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More of Memphis

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Tuesday, we took a look at Memphis and covered only the musical landmarks. There's much more to enjoy and learn about in Memphis.

The Mississippi River itself is quite an impressive landmark. You can take a ride on the Memphis Queen riverboat or enjoy a concert at Mud Island, where you can also explore a scale model of the entire Mississippi River.

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The Lorraine Motel at 450 Mulberry Street, just a couple of blocks from Beale Street, was the site where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. King was in town to support the sanitation workers strike, and had just given his famous "Mountaintop" speech the night before. The Lorraine went into foreclosure in 1982, and was bought by a group of prominent Memphians who founded The National Civil Rights Museum on the site. The museum is open every day.
Yet more Memphis, after the jump.

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The Peabody Hotel on Union Avenue opened in 1925. The famous Peabody Ducks still swim in the hotel's fountain each day, escorted to the lobby from their penthouse apartment by the Peabody Duckmaster. See a video of the ducks here.

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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was founded by Danny Thomas in 1962 in response to a vow he made to build a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. The hospital serves children with cancer from all over the world with no regard for their family's ability to pay, if they fit into their current research protocols.

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A. Schwab's Dry Goods at 163 Beale Street is the oldest business on the street, in operation since 1876. You can still get everything from underwear to voodoo spells at Schwab's.

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In 1991, the city of Memphis built The Pyramid Arena, a 32-storey civic center in tribute to the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. The Pyramid is home former home to the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team and the University of Memphis basketball program. It also hosts concerts and other big events.

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And you can't go to Memphis without a visit to the Memphis Zoo, home of pandas Ya Ya and Le Le. You can follow them online with the Panda Cam.

For more on Memphis, see Tell the Truth Travel and the city's official site.

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UK Pair Will Visit All 2563 Rail Stations in Britain This Summer
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iStock

A train-loving UK couple is on a mission this summer to visit as many of Great Britain’s railway stations as possible. Since May, Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe have been working to hit up all 2563 stations, shooting video and posting updates to social media along the way.

Both Marshall and Pipe are serious train buffs. Marshall, a video producer, previously created videos about each of the London Underground lines for Londonist, and Pipe works at the London Transport Museum (she’s taking a sabbatical for the trip).

All the Stations isn’t a race, so they’ll keep at it until they’ve covered the entire island, though their goal is to finish the journey in three months. They are documenting their travels as a way to explore the state of Britain’s rail infrastructure and visit little-known places along the routes. Their goals include posting four videos of four different days of travel per week, live streaming between video posts, and making a feature documentary about the project at the end of the summer.

The project was partially funded on Kickstarter, where they raised more than $50,600 in early 2017 for their trip—which helped pay for the more than $13,000 in train tickets.

The pair has set out parameters for what exactly counts as a stop. They have to arrive or leave on a scheduled train passing through each stop, but they don't have to get off at every one. They’re not counting abandoned stations, nor do subways or heritage railways count, and they are sticking to mainland Britain rather than venturing to Northern Ireland.

They’ve been averaging about 30 stations per day. As of July 26, they have made it to 2089 stations, putting them more than 80 percent of the way there. They’ve only got 474 left to go on the way to Thurso, the northernmost town on the British mainland, which they plan to hit in August.

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Ramones Karaoke, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
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Fake It Until You Make It: 10 Artificial Ruins
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Ramones Karaoke, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The love of ruins, sometimes called ruinophilia, has for centuries inspired the creation of clever fakes—a host of sham facades and hollowed-out castle shells found on grand English, European, and even American estates. The popularity of constructing artificial ruins was at its peak during the 18th and 19th centuries, but architects occasionally still incorporate them today.

Why build a structure that is already crumbling? Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the popularity of counterfeit ruins was influenced by two factors—a classical education that enforced the ideals of ancient Greece and Rome, and the extended tour of Europe (known as The Grand Tour) that well-to-do young men and women took after completing their education. Travelers might start in London or France and roam as far as the Middle East, but the trip almost always included Italy and a chance to admire Roman ruins. More than a few wealthy travelers returned home longing to duplicate those ruins, either to complement a romantic landscape, to demonstrate wealth, or to provide a pretense of family history for the newly rich.

Here are a few romantic ruins constructed between the 18th and 21st centuries.

1. SHAM CASTLE // BATHAMPTON, ENGLAND

Sham Castle (shown above) is aptly named—it’s only a façade. The "castle," overlooking the English city of Bath, was created in 1762 to improve the view for Ralph Allen, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as to provide jobs for local stonemasons. From a distance it looks like a castle ruin, but it's merely a wall that has two three-story circular turrets and a two-story square tower at either end. The castle is not the only folly (as such purely decorative architecture is often called) that Allen built. He also constructed a sham bridge on Serpentine Lake in what is now Prior Park Landscape Garden—the bridge can't be crossed, but provides a nice focal point for the lake. Today, Sham Castle is part of a private golf course.

