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The uninhabited North Brother Island, East River, New York City

 Posted by Germain Laroche
Germain Laroche
, December 29, 2013 at 04:39:36 :: United States of America

Physical plant, North Brother IslandNorth Brother Island is a deserted island in New York City. The island is located in the East River, between the Bronx and Riker's Island. Measuring approximately 400 m by 250 m, it was uninhabited until 1885 when Riverside Hospital, founded in the 1850s on Blackwell's Island, was moved there as a quarantine centre. The main goal was to keep people with smallpox (an infectious disease, caused by the viruses “Variola major” and “Variola minor”, and unique to humans) and other contagious diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy away from the rest of the population.

North Brother Island and its smaller companion South Brother Island have a land area of about 20 acres (81,400 square meters).

In 1907, the famous Typohid Mary (Mary Mallon) - the first healthy carrier of any disease ever to be identified, who was allegedly responsible for 3 deaths and 47 illnesses from 1907-1915 - was housed on this island for two decades until her death in 1938 followed by the hospital’s closure shortly after in 1942.

Also one of the most catastrophic maritime events in US history was the General Slocum disaster, a steamship built just over a decade previous which burned on June 15, 1904 in the East River and took the lives of over 1,000 people, most of them a church group consisting primarily of women and children for a picnic trip to Long Island.

Abandoned for more than 50 years, Mother Nature is slowly regaining her territory, turning the island into a bird sanctuary.

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Detroit's Abandoned Train Station: Michigan Central Station

 Posted by Germain Laroche
Germain Laroche
, October 17, 2013 at 11:14:19 :: United States of America

Michigan Central StationPerhaps no building is seen as a symbol of Detroit's struggles as much as Michigan Central Station, also known as Michigan Central Depot or MCS.

Built in mid-1912 and opened in 1913, after the previous Michigan Central Station burned on December 26, 1913, it is one of the most majestic and historic buildings in Detroit. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest rail station in the world.

Michigan Central Station, designed in the opulent Beaux Arts style with marble floors by the Warren & Wetmore and Reed and Stem firms, is located in the Corktown district of Detroit and consists of a three-story train depot and an eighteen-story office tower.

MCS is now an abandoned building that has fallen victim to neglect and the force of the elements. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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Dallas, Texas

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 18, 2011 at 16:50:31 :: United States of America

Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Divided between Collin, Dallas, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties, the city had a 2010 population of approximately 1.2 million, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Dallas was founded in 1841 and formally incorporated as a city in February 1856. The city's economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, and transportation, home to several Fortune 500 companies.


Fun Facts about Dallas:

- The frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas,

- The integrated circuit computer chip (which became the microchip) was invented in Dallas in 1958,

- The 52 foot 'Big Tex' statue that greets visitors at the annual State Fair of Texas is the tallest cowboy in Texas,

- With the roof enclosed, the entire Statue of Liberty could fit into the new Cowboys Stadium,

- During the winter holiday season, the Galleria Dallas is home to the country's tallest indoor Christmas tree,

- The largest permanent model train exhibit in the country is on display in the lobby of Dallas Children's Medical Center,

- The Dallas Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the United States,

- The Trinity River Corridor Project, when completed, will be more than 10 times the size of New York's Central Park,

- Highland Park Village Shopping Center, developed in 1931 has the distinction of being the first planned shopping center in America,

- The first convenience store, 7-eleven, got its start in Dallas and the corporation is headquartered there today,

- Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League and son of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, was a noted Dallas resident when he coined the phrase 'Super Bowl',

- A few celebrities from the area: Angie Harmon, Luke and Owen Wilson, Nastia Luikin, Lee Trevino, Norah Jones, Erykah Badu, Jessica Simpson,

- A few of the movies/tv series filmed in the area: Dallas; Silkwood; Places in the Heart; RoboCop; Born on the Fourth of July; Walker, Texas Ranger; Prison Break,

- The Dallas area is the largest metropolitan area in the nation not on a navigable body of water,

- The Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington Metroplex is the No. 1 visitor and leisure destination in Texas,

- The Dallas Public Library permanently displays one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, printed on July 4, 1776, and the First Folio of William Shakespeare’s “Comedies, Histories & Tragedies.”,

- The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to 41 of the richest Americans.

