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

Shannon Quinn - August 26, 2022
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Credit: Winchester Mystery House

46. California: Winchester House

The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California, that was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearms magnate William Winchester. This Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion is renowned for its size, its architectural curiosities, and its lack of any master building plan. 

Credit: Winchester Mystery House

After her husband’s death in 1881, Sarah Winchester inherited more than US $20.5 million (equivalent to $576 million in 2021). She also received nearly 50% ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, giving her an income of roughly $1,000 per day, equivalent to $28,000 a day in 2021. After her infant daughter died of an illness known as marasmus, and her husband died of pulmonary tuberculosis, a Boston medium told her that she should leave her home in New Haven and travel West, where she must continuously build a home for herself and the spirits of people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles. (via Winchester Mystery House)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

45. Colorado: Bishop Castle

Bishop bought the land for the site for $450 when he was 15, and construction on what was originally intended to be a family project to build a cottage started in 1969. After Bishop surrounded the cottage with rocks, several neighbors noted that the structure looked something like a castle. Bishop took this into consideration and soon began building his castle. Every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1000 tons of rock to create this stone and iron fortress in the middle of nowhere.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bishop’s goal is to complete his castle before he dies. He has no thought of slowing down. Although the castle is mostly a hollow shell of cemented rocks and ornamental ironwork, his future plans — or at least the plans that he told us — include a moat and a drawbridge, a roller coaster mounted on the castle’s outer wall, and a balcony big enough to hold an orchestra. (via Roadside America)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

44. Connecticut: Gillette Castle

“Atop the most southerly hill in a chain known as the Seven Sisters, William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright, built this one hundred and eighty-four acre estate, the Seventh Sister. The focal point of his effort was a twenty four room mansion reminiscent of a medieval castle.”

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Gillette Castle and the adjoining property has fine woodlands, trails, and vistas are now administered for the enjoyment of present and future generations. This apparently would have pleased Gillette. (via Connecticut State Government)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

43. Delaware: Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House, also known as The Grand or Masonic Hall and Grand Theater, is a 1,208-seat theater for the performing arts in Wilmington, Delaware, United States. The four-story building was built in 1871 by the Delaware Grand Lodge of Masons to serve as a Masonic Temple and auditorium. It was designed in Second Empire style by Baltimore architect Thomas Dixon and incorporates symbolism from Freemasonry into the cast-iron facade. Its central pediment contains an Eye of Providence.

Today, The Grand is mostly used for orchestral music, because of its ties to classical music. Credit: Delaware Today

Historically, the Grand hosted a variety of operas, symphonies, Victorian melodramas, minstrel shows, burlesque, vaudeville, and other exhibitions, including performers such as Ethel Barrymore, “Buffalo Bill” Cody and “Texas Jack” Omohundro, and John Philip Sousa. For most of the twentieth century the Grand was operated exclusively as a movie theater, run by Warner Brothers from 1930 and eventually closing in 1967. It was reopened four years later and returned to programming emphasizing classical music. (via Wikiipedia)

Credit: Visit Central Florida

42. Florida: Singing Tower

Bok Tower Gardens is a 250-acre contemplative garden and bird sanctuary located atop Iron Mountain, north of Lake Wales, Florida, United States. Formerly known as the Singing Tower, the gardens’ attractions include the Singing Tower and its 60-bell carillon, the Bok Exedra, the Pinewood Estate, the Pine Ridge Trail, and the Visitor Center.

