Little Bits of History

May 31

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 31, 2017

1952: Efteling opens. Located in Kaatsheuvel, North Brabant, Netherlands the venue opened as a nature part with a playground and a Fairy Tale Forest. The 15 acre forest is based on the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and Charles Perrault. R.J.Th. van der Heijden, Peter came up with the idea to help boost tourism to the region and asked Peter Reijnders (a filmmaker and inventor and van der Heijden’s brother in law) to help create the park and had Anton Pieck to add artistic features. It took about two years to create the first ten fairy tales. Today there are 25 scenes included in this portion of Efteling. Some scenes are very specific and some are more general in nature. Some are indoor scenes, scenes too small to enter, and some which can be entered into.

On this day, the ten scenes were first viewed. They contained mechanized movements as well as lighting and sound effects. This new approach to the ago old tales drew 240,000 in 1952 alone. Beginning in 1978, the park expanded. Today, it covers 178 acres for the park alone and then entire resort area, including a hotel, a theater, a golf course, and a holiday village covered 682 acres. The amusement park portion of Efteling has 35 high tech rides including 6 roller coasters and 4 water rides. The theme park is built around the myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales of times past. There are nearly 5 million people visiting each year. It is the largest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest theme parks in the world.

The Dutch climate is entwined with the park. The forest is all natural and because of cold winters, the park was originally only opened from April through October. Today, it is open year round, but with some attractions closed during Winter Efteling. While some are closed, there is the added bonus of Christmas lighting and decorations. The popularity of the park is due to, at least in part, the high quality of the ride designs and architecture. The pleasant woodlands are also a draw. Pieck, as the initial designer, would only work if the quality of the building materials could live up to his standards. He worked with the park until the mid-1970s when Ton van de Ven took over.

The park is divided into four themed areas. Originally North, West, East, and South, they names have changed to Travel Realm, Fairy Realm, Adventure Realm, and Other Realm respectively. The Adventure Realm is where the amusement park itself is located while the Fairy Realm holds the Fairy Tale Forest built among the pines. The newest addition is to open this summer. Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy will move the visitor through an enclosed palace and is the most expensive addition (€35 million) to the park. It is one of the reasons over 100 million people have visiting the Dutch treat since its opening.

In an amusement park, you can go on a roller coaster that carries you up and down, or you can go on another kind of ride that whirls you around in a circle. Similarly, there are different sorts of entertaining experiences in the theater. – Wallace Shawn

The way I see it, love is an amusement park, and food its souvenir. – Stephanie Klein

Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers. – Hans Christian Andersen

If you see the magic in a fairy tale, you can face the future. – Danielle Steel

May 30

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 30, 2017

1631: Gazette de France is first published. Théophraste Renaudot began the news sheet as a way to spread the information in France more quickly. Prior to the paper’s publication, news was passed around on hand written papers or nouvelles à la main. With the quick acceptance of the gazette as a way of disseminating the news, it became a useful tool for controlling the flow of information. France at the time was highly centralized and both Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII were frequent contributors. Prior to the French Revolution, the paper was often read by nobility and the aristocracy as a way of keeping up with events throughout the country and around the world.

The initial purpose of the paper was to spread news of court events, political issues, or diplomatic affairs. In 1762 it began to carry the subtitle Official organ of the royal Government, in French of course. It was also one of the most expensive magazines (initially published weekly) in all of Paris. Since the news was that of the government, there was little mention of any of the revolutionary items and even the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 failed to reach print in this venue. In 1791 the magazine came back under the control of Nicolas Fallet and became an outlet for Girondists (a part of the Jacobin movement or anti-royalists). In 1792, it became a daily newspaper and after Louis XVI was executed in 1793, the name changed to Gazette nationale de France. It ceased publication in 1915.

Renaudot was a physician, philanthropist, and journalist. He has been called “the first French journalist” as well as the “inventor of the personal ad”. He was born in 1586 and became a doctor in 1606. He met Cardinal Richelieu and as the man became more famous, both Renaudot and Richelieu moved to Paris. Renaudot was born Protestant but converted to Catholicism and became Louis XIII’s private physician. In 1630 he opened the bureau d’adresse at de rencontre where prospective employers and employees could find each other. He opened his paper with the help and backing of Richelieu and began organizing weekly press conferences in 1633, giving the paper much to print. These press conferences ended in 1642 when Richelieu died.

