United States

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Las Vegas

Hoover Dam

San Fransico

Alcatraz

 

Calico

 

San Antonio

The Alamo

Charleston
Old Exchange & Provest Dungeon

Kennedy Space Centre

New Orleons
Cathedral Basilica of St Louis

 

                         

 
United States of America


Las Vegas






 

Set in the Mojave Desert in Nevada near the west coast of the United States, Las Vegas is famous for its casinos and entertainment and is seen by many as the entertainment capitol of the world, and its tolerance for most types of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City.

 

The first recorded visit to the area was by wagon train scout, Raphael Rivera in 1829, the abundant supply of water and the green meadows (from the Spanish) gave their name to Las Vegas and made it a regular stop along the Old Spanish Trail, the route which connected New Mexico with southern California.

 

Las Vegas became a railroad town in 1905 and a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west; it officially became a city in 1911. With the completion of the construction of the nearby Hoover Dam in 1935, Las Vegas became the first customer to use electricity from the dam, and it experienced rapid growth in both population and in tourism.

 

The legalisation of gambling in 1931 led to the development of the casino hotels for which Las Vegas is famous. The high profits to be made from gambling resulted in many of the casinos being funded by organized crime figures such as "Bugsy" Siegel.

 

In 1940 major development occurred due the influx of scientists and staff from the Manhattan Project, which was carrying out research for the atomic bomb during World War II.

 

1941 saw the development of the Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as “the Strip”, when El Rancho, the first resort on the strip opened. Others were to follow including the Sands and the Sahara and by the time of the construction of The Mirage in 1989 there was a movement away from the downtown area to “the Strip”. In 1994 work began on the Fremont Street Experience in order to regenerate the downtown area. This was a $70 million shopping mall covering five blocks. It contains a 90 feet high, 1,500 feet long barrel vault canopy containing 12 million LED displays which provides a spectacular lights display.

 

The hotels along the strip are some of the most spectacular buildings in the world, each with its own special theme, and new ones are springing up on a regular basis. Some of the most famous are:

 

Stratosphere Tower, built in 1996 it has 2,444 roams. It also has a thrill ride, situated nearly 900 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard. Circus Circus opened as a casino without a hotel in 1968, and a hotel with 400 rooms was added in 1972.  It now has 3,774 rooms and is famous for its circus acts and stalls. Treasure Island Hotel opened in 1993 with 2,900 rooms. It contains a full size reproduction of a pirate ship and stages pirate battles every night.  Excalibur with its 4,032 rooms has an Arthurian theme and children's attractions.

 

Caesars Palace opened in 1966 with 700 rooms; it now has 3,348 rooms in five towers named: Augustus, Centurion, Forum, Palace, and Roman. The Forum tower features guest suites with 1,000 square feet of space. In 1997 it was expanded to include Forum Shops and restaurants with many statues and an indoor sky and artificial storms.

 

The Bellagio was built on the site of the former Dunes Hotel, which was demolished in 1993. The Dunes was one of the top hotels in the 50’s/60’s, where most of the world’s most famous entertainers performed. The 46 storey, 3,000-room Bellagio opened in 1998 as the world’s most expensive hotel costing $1.7 billion. The Bellagio is famed for its fountain displays, which take place every 15 minutes and co-ordinate the water movement with lights and music. The fountains consist of 1,000 nozzles, some of which are able to shoot water 76 metres into the air. Inside the Bellagio are a number of botanical displays, including a tree which is several hundred years old brought from Florida, and a waterwheel. It also has 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, covering the lobby ceiling.

 

Many of the hotels use cities around the world as their inspiration. The Paris Hotel opened in 1999 with 2,914 rooms and includes replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, The Paris Opera House and the Louvre.  New York New York opened in 1997 has architecture which creates the impression of the New York City skyline; including towers to replicate New York City skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. At the front of the hotel is a representation of New York Harbour and a replica of the Statue of Liberty. It also has a roller coaster which reaches speeds up to 67 mph.

 

The Venetian opened in 1999 on the site of the former Sands Hotel which was demolished in 1996. The Venetian cost $1.8 billion to construct the hotel and casino, with the 9 full size reconstructions of the landmarks of Venice. It was extended in 2007 giving it 7,074 rooms, at that time making it the largest hotel in the world. The interior gives the impression of the canals of Venice and although the canals are real they are not a ground level - they are on the first floor! The sky, which changes according to the time of day, is not real.  It is painted concrete with its appearance being changed by the lighting.

