for over 6,000 workers. It was also the first building in Chicago wired for electricity.

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Fisher Building – A Neo Gothic, 275’ high building built in 1896 by Daniel Burnham. As only the second building built in the city 18 stories high, it remains the oldest, as the other was torn down in the 1930s.

Old Colony Building – Completed in 1894, at 215’ high it was the tallest building in Chicago at the time.

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Manhattan Building – Completed in 1891 it is the oldest surviving skyscraper in the world to use a purely skeletal supporting structure. With bay windows throughout it is obvious the Wyandotte Building in Columbus was patterned after it. The architect, William Le Baron Jenney was a pioneer in the skyscraper industry.

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Completed in 1929 in classic Art Deco, it too was designed by the Burnham Brothers. It is clad in dark granite, and green terra cotta. The top is said to be a champagne bottle with gold foil. It is now a Hard Rock Hotel.

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Chicago – June 2017 – 360 Chicago

The John Hancock observation deck has been renamed ‘360 Chicago’. With a sunny day it was a good time to check it out.

South view – Most of downtown including the Sears/Willis Tower.

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East view – Navy Pier and Lake Michigan

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North along the Gold Coast towards Lincoln Park.

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Wrigley Field in the distance

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North Avenue Beach and the faux ship/bar.

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The former Carbide and Carbon Building – now a Hard Rock Hotel.

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Straight down

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TILT – for an extra fee you can be scared @#$%less. I passed. It tilts out to about a 45 degree angle so you are looking straight down 1000′.

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Cleveland – March 2017 – The Flats

The Flats is the area in Cleveland in a valley along the much maligned Cuyahoga River. Most of the area is industrial, and back the 1960s the river had the misfortune to be so polluted it caught fire a couple of times (Randy Newman even made a song called Burn On).

The portion of the Flats near the lake has been revitalized a couple of times now (once in the 1980s, and again more recently), so there is this great mix of industrial shabby and post modern chic – sometimes in the same building.

But the mix, along with the great collection of old lift bridges, high level bridges (sometimes one over top of another) and views of downtown provide numerous photo ops.

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Washington & Baltimore – Late Fall 2016 Road Trip – Day 3

We woke up in our top floor room to a great sunrise with a view of the Capital.

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Sunday morning started out by getting the car back from the valet, and running around the mall area with the car, since there was no traffic. After finding a spot near the Lincoln Memorial, we walked over to check out the monument, and the view down the mall.

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On our way back to the car we had a nice walk along the Potomac River.

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Returning to the car we wanted to see the FDR Memorial but found all the streets to it were closed, a recurring theme downtown. Instead we drove to Georgetown where the homes were old but well-kept and stately with upscale shops in the business district.

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From there, we drove until we reached the White House encountering more closed streets for a cancer benefit marathon made it difficult to find parking. I realized that parking is a premium in this city and there seemed to be very few parking garages, so we made our way to Capital Hill where we found an open spot to park on First Street near Louisiana Avenue and walked the four blocks to the Newseum.

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The Newseum is dedicated to communication, journalism, radio, TV, and the internet from America’s historic start until today. Our self-guided tour began with a ride up a glass elevator to an open observation deck that provided a great view of Pennsylvania Avenue, the U.S. Capitol, and the Smithsonian as we moved along reading the historical timeline of communication and journalism that stretched the length of the open deck.

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Upon reentering the building 800 front pages of different newspapers of major cities from around the world hung on the wall. This was a clear picture of how the same news is viewed from around the world by different cultures on the same day and what constitutes as headlines news for different areas.

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Situated near the elevator on the ground floor were slabs of concrete from the original Berlin Wall. The eight 12-foot tall slabs erected side by side were painted with graffiti of slogans as “You Are Power” and “Step by Step” from the West Berlin side of the Wall. A three-story East German guard tower that loomed near Checkpoint Charlie — Berlin’s best-known East-West crossing stood behind the Berlin Wall slabs.

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One of the most interesting exhibits at the Newseum was “Inside Today’s FBI.”  The FBI exhibit explored how the FBI fights crime in the age of global terrorism and cybercrime with news stories and dozens of artifacts. We got to see the work of the FBI and how they detected and solved crimes.

Real evidence of actual cases such as: The handcuffs and fingerprints of the Boston Marathon bombers; the Unabomber’s cabin filled with items of the Unabomber; and bomb materials used for a failed car bomb at Time’s Square. Engine parts and landing gear from United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as, materials of terrorism from the Atlanta Olympic Centennial Park and Oklahoma City, and shoes worn by shoe bomber Richard Reid in an attempt to blow up an American Airlines flight in December 2001 were shown.

We also saw the confiscated terrorist’s machine gun from a thwarted attempt to blow up the U.S. Capitol in 2012 and an abandoned car filled with explosives found at Dulles airport on 9/11.

