Monumental Mysteries: Cancer Hotel Pictures

Don investigates the site of a terrible, tragic scheme and the statue of a woman who deserves her place in American history.

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Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station in New York City is one of the country’s best-loved landmarks. With 44 platforms, it is the largest train station in the world. 960 1280

  

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

The station is most known for the epic grandeur of its main concourse, crowned by the arching splendor of an enormous astronomical mural painted in gold leaf and cerulean blue on the towering ceiling. 960 1280

  

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

The station’s mural depicts the star signs of the zodiac, and at 40,000 square feet, it’s the largest diagram of its kind in the modern world. But this zodiac is unlike any other – could there be sinister symbolism hidden in the design? 960 1280

  

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku

Kuhio Beach in Waikiki is home to a revered statue of a local legend, often referred to as “the father of modern surfing.” But while Duke Kahanamoku’s athletic achievements are internationally renowned, one remarkable incident in his life is all too often forgotten. How was he able to rescue 8 people from a sinking ship as it was slammed by 30-foot waves? 960 1280

  

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu

Spanning Arizona’s Lake Havasu is a bridge that’s much older than the planned community that surrounds it. The London Bridge -- originally built in 1831 to cross the Thames -- was purchased in 1968 by Robert McCullough and installed across a boating channel in the lake. 960 1280

  

Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City, AZ, is now the second biggest attraction in the state. But did McCullough unknowingly purchase the London Bridge instead of London’s more iconic Tower Bridge? 960 1280

  

Woodlawn Cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery

At Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, IL, are 5 large granite elephants that surround a plot of land known as Showman’s Rest. The remains of 61 people were interred in a mass grave here when, on the night of June 22, 1918, performers and the crew from the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus were involved in a tragic train crash. 960 1280

  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

In the hills of Death Valley National Park lies the gravesite of William Scott, the man who engineered one of the most scandalous gold mine hoaxes of all time. 960 1280

  

Scotty's Castle

Scotty's Castle

Located in the Grapevine Mountains of Death Valley National Park in California is an enormous 2-story Mission Revival-style villa that became known as “Scotty’s Castle.” But who paid for this elaborate, opulent structure? 960 1280

  

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Spanning the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the vibrantly orange Golden Gate Bridge is one of this country’s most iconic monuments. This beautiful behemoth holds the distinction for being the most photographed bridge in the world, but few visitors realize that its origins are shrouded in tragedy. In February 1937, 10 bridge workers plummeted to their deaths – what caused this terrible accident? 960 1280

Getty  

Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre

On April 15, 1865, America’s beloved 16th president was assassinated by actor and confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. But what happened to Lincoln’s assassin? Was he killed as he resisted capture -- as our history books state -- or could he have survived and evaded justice? 960 1280

  

Garfield's Tomb

Garfield's Tomb

This magnificent building isn’t a castle or a cathedral, but the nation’s first true mausoleum, commemorating US President James A. Garfield. Despite the grandeur of this memorial, Garfield served the second-shortest term in US history, cut short by his untimely death. Who, or what, really killed President James A. Garfield? And how did his death herald in an invention that we still use today? 960 1280

  

General Grant National Memorial

General Grant National Memorial

Amidst the green oasis of New York’s Riverside Park, stands the General Grant National Memorial, the final resting place of president and Civil War legend Ulysses S. Grant. But how was this monument involved in one of the most audacious scandals of all time? 960 1280

  

Mercy “Lena” Brown's Grave

Mercy “Lena” Brown's Grave

In January 1892, 19-year-old Mercy “Lena” Brown succumbs to a strange disease – one that causes her to cough up blood as her body wastes away. At the time, many claim that Lena was a vampire, and they exhume her body to prove it. What literary classic did her story inspire? 960 1280

  

Tombstone

Tombstone

Designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1961, the town of Tombstone in southern Arizona is one of the best-preserved specimens of rugged frontier towns from the 1870s. But the town was also home to a dangerous renegade, whose reign of terror culminated in an infamous shootout that’s now the stuff of legend. 960 1280

Dennis Macdonald  

Boll Weevil Statue

Boll Weevil Statue

The Boll Weevil Monument in the town of Enterprise, AL, holds the distinction of being the world’s only monument dedicated to an agricultural pest. 960 1280

  

Falling Star Statue

Falling Star Statue

The Falling Star Statue in the sleepy town of Sylacauga, AL, was built to commemorate the first known instance of a meteor hitting a person in modern history. 960 1280