 

The Luxor has an Egyptian theme and includes a 30 storey pyramid, 350 feet high (106 metres). The pyramid and two 22-storey ziggurat towers covered in bronze glass contain a total of 4,407 rooms. Opened in 1993, it boasts the world’s most powerful light beam, which is visible from space. The cost of the electric for this beam alone is $125,000 per year. An obelisk and a sphinx 10 storey high lead from the monorail into the hotel and the world's largest atrium, which contains columns, statues, and hieroglyphic reliefs.

 

Many people visit Las Vegas for the gambling or the entertainment although it has a great deal to offer those interested in buildings and architecture.

 

 




 
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Addition information can be seen on Encyclopaedia Britannica
 
 
 

 
 
Hoover Dam
 
 

 

The Hoover Dam is located in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, spanning the state line between Arizona and Nevada. Constructed between the years of 1931 and 1935 during the Depression, its purpose was to control the flooding of the Colorado, which, prior to its construction, would happen on a regular basis, causing destruction, misery and loss of life. It would also enable the irrigation of the surrounding area, providing greater productive use of the land, and harness the power of the river enabling electricity to be produced in order to supply Arizona, Nevada and California.

Its construction design is an Arch-gravity Dam, which functions by holding back the water by a combination of its weight and mass and by transferring any pressure onto the walls of the canyon. In order to do that, a suitable location had to be found which would enable it to span the distance between the two sides of the canyon and provide a suitable ground structure to rest on.

Initially known as the Boulder Dam - as it was originally intended to be constructed in Boulder Canyon - it had to be re-sited as that location was deemed to be unsuitable. It was renamed the Hoover Dam after President Herbert Hoover.

The Chief Engineer for the project was Frank Crow, whose reputation was that of a hard and cruel man - traits that ensured the completion of the project ahead of cost and two years ahead of programme.

The construction process involved five phases: Surveying; the establishment of the infrastructure and accommodation; diverting the Colorado River; preparation of the ground and the construction of the Dam.

Initially, the workers (and many of their families) lived in tents until the construction of a purpose built town 7 miles from the Dam site.  This consisted of barracks, housing, stores and general public welfare facilities with churches and schools for the children.  This town was to become Boulder City.   Infrastructure was required to get the workers and materials to the site,  which involved the construction of  7 miles of roadway from Boulder City to the Dam site and a 22 mile railway from Las Vegas to Boulder City and then on to the Dam.  Electricity was also needed and that involved the construction of a 220 mile power line.

The work on the construction required the diversion of the Colorado River. This was done by digging four tunnels through the sides of the canyon walls with each tunnel being over 1200 metres long.  This was a difficult and dangerous task with many workers suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning from the vehicle fumes as well as injuries from the dangers of rock blasting. The tunnels were then lined with concrete, using moveable sections of steel forms. Pneumatic concrete guns were used to fill the overhead forms, resulting in a concrete lining that was 3 feet thick.

Once the tunnels were completed, the river could be blocked to divert it through the tunnels, leaving the proposed site clear for the construction work on the Dam to begin.  The first task was to excavate down to bedrock to a depth of 40 feet.  At the same time the "High Scalers" worked on the canyon walls. Their job was to remove any loose rocks to provide a good key for the concrete. The first concrete was poured on 6th June, 1933. The base alone required 230 individual blocks of concrete. Five-foot tall blocks of varying width, ranging from 25 square feet on the downstream face to 60 square feet for those facing upstream.

The blocks were linked together like a giant Lego set with a system of alternating vertical and horizontal schemes. The total amount of concrete used was 3,250,000 cubic yards for the Dam plus a million for the power plant, intake towers and other support structures. Two batch plants were created on site to produce the concrete which was transported to the required location on railcars in large four and eight cubic yard buckets and then by an overhead cableway system, which lifted the buckets and lowered them to the forms. At peak production, one bucket was delivered about every 78 seconds.

The chemical heat generated by concrete setting was dissipated by embedding over 582 miles of one-inch steel pipe through the interconnecting concrete blocks that circulated ice water produced by an on-site ammonia refrigeration plant that cooled the water. The cooling pipes were subsequently filled with concrete to create added strength. Without the coolant it would have taken 125 years for the concrete to cool down.