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The 50 States of the United States: 50) Wyoming

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 04, 2010 at 08:59:27 :: United States of America

Wyoming is a state in the Western United States. The majority of the state is dominated by the mountain ranges and rangelands of the Rocky Mountain West, while the easternmost section of the state includes part of a high elevation prairie region known as the High Plains.

Map of Wyoming

Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho. It is the tenth largest state in the United States in total area, containing 97,818 square miles (253,350 km2) and is made up of 23 counties.

More than 48% of the land in Wyoming is owned by the U.S. Government, leading Wyoming to rank sixth in the US in total acres and fifth in percentage of a state's land owned by the Federal government. This amounts to about 30,099,430 acres (121,808.1 km2) owned and managed by the U.S. Government. The state government owns an additional 6% of all Wyoming lands, or another 3,864,800 acres (15,640 km2).

Wyoming contains a number of specific areas that are under the management of the National Park Service and other agencies. They include:

- Parks:

Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton National Park

- Recreation areas:

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

- National monuments:

Devils Tower National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument

- National historic trails and sites:

California National Historic Trail
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
Oregon National Historic Trail
Pony Express National Historic Trail

- National parkways:

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park


While the tenth largest U.S. state by area, Wyoming is the least populous, with a U.S. Census estimated population of 544,270 in 2009. The capital and the most populous city of Wyoming is Cheyenne.

Electricity generating wind farm, State of Wyoming, USA

Fun facts about Wyoming:

- Wyoming was the first state to have a county public library,

- The popular Columbia Pictures film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was filmed on location at Devil's Tower,

- Middle Jurassic dinosaur footprints that are 165 million years old were found near Shell in 1997,

- The first book printed in Wyoming, in 1866 was the Dictionary of the Sioux Language,

- In 1872, Yellowstone was designated as the first National Park in the nation. Not only is Yellowstone National Park the first in the nation, but also the first in the world.

- The horse on the Wyoming license plate has a name, "Old Steamboat." It is named after a bronco that could not be ridden in the early 1900’s.

- Wyoming has the lowest population of all 50 United States.

- The state name came from the Delaware Indian word, meaning "mountains and valleys alternating.”

- The city of Cody in Wyoming was founded in 1896 by Buffalo Bill. He named it after himself: William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.

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This was the last article about the 50 states of the United States, as Wyoming is the last of the 50 states in alphabetical order.

Find the 50 articles in English and French on the blog.
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The 50 States of the United States: 49) Wisconsin

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 21, 2010 at 08:48:30 :: United States of America

Wisconsin is a state of the Midwest area of the United States. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Upper Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee. As of 2008 the state has an estimated 5.6 million residents.

Map of Wisconsin

The word Wisconsin has its origins in the name given to the Wisconsin River by one of the Algonquian speaking American Indian groups living in the region at the time of European contact. French explorer Jacques Marquette was the first European to reach the Wisconsin River and record its name, arriving in 1673 and calling the river Meskousing in his journal. This spelling was later corrupted to Ouisconsin by other French explorers, and over time this version became the French name for both the Wisconsin River and the surrounding lands. English speakers anglicized the spelling to its modern form when they began to arrive in greater numbers during the early 19th Century. The current spelling was made official by the legislature of Wisconsin Territory in 1845.

Wisconsin's self-promotion as "America's Dairyland" sometimes leads to a mistaken impression that it is an exclusively rural state. However, Wisconsin contains cities and towns of all sizes. Over 68% of Wisconsin residents live in urban areas, with the Greater Milwaukee area home to roughly one-third of the state's population. Milwaukee is at the northern edge of an urban area bordering Lake Michigan that stretches southward into greater Chicago and northwestern Indiana, with a population of over 11 million.

With over 602,000 residents Milwaukee proper is the largest city in Wisconsin and the 22nd-largest city in the country. The string of cities along the western edge of Lake Michigan is generally considered to be an example of a megalopolis.

Madison's dual identity as state capital and college town gives it a cultural richness unusual in a city its size. With a population of around 220,000, Madison is also a very fast-growing city. Madison's suburb, Middleton, was also ranked the "Best Place to Live in America" in 2007 by Money Magazine. Medium-size cities dot the state and anchor a network of working farms surrounding them. As of 2007, there were 12 cities in Wisconsin with a population of 50,000 or more.

Milwaukee from the harbor

Fun facts about Wisconsin:

- Wisconsin visitors and residents enjoy the state's 7,446 streams and rivers.
End-to-end they'd stretch 26,767 miles. That is more than enough to circle the globe at the equator.