The Founder’s Room. Credit: Bok Tower Garden

Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark. The 205-foot Singing Tower was built upon one of the highest points of peninsular Florida, estimated to be 295 feet above sea level and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The national significance of the gardens and its tower come from their associations with Edward W. Bok and his team of designers. The adjacent Pinewood Estate is separately listed on the National Register as El Retiro. Bok Tower Gardens is open daily and an admission fee is charged. (via Wikipedia)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

41. Georgia: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

“The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta, Georgia is a traditional Hindu mandir, or place of worship, inaugurated on 26 August 2007 by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a denomination of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism headed by Mahant Swami Maharaj. The mandir located in the Lilburn suburb of Atlanta, was constructed in accordance with ancient Hindu architectural scriptures, and is the largest mandir of its kind outside of India.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“The mandir is made of 34,450 pieces of hand-carved Italian marble, Turkish Limestone and Indian pink sandstone, situated on landscaped grounds spread over 30 acres. The mandir complex also includes a large assembly hall, family activity center, classrooms, and an exhibition on the key tenets of Hinduism.” (via BAPS)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

40. Hawaii: Iolani Palace

The Iolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaiii beginning with Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty (1845) and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani (1893) under the Kalākaua Dynasty. It is located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the U.S. state of Hawaii. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the building was used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaii until 1969. The palace was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978. ʻIolani Palace is the only royal palace on US soil.”

Credit: Mark Miller for Wikimedia Commons

Through the efforts of acquisitions researchers and professional museum staff, and donations of individuals, many original Palace objects have been returned. Government grants and private donations funded reproduction of original fabrics and finishes to restore Palace rooms to their monarchy era appearance. ʻIolani Palace opened to the public in 1978 after structural restoration of the building was completed. In the basement is a photographic display of the Palace, orders and decorations given by the monarchs, and an exhibit outlining restoration efforts. (via Iolani Palace)

Credit: Dog Bark Park

39. Idaho: The Dog Bark Park Inn

The Dog Bark Park Inn is a hotel located along Highway 95 in Cottonwood, Idaho. The hotel is built in the shape of a beagle, making it a famous landmark in the state. It is colloquially known as “Sweet Willy” by local residents. The hotel, which is located in north central Idaho, is a two-bedroom bed and breakfast which also features dog-themed contents.

Credit: Dog Bark Park

The hotel books their rooms quickly. So if you want to stay in this iconic dog-shaped inn, we recommend planning literally a year ahead of time ifi you want to go there. (via The Dog Bark Park Inn)

Credit: Chicago Architecture Center

38. Illinois: Aqua Tower

Aqua is an 82-story mixed-use, primarily residential skyscraper in the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Designed by a team led by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, with James Loewenberg of Loewenberg & Associates as the Architect of Record, it includes five levels of parking below ground. The building’s eighty-story, 140,000 sq ft (13,000 m2) base is topped by a 82,550 sq ft (7,669 m2) terrace with gardens, gazebos, pools, hot tubs, a walking/running track and a fire pit. Each floor covers approximately 16,000 sq ft (1,500 m2).

Credit: Inhabitat

Aqua was awarded the Emporis Skyscraper Award as 2009 skyscraper of the year, and was shortlisted in 2010 for the biennial International Highrise Award.  When it was completed, the skyscraper was the world’s tallest building designed by a woman. It was surpassed in 2020 by the nearby St. Regis, also located in Chicago and designed by Studio Gang Architects. (via Studio Gang)

Credit: Historic Hotels of America

37. Indiana: West Baden Springs Hotel

The West Baden Springs Hotel, formerly known as the West Baden Inn, is part of the French Lick Resort and is a national historic landmark hotel in West Baden Springs, Orange County, Indiana. It is known for the 200-foot (61 m) dome covering its atrium. Prior to the completion of the Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1955, the hotel had the largest free-spanning dome in the United States.

Credit: Historic Hotels

From 1902 to 1913 it was the largest dome in the world. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the hotel became a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and one of the hotels in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Hotels of America program.” (via French Lick Resort)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

36. Iowa: Iowa State Capitol Building

The Iowa State Capitol, commonly called the Iowa Statehouse, is in Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines. It was constructed between 1871 and 1886, and is the only five-domed capitol in the country. Located at East 9th Street and Grand Avenue, the Capitol is set atop a hill and offers a panoramic view of the city’s downtown and the West Capitol Terrace. Various monuments and memorials are to its sides and front, including the Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument and the Lincoln and Tad statue.

