Many people dedicate the entire month of December to making others feel special through the spirit of gift-giving—though in most cases they are relatively small tokens of appreciation, person to person. But there are also large-scale gifts, the kind that last through the years, unique expressions of gratitude that you can visit yourself.
At the Rutgers Geological Museum in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the giant exoskeleton of a creature that appears to have crawled out of a sci-fi novel hangs from a wall. Rutgers was one of the first American universities to accept Japanese students. As a sign of gratitude, the Japanese government donated a giant Japanese spider crab to the university, and it has now greeted guests for more than a century. In Baltimore, Maryland, near the entrance to Union Memorial Hospital is a stunning cherry tree—but this one wasn’t a gift from another country. It was given to the hospital by “Public Enemy No. 1,” Al Capone. After his release from federal prison, Capone was gravely ill and was refused care at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. But Union Memorial agreed to accept him as a private patient, and as a sign of his gratitude, Capone gifted the hospital two trees, one of which still stands today. From a six-ton wedding gift for King James II of Scotland to a massive Ottoman clock in Mexico, here are a few of our favorite gifts ever given.