- Wisconsin's Door County has five state parks and 250 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. These figures represent more than any other county in the country.

- In 1900 land acquisition for Wisconsin's first state park began. The park became Interstate State Park located in St. Croix Falls.

- The House on the Rock was designed and built in the early 1940s. It is considered an architectural marvel and is perched on a 60-foot chimney of rock. The 14-room house is now a complex of rooms, streets, buildings, and gardens covering over 200 acres. The Infinity Room contains 3,264 windows.

- The state is nicknamed the Badger State.

- In 1882 the first hydroelectric plant in the United States was built at Fox River.

- The first practical typewriter was designed in Milwaukee in 1867.

- Wausau is the Ginseng Capital of the World.

- Wisconsin snowmobile trails total 15,210 miles of signed and groomed snow highways.

- Mount Horeb is the Troll Capital of the World and home to the Mustard Museum (see below.)

- Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells is the nation's largest water-themed park.

- Belleville is the Unidentified Flying Object Capital of Wisconsin.

- Potosi is the Catfish Capital of the state.

- The nation's first kindergarten was established in Watertown in 1856. Its first students were local German-speaking youngsters.

- Wisconsin is the dairy capital of the United States.

- Wisconsin produces more milk than any other state.

- The original Barbie is from Willows. Barbie's full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts.

- Milwaukee is home of Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

- Green Bay is Wisconsin's oldest city.

- Wisconsin's second oldest city is Prairie du Chien.

- Famous Wisconsinites include: Harry Houdini, famous magician and escape artist. Douglas MacArthur, well known World War II and Korean War general. Frank Lloyd Wright, America's most famous architect. William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Don Ameche, actor and winner of an academy award for his performance in "Cocoon."

- Green Bay is the Toilet Paper Capital of the World.

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The 50 States of the United States: 48) West Virginia

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 14, 2010 at 11:20:21 :: United States of America

West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, and Pennsylvania and Maryland to the northeast. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

Map of West Virginia

West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions, breaking away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state, and was one of only two states formed during the American Civil War (the other one being Nevada, which separated from Utah Territory).

The state is noted for its mountains and diverse topography, its historically-significant logging and coal mining industries, and its political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research. The karst lands contribute to much of the state's cool trout waters. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and hunting.

West Virgina covers 24,230 sq miles (62,755 km2) (ranked 41st in the US) and its population reaches 1,819,777 as of 2009.

Harpers Ferry (as it appears today) changed hands a dozen times during the American Civil War and was annexed by West Virginia

Fun facts about West Virginia:

- West Virginia became a separate state on the eve of the Civil War. The rest of Virginia decided to leave the Union, while the parts that are now West Virginia chose to stay.

- West Virginia's state symbol is a black bear.

- Coal is West Virginia's most important resource—it produces nearly 140 million metric tons per year, more than any other state.

- Fewer West Virginians live in cities than residents of any other state.

- Harper's Ferry National Park was created on the site of the famous 1859 arsenal raid by abolitionist John Brown.

- Moundsville's Grave Creek Mound is one of the nation's tallest Indian burial mounds.

- Visitors to West Virginia can check out the restored childhood home of writer Pearl S. Buck outside of Hillsboro.

- The Greenbrier, a resort in White Sulphur Springs, has been a popular luxury resort since 1778. During World War II, the hotel was first used as an internment site for German, Japanese and Italian personnel; later it was converted into 2,000-bed military hospital.

- West Virginia was the first state to establish a sales tax, on November 8, 1954.

- The Golden Delicious apple variety originated in Clay County, West Virginia.

- West Virginia is the only state in the Union to have acquired its sovereignty by proclamation of the President of the United States.

- West Virginia is considered the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state.

- West Virginia has the oldest population of any state. The median age is 40.

- The first federal prison exclusively for women in the United States was opened in 1926 in West Virginia.

- The first major land battle fought between Union and Confederate soldiers in the Civil War was the Battle of Philippi on June 3, 1861.

- West Virginia's nickname is the Mountain State and its motto is "Mountaineers Are Always Free."

- Nearly 75% of West Virginia is covered by forests.

