Producer Aaron Spelling's famous $40 million, customized 123-room manor, is 31 times the size of the average American home, or roughly the size of a football field. While the colossal home is smaller than the Pentagon, it is larger than the Taj Mahal. Spelling refers to it as his "Fantasy Island."
The first toll bridge in America was opened in 1654 at Newbury River in Massachusetts by licensee Richard Thurley. Humans were free to cross the bridge, but there was a charge for animals.
Public telephones and restrooms are not available at the White House. The nearest ones for tourists to use are in the White House Visitor Center, the Visitor Pavilion on the Ellipse, and the park area south of the White House.
The first umbrella factory in the United States was founded in 1928 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Rainbow Bridge, Nature's abstract sculpture carved of solid sandstone, is the world's largest natural-rock span — 278 feet wide and 309 feet high. Technically, it is located in Utah just north of the Arizona state line, but "Arizona Highway's Travel Arizona" book cites it as a local attraction.
The first women only medical college started in 1850, as two dark, rented lecture rooms. Its only teaching aids were one manikin and papier-mache models. Originally called the Female Medical College, it was subsequently renamed the Women's Medical College, and then the Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Rancho del Cielo was the name of Pres. Ronald Reagan's presidential estate. It translates roughly to "farm of the sky."
The first year that the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was open, it carried 3.5 million vehicles. Today, the annual totals average close to 40 million. It cost $35 million to build with the construction bonds being paid off in 1971. The replacement cost is estimated to be about $1.3 billion.
Reportedly, the widest roadway in the world is Brazil's Monumental Axis, which is a six-lane boulevard.
The foundations of the great European cathedrals go down as far as 40 or 50 feet. In some instances, they form a mass of stone as great as that of the visible building above the ground.
Residential buildings use about 35 percent of all available electricity.
The French system of canals was built for transportation. The Burgundy Canal connects Paris to the Mediterranean. This was a superb idea in the late 1600s when construction was started. But the canal system wasn't completed until the early 1800s, which unfortunately coincided with the advent of Europe's new railroads. The railroads put them out of business. These barges used to be pulled by horses and Spanish prisoners. Today they are used mostly by French people on holiday.
Roman statues were made with detachable heads, so that one head could be removed and replaced by another.
The gardening staff at San Diego Sea World's botanical gardens averages 65 people who tend the approximate 4,500 plant species. Among the themed garden spots in SeaWorld is a small Japanese garden which offers visitors a serene respite. The garden features a sunken garden and a waterfall area designed by Tadashi Kubo, a professor of Landscape Architecture in Tokyo. Most of the building materials, rocks, stone bridge, and lanterns were imported from Japan. The building is a two-thirds replica of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.
Russia is named the country with the most libraries. There are more than 96,000 public libraries throughout the country and with a population of about 147 million people, that is one library for every 1,500 Russian citizens. The United States ranked fourth in total libraries with 15,000 in the country.
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was named one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World" by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1994, along with the Hoover Dam, Interstate Highway System, Kennedy Space Center, Panama Canal, Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and World Trade Center.
Salt helped build the Erie Canal. A tax of 12.5 percent on New York State salt, plus tolls charged for salt shipments, paid for nearly half of the $7 million construction cost.
In a stroke of irony, the maximum security prison in St. Albans, Vermont, was responsible in 1996 for sending out public relations brochures enticing tourists to visit Vermont.
In Cape Town, South Africa, a must-see for tourists is the Bo-Kaap Museum. This house, built in the eighteenth century, portrays the lifestyle of a typical Malay family in the nineteenth century. An exhibition of carts and coaches can be seen in the courtyard of the museum.
In Central French Riviera is the ancient chapel of Notre Dame du Bon Port, founded in the fifth century by the monks of Lèrins. It was built on the site of a pagan sanctuary dedicated to the moon goddess Selena. An unusual aspect of this chapel is that it has two naves: one was built in the thirteenth century and the other 100 years later. In the chapel, there is a cross brought back from the Siege of Sebastopol and two gilded statues portraying “Our Lady who Guards” and "Our Lady of Safe Return." This latter is honored every July by the sailors of Antibes.
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