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Structures Trivia

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Designed by renowned architect I. M. Pei, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opened in Cleveland in 1995. The ultra-modern building has an area of 150,000 square feet.

Dodger Stadium had no drinking-water fountains when it was first built.

During the 1940s, Alex Jordan discovered a 60-foot chimney of rock in the pristine Wyoming Valley in Wisconsin. He built a weekend retreat house on the sandstone formation called Deer Shelter Rock. Word about his natural discovery spread, and people came in droves to see his architectural wonder. Jordan was surprised and overwhelmed by the constant public attention, and started asking for 50 cent donations. In time, his 14-room house on the rock evolved into a complex of sixteen buildings, countless exhibits, and breathtaking outdoor garden displays with waterfalls. About 100,000 flowers are landscaped at The House on the Rock, as it was named. The popular tourist site now houses fascinating exhibits, including the world's largest carousel and more than 6,000 Santa Clauses during the Christmas season.

During the seventeenth century in India, King Muhammed Adil Shah had an enormous monument, the Gol Gumbaz, built in Bijapur, Karnataka. Crowning the monument was a gigantic, 178-foot-thick dome, completely unsupported by pillars. Today, tourists can climb the spiral stone staircase and stand near one of four black stones in the structure, then whisper into one of the stones to a companion standing near another black stone on the opposite side of the dome. They will able to hear what was said. This phenomenon is attributed to the unusual acoustic properties of the monument.

Edmond, Oklahoma's waterspheroid water tower contains 500,077 gallons of water. That's enough water to take one 21-gallon bath a day for 65 years, or 23,663 baths total.

Egeskov Castle in Denmark, complete with moat and drawbridge, was built in 1554 in the middle of a small lake, Egeskov. The name means literally "oak forest," and the castle rests on a foundation of thousands of upright oak trunks.

Eilean Donan Castle in Loch Duich in Scotland is said to have its own ghosts. One ghost is reportedly a Spanish soldier killed in the battle when the castle was destroyed in 1719. The soldier is said to have been seen carrying his head under his arm in the room which now holds the introductory exhibition.

Natural Bridge Caverns, outside of San Antonio, Texas, is the largest of its kind in the state. The cavern maintains a temperature of 70 F year-round, and the humidity is 99 percent. All the drinking water for the visitors' center comes from the cavern. The well was drilled into the far end of the North Cavern, about 1.5 miles from where the tour stops.

New York City has the most skyscrapers of any city in the world with 140. Chicago is a distant second at 68. The term "skyscraper" technically describes all habitable buildings with a height of more than 500 feet (152 m).

New York City's Empire State Building is considered by many to be the most romantic place to be married. Each Valentine's Day, couples joined in matrimony on the 80th floor of the Building, and automatically become members of the Empire State Building Wedding Club. This entitles them to free admission to the observatories on their anniversary, Valentine's Day. There were fifteen Valentine's Day weddings planned for February 2000: fourteen marriages and one renewal of vows. Interested couples must write to the building and explain why they want to get married here. Couples are then chosen on the basis of originality, uniqueness, and style.

Nobody knows who built the Taj Mahal. The names of the architects, masons, and designers that have come down to us have all proved to be latter-day inventions, and there is no evidence to indicate who the real creators were.

Notre Dame de Paris ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture. The famous cathedral was begun in 1163 and completed around 1345; the massive interior can accommodate over 6,000 worshippers. Its famous gargoyles were added much later.

O'Hare Airport in Chicago was called Orchard Place until 1949, and the airport is still abbreviated "ORD."

On a clear day, you can see five states from atop the Empire State Building in New York City: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

On April 12, 1965, the first Major League baseball game ever was played indoors at the Houston Astrodome.

On December 27, 1956, California granted landmark status to the barn used by director Cecil B. DeMille while making The Squaw Man in 1913. It was the first film-related landmark so designated.

On February 22, 1985, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was crossed by its one billionth car.

Europe's most famous prehistoric caves are in Lascaux. Sometimes called "The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory," children discovered the caves in the 1940s, but they've been closed to the public since 1963. The Lascaux Copy Caves (or, "Lascaux Two") is a constructed replica of the prehistoric caves right next to the original, and they look exactly like what visitors would see if allowed inside the real one. Skilled local artisans painstakingly used the original materials and techniques to achieve a realistic reproduction.

Excavation for New York's Empire State Building began on January 22, 1930. Construction was postponed upon former governor Al Smith's request. A charismatic Irish-American, Smith asked that construction begin on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1930, to honor the heritage of the Irish. Framework of the structure rose at a rate of 4 stories per week, and the building was completed ahead of schedule.

Except for short periods during the Civil War, Kentucky's beautiful, historic Diamond Caverns has offered tours for over 140 years. Thoughtful precautions were taken upon its discovery to preserve its natural beauty, and today, the Caverns are in remarkable condition despite millions of people touring it. Electric lights were installed in Diamond Caverns in 1917. In 1924, concrete steps and the bridge beyond the Rotunda were constructed. Diamond Caverns features intricate deposits lining the halls in cascades of naturally colorful calcite with thousands of stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone deposits. Today, Diamond Caverns is the second oldest show cave in the Central Kentucky Cave Region, and fourth oldest operating commercial cave in the United States.

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