Credit: EverGreene

The architectural design of the Capitol, rectangular in form, with great windows and high ceilings, follows the traditional pattern of 19th-century planning for public buildings. A modified and refined Renaissance style gives the impression of strength and dignity combined with utility. The building measures 364 feet (111 m) from north to south and 247 feet (75 m) from east to west. (via Iowa Gov)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

35. Kansas: The Big Well

The Big Well is a large historic water well in Greensburg, Kansas, United States. Visitors entered the well for a small fee, descending an illuminated stairway to the bottom of the well. Construction began in 1887 at a cost of $45,000 to provide water for the Santa Fe and Rock Island railroads and finished construction in 1888.  It was designated a National Museum in 1972; in 1973 it was awarded an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Under the name of “Greensburg Well,” it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1972. In 2008, the well was named one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. It is billed as the world’s largest hand-dug well, at 109 feet (33 m) deep and 32 feet (9.8 m) in diameter. The Well of Joseph in the Cairo Citadel at 280 feet (85 m) deep and the Pozzo di S. Patrizio (St. Patrick’s Well) built in 1527 in Orvieto, Italy, at (200 ft) deep by (43 ft) wide are both actually larger. (via Big Well)

Credit: Atlas Obscura

34. Kentucky: Bondurant’s Pharmacy

“Bondurant’s Pharmacy has been in operation since 1974. The pharmacy was designed by founder Joe Bondurant, not surprisingly, after a trip to Las Vegas. Few remember when pharmacists mixed drugs themselves in antiquated mortar and pestles, crushing and blending chemicals, but Joe Bondurant built a unique pharmacy to evoke smiles from the faces of his patients and passers-by. (The mortar, you’ll notice if you look closely, is modeled on the shape of a fried-chicken bucket.)”

The building was changed to a martini because it was bought by a liquor store. Credit: Atlas Obscura

“The building is 32 feet in diameter and 30 feet tall, not including the 10 foot tip of the pestle above the roof. The second floor was originally designed as an apartment for the pharmacist. The pharmacy is equipped with two drive-thru windows, one for ordering, another for pick-up, as well as parking spaces for customers. Joe Bondurant operated the pharmacy until 2003, when he sold the building to Eric Brewer who carried the business on until 2011. Today, the giant mortar and pestle house a drive-thru liquor store.” (via Atlas Obscura)

Credit: Wikimedis Commons

33. Louisiana: The Pontalba Buildings

The Pontalba Buildings form two sides of Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. They are matching red-brick, one-block-long, four‑story buildings built between 1849–1851 by the Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba. The ground floors house shops and restaurants; and the upper floors are apartments which, reputedly, are the oldest continuously-rented such apartments in the United States.

Credit: Gumbo City Tours

Baroness Pontalba, an accomplished businesswoman, invested in real estate, purchasing the land on the upriver and downriver sides of the Place d’Armes. She constructed two Parisian-style row house buildings between 1849–1851, at a cost of over $300,000. The buildings include the first recorded instance in the city of the use of cast iron ‘galleries’, which set a fashion that soon became the most prominent feature of the city’s residential architecture. (via Wikipedia)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

32. Maine: Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The light station sits on a head of land at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor, which is within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Completed in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. The light station is automated, and the tower, beacon, and foghorn are maintained by the United States Coast Guard, while the former lighthouse keepers’ house is a maritime museum within Fort Williams Park. (via Portland Head Light)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you enjoy the spookier side of tourism, this destination is also filled with paranormal activity. ome of the rumored ghostly keepers still climbing the stairs to the light tower are keepers Joshua Strout and Barzillai Delano who were very active at the lighthouse and were known to care quite a bit about their job. It is suspected one of their ghosts is responsible for keeping the light lit for over a week after the late keeper had died.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

