At 812 feet above sea level, Jerimoth Hill is the highest point of land in Rhode Island. Located 200 yards from a public road, the Old Hartford Pike, the summit itself is an unadorned exposed granite rock, a couple of feet higher than the surrounding land. It has been owned by Brown University since 1952, and used by its astronomy department, which refers to it as Little Mauna Kea.
A close inspection of the state lines at the western edge Oklahoma’s panhandle shows that the 35 miles of its boundary shared with New Mexico does not line up with the otherwise straight 300 mile line dividing New Mexico from Texas. This is because the boundary between New Mexico and Texas was set along the 103rd Meridian, as located by a Spanish survey in 1819.
Oklahoma is sometimes ranked as the largest domestic producer of gypsum, and this facility in northwestern part of the state is one of a few major mines and plants for the material in the state. It is operated by US Gypsum, the largest manufacturer of gypsum products in the country, which include wallboard, joint compound, and ceiling panels; some of the most common materials used in building construction.
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City was destroyed in the 1995 bombing that took 168 lives. A memorial was dedicated in 2000, and includes a reflecting pool on what was once the street where the Ryder truck full of explosives was parked, and the Field of Empty Chairs, one for each of the people killed, on the ground where the damaged building once stood.
Just after the panhandle connects to the pan of Oklahoma, near the town of Freedom, is Cargill Salt’s solar production plant. It is one of only a few places in the country where salt is produced in large quantities by solar evaporation – most salt that is consumed is mined from large deposits underground. Solar evaporation requires a large amount of surface area and water to make shallow ponds, a dry and sunny atmosphere, as well as a source of salt to extract.
Remoteness from anything but the local is a quality of northwestern Oklahoma, and an attraction for things that support the industries of “away”. Not surprising then to find the Lone Mountain Landfill there, a hazardous waste site operating on a national scale. Operated by Clean Harbors LLC, the nation’s largest hazardous waste company, Lone Mountain treats materials on site, including liquids and PCBs, to help stabilize them before they are buried in the expansive mounds on the property.
Though the refineries from its boom years earlier in the century are gone, the town of Cushing, northeast of Oklahoma City, is a major storage site for crude oil and gas that comes and goes by pipeline.
Tulsa’s Airport is a major maintenance center for civilian aircraft. It is the site of American Airlines’ aircraft maintenance and engineering center, likely the largest aviation maintenance facility in the country. It is the principal facility for the airline’s global operations, and employs 6,400, including 4,700 licensed aircraft mechanics. Next door, Spirit Aerosystems makes wings and other parts for Boeing, in a former Rockwell aircraft plant.
The Port of Catoosa is an industrial park northeast of Tulsa, at the end of a constructed waterway known as the McLellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. The system is a re-engineering of the Arkansas River, and portions of other rivers, with dams, canals, and locks, that was completed by the Army Corps in 1971. It extends for 445 miles from the Mississippi River to the Port of Catoosa, enabling ocean-going barges to travel more deeply into the interior of the country.
The northeastern corner of Oklahoma, near the town of Picher, was once the largest lead and zinc mining district in the nation – it has been said that half the bullets fired by Americans in World War I were made of lead from here. The mines, shut down in the 1960s, undermine the district, leading to surface collapse, and dusty piles of tailings contaminated with lead cover many square miles.
At the southeast corner of the Tulsa International Airport is a former aircraft plant once known as Air Force Plant 3, with a ¾ of a mile-long main building. During World War II, it was a production plant for Douglas aircraft bombers, and after the war it was reactivated to make B-47s and B-66s. The facility continued to be used to make and service military aircraft and related hardware by McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell until 1996, when Boeing took it over.
Will Rogers Airport, the main airport for Oklahoma City, is the location for the Federal Aviation Administration’s training site for air traffic controllers. The FAA’s campus, called the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, is on the west side of the airport, and has other training and technology programs as well, employing up to 5,500 people. The airport is named after the famous entertainer, who is from Oklahoma.
Currently the largest single-terminal container facility in North America, in addition to being the fourth-busiest container port in the U.S. The Port of Savannah also lays claim to being the second-busiest U.S. container exporter, right behind the Port of Los Angeles in terms of millions of tons shipped. Its Garden City Terminal has twenty-six cranes, four of which can handle Super Post-Panamax-sized cargo ships.
The coastal batteries of the former Fort Screven on Tybee Island are being integrated into private homes, and redeveloped in some unusual ways. Built starting in 1897, and boosted by the Spanish American War of 1898, the fort is a series of concrete gun emplacements protecting the mouth of the Savannah River, and its important port upstream.
Somewhere in the sediment under the waters near Tybee Island, is a 12 foot-long thermonuclear bomb, lost in an accident in 1958. The bomb was intentionally jettisoned by the pilot of a B-47 bomber sometime after midnight, following a mid-air crash with an F-86 fighter jet. The damaged B-47 landed safely after the crash.
This small chapel in South Newport, built by a local grocer in 1949, has become an attraction, since being adopted by the local Chamber of Commerce and put on some maps. The name should be considered that of a genre to which it belongs, not a superlative fact, although at 10 by 15 feet, with room for 13, it is one of the largest littlest churches in America. Roadside America currently lists more than 50 tiny churches, from coast to coast, most of which are smaller than this one.
