Monument | Houston, TX | 2012

A tingle of pleasure comes from finding huge things hidden in plain sight. Case in point: the San Jacinto Monument near Houston. You’d think someone might have mentioned this giant obelisk — about 50 stories high — that commemorates a decisive battle in the Texas Revolution against Mexico. But no. Instead, we spotted it from miles away, gleaming white against dark storm clouds, a needle pointing skyward, an exclamation point to our complete surprise at its very existence.