Maryhill Museum, Washington

The Maryhill Museum, dramatically located on a bluff above the Columbia River in eastern Washington, started out as a farm house for a utopian agrarian community planned by Sam Hill. Hill was a Quaker-raised railroad lawyer who became an influential and unusual force in the development of Washington, serving as the president of the Seattle Gas and Electric Company in the early 1900's, and later as an effective proponent of road building. The farm community never materialized, but the chateau, completed after his death in 1931, was eventually opened as a museum, dedicated by Hill's friend, Queen Marie of Romania. In keeping with his penchant for good roads, sweeping ramps on either side of the ground floor of the chateau enabled dignitaries to enter and exit the great hall in their automobiles.