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Structures Trivia

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Experts have come to the conclusion that additional U.S. freeways does not automatically ease vehicle congestion. An example was shown in Springfield, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. The 8-year, $434 million freeway construction project resulted in commuters shaving only 30 seconds off of their drive time. The conclusion was that motorists lost more time in delays during construction than they could make up once the construction was complete.

Firehouses have circular stairways because, in the olden days, the engines were pulled by horses. The animals were kept in stables on the ground floor, and they learned how to walk up straight staircases.

Flying from London to New York by Concord, because of the time zones crossed, you can arrive 2 hours before you leave.

France had the first supermarket in the world. It was started by relatives of the people who started the Texas Big Bear supermarket chain.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the earthquake-proof Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.

French sculptor Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" was intended to be part of a great pair of doors called the "Gates of Hell," but the doors were never finished.

Godiva Chocolates' world-renowned Fifth Avenue Boutique in New York City boasts nearly 100,000 visitors to the establishment per year.

The first all-umbrella shop, James Smith and Sons in London, England, opened in 1830. It is still located at 53 New Oxford Street.

On May 24, 1883, with city schools and businesses closed at noon for the big event, the highly anticipated Brooklyn Bridge was opened. The bridge was also referred to as the "Great East River Bridge."

The first American-built West Coast lighthouse was that of Alcatraz Lighthouse in 1854.

On the average, dwellings in Japan have 91.92 square meters, or about 989 square feet, of floor space per household.

The first aquarium in the world devoted entirely to freshwater species opened in July 2000 in Minnesota. The aquarium is home to the three-story, $34 million Great Lakes Aquarium, located on the waterfront in Duluth.

One of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" was a lighthouse, the famous Pharos of Alexandria in Egypt. It is the first lighthouse recorded in history and the tallest ever built, at 450 feet (comparable to a 45-story building). It used an open fire at

The first downtown mall in North America, Wellington Square, was built in London, Ontario, in 1960. It has since been transformed into a larger mall known as Galleria.

Opened in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is famous for being the first in the world to capture and breed the chambered nautilus.

The first gold brought back by Christopher Columbus from the Americas was used to gild the ceiling of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The ceiling and the gold are still there.

Originally a palace, the Louvre was made into a museum after the French Revolution.

The first lighthouse in England was built in 1619 at the Lizard, Cornwall. Local legend suggested the man that built it, Sir John Killigrew, was actually a pirate and wanted to lure ships close to the shore to plunder them.

Outside Death Valley in California is a 134-foot steel-and-concrete thermometer in the tiny town of Baker, population 500. The immense, $750,000 East Mojave Desert landmark, built in 1991 to boost tourism, can be seen from five miles away so tourists traveling along the interstate know exactly how hot it is in the frequent record-holding "hot spot" in the nation.

The first lighthouse to use electricity was the Statue of Liberty in 1886.

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