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Another room encased 400 front pages from newspapers and magazines stacked atop each other and slid out for viewing as part of the largest exhibit of the museum. The News History Gallery boasts a timeline of news stories from the 1400’s to the present time. I was able to view newspaper headlines from the 1700’s.

The archive held sport championships, news of war and other historical noted events. Videos of current TV programs ran clips of Stephen Colbert, skits from Laugh-In and Saturday Night Live in relation to modern modes of communications within this gallery. The News History Gallery confronted war reporting, sensationalism, media credibility and objectivity. I thought that the volume of early material was really impressive.

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The 9/11 Gallery had the upper section of the 360-foot antenna mast that toppled from the World Trade Center’s North Tower when the building collapsed. The antenna served most of New York City’s television stations. The antenna was mangled and twisted within its metal frame. Next to the antenna was a wall with an inscription “Peace be with you, You live on in love” Julie. As I read this inscription, voices of survivors and their families telling their personal stories of the tragedy from that day were heard.  On September 11, 2001, the lives of 2,749 people were lost. These first person accounts of that day were heartbreaking.

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A fun factoid at the Newseum stated that 20% of Americans can name all five Simpson characters but less than 10% of Americans can name all five freedoms of the 1st Amendment. The five freedoms of the First Amendment are: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assembly, freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and a free press.

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As we moved down the multi-level building exploring the exhibits level by level, we came upon the Journalists Memorial Gallery. The soaring, two-story glass memorial bears the names of reporters, editors, photographers, and broadcasters who lost their lives reporting the news.

The gallery also featured photographs of hundreds of the journalists whose names are etched on the memorial’s glass panels. Each year, the Newseum selects a representative group of journalists whose names are added to the memorial and whose deaths illustrate the dangers faced by journalists around the world. I looked up at the soaring wall of photos and felt so much grief knowing that these people died due to conflict of others misunderstandings.

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We ate lunch at the Newseum cafe when we reached the ground level then left to see the Spy Museum. The Spy Museum was very crowded and so we passed on it thinking that we would not have enough time to go through it and make it on time to the restaurant in Baltimore to meet our friends for dinner.

We left Washington D.C. on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and once again got stuck in traffic. After an hour we arrived in Baltimore, we went to Federal Hill and hiked up the steep grassy slope to the park with great views of the Inner Harbor and the city of Baltimore.

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The camera lens let us zoom in on a submarine, a tall ship, yacht, and Navy warships at the Inner Harbor. The harbor was also filled with many personal yachts. The city looked renovated from when we last visited here with new commercial businesses, townhouses, and condos.

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Leaving the park , we drove the streets discovering new sights as we tried to get to Camden Yards, the baseball stadium. This proved to be frustrating as we were unable to get to the stadium because we got stuck in traffic again from the release of fans from the Steelers/Ravens football game that just ended. Every way we tried to maneuver resulted in a traffic jam.

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We gave up seeing anything else downtown so we went to Barracudas Restaurant, a classic neighborhood restaurant near Fort McHenry to meet our friends for dinner. Our dinners were tasty and the time passed quickly with an easy flow of conversation.

We left Baltimore for Annapolis where we reserved a hotel room at the Springhill Suites, arriving fairly late in the evening.

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Cleveland – October 2016 – Finding Unusual Things in Northern Ohio

In late October we made a trip to Northern Ohio to hit a number of diverse places that had been on the list for some time. First up was the Northern Ohio Railway Museum. Located in Lodi on a two mile section of the historic Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus Railway right-of-way, the Museum has over forty of streetcars and other railway equipment in various states.

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Most of the cars are old Cleveland RTA cars, a few in the barns have been restored.

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The museum folks permitted me to send my newest toy, a drone, up for a couple of aerial photos.

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In Hinkley we found Worden’s Ledges, a natural rock formations comprised of sandstone called Sharon conglomerate, were gradually carved out by quick-flowing bodies of water that emptied into an inland sea that covered Ohio over 300 million years ago.

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Some of these ledge formations on the Worden Homestead contain artistic carvings of various faces, names, dates, a ship, various religious carvings, and even a fourteen-foot-long sphinx. Faces depicted include Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, legendary baseball catcher Ty Cobb, and a portrait of what seems to be Hiram Worden made them sometime between 1945 and 1955.

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For lunch this day we stopped at Szalay’s Farm Market near Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A large farm that grows a massive amount of sweet corn my choice there is a hot dog from a local butcher and a sweet tea. Situated next to the Towpath Trail it was packed on this beautiful sunny October Saturday.

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From there we went up to Euclid to the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame, founded in 1987 by musicians and leaders of Slovenian community, the most famous being Frankie Yankovic.

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Particularly impressive is the accordion display, with an extensive collection.

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Upstairs is the Softball Hall of Fame. It too was well done with a great collection of bats, balls, uniforms and memorabilia.

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As we started back we stopped off in downtown Cleveland for a nice walking tour of the restored mall areas minus the fencing we saw during the RNC.

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