31. Maryland: The American Visionary Art Museum

“The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is an art museum located in Baltimore, Maryland’s Federal Hill neighborhood at 800 Key Highway. The museum specializes in the preservation and display of outsider art. Baltimore agreed to give the museum a piece of land on the south shore of the Inner Harbor under the condition that its organizers would clean up residual pollution from a copper paint factory and a whiskey warehouse that formerly occupied the site. It has been designated by Congress as America’s national museum for visionary art.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“AVAM’s 1.1 acre campus contains 67,000 square feet of exhibition space and a permanent collection of approximately 4,000 pieces. The museum’s Main Building features three floors of exhibition space, and the campus includes a Tall Sculpture Barn and Wildflower Garden, along with large exhibition and event spaces in the Jim Rouse Visionary Center. While the museum has no staff curators, preferring to use guest curators for its shows. Rather than focusing shows on specific artists or styles, it sponsors themed exhibitions with titles such as Wind in Your Hair and High on Life. The museum’s founder, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, takes pride in the fact that AVAM is “pretty un-museumy”. (via AVAM)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

30. Massachusetts: Ray and Maria Stata Center

“The Ray and Maria Stata Center or Building 32 is a 430,000-square-foot (40,000 m2) academic complex designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The building opened for initial occupancy on March 16, 2004. It sits on the site of MIT’s former Building 20, which had housed the historic Radiation Laboratory, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The building’s address is 32 Vassar Street.”

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“The building has a number of small auditoriums and classrooms used by the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department (EECS, Course 6), as well as other departments and on-campus groups. Research labs and offices of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), as well as the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy (Course 24) occupy the upper floors. Academic celebrities such as Noam Chomsky, Ron Rivest, and World Wide Web Consortium founder Tim Berners-Lee also have offices in the building.” (via Wikipedia)

Credit: The Guardian Building

29. Michigan: The Guardian Building

“The Guardian Building is a landmark skyscraper in the United States, located at 500 Griswold Street in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, within the Financial District. The Guardian is a class-A office building owned by Wayne County, Michigan and serves as its headquarters. Built in 1928 and finished in 1929, the building was originally called the Union Trust Building and is a bold example of Art Deco architecture, including art moderne designs.”

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“At the top of the Guardian Building’s spire is a large U.S. flag, complementing the four smaller flags atop nearby 150 West Jefferson. The building has undergone recent award-winning renovations. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 29, 1989, and the associated Detroit Financial District is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Guardian building includes retail and a tourist gift shop.” (via Guardian Building)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

28. Minnesota: Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

“The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is an art museum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1934 as University Gallery, the museum was originally housed in an upper floor of the University’s Northrop Auditorium. In 1993, the museum moved to its current building, designed by the Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry, and renamed in honor of art collector and philanthropist Frederick R. Weisman. Widely known as a “modern art museum,” its 20,000+ acquisitions include large collections of Marsden Hartley, Alfred Maurer, Charles Biederman, Native American Mimbres pottery, and traditional Korean furniture.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Frederick R. Weisman (April 27, 1912 – September 11, 1994) was a Minneapolis native who became well known as an art collector in Los Angeles. In 1982 Weisman purchased an estate in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles that would serve as a showcase for his personal collection of 20th-century art. When he opened the art collection to the public, he wanted to share the experience of living with art, rather than the usual, more formal protocol of seeing art in a gallery or museum. The estate remains the home of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation to this day.” (via Weisman Art Museum)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

27. Mississippi: Longwood Mansion

“Longwood, also known as Nutt’s Folly, is a historic antebellum octagonal mansion located at 140 Lower Woodville Road in Natchez, Mississippi, United States. Built in part by enslaved people, the mansion is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and is a National Historic Landmark.Longwood is the largest octagonal house in the United States. ​​The mansion is known for its octagonal plan, byzantine onion-shaped dome, and the contrast between its ornately finished first floor and the unfinished upper floors.”

