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10 Historic Buildings in America

  • AFP/Getty Images

    Alcatraz, 1850

    Alcatraz Island, San Francisco. The fort, federal penitentiary and American Indian occupation site housed infamous inmates including Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. It was closed as a prison in March 1963 by Bobby Kennedy, then the U.S. attorney general.

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  • Ed Betz/AP Images

    The Big Duck, 1931

    Flanders, New York. A poultry farmer built this beaut (complete with Model-T taillights for eyes) on Long Island's east end to hawk his Pekin ducks. Thanks to him, in architecture lingo a "duck" is a building whose shape reflects its function.

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  • George H.H. Huey/Corbis

    Cliff Palace, 1200s

    Mesa Verde, Colorado. Ancestors of the Pueblo people built this 150-room cliff-side dwelling, along with similar complexes, where they took refuge from the heat in the canyon-side shade. Its underground ceremonial rooms were similar to those the Hopi use today.

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  • John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Mitchell Corn Palace, 1892

    Mitchell, South Dakota. This prairie-meets-Arabia building adorned with minarets and flags is a go-to place for everything from stage shows and festivals to high school basketball games and proms.

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  • Richard T. Nowitz/Corbis

    Fallingwater, 1935

    Mill Run, Pennsylvania. A vacation home for Edgar J. Kaufmann, owner of Kaufmann's Department Store, this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was built over a 30-foot waterfall and crafted to harmonize with nature.

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  • Bates Littlehales/National Geographic/Getty Images

    Guggenheim Museum, 1959

    New York, New York. Frank Lloyd Wright's grand-scale masterpiece opened six months after his death at age 91. The circular modern-art museum continues to stand out against Fifth Avenue's right-angled structures and attracts about a million visitors a year.

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  • The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo), Joe Johnston/ AP Images

    Hearst Castle, 1919

    San Simeon, California. William Randolph Hearst asked architect Julia Morgan to design "a little something" to replace the tents at his family's summer camp. The Mediterranean Revival palace hosted A-listers such as Winston Churchill and Charles Lindbergh.

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  • Curtis Hilbun/AP Images

    The Parthenon, 1897

    Nashville, Tennessee. This full-scale replica of its 5th-century B.C. Greek namesake was the centerpiece of the state's 1897 Centennial Exposition. It serves as Nashville's art museum and boasts something the original lost in antiquity: a 42-foot statue of the goddess Athena.

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  • Joel W. Rogers/Corbis

    The Space Needle, 1962

    Seattle, Washington. Plans for the 1962 World's Fair centerpiece called for a stork's nest atop the 605-foot tower — but storks don't live in Seattle; it's too cold. In the needle's eye, the rotating SkyCity Restaurant offers diners highly rated food and a citywide panorama.

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  • Blaine Harrington III/Corbis

    U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, 1963

    Colorado Springs, Colorado. With 17 spires like jets flying in formation, this multidenominational chapel features multiple worship rooms. The U.S. Air Force's marvel of modern architecture was designed by Walter A. Netsch, Jr.

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