It wasn't just the dam itself that had to be built. It also required intake towers, which take in the water to turn the generators. These are 396 feet high and control the supply of water for the power plant turbines.  They are connected to the power plant and outlet valves by 37 and 50 foot diameter concrete lined tunnels.

It also needed a spillway to prevent water flowing over the dam.  If the lake level is too high, water flows over the spillway and is taken by tunnels to be discharged in the river downstream from the Dam.

The construction of any dam produces a reservoir or lake; for the Hoover Dam this is Lake Mead, at which has been created a water recreation area. A slow filling process was required to lessen the pressure change on the Dam and to help prevent small earthquakes due to land settlement.

The project required over 7,000 workers and 200 engineers. 96 people were officially killed during construction but this only includes the people who actually died on site.  If an injured worker was removed from the site and died later they were not counted as having been killed during construction, and their dependants were therefore not entitled to compensation. A memorial exists at the dam for those who died, and a statue dedicated to the “High Scalers” is also there.  In addition to those killed during construction, over 25 men, women and children died in the first June-July period due to the extreme heat .The financial cost of the dam was $125 million, which equates to $1.7 billion at current valuation.

More than one million people a year visit the Dam, which has a visitors’ centre. This includes a museum, and tours are available into the Dam itself. In recent years, transport to the Dam had become a problem.   Prior to 2010 all traffic passed over the Dam but in 2010 the Hoover Dam Bypass project was completed. The project, which included up of four miles of dual carriageway, eight bridges, wildlife crossings, and a 2,000 foot-long arch bridge over the Colorado River as well as various pedestrian and visitor improvements, was started in 2003. The arch bridge is named the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge,  after Mike O'Callaghan, Governor of Nevada from 1971–1979, and Pat Tillman, a football player who left his football career to enlist in the United States Army,  and was later killed in Afghanistan.

The Hoover Dam was a ground-breaking engineering project that was to influence the construction of dams and have a major effect on the area up to the present day.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Addition information can be seen on Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 
 
San Francisco
 
 
Alcatraz
 
 
 
 

Located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, Alcatraz Island is often referred to as "The Rock". It is most famous as the federal prison - which it was from 1933 until 1963 - although the small island was first developed to provide a base and facilities for a lighthouse;  it was then to become a military fortification, and in 1868 a military prison.

 

Isolated from the mainland by the hazardous currents of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was put into use to house Civil War prisoners from 1861. In 1867, a brick jailhouse was built and in 1868, Alcatraz was officially designated a long-term detention facility for military prisoners. In March 1907, it was officially designated as the Western U.S. Military Prison, and in 1909 construction began on the concrete main cell block. This was completed in 1912. During World War I, the prison was used to hold conscientious objectors.

 

Alcatraz was deactivated as a military prison in October 1933 and transferred to the Bureau of Prisons, where it was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons. The prison initially had a staff of 155, all highly trained in security, and on 11th August, 1934, the first batch of 137 prisoners arrived on the island. Most of the prisoners throughout its use were notorious bank robbers and murderers and its inmates included  Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz), George "Machine Gun" Kelly,  Bumpy Johnson, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. "Doc" Barker, James "Whitey" Bulger, and Alvin "Creepy" Karpis (who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate). The Island also provided housing and facilities for the Bureau of Prisons staff and their families.

 

During its 29 years of operation as a prison, it claimed that no prisoner had successfully escaped. A total of 36 prisoners did make a total of 14 escape attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escape, two drowned, and five are listed as "missing and presumed drowned". The most violent escape attempt occurred on May 2, 1946, when a failed escape attempt by six prisoners led to the Battle of Alcatraz, which resulted in their deaths and the death of a warden. On June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin carried out one of the most intricate escapes by enlarging the air vents in their cells and using it to enable them to get on the roof of the prison block and then down to the sea with a dingy they had constructed. No trace of them was ever found and they are presumed to have drowned in the cold, strong currents of the bay.

 

The prison was closed in March 1963 due to the high operating costs, the erosion of the buildings and the environmental effects of the sewage being released into the San Francisco Bay. The inmates were transferred to a newly constructed prison in Illinois.

