Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse: the picturesque cliffside beacon that no longer calls to sailors but shines once a year in honor of a famous shipwreck.

The cliffside lighthouse is built on a 41-meters wall of rock overlooking Lake Superior. The structure was designed by lighthouse engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham and was completed in 1910 by the United States Lighthouse Service at a cost of $75,000, including the buildings and the land. It was built after the disastrous Mataafa Storm wrecked 29 ships in the area five years previous, and one of these shipwrecks, the Madeira, is located just north of the lighthouse. At the time of its construction, there were no roads to the area:…

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Hillandale Bridge: the abandoned bridge to nowhere that stands secluded in the woods of a Cleveland suburb

Many people have had conversations about the “abandoned Hillandale bridge to nowhere” and some even have reach it, either with or without spray paint in hand. This 1920s construction that has stood the test of time lies perched atop a hill on an old brick road in Euclid, Ohio, near a city park of the same name. And now exists, not by chance, literally as a bridge to nowhere. Money was poured into a bridge that was built to allow car traffic to a development that promised “high grade homes”…

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Senate bean soup: since time immemorial on the menu in the U.S. Senate ~

Bean soup has been served in the Senate dining room since time immemorial. However, its origins are as murky as what’s in the bowl. Apparently, around 1904, a bean soup showed up, and it’s been on the Senate menu ever since that time. According to legend, in 1903, Idaho Democratic Senator Frank Dubois demanded that bean soup be available every day at the Senate dining room, where it’s stayed on the menu for more than a hundred years, but no one has ever located any evidence of that resolution. Another…

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Lt. George Dixon and his lucky gold coin

According to the legend, Lieutenant George Dixon of the 21st Alabama Infantry Regiment was quite a lucky man. At least, at first. Shot at the battle of Shiloh, the ball from a Union soldier’s musket that hit him in the thigh should have taken his life, or at best his entire leg. In fact, serious arm and leg wounds during the Civil War were often treated by amputating the affected limb, the practice of which required nothing more than an ether-soaked rag over the nose and an improvised surgeon’s saw.…

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Election Cake: an American almost forgotten tradition

In the first known cookbook written in the United States, Amelia Simmons’s 1796 American Cookery, you’ll find some recipes that seem familiar like the pumpkin pie or the roast turkey, but also the so-called Election Cake. American Cookery’s recipe speak about “thirty quarts of flour, 10 pound butter, 14 pound sugar, 12 pound raisins, 3 doz eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy, 4 ounces cinnamon, 4 ounces fine colander seed, 3 ounces ground allspice; wet flour with milk to the consistence of bread over night, adding one quart yeast;…

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12 Ways Halloween is celebrated around the globe

In America, people associate Halloween with pumpkins, costumes, candy, and spooky stories or ghosts but, around the world, it could be a little different. The holiday might look slightly different this year since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, but we can reminisce on years past. If most places in the U.S. celebrate Halloween in much the same way, one city that stands apart is New Orleans. This town loves both to party and voodoo, so one can find things here they couldn’t anywhere else, from…

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Block Island Southeast Light and Mad Maggie, the ghost who hates men

Block Island Southeast Light is a lighthouse located on Mohegan Bluffs at the southeastern corner of Block Island, Rhode Island. Block Island is surrounded by submerged rocks and sandy shoals and many ships have met their end here, on what was often called the “stumbling block” of the New England coast. However, the six-mile-long island didn’t get its name from being a stumbling block, but rather by the Dutch explorer Adrian Block, who charted the area in 1614. Block Island Southeast Lighthouse is one of the most visually striking lighthouses…

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Graveyard at the end of Demon’s Road – Texas ~

There’s a remote, lonely dirt road outside of the university town of Huntsville, that for years has had the reputation as a place you don’t want to be after dark. The road, although not a Texas main artery, has the function of connecting two very busy provincial roads and for this reason many venture into the approximately 4 km of road that winds through desolate fields, woods, abandoned houses and the old Martha’s Chapel Cemetery. Its real name is Bowden Road, and today it would be almost forgotten if it…