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The 50 States of the United States: 47) Washington

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 06, 2010 at 11:02:19 :: United States of America

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Washington was carved out of the western part of Washington Territory which had been ceded by Britain in 1846 by the Oregon Treaty as settlement of the Oregon Boundary Dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the forty-second state in 1889. The United States Census Bureau estimated the state's population was 6,664,195 as of 2009 (ranked 13th in the USA).

Map of Washington

Nearly 60 percent of Washington's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry, and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of deep rain forests in the west, mountain ranges in the center, northeast and far southeast, and eastern semi-deserts given over to intensive agriculture.

Washington was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States, and is the only U.S. state named after a president. Washington is commonly called Washington State or occasionally the state of Washington to distinguish it from the District of Columbia. However, Washingtonians (residents of Washington) and many residents of neighboring states normally refer to the state simply as "Washington" while usually referring to the nation's capital as "Washington, D.C." or simply "D.C."

Washington is the northwestern-most state of the contiguous United States. Its northern border lies mostly along the 49th parallel, and then via marine boundaries through the Strait of Georgia, Haro Strait and Strait of Juan de Fuca, with the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. Washington borders Oregon to the south, with the Columbia River forming most of the boundary and the 46th parallel forming the eastern part of the southern boundary. To the east Washington borders Idaho, bounded mostly by the meridian running north from the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River (about 116°57' west), except for the southernmost section where the border follows the Snake River. To the west of Washington lies the Pacific Ocean. Washington was a Union territory during the American Civil War, although it never actually participated in the war.

The capital of Washington is Olympia and the largest city is Seattle.

Mt. Rainier reflected in Reflection lake.

Fun facts about Washington:

- Washington is the only state named after a president.

- Washington's Olympic National Park receives over 100 inches of rain per year. Some of its trees are over 300 feet tall.

- Mt. Rainier is a dormant volcano. The last time it erupted was in 1969; nearby Mt. St. Helens last erupted in 1980. Ash from that eruption fell as far away as Maine.

- Nearly 30 percent of Washington's land is owned by the federal government.

- Two large lakes were created by dams on Washington's Columbia River—Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (by the Grand Coulee Dam) and Banks Lake (behind Dry Falls Dam).

- Washington is home to a temperate rainforest, with spruce, cedar and hemlock trees, and abundant ferns and mosses. In all, 50 percent of the state is covered by forest.

- Washington's most important crop is apples—the state produces more than 2 million metric tons of the fruit each year.

- Redmond is home to the Microsoft Corporation, cofounded in 1975 by Bill Gates, a Washington native.

- The world's largest building, a Boeing aircraft manufacturing plant, is located in Everett, Washington. It covers a full 98 acres and is toured by 140,000 visitors each year.

- Starbucks, the staggeringly popular worldwide coffee chain, got its start in Seattle's Pike Place Market.

- Seattle is home to the first revolving restaurant, 1961.

- Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.

- Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined.

- Washington state's capitol building was the last state capitol building to be built with a rotunda.

- Microsoft Corporation is located in Redmond.

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The 50 States of the United States: 46) Virginia

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 21, 2010 at 10:39:22 :: United States of America

The Commonwealth of Virginia is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" because it is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents.

Map of Virginia

The geography and climate of the state are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which are home to much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city and Fairfax County the most populous political subdivision. The state population is nearly eight million (ranked 12th in the USA).

The area's history begins with indigenous settlements, and the founding of the Virginia Colony in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London as the first permanent New World English colony. Land from displaced Native American tribes, including the Powhatan, and slave labor each played significant roles in Virginia's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the Thirteen Colonies in the American Revolution and joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War, during which Richmond was the Confederate capital and the state of West Virginia separated. Although traditionally conservative and historically part of the South, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.

Virginia has a total area of 42,774.2 square miles (110,784.67 km2), including 3,180.13 square miles (8,236.5 km2) of water, making it the 35th-largest state by area. Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. to the north and east; by the Atlantic Ocean to the east; by North Carolina and Tennessee to the south; by Kentucky to the west; and by West Virginia to the north and west. Due to a peculiarity of Virginia's original charter, its boundary with Maryland and Washington, D.C. does not extend past the low-water mark of the south shore of the Potomac River (unlike many boundaries that split a river down the middle).

The University of Virginia, a World Heritage Site, was founded by President Thomas Jefferson

Fun facts about Virginia:

- In Arlington, Virginia, you can find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors the anonymous fallen of all of America's wars.

- Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, looks exactly like a town from colonial times. Costumed guides show visitors how people lived in early America. Many of the buildings there were actually built in colonial days.

- Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

- More U.S. presidents have hailed from Virginia than any other state—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.

- Along with Maryland, Virginia borders the Chesapeake Bay, the state's largest body of water. It is a major wintering area for water birds.

- The College of William and Mary, founded in 1693 in Williamsburg, is the nation's second oldest institution of higher education, after Harvard.

- British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the United States in Virginia after the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, effectively ending the American Revolution.

- The area that today makes up the states of Kentucky and West Virginia was once considered part of Virginia.

- The Oyster & Maritime Museum in Chincoteague honors the island's oyster and seafood industry.

- The homes of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) and George Washington (Mount Vernon) are popular Virginia tourist destinations.

- Virginia was named for England's "Virgin Queen," Elizabeth I.

- The major cash crop of Virginia is tobacco and many of the people who live there earn their living from the tobacco industry.

- Jamestown, the first of the original 13 Colonies was founded for the purpose of silk cultivation. Silk to be traded with the Court of King James. After blight fungus destroyed the mulberry trees (silkworm food), sericulturist planted tobacco as a cash crop.

- Jamestown was the first English settlement in the U.S. It was also the first capital of Virginia.

- Virginia is known as "the birthplace of a nation".

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The 50 States of the United States: 45) Vermont

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 14, 2010 at 09:48:51 :: United States of America

The State of Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd by land area, 9,250 square miles (24,000 km2), and 45th by total area. It has a population of 621,270, making it the second least-populated state (with only Wyoming having fewer residents).

Map of Vermont

The only New England state with no coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, Vermont is notable for Lake Champlain (which makes up 50% of Vermont's western border) and the Green Mountains, which run north to south. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.

Originally inhabited by Native American tribes (Abenaki and Iroquois), much of the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France but became a British possession after France's defeat in the French and Indian War.

For many years, the surrounding colonies disputed control of the area (referred to at the time as the New Hampshire Grants) especially New Hampshire and New York. Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic, founded during the Revolutionary War and lasting for 14 years; Vermont is thus one of four U.S. states (along with Texas, Hawaii, and the brief California Republic) to have, at one point, existed as its own sovereign government.

In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the fourteenth state, and the first outside the original Thirteen Colonies.

It is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States. The state capital is Montpelier, and the largest city and metropolitan area is Burlington. No other state has a largest city as small as Burlington (38,897), or a capital city as small as Montpelier (7,760).

Landscape in Vermont, hillside, State of Vermont in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America

Fun facts about Vermont:

- Maple syrup is a popular Vermont product—maple trees are "tapped" by pushing a hole through the bark. The sap is then collected and boiled until it thickens into syrup.

- Visitors can cross Lake Champlain to New York via ferry from Vermont at three locations: Charlotte, Burlington and Grand Isle. Ferry-goers might even spot "Champ," Lake Champlain's mythical monster.

- Vermont is the only one of the New England states that doesn't border the sea.

- Three quarters of Vermont is covered with forest, including ash, beech, birch, maple, hickory, oak, pine and spruce trees.

- Vermont is famous for its family farms—its has some 6,900 farms, most of them small.

- Vermonters are steadfastly independent—after the Revolutionary War, they even formed their own independent republic, which lasted until 1791.

- In April 2000, Vermont became the first U.S. state to legally recognize so-called civil unions between homosexual partners.

- Ben & Jerry's ice cream was founded in Burlington, Vermont, by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978.

- The Champlain Valley is home to The Vermont Teddy Bear Company, which has been creating stuffed bears since 1983.

- Vermont elected its first female governor, Swiss-born Madeline Kunin, in 1985.

- Vermont has the least amount of violent crimes out of all 50 states.

- Vermont is 160 miles long and 80 miles wide.

- Until 1996, Vermont was the only state without a Wal-Mart.

- Montpelier is the only state capital without a McDonalds.

- Vermont's nickname is the Green Mountain State. The name of the state itself comes from "verts monts," French for green mountains.

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The 50 States of the United States: 44) Utah

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 07, 2010 at 06:26:29 :: United States of America

Utah is a western state of the United States. It was the 45th state admitted to the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,736,424 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the sixth most urbanized in the U.S.

Map of Utah

The name "Utah" is derived from the Ute language, meaning "people of the mountains." Utah is bordered by Arizona on the south, Colorado on the east, Wyoming on the northeast, Idaho on the north and Nevada on the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico.