Passing along the news has been of great concern since the dawn of civilization. In ancient Rome, Acta Duma or the official government bulletins were created and posted around the city. These were either carved in metal or stone. In China, early news sheets were produced and circulated among court officials to keep them up to date. The first reference to privately published newssheets was in 1582 in Beijing during the Ming Dynasty. In Europe, with increasing international business, it became more and more important to be able to keep up with information and Venice was the first European city to create a news paper, published monthly, with the earliest edition hand written. It took the invention of the printing press before what we consider today to be a newspaper to actually come to market.

Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed. – Elbert Hubbard

Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. – Robert Peel

You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on. – Harry S Truman

It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. – Jerry Seinfeld

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May 29

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 29, 2017

1913: Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is first performed. Stravinsky was born in Russia in 1882. His compositional career began in 1910 with his first ballet commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev. It was followed by a second ballet performed again in Paris and again by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1911. His breakthrough came with the Rite of Spring which was so unusual it caused a near-riot at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on this day at the premiere. Both the music and choreography were so sensational, the audience was up in arms. The choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky and the stage and costume designs were provided by Nicholas Roerich. The ballet was written for the stage, but the music itself achieved recognition alone as a concert piece. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the century.

While Stravinsky’s first two ballets received good reviews, his third was astonishing. Roerich and Stravinsky worked to develop the story line which is suggested by the subtitle of the work, “Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts”. Various primitive pagan rituals are practiced in order to determine the sacrificial virgin for the event. She then dances herself to death. The ballet had a short run and then was not performed again until the 1920s and then with choreography by Léonide Massine. The original choreography was thought to be lost but resurfaced for a performance in Los Angeles by the Joffrey Ballet in the 1980s.

Stravinsky’s music had many novel features, which in part led to the riotous behavior on this day. He experimented with tonality, meter, rhythm, stress, and dissonance. There was a significant nod to Russian folk music, something Stravinsky tended to deny. This music influenced much of the work that followed and Rite of Spring one of the most recorded works in classical music. The music was first performed as a concert on February 18, 1914 in St. Petersburg with Serge Koussevitzky conducting. On April 5, 1914 (less than a year after a “near riot”) the work was again offered as a concert piece with Stravinsky in the audience. The crowd was so pleased, they carried him triumphantly out of the theater on the shoulders of his fans.

Stravinsky not only wrote ballets, he wrote operas with his first being The Nightingale (Le Rossignol) begun in 1908. This was even before he began his association with the ballet and he received 10,000 rubles for his work which was finally finished in 1914. Stravinsky suffered under a change of regime and moved to France in 1920 and was sponsored by Coco Chanel. When World War II broke out in 1939, he was able to leave for the US at the age of 57. He settled in California and lived for thirty years with musicians, artists, and intelligentsia on the west coast. He moved to the Essex House in New York City in 1969 and lived there until his death in 1971 at the age of 88. He is buried at San Michele, as is his friend, Sergei Diaghilev.

I loathe all communism, Marxism, the execrable Soviet monster, and also all liberalism, democratism, atheism, etc.

I know that the twelve notes in each octave and the variety of rhythm offer me opportunities that all of human genius will never exhaust.

I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.

To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.  – all from Igor Stravinsky

May 28

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 28, 2017

1907: The first Isle of Man TT race is held. The Tourist Trophy Race is a yearly motorcycle sporting event held on the island situated between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland in the Irish Sea. The island’s topography is hilly with only one peak topping 2,000 feet and there is a central valley. It is 32 miles at the longest point and 14 miles wide at the widest. Motor racing began on the island in 1904 due to legal constraints in England limiting the speeds for cars to 20 mph or less. The Automobile Car Club of Britain and Ireland sought permission from the government of the island to use their public roads for an elimination time trial race using the Highroads Course for the event. It took the winner 7 hours and 26.5 minutes to make five laps of the 52.15 mile course.

