NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Washoe County Courthouse

This post was hiding in the draft folder since the trip that Cory and I made to Reno in 2014

When Cory and I visited Reno back in 2014 one of the places we visited was the Washoe County Courthouse.

In 1909, architect Frederic DeLongchamps won the design competition for the new courthouse, marking the first solo commission of his career. Clad in stone, the building is Classical Revival with a Beaux Arts influence, featuring decorative elements in terra cotta. 

Historically speaking it is significant for playing a role in the divorce industry in Nevada during the first half of the 20th century.  This was a time when divorce was much more difficult elsewhere but was legal in Nevada and liberal residency requirements were enacted. In 1931, more than 4,800 divorces were processed in northern Nevada, most through this courthouse, making Reno's economy boom with $5,000,000 being spent per year in Reno by divorcing parties.

Cory, 2014

A copper dome with ribs ending in fanciful brackets crowns the roof of the courthouse. Underneath the dome, a massive stained glass installation soars above the original entrance and a grand stairway leads to the second floor.

Up the stairs I posed in front of a mural showing the new courthouse next to the old red brick one.

Cory isn't the only one who looks younger, who is that young girl?  What a difference 5 years can make...

More finds from the draft folder to come before the end of the year, I'm determined to get them all dusted off and posted!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reedsburg Post Office Mural

This summer I remembered to swing in to Reedsburg on my work route.  The sun was actually out!  We had nothing but rain from July to October these parts.

We'll be trading tractors in for boats if the rain continues to pour down like that in the next few years!  Here's the post office mural in Reedsburg, only a handful left to find in the state.

This one is titled "Dairy Farming" and was painted by Richard Jansen in 1940.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

40 Minutes of Sunshine

This is a post showing summer in Wisconsin

Back in May or June I wanted to stop for a walk on a work day and made a quick detour to Table Bluff on the Ice Age Trail to enjoy the views.

I was early for the big summer bloom show that happens up on the bluff, but I did get to catch some early Columbine and didn't have to fight mosquitoes to find them!

Usually the Corydalis I come upon in the wild is pink and yellow, but this area had some lavendar that was lovely.

The lovely blue-violet of Prairie Spiderwort is best seen mid-day as it opens in the morning and closes at night.

I think the picture above is a type of foxglove, but if anyone knows different feel free to correct me!

Hello, Flowers!
That's what the flowers see when I bend down to say hello!  They are probably thinking, quit blocking the sun, Lady!  I only had 40 minutes to enjoy the sunshine, but they had all day so I didn't feel too badly.  And now we are heading into the time of year where the sun gets more scarce so what a lovely thing to find this unfinished post.

I wound through the woods a bit, happy for the shade, but couldn't linger too long since I had clients to see. I can't remember if I was too early for the Mayflower or too late, but I didn't see any blooming this year.

I wasn't the only one out enjoying Table Bluff, as I was going in a class trip was heading out.  What a great way to end the school year!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Marshall Field's Mosaic

This post is an installment from a trip to Chicago in June with Katrina

Each clock is  7¾ tons of cast bronze and hangs from ornamental ironwork.
Originally the clocks were black, but over time they assumed a distinctive green patina.

When in Chicago I never tire of passing Macy's, which is still Marshall Field's to me and always will be.  Towering granite columns front the 9-story structure and two massive Great Clocks punctuate the corners of the store on Randolph and Washington Streets.  The Chicago landmark has been around since 1893!

Looking up from the ground floor

Going to Marshall Field's was a Christmas event we did on occasion.  For the holidays they decorated their storefront windows, and in 1999 the theme was the 12 Days of Christmas.

Katrina in front of "Two Turtle Doves" in 1999

Installed in 1907 and designed by Louis C. Tiffany, the Tiffany dome is both the first dome to be built in favrile iridescent glass and is the largest glass mosaic of it's kind. It contains over 1.6 million pieces and covers  6,000 square feet. "Favrile" means handmade and the iridescent effect was obtained by mixing different colors of glass while hot.  If you desire a close-up view you can go up to the fifth floor, but we did not have time on that day.

Maybe one of these days we will visit Chicago again in December, but it is awfully cold in the Windy City in December!  Maybe I'll keep an eye on the weather this year and if we get a warm-up we can spend a day in the city.

