All posts by Ted Landphair

The Empire State Building: No. 2 in New York, 1 in Our Hearts

Posted May 4th, 2012 at 4:37 pm (UTC-4)

The real-estate consortium that is organizing a public stock offering for the world-famous Empire State Building might consider this pitch line, slightly modified from the old slogan that worked splendidly for Avis Rent-a-Car: We’re No. 2! — Again No. 2 in height in New York City, that is, ever since workers at One World Trade […]

On California’s Royal Road, Traces of ‘New Spain’

Posted April 27th, 2012 at 7:04 pm (UTC-4)
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In the late 18th Century, Catholic missionaries moved north from the Spanish colony of Mexico into what is now the U.S. state of California. They called it the Viceroyalty of Alta California — Upper California, since there already was a “California” in the vast Spanish colony of New Spain.  It was the long, skinny peninsula […]

Heart of the Heartland

Posted April 20th, 2012 at 9:52 am (UTC-4)

The United States is finally getting around to building a memorial to Ike: Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Kansas lad who became one of our greatest heroes and most popular presidents. But there’s a problem. It’s the Kansas part, even though Eisenhower said, in a 1945 speech in his hometown after leading Allied forces to victory […]

So You Want to be Famous!

Posted April 12th, 2012 at 5:19 pm (UTC-4)

As I watch the world go by — a passing parade that includes a lot of otherwise rational Americans, I wonder why some people do the outlandish things they do.  Swallow squirming jungle bugs on reality-TV shows.  Sing or dance badly on stage until someone drags them off.  Jump off a bridge to within a […]


Posted April 6th, 2012 at 6:23 pm (UTC-4)
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Could it be that parochial Fluffya is changing? Who would have thought that after more than three centuries of mostly minding its own business, the hard-working city of narrow streets, grimy factories, and quaint colonial buildings in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania would be transformed into one of America’s most dynamic and appealing tourist destinations. […]

Remembering at the Korean War Memorial

Posted March 29th, 2012 at 6:00 pm (UTC-4)

More than 54,000 Americans died in the Korean War, or “conflict,” as it was referred to, from 1950 through 1953.  Or died of their injuries later.  Half a million South Koreans and other United Nations troops fell, and more than 1 million GIs and their allies brought home wounds and nightmares and other terrible souvenirs […]

Whither the American Dream?

Posted March 23rd, 2012 at 6:16 pm (UTC-4)

America is, or has been, one big Horatio Alger Story. If you’re under 85 years old, you may never have heard of Horatio.  He was a real person — an author, who is often confused with his characters: teenage boys, mostly, who overcome poverty and other obstacles to lead happy and productive lives. Alger wrote […]

Guiding Lights

Posted March 14th, 2012 at 3:10 pm (UTC-4)

It has been said that lighthouses, casting a glow over the dark, mysterious sea, are to America what castles are to Europe — treasured landmarks — although there are lighthouses dating to Roman antiquity there, too.  In the Western Hemisphere, remains of crude lighthouses built by Central American Mayan people date to the 13th Century. […]

Good Livin’ in the Alabama Black Belt

Posted March 9th, 2012 at 8:22 pm (UTC-4)

How’d a nice big piece of black-bottom pie taste right about now? I’m talking crunchy ginger-snap crust, thin layer of dark chocolate, whipped rum-cream custard filling, shaved chocolate topping, and mounds of real whipped cream. It’s an Alabama Black Belt specialty, along with steam-fried okra, fresh catfish, banana pudding, and so many other succulent treats […]

Save the Gin (Not the Drink or Card Game!) Factory

Posted March 1st, 2012 at 6:53 pm (UTC-4)

I’m not much of a drinker, but I must admit that my ears perked up when Carol asked me to join her on a trip to Prattville, Alabama, where the town of 36,000 was fighting to save its gin factory.  Not a gin mill — which is slang for a low-class tavern.  An enormous factory. […]

Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


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