In 1905, after the winning time came in at 6 hours and 6 minutes with an extra lap driven, it was thought to give motorcycles a chance to run the course on the following day. There was an accident at Ramsey Hairpin and the bikes had difficulty climbing the steep Mountain Section of the course and so they rode on a 25 mile section of the Gordon Bennett Trial course instead. That day’s event had five laps or 125 miles covered and was won in 4 hours and 9 minutes despite a fire during a pit stop. The average speed was 30.04 mph for the race. It was such a success that the TT Races were officially organized and have run yearly since 1907. The original race was held on St. John’s Short Course and consisted of 10 laps for a distance of 158 miles. Charlie Collier won the race on his 3 ½ hp Matchless motorcycle at an average speed of 38.21 mph in 4:08:08.2.

Since 1911, the Snaefell Mountain Course has been used for the road racing event. It is 37.733 miles long and is closed to public during race events. It is the oldest motorcycle racing circuit still in use and is one of the deadliest as well with 248 people having died during the TT Race and the Grand Prix Race also held on the course. Glen Helen died in 1911 during a practice run of the course and 14 officials, spectators, and other non-racers have died on the course. The difficulty of the course lies in part to the over 200 turns along the less than 38 mile course.

The Isle of Man TT Race has been administered by the Auto-Cycle Union (the Auto-Cycle Club) since its inception. It was one the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world and was seen as a test of both machine and man. The fastest lap at the race was run by Michael Dunlop in 2016 when he made a lap in 16 minutes and 53.929 seconds. He also holds the race record of 1 hour 43 minutes, and 56.129 seconds for an average speed of 130.685 mph, also in 2016. The unofficial top speed reached during a race belongs to Bruce Anstey who hit 206 mph in 2006. The lap record for the Sidecar TT is 19 minutes and 22.928 seconds with an average speed of 116.798 mph with Ben Birchall driving and Tom Birchall as the passenger in the sidecar. This was set in 2016. The most wins is held by Joey Dunlop with 26. He is the uncle of Michael.

You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle! – Dan Aykroyd

A motorcycle is an independent thing. – Ryan Hurst

If I’m out trailriding, I have a favorite motorcycle. Riding on the road, I’ve got a favorite. If I’m jumping, I have a favorite, and if I’m racing, I have a favorite. – Evel Knievel

It wasn’t until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed. – Vin Diesel



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May 27

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 27, 2017

1930: The Chrysler Building becomes the tallest building in New York City. The building replaced 40 Wall Street (also known as Trump Tower) as the tallest building in the city, but the Chrysler Building did not make the tallest building in the word. The Eiffel Tower kept that distinction until the Empire State Building took over. The Chrysler Building is located on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan and is today owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council (90%) and Tishman Speyer (10%). Although it didn’t hold the title of tallest building for long, the Empire State Building surpassed it less than a year later, it remains the tallest brick building (built around a steel frame) in the world.

The Art Deco building was the corporate headquarters for the Chrysler car manufacturer from its opening date until the mid 1950s. It was never owned by the company since Walter Chrysler paid for it himself so his children could inherit it. It has been deemed one of the finest buildings in New York City and was ranked ninth by the American Institute of Architects in their List of America’s Favorite Architecture. The building was designed by William Van Alen with groundbreaking taking place on September 19, 1928. At the time, building the tallest building was of great interest. The Woolworth Building had been able to hold the title from 1913 until 40 Wall Street took over. Taking to the skies was a high priority.

The building’s 77 floors give it 1,195,000 square feet of space and is services by 32 elevators. With the spire topping the building, it reaches 1,046 feet into the air, while the roof is at 925 feet. The top floor is 899 feet up. Building it was managed with rapid ascent averaging four floors a week. No workers died during the construction. The building contains 391,881 rivets and has 3,826,000 bricks which were manually laid. The competitive nature of the builders had the architect of 40 Wall Street modifying his plans to try to maintain his “tallest building” title. Van Alen then added the 125 foot tall spire to the top of the Chrysler Building. Except the spire was built inside the building and in secret, so as to thwart Severance’s claim.

