History

The past that made Ohio the place it is today

CRYPTOZOHIO: Creepy Columbus

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

We have talked about a lot of creepy places across the city before. The ghosts of OSU, the creepy graves of Green Lawn, the creepy creatures of the Ohio History Center, or the most haunted government building. Here are a few more creepy places:

Camp Chase:
During the Civil war space was needed to train soldiers. Space was also needed to house prisoners of the war. Camp Chase was such a place. Unfortunately not all the prisoners made it to the end of the war. The training grounds are gone but the graves remain in the Camp Chase Cemetery. A lady in grey is said to be found from time to time searching the grave markers for her lost love. Soldiers have also been reported come back to the site.

Ghost Trolley:
Just outside Columbus is a little hidden gem of a museum. The Ohio Railway Museum. While most of the state may not know of the place, come October it is crowded with people hoping to get a ride on the Ghost Trolley. Aimed at younger kids, riders are given a short ride then the lights are turned out and the story of the Ghost Trolley is told.

Chief Leatherlips:
Chief SHATEYORANYAH was a Wyandot leader. He was well liked by most and was given the name “leatherlips” because he always kept his promises. He was also one of the signers of the Treaty of Greenville. He was also worked with the American settlers. This angered many of his people, including his brother Roundhead. He ordered Leatherlips executed for witchcraft.  He was buried in Dublin, Ohio.

After his death the site was untouched until 1889 when a monument was built. As the story goes when it was built workers unknowingly had the correct location and disturbed his bones. The bones were replaced and the headstone was lovingly placed. All was good. A local golf tournament that is held nearby is said to be cursed however for bringing to much traffic and noise to the area. Almost every year the event is rained on, with it having to be shortened some years.

In a near by park is a larger statue honoring the man. This statue is more well known and is where most people visit. The head is large and an overlook is on top it. The face seems to be staring off in to the distance.

Otherworld:
Otherworld (https://otherworldohio.com) is a permanent art display in an abandoned shopping center. It is a strange place with things everywhere, but unlike an art museum this place is open for touch. Half of the exhibit is just figuring out what is interactive and what is not. There is no description to the story and the visitor must find out what is going on on their own. All that is known is

“You have volunteered as a beta tester at Otherworld Industries, a pioneering tech company specializing in alternate realm tourism. But upon arrival at the desolate research facility, you’re left on your own… Exploring restricted laboratories inevitably leads you to discover a gateway to bioluminescent dreamscapes featuring alien flora, primordial creatures, and expanses of abstract light and geometry…”

The whole place is well themed and trippy. While the place is not haunted it is very creepy. The artists did a great job of theming the location. Every room is different but fit well together. A great place to have a night out and be creeped out, without worrying about bringing anything strange back with you.

Kahiki Supper Club

Kahiki Supper Club

Long ago in the land of Columbus was a special place where visitors could take a journey to a far away land and experience the magic of the Island life, all with out leaving Ohio. The place was the Kahiki Supper Club. The largest Tiki themed restaurant in the country and it was a sight to see.

In the late 1940’s Servicemen returning from the war in the pacific brought back idealized stories of the island life. As the 1950’s economic boom spurred on the consumer culture, people began looking for things to do. With Hawaii on track to become a state, and the stories of the servicemen becoming more romanticized, Tiki culture was born. For a few dollars average citizens could escape to a far away island.

Lee Henry and Bill Sapp were looking to cash in on this cultural trend. They decided not only to make a themed restaurant, but to make one of the largest. The Kahiki Supper Club, 3583 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43213, was a landmark. The building was designed to look like a traditional men’s meeting house of new Zealand, but much, much larger. From the street the the complex looked like a Las Vegas resort. The building was at the center with a driveway leading past it to a parking lot. The light up signage was in a faux polynesian font. The landscaping was low and framed the building. To enter the restaurant guest passed to massive Heads. Beyond them was a moat and a small bridge. By the time visitors had even stepped inside  they were already being transported away.

Kahiki Menu Picture

The lobby housed a fountain, with a gift shop and restrooms around the sides. George, the fountain, is now on display at Grass Skirt Tiki Room. Once inside the main dining room the true vision of the owners could be seen. The room was set up like a small Tahitian village. The lobby, bars,  and side seating areas were separate buildings. One wall was aquatic with many fish tanks. The other wall was a rainforest with a thunderstorm brewing outside. Watching over the whole place was a giant tiki head fireplace. The fireplace became the icon of the restaurant ending up on menus, and almost anything it could be placed on in the gift shop.

One of the main aspects that drew people to tiki culture was the drinks. In traditional pacific culture rum was not used. In American Tiki culture the Caribbean island staple was added to almost every drink. The drink menu at the Kahiki was as large as the fireplace and as vast Pacific itself. The restaurant had not one but 3 bars, The Maui Bar and Cocktail lounge, The Outrigger Bar, and the Music Bar, where the Kahiki Beachcomber Trio would preform. They even recorded an album there.

Kahiki drink menu

In the 1970’s Tiki culture started to wain. Restaurants and buildings were starting to get old and in need of updating. Many tiki places were lost. The Kahiki was a landmark of Columbus and Ohio. It stayed strong. In 1988 the owners decided to sell to Michael Tsao. Tsao wanted to expand the brand and started a line of frozen food. Eventually in the late 90’s the building was in need of repair. The neighborhood had changed and the tiki culture was dying. Tsao decided to sell the land. He had hoped to rebuild in a new location, but died before any plans could be made. The Kahiki was torn down and a chain drugstore was put up in its place.

As the Tiki culture, and having a night out as an adventure, makes a comeback citizens of columbus and Ohio fondly remember back on the great restaurant of the islands.

 

Day Trips in the Dayton Area

Have a day to spend in Dayton? Want something to do, and You’ve already done The National Museum of The United States Air Force. Here are a few day trips you can take.

History of Dayton

  1. Carillon Historical Park – Website – The historical Museum of Montgomery County. A great place to learn about what made Dayton a worldwide name. Well worth a visit.
  2. Woodland Cemetery – Website – Where all the most famous citizens of Dayton are laid to rest.
  3. Pine Club – Website – The best steakhouse in the area. Has an old school feel. Does not take reservations, and is cash only, but is worth it.

The Birthplace of Aviation (Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park)

  1. Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center – Website – The starting point of the National Park. Tells the early life and times of the brothers and the area. Has a recreated Bike shop next door.
  2. Paul Laurence Dunbar House – Website – The house of famous poet and friend to the Wright Brothers.
  3. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center – Website – teaches about the field in which the Wright Brothers perfected flight.
  4. Huffman Prairie Flying Field – Located on an Air Force Base and can be closed at times – The field where the Brothers made flight a reality and the oldest flying field in the world.

Sports!

  1. Wegerzyn Gardens Metro Park – Website – a neat garden with many things to do and see
  2. Triangle Park – Website – Site of the First ever NFL game.
  3. Taqueria Mixteca – Website – A very authentic Mexican Joint
  4. Fifth Third Field – Website –  Home to the Dayton Dragons. The only field that has sold out ever game it ever has had (over 1400).

The Arts

  1. Dayton Art Institute – Website – celebrating the visual arts in Dayton for over 100 years. A great place to take kids
  2. Dayton Metro Library – Main Branch – Website – A really big building dedicated to educating the community. Has great art, books on art, and a little bit more inside and all around.
  3. The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center – Website – Dayton’s largest theater in the preforming arts district. Almost always something to see.

This is only a small idea of things to do in Dayton. As with most all in Ohio there is way more to do than can probably be done in a week.

Dayton Metro Library’s New Branches

Locations: http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org/locations

http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org

We previously mentioned that the Dayton Metro Library has a plan to change and update all of its branches. But how has that plan turned out?

The Main Public Library:

The new main branch from the outside seems completely different. As if the old building was torn down and a new one built. This is mostly the case. The main structure was saved but the building was rebuilt. The building was enlarged to almost 4 times it’s previous size. Administrative offices and services for the entire system were given their own building freeing up even more room. The difference is very noticeable.

Parking was always a problem in the busy downtown area around the library. A new underground parking garage was added and eliminated a lot of the problem. From the garage, or the street, patrons now enter into a large open “lobby”. Where as the old branch had an entrance / checkout area, the new branch has a large 3 story entryway with an inviting staircase topped by a new art installation. The entryway is the first taste patrons will get of the much more open design.

“Fractal Rain” an art instillation at the Dayton Metro Main Branch

The open design is also evident in the shelves themselves. With the new focus on community space, and less on physical media, the materials the library offers are integrated into the openness without being any sort of a focus. Somehow they feel both hidden and easy to find at the same time. The collection shares space with the technology available for use. The computers, digital microfiche machines, seating, and tables all take up space through out the building with no single dedicated space.