 

In November 1969, the island was occupied by Native American Indians who held it for more than 19 months as part of a protest which swept America in the 1970s. During this occupation, several buildings at Alcatraz were damaged or destroyed by fire, including the recreation hall, the Coast Guard quarters and the warden's home, although the origin of the fires is disputed. The U.S. government demolished a number of other buildings after the occupation had ended. Graffiti from the period of Native American occupation can still be seen at many locations on the island and the former band practice room in the basement of a cellblock now houses an exhibition dedicated to the occupation.

 

In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area and in 1986 received designation as a National Historic Landmark. Today, the island is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; visitors reach the island by ferry from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.  It is now a popular tourist site and the Island has been set up to cater for visitors who can wander around the Main Cell house, Dining Hall, Library and the Recreation Yard with an audio tour narrated by former wardens and prisoners and can see the ruins of the Warden's House and Officers Club, Lighthouse, and a number of the other buildings scattered across the island.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Addition information can be seen on Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 
 
Calico
 
 

Famous today as a ghost town and tourist attraction, Calico was once a thriving silver mining town. Located in the Mojave Desert, California it was founded in 1881 when four prospectors discovered silver in the mountain, and opened the Silver King Mine, which was to become California's largest silver producer with a production of $13 – 20 million. At its height of its silver production between 1883 and 1885 Calico had over 500 mines and a population of 1,200 who were involved with silver production or associated services such as a post office, its own weekly newspaper, three hotels, five general stores, a meat market, bars, brothels, and three restaurants and boarding houses together with other services such as a blacksmith, a sheriff and deputies, a fire department and a school. By 1890 the population had grown to 3,000 due to the discovery of borates in the mountains around the town. It was at that time that legislation started to drive down the value of silver and by 1896 Calico’s silver mines were no longer economically viable leading to the decline of the town and by 1907 due to the end of borates mining the town was completely abandoned.

An attempt was made to revive the town in about 1915, when a cyanide plant was built to recover silver from the unprocessed Silver King Mine's deposits. In 1951, the town was purchased by Walter who began restoring it to its original condition with the aid of old photographs for reference.  In 1966, he donated the town to San Bernardino County, and Calico became a County Regional Park.

In 2012, Calico became the first ghost town in America to be re-opened for residential purposes, although it is mainly a tourist attraction as an open air museum, having been restored to re-create the appearance of the “silver rush” days, with many of the original buildings being removed and replaced having been given false façades to replicate those that tourists would expect to see in a Western-themed town.  However,  some of the buildings from the town’s operational years still exist - Lil's Saloon; the Town Office; Post Office; Courthouse; Smitty's Gallery; the General Store; and Joe's Saloon. The schoolhouse is a replica built on the site of the original building. Sadly, many of the homes only now exist as ruins.

Today, the attraction operates mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, several restaurants, the historic narrow-gauge Calico and Odessa Rail-road as well as a number of souvenir stores.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
San Antonio
 
The Alamo
 
 
 
 
Originally known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero, the mission is now better known as the Alamo and forms part of the World Heritage Site of the San Antonio Missions which are located in San Antonio, Southern Texas. The Alamo is famous for a stand by around 200 personnel made against the army of Mexico in 1836. This resulted in the deaths of all the defenders, who included Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and became a rallying point leading to the independence of Texas.  
 
It was built around 1718 by Spanish settlers, who also established a military garrison of San Antonio de Bexar close by - later to be renamed as San Antonio.
   
At the beginning of the 1800s, the Spanish stationed troops in the abandoned chapel of the former mission and it was then named El Alamo, which is the Spanish word for cottonwood, as the fort stood in a grove of cottonwood trees.  
 
The fort was manned by Spanish troops and then by rebels and subsequently, following Mexico’s successful war for independence from Spain in the early 1820s, by Mexican troops. Over the following years the Mexican government encouraged US citizens to settle in Texas which in the mid-1830s led to an armed movement by the settlers seeking a split from Mexico.  
 
Mexican solders continued to garrison the fort until it was surrendered to Texan (Texian) forces in December 1835 during the Texas Revolution, although by this time a number of improvements to the structure of the fort had been carried out. 
 
In February 1836 the fort came under the command of Colonel James Bowie and Lieutenant Colonel William B. Travis who prepared to defend the fort, even though Sam Houston, the newly appointed commander-in-chief of the Texan forces, argued that it should be abandoned due to insufficient numbers of troops. 
 
