Author: RandomOhio

Victoria Theatre

Victoria Theatre

138 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45402

https://victoriatheatre.com/venues/victoria-theatre/

Theater has a long history in the Buckeye state. in the early days it was preformed in city halls, churches, and living rooms. After the Civil War there was an explosion of theaters across the state and the country. The industrial revolution had made cities larger and with more people came more need for entertainment. Dayton was no different. In 1866 the Turner opera house opened.

After a few years it burned down and was rebuilt. This new theater lasted changed names a few times but lasted into the 20th century. In 1913 heavy rains flooded the city and the Victoria Theatre. The theater was rebuilt but only 5 years later a fire gutted it. After rebuilding again the theater found fame. Housing plays, orchestra concerts (even creating The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in 1930), and movies, the theater was in its prime. With the spread of the suburbs in the late 1960’s the theater, and downtown Dayton, faced economic decline. In 1970’s it was scheduled to be torn down. Dayton citizens, with their history of saving classic old buildings, found a way to save the building by founding the Victory Theatre Association. In 1988 the Arts Center Foundation acquired the theater and after $17.5 Million in renovations opened it as the Victoria Theatre. The organization did so well in bringing theater back downtown that it was able to open the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center across the street.

The Victoria Theatre is one of the state’s classic old theaters. Updated slightly, and modernized with new equipment, the feel is still that of the 1988 renovation, which harked back to the original look of the place. The lobby houses a small bar / concessions area and restrooms. At the end of the lobby are the doors to the main floor of the theater and the stairs to the upper lobby and balcony. Inside the theater the seats are comfortable and the view decent. The older style seating can lead to obstructed views depending on the people sitting in front of one. The 1154 seats themselves are comfortable and not to small. The balcony has a steep rise and most seats have a good view from it. The stage is large enough to not feel out of place in the venue.

The theater is smaller than some of the other venues in the state. While the Broadway touring productions have moved across the street to the large Schuster Center. The intimate size is not as well suited for the larger productions any more, as the shows get grander and grander. The venue is great for the smaller shows the theater preforms. Small musical groups, one man shows, and family theater are housed there and do quite well. The theater even returns to it’s movie palace heydays in the Summer with the Cool Film Series.

From its early days after the Civil War to its revitalization to its modern use, The Victoria Theater has become a main stay of the Dayton, and even Ohio, theater scene.

 

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Places to go on a long Summer Weekend – 2019

Summer is a great time to spend a long weekend in Ohio and visit all the great places. With Summer in full swing, we thought we would give a list of some of the great places to explore. The list also was a chance for us to highlight some of our original reviews of these great places.

Amusement Parks

Zoos

Parks and Historic Places

The Pioneers

This year in May a new book came out by the Pulitzer Prize winning historian, David McCullough. The Pioneers is a book about the settling of the Northwest Territory in Ohio. McCullough’s books can be very dense with historical facts and stories. Some of his books are best done as audiobooks, listened to while driving. If you want to do a themed trip, get The Pioneers on audiobook and go on a trip down the Ohio River.

Here is a map called the Ohio River Run. This map will give you some idea of places to visit while traveling down the Ohio River.

Two places to visit, that go along with the book The Pioneers are:

We hope this list of places gives some good ideas of how to spend  a long summer weekend in Ohio.

Summer in the Cedar Bog

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980 Woodburn Rd, Urbana, OH 43078
http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/cedarbog

Cedar Bog, located just outside of Urbana, is a 450 acre nature preserve dedicated to Ohio’s wetlands. Cedar Bog is mistitled. It is actually a Fen. The difference between a fen and a bog is a simple but confusing one. A bog receives water from precipitation. A fen receives water from the local watershed, like underground water table or surrounding rivers.  With over a mile of trails the Bog is a great way to see the wetlands. While this sounds like a walk through a swamp, Cedar Bogs main trail is a boardwalk above the fen. This allows for a nice dry walk even after a recent rain.

The mile long trail runs through tp09-03-16_13-51he forest, in to open areas, and loops back to the main entrance. While it is a short walk the abundance of plant and animal life on the trail makes the walk take much longer.

