Cleveland – June 2019 – Architecture and Public Art of University Circle

Featured on a number of postings, the University Circle area of Cleveland is home to Case Western Reserve University, as well as most of the museums for the city.

We were in town on this sunny Saturday for ‘Parade the Circle’ (featured on an upcoming posting), we also wanted to participate in a walking tour of the area lead by the volunteers from ‘Take a Hike Cleveland’, but apparently because of the parade they cancelled. As with other times like this, we made our own tour.



The Cleveland History Center features a carousel from a long lost amusement park – Euclid Beach.



The Cancer Survivors Plaza. A local independent newspaper named this the worst public sculpture in America, with the surreal look of the people seemingly running away from something.




The tower in the background (and on the featured photo for this posting) has unique brickwork.




Just across the street the Museum of Natural History has an excellent welcoming sign.



While the population of Cleveland has dropped precipitously over the last 50 years, there are still some grand old apartment buildings in the city, as evidenced by the Park Lane Villa.



The Maltz Performing Arts Center. Built in 1924 as the Temple Tifereth, it now serves the arts community.



There are statues scattered throughout the area.



A view of University Circle United Methodist Church.



There was once the largest skating rink the world located in here – the Elysian. It is celebrated by art on an electrical box.




Mark Hanna – While William McGinley was officially the president, Mark told him what to do.




A view of the Museum of Art.




Severance Hall – home of the Cleveland Orchestra.



The Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve.



Case Western Reserve was at one time two separate entities, including the Western Reserve College for Women.



A chapel at Case Western Reserve.




Finally, the best building in the area. It is now home to the Cleveland Institute of Art, but it’s first life was as an assembly plant for making Ford Model T’s!






Houston – May 2019 – Random Views

We had a great couple of days in Houston, coming away with a great feel for the city. This posting is to cover the random sights that don’t fit anywhere else, like the featured image above from the Sam Houston Park Village with a little church in the middle of the skyscrapers downtown.

Even though I had been in Houston briefly a couple of times previously I had never seen the Astrodome. The world’s first indoor baseball and football stadium when it was completed in the early 1960s, it still stands unused.




The Wateralls across from the Williams Tower is 64′ high, 1 foot for each floor of the nearby skyscraper.




The ‘Twilight Epiphany Skyspace’ is located on the campus of Rice University. I had read that this was a cool thing to see, but when we got there in the middle of the afternoon I couldn’t understand why. It turns out you must be there at sunset or sunrise – maybe next time.




Houston is notorious for their traffic, with over 6 million people in the area and very little public transportation. They do however have a streetcar that covers a few miles in the center of the city.




As well as crossing a man made pond in the middle of Main Street.




Discover Park has an interesting pinwheel display with a device that when you blow into it just right, kicks off fans that make all the pinwheels spin.




Buffalo Bayou Park is a nice urban park space complete with a skateboard park.



The highlight of the park though was our tour of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Once used for retaining water for the city, it is now a cool space to explore on a guided tour.




The city has numerous examples of public art.









I have often wondered who has the concrete contracts for road construction in Texas as they build ramps that seem far longer than needed, and never pile up dirt to make the overpasses shorter.




In the theme of ‘Everything is Bigger in Texas’ – As we left the city and reached the suburb of Katy, Texas we made a stop at a Buc-ee’s. A Texas based chain, Buc-ee’s are massive – this one has over 60 gas pumps (the photo is only showing about 1/2 of them)!



The highlight though was the World’s Longest Car Wash (according to the Guiness World Records) – the 255′ long one at Buc-ee’s easily cleaned off 2,000 miles of dirt and grime. Now it is off for San Antonio!

Houston – May 2019 – McGovern Centennial Gardens

Just south of downtown Houston is Hermann Park, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens. It is a small, well thought out space with flowers, plants and statues.














The statues featured great Latin American leaders, as well as (strangely) Scottish poet Robert Burns!












Houston – May 2019 – It Takes A Big Head to be President

David Adickes is a Texas born sculpture who, among other works, created large busts of American presidents for a park in Virginia. That park no longer exists, and many of the heads have made their way back to David’s studio in an industrial part of Houston in the shadow of a freeway bridge.

The overall feel of a bunch of giant presidents heads is surreal, but very cool.














































And one giant Charlie Chaplin!







Houston – May 2019 – Lucky Land

As you make your way down Airline Drive in Houston, passing by signs in Spanish for restaurants, shops and auto repair facilities, the last thing you would expect to see is two acres of some of the best Asian themed photo ops around.

Lucky Land in Houston is this Asian themed attraction that is a visual overload. Nida Lee is a flea market owner who bought, among other things, a former attraction known as Forbidden Gardens and moved the collection to her flea market. The results are a photographers dream – resulting is a long posting!




The park is set up in various villages, including Panda Village. These life size statues are scattered amongst the landscaping in various poses.




The landscaping and artwork throughout is well done, and very colorful.











There are statues scattered everywhere in the park.











One of the highlights is the large scale near perfect replica of the Terra Cotta Army of China. This alone is worth the trip!








Along the perimeter they have some larger size statues of the soldiers.





Their collection of miniature villages complete with people is extensive as well.








The visual buffet continues….







The Happy Buddha – note the smaller one’s belly has been rubbed for good luck so much the finish is worn off.



Just when you think you are done, you find this section with transformer like sculptures.





Lucky Land has to be one of the best places we have seen for a ‘Roadside America’ type attraction. It is well done, well kept and thoroughly entertaining.