Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin is an endorheic basin in Death Valley National Park, Death Valley, Inyo County, noted as the lowest point in North America, with a depth of 282 ft below sea level. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, is only 84.6 miles to the northwest. The site itself consists of a small spring-fed pool of "bad water" next to the road in a sink; the pool does have animal and plant life, including pickleweed, aquatic insects, the Badwater snail. Adjacent to the pool, where water is not always present at the surface, repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles push the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes; the pool is not the lowest point of the basin: the lowest point is several miles to the west and varies in position, depending on rainfall and evaporation patterns. The salt flats are hazardous to traverse, so the sign marking the low point is at the pool instead; the basin was considered the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere until the discovery of Laguna del Carbón in Argentina at −344 ft.

At Badwater Basin, significant rainstorms flood the valley bottom periodically, covering the salt pan with a thin sheet of standing water. Newly formed lakes do not last long though, because the 1.9 in of average rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150 in annual evaporation rate. This is the greatest evaporation potential in the United States, meaning that a 12 ft lake could dry up in a single year; when the basin is flooded, some of the salt is dissolved. A popular site for tourists is the sign marking "sea level" on the cliff above the Badwater Basin; the current best understanding of the area's geological history is that the entire region between the Colorado River in the east and Baja California in the southwest has seen numerous cycles since at least the start of the Pleistocene of pluvial lakes of varying size in a complex cycle tied to changing climate patterns, but influenced by the progressive depositing of alluvial plains and deltas by the Colorado River, alternating with periodic water body breakthroughs and rearrangements due to erosion and the proximity of the San Andreas Fault.

This has resulted in a high number of evaporating and reforming endorheic lakes throughout the Quaternary Period in the area, with an intertwined history of various larger bodies of water subsuming smaller ones during water table maxima and the subsequent splitting and disappearance thereof during the evaporative part of the cycles. Although these local cycles are now somewhat modified by human presence, their legacy persists. Throughout the Quaternary's wetter spans, streams running from nearby mountains filled Death Valley, creating Lake Manly, which during its greatest extents was 80 mi long and up to 600 ft deep. Numerous evaporation cycles and a lack of outflow caused an increasing hypersalinity, typical for endorheic bodies of water. Over time, this hypersalinization, combined with sporadic rainfall and occasional aquifer intrusion, has resulted in periods of "briny soup", or salty pools, on the lowest parts of Death Valley's floor. Salts began to crystallize, coating the surface with the thick crust, ranging from 3 to 60 in, now observable at the basin floor.

Death Valley pupfish List of elevation extremes by country List of elevation extremes by region John McKinney: California's Desert Parks: A Day Hiker's Guide. Wilderness Press 2006, ISBN 0-89997-389-2, S. 54–55 Don J. Easterbrook: Quaternary Geology of the United States. Geological Society of America 2003, ISBN 94-592-0504-6, S.63–64 Badwater Basin in the Encyclopædia Britannica

Camp Randall

Camp Randall is an historic U. S. Army site in Madison, named after Wisconsin governor Alexander Randall, who served from 1858 to 1861, it was a training facility of the Union army during the Civil War, where more than 70,000 recruits were trained. The army established a hospital and prisoner-of-war camp here. In 1893 the site was purchased by the state for use by the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Part was set aside as a park to memorialize the army camp. Another portion was used for Camp Randall Stadium, built in 1917 as an outdoor football stadium for the university; the camp was a training facility of the Union Army during the Civil War, with more than 70,000 recruits receiving training there. The 6th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, was organized here in 1861. A hospital and a stockade for Confederate prisoners of war were located at the camp; the 140 prisoners of war who died at Camp Randall are buried at Confederate Rest. The site was deeded to the University of Wisconsin. Of the original 53½ acres, a segment was set aside as Camp Randall Park.

This now features a memorial arch, two Civil War cannons, a stockade building. Camp Randall Park is the location of Camp Randall Stadium, opened in 1917 as the outdoor football stadium of the University of Wisconsin. Camp Randall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Cooke, Chauncey H. "Documents: Letters of a Badger Boy in Blue: Life at Old Camp Randall". Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 4, no. 2: 208-217. Forbes, S. D. Camp Environs. Madison Wis.: 1890. Mattern, Carolyn J. Soldiers When They Go: The Story of Camp Randall, 1861-1865. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1968. Thompson, Tommy R. "'Dying Like Rotten Sheepe': Camp Randall as a Prisoner of War Facility during the Civil War". Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 92, no. 1: 2-13. Historic images of Camp Randall Camp Randall Memorial Arch - images and history History of the Camp Randall Arch Camp Randall Civil War Prison Camp Randall Prison Camp Confederate Prisoners at Camp Randall as Seen in Newspaper Articles, Wisconsin Historical Society Camp Randall to welcome home its Civil War soldiers, Wisconsin State Journal "100 years Camp Randall Civil War memorial stands tall", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Confederate captives in Madison: Camp Randall’s history as Civil War prisoner-of-war camp", The Badger Herald