Summer
With flowers blooming all over the place, birds flying over head, and plenty of Plestiodon (skinks with a blue tail).  The summer is a great time to see the wildlife that comes to graze in the shaded forests of the fen. The flowers blooming in the forest take advantage of the shade to absorb the water from the fen and bloom well into August and later. The abundance of wildlife is also concentrated in the forest. The cool of the morning is the best time to see them. As the day heats up many go to sleep or find a cool place to hide.

One of the main blooms seen is the Mimulus aurantiacus “Monkey Flower”, both the orange and yellow variety. This flower is a host plant for the Buckeye Butterfly which can be seen all over the fen. The forest seems to explode with color. The trees are also full of foliage and make for a great shade in the heat of the day. The difference between the “deep” forest and the fields is striking. The creek at the edge of the trail is full of moss and other growth and seems smaller than during the spring. The flow of water is feed by the large underground water system that makes the bog possible. Even during the hottest month of the year the creek flows nicely. This is a good place to find wildlife taking a quick drink. Most reptiles and amphibians will be in this area of the reserve.

While the bog and forest are cool during the summer. The nearby prairie is not.  The contrast to the wildness of the forest is striking. The sun scorches the land and dries out the area. The prairie in this area has been around since before the settlement of Ohio. The plants in the Prairie trail are use to this and can survive, if not thrive, in the heat. Many of the blooms are yellow and blend in to the color of the grass. The prairie is a great place to see butterflies and insects not found in the forest. Early in the day some wildlife can be seen taking advantage of the grass before the heat of the midday sun.

The summer will be warmer so take some water and go enjoy the nature in one of Ohio’s more diverse and unique trails.

Tip: The bog cost to enter, but is included in a Ohio History Connection Membership. Visiting once a season, with a guest, can pay for the membership.

Ohio in the Space Race

As this time gets closer towards July 20th, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the famous first moon landing, we look at the state of Ohio and it’s contribution to the space race. Not just the people that went into space, but the Ohio products they used and the Ohio locations that helped them are also important. Ohio had a big role in putting Americans in space.

The People:

John Glenn:
We Have talked about first American to orbit the earth before. On Friendship 7 he had issues with the heat shield but survived to fly again. The next flight would have to wait however. Glenn did not travel to space again until 1998 becoming the oldest person to do so and  the second sitting senator. He  and his wife have a museum in New Concord.

Charles A. Bassett:
Basset was from Dayton. He was one of the early astronauts selected to fly on Gemini missions. He was scheduled to fly on Gemini 9, but was killed along Elliott M. See, Jr., who was to fly into space with Basset, when the plane they were flying in crashed.

Jim Lovell:
Jim Lovell was the born in Cleveland. As the an early astronaut he flew into space many times. First on an endurance mission on Gemini 7, then on Gemini 12, after the deaths of Gemini 9’s main crew (Basset and See) moved everyone up. This flight was with Buzz Aldrin, who would later fly with another Famous Ohioan. The next mission Lovell took put him in orbit around the moon. He would not get to land on Apollo 8, but would be scheduled to land on his next mission, Apollo 13. Due to an explosion in an oxygen tank the mission was not able to land on the moon.  He does not have a museum yet.

Neil Armstrong:
As many shows, movies, presentations, and exhibits will tell Neil Armstrong was the first person to step foot on the moon. Did you know he was from Wapakoneta, Ohio? The city even houses a very nice museum dedicated to him.

The Products:

While the men who would fly were growing up through out the state, the products they would need were also so being created. A few of the items produced include:

Russel Colley worked for B.F. Goodrich of Akron. During his time he designed a pressure suit for Willy Post. This suit lead to the creation of the Navy Mark IV pressure suit. This suit was used by John Glenn and all the Mercury Astronauts. The

Marion Power Shovel Company, of Marion, Ohio, known for creating large shovels, created the Crawler-Transporter that carried the Saturn V to the launch platform.

Goodyear Aerospace Corporation was famous for making blimps when NASA asked them to create the heating and cooling systems for the Apollo Vehicles. They were are asked to make the tires for some of the equipment used on the lunar surface.

Airstream created the motor homes that became Mobile Quarantine Facility for the returning Apollo 11, 12, and 14 astronauts.

At the Armstrong Air and Space Museum is a map with many more of the place and companies in Ohio responsible for helping to get Americans on the Moon. The contribution of this great state is long and on going. And this was just before landing on the Moon. The state has gone on to do a lot more after the space race was over. But that is for another day.