Jekyll is one of the Golden Isles of Georgia, the barrier islands used as resorts by America’s Gilded Age elite. The Jekyll Island Club, in the middle of the island, has dozens of structures preserved as historic sites, including the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, one of the grandest old resort buildings in the USA. It is surrounded by mansion-sized winter vacation homes.
Woodbine is a former chemical complex in a remote coastal lowland area of southern Georgia, past the gates at the end of Union Carbide Road. The site is famous for a large explosion that occurred in 1971 when the facility was making flares and explosives for the Vietnam War. A small fire quickly spread through an assembly and storage building, culminating in an explosion that broke windows more than ten miles away, and was heard as much as 50 miles away.
A small, dense, and homegrown museum, housing the history of military submarining, especially related to Kings Bay, the sub base located at the north end of town. The museum has artifacts such as control panels from relatively recent nuclear subs, sub models, paintings of subs, and a working periscope which pokes out of its roof, offering views of Florida on the opposite bank of the St. Marys River.
The vision of Alex Jordan Jr., a local tinkerer, inventor, and builder, House on the Rock is an architectural compound and tourist attraction near Spring Green, Wisconsin. In 1945 Jordan began building a 14-room house atop and around Deer Shelter Rock, a large sandstone formation, intended to be used for personal weekend retreats and to display his eclectic collections of exotic artifacts and electronic displays.
Porter Sculpture Park is a walking trail with over 50 outdoor metal sculptures made by Wayne Porter. The sculptures, which range from a procession of grim reapers to butterflies, are constructed from recycled and found materials, including old farming equipment. Sited along highway I-90, many of the sculptures, including the 60-foot bulls-head and oversized hammer are visible from the highway. Porter's poems also appear throughout the walking trail.
Monsanto is one of the largest agricultural companies in the world, providing patented bioengineered seeds, and herbicides to protect crops, like Roundup. Originally known as a chemical company, Monsanto developed and manufactured artificial sweeteners, detergents, pesticides, plastics, Agent Orange, and produced material for nuclear weapons at its Mound Plant, in Ohio. Now the company focuses mostly on genetically engineered agricultural products.
Potatoes are the most consumed vegetable in the USA, and principal crop of Idaho. J.R. Simplot, a privately held agribusiness company headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is credited as having invented the frozen French fry industry. The company has been processing potatoes at this location since 1941, and expanded its facilities here in 2014, making this one of the major and historic French fry locations in the nation.
With its mild winters and state-supplied water, the valleys of central and southern California produce most of the fresh vegetables in the USA, and the industrial area of south Salinas is one of the densest clusters of farm goods packing and processing activity. The Salinas valley is the nation’s primary source of leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach.
Oranges are one of the most-consumed fruits in the U.S., especially in the form of juice. This plant, in Bradenton, Florida, is the most productive orange juice plant in the nation, processing the bulk of the Tropicana brand, which has more than a quarter of the market, and is the biggest customer for oranges produced in Florida. In order to provide “fresh” juice throughout the year, a portion of the now pasteurized and deaerated (i.e.
Texas is still the capitol of cattle country, with nearly half the 100 million beef cattle in the nation, and this plant, near the top of the Panhandle, currently owned by JBS, is massive, and typical. JBS, the world’s largest meat company, is based in Brazil. It bought the Swift Company, one of the original large American beef packers, based in Greely, Colorado, in 2007.
Americans eat around 46 lbs of pork per person per year, from around 110 million pigs slaughtered every year. Top-producing states are Iowa, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Illinois. The largest pork processor in America–by far–is Smithfield Foods, whose massive plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina is known as “porkopolis.” The million square-foot plant, said to be the largest slaughterhouse in the world, is a heavily automated disassembly line, processing up to 32,000 hogs per day.
The port of Dutch Harbor lands more than 700 million pounds of fish per year (2014), by far the largest amount of any port in the USA. Americans eat roughly 14.6 lbs of seafood per person per year, and 86% of it is imported (though some of it is actually exported from the U.S., processed elsewhere, and then re-imported). Most of the fish caught and consumed in the USA is Alaskan Pollock, a whitefish that is battered and fried. Nearly all of it comes ashore at Dutch Harbor.
The port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, famous as a historic whaling port, is often ranked as the biggest fishing port in the lower 48 states, measured in the dollar value of its landed catch, which is usually somewhere around $300 million per year. This is due to the high value paid for scallops, and because New Bedford is the largest scallop port in the nation. The Eastern Fisheries Company, based there, is the largest scallop harvester and packer in the world.
Gorton’s, in Gloucester, Massachusetts is the largest national brand of frozen fish, and a major provider of breaded whitefish to supermarkets and restaurants, including McDonald’s. Gorton’s is believed to be the inventor of frozen fishsticks, part of the legacy of food freezing innovation started by Clarence Birdseye, who began the frozen food industry by developing a flash freezing system at the General Seafood Company in Gloucester in 1926.