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Penfield Reef Lighthouse – Connecticut

Penfield Reef, named after an early prominent Fairfield family, has for centuries been a dreaded hazard to mariners sailing Long Island Sound. Even as late as the middle of the nineteenth century, only a pair of buoys marked the reef, and ships were regularly hitting the rocks. The steamer Rip Van Winkle, loaded with passengers, ran aground on the reef in 1864, but miraculously disaster was narrowly avoided. Incidents like this led local mariners and merchants to protest loudly for a lighthouse to be placed on the reef. Penfield Reef…

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African Cemetery at Higgs Beach – Florida

Among modern Key West’s greatest characteristics is its inclusiveness. During the Civil War, Key West remained in the United States despite Florida having joined the secession, and African Americans on the island lived as free men long before it became the law of the land. In 1860, off the coast of Key West, where the U.S. Navy intercepted three ships holding 1,432 African men, women, and children bound for Cuba. So, the American ships, which were engaged in the illegal transatlantic slave trade, were forced to relinquish their human cargo.…

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19# Fruitcake: the gift that keeps on giving

American journalist and humorist Calvin Trillin theorized that there is only one fruitcake and that it is simply sent from family to family each year. What is true, is that most Americans turn their noses at the very thought of fruitcake even though, for some reason, this item keeps making the rounds and this is made possible because the cakes are soaked in alcohol or other liquors to keep them from go bad. Don’t believe me? This man sampled a cake that someone had kept as a family heirloom dating…

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International Car Forest of the Last Church~

The International Car Forest of the Last Church is the unusual dream project of two Nevada artists. Some artists work with paint, others with clay, marble or stone. Chad Sorg’s challenge was to make art with cars, buses and trucks and this “church” looks more similar to a druidic henge of junkers than any Christian chapel! The product of artists Chad Sorg and Mark Rippie, the Car Forest began when the Reno artist Chad Sorg was driving through Goldfield, Nevada, several years ago and saw a vehicle sticking out of…

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Lakewood, Washington: Historic Thornewood Castle and its ghosts

This magnificent three story manor home was built by Chester Thorne, who was one of the founders of the Port of Tacoma (a major seaport and top 10 U.S. container port), as a gift to his bride, Anna. After almost four years of works, the 2.500 square meters manor was finally ready in 1911 and only the very best went into its building, including 400-year-old bricks from an original English castle. Designed by a famous architect, Kirkland Cutter, this English Tudor/Gothic mansion, having 54 rooms, including 28 bedrooms and 22…

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George Parrot: the bandit who was transformed into a pair of shoes

When we talk about “Wild West”, referring, of course, to the conquest of the western territories of the United States, perhaps we do not have the real perception of how that era was dangerous and characterized by chilling events, not all linked to the genocide of Native Americans. Exposed at the Carbon County Museum in the town of Rawlins, Wyoming, there is a macabre trophy: a pair of shoes made of human skin, that of a man named George Parrot. The man, who was also known as Big Nose George,…

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The ghosts of Williamsburg – Illinois and Ridge Cemetery

The little girl, who had just three years old was gone from her rural home. Missing. Her parents, started down the road which snakes along the crest of Williamsburg Hill looking for their daughter, and they found her about halfway down the street to the old cemetery. Definitely relieved, they took her home. A week or so later, the family was in the car and passed the street that leads to the cemetery. The little girl said, as if everything is normal: “the people who live down there want me…

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The story of the almost disappeared town of Thurmond, West Virginia

On the shore of New River Gorge, in West Virginia, United States, lies the almost abandoned city of Thurmond. “Almost” because, the 2010 census, confirmed that five people still live there. The village saw its heyday during the coal industry peak in West Virginia, with a population that reached several hundred inhabitants. Thurmond was named after a captain of the Confederate army, WD Thurmond. He received the 73-acre site in 1873 as payment for a surveying job and decided to make this place his home. Other people joined him and…

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Okanogan Highland ghost towns: undisturbed relics from the Old West.