As this date approached, the assembled spire could be placed atop the building and the already completed 40 Wall Street became second tallest building. The architectural structure of the Eiffel Tower reaches up to 984 feet and so Van Alen’s building was able to become the tallest manmade architecture structure in the world. This was no doubt thrilling for the man, but probably lost some of the luster when Walter Chrysler refused to pay the balance of his fee. Today, Chrysler Company has merged with Fiat and is traded as Fiat Chrysler with headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The building there is far less spectacular.

It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time. – David Allan Coe

Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves. – Julia Morgan

Color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic. – Antoni Gaudi

Rationalism is the enemy of art, though necessary as a basis for architecture. – Arthur Erickson

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May 26

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 26, 2017

1783: A Great Jubilee Day is celebrated. The American Revolutionary War was fought between 1775 and 1783 with America gaining independence from Great Britain. The war officially ended on September 3, 1783 with the signing of the Peace of Paris treaty. But hostilities had ended prior to the actual treaty’s creation. It was ratified on May 12, 1784 but by then, the United States of America was already well under way. The war had been long and brutal with tens of thousands dying on both sides. America’s allies also lost thousands of thousands, as did the associates of Great Britain. Even before the treaty, there was cause for jubilation, celebration, and partying. On this day, all that and more happened at A Great Jubilee Day.

Held in North Stratford (now Trumbull, Connecticut), the day commemorated the end to the fighting. It included food, of course, but also prayer, speeches, toasts, and two companies of the North Stratford militia performing maneuvers. Cannons were fired in this first documented celebration of the end of the War for Independence. It would later be called Decoration Day and today is known as Memorial Day. Even now, Americans celebrate their freedom with food, parades, and speeches. On this day there were many toasts to the many who suffered, sacrificed, and honorably held fast during the long war. The first toast was for Congress and the second was for General Washington. There were 14 toasts given and after each, the cannon was fired.

The area of Connecticut was settled by the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation prior to the colonization by the English during the Great Migration of the 1630s. Stratford, Connecticut grew and some farmers northwest of the town petitioned to become separate and eventually were given permission to incorporate Unity. They merged with Long Hill and became North Stratford in 1744. Connecticut had the distinction of having the only colonial governor to support the American cause during the Revolutionary War. That governor was Jonathan Trumbull. The town eventually was successful in their petition to name their town after him.

The Connecticut general assembly appointed Robert Hawley, a captain in the North Stratford Train Band of the 4th regiment of the Connecticut Colony militia to provide supplies to the US Army. A special meeting was held on November 10, 1777 in which his task was laid out. He began collecting supplies and March 12, 1778 they were able to make a considerable donation to the neighboring state. The cost of delivering the more than 200 pounds of provisions was sponsored by Mr. Stephen Middlebrook and came to £7 s3 p10. The supplies were essential to health and well being of the soldiers under General Washington stationed at Valley Forge.

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. – George Washington

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. – Albert Einstein

Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. – Ronald Reagan

To survive in peace and harmony, united and strong, we must have one people, one nation, one flag. – Pauline Hanson

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May 25

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 25, 2017

1738: A treaty is signed in London between belligerents – Pennsylvania and Maryland. The fighting portion of Cresap’s War or the Conojocular War came to an end. Conejohela Valley was the area of conflict between the two colonies and fighting first broke out in 1730 over the disputed lands. Pennsylvania’s Charter gave the southern border as a “Circle drawne at twelve miles distance from New Castle Northward and Westward unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and then a straight Line Westward.” Later surveys showed the town of New Castle was 25 miles south of the fortieth parallel. Maryland insisted the line be drawn at the fortieth parallel as stated while Pennsylvania insisted on some convoluted means of calculating the border. This left a 28 mile wide strip of land both colonies claimed.

The area was sparsely populated. In 1726, Quaker minister John Wright and two friends brought their families into the Valley and settled near the Susquehanna River and began farming. They also built two large dugout canoes and tied one to each side of the waterway creating the opportunity for passenger ferrying. Few people needed to cross, but by 1730 business was increasing and Wright applied for a ferry license. Traffic increased, in part because it became known there was ferry service across the Susquehanna. A number of Pennsylvania Dutch moved to the area and Marylander Thomas Cresap wanted to counter this and set up his own ferry system at Blue Rock, about four miles south of Wright’s Ferry.

