he birthplace of bluegrass
Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, is remembered in Owensboro, Ky., as “Mister Bill,” said Kathy Witt in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rosine, his birthplace just outside of town, is now a pilgrimage destination. The white clapboard house is filled with family photographs, a butter churn, a dinner bell, and other memorabilia that provide a glimpse into the life of the man who almost single-handedly created a musical genre. An exhibit at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro features more exhibits about Monroe, his Blue Grass Boys Band, “and key moments in the genre.” Monroe, who died in 1996, lies buried in Rosine Cemetery near his uncle Pen, a fiddler. Two other bluegrass landmarks are the Rosine Barn and the Rosine General Store, both dating to the 1920s. Monroe gave his final performances at the barn, which is now a venue for music and dancing every Friday night. Contact: Bluegrass-museum.org
Chicago’s blue-collar utopia
Chicago’s Pullman Historic District was “a remarkable, if short-lived, 19th-century blue-collar utopia,” said John O’Connor in the Detroit Free Press. In 1880, George M. Pullman—creator of the luxurious sleeping cars that made him both famous and wealthy—decided to build his state-of-the-art factory 14 miles from downtown. At the same time, he built Romanesque Revival and Gothic mansions for his executives and row houses for workers nearby. Other notable structures included the Administration Building, dominated by a 12-story tower, and the Hotel Florence, built for visiting executives and salesmen. Chicago was hard hit by the national recession of 1893, but the Pullman district remained virtually intact until an arsonist set the Administration Building ablaze in 1998. Today many of the homes in the 12-block area, built mostly with local brick, have been restored, and the district sponsors a walking tour on the first Sunday of every summer month. Contact: Pullman.org
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