On February 23, a Mexican force commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and consisting of something in excess of 1,800 men began a siege of the fort. The Texians consisting of around 200 men held out for 13 days, but on the morning of March 6, following fierce fighting, Mexican forces broke through a breach in the outer wall of the courtyard and then into the heavily fortified buildings,  overpowering the defenders.  The battle lasted for around 90 minutes.   
Santa Anna ordered his men to take no prisoners, and only a small handful of the Texians were spared, and these were women and children. One of the survivors was Susannah Dickinson, the wife of Captain Almaron Dickinson together with her daughter. Santa Anna sent them to Houston’s camp in Gonzalez with a warning that a similar fate awaited the rest of the Texians if they continued their revolt. The Mexican forces also suffered heavy casualties in the Battle of the Alamo, losing between 400 - 600 men, although some sources place this considerably higher. The Texian bodies were stacked and burned.  
 
Following its capture, one thousand Mexican soldiers remained at the Alamo, where they repaired and fortified the complex.  After the Mexican army's defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto on 21 April, 1836, some 800 Texans under Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna’s Mexican force of 1,500 men. Houston’s men shouted “Remember the Alamo” as they attacked.   Santa Anna, was taken prisoner, and he agreed terms with Houston to end the War. This resulted in the Mexican army agreeing to leave the Alamo and Texas. Prior to their withdrawal from the Alamo they tore down many of the Alamo’s walls, and set many of the buildings on fire, only a few buildings surviving, which included the Long Barracks, and the building that had contained the south wall gate; the chapel was left in ruins.  
 
In 1845, the United States annexed Texas and for many years, the Army quartered troops and stores at the Alamo. During this period many repairs were carried out which included a new wooden roof for the chapel (this was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1861) and the bell-shaped facade was added to the front wall of the chapel. At the time, reports suggested that the soldiers found several skeletons while clearing the rubble from the chapel floor. New windows were also cut into the chapel, two on the upper level of the facade as well as additional windows on the other three sides of the building.  
 
In 1877 the Army moved out of the Alamo and the Catholic Church sold the Long Barrack, to a businessman who operated a museum and general store from the premises. He drastically renovated the old structure, adding wooden porches and balconies. The building was subsequently sold to the Hugo & Schmeltzer Company, a wholesale grocery firm that expanded its use as a general merchandise store.  
 
In 1883, the state of Texas purchased the Alamo, and later acquired the property rights to all the surrounding grounds. Tours were conducted around the site but no effort was made to restore it. In 1905 the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a women’s organization including descendants of the earliest Texan residents, took over the management of the Alamo.   
 
Today the site of the Alamo is a museum and one of the most popular historic sites in the United States.  
 
At the time of the siege in 1836 the compound was much larger than it is today with the location of some of the walls now covered by buildings that surround the Alamo Plaza, the area in front of the mission where the Cenotaph is located. This was erected in 1939 and is dedicated to those who gave their lives in 1836.  The names of the known defenders are displayed on the Cenotaph.  On the other side of the Plaza opposite the missionary are the ruins of a number of buildings which give an indication of the size of the compound.
  
A visit to the Alamo starts at the front of the mission, an area which was originally bordered to the north by the south wall of the convento and to the west by a portion of the compound walls. This area served as a cemetery or “campo santo” during the mission period. The building is now the Shrine or Chapel. This is dedicated to the memory of the men who died defending the mission. Originally this was intended as the mission church in the 1700’s but was not finished when the mission closed in 1793. The concrete barrel vault was completed in 1921, with sections of concrete being added to the tops of the walls to create the parapets.
 
The area in front of the mission is known as the palisade and is where, according to legend, Travis drew a line in the sand asking volunteers to cross in order to stay and fight.  It is believed only one man did not cross the line and left the Alamo. It is also the place where Davy Crockett is believed to have died.   
 
On the left of the palisade is the entrance to the Convento Courtyard which was originally the residence of the Spanish missionary priests. Within the courtyard is a large oak tree and the original Spanish well.  
 
On the left is the Long Barracks which contains a small museum with paintings, weapons, and other artifacts which are connected to the site's past. Items such as the sword of Colonel Travis, the rifle of Davy Crockett and a couple of knifes of Jim Bowie, as well as numerous other personal possessions are displayed there or in the Shrine which is also arranged as a museum. Photographs are not allowed in these two places.  
 
The Long Barracks was originally constructed as a two storey building and served as the quarters and offices of the Spanish missionaries. It was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, when many members of the garrison withdrew into this building where they made a last stand.   
 