Because of the royal charter, Pennsylvania settlers did not have clear title to the lands. Marland granted Cresap a title to 500 acres along the west bank of the river. Much of that parcel was already settled. Cresap began to sell off parcels of his land and brought more Pennsylvania Dutch under Maryland law and began to collect Maryland taxes. According to Cresap, in October 1730 he was attacked on a ferry boat by two Pennsylvanians, the first armed confrontation between Pennsylvania and Maryland. He didn’t mention the attack was to take his own workman into custody for some violation in Pennsylvania, probably debt collection. Hostilities increased and the issue remained unresolved.

Both colonial militias were brought to the region to defend their claim to the 28-mile strip of land. Casualties were heavy and the fighting continued for years. Agreements were reached, but ignored on the ground. Finally, after involving King George II, the two sides were compelled to sign a treaty and enforce a cease-fire. While this settled the immediate problem, the issue wasn’t fully resolved until 1767 when the Mason-Dixon line was finally recognized as the dividing line between the two colonies. This assured that Philadelphia was indeed in Pennsylvania while adjusting the rest of the line westward.

When you move a border, suddenly life changes violently. I write about nationality. – Alan Furst

The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? – Pablo Casals

Great countries need to secure their border for national security purposes, for economic purposes and for rule of law purposes. – Jeb Bush

As we all know from the Roman empire, big empires go down if the borders are not well-protected. – Mark Rutte

May 24

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 24, 2017

1976: The Judgment of Paris takes place. Also known as the Paris Wine Tasting, it was organized by Steven Spurrier. He began his illustrious career at London’s oldest wine merchant, Christopher and Co. in 1964. He moved to Paris in 1970 and purchased an existing wine store and opened for business with a selling point being people could taste the wine before they purchased it. This led to his being recognized as an expert in his field and he opened the L’Academie du Vin in 1973 as France’s first private wine school. He sponsored the event held on this day where shocking results rocked the world of wine.

Wine competitions have the goal of comparing wines by trained experts. They can either judge vintages, categories, or brands of wine. They are given samples of wines without knowing from what label they were poured and then rate the beverage. On this day, they were rating both red and white wines. Spurrier was one of the eleven judges and he was joined by nine French judges and one American. The nine men and two women were given samples of California Cabernet Sauvignon wines and Bordeaux and also judged California Chardonnays against France’s.

The blind tests were performed with the highest rating given as 20 points. Each expert was to use their judgment and no framework was given. Personal criteria of experts was honored. Each judge ranked the wines personally and then an aggregate score was obtained by averaging the numbers. There were a total of ten reds (6 California and 4 French) and ten whites (6 California and 4 French). Each judge’s listing was different from the next, but by taking the scores and averaging them out, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 was voted the best red and Chateau Montelena 1973 was voted the best white. Both were American wines. Stag’s Leap was founded in 1970 with their first vintage produced in 1972. Chateau Montelena, another Napa Valley winery, was established much earlier, in 1882.

This upset helped place America’s vintners on the world stage. Spurrier only sold French wines at the time, believing them to be far superior. The California wins in both categories was an upset, in all senses of the word. Controversies abound concerning tastings. Personal criteria used and subjectivity along with the unscientific interpretation bring non-replicable results. It was noted that even the same judges tasting the same wines on a different day would likely rank them in a different way. Regardless of the science, California wines were able to carry the day.

The results of a blind tasting cannot be predicted and will not even be reproduced the next day by the same panel tasting the same wines. – Steven Spurrier

Intellectuals talk about ideas; ordinary people talk about things; but boring people talk about wine! – Fran Lebowitz

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. I Benjamin Franklin

A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle. – Charles Baudelaire



May 23

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 23, 2017

1906: Henrik Ibsen dies at the age of 78. He was born into a prosperous merchant family in Skien, Grenland, Norway. The family ancestors were Danish ship captains who settled in the port town and became merchants. When Henrik was seven, his father lost most of the family fortune and they were forced to move into their rural summer house and sell off most of the family holdings. The family’s misfortune would later turn up in several of the playwright’s work. Henrik’s father married into his step-father’s family and Henrik was also intrigued with what he called their “strange, almost incestuous marriage” which also became a topic for later plays.

