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July 1, 2006

At the height of World War II, the U.S. was in desperate need for metal to build aircraft. An aluminum plant in Tennessee was ready to produce, but it lacked the massive amounts of energy necessary to power the operation. The Solution? An intense three-year marathon to construct the tallest concrete dam east of the Rockies. The area was so remote that the government even built a town for the 5000 workers who labored in three shifts, 24 hours a day to complete the project in record time.

The Fontana Dam in Robbinsville, NC, is just one of the newest additions to the Sightseers Guide to Engineering, created by the National Engineers Week Foundation. Nearly 300 attractions across the country are listed on the site, which tells the story of American engineering ingenuity through intriguing and often offbeat tourists sights.

Other recent additions include:
–International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, which features such engineering oddities as a solar-powered listening device disguised as a tree stump;
–World Museum of Mining, located at the abandoned Orphan Girl Mine in Butte, Montana, with tools and technology developed by mining engineers since the 1860s;
–Highland Park Dentzel Carousel, a massive 1896 carousel in Meridian Mississippi, the largest of its kind in the world; and
–Missouri’s Museum of Transportation located in St. Louis, featuring more than 70 historic train locomotives including the Union Pacific’s “Big Boy,” which could pull a 5 1/2-mile-long train.

Summer vacations will be educational and memorable this year by visiting one of the hundreds of engineering marvels featured at

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