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Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt is a large tidal lagoon in the center of Oakland, just east of Downtown. It is surrounded by city neighborhoods, it is significant as the United States' first official wildlife refuge, designated in 1870, has been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1963, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966. The lake features grassy shores. A popular walking and jogging path runs along its perimeter; the circumference of the lake is 3.4 miles and its area is 155 acres. The lake was an arm of San Francisco Bay formed where several creeks empty into the bay, it was surrounded by 1,000 acres of wetlands when the Ohlone people fished and gathered food along its shores. By 1810, the remaining Native Americans were removed to Mission San José and the estuary and 44,800 acres of surrounding land was deeded to Sergeant Luis Maria Peralta to become Rancho San Antonio. After gold was discovered in 1848 in present-day Coloma 125 miles to the northeast, Anglo squatters led by lawyer Horace Carpentier took control of the East Bay area, to become downtown Oakland, including the estuary known as "San Antonio Slough."

In 1856, Peralta fought and won a United States Supreme Court case against the squatters but further court cases between his sons and daughters would diminish their holdings. The Peralta brothers had to sell much of the land to Carpentier to pay legal fees and new property taxes. Oakland was incorporated in 1852 with Carpentier as its first mayor and the estuary became the city's sewer. Lake Merritt had tidal flows via a broad 600 foot outlet, but this has been reduced with development of the region after 1869; the tidal flows are limited in size and managed for flood control. For years the lake acted as a waste collector, it was regarded as ideal for sewage because of its chemical contents, which have high acidities that cause it to decompose human feces at high rates. Sixty miles of brick and wood channeling sent the broken-down sewage to the bottom of the lake to be eaten by bottom feeders; the stench at the lake during the decomposition of the sewage was a problem for Oaklanders on the west shore and residents of Clinton and San Antonio villages on the east.

Dr. Samuel Merritt, a mayor of Oakland who owned property at the shore's edge, was keen to get the body of water cleaned up so that it could become a source of civic pride. In 1868, he proposed and funded a dam between the estuary and the bay by which the flow of water could be controlled, allowing the water level inland to rise higher and become less saline, turning the tidal lagoon into a lake. Sewage was to be redirected elsewhere by two new city projects, though these weren't completed until 1875; the resulting body of water was called variously "Lake Peralta", "Merritt's Lake" and Lake Merritt. The lake at that time still had thick wetlands fringing the shores and it continued to attract large numbers of migratory birds. In order to protect the birds from duck hunters and stop the noise and danger of gunfire so close to the city, Dr. Merritt proposed to turn the lake into a wildlife refuge in 1869; the state legislature voted Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge into law in 1870, making it the first such refuge in North America.

No hunting of any sort was to be allowed and the only fishing was to be by hook and line. The ornate Camron-Stanford House was built in 1876 near the lake's western shore. Tax records suggest that Samuel Merritt built the Italianate Victorian as part of his plan to promote and develop downtown Oakland and the new lake. In 1877, the house's title was transferred to Mrs. Alice Camron, a purchase she was able to make due to an inheritance from her father, California pioneer Dr. John Marsh. She, her husband Will and their two daughters were the first residents of the home. Further fine homes were built on the lakeshore by others following Dr. Merritt's lead, though none but Camron-Stanford remain today. Beginning in 1910, the house served as the Oakland Public Museum. In 1967, the Oakland Museum moved to other quarters, the Camron-Stanford House is now a separate museum. Protection for the wetlands was nonexistent and residences kept being built on reclaimed land around the shore of the lake. Cleanliness continued to be a problem because of incomplete sewage projects and the lake kept silting up since the natural tidal flow had been interrupted by Merritt's dam.

Dredging of the lake began in 1891, with the removed silt being piled along the eastern shore to make a foundation for a road which became Lakeshore Avenue. From 1893 to 1915, Lake Merritt saw major changes. Inspired by the new City Beautiful movement which got its start at the World's Columbian Exposition, the lake became a city-owned park. In 1913 an elaborate Mission Revival pergola was constructed at the northeastern tip of the lake. Adam's Point was planted with lawns and imported trees and became Lakeside Park. Eastshore Park was created. Oakland Civic Auditorium was built at the south edge of the lake in 1914. 1923 saw Cleveland Cascade spring into life and assisted by noted landscape architect, Howard Gilkey. This was a three-tiered water feature incorporating multiple waterfalls tumbling sequentially into twenty large collection basins and a pool at the bottom, flanked by twin stairs descending from Cleveland Heights to Lakeshore Avenue. Colored lights in rainbow sequence

El Ferdan Railway Bridge

The El Ferdan Railway Bridge is a swing bridge that spans the western shipping lane of the Suez Canal near Ismailia, Egypt. It is the longest swing bridge in the world, with a span of 1,100 feet; the bridge is no longer functional due to the expansion of the Suez Canal, as the parallel shipping lane completed in 2015 just east of the bridge lacks a structure spanning it. The first El Ferdan Railway Bridge over the Suez Canal was completed in April 1918 for the Palestine Military Railway, it was considered a hindrance to shipping. A steel swing bridge was built in 1942, but this was damaged by a steamship and removed in 1947. A double swing bridge was completed in 1954 but the 1956 Anglo-Franco-Israeli war with Egypt severed rail traffic across the canal for a third time. A replacement bridge was completed in 1963, destroyed in 1967 in the Six-Day War by the Egyptian engineering General Ahmed Hamdy. In July 1996, a consortium led by German Krupp was awarded a $US70 million contract to design and build the bridge, raised to $80 million to increase the main span from 320 to 340 m.

The current bridge was constructed in 2001. The El Ferdan Railway Bridge was part of a major drive to develop the areas surrounding the Suez Canal, including other projects such as the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel under the Suez Canal, the Suez Canal overhead powerline crossing, the Suez Canal Bridge; the parallel New Suez Canal was excavated in 2014/2015 a short distance to the east but without a bridge spanning it. Without a second bridge, the railway across El Ferdan bridge is a dead end. Instead of the bridge, a new railway tunnel in the Ismailia region is planned in order to reconnect the Sinai to the rest of Egypt’s rail network. El Ferdan Swing Bridge at StructuraeCoordinates: 30°39′25″N 32°20′2″E

From the Heart (Etta Jones album)

From the Heart is an album by jazz vocalist Etta Jones, recorded in early 1962 and released on the Prestige label. Scott Yanow of Allmusic states, "From the Heart is a lot of fun, a too-long-forgotten gem that takes the listener back to a more innocent time and provides the perfect setting for Etta Jones to display her vocal wares". "Just Friends" - 3:00 "By the Bend of the River" - 2:14 "Makin' Whoopee" - 2:50 "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis" - 2:26 "Funny" - 3:07 "They Can't Take That Away from Me" - 2:07 "I'll Never Be Free" - 3:05 " the Masquerade Is Over" - 2:56 "Good Morning Heartache" - 2:33 "Look for the Silver Lining" - 2:27 "There Goes My Heart" - 3:17Recorded at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on February 8, 1962 and February 9, 1962 Etta Jones - vocals Lloyd Mayers - piano Wally Richardson - guitar Bob Bushnell - bass Ed Shaughnessy - drums horn section added on tracks 3, 4, 8, 10 Joe Wilder - trumpet Jerry Dodgion, Oliver Nelson - alto saxophone Bob Ashton, George Barrow - tenor saxophone unidentified string section added on tracks 1, 5, 7 & 11 Arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson