‎Boeing 737-700(BBJ) PH-GOV Government of the Netherlands

Midland, Texas: Visitors Center

Midland is a city in western Texas. Part of the Permian Basin area, it’s an oil industry center. At the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, interactive exhibits detail the history of local oil exploration and include Boom Town, a replica 1930s oil town with a land office and general store. Dating from 1939, the George W. Bush Childhood Home has been restored to its 1950s state, when the 43rd president lived there. (Wikipedia)

Captured by: West Texas 360

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Great Western Staircase

The Great Western Staircase is one of the highlights of the New York State Capitol Building in Albany. Also known as the “Million Dollar Staircase”, it took fourteen years to complete at a cost of almost 1.5 million dollars. In 1894, The New York Times called the staircase “the greatest architectural work on this continent.” While that may be a bit of an overstatement, the staircase really is amazing.

Henry Hobson Richardson was the original designer, but architect Isaac G. Perry directed its construction and added a significant amount of ornamental carvings. Over 500 stone carvers worked on the project under foreman Louis Hinton.

The staircase is enormous: 119 feet in height and containing 444 steps. The predominant materials are Corsehill freestone, medina sandstone, limestone, and granite. It is illuminated throughout by light fixtures designed by Louis Hinton, and an enormous skylight on the top floor bathes the uppermost levels in natural light.

Portrait busts of great historical figures in the history of New York and the nation adorn the stonework in great profusion along with the faces of the stone carvers’ families and friends, and random people from the street. Also present are scenes from American history, various animals, and other symbols. Famous figures portrayed include:

  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • George Washington
  • Walt Whitman

The sculpture adds a level of detail that makes exploring the staircase a little more quaint and intriguing. The staircase would probably stand as a marvel without it, but it is a nice touch. The stonework itself is massive, but the configuration of the stairways and columns is such that at times space appears almost ethereal. The numerous arches, elliptical arches, columns, and groins create a dizzying space that easily impresses.

A $2.8 million dollar restoration of the entire staircase was completed in September of 2006. A hundred years of dirt, soot, and grime have been removed from the stone and light fixtures, revealing the original beauty of the materials.

Location
Washington Ave and State Street
Albany, NY 12247

Captured by: MCWB Architects

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Running Springs Fire Department

Captured by: ReOrbitVR

Our Mission: “Service to the Community”

The Running Springs Fire Department is nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. The Department provides Fire Protection and Paramedic Services to the community of Running Springs and surrounding areas.

The Running Springs Fire Department is a combination Full Time and Paid Call department. A full-time staff of 9 and 20 Paid Call Firefighters provides a 24-hour emergency response to a 52 square mile area. (Running Springs Fire Department)

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San Bernardino National Forest | Keller Peak Fire Lookout

The Keller Peak Fire Lookout is located at the top of Keller Peak Road just past Running Springs California.  Constructed in 1926, it is the oldest fire tower still standing in the San Bernardino National Forest.

From 1927 to 1981 the tower was manned by Forest Service personnel. In 1985, volunteers from the Rim of the World Interpretive Association manned the site after it received an extensive renovation. In 1994 the Fire Lookout Host program was created to manage all the lookouts “on the forest.” Currently, over 250 volunteers operate all the lookouts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during fire season. “This year alone, Keller Peak lookout volunteers have called in three ‘first responses’ to fires. They’re becoming more and more important in assisting firefighters,” said Kris Assel, executive director of the San Bernardino National Forest Association. When visitors are not on the lookout, volunteers scan for “smokes.” Trained on the Osborne, a device used to locate points within the forest, they are fully trained to let the Forest Service know the exact location of the fire. “Often our lookout volunteers assist with pinpointing exact fire locations,” said Chris Fabbro, co-coordinator of the Fire Lookout Host program.

The lookout hasn’t changed much from the time it was built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The site represents one of the very few fire towers in California that were built before the Great Depression. Although cell phones make it easier for residents and visitors to report fires, the lookouts still serve as fire lookouts and also as mini visitor centers. Visitors who wish to climb the steep steps up to the tower get a beautiful view of the valley below (smog aside) and when they turn around, a view of the beautiful mountain peaks that surround the tower.

According to information from the U.S. Forest Service, the peak was named for Ally Carlin Keller who was born in San Bernardino in 1868. He was, at one time, an employee of the Forest Service. A Sierra Club history of the site says that his father, Carlin Keller, was a native of Illinois who settled, farmed and logged the area in 1854. A Serrano Indian name for this peak may have been “Kaviktaviat,” meaning “so very deep or steep that it could not be climbed.”

On Saturday, July 13, 2002, a re-dedication ceremony was held to honor nine crewmen of a B-26 bomber who were killed on December 31, 1941, when the plane they were flying crashed into Keller Peak. Apparently, had they been flying 100 feet higher the plane would have cleared the mountain. The plane had earlier been a part of a diamond formation traveling through the Cajon Pass but when the squadron encountered stormy weather, the planes separated and the B-26 at the rear of the formation failed to clear the mountain.