  

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station in New York City is one of the country’s best-loved landmarks. Its main concourse is crowned by an enormous astronomical mural painted in gold leaf and cerulean blue. The mural depicts the star signs of the zodiac and is the largest diagram of its kind in the modern world. But this zodiac is not like others, and sinister symbolism may be hidden within its design. 960 1280

Insight Imaging  

Stanford Mausoleum
Stanford Mausoleum

Stanford Mausoleum

At the heart of Stanford University’s historic campus, and guarded by 4 marble sphinxes, lies the Stanford Mausoleum, which houses the remains of the institution’s founding family. 960 1280

  

Stanford Mausoleum

Stanford Mausoleum

But the death of one of the interred Stanford family members remains shrouded in mystery. In March 1905, 76-year-old Jane Stanford, one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful women, died suddenly while vacationing in Hawaii. Many believe that she was poisoned, while others claim she had a heart attack. 960 1280

  

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue is one of New York’s most spectacular and beloved landmarks. The striking skyscraper is easily identified by its gleaming, terraced crown, a marvel of Art Deco architecture that shines so brightly it can serve as a beacon to ships miles off shore. Today, at 77 stories, it is the third tallest building in the city. 960 1280

  

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

Few may realize that the Chrysler Building was part of the “race to the heavens” in the 1920s. The history of the construction of the building reveals a bitter rivalry between 2 architects, thwarted ambition and deception. 960 1280

  

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station

The town of Lakehurst, NJ, is home to the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station. What makes this active Navy base stand out is the unusual memorial on its grounds -- a 30-foot by 10-foot coffin-shaped imprint, made up of geometric slabs of red terracotta and white stone. 960 1280

  

Hindenburg

Hindenburg

The memorial commemorates the legendary disaster that put this quiet community on the international map, when the Hindenburg, a luxury German zeppelin, caught fire and came crashing down to earth, killing 35 people. Today, this anchor-chain outline of the zeppelin marks the exact spot where the Hindenburg came down. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

A stone’s throw from the world-famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles is a celebrated sidewalk, spanning one of the most popular boulevards on the planet. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is lined with pink terrazzo stars inscribed with the names of the entertainment industry’s greats. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Nestled among them is a pink star for Hollywood siren Hedy Lamarr, once dubbed the “most beautiful woman in the world.” But this beauty also had brains, and she pioneered an invention that we still use today. 960 1280

  

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Stretching over nearly 2 million acres of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes and canyons is the stunning Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, named for its unusual sandstone labyrinths and layers of sedimentary rock that form "steps" in the distinctive colored cliffs. 960 1280

  

Everett Ruess

Everett Ruess

The incredible expanse of wilderness is the last place that explorer Everett Ruess was seen, and his demise remains a mystery to this day. 960 1280

  

Photos

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls was one of the most important sites on the Underground Railroad, and played an integral role in allowing abolitionists to smuggle runaway slaves to freedom in Canada. 960 1280

Scoast  

Niagara falls

Niagara falls

The falls was the site of one of the most daring escape attempts in the history of the abolitionist movement. 960 1280

  

Mazart Prospect Park

Mazart Prospect Park

Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY, is home to a bronze bust of the legendary Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Could this musical prodigy’s death -- at the young age of 35 -- have been a case of deliberate poisoning? 960 1280

  

Along the Indian River Lagoon in Titusville, FL, is the Space Walk of Fame, and among the outdoor plaza’s monuments is the glistening Gemini Monument. Few may realize that the 8th Gemini mission involved a hair-raising episode that nearly cost the lives of astronauts David Scott and Neil Armstrong. 960 1280

  

Riverside Cemetery

Riverside Cemetery

At Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, KY, is the modest tombstone of Edgar Cayce, a man whom many consider to be the most important American psychic of the 20th century. 960 1280

  

Sleeping Prophet Cayce

Sleeping Prophet Cayce

Could Cayce, the so-called “Sleeping Prophet,” really use his trance-like abilities to heal the hopelessly ill? 960 1280

  

Yosemite

Yosemite

One of the crown jewels of America’s national park system, Yosemite has been enjoyed by generations of American nature lovers. But few realize that the efforts of a man named Galen Clark helped save this majestic natural monument from destructive exploitation at the hands of developers. 960 1280