Utah is one of the most religiously homogeneous states in the Union. Between 58% and 72% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life.

The state is a center of transportation, information technology and research, government services, mining, and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates, Utah was the fastest growing state in the United States as of 2008. St. George, Utah was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States from 2000–2005.

Utah ranks 13th in the US in term of area but only 34th in term of population. Salt Lake City is the largest city and the capital of Utah.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Utah Fun Facts:

- Landscape Arch is 291 feet from one end to the other and rises about 100 feet above the ground. You can find it in Arches National Park along with many other impressive rock formations.

- The biggest dinosaur footprints in the world are in Utah. The prints belonged to a hadrosaurid (duckbill).

- The Great Salt Lake is 3 to 5 times saltier than the ocean. Fish free, the lake's largest aquatic critters are brine shrimp.

- Utah has a higher percentage of residents (30.8%) under the age of 18 than any other state.

- Sixty percent of Utah's land is owned by the federal government.

- Utah is home to more than 4,000 species of plants, including a variety of cacti.

- Nearly 70 percent of Utahns are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has its headquarters in Salt Lake City.

- Nearly 14 million people visit Utah each year to check out its national parks, ski resorts and historic sites.

- The nation's first transcontinental railroad line was completed when the "golden spike" was driven into the tracks at Promontory, Utah, in 1869.

- Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, at which China won its first and second Olympic gold medals and the Canadian men's ice hockey team ended a 50-year gold medal drought.

- The Utah region was first explored for Spain by Franciscan friars Escalante and Dominguez in 1776. In 1821, Mexico gained independence of Spain and took control of Utah.

- Salt Lake City was the host for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

- Kanab is known as Utah's Little Hollywood because of the large number of motion pictures that are filmed in the area.

- Utah is the Jello capital of the world. More jello is eaten in Utah than any where else in the world.

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In The News

Christmas goes global - Los Angeles, United States of America

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 17, 2010 at 06:30:58

Los Angeles, downtownYou could bet your bottom dollar that Los Angeles – home to both Tinseltown and Disneyland – would put on a glitzy Christmas spectacle and you'd be bang on the money. Angelenos go all out for the festive season, stringing up fantastic arrays of twinkly lights on their homes.

Suburban streets in areas like South Bay and Woodland Hills become Disneylands, with houses competing to put on the most cheerful display. Beaches, marinas and canal communities put on glittering Christmas Boat Parades. The Hollywood Christmas Parade has Santa Claus leading floats and marching bands down Hollywood Boulevard. Disneyland dresses up in its festive finery with Christmas-themed characters and shows.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle sports snow-topped turrets and over 50,000 lights, and the Christmas Fantasy Parade runs along Main Street. After nightly fireworks, fake snow falls. Jesus gets a look-in too at the Crystal Cathedral with its nativity pageant complete with flying angels, whilst numerous venues put on The Nutcracker ballet.

UNESCO World Heritage

United States of America, Taos Pueblo

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 17:03:27

Location New Mexico, United States of America
Coordinates N36 26 20.004 W105 32 30.012
Property 19 ha
Date of Inscription 1992

Brief Description ( )

Situated in the valley of a small tributary of the Rio Grande, this adobe settlement – consisting of dwellings and ceremonial buildings – represents the culture of the Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico.

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Rio Pueblo, Taos Pueblo Taos Pueblo

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United States of America, Carlsbad Caverns National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 16:08:26

Location Eddy County, State of New Mexico, United States of America
Coordinates N32 10 0 W104 22 60
Property 18,926 ha
Date of Inscription 1995

Brief Description ( )

This karst landscape in the state of New Mexico comprises over 80 recognized caves. They are outstanding not only for their size but also for the profusion, diversity and beauty of their mineral formations. Lechuguilla Cave stands out from the others, providing an underground laboratory where geological and biological processes can be studied in a pristine setting.

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Top of the Cross, Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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United States of America, Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 15:54:52

Location Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
Coordinates N38 1 58 W78 30 14
Date of Inscription 1987

Brief Description ( )

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was also a talented architect of neoclassical buildings. He designed Monticello (1769–1809), his plantation home, and his ideal 'academical village' (1817–26), which is still the heart of the University of Virginia. Jefferson's use of an architectural vocabulary based upon classical antiquity symbolizes both the aspirations of the new American republic as the inheritor of European tradition and the cultural experimentation that could be expected as the country matured.

