Pluto’s Birthplace – Lowell Observatory

Brick and Stone: Architecture and Preservation

Sadly, on August 24th 2006, just ten years ago, the planet Pluto was demoted to the status of “dwarf planet”. How sad. I remember learning about the little guy in grade school and we were all particularly happy about the name – Pluto – because of our enjoyment of Pluto cartoons and comics. Both Plutos…the planet and the cartoon character debuted in 1930 but Pluto, the name, goes back into antiquity.

First, he lost his status as the ninth planet when he crossed inside of planet Neptune’s orbit…so then he was the eighth planet. But that lasted only for twenty years when he snuck back beyond Neptune in 1999. Pluto is something of a wanderer and it takes 248 years to make one orbit of the sun. Twenty of those years the orbit lies inside the orbit of Neptune. Image of Pluto from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft

Pluto tries harder to get our attention than any other planet…

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In Praise of Old Hotels – Las Vegas, New Mexico

Brick and Stone: Architecture and Preservation

I stopped off in Las Vegas, New Mexico, on the way home from a short visit with friends in Colorado Springs. I didn’t know much about Las Vegas. My only experience has been stopping there momentarily on frequent Amtrak trips between Albuquerque and Kansas City. The train passengers all sit and look out the windows and ponder the fenced off hulk of the old Castenada Hotel and remark that this doesn’t look like pictures of Las Vegas they have seen. Of course, that’s the other Las Vegas. This one is older and has (perhaps) more character and an interesting history.  This time, travelling by car, I opted to stay one night in Las Vegas and see what the place is about. I could have spent a few more days.

Las Vegas predates the railroad  and was an important stop along the Santa Fe Trail. As such, it seems to have grown…

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