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« De facto if not de jure | Main | Oil Depletion Blog »

May 16, 2008

Trip Journal

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Bowhards--

Tomorrow, as the sun sets behind the lovely O'Hare control tower, we will be bidding a fond adieu to Flyover Country and boarding our silver oiseau for the Left Coast. Herewith are a few more short observations regarding the curious country we have been exploring, a land apparently unknown to the Mainstream Media.


* Nancy was impressed by the University of Illinois campus. And so was I, even though the Georgian(?) architectural style is not my absolute favorite. The quadrangles are large -- large enough that I wonder if they really relate to human scale. Moreover, the campus is huge. That makes me wonder if it's hard for students to dash from class to class if they only have a 10-minute break. The University of Washington was effectively about a half mile across in my student days, and getting from one end to the opposite could barely be done in 10 minutes.

I also wonder about getting around during winter at Illinois. Those distances and large quads strike me as fodder for the occasional frozen corpse come January.

Still, I liked the place so much I bought my son a University of Illinois baseball cap.


* Indianapolis was nice. Nothing famous there save the Speedway, but I can see where it could be a pleasant place to live. One can take nice walks in the general area of the canal, the government center and the Memorial.


* Cincinnati has the Roebling Bridge to Kentucky, opened in 1867, less than two years after the end of the Civil War. It was designed by John Roebling, who also designed the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. We walked across the Roebling and I took photos of rusting.

The town has the Netherland Plaza Hotel, a great Art Deco monument opened in 1931. If you go to Cincinnati, be sure to check out its Palm Court, which would not have been out of place on the liner Normandie.


* The Air Force museum near Dayton has been expaned since I was last there. Another exhibition hall was added, allowing more breathing room for the planes. An interesting addition is a display of four Presidential planes: FDR's "Sacred Cow," Truman"s "Independence," Eisenhower's "Columbine" and the Air Force One where LBJ took the oath of office.


* Near Detroit, we visited the Edsel/Eleanor Ford house on Lake St. Claire. Ace architect Albert Kahn designed the building to resemble a cluster of Cotswold cottages. I'll probably post some pix later.


Later,

Donald

posted by Donald at May 16, 2008




Comments

It's a big problem in all the Midwestern land grant universities. Students and faculty alike are encouraged by the distances to cocoon themselves in their departments.

Posted by: Omri on May 17, 2008 12:20 AM



I'm surprised that you weren't more taken with the look of Chicago, its architecture, than you appear to have been. Every time I pass through Chicago I think to myself: this is the way a city should look. Not this or that specific building but the general clean, handsome, square shouldered look of the place. What it would be like to live there is one matter but passing through is always invigorating.

Posted by: ricpic on May 17, 2008 4:33 PM



Fun to hear about, tks. "A nice place to raise a family" is how the midwest is often summed-up, and that often seems pretty apt. And then you run across the occasional piece of amazingness.

Photos! Photos!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 17, 2008 5:39 PM



I attended the University Of Nebraska at Lincoln, and I can attest that they have a hardy student body down there. I took one final at 7:30 am by walking a mile from my off campus apartment to the school building in a -40 F windchill snowstorm. I wasn't happy about it, but I dealt with it. If I had to go outside now in those conditions, I'd just go ahead and fail the course.

Posted by: James Boelter on May 17, 2008 10:48 PM



Note that the U of I campus is liberally laced with bike paths. The weather wasn't that rough when I was there. The biggest problem was that it got just warm enough to melt the snow so it could turn into ice. While central Illinois is prairie land, there's enough woods and hills and buildings to avoid high-plains-style wind.

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on May 18, 2008 12:42 AM



ricpic - I love the look of Chicago, too.

Posted by: MD on May 18, 2008 5:50 PM






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