The Most Unusual Buildings in Each State You Should Visit on Your Next Roadtrip

Shannon Quinn - August 26, 2022
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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5. Virginia: Monticello

Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, who began designing at age 26. Located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the Piedmont region, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres, with Jefferson using the labor of enslaved African people for extensive cultivation of tobacco and mixed crops, later shifting from tobacco cultivation to wheat in response to changing markets. The current nickel, a United States coin, features a depiction of Monticello on its reverse side.

Many people recognize Monticello because it is on the back of the nickle. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jefferson designed the main house using neoclassical design principles. Situated on the summit of an 850 ft -high peak in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap, the name Monticello derives from Italian meaning “little mountain”. Cabins for enslaved Africans who worked in the fields were farther from the mansion. (via Monticello)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

4. Washington: The Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library (SPL) is the public library system serving the city of Seattle, Washington. Seattle Public Library also founded the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL), which it administered until July 2008.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

All but one of Seattle’s early purpose-built libraries were Carnegie libraries. However, some have undergone significant alterations. Ballard’s former Carnegie library has since housed a number of restaurants and antique stores among other enterprises, while others such as the Fremont and Green Lake branches have been modernized and remain in use as libraries. (vis SPL)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

3. West Virginia: The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier is a luxury resort located in the Allegheny Mountains, West Virginia, in the United States. Since 1778, visitors have traveled to this part of the state to “take the waters” of the area. There are more than 55 indoor and outdoor activities and sports, and 36 retail shops. Greenbrier was built in 1913 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Governor of West Virginia Jim Justice subsequently bought the property and promised to return the hotel to its former status as a five-star resort. A total of 26 presidents have stayed at the hotel. Greenbrier is also the site of a massive underground bunker that was meant to serve as an emergency shelter for the United States Congress during the Cold War called “Project Greek Island.” (via Wikipedia)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

2. Wisconsin: Burke Brise Soleil at the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is an art museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its collection contains nearly 25,000 works of art. Alexander Mitchell donated all of his collection to constructing Milwaukee’s first permanent art gallery in the city’s history. In 1888, the Milwaukee Art Association was created by a group of German panorama artists and local businessmen.  

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1957 they moved into the newly built Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial. Aside from its galleries, the museum includes a cafe with views of Lake Michigan and a gift shop. (via MAM)

Credit: Cody Yellowstone

1. Wyoming: Old Town Trail

Looking for Wild West thrills? There’s a rodeo, a bizarre gun museum, and a store topped by a huge rifle. But the town’s biggest concentration of frontier charm isn’t on its main street. It’s on the fabricated main street of Old Trail Town, a history attraction on the western edge of Cody. Behind is a veterinary clinic, visible as a low, brown assemblage of buildings out on the rangeland.

Credit: Flickr

In the 1960s, Bob W. Edgar was an archeologist working for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. He was also a historian, a marksman and trick shooter, a trapper, and an artist. Edgar loved historic buildings that told the story of the old west. He noticed they had a tendency to disappear. He started to acquire and preserve a few. “Edgar opened Old Trail Town in 1967 with five buildings.  It also happened to be where Edgar lived, in a leased cabin near the highway to Yellowstone National Park. (via Old Town Trail)

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