  

Stanford Mausoleum

Stanford Mausoleum

At the heart of Stanford University’s historic campus, and guarded by 4 marble sphinxes, lies the Stanford Mausoleum, which houses the remains of the institution’s founding family. 960 1280

  

Stanford Mausoleum

Stanford Mausoleum

But the death of one of the interred Stanford family members remains shrouded in mystery. In March 1905, 76-year-old Jane Stanford, one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful women, died suddenly while vacationing in Hawaii. Many believe that she was poisoned, while others claim she had a heart attack. 960 1280

  

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue is one of New York’s most spectacular and beloved landmarks. The striking skyscraper is easily identified by its gleaming, terraced crown, a marvel of Art Deco architecture that shines so brightly it can serve as a beacon to ships miles off shore. Today, at 77 stories, it is the third tallest building in the city. 960 1280

  

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

Few may realize that the Chrysler Building was part of the “race to the heavens” in the 1920s. The history of the construction of the building reveals a bitter rivalry between 2 architects, thwarted ambition and deception. 960 1280

  

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station

The town of Lakehurst, NJ, is home to the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station. What makes this active Navy base stand out is the unusual memorial on its grounds -- a 30-foot by 10-foot coffin-shaped imprint, made up of geometric slabs of red terracotta and white stone. 960 1280

  

Hindenburg

Hindenburg

The memorial commemorates the legendary disaster that put this quiet community on the international map, when the Hindenburg, a luxury German zeppelin, caught fire and came crashing down to earth, killing 35 people. Today, this anchor-chain outline of the zeppelin marks the exact spot where the Hindenburg came down. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

A stone’s throw from the world-famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles is a celebrated sidewalk, spanning one of the most popular boulevards on the planet. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is lined with pink terrazzo stars inscribed with the names of the entertainment industry’s greats. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Nestled among them is a pink star for Hollywood siren Hedy Lamarr, once dubbed the “most beautiful woman in the world.” But this beauty also had brains, and she pioneered an invention that we still use today. 960 1280

  

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Stretching over nearly 2 million acres of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes and canyons is the stunning Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, named for its unusual sandstone labyrinths and layers of sedimentary rock that form "steps" in the distinctive colored cliffs. 960 1280

  

Everett Ruess

Everett Ruess

The incredible expanse of wilderness is the last place that explorer Everett Ruess was seen, and his demise remains a mystery to this day. 960 1280

  

Ames Pyramid

Ames Pyramid

On a summit near Laramie, WY, is a strange monument known as the Ames Pyramid. This national historic landmark commemorates 2 brothers who were the driving force behind the Trans Continental Railroad. But what massive financial scandal came about as a result of the Ames brothers’ achievement? 960 1280

  

Zodiac Island

Zodiac Island

Known to locals as Zodiac Island, this tiny strip of land in Lake Berryessa, CA, was a crime site for one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Two young victims were found here bound and bleeding from a vicious attack. So who was the Zodiac killer? 960 1280

  

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, is well known as the site of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but decades earlier, the monument played host to another landmark event in Civil Rights history -- a 1939 concert by the African-American opera singer Marion Anderson. 960 1280

  

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

But what threatening obstacles did Anderson overcome to perform her historic concert? 960 1280

  

Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos

Overlooking Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine, FL, is the historic Castillo San Marcos. This landmark fort was the site of many battles, but it is perhaps best known for a secret romance and mysterious disappearance. 960 1280

  

Captain Manuel Abela

Captain Manuel Abela

What became of the fort’s commanding officer’s wife and her lover, Captain Manuel Abela? 960 1280

  

Isidor and Ida Straus

Isidor and Ida Straus

On Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a small oasis known as Straus Park, and in it stands a beautiful statue of a Grecian figure. This lovely monument commemorates one of the great tragic love stories of American history -- that of Isidor and Ida Straus. The department store baron and his wife would meet their fate in 1912 on the decks of the RMS Titanic. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Marfa, Texas

Marfa, Texas

A lonely structure outside the small west Texas town of Marfa serves as a viewing outpost for a mysterious phenomenon. 960 1280

  

Marfa Lights

Marfa Lights

For generations, people in this area have reported seeing a strange set of lights in the desert that vanish suddenly. Is there a scientific explanation for the Marfa Lights, or is something otherworldly at work? 960 1280

Jack in DC via Flickr Creative Commons  


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