The new building is not just one open space however. On the first floor are two exhibit rooms. They are used to show of community works, traveling exhibits, or any of a variety of other things. There is also is a multi-use lecture hall, The Eichelberger Forum performance space . Where the old buildings hall and spaces were hidden, the new building makes them a focal point. One wall of the Forum can be opened for an inviting space, or closed for a more formal hall. Upstairs there is a black box theatre, a green screen room and the technology to use it, a Dayton History room, and a quite outdoor patio with nice views of the city.

Through out the branch are space for the community to come and interact, or to be alone. There are many small group rooms, each equipped with a large monitor / TV, a desk, and comfortable seating. These reservable spaces can be used as a meeting space for professional or recreational use. There is a large quiet reading room to get away from the noise. Like to cozy up to a fire and read a good book. They have a few of them with plush seating too.

Local Branches:

The new local branches are just smaller more community centric versions of the Main branch.  Instead of cookie cutter branches the Dayton Metro Library built unique places that reflect the spirit of the local area, while delivering to the needs of that community. Each building is adorned with art work inspired by pieces of art, selected by the community, from the Dayton Art Institute’s collection. They have a 24 hour lobby with self check in and hold lockers. No longer does a late night worker have to worry about the branches hours to get and return items. The local branches also all have computers, laptops, tablets, and more available, with friendly staff to assist any needs. Like the main branch the focus has turned away from the physical collection and more to the community. The shelves are smaller and more tucked away, but still easy to navigate. The extra space has been given to small group study areas, quiet reading rooms, fireplaces and comfy chairs, and a single large Community Room. The community rooms even have outside entrances for after hour use.

The Dayton Metro Library’s goal in the system wide update has changed the feeling of the branches from grab and go to a place to stop and relax. All this has been done while they have been able to meet the needs of each community, from a need for more computers in some areas, to more community space in others.

As this is written more and more branches open. Not all branches are finalized and we are excited to return sometime and see how the new ones look. 

Dayton Metro Library’s History of Change

Locations: http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org/locations

http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org

The first library in the Northwest Territory was a small library Israel Putnam started at Belpre in 1795. In the early days patrons paid a fee to use the library. Many libraries came and went with the needs, and economy, of the area. Eventually taxes were used to fund more permanent libraries and in 1901 The Brumback Public Library in Van Wert, Ohio, was dedicated as the first county library system in the nation.

Dayton’s first library service was founded, in 1805, not long after the city. This library was not to last and all the books were sold in 1820. in 1847 a new library was founded. It was housed in “two rooms of the second floor of the Steele Building on Main Street“. In the 1880’s a permanent building was needed. A plot of land deeded by Daniel Cooper as a park to the citizens of Dayton was used. In the 1960’s, almost 100 years later, a new building was built. During that time many of the local branches had been built.

Fast forward to the present. Few new branches had been built and many of the older branches were showing age and straining to keep up with the advances in technology and population growth. The main branch was crowded and falling apart. It still had bomb shelters from its cold war days. With the advent of digital technologies, the internet, and home video, libraries around the world had changed. More than just an upgrade to the buildings was needed.

Around 2008 The Dayton Metro Library decided to upgrade everything, not just renovate buildings with more abilities. This plan, called Facilities For Results, was to be a renewal of the entire system. The old libraries were small and as more technology and materials were added they became cramped. All buildings were to be rebuilt or expanded, some relocated to nearby spaces with more room. Some where closed and the branches realigned.

With the use of paper reference materials, books and encyclopedias, giving way to the ease of access and speed of updates provided by the internet, libraries have less need for shelve space and more need for open / multi use areas. The new branches have more space for computers, digital technologies, reading spaces, and dedicated youth areas.  Instead of being just collections of books, they are dedicated to meet all informational needs of their communities.

No longer just dedicated to giving they are now places for makers to make, groups to meet, and the community to be a community. Each branch sits in and serves a different community and the Library has taken this to heart. What might work in one place, might not bee needed in another. Each branch is designed for the area it serves. Locations with more youth have larger children and teens sections. Some have more need for computer space, some for quiet reading areas.

Because of the work the Library took to plan not just for each branch but for the system as a whole, the Dayton metro Libraries new branches are a welcoming, innovative, and unique space  ready to change with and meet the needs of its patrons for years to come.

 

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.

 

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.

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.