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“Samuel Sloan, a Philadelphia architect, designed the home in 1859 for cotton planter Haller Nutt. Work was halted in 1861 at the start of the American Civil War. Nutt died of pneumonia in 1864, leaving the work incomplete. Of the 32 rooms planned for the house, only nine rooms on the basement floor were completed. Haller Nutt’s never-finished Natchez home, Longwood, was the last burst of Southern opulence before war and the federal ban on enslaving people brought the cotton barons’ dominance to an end. Longwood survived decades of neglect and near-abandonment to become one of Natchez’ most popular attractions. Longwood is owned and operated as a historic house museum by the Pilgrimage Garden Club; it is also available for rent.” (via Natchez Travel)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

26. Missouri: Gateway Arch

“The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot-tall (192 m) monument in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, it is the world’s tallest arch and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. Some sources consider it the tallest human-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States and officially dedicated to “the American people”, the Arch, commonly referred to as “The Gateway to the West”, is a National Historic Landmark in Gateway Arch National Park and has become an internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, as well as a popular tourist destination.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“The Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947; construction began on February 12, 1963, and was completed on October 28, 1965, at an overall cost of $13 million(equivalent to $83 million in 2018).The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967. It is located at the site of the founding of St. Louis on the west bank of the Mississippi River.” (via Gateway Arch)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

25. Montana: Montana State Capitol Building

“The Montana State Capitol is the state capitol of the U.S. state of Montana that houses the Montana State Legislature which is located in the state capital of Helena at 1301 East Sixth Avenue. The building was constructed between 1896 and 1902 with wing-annexes added between 1909 and 1912. A design competition for the building was conducted in 1896. The commission selected a design by George R. Mann as the winner. The new Commission abandoned Mann’s plan as being too costly, and had a second design competition, won by Charles Emlen Bell and John Hackett Kent, of Bell & Kent of Council Bluffs, Iowa. In order to have their design built, Bell & Kent relocated their office to Helena.”

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“The winning design by Bell & Kent had been altered already during the construction phase, when in 1901 the commission asked for the structure to be made more imposing by increasing the height of the dome. Kent opposed the changes, as his original low spherical dome was meant to be “pure Greek”, but Bell advocated the commission’s request. Between 1909 and 1912, the building was extended by the addition of two new wings on the eastern and western sides.This work was executed by Link & Haire, architects of Butte, with F. M. Andrews & Company of New York as consulting architects.” (via Montana gov)

International Quilt Study Center & Museum , Location: Lincoln NE, Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects .

24. Nebraska: International Quilt Study Center & Museum

The International Quilt Museum was founded in 1997 when native Nebraskans Ardis and Robert James donated their collection of nearly 950 quilts to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Their contribution became the centerpiece of what is now the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world.  In 2015, the museum opened a privately funded expansion that doubled its collections storage and gallery space.

Credit: International Quilt Study Center

The quilts range from early examples of American and European quilts to contemporary studio quilts and international quilts. The collection now numbers more than 6000 quilts from fifty countries, dating from the 17th century to the present. Faculty and curatorial staff, visiting scholars and graduate student researchers pursue the study of the world’s quilt heritage at the center, and an ongoing acquisitions program seeks to document the full scope of global quilting traditions. via International Quilt Museum)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

23. Nevada: Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Keep Memory Alive was founded by Larry Ruvo, senior managing partner of Southern Wines and Spirits, in memory of his father, Lou Ruvo, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.. KMA supports the mission of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and has held several star-studded galas, attended by celebrities and notables from around the world. It has become one of Las Vegas’ most important charity initiatives and a key participant in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Since its inception, the event has raised more than $20 million towards achieving its goal – the realization of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The center has become a national resource for the most current research and scientific information for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease); also focusing on prevention, early detection, and education. (via Cleveland Clinic)

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22. New Hampshire: Mount Washington Hotel

The hotel was constructed between 1900 and 1902 at a cost of $1.7 million. Subsequently, Stickney began work on his Mount Washington Hotel. He brought in 250 Italian artisans to build it, particularly the granite and stucco masonry. Construction started in 1900 on the Y-shaped hotel, which opened on July 28, 1902. At its completion, the hotel boasted over 2,000 doors, 12,000 windows, and over eleven miles of plumbing.