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La Rotonde, University of Virginia Monticello

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United States of America, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 15:39:21

Location Hawaii, United States of America
Coordinates N19 24 3 W155 7 25
Property 87,940 ha
Date of Inscription 1987

Brief Description ( )

This site contains two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mauna Loa (4,170 m high) and Kilauea (1,250 m high), both of which tower over the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic eruptions have created a constantly changing landscape, and the lava flows reveal surprising geological formations. Rare birds and endemic species can be found there, as well as forests of giant ferns.

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Kilauea caldera, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Puu Oo, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

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United States of America, Chaco Culture

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 15:29:29

Location New Mexico, United States of America
Coordinates N36 3 49.6 W107 58 15
Date of Inscription 1987

Brief Description ( )

For over 2,000 years, Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture – it has an ancient urban ceremonial centre that is unlike anything constructed before or since. In addition to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the World Heritage property includes the Aztec Ruins National Monument and several smaller Chaco sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

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Great Kiva, Chaco Culture National Historical Park Hungo Pavi, Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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United States of America, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 15:18:55

Location Counties of Cocke, Blount, and Sevier in the State of Tennessee; and the counties of Swain and Haywood in the, state of North Carolina, United States of America
Coordinates N35 35 35 W83 26 8
Property 209,000 ha
Date of Inscription 1983

Brief Description ( )

Stretching over more than 200,000 ha, this exceptionally beautiful park is home to more than 3,500 plant species, including almost as many trees (130 natural species) as in all of Europe. Many endangered animal species are also found there, including what is probably the greatest variety of salamanders in the world. Since the park is relatively untouched, it gives an idea of temperate flora before the influence of humankind.

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Alum Cave Bluffs Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Observation tower, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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United States of America, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 15:09:11

Location St. Louis, Illinois, United States of America
Coordinates N38 39 31 W90 3 41
Property 591 ha
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description ( )

Cahokia Mounds, some 13 km north-east of St Louis, Missouri, is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It was occupied primarily during the Mississippian period (800–1400), when it covered nearly 1,600 ha and included some 120 mounds. It is a striking example of a complex chiefdom society, with many satellite mound centres and numerous outlying hamlets and villages. This agricultural society may have had a population of 10–20,000 at its peak between 1050 and 1150. Primary features at the site include Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas, covering over 5 ha and standing 30 m high.

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Monks Mound, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

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United States of America, Olympic National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 15:00:27

Location State of Washington, United States of America
Coordinates N47 44 54 W123 26 56
Date of Inscription 1981

Brief Description ( )

Located in the north-west of Washington State, Olympic National Park is renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. Glacier-clad peaks interspersed with extensive alpine meadows are surrounded by an extensive old growth forest, among which is the best example of intact and protected temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. Eleven major river systems drain the Olympic mountains, offering some of the best habitat for anadromous fish species in the country. The park also includes 100 km of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States, and is rich in native and endemic animal and plant species, including critical populations of the endangered northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout.

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Seven Lakes Basin, Olympic National Park Roosevelt elk, Olympic National Park

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United States of America, Mammoth Cave National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 14:52:34

Location Counties of Barren, Edmonson, and Hart in the State of Kentucky, United States of America
Coordinates N37 11 14 W86 6 11
Property 21,191 ha
Date of Inscription 1981

Brief Description ( )

Mammoth Cave National Park, located in the state of Kentucky, has the world's largest network of natural caves and underground passageways, which are characteristic examples of limestone formations. The park and its underground network of more than 560 surveyed km of passageways are home to a varied flora and fauna, including a number of endangered species.

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Mammoth Cave National Park River Styx, Mammoth Cave National Park

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United States of America, Redwood National and State Parks

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 14:41:41

Location California, United States of America
Coordinates N41 22 26 W123 59 53
Property 56,883 ha
Date of Inscription 1980

Brief Description ( )

Redwood National Park comprises a region of coastal mountains bordering the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. It is covered with a magnificent forest of coastal redwood trees, the tallest and most impressive trees in the world. The marine and land life are equally remarkable, in particular the sea lions, the bald eagle and the endangered California brown pelican.

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Redwood National and State Parks Red Deer, Redwood National and State Parks

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United States of America, Independence Hall

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 14:29:47

Location Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America
Coordinates N39 56 55 W75 9 0
Property 2.00 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description ( )

The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed in this building in Philadelphia. The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on law-makers around the world.