Renowned as a forward-thinking manager, Marshall Field was the first major retailer to offer revolving credit; money-back guarantees and unconditional refunds; free delivery; female staffers; a European buying office; a bridal registry; in-store dining; and in-store book signings.  A few more posts from Chicago in June and then hopefully I will have some fall color to share!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Medinah Athletic Club and Saving the McGraw-Hill Building's Gems

This post is an installment from a trip to Chicago in June with Katrina
Onion dome atop the InterContinental Hotel, formerly the Medinah Athletic Club

One of the most ornate buildings in the city of Chicago is the Medinah Athletic Club, whose Onion Dome demands attention and I'm including a link to a blog post from someone who got to tour inside.  Believe it or not also atop the building is a zeppelin dock because at the time it was thought that travel by blimp was the wave of the future!

Now the Medinah Club is the InterContinental Hotel, but the price for a room was a bit steep so I'll just be content to enjoy the exterior.  The 45 story building was constructed in 1929 as an exclusive men's club for members of the Shrine organization. Of course I love it for those relief carvings which feature just enough Art Deco thrown in to make me swoon. 

The club featured a twenty third floor miniature golf course, complete with water hazards and a wandering brook, a shooting range, a billiards hall, a running track, a gymnasium, an archery range, a bowling alley, a two story boxing arena, and a junior Olympic size swimming pool. Although October 29th of that year would become known as the “Blackest Day in Stock Market History,” it would be another four years before the effects of this financial disaster would force the Shriners to file for bankruptcy. In 1934 they lost their beloved clubhouse, and in the decade that followed the building went through various incarnations, including a brief stint as residential apartments.

Celtic and Mesopotamian motifs of the lion, the fish, and the eagle adorn the common areas, and the lobby's grand staircase also has cast-bronze friezes along the handrail from the original Medinah Athletic Club. I must have missed that entrance so I'll have to search it out when I return.  But, if you look through the window to the left of the lions in the picture below...

You will see where the McGraw Hill Building once stood. The building was constructed by the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company back in 1928 but was demolished in 1998.  Don't panic, they saved the facade and now it is home to The Gwen Hotel.  City Hall and local preservationists demanded the panels be saved at great expense.

The Magnificent Mile is its home, and don't worry lots of shopping there to do if you need more excitement than looking at architecture.

Atlas bears the weight of the world

This 16 story beauty is adorned with those saved panels carved by artist Gwen Lux, hence the new name of the hotel. The link I provided will take you to a site that shows close-up fine art prints of the carvings. Thank goodness these treasures were not lost!

The interior of the newly constructed hotel definitely evokes the original period, I'm glad they chose that direction, some hotels go modern even when they build in something so distinctly historical.

I enjoyed seeing Diana the Huntress included in the representation, it reminded me of when we visited the Biltmore and there was a statue there on the grounds.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Medinah Temple in Chicago

This post is an installment from a trip to Chicago in June with Katrina

Okay, I never do this, but I found a post on the Medinah Temple building below that was just so absolutely perfect that I'm going to just give you that link instead of butchering a description myself!

Now it is home to Bloomingdale's, but what a history! I didn't get a look inside since I passed it on my early morning walk.  But now that I know it's there I hope I remember to find it again on my next visit to Chicago.

This is the best part of walking, discovering something new.  Look at those windows -stained glass?

I walked into the Starbucks you can see around the corner but the line was too dang long!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Seeing Signs in Chicago

This post is an installment from a trip to Chicago in June with Katrina

While walking around Chicago on a hot and muggy June morning I had plenty of signs to read including the one on top of the Allerton Hotel and the one on its side telling me about the famed landmark.

Things are so tightly packed down there that a sign on top of a building gets kind of lost.

But the sign for the Inn of Chicago did its job and intrigued me to detour my route and go have a look.   Known as the Hotel St. Clair when it opened in the fall of 1928, it hosted many celebrities including Bob Hope, Gypsy Rose Lee, Judy Garland, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Irv Kupcinet.

Not all signs touched the sky, a few restaurant signs provided a colorful change.

And the Pizzeria Uno sign made me wonder what we would have for lunch.

Lunch happened much later, first a trip to Magnolia Bakery to look at the cupcakes was in order.

I didn't get a cupcake, too much frosting for me, but I did enjoy the signs they displayed.  Here's a close-up of the one on the post above.

But the most moving sign was the one on the street corner announcing the passing of a local man who wished passers-by a good day.

