A Tale of Two Domes

Earlier this summer we took a 2-week road trip to attend a conference (for me), visit family, and see the sights on the East Coast between Washington and Philadelphia. We also enjoy what I call “ecclesiastical tourism,” that is, looking for old or notable churches in the places we visit. Our trip did not disappoint.

Angeli in Excelsis

St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Zanesville, OH was built in 1898, a new Romanesque Revival building for a parish founded in 1842. The octagonal dome with its eight angels was quite an impressive sight.

Sicut Columbam

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, MD, better known as the Baltimore Basilica, is the first Catholic cathedral built in the United States. Designed by Benajmin Henry Latrobe and built between 1806 and 1821, it witnessed many important events in the history of the Church in America, including the Plenary Councils of Baltimore that gave us the Baltimore Catechism and the Catholic University of America.

Latrobe’s dome features a ring of windows which illuminate the medallion representing the Holy Spirit before the light is filtered down to the nave, giving the interior an open, airy feel.

Abe Lincoln Slept Here

When she was a teenager, my wife and her family would regularly drive past a sign on Illinois 47 south of Mahomet which indicated an historical marker down a country road to the west. A few weeks ago she decided she wanted to go find it, and of course I brought the camera with me.

Abe Lincoln Slept Here

As it turns out, there’s much more to this marker than there may at first appear. It’s one of a series that was was erected in 1922 and 1923 by the Daughters of the American Revolution on the border between each county that once comprised the Eighth Judicial Circuit, following a reconstruction of the route that Abraham Lincoln and his fellow lawyers would have traveled from courthouse to courthouse. A corresponding series of markers was placed at each courthouse, or on the site where Lincoln’s courthouse once stood. (I have found the marker at the Urbana courthouse but I don’t have a picture yet.)

An article containing much more history and maps locating the markers is available and supplies all the deficiencies in this blog post. 🙂



Because my wife is an organist, and thus works on Sunday mornings, it’s not often we get to go to Divine Liturgy at Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church when we are visiting my parents. This makes my kids sad, because they love the extra pageantry and awesomeness of the Byzantine liturgy. Fortunately, my wife found a sub for our last trip, and we were able to go. I snagged this shot before we had to go home.

Not The Train We’re Looking For

7:00-9:00 AM and 4:30-7:00 PM (approximately) are the busiest times on the Chicago-area Metra commuter trains; in most cases, there will be a train about every 10 minutes or less. My older son and I were in time for the morning rush after I was done photographing some morning road traffic, which made for a very happy young man.



This Isn't The Train We're Looking For

The Chicago & North Western built a three-track mainline out of Chicago, and they ran left-hand main, which is unusual for a North American railroad. The arrangement of signals and stations is so costly to change that Union Pacific still runs left-hand main on the former C&NW tracks. Thus it is that the people in this picture are waiting for an inbound train on the center track and ignoring the outbound train passing behind. 🙂



I grew up in Arlington Heights, IL, which lies along the old Chicago & North Western mainline. The C&NW is no more, having been bought by Union Pacific in 1995, but the tracks are still very much in use, and I had long promised my older son that I would take him to watch the trains go by. When visiting my parents at the beginning of June, I made good on that promise during the morning rush.

I had just parked and was waiting to cross the road when this cyclist came by. The first train hadn’t arrived yet, but I couldn’t resist getting a little motion blur.



I took a little walk around the old neighborhood one evening while visiting my parents and found a couple trees doing a little dance together. When I was a kid I’d pass these trees while riding my bike on a summer’s evening, and it’s comforting to know that one may still see the golden light caress a tall trunk, even with all that has changed.

Pony Car


I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ford Mustang, so I was quite delighted to find this venerable old car at the grocery store when we were visiting my parents a little while back. My only mistake was to take this image in JPEG rather than RAW, so I couldn’t tame the sparkly chrome as well as I’d like.

Sailing By

Sailing By

We went to visit my parents for my younger son’s birthday again after Christmas. As I did in 2013/14, I took my camera down to North School Park for some blue-hour pictures of the light displays. Alas, there was no snow this year to add a warm halo around the lights, which gave the scene a desolate quality I don’t usually associate with Christmas decorations. Perhaps, since I took the picture on New Year’s Eve, it projects the mingled excitement and melancholy one feels as the old year gives way to the new.

To all my readers/viewers, may your 2015 be happy and healthy.