Hell Gate Bridge - June 17, 2014

The American Treasure Tour is chock full of fun and interesting stuff.  We at the blog feel there's little better than to learn about fun stuff, so we are going to honor one of our newer acquisitions: a scale model of the Hell Gate Bridge. The real bridge connects Astoria, Queens to Wards Island, Manhattan in New York City as one of three bridges to cross the East River between Queens and the Bronx.  It was also the inspiration for the design of the much larger Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

The model on display at the ATT sits between the two Wurlitzer 165 machines in the Toy Box. The model is substantial, around ten feet in length (give or take).  It also mimics the function of the original, with train tracks that span the 1912 structure.

QUESTION:  The Hell Gate strait was originally named Hellegat by early Dutch settlers.  What is the most likely literal translation of its original name?

a)  Deadly rapids

b)  Clear Opening

c)  High water

d)  Hell gate



The gift was originally intended to be received in honor of the centennial of the United States by the people of France, but there was a problem with funding.  The agreement was that the French would provide the statue, while Americans would build the platform upon which she stood.  It would be on this day in 1885 - a full nine years late - when the Statue of Liberty was placed on her pedestal in New York Harbor, creating one of the most unique and famous lighthouses the world would ever know.

Something very odd happened on this day in 1972.  Five men were arrested after breaking into offices rented by the Democratic National Committee located in Washington D.C.'s Watergate building, where they were trying to install wiretaps on behalf of some members of the Republican Party.  This would prove a bad thing for the five men, the entire country, and the presidency of Richard Nixon.


There are many people whose fame does not match the importance of their accomplishments, and today we are going to celebrate the birthday of a very special woman:  Ruth Graves Wakefield. The dietitian was 27 years old when she and her husband bought the Whitman, Massachusetts Toll House Inn, a tourist lodge, in 1930.  It became a popular dining destination, in part because of Wakefield's scrumptious desserts, most notably a pastry she invented in 1938 and called the chocolate chip cookie.  She then sold her recipe, and the name Toll House, to Nestle for one dollar.  

In 1904, exactly one year after Wakefield was born, Ralph Bellamy entered the world. The actor spent over sixty years performing on stage, television and film.  Some of his more famous films include the 1937 Cary Grant classic The Awful Truth, 1960's Sunrise at Campobello in which he starred as Franklin Roosevelt, and Trading Places in 1983 with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. His last film performance was in 1990's Pretty Woman. 

QUOTE:  One of the best things in life - warm chocolate chip cookies.  - Anonymous

ANSWER:  b)  Clear opening.  It could also mean "bright strait."