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Under its capable first manager, John Anderson, the hotel was a success. But the advent of income tax, Prohibition, and the Great Depression curtailed the hospitality business. In 1936, Mrs. Stickney’s nephew, Foster Reynolds, inherited the hotel, but it closed in 1942 because of World War II. In 1944, a Boston syndicate bought the extensive property for about $450,000. Each bedroom carried a plaque outside its door identifying which country’s representative at that conference had stayed in that room. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. (via Omni Hotels)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

21. New Jersey: Union Hotel

The Union Hotel is a historic landmark located on Main Street in Flemington, New Jersey. It is a contributing property to the Flemington Historic District.First constructed by Neal Hart in 1814, it served as a gathering place for well-to-do stagecoach passengers and socialites throughout the 19th Century, as well as many local characters and tourists visiting the area. The exterior of the present building dates to 1878.

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It gained national notoriety in the early months of 1935 when the trial of Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping of Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. was conducted directly across the street at the Hunterdon County Courthouse and members of the national media covering the trial all stayed at the hotel. Decades later the property was purchased by new owners, renovated, restored, and converted into what is now officially known as the Union Hotel Restaurant. Murals created by Carl Ritz with the assistance of Kurt Wiese adorn the hotel. (via Wikipedia)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

20. New Mexico: Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking (Tiwa) Native American tribe of Puebloan people. It lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico. The pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. This has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taos Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos.  A tribal land of 95,000 acres (38,000 ha) is attached to the pueblo, and about 4,500 people live in this area.

Tao Pueblo has a long history because it was a home to tribal people. Credit: Taos Pueblo

The pueblo was constructed in a setting backed by the Taos Mountains of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Its headwaters come from Blue Lake, or Ba Whyea, in the nearby mountains. Taos Pueblo’s most prominent architectural feature is a multi-storied residential complex of reddish-brown adobe, built on either side of the Rio Pueblo. The pueblo was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960. As of 2010, about 150 people live in the historical pueblo full-time. (via New Mexico)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

19. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim, is an art museum at 1071 Fifth Avenue on the corner of East 89th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It is the permanent home of a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions throughout the year.  It adopted its current name in 1952, three years after the death of its founder Solomon R. Guggenheim.

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In 1959, the museum moved from rented space to its current building, a landmark work of 20th-century architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Its unique ramp gallery extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building to end just under the ceiling skylight.  The museum’s collection has grown over eight decades and is founded upon several important private collections, beginning with that of Solomon R. Guggenheim.  In 2013, nearly 1.2 million people visited the museum, and it hosted the most popular exhibition in New York City. (via Guggenheim)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

18. North Carolina: Biltmore Estate Mansion 

Biltmore Estate is a historic house museum and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 sq ft of floor space. Still owned by George Vanderbilt’s descendants, it remains one of the most prominent examples of Gilded Age mansions.

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Vanderbilt named his estate Biltmore, combining De Bilt (his ancestors’ place of origin in the Netherlands) with more. Vanderbilt bought nearly 700 parcels of land, including over 50 farms and at least five cemeteries; a portion of the estate was once the community of Shiloh. A spokesperson for the estate said in 2017 that archives show much of the land “was in very poor condition, and many of the farmers and other landowners were glad to sell. (via Biltmore)

Credit: State Museum of North Dakota

17. North Dakota: North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum

Experience North Dakota’s heritage throughout the museum spaces. The Northern Lights Atrium is a stunning combination of architecture and symbolism, and the outdoor Pembina River Plaza features specimens from our geologic past. Find treasures in the new Museum Store, and enjoy refreshments at the James River Café.  After you explore the museum, take a walk on our beautiful grounds, part of the Capitol Arboretum Trail.

