Considering that I named this blog Sherri’s Traveling Classroom, it should be no surprise that I enjoy learning. Learning wasn’t always that fascinating to me, especially during the years I was in school. The turning point for me was when my son entered grade school. We started to travel more to enhance his learning which ultimately improved mine. I learned that I loved history. Yes, I particularly enjoy American History, but not just facts about world wars and political history. I am captivated by the history of almost everything and find it interesting to connect the dots from the inception of the person, place or thing to present time. I just love knowing the story, because everything has a story. This year I traveled to Toronto Canada, seven states, Washington, DC and made several visits to New York City. As I started to reflect on this past year, I realized that I learned some interesting facts throughout my travels. I found myself being amazed a lot and loved sharing the new knowledge I picked up either through this blog or sharing through conversation with colleagues, friends, and family. I hope you enjoy my “who knew” list. There were many more than thirteen fun facts, but for the sake of being catchy in the year of 2013, I went for “13 in 13″!
1. There are dead bodies under Washington Square Park in NYC.
My most read post of the year was New York City’s Most Haunted Neighborhood. The ghost tour that we took in chilly February was full of scary facts, and I am still amazed that a burial ground lies below Washington Square Park.
2. The Chinese did not invent the fortune cookie.
Check out the Boudin Museum & Bakery Tour post for the story.
3. Frank Lloyd Wright’s son invented Lincoln Logs.
Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District & the Rookery was one of my favorite post of this past year.
4. There was a Charlie Brown.
I have loved the Peanuts since I was a little girl. Visiting the Charles Schultz museum was one of my favorite places that I visited in 2013.
5. Otto Kahn who built Oheka Castle, inspiredThe Monopoly Man.
6. Winston Churchill was a painter, and his artwork is on greeting cards by for Hallmark.
7. The wood used for Louisville Slugger bats come from white ash and maple trees along the New York and Pennsylvania border.
8. Children lived on the grounds of Alcatraz when it was a federal penitentiary.
9. America’s first designated “Hard Hat Area” was set up at the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge construction site.
The principal engineer, Joseph B. Strauss (no relation to Levi Strauss) was a stickler for safety and mandated the use of hard hats, safety goggles and the use of a safety net while building the Golden Gate Bridge. Strauss didn’t want any showboating like the men who ate their lunch on suspended beams while building skyscrapers.
10. The grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame are the oldest continuously active tennis grounds in the country.
11. The Hope Diamond formed deep within the earth approximately 1.1 billion years ago.
Somehow after numerous visits to Washington, D.C. I just never got around to seeing the famous diamond. After visiting this past April, I now can say that I saw the oldest thing on earth! In addition to learning about the formation of the Hope Diamond, I also learned it is not the largest diamond in the world.
12. Secretariat holds the record for the fastest Kentucky Derby ever at 1:59.40.
Visiting Churchill Downs has been on my bucket list for years. This past Memorial Day weekend my son and I enjoyed a great day at the races. I still haven’t written about our visit, but I will let you know I was excited to see the exhibit about Secretariat because I had seen the movie Secretariat that came out a couple of years ago by Disney. Despite seeing the movie, I somehow forgot that the 1973 Triple Crown Winner still holds the fastest record at the Kentucky Derby.
13. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway could fit Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and the Vatican City inside the oval of the speedway.
Seeing the Indy 500 was another place on my bucket list and I am grateful that I was able to enjoy the experience with my best friend. The Indy 500- The Greatest Spectacle in Racing was a post that I wrote immediately after returning from our first trip to Indianapolis because it was such a great experience.