Blog Archives

Seattle Underground: The Subterranean Neighborhood

This neighborhood just isn’t like it used to be!  No one can argue with how the Pioneer Square area of Seattle has changed over the last couple of decades.  Before it was what you see now, there was a whole other neighborhood of streets and storefronts, all of which were destroyed in the Seattle fire of 1889. The fire turned out to be a good thing for the city.  Although it totally devastated 29 square blocks of the city, including nearly all of the business district, most of the wharves, and the railroad terminals, the rebuildding of the city post-fire was a turning point in Seattle’s history.  At that point, Seattle began the proess of becoming a real city. The day after the fire, a town meeting was held, and it was agreed that the city would be rebuilt with […]

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Peace Arch Park

Along the border between Blaine, Washington and Surrey, British Columbia stands the International Peace Arch. The arch stands 67 feet high, and is proudly rooted, one side in American soil, the other in Canadian.  Straddling the longest undefended boundary in the world, the Peace Arch was dedicated in 1921, and was the first Monument built and dedicated to world peace. The American side of the arch is inscribed:  “Children of a Common Mother.”  The Canadian side is inscribed:  “Dwelling Together in Unity.”  Spanning both sides of the border is the inscription:  “May These Gates Never be Closed.” Although most visitors to the Peace Arch are crossing the border, you can visit the park without doing so.  You can walk around and enjoy one side of the park or the other, but are not permitted to walk outside the park boundaries […]

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Mount Vernon: The Estate of George & Martha Washington

On a recent sunny afternoon, a friend shared with me one of the most beautiful and peaceful places that I have been in a long while:  Mount Vernon, the home and estate of George and Martha Washington. Located sixteen miles south of Washington DC, and eight miles south of Old Town Alexandria, Mt Vernon sits in a pictaresque and undeveloped area on the Potomac River. Washington acquired Mt Vernon in 1754, and expanded and developed the grounds to reflect his status as part of the landed gentry.  He personally oversaw every detail to the estate design, construction, and decoration, even while he was away at war.  Mansion tours run on a continuous basis.  Fourteen rooms are open for viewing to the public, and have been restored and furnished based on the standards of the day from 1799, including some original objects used […]

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Happy 75th Birthday to the Empire State Building

75 years ago, on May 1st, 1931, the Empire State Building opened to the public. The idea for the skyscraper came from John J. Raskob, whose goal in the project was merely to outdo his former competitor, Walter Chrysler, and the Chrysler Building.  Raskob, and then Governor Al Smith, conspired to make sure that the new building would surpass the Chrysler building in its height, 103 floors, and its magnificent design.  Including the antenna on top, the Empire State Building stands 1,454 feet tall. Amazingly, this ambitious project only took 410 days to complete, an average of about four-and-a-half floors completed per week.  View the photo history of the building of the Empire State Building here. The building, Fifth Avenue at 34th, seems to float above the street, and the rest of its surroundings, when viewed from a distance.  It is one […]

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