Richland Center Post Office Mural

Tom the Backroads Traveler commented that they don't have post office murals where he is located.  With that in mind I'll provide two different links for you to choose from, the first is the WPA Murals website which I tend to use the most, but there is also a link to the Living New Deal website that can help you locate the murals and includes other New Deal projects including structures done by the CCC I believe across the United States.

On the road to southwestern Wisconsin

The links will let you choose a state and give you a list of New Deal art projects in U.S. Post Offices and other locations.  I'm trying to round up the last few I haven't seen in Wisconsin since I plan to move to Canada next year!

Richland Center Post Office

This oil-on-canvas mural entitled “Decorative Interpretation of Unification of America through the Post” was painted in 1937 by Richard Brooks and is located in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

From the website: “Often mistaken for WPA art, post office murals were actually executed by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts. Commonly known as “the Section,” it was established in 1934 and administered by the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department. Headed by Edward Bruce, a former lawyer, businessman, and artist, the Section’s main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings if the funding was available. By providing decoration in public buildings, the art was made accessible to all people.” 

You never know what you'll see along the journey!

Many of them were community or postal themed in nature and provided much needed work for artists during the Great Depression.

See you next Monday!  Linking up to Monday Mural.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Great Lakes Cycle

This post is an installment from a trip to Chicago in June with Katrina

In addition to the wonderful discovery of the Chicago Mural we had an oppotunity to view some work by Alexis Rockman.  Unfortunately I took so long in writing about this so the exhibit closed on October 1st but it opens next week at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The main focus of the exhibit was The Great Lakes Cycle, a suite of paintings and other work developed out of Rockman's research, travel and interaction with people from the Great Lakes region who specialize in the lakes and their ecosystems.  The exhibit explore the past, present and future of the Great Lakes.

"Forces of Change"

These ecosystems are unfortunately threatened by pollution, climate change, invasive species, mass agriculture and urban sprawl. "Forces of Change" focuses on the area near Niagara Falls.  Horseshoe Falls is depicted in the background, with the Buffalo River in the foreground as it flows past industrial buildings. The sediment of the river is contaminated with mercury, lead and other toxins from industrial dumping.


Thousands of rivers and streams empty into the Great Lakes and are key to keeping them healthy.  Chemical runoff from farm fertilizers and pollution from city sewage is a hazard to these waters now and in the future.

"Spheres of Influence"

"Spheres of Influence" was my favorite in the series. The images explore how the Great Lakes connect to the larger global ecosystem which includes weather, migrating birds, airborne contaminants and humans who have traveled on the lakes from the early canoes to 20th century freight steamers. 

Close-up of Loon diving in "Spheres of Influence"

Beneath the surface lies a DC-4 passenger plane downed by a storm over Lake Michigan in 1950, and of course many ships lies beneath these waters as well. The air teems with birds and insects, reminding us of the poisons they encounter in the ecosystem. One of these is  C. botulinum which can be found in wetlands and lakes and often exists in a spore form that is resistant to heat and drying. The "disease environment" is typical during the hot months from May through October. In some instances the bacteria may remain viable for years.  Avian Botulism affects the peripheral nerves of the bird and results in paralysis of the voluntary muscles. This results in an inability of the bird to sustain flight that is observed in the early stages of botulism. Once this has occurred, birds suffering from botulism are commonly observed propelling themselves across the water with just their wings. The next effect to occur is paralysis of the inner eyelid membrane followed by paralysis of the neck muscles. This results in an inability of the bird to hold its head erect causing "limp neck" Loss of flight and limp neck is the most recognizable signs of Avian Botulism. Once birds reach this stage, death from drowning often occurs before they reach the next stage or respiratory failure.


"Pioneers" shows the glacial ice sheets from 10,000 years ago which carved this area and then filled with the meltwater to become the Great Lakes. These lakes have been colonized by many varieties of fish, and unfortunately humans have interfered in this process such as when ballast is ejected from freighters as shown in the painting.  That water can contain dozens of invasive species from across the globe and wreak havoc on an ecosystem not prepared for them.


Humans have used the Great Lakes as a resource since the Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age.  The lakes provided resources for European explorers in fur trapping, hunting and trade. In later times logging, mining, commercial fishing and transportation have made their impact as well.  Individuals, governments and communities are all responsible for trying to protect these lakes for future.

The paintings were stunning, these photographs of course aren't the same as seeing them in person.  I really appreciated how they told a story and had a message that was so powerful and hope to see more art like this on my travels.