Vlastimil Koubek

Vlastimil Koubek was a Czech American architect who designed more than 100 buildings, most of them in the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area. When he died, he had designed buildings worth more than $2 billion. Most of his work is Modernist in style, he created the site plan for the redevelopment of Rosslyn and his Ames Center anchored the area's economic recovery. He designed the World Building in Silver Spring, which sparked redevelopment of that town's downtown and the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D. C. amongst many other buildings. In 1985, Washingtonian magazine considered him to be one of 20 people "who in the past 20 years had the greatest impact on the way we live and who forever altered the look of Washington." In 1988, The Washington Post newspaper said his Willard Hotel renovation was one of 28 projects in the area which made a signal contribution to the "feel" and look of Washington, D. C. Vlastimil Koubek was born in Brno and received his degree in architecture from the Faculty of Architecture at Czech Technical University.

After graduation, he worked for several Czech architecture firms. Because he and his father held strong anti-communist beliefs, Koubek decided to flee Czechoslovakia after the Communist coup d'état of February 1948, he tried to cross the border into the American Zone of Occupation of Allied-occupied Germany, failed. A second attempt in July succeeded. Koubek emigrated to the United Kingdom in October 1948, where he worked in a brickyard, as a draftsman for the city of Gloucester and county of Gloucestershire, a draftsman for the Ministry of Works, announcer for the Czech language news service of the BBC, he encountered Eva, in a bookstore in London. Eva was born in the daughter of a Czech Army officer, her brother, whom she rescued, was imprisoned in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany during World War II. The couple emigrated to the United States via Ellis Island on February 8, 1952, lived in New York City; when they arrived they had $6 in their pockets. They married in New York City on August 1952, with Eva paying the $2 marriage license fee.

He worked as a draftsman for the architectural firm of Emery Roth and Sons, the city's largest architectural firm and a noted designer of office buildings, for a year. In 1953, Koubek entered the United States Army. Koubek and his wife became naturalized United States citizens, relocated to Washington, DC, had a daughter, Jana, he worked for the D. C.-based Edward Weihe architectural firm. Vlastimil Koubek passed his architectural exam and established Koubek Architects in 1957. One of his first commissions to be built was Southern Maryland Medical Center in Maryland, his first major commission in the area was for 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, a 13-story building with a facade of gold-anodized aluminum and white marble. But the United States Commission of Fine Arts, which had design approval authority over all private buildings adjacent to federal buildings in the city, objected to this facade. Koubek submitted a revised design which utilized larger, octagonal window designs of marble with recessed ribs of bronze aluminum, which not only was accepted but praised by influential architect Frederick Gutheim as pushing District architectural design "forward 10 years."

A similar design was created for the facade of One Farragut Square South, which began construction in November 1960. A more Modernist glass-wall building was planned in October 1961 for 1666 Connecticut Avenue NW. Koubek was instrumental in helping to redevelop Rosslyn, Virginia, an unincorporated area of Arlington County directly across the Potomac River from the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D. C. In 1960, Rosslyn was a seedy area of bars, pawn shops, small industry, used car lots, but land values in Rosslyn had been revalued upward, in order to take advantage of the building boom they believed was coming, Arlington County county planners required site plans that emphasized tall, free-standing buildings. In 1961, Koubek drafted a site plan for the 80-acre site around the proposed Ames Center. Koubek was the architect for the Ames Center itself, a complex which included a 13-story office building, bank and civic auditorium located at 1820 N. Fort Myer Drive; the construction of the Ames Center and approval of a site plan for the area around it led to the wholesale economic and architectural redevelopment of Rosslyn, Koubek developed the site plan for the area bounded by Wilson Boulevard, North Arlington Ridge Road, 19th Street North, North Kent Street.

This included the London Normandy House apartment complexes. Although it proposed constructing two apartment complexes in the center of the area, three office buildings were built instead. London House opened in January 1965. Numerous commissions came his way throughout the 1960s, his Jefferson Building, built in 1963, was an eight-story glass-and-marble clad structure, the first skyscraper in the city to feature a columnless interior. It became home to the upscale The Palm steak restaurant in December 1972, although building's exterior reflecting pool and numerous fountains were replaced by a mundane garden and short trees; that year, he designed a sister building across the street (