The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights

6800 Executive Blvd, Huber Heights, OH 45424

https://www.rosemusiccenter.com

The Dayton area is no stranger to outdoor concert venues. Since 1991 there has been the Fraze Pavilion. Last year Levitt Pavilion in downtown opened for free concerts. The largest by far is the The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights.

The Rose Music Center is located north of town in the city of Hube Heights. The venue opened in 2015 and is the first in a group of building being developed in the area. It is right of the highway and very easy to spot standing by itself in a field. It also is one of the largest buildings in the area, which doesn’t hurt.

The Center has plenty of parking and is well suited for the crowds that it attracts. The interior is just a row of concession stands restrooms and the performance area. The concessions are standard concert venue far with hot dogs, sandwiches, and plenty to drink. Offerings are the same across the entire pavilion. No need to walk far distances for something special. The area around the center is also full of many options for a bite before the show, with more being built in the future. The restrooms are large and right next to the entrance of the seating area. They handle a lot of people and tend to back up very little at busy times.

The actual performance area is the main draw of the center. Unlike the Fraze all seats are covered. This roof covers the seats but is high enough not to block any views and to allow for ventilation on the hot summer nights. Containing 4,200 seat, it is one of  larger venues in the county. The seating area is wide and deep angling toward the decently sized stage. Some of the back seats can be a little far from the stage, but are not too far to be able to enjoy the show. The back section is angled steep enough that views are not blocked too much. There are video screens and a good sound system to help make sure everyone has a good time, not just the people in front. The seats are comfortable without being anything to special. The Rose Center is located along a major highway (I-70). This makes for easy access to and from an event. This also means that during busy times some of the noise from the road will bleed into the venue. Any performance will usually drown this out.

The selection of acts are very similar to the ones at the Fraze. From well known new acts to older bands, The Rose has a little bit of something for everyone. While the Greater Dayton area seem too small to support two large venues, the differences between the more intimate feeling Fraze and the grand scale of the Rose set them apart enough for both venues to be supported and loved.

As the weather heats up so do the summer tours and The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights is a great place to see a loved band or find a new favorite.

2019 – the 1/2 way mark

Well we are halfway through 2019.

The majority of this year has been spent discussing Columbus. The city is always giving us something new. We don’t think we will ever be able to explore it all. We explored the hills of the southeast. The beauty of the area is worth visiting anytime of year. We also looked into the history of a major conflict in our state.

This year we celebrated a decade of reviewing the Buckeye State. While this was a major milestone, it made us realize that some of the places we visited in those first few years have had major renovations and changes. Expect us to do more update as things change.

In the last six months we have explored a few new places and seen some new sights. We have plenty more to tell of our journeys. We have old places to explore that are becoming new all over again. A trip to the renovated Cincinnati Museum Center will be like going there for the first time. New additions to the Cincinnati, Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland Zoos have us want to make trips there in the upcoming years. New rides at the Kings Island and Cedar point, and the old favorites, warrant trips back.

We like to dive into that which made Ohio the state is it is. As the world honors the 50th year since the flight of Apollo 11 expect us to be celebrating along with them. We won’t forget the Ohioans who made the trip possible, or the ones who have continued on. We also have some history on more down to earth events including sports and the arts.

With a look to the past, a journey to the future, and more visits to the interesting sites of Ohio, the second 1/2 of 2019 should be as full as the first.

Ohio Theater (Columbus)

model of Ohio Theater

39 E State St, Columbus, OH 43215

https://www.capa.com/venues/detail/ohio-theatre

All large cities in Ohio, and some smaller, have a live show venues.  One of the states major venues is the Ohio Theater located in the heart of downtown Columbus. Just across the street from the Statehouse, and using the same parking garage, the theater blends into the taller buildings surrounding it, but somehow stands out.

The Ohio Theater originally opened in 1928 as a Loew’s showing movies and some live entertainment. Eventually the competition from television caused the movie house to close in 1969. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts was formed to save the historic building. 50 years later the organization and the Ohio Theater are still going strong. While somethings have changed and been modernized, the original fell and look of the building is still intact. It has also been expanded to accommodate it’s role as the “official theater of the state of Ohio.” Many of the cities major preforming arts organizations, including “Columbus Symphony, BalletMet, and Broadway in Columbus,” use the building as their home venue.

The theater is very easy to find. The entryway is light up by a large marquee. Inside the lobby is a little small for the size of the theater and can become crowded. The lobby has a large bar taking up a bit of the space, and lines from it can get in the way at times. The loge too has a balcony for extra space which over looks the main lobby, and a separate bar. The decor of original building is the same as it was in its heyday as a movie place. The expansion on the side, however, does a nice job of adding the extra space that is needed. This is where a coffee bar and small snack bar are located. It is in a modern style and fells like the second building it is.  Access to the theater is easy to find with the friendly staff ready to help. The upper sections are a little harder to find. Being an old movie house the restrooms are smaller and can get very busy at peak times.

The theater itself is nice. Seating is comfortable. The sight lines to the stage are good from most seats. The sound has been upgraded over the years and is well balanced. It does not feel as if it is being projected from speakers but as if the performers are just louder. The stage is large enough to be able to hold almost any production. From concerts to plays to movies, The Ohio theater is a great place to see a show.

Tip: Located on across the street from the State house the Theater is in a well used part of town. Before the show there are a lot of places to eat and drink, but they can become very crowded with the downtown crowds. Make sure to arrive early. Parking at the Statehouse has one of the best show rates in the state. 

 

 

Updates! Updates! Updates!

RandomOhioReviews.com

After 10 years we finally have the address we want. This address will lead to the same page you are on, but is easier to remember.

We have also updated all our reviews to include more information and be easier to read.

Now all of our reviews include an address to the location we are reviewing. The address is linked to a Google map of the location. This means that with a simple click you can plan a trip to the site, or see how far away it is. We have also included links to the official website of most of the locations. With this you can find the official information on times, costs, and events of the locations. We want to make sure that you have the most up to date information on each place before going. Not much ruins a trip more than getting somewhere and finding out that it is closed on the day you went.

We hope this makes your enjoyment of the great state of Ohio and all the fun and interesting things to do in it easier.

Fort Meigs

29100 W River Rd, Perrysburg, OH 43551

https://www.fortmeigs.org

Following the Siege of Fort Meigs the fort was no longer needed.  A smaller fort was built but abandoned at the end of the war. As the years went on the site was left but not forgotten. 1864, during another American war, brothers Timothy and Thomas Hayes bought the land and decided to preserve it for all that had fallen. In 1907 their family decided to sell it to the state of Ohio. One year later a large monument was installed by veterans of the Civil War to honor those from the War of 1812. In the 1960’s the Ohio History Society decided to rebuilt the Fort. The new recreated Fort opened in 1974. After nearly 30 years the Fort was starting to show its age and in 2000 the Fort was rebuilt again. This new Fort now stands proudly along the Maumee.

The Fort is split into two main parts, the Fort and the Museum. Starting with the Fort is a good idea. The land has change overtime but the Fort itself was recreated to be as accurate as possible. Inside the its walls are the embankments, like those that protected the men during the battle, blockhouses, and the memorial erected by the Civil War veterans. At first this seems like any other recreation of a fort. Walking around the grounds one can get a feel for how big the Fort was. The land however does not really give much for the feel of the time, or the life of a soldier. One can go inside the blockhouse too.

The blockhouses, all seven of them, are the real treat to the Fort recreation. Unlike some recreations where it is a blank building, or just a few items, these are full museum rooms.  Inside are displays about the time of the Fort, the life of the soldiers, and the activities of the siege. They include maps, very detailed models, and interactive displays. All of the blockhouses are separated into one aspect each, but together make up a large museum. Each one must be entered to get the whole story of the Fort.

Outside the trails include the paths that the would have been used at the time. They follow along the outer edge along the wall going from house to house. At certain points the wall is lower and the river can be seen, or the field where the British and Tecumseh’s men were stationed. At these points are cannons ready to defend the Fort.

Inside the visitors center is a nice video, museum, and the gift shop. While the Fort is about the battle, the museum is more about times before the conflict, the times of the greater conflict, and how we know what we know than it is the siege itself. This is where the actual artifacts are housed. Along side the artifacts are stories of how they were found. Pictures of the archaeological digs, tales of the interpretation needed, and questions still left unanswered. The museum is a great companion to the Fort.

From the Fort to the fields to the Museum, Fort Meigs is a great place to learn about a piece of American history that helped to keep us free, the life and times of the men and women who fought, and we can keep their history alive.