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Archive for February, 2016

A President’s Life in Washington

By Linda Tancs

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is the only president who made Washington, D.C., his permanent home following his term in office. In 1921, President Wilson and his wife retired to a Georgian Revival mansion on S Street, in an area known for stately homes and diplomatic residences. Having led the nation through World War I, he made a radio address (the first nationwide remote radio broadcast) to the American people from The Woodrow Wilson House on November 11, 1923, the fifth anniversary of Armistice Day. Wilson was also a president of Princeton University and a governor of New Jersey.

Sicily’s White Elephant

By Linda Tancs

The Grande Hotel San Calogero in Sicily has been waiting for guests for over 60 years. Dubbed the ghost hotel, it stands vacant for decades now thanks to governmental gaffes and design flaws. The 300-bed, five-story hotel was intended to showcase southern Sicily’s Sciacca, a pretty seaside town built on rocky heights that overlook the Mediterranean. Sicily’s white elephant stands atop a rocky outcrop on Monte Kronio, within walking distance of the thermal springs and basilica.

An Art Colony in Connecticut

By Linda Tancs

Overlooking the Lieutenant River, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, is a National Historic Landmark. Once the home of a wealthy sea captain, the Late Georgian-style mansion became a boarding house under Miss Florence Griswold, hosting some of the most noted names in American Impressionism forming what became known as the Lyme Art Colony. This museum of art and history tells the story of how Connecticut played a pivotal role in fostering American artists.

Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods

By Linda Tancs

Rancho Los Alamitos (Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods) in Long Beach, California, traces its history from the time of ancestral Povuu’ngna (the sacred birthplace of the native Tongva people of the Los Angeles Basin) through the Spanish-Mexican era of land concessions and grants to generations of the Bixby family, the ranch’s last private owners. Along with the ranch, the still sacred and historic land includes stunning gardens created by Florence Bixby between 1920 and 1936 with the assistance of such notable design­ers as the Olmsted brothers, Florence Yoch and Paul Howard. Admission is free, and educational programs and events for all ages throughout the year feature topics as diverse as agricultural and domestic skills, Native American, Japanese and Hispanic culture, the history of landscape design and an annual ranch-style Christmas program.

The Ancient Heart of Phoenix

By Linda Tancs

Just minutes from downtown Phoenix, Arizona, is a 1,500-year-old archaeological site left by the Hohokam, a prehistoric Indian culture. Today it’s the location of Pueblo Grande Museum. A National Historic Landmark, it’s the largest preserved archaeological site within Phoenix. The museum displays Hohokam artifacts and showcases topics from archaeology, southwest cultures and Arizona history. A fully accessible trail brings history alive through a prehistoric Hohokam archaeological village site with a partially excavated platform mound, ballcourt and replicated prehistoric houses.

The Space Walk of Fame

By Linda Tancs

The Space Walk of Fame Museum in Titusville, Florida, pays tribute to the U.S. space program, honoring the men and women who made the space program possible and the astronauts who flew the missions. The Space View Walk monument area features actual hand prints of the Mercury astronauts as well as edifices dedicated to Apollo, Gemini and shuttle missions and to those who died in the line of duty serving the space program. Inside the museum you’ll find exhibits such as photos, old launch consoles and even Soviet cosmonaut mementos.

Hooray for Hollywood

By Linda Tancs

At the Hollywood Museum, you’ll find 100 years of entertainment history under one roof. Boasting the largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world, its sprawling four floors are a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind costumes, props, photographs, scripts, stars’ car collections and personal artifacts, posters and vintage memorabilia from favorite films and TV shows. The museum is housed in the historic Max Factor Building, named for makeup king Max Factor. You won’t want to miss his world famous makeup rooms where Hollywood’s biggest stars got ready for their close-ups.

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