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Category Archives: historic buildings

Photo Essay: Historic Fredericksburg

Vereins Kirche
Vereins Kirche. Fredericksburg, Texas.

White Elephant Saloon
The former White Elephant Saloon, built in 1888. Downtown Frederickburg.

White Oak School. Fredericksburg, Texas
White Oak School, circa 1920. On the grounds of the Pioneer Museum.

White Oak sign
White Oak Sign. (A modern addition)

Chalkboard, White Oak School
Chalkboard with German phrase. Something about work…

Wagons, Pioneer Museum
Wagons at the Pioneer Museum.

For more information on the Pioneer Museum, Vereins Kirche, and the White Oak School, visit the Pioneer Museum website.

An Afternoon in Austin: Surprising Behavior at the Capitol

Texas State Capitol Building

When we arrived in Austin, and the dome of the State Capitol Building came into view, I felt a sense of relief. I hadn’t brought our camera, and I was glad to see that I wasn’t missing a perfect photo-op. Scaffolding covered the dome. However, a wonderful surprise waited for us inside.

We went through security and then into the building’s rotunda. E. was very proud that she had received a “junior trooper” sticker on her way into the building. What happened next was pretty amazing…

E. had an AWESOME time exploring the capitol building.

She marched happily up the steps and looked down into the rotunda. She looked up into the interior of the dome. She marveled at the senate chamber and wondered if all of the wooden desks were for kids to use for drawing, and she begged me to please get her a brown desk instead of the white one she already has at home. E. checked out the courtrooms and raced down the building’s long corridors. When it was time to leave, she didn’t want to go.

Who would have thought a three year old would fall in love with a state capitol building?

State Capitol Building, Senate Chambers

Outings With Your Future Architect: Beautiful Buildings in San Antonio

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Most kids go through a building/constructing phase…maybe they love building castles with legos or just stacking baby blocks. Feed their architectural instincts with these outings to beautiful buildings in San Antonio.

San Antonio Missions: Teach your kids some basic architectural terms like “arch” and “dome.” Talk about the materials used to make the buildings (stone) and marvel at the sculptures that decorate the facade of Mission San José. In addition to the Alamo, San Antonio is home to four mission churches: San José, Concepción, San Juan, and Espada.

Alamo

Bexar County Courthouse: Talk about the difference in the appearance of the stone used to create this building compared to the white stone used to construct the missions. Take a look at the courthouse’s distinctive dome and talk about the terms “asymmetrical” and “symmetrical.” Point out the building’s cornerstone and look for others as you walk around downtown.

Courthouse Dome

–San Fernando Catholic Church: Walk across the street from the courthouse to the plaza in front of the church. Is this building symmetrical or asymmetrical? How is it different from the courthouse? What are the similarities between the two?

Beautiful San Fernando

–Tower Life Building: The most fascinating aspect of this neo-gothic skyscraper? Its gargoyles! Talk about skyscrapers and ask your child why he or she thinks the architects chose to build the tower so high.

Obviously, you’ll need to adjust these exercises to suit your child’s age and personality. The main objective is to encourage your kids to look at the buildings closely and notice the similarities and differences between them. The most important thing to remember as you head out the door? Have fun!

Morphing the Alamo: Fun with Picnik Editing

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I edited one of my photos of the Alamo using Picnik photo editing.

Alamo--1960's Effect
The Alamo, 1960’s Effect

Alamo--Neon
The Alamo, Neon Effect

Alamo--Circle Splash Effect by Jerry Lin
The Alamo, Circle Splash (an effect by Jerry Lin)

Alamo--Posterize
The Alamo, Posterize Effect

Alamo
The Alamo, the original photo before editing

You can check out my Flickr account by clicking here.

Sometimes the Best Adventures are Unexpected: Floore’s Country Store

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I didn’t expect to fall in love with Floore’s Country Store when we drove over to Old Town Helotes today. I expected that E. and I would walk around, take a few pictures, and get back in the car. But sometimes the best adventures are the ones you don’t expect.

As someone who is fascinated by Texas, particularly the small towns of the Hill Country, I knew I had to walk into Floore’s Country Store the minute I saw its large, over-the-top signs.

E Floore's

According to the Texas historical marker, Floore’s has hosted the likes of Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams. A passerby told us that he remembers sitting on the steps with his kids years ago and waiting to get a glimpse of Johnny Cash. This place sure has a history!

E. and I went inside and got drinks (a milk for E. and a Big Red for me), and took our drinks outside and sat on those same steps.

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The lesson I learned today? You never know when you’ll stumble onto a place you love. Your next adventure could be right around the corner!

For more travel photos, be sure to stop by the family travel blog Delicious Baby for Photo Friday.