2. WIMPOLE FOLLY // CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND

Building a structure that looks as if it's crumbling does not preclude having to perform regular maintenance. The four-story Gothic tower known as Wimpole Folly in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, England, was built 1768-72 for Philip Yorke, first Earl of Hardwicke and owner of the Wimpole Estate. Owned by Britain’s National Trust, the ruin threatened to truly crumble a few years ago, so restoration efforts were needed. The last restoration was so well done it won the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage. The Wimpole Estate is now open to the public for walks and hikes.

3. CAPEL MANOR FOLLY // ENFIELD, ENGLAND

Capel Manor at Bulls Cross, Enfield, England has been the site of several grand homes since the estate’s first recorded mention in the 13th century, so visitors might be tempted to believe that the manor house's ruins date back at least a few centuries. But that sense of history is an illusion: The faux 15th-century house was built in 2010 to add visual appeal to the manor gardens, which have been open to the public since the 1920s.

4. ROMAN RUIN // SCHONBRUNN PALACE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

The Roman Ruin was built as a garden ornament for the 1441-room Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, one of the most important monuments in Austria. The ruin was once called The Ruins of Carthage, after the ancient North African city defeated by Roman military force. But despite the illusion of antiquity, the ruins were created almost 2000 years after Carthage fell in 146 B.C.E. The ruin’s rectangular pool, framed by an intricate semi-circle arch, was designed in 1778 by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, who modeled it on the Ancient Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus, which he had seen an engraving of.

5. THE RUINEBERG // POTSDAM, GERMANY

One of the earliest examples of artificial ruins in Germany was the complex of structures known as The Ruinenberg. Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, had a summer palace in Potsdam, near Berlin, that was said to rival Versailles. In 1748 Frederick commissioned a large fountain for the palace complete with artificial ruins. The waterworks part of his plan proved too difficult and was soon abandoned, but not before designer Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff constructed the ruins. The complex includes Roman pillars, a round temple, and the wall of a Roman theatre. Since 1927 the site has belonged to the Prussian Gardens and Palaces Foundation, Berlin-Brandenburg.

6. PARC MONCEAU // PARIS, FRANCE

Elegant Parc Monceau is located in the fashionable 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Champs-Elysees and Palais de l’Elysée. In 1778, the Duke of Chartres decided to build a mansion on land previously used for hunting. He loved English architecture and gardens, including the notion of nostalgic ruins, so he hired the architect Louis Carrogis Carmontelle to create an extravagant park complete with a Roman temple, antique statues, a Chinese bridge, a farmhouse, a Dutch windmill, a minaret, a small Egyptian pyramid, and some fake gravestones. The most notable feature of the park is a pond surrounded by Corinthian columns, now known as Colonnade de Carmontelle.

7. HAGLEY PARK CASTLE // WORCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND

The ruins of the medieval castle at Hagley Park in Worcestershire are definitely fake, but they were built with debris from the real ruin of a neighboring abbey. The folly was commissioned by Sir George Lyttelton in 1747 and designed by Sanderson Miller, an English pioneer of Gothic revival architecture. The castle has a round tower at each corner, but by design only one is complete and decorated inside with a coat of arms. The grounds, which also feature a temple portico inspired by an ancient Greek temple, some urns, and obelisks, are now privately owned and not open to the public.

8. TATA CASTLE RUINS // TATA, HUNGARY

French architect Charles de Moreau (1758-1841) was a scholar of classical Roman architecture known for his ability to counterfeit impressive ruins. Nicholas I, Prince Esterhazy of Hungary, hired him to work on Tata Castle and to create the ruins of a Romanesque church for the palace’s English Garden. Even though the ruin Moreau created was fake, he built it with the stones of a real ruin, the remnants of the early-12th-century Benedictine and later Dominican abbey of Vértesszőlős. A third-century ancient Roman tombstone and relief were placed nearby.

9. BELVEDERE CASTLE // MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park in the mid-1800s, and their plan for creating romantic vistas included the construction of a folly known as Belvedere Castle. The Gothic-Romanesque style hybrid, overlooking Central Park’s Great Lawn, was completed in 1869. Although the folly was designed as a hollow shell and meant to be a ruin, it eventually served a practical purpose, housing a weather bureau and exhibit space. The castle also provides a beautiful backdrop for Shakespeare in the Park productions, evoking the royal homes that play prominent roles in the Bard’s works.

10. FOLLY WALL IN BARKING TOWN SQUARE // LONDON

In a borough known for its real historic buildings, the ancient wall found in London’s Barking Town Square might look centuries old. It’s not, and ironically, the wall is part of the square’s renovation efforts. The wall was built by bricklaying students at Barking College using old bricks and crumbling stone items found at salvage yards. Known as the "Secret Garden," named after the children’s book about a walled garden, the wall was designed to screen a nearby supermarket and was unveiled in 2007.

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