On exiting the Long Barracks the path leads round to the Cavalry Courtyard. This was where livestock were held during the siege. Today it contains the flags which have flown over Texas during its history. It is also the place where talks on the history of the Alamo are given throughout the day.  
 
Adjoining the courtyard is the Wall of History, this consists of 5 panels detailing the history through the periods related to the history of the Alamo, and adjacent to that is the gift shop. Although it complements the architectural design of the other buildings, this was built in 1936, it was renovated in 2012.  
 
There are additional buildings which are not freely open to the public. The Alamo Hall, which was built in 1922 and was once a San Antonio fire station is now used as a meeting room and can be hired for functions. Next to that is the Research Centre, which contains books, documents and photographs related to the history of Texas. Built in 1950, this was formerly known as the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library.  It is located just outside is a fountain and sitting area and access is by appointment only.  
 
The whole site is tastefully presented and not over-commercialised.  Photographs may be taken inside the museums, but strictly by permit, the cost of which is expensive.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Charleston
 
Old Exchange & Provest Dungeon





 
Built between 1768-1771 as the office of the King’s Customs Collector, a public meeting place and a place for entertainment, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon with its’ striking Georgian Palladian architecture was one of the last formal structures built by the British Colonial Government in the American Colonies. Prior to the construction of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the Court of Guard building stood on the site. This held a jail which imprisoned many pirates and had a meeting room above it. This formed part of the walled city of Charles Town as it was known during the Colonial and Revolutionary periods and was the only walled city under British rule in the American colonies. The town was renamed from Charles Town to Charleston in 1783.
 
From the 15th through to the 19th centuries it is estimated that over 160,000 people were brought from Africa and sold as slaves in Charleston, and the Exchange was the location for such sales.
 
During the period when Charleston was the capital of South Carolina, newly chosen state leaders were “presented” to the public from the front of the Exchange Building. The building was the centre of public life from 1783 until 1818, when it was sold to the federal government.
 
Today the building is a museum entered by steps leading to the Exchange floor. This level originally was originally an open-air arcade but today it houses a gift shop situated immediately in front of the entrance door; The Rebecca Motte Room - named after the Revolutionary War Heroine on the South side is the meeting place for the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The clock on display in the Rebeca Motte Room once occupied the circular window on the building façade before it was removed in 1979.
 
On the North side of the floor is the South Carolina State DAR Room, which displays items from the Special Collection of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina. Charleston Post Office was housed in the Old Exchange building from 1815 to 1896. From 1861 it housed the Confederate Post Office. The Post Office can still be seen on this floor.
 
On the second floor, the Great Hall has been an integral part of Charleston’s and of The Americas' history. It was in this room in 1773 that the citizens of the town decided to not to buy any tea taxed for the propose of raising revenue in America, and seized the tea crop and stored it in the cellar rather than dump it in the harbour as in Boston.  This was later sold to help the patriot cause.
 
In 1774, delegates to the Continental Congress were elected here to represent South Carolina and it was from the steps of the building that the Declaration of Independence was declared to South Carolina in 1776.
 
In 1788, over 220 delegates from around South Carolina met in the Grand Hall and ratified the United States Constitution, becoming the eighth state to do so, and in May 1791 a ball was held there to celebrate the new country, with President George Washington being present. The adjacent Isaac Hayne room presents a tribute to those who died in the Revolution and are seen as patriot martyrs. It was named after patriot Colonel Isaac Hayne who was imprisoned in the dungeon prior to his execution.
 
The level below this floor was used to store goods until 1780, when the British converted it into a prison where many of Charles Towne’s prominent citizens were held. It was used as a dungeon until 1782 when the British left the town. In 1965 the Half-Moon Battery portion of the 1698 fortification wall was excavated beneath the cellar of the building and is the only place where these fortifications can still be seen.
 
During 1690 to the 1730s a wall of between ten to thirteen feet high protected the town. The Half-Moon Battery was a semi-circular protrusion in the centre of the seawall and was the main entrance to the town from the water. Today the cellar houses exhibits found during archaeological excavations and mannequins tell the story of its history. This was opened to the public in 1966. In 1981, after restoration, the complete building was opened to the public. The attendants in period dress and the talks provided give the building an authenticity and provide an interesting learning experience.
 


 


 

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