When he was 15, Henrik was forced by economics to leave school and become an apprentice pharmacist in Grimstad. He would never return to his home town. He also began writing plays at the time. At age 18, he fathered an illegitimate child who he monetarily supported but never saw. Instead, he left for the big city, what would eventually be called Oslo, and hoped to matriculate into university. He was unable to pass the entrance exams and so continued writing plays. His first play was published under a pseudonym in 1850 when he was 22. It was never performed. His first play to make it the stage was also in 1850 and it was not a hit. He continued writing, without much success.

Ibsen was employed at Det Norske Theater for the next several years and was part of 145 plays as writer, director, and producer. During the time, he published five more unremarkable plays. Although still not a writing success, he gathered experience of the theater which would be useful later. He returned to Oslo for a job at Christiania Theatre, married, and his son was born. Still unsuccessful, he moved to Italy to begin a 27 year self-imposed exile. In 1865 he finally wrote his first acclaimed play, Brand. Two years later, Peer Gynt, influenced by his reading of philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, was produced. With success, Ibsen began to include even more of his own beliefs and judgments into what he called the “drama of ideas”.

He went on to write many impressive and still performed plays. Shakespeare is the only playwright with more plays still being performed. During the 20th century, the most performed play was A Doll’s House which Ibsen wrote in 1879. The controversial play explored women’s roles in marriage and allowed the wife/mother an escape from her bonds in order to find her true self outside the confines imposed by society. Many of his later works were considered scandalous at the time. Ibsen returned to Norway in 1891, but it was not the same place he had left decades before. Life was modernizing. He suffered several strokes during the 1900s and succumbed to the accumulative effects, on this day.

A forest bird never wants a cage.

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.

Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.

Castles in the air – they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build too. – all from Henrik Ibsen

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May 22

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 22, 2017

1762: The Trevi Fountain is officially opened by Pope Clemens XIII. According to legend, in 19 BC some Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water about eight miles outside the city of Rome. Augustus commissioned a 14-mile long aqueduct to be built, bringing the pure water into the city proper. It was called Aqua Virgo or Virgin Waters as an honorary nod to the young girl. The waters supplied the hot Baths of Agrippa for over 400 years. In 1629, Pope Urban VIII proposed building a new and more dramatic fountain at the site and even asked Bernini to design it. The Pope died and the fountain project was abandoned, at least for a time.

In 1730, Pope Clement XII organized a contest to supply ideas for a new fountain as much of the city was being upgraded in the Baroque style. Alessandro Galilei (a relative of the more famous Galileo, and a Florentine) won, but the Romans were outraged with a Florentine’s win and so the commission was given to runner up, Nicola Salvi. Using Salvi’s plans, work on the massive fountain began in 1732. Salvi died in 1751 and the project was finished with the placement of Pietro Bracci’s Oceanus into the central niche. The fountain was built at the juncture of three roads (hence the name – tre vie). The entire structure rises 86 feet and is 161 feet wide making it the largest Baroque fountain in Rome as well as one of the best known fountains in the world. Most of the Travertine stone used in construction came from Tivoli, 22 miles away.

The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli. The palace was given its monumental façade especially as a setting for the fountain. Luigi Vanvitelli’s palace design was altered when the central portion was demolished specifically for the building of the Trevi Fountain. Because of erosion over time, the fountain has been refurbished and in 1998, all the stonework was scrubbed and all cracks were repaired along with other areas of deterioration. Skilled artisans worked to restore the beauty while recirculating pumps were added to the fountain itself.

In January 2014, Fendi (Italian fashion company) announced a plan for more restoration and upgrades. They would sponsor a 20-month program and spend €2.2 million on the project which would be the most comprehensive restoration ever undertaken. Work began in June 2014 and was completed with an official reopening ceremony on November 3, 2015. Part of the upgrades were the installation of more than 100 LED lights to improve the nighttime illumination of the fountain. Throwing coins in the fountain is to be done by using the right hand to toss money over the left shoulder. About €3,000 is thrown into the fountain daily. The retrieved money is used to subsidize food for Rome’s needy.

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. – Mike May

Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo da Vinci

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. – John W. Gardner

The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone. – Lucretius

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