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Independence Hall, Philadelphia

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United States of America, Grand Canyon National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 14:19:38

Location Counties of Coconino and Mohave in the, State of Arizona, United States of America
Coordinates N36 6 3 W112 5 26
Property 493,270 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description ( )

Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon (nearly 1,500 m deep) is the most spectacular gorge in the world. Located in the state of Arizona, it cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. Its horizontal strata retrace the geological history of the past 2 billion years. There are also prehistoric traces of human adaptation to a particularly harsh environment.

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Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

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United States of America, Everglades National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 14:11:14

Location Southern tip of the Florida peninsula, along the Gulf of Mexico, State of Florida, United States of America
Coordinates N25 33 16 W80 59 47
Property 567,017 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description ( )

This site at the southern tip of Florida has been called 'a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea'. The exceptional variety of its water habitats has made it a sanctuary for a large number of birds and reptiles, as well as for threatened species such as the manatee.

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Pine rockland, Everglades National Park

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United States of America, Yellowstone National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2013 at 14:03:05

Location Northwest corner of the State of Wyoming and relatively small adjacent areas of the States of Montana and Idaho, USA
Coordinates N44 27 38.016 W110 49 40.008
Property 898,349 ha
Date of Inscription 1978

Brief Description ( )

The vast natural forest of Yellowstone National Park covers nearly 9,000 km2 ; 96% of the park lies in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. Yellowstone contains half of all the world's known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. It also has the world's largest concentration of geysers (more than 300 geyers, or two thirds of all those on the planet). Established in 1872, Yellowstone is equally known for its wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison and wapitis.

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Castle Geyser, Yellowstone National Park Mammoth Hots Springs, Yellowstone National Park

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Canada, United States of America, Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 23, 2013 at 03:52:04

Location Province of Alberta, Canada; State of Montana, USA
Coordinates N48 59 45.8 W113 54 15
Property 457,614 ha
Date of Inscription 1995

Brief Description ( )

In 1932 Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta, Canada) was combined with the Glacier National Park (Montana, United States) to form the world's first International Peace Park. Situated on the border between the two countries and offering outstanding scenery, the park is exceptionally rich in plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, and alpine and glacial features.

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Summit Lake, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Cameron Falls, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

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Canada, United States of America, Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 22, 2013 at 11:38:21

Location Kluane: Yukon Territory (Canada) and Alaska (USA) Glacier Bay: Alaska (USA) Tatshenshini: Province of British Columbia (Canada)
Coordinates N61 11 51.3 W140 59 31.1
Property 9,839,121 ha
Date of Inscription 1979

Brief Description ( )

These parks comprise an impressive complex of glaciers and high peaks on both sides of the border between Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and the United States (Alaska). The spectacular natural landscapes are home to many grizzly bears, caribou and Dall's sheep. The site contains the largest non-polar icefield in the world.

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Kathleen Lake, Kluane / Wrangell - St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

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United States of America, Mesa Verde National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 18, 2011 at 05:00:40

Location Colorado, United States of America
Coordinates N37 15 42 W108 29 8
Property 21,043 ha
Date of Inscription 1978

Brief Description ( )

A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2,600 m. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top. There are also imposing cliff dwellings, built of stone and comprising more than 100 rooms.

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Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park Cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde National Park

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United States of America, Yosemite National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2009 at 18:30:56

Location Tuolumne, Mariposa, & Madera Counties, California, USA
Coordinates N37 44 46 W119 35 48
Property 308,283 ha
Nearest city Mariposa
Date of Inscription 1984

Brief Description ( )

Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its 'hanging' valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. At 600–4,000 m, a great variety of flora and fauna can also be found here.

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Yosemite valley, Yosemite National Park Waterfall, Yosemite National Park

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United States of America, Statue of Liberty

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2009 at 18:09:41

Location Liberty Island, New York, United States of America
Coordinates N40 41 22 W74 2 41
Property 5.00 ha
Architect Frederic Auguste Bartholdi
Date of Inscription 1984

Brief Description ( )

Made in Paris by the French sculptor Bartholdi, in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel (who was responsible for the steel framework), this towering monument to liberty was a gift from France on the centenary of American independence in 1886. Standing at the entrance to New York Harbour, it has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States ever since.

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Statue of Liberty Statue of Liberty

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