Neuschwanstein Castle - Friday, January 22, 2016

Who doesn't love a good castle?  The beauty, the majesty, the stories of political intrigue, drama and romance from an age gone by.  Bob Omrod, artist extraordinaire and creator of the Giant World of Miniatures, certainly sees the beauty of these magnificent architectural creations, which is why they are presented throughout his creations on display in the American Treasure Tour's Music Room.  The castle depicted here was originally built and placed on Mr. Omrod's dining room table.  When our staff removed it, he claimed it was the first time he saw his dining room table in twenty years.  (He does have other tables in his home, so he did not have to eat on the floor.)

On display here is a model of Neuschwanstein Castle (literally "New Swan Stone Castle), located on a hill dominating the village of Hohenschwangau, near Fussen in Bavaria, Germany (southwestern Germany).  It was commissioned in the late-19th century by the King of Bavaria, Ludwig II, inspired by the music of composer Richard Wagner.  Ludwig II, though, clearly and unquestionably had a flair for the romantic.  He took the throne in 1864, when he was only eighteen.  He did not handle his military responsibilities well, and essentially handed control of his dominion to the King of Prussia while still having access to the royal coffers of Bavaria. His use of the kingdom's money to create Neuschwanstein Castle and other magnificent architectural wonders including Linderhof and Herenchchiemsee practically bankrupted his kingdom and compelled his ministers to declare him insane in one effort to strip him of any power.  It is suspected that Luwig II knew he was in trouble when he died in 1886, at the age of forty.  His death was ruled a suicide, although there was plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise.  Regardless, Ludwig II's extravagance paid off for Bavaria in the long run. His castles, including Neuschwanstein, have been major tourist destinations ever since their completion, becoming a major source of revenue for the region .
QUESTION:  Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for which famous American castle?
A)  The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
B)  The Hearst Casle, San Simeon, CA
C)  Kykuit, Tarrytown, NY
D)  Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Anaheim, CA
ANSWER BELOW

PEACE WITHOUT VICTORY.  Woodrow Wilson was elected for a second term as President of the United States, primarily because he declared in his platform that America would not get sucked into the fight in World War I.  It had successfully resisted sending troops for years by this point, but the fighting raged on.  Two days after his inauguration, Wilson declared that the only way to end it was through "peace without victory."  As would happen again and again, European leaders ignored Wilson.  Soon enough, he broke his promise to the American people and war was declared.  We went "over there," the war ended, and ... well, we don't want to spoil what happened next.

THE KING OF SOUL.  Sam Cooke was born today in 1931.  The singer recorded his first song as a twenty year old, and it was not long before he had a fan base singing gospel music.  By 1957, Cooke had transitioned into pop music, and that's where he soared.  Within seven years, he produced thirty top forty hits, including "You Send Me," "Twistin' the Night Away," and "Chain Gang."  His life was cut short in 1964 when he was shot to death at a hotel in Los Angeles.  

QUOTE:  If you observe what's going on and try to figure out how people are thinking, I think you can always write something people can understand. - Sam Cooke

ANSWER:  D)  Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Anaheim, CA.  This is not to be confused with Cinderella's Castle in Walt Disney World, Kissimmee, FL, though.  Big difference.