In 2005, Mary, Kyle and I took a short weekend vacation to northern California. Down the road by about an hour from where we were staying is the original site of the first Russian settlement in California, known as Fort Ross.

The fort, though reconstructed, is strong reminder about how tough explorers, fur traders, soldiers and the like must have been in those days. It includes a cemetery as well as a small church with very plain — yet somehow — artistically designed wooden steeples.

Those church steeples are a fascinating piece of architecture buried inside a well-documented history.

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