Travel Photos: Boston’s Trinity Church

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I know, I know. I said I was finished talking about Boston. But I just can’t resist sharing these photos of Boston’s beautiful, historically significant Trinity Church.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Designed by architect H. H. Richardson, this builidng is considered an excellent example of the Romanesque revival style, meaning it was influenced by the architecture of 10-12th century Europe. When the church was opened in 1877, its design was unique compared to many American churches–instead of creating a long central aisle (nave), the architect used a Greek cross plan, meaning that the central aisle and transepts are of equal length. In other words, the church is focused around a central core rather than featuring a long aisle that leads to the front of the church.

When we stayed in Boston, our hotel was located near Copley Square, and we walked by Trinity Church almost everyday. It is definitely worth a visit. Guided and self-guided tours are offered for $6 for adults, and children 16 and under are free.

Books, A Brewery, and the Riverwalk Extension

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We usually go to storytime at the local library. It’s relatively quiet. The librarian who leads it is calm and polite. E. loves her. But today, I thought it would be fun to try something different, so we headed over to the Twig bookstore.

Storytime at Twig is the complete opposite of your local library. It’s crowded and loud and goofy. If this storytime was a T.V. show (weird analogy, I know) it would be SpongeBob SquarePants. Miss Anastasia makes sure it lives up to its name: Miss Anastasia’s Wild and Wacky Pre-Weekend TWIGLET Storytime! You can take part in the fun on Friday mornings at 10:30 a.m.

Twig is located in the Full Goods building at the former Pearl Brewery. Since its brewing days, the complex has been converted into a series of shops and offices. Its location near the San Antonio River, once a necessity when the water was needed for brewing, now provides visitors easy access to the Museum Reach portion of the riverwalk. Completed in 2009, this portion of the riverwalk has a much different feel than the original riverwalk that winds through downtown near landmarks such as the Alamo and the Casino Club Building. While the original riverwalk is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops, the Museum Reach portion is quieter and brings joggers and dog-walkers.

For a complete list of events at Pearl, check out their event calendar. And if you decide to visit Twig for storytime, be ready to bring your silly side.

When in Boston, Add the Library to Your List

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When you plan your travel itinerary, a trip to the public library probably isn’t at the top of your list of things to do. However, visitors to Boston should consider a stop at the main branch of the Boston Public Library.

Boston Public Library

A great resource when visiting the library is this online guide to the McKim Building, which sits across the street from Copley Square and Trinity Church in Boston’s Back Bay. Architecture enthusaists will be interested to learn that the building, which opened in 1895, was designed by the well-known New York firm of McKim, Meade, and White.

BPL staircase and main entrance

E. enjoyed climbing the library’s grand staircase, which is flanked by lion sculptures. She also enjoyed exploring the central courtyard, which was practically empty on the morning we visited.

Boston Public Library, interior

When you’re in the courtyard, be sure to check out this lovely fountain by American sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies:

BPL, courtyard fountain

Of course, admission to the library is free, so you can make a quick stop on your way to Old South Church or the Prudential Center if you’re short on time.

Stay tuned for more on Boston! Coming up: the famous duck tour, a trip to the Aquarium, and E.’s first subway ride.

Old South Church in Boston’s Back Bay

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As a fan of architecture, particularly Renaissance and Renaissance-inspired styles, I found plenty of beautiful buildings to explore in Boston. One of my favorites is the Old South Church, which can be found in the Back Bay neighborhood near Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.

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Inspired by the architecture of medieval Venice, architect Charles Amos Cummings began designing the church in 1872. You’ll find many Gothic design elements like round stained glass windows, pointed arches, and multi-colored stonework.

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In addition to being a significant building architecturally, Old South Church also has a rich history. This particular building was completed in 1875, but the congregation itself was formed in 1669. Famous members of the church included Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, William Dawes, and Phillis Wheatley.

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Like many historic buildings in Boston, Old South Church does not charge an admission fee. I felt very welcomed as I stepped inside the church and was even encouraged by the woman working at the information desk to take as many pictures as I wanted. This is a lovely, quiet place to visit with or without children.

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Texas Photo: Happy Texas Independence Day!

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What better way to celebrate Texas Independence Day than with a photo of the Alamo:

I haven’t lived here long enough to pretend to understand the real meaning and traditions of Texas Independence Day, but here are some links that focus on the historical significance of March 2, 1836.

Texas Independence Day links:

Texas Declaration of Independence

Texas Heritage Trails: Texas Independence Trail

Texas Revolution–Wikipedia

Texas Historical Commission

If you have a Texas-themed photo you’d like to share, please leave a link to it in the comments section.

And hey, while you’re at it, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter!

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