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Structures Trivia

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The seats at Fenway Park in Boston, home of the Boston Red Sox, are made of oak.

The famed London Bridge spanned the River Thames for almost 140 years. In 1968, the city of London decided to sell its sinking bridge for $2.6 million to Robert P. McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, who needed a bridge to connect the city to an island in the lake. The island was created in order to remove an obstruction that blocked water flow from the Colorado River into Thompson Bay. It took three years to carefully dismantle, pack, ship, and reconstruct the landmark bridge in the desert state. It cost more than $7 million to rebuild it in Lake Havasu City. Finally, on October 10, 1971, London Bridge was officially dedicated in Arizona before a crowd of 100,000 in a lavish ceremony.

The Serpentine Railway, built in 1885 at Coney Island, was the first gravity roller coaster to tie the track end together and return passengers to their starting point without them needing to disembark while the car was placed on the return track. The train, with its passengers seated sideways on a wooden bench, ran atop an undulating wooden structure. The train was slow and took several minutes to complete its circuit.

The famed London Bridge which spanned the River Thames for almost 140 years from the 1830s until 1968, now connects Arizona's Lake Havasu City's mainland and island. The bridge survived a terrorist attack in 1884 and the bombing from the Germans in both World Wars. But it could not withstand the forces of nature, as it was sinking into the Thames River's clay bottom.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History houses the world's largest shell collection, some 15 million specimens.

The famous Citgo sign near Fenway Park in Boston is maintained not by Citgo, but by Boston's historical society.

The famous Eden-Roc Hotel, in Cap D'Antibes in the French Riviera, is often described as the most fabulous hotel in the world. The President of the Republic, Arab princes, stars of the stage and screen all have stayed here in this security-conscious Shangri-La where credit cards are not recognized, and hard cash is the only currency. Sara and Gerald Murphy, a rich American couple with very fashionable friends invented the summer season in the 1920s. They convinced the Eden Roc's owner to keep the place open after April, and filled it with guests like F. Scott Fitzgerald and wife Zelda, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, and Pablo Picasso.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History houses the world's largest shell collection, some 15 million specimens. A smaller museum in Sanibel, Florida owns a mere 2 million shells and claims to be the world's only museum devoted solely to mollusks.

The state of Maine has 62 lighthouses. One of the most famous (and oldest) is Portland Head Light, which was commissioned by President George Washington.

The Statue of Liberty is 145 feet high and weighs 450,000 pounds, or 255 tons. The copper sheeting weighs 200,000 pounds. It was a gift from the French people to the American people as a symbol of friendship.

The Statue of Liberty measures 35 feet in diameter at the waist. The robe forms the outer shell of the statue, and there is no "torso" underneath.

The Statue of Liberty's index finger is 8 feet long, and it displays a fingernail measuring 13 by 10 inches.

The Statue of Liberty's mouth is 3 feet wide. There are 167 steps from the land level to the top of the pedestal, 168 steps inside the statue to the head, and 54 rungs on the ladder leading to the arm that holds the torch.

The Step Pyramid is the first known monumental structure made of stone anywhere in the world. The Step Pyramid Complex of Djoser (also spelled Zozer) was built during the Third Dynasty (2800 B.C.) in Saqqara, Egypt. Considered by many to be the first tomb in Egypt to be built entirely of stone, Djoser's Step Pyramid is a series of six levels of stone decreasing in size as they ascend to about 200 feet in height. A mastaba (Arabic for "bench") was a low rectangular structure which was built over a shaft which descended to the burial location. Until the Step Pyramid, mastabas had been the principal form of tomb architecture.

The stepped sides of the mammoth pyramids were once smooth and not climbable. They were originally covered with a casing of fine, dressed limestone. Over the eons, the casing stones were stripped off the pyramids and used for other building projects.

The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, is 1,149 feet tall, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

The swimming pool at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida is the largest in the continental United States. It covers a half acre and holds 600,000 gallons of water.

"International Orange" is the official name of the orange-red paint used to paint the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and it has always been that color. Rejecting carbon black and steel gray, the color was chosen because it blended well with the span's natural setting. Had the U.S. Navy's color request been granted, the bridge would have been painted black with yellow stripes. Painting the bridge is an ongoing task and its primary maintenance job. The special paint protects the Golden Gate from the high salt content in the ocean air, which rusts and corrodes the steel components.

Gothic was originally a term of criticism among the Italian Renaissance artists who coined it. The term implied that, compared to superior classical buildings, the Gothic medieval cathedrals were so crude that only a Goth could produce them. By indirectly condemning the Goths, the Italian architects revived an old hatred. The southward migration of these warring, loathsome German barbarians in the fifth century A.D. had contributed to the decline of ancient Rome.

A $67-million, concrete multipurpose stadium, the Kingdome's seating was designed for football and opened with a soccer match on April 9, 1976. The name "Kingdome" is derived from the stadium's location in King County, Washington, and it was the home of the Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Seahawks. Visiting sportswriters referred to the stadium as "the Tomb" because it was gray and quiet. The Kingdome was demolished on March 26, 2000.

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