Credit: State Museum of North Dakota

From a life-size T. rex skeleton cast to a 1950s soda shop, you will find connections from your own life with your experience here. Our goal is “history for everyone.” The North Dakota Heritage Center is home to the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) and the State Museum, the State Archives, the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation, and the North Dakota Geological Survey paleontologists. Admission is free, every day. (via North Dakota State Museum)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

16. Ohio: Longaberger Basket Building

The Longaberger Company is an American manufacturer and distributor of handcrafted maple wood baskets and other home and lifestyle products. The company opened in 1973, was acquired in 2013 by CVSL, Inc., and closed in 2018. The following year, Xcel Brands acquired the intellectual property and relaunched the brand, expanding it to include home goods such as furniture, food, jewelry and other handcrafted products.

Credit: Atlas Obscura

“Founded by Dave Longaberger, the family-owned and -operated company used multi-level marketing to sell its products. At its peak in 2000, it had $1 billion in sales, employed more than 8,200 people directly, and had about 45,000 independent distributors selling its products directly to customers. It is a well-known example of novelty architecture, since it takes the shape of the company’s biggest seller, the “Medium Market Basket”. (via Atlas Obscura)

Credit: Price Tower

15. Oklahoma: Price Tower

“The Price Tower is a nineteen-story, 221-foot-high tower at 510 South Dewey Avenue in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was built in 1956 to a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the only realized skyscraper by Wright, and is one of only two vertically oriented Wright structures extant (the other is the S.C. Johnson Wax Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin).”

Credit: Frank Lloyd Wright

“The Price Tower Arts Center is the art complex at Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Features includes a museum, tours of the historic tower, a hotel and restaurant. The museum galleries feature changing exhibits. Collections include modern art, works on paper, furniture, textiles and design. The center owns some significant pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright and renowned Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff.” (via Price Tower)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

14. Oregon: Pittock Mansion

The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style château in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, United States. The mansion was originally built in 1914 as a private home for London-born Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana Burton Pittock. It is a 46-room estate made of sandstone.”

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Modeled after Victorian architecture, the mansion is situated on an expanse in the West Hills that provides panoramic views of Downtown Portland. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Paranormal lovers rejoice! This is another very haunted destination; said to be one of the most haunted homes in Oregon. (via Pittock Mansion)

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13. Pennsylvania: Fallingwater

Fallingwater is a house designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in the Laurel Highlands of southwest Pennsylvania, about 70 miles (110 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. It is built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run in the Mill Run section of Stewart Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The house was designed to serve as a weekend retreat for Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann, the owner of Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann’s Department Store.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The house was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 11th, 1976. In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named Fallingwater the “best all-time work of American architecture” and in 2007, it was ranked 29th on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture according to the AIA. The house and seven other Wright constructions were inscribed as a World Heritage Site under the title, “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright”, in 2019. (via Fallingwater

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12. Rhode Island: The Breakers

The Breakers is a Gilded Age mansion located at 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, US. It is a 70-room mansion, with a gross area of 125,339 square feet (11,644.4 m2) and 62,482 square feet (5,804.8 m2) of living area on five floors, was designed by Richard Morris Hunt in the Renaissance Revival style; the interior decor was by Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman Jr.

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The footprint of the house covers approximately 1 acre (4,000 m2) or 43,000 square feet of the 14 acres (5.7 ha) estate on the cliffs overlooking Easton Bay of the Atlantic Ocean.  It is also a contributing property to the Bellevue Avenue Historic District. The property is owned and operated by the Newport Preservation Society as a museum and is open for visits all year.(via Newport Mansions)

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11. South Carolina: The Calhoun Mansion

The Williams Mansion (formerly called the Calhoun Mansion) is a Victorian house in Charleston, South Carolina. The house was built in 1875 and 1876 for George W. Williams, a businessman, according to plans drawn by W.P. Russell.  The 24,000-square-foot house has thirty main rooms and many more smaller rooms. The main hall is 50 feet long and 14 feet wide. 

