Friday, May 31, 2013

Saint Joseph's Towers - Macon, Georgia

It is hard to miss the twin towers of Saint Joseph as the dominate over the Heart of Georgia's city skyline.  Not only is this church the third tallest building in Macon, it is situated at the top of a hill which makes it appear even taller than it's 200 foot spires already are!  Interesting fact about the area of Macon is that it is located on the fall line of the Ocmulgee River and in this very area is where the first Christian baptism east of the Mississippi River believed to have taken place in 1540 as De Soto made his way into central Georgia.  Continuing the Catholic faith, Jesuits from Louisiana were called upon to help build the growing parish in the new city of Macon and in turn built one of the most beautiful churches in the Southern United States.

Neo-Gothic Romancesque in design, this church houses over 60 grand stained glass windows made in Bavaria, Germany and numerous statues of saints and angels along with the altars are of white marble imported from Italian quarries.  This is most definitely one church that I would love to take my camera inside of and hopefully I will do that here in the near future!

Mr. M. Saunders' Town - Sandersville, Georgia

Named in honor of Mr. M. Saunders, who built his general store at the intersection of two major Indian trails in central Georgia.  The community of Saundersville was established in 1796 and later incorporated as Sandersville in 1812 as the county seat for Washington County, the tenth extablished county of Georgia's 159 counties today. 

Passing through on my way to Columbus, the county courthouse is what caught my eye (top row left) and I justified pulling over to 'stretch my legs' for a bit - and I am glad I did!  I think I happened to stumble upon one of Georgia's hidden treasures again by accident!  As an easy walk around the quaint downtown area, any visitor can take in the antebellum mansions that Sherman spared on his March to the Sea at the end of the American Civil War.  The white one up above on the left is my personal favorite.  I would not mind having a portico and deck like that one someday!  Since it's founding, the area has been dependent upon agriculture, but with the more recent discovery of kaolin, a white clay mineral, the mining industry has boosted Sandersville's economy once again!

I would love to have toured this old house that has once again been taken under someone's wing and is being remodeled and refurbished.  The wrought iron staircase outside of a local coffeeshop is more of a piece of art rather than a staircase to go up to the living quarters up above in the quaint little downtown!

USS Yorktown (CV-10) - Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Originally to be named the Bonhomme Richard, she was renamed while under construction in the Newport News Shipyard in honor of the her sunken predecessor the CV-5 in the Battle of Midway.  In her war-time service in the Pacific, the Yorktown earned herself 11 battle stars during World War II and a Presidential Citation, making her one of the most decorated ships to survive the war.  Although she did not participate in the Korean War, the Yorktown was active during the Vietnam War where she earned five more battle stars for her service as one of the greatest aircraft carriers to set sea.

Following her active fighting service, the Yorktown served as one of the recovery ships for the return of the Apollo 8 in 1968.  Soon after, she was deactivated from naval service and now is moored in the Charleston Harbor as a legendary museum dedicated to the United States Navy and her Veterans.

Unter den Gewölben: Saint Matthews Church - Charleston, South Carolina

Walking about the downtown of Charleston after an awesome but very filling seafood dinner, almost was washed away by the down-pouring rain!  Not only was I glad the doors were open that way I could stay somewhat dry but also to finally see the inside of this 'schöne kirche' (beautiful church).  I was surprised at the space of the interior considering the outside appears to be much smaller than it leads the eye to believe!  I also was able to test some of my German skills with some of the plaques along the walls of this Gothic revival church in the heart of Charleston.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Queen City of the Mountains - Knoxville, Tennessee

Cradled in the Great Appalachian Valley where two rivers meet to form the Tennessee River, Knoxville earned a the nicknames Queen City of the Mountains along with the Heart of the Valley.  Knoxville was the first capital city of the 16th State of the Union, although an interesting fact about the area is it was also bordering the State of Franklin, sometimes Frankland, but that was later absorbed into the Southwest Territory that became the State of Tennessee as we know it today.  Making the decision to go to Knoxville somewhat on a whim, I did not know what I was in for and boy, was I glad I did go!  As a history buff and a want to be architect, my heart was racing the whole time that I explored K-Town, which is how some of the locals refer to her.  One part of the skyline that caught my attention was the Sunsphere from the 1982 World's Fair.  On my next visit, I hope to go dine in the restaurant in the sphere and catch a full view of the city!  Heading to the downtown is a must for any visitor to the city!  There is always something going on in one of the plazas or venues on the strip for any taste of entertainment.

As soon as we crossed over the river, I pulled into a spot right by the Howard H. Baker US Courthouse (above left) and made my way around the 'hill' while my friend went about the other side more toward the university area.  I was hoping to find an unlocked door to the Church Street Methodist church but no such luck - maybe next time!  After wandering about the church grounds, I made my way southward to the under construction Henley Street Bridge which was intriguing to see how the pieces of the puzzle were all fitted together as this classically designed viaduct spanned the Tennessee River.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Home of Dolly Parton - Sevierville, Tennessee

Named in honor of one of the founding fathers and first governor of Tennessee and also the temporary state of Franklin or Frankland, Brigadier General John Sevier.  Making our way from exploring the Smokies to Knoxville, Tennessee, made a quick stop around the heart of this Tennessee gem.  I did not realize that this was the home of Dolly Parton until I came across her statue in front of the courthouse steps!  Driving on the way out I happened to catch this unique shot of the courthouse clock tower and the mountain ridges of the Appalachians beyond.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Domum Americam - Washington, District of Columbia

The Crown Jewel of Capitol Hill

          "...a pedestal waiting for a monument". - Pierre L'Enfant, architect and designer of Washington, District of Columbia by the order of President George Washington.

      When I took this picture, I thought to myself "That is a damn nice picture" and after scouring through all the pictures I have taken of the Capitol building exterior, I would say that this is my personal favorite.  With the combination of the deep gold and almost orange colors of the setting sun and the nearly perfect reflecting pool, this picture gives me great pride as a junior photographer.  Mind you, this image has not been altered with Photoshop (which I do not own and probably never will) or any other programs of that sort.  What you see here is what my eyes saw that day standing in the Lower Senate Park.

House of the Bells of Congress - Washington, D.C.

In my numerous trips to the Capitol City, this was the first time that I had ever ventured into the Old Post Office Pavilion.  Now that I have been, I highly recommend it to any first time visitor!  The view from the bell tower not only is spectacular it is also very helpful to orienting oneself around the streets of the National Mall.  Completed in the last year of the 19th century, this Revival style building was intended to do just that, revive the Mall.  The area surrounding the Old Post Office was deteriorating into slums and the political notables wanted to see change and an awakening to the preservation of the American City. 

Today, the Pavilion serves as private and government office space as well as a museum and shopping center, all of the traces its bygone use remain as rows of empty post boxes.  The Bells of Congress are replicas to those in Westminster Abbey and were given as a commemoration gift to the end of the Revolutionary War in 1983.  An interesting fact about these bells, they are the largest set of change ringing, or tuned, bells in North America.  If you happen to luck out and be on the grounds of the Mall on a Thursday afternoon, you can hear these bells chiming.

A superb view of many of the District's memorials such as the Washington Memorial.