Check out the above clip of the streamlined and backswept Burlington Zephyr as it rockets across the countryside on its way from Denver to Chicago in 1934.
The trip was a technological breakthrough in transportation and design; a promotional effort to showcase the speed and engineering behind the newly-developed stainless steel beauty. The Zephyr made the trip non-stop in a hair over 13 hours with an average speed of 77 mph. At one point, the mighty diesel-electric engines pushed the train passed 112 mph.
Today, the same trip would be almost 19 hours — although the comparison isn't completely fair because Amtrak trains, unlike the Zephyr on this run, would have to stop to pick up passengers. But many of today's trains don't roll much faster than the Zephyr due to safety regulations that limit the speed to 79 mph in much of the country.
Still the video is a reminder of what rail travel in this country once aspired. Yet today's successor to the Zephyr is in Europe or Asia:
Building a network of 220 mph Amtrak bullet trains crisscrossing America will likely not happen, short of a public private partnership.
Some of the best collegiate architecture in the country is going on right now at the University of Chicago. The gray lady of Hyde Park has welcomed visually-exciting new buildings such as the domed Mansueto Library and the glassy, near-steampunk chiller plant on its south campus.
A 60-year-old Arizona home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has become the subject of one of the hottest preservation battles in the country. (Well, that along with our own dust-up over the fate of the iconic former Prentice Women's Hospital.)
The unusual David and Gladys Wright House — Wright designed the Phoenix residence for one of his sons — was purchased earlier this year by a custom home builder who sought to demolish the structure, subdivide its two-acre site and build a pair of houses there. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building conservancy have sounded the alarm.
Watch the video above and it is easy to see why. Completed in 1952, the Wright Home is made from concrete block. A spiral ramp not unlike the one in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City leads to the home's second floor.