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It opened as a hotel starting in 1914. Attorney Gedney Howe and his wife, Patricia, bought the house in 1976 and undertook a restoration. In 2020, the home officially returned to its original name, the Williams Mansion. The owner stated he wished to avoid any implication that John C. Calhoun lived in the home. (via Calhoun Mansion)

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10. South Dakota: Corn Palace

The Corn Palace, commonly advertised as The World’s Only Corn Palace and the Mitchell Corn Palace, is a multi-purpose arena/facility located in Mitchell, South Dakota, United States. The Moorish Revival building is decorated with crop art; the murals and designs covering the building are made from corn and other grains, and a new design is constructed each year. 

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The Corn Palace serves as a venue for community events. Each year, the Corn Palace is celebrated with a citywide festival, the Corn Palace Festival. Historically it was held at harvest time. It is also home to the Dakota Wesleyan University Tigers and the Mitchell High School Kernels basketball teams. (via Corn Palace)

This building was created because of one man’s guitar-shaped dreams. Credit: Road Arch

9. Tennessee: The Grand Guitar

Joe Morrell dreamed for years of building a building shaped like a giant guitar. On May 13, 1983, it opened to the public. Seventy feet long and three stories tall, it was painted to resemble a Martin Dreadnought acoustic guitar. It was accented with a gargantuan saddle bridge, sound hole, pick guard, fingerboard, turning keys, and strings. Inside, the building housed a gift shop, a recording studio, a country music AM radio station, and Morrell’s personal collection of hundreds of musical instruments, including one made of matchsticks, another shaped like a pig, and a third made from a dead armadillo.”

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But by then Joe Morrell was dead, and the building had been abandoned for years, its paint faded and peeling, its nylon strings broken and sagging. Years passed and the building remained empty and forlorn. If it could play a country music song, it would have been a sad one. The developer had Grand Guitar torn down on August 16, 2019.

(via Roadside America)

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8. Texas: Prada Marfa

Prada Marfa is a permanent sculptural art installation by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, located along U.S. Route 90 in Jeff Davis County, Texas, United States, 1.4 miles (2.3 km) northwest of Valentine, and about 26 miles (42 km) northwest of Marfa (its namesake city). The installation is in the form of a Prada storefront and it was inaugurated on October 1, 2005. The artists described the work as a “pop architectural land art project.

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Realized with the assistance of American architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello the construction cost $120,000. The original intent was that the building would not be repaired, but would rather gradually degrade into its surroundings. This plan was revised after vandals graffitied the exterior and stole its contents, the night the sculpture was completed. (via Wikipedia)

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7. Utah: Beehive House

The Beehive House was constructed in 1854, two years before the neighboring Lion House was built (also a residence of Young’s). Both homes are one block east of the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square on South Temple street in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Credit: Church of Jesus Christ

Young was a polygamist, and the Beehive House was designed to accommodate his large family. The Beehive House also became his official residence as governor of Utah Territory and president of the LDS Church. Upon its completion, Young briefly shared the Beehive House with his senior wife Mary Ann Angell. Young’s first polygamous wife, Lucy Ann Decker Young, possibly due to her seniority, became hostess of the Beehive House and lived there with her nine children. (via Church of Jesus Christ)

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6. Vermont: Dog Chapel

In 2000, the Dog Chapel was introduced to the world as a symbol of peace, love, and remembrance. The Chapel has become a unique and moving physical embodiment of the unending love people have to give.

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Several times a year, the Stephen Huneck Gallery on Dog Mountain hosts unforgettable Dog Parties. Hundreds of people with hundreds of dogs attend these festivities. Dogs are free to play, swim, greet one another, and of course sit by the food tables and ask for food (which we provide in abundance with food trucks for the dogs and their people). Everyone has a ball! (via Dog Chapel)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.  

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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.

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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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