These former mining estabilishments hold a surprising abundance of undisturbed relics from the Old West. Scattered on the desolate plateaus of the Okanogan Highlands, a few kilometers south of the Canadian border, stand the quietly abandoned memories of pioneer homesteads: here some of gold rush townsites persist as historic monuments from a bygone era of boom then bust mineral exploration that brought intrepid Chinese miners and later white settlers to this corner of the Old West. Frontier towns like Bodie, Chesaw, and Molson briefly prospered during the late Victorian era…

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Mallow Bay: the largest fleet of sunken ships in the United States

If there were ever a place that could be described as a ship graveyard, it is the murky waters of Mallows Bay. The history of these maritime vessels in the U.S. is preserved in an unlikely place: at the bottom of a river! Here, nearly 200 military shipwrecks, dating as far back as the Revolutionary War and including ships from the Civil War and both World War I and World War II, were deliberately sunk over centuries, in an area of the Potomac River called Mallows Bay, in Maryland. At…

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Kenova’s Pumpkin House

Every year the former mayor of Kenova, West Virginia takes his historic home along the Ohio River and turns it into an incredible Halloween-theme attraction. All it takes is three weeks, hundreds of volunteers, and about 3,000 pumpkins! Kenova is located in far west West Virginia, at the split of the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers. The population, at the last count, was just over 3,000, so probably it’s no coincidence that Ric Griffith, owner of the house on Beech Street, on the National Register of Historic Places, decided that…

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Maryland: Smith Island Cake~

Here we are: This delicious island is known for its refined layer cakes! Smith Island is less and less inhabited. Once populated by over 800 people, the Methodist community twelve miles off the coast of Maryland now has fewer than 200 residents. The remaining men work mostly in a dwindling seafood industry, even as the coastline erodes and water levels rise. And the women from this remote place make something glamorous and delicious: Smith Island Cake! Grandmothers on the quiet island assemble this elegant dessert using 8-12 layers of yellow…

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Koláč: how a delicious Czech pastry became a texan speciality.

Non-Texans people probably may be surprised to know that their State has the largest population of Czech-Americans in the United States. Czech immigrants began coming to Texas in the 19th century, where they settled in little farming communities known as tiny Praha, in southeast of Austin. They brought with them, of course, the koláč, an open-faced pastry traditionally prepared with a sweet filling, which is now beloved across all the state. So, the Czech koláč became “ko-lah-chee” for Texans, and its fillings have evolved over time. Many Texans first experienced…

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The true (and dramatic) history of Pocahontas: the first American Native died in England.

Pocahontas, the Native American princess, is known by most as the sweet young redskin who fell in love with Englishman John Smith during the initial period of British colonization. In 1995, Disney produced a beautiful animated film, which tells the encounter and alleged lovestory between John Smith and Pocahontas. Although Disney movies are notoriously fantastical tales, many people have believed that, in this movie, true events were told, even if somewhat fictional. However, this representation is very distant from historical events, and from the girl’s real life. It seems that…

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Rocky Mountain Oysters: the “oysters” that doesn’t come from the ocean.

Here we are: If they are speaking about Rocky Mountain oysters, Cowboy caviar, or Prairie oysters, they not speak about a dish that come from the ocean. In fact, these “oysters” come from the underside of a bull. In American West and Western Canada, castrate the bulls for eating their testicles for legendary snacking is usual. Most gourmands enjoy their testicles battered, fried, and served with ketchup, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, or mayonnaise. The oysters come from a necessary process in the cattle industry, in fact castrating bulls is important…

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Acid on the pool: just a story about Racism in United States.

It was 11th June 1964, and The Civil Rights Act, which guarantee equality among all men in the United States, would become law 20 days later, exactly on July 2nd, but despite this, there is still time for an absurd episode of racism. Martin Luther King Junior go at the Monson Motor Lodge Motel in Saint Augustine, Florida, intending to eat at the restaurant. The owner of the Motel “only for whites” Jimmy Brock, prevents access, and Luther King is arrested and taken to prison. From prison he writes to…

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