The lookout gives a history of the flight, along with a commemorative plaque situated near the two engines that are still on the mountainside. During Saturday’s events, a rededication of the plaque was made. The rim of the World Community Church Pastor Charles Van Kirk led the short service.

Keller Peak Fire Lookout is open to the public 9 am – 5 pm daily from Memorial Day to mid-November. This lookout is located east of Running Springs on Forest Road 1N96. This 5-mile road is paved all the way to the fire lookout. (Joan Moseley) Captured by: ReOrbitVR

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Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park | Visitor Center Museum

Today’s visitor center and museum were originally built and used by the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad. The visitor center was once the train depot and the museum housed the railroad administration. Now, these buildings are the gateway to Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and host thousands of visitors each year. New, interactive, accessible exhibits were installed during the winter of 2016-2017. Captured by: National Park Service

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Magna Carta | Salisbury Cathedral

Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”) is one of the most celebrated documents in English history.

At the time it was the solution to a political crisis in Medieval England but its importance has endured as it has become recognized as a cornerstone of liberty influencing much of the civilized world.

Only four copies of Magna Carta dating from 1215 have survived the ravages of time and Salisbury Cathedral is proud to be home to the best preserved original manuscript. Elias of Dereham, priest, and steward of the archbishop of Canterbury is thought to have brought Salisbury’s copy of to Old Sarum in the days following the events at Runnymede and it has remained in the Cathedral’s care ever since.

Housed in our exquisite Chapter House, seeing Magna Carta presented in our family-friendly interactive exhibition is a highlight for many visitors.

The responsibility of owning and interpreting Magna Carta is important in shaping Salisbury Cathedral’s future objectives to this day. (Salisbury Cathedral)

Captured by: Heads Above the Cloud

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East Side Freedom Library

The East Side Freedom Library (ESFL) has its home in the former Arlington Hills library, one of St. Paul’s historic Carnegie library buildings at 1105 Greenbrier Street, located in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.

The ESFL’s mission is to inspire solidarity, advocate for justice and work toward equity for all.  The library houses non-circulating research collections that appeal to interested general learners as well as scholars, with innovative databases and finding aids that make using the collections fun and vital.

The story is a major theme of the ESFL, and the telling and gathering of stories, through formal interviews, workshops, and small-scale public performances, will allow local residents and the interested public to learn more about the work and residential histories of the East Side. Captured by: KJ Reynolds and Associates

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ʻIolani Palace

The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii beginning with Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani under the Kalākaua Dynasty, founded by her brother, King David Kalākaua. Iolani Palace is the last residence of the Hawaiian monarchy and the only royal palace in the US. (Wikipedia)

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Jefferson Memorial

Author of the Declaration of Independence, Statesman and Visionary for the founding of a Nation. Read More · Statue being lifted into place. History of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Bronze Statue being lifted into place within the Memorial Chamber. Last updated: July 11, 2016. National Mall and Memorial Parks. (National Park Service)

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Lincoln Heritage Museum

Abraham Lincoln is perhaps one of the most universally renowned and admired individuals in all of world history. His name is familiar in all corners of the globe. Visitors from all over the world come to the United States to learn more about who Abraham Lincoln was, as in many ways Lincoln is who America is. Our Lincoln Heritage Museum has been such a destination, as we witness visitors from nearly every state and many countries annually.

The Lincoln Heritage Museum allows visitors to appreciate the incredible life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. As Lincoln famously said in his Gettysburg Address, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” So it is for us to carry the lessons of Abraham Lincoln and his times to new generations. With that in mind, our mission is to interpret for the public the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and the world in which he lived—particularly as it pertained to Illinois—and to be an academic resource for students from elementary school through adulthood. We invite all to learn from Lincoln and live like Lincoln. (Lincoln Heritage Museum)

Captured by: Lincoln College

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“Air Force One” Boeing VC-137B

The Flying Oval Office

The first presidential jet plane, a specially built Boeing 707-120, is known as SAM (Special Air Missions) 970. This aircraft, as well as any other Air Force aircraft, carried the call sign “Air Force One” when the president was aboard. Delivered in 1959 to replace Eisenhower’s Super-Constellation, the high-speed jet transport is a flying Oval Office with a modified interior and sophisticated communication equipment.

Jet technology gave a president the opportunity to meet face-to-face with world leaders easily. SAM 970 has carried presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon as well as VIPs such as Nikita Khrushchev and Henry Kissinger.

By 1962, SAM 970 was replaced by a newer Boeing VC-137C. But SAM 970 remained in the presidential fleet ferrying VIPs and the Vice-President until June of 1996.

This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Museum of Flight)

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