Answers to other burning questions can be found in the Ask Chris archive.
Q: I remember riding a monorail through a brewery as a kid. What happened to it
A: Anheuser-Busch owners Frank Sinatra and Los Angeles Mayor Samuel Yorty all huddled into a dozen fiberglass and magnesium monorail cars to close the ribbon for the first flight tour of the Budweiser Brewery in Van Nuys cut up on May 26, 1966. The "Skyrail" rolled through the brewhouse and dumped guests in Busch Gardens, a 17.5-acre park that offered boat trips, bird shows and free beer. The park closed on Valentine's Day 1979 to make way for a larger brewery. Two years ago, the company briefly revived the “Beermaster Tour” in the shadow of the old monorail tracks.
Q: Does LAX have an on-site 24-hour hospital?
A: Surprisingly, the airport has never had its own hospital. According to the Los Angeles Times, LAX is the only major airport in the nation that has no medical facilities. There is a first aid station at the international terminal, but emergency medical calls are routed to three fire stations around the 3,000-acre complex. An emergency clinic on Century Boulevard is open 24/7 for last-minute vaccinations or treating minor cuts caused by the zipper of your suitcase.
Q: What is this golden sculpture on the Americana in case of fire?
A: England has Britannia, France has Marianne, and America has Columbia, the sword-wielding, eagle-bearing female personification of the United States. She has been described as "Uncle Sam's older and more elegant sister" and was popular before the younger, prettier Statue of Liberty eclipsed her. The original granite version of the sculpture is still in the American cemetery on Normandy Beach in France. Her doppelganger has adorned the top of Americana since it opened in 2008.
Q: What is the story behind the crumbling mansion that has stood unfinished in Topanga for years?
A: In 2004, Dwell Magazine sponsored a competition in which architects competed to design a greenhouse for a wealthy aerospace engineer. The architecture office Escher Gunewardena won the day with its concept for a glass box under a landscape roof made of concrete and rice. Work on the project began soon after. But when the basement devoured half the budget, the engineer abandoned the project. It's been on hold ever since.
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