History

50 facts, of a random nature, about Ohio

50 random fact

As we start a new school year here are 50 more facts for you to annoy your teachers, friends, family, or coworkers with.

  1. The Great Seal of the State of Ohio was adopted in 1803.
  2. The seal was said to be inspired by the view from Adena mansion in Chillicothe. This is up for debate however.
  3. The river is the Scioto river.
  4. The arrows on the seal represent the American Indians that inhabited the area and Ohio as the 17th state in the union.
  5. The Sheaf of wheat represents the large value agriculture plays in the state.
  6. Thirteen rays of the sun represent the original 13 colonies.
  7. At one point it had a canal boat on the river.
  8. At one point the seal had the motto Imperium in Imperio (an empire with in an empire)
  9. Cheez-it‘s were invented in Dayton in 1921
  10. William Mckay, creator of Little Nemo, got started in the newspaper industry at The Cincinnati Enquirer.
  11. Wilbur and Orville, Dayton’s most famous sons, are related to the first woman to set foot in Dayton.
  12. Piqua had the first municipal owned nuclear power plant.
  13. Dum Dums, the most popular lollipop, were created by the Akron Candy Company in Bellevue, Ohio
  14. Clarence Darrow opened his first law office in Andover.
  15. Clarence Darrow’s childhood home is on the National Registry of Historic places and has an Ohio Historical Marker outside it.
  16. Darrow is best known for his role in the Scopes Monkey Trial made famous in the play “Inherit the Wind” written by Ohioans  Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee
  17. The Cincinnati Reds held the first night game on May 24, 1935.
  18. The lights to the First night game were switched on by President Roosevelt from the Whit House in Washington, D.C.
  19. The second night game was on May 16,1938 in Brooklyn against the Cincinnati Reds.
  20. The first American league night game was June 15, 1939. The visiting team was the Cleveland Indians.
  21. The first federal radio license was given to G.H. Lewis
  22. Quaker Oats Company was founded in Ravenna
  23. Jerrie Mock in 1964 in her “Spirit of Columbus” Cessna 180 became the first woman to fly solo around the world.
  24. 1838 The first Kindergarten was opened in Columbus
  25. Cleveland’s Winton Company produced the first motorized mail truck.
  26. When opened in 1979 the Beast at Kings Island was the fastest, tallest, longest coaster made of wood.
  27. As of 2017 the beast is still the longest wooden coaster at 7,359 ft (2,243 m).
  28. The Son of The Beast was the first wooden hypercoaster. It was the second wooden coaster to feature a loop.
  29. Flip Flap Railway (NY) was the wooden first coaster to feature a loop. It was tested in Toledo.
  30. Corkscrew at Cedar Point was the first Coaster to have 3 inversions. It opened 7 days late to be the first modern day vertical loop.
  31. Kenner Products was started in Cincinnati.
  32. Kenner created and popularized the 3.75 inch action figure for it’s famous Star Wars line of toys.
  33. Kenner once owned many, many, popular toys including the Easy Bake Oven, Spirograph, and Play-doh.
  34. Play-Doh was invented in Cincinnati as a wallpaper Cleaner.
  35. Play-Doh was developed at the request of Ohio Based Kroger Grocery Company.
  36. Kroger started in 1883 in Cincinnati and has become the 3rd largest retailer in the world.
  37. The U.S.S Cod is the most intact WWII submarine in the US.
  38. J.F.K was the last president to win without Ohio
  39. Beer Barrel Saloon in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island has the world’s longest permanent continuous bar at over 420 feet.
  40. Baby Swiss cheese was invented by Guggisberg Cheese Company in Charm.
  41. Ohio is still one of the leaders in swiss cheese production.
  42. Ohio is the leading producer of greenhouse plants.
  43. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is Ohio’s smallest bird.
  44. The Black Rat snake is the largest snake in Ohio. It can get up to 72 inches.
  45. The smallest county by population is Vinton with about 13,000 residents.
  46. The Highest Point in Ohio is Campbell Hill  at 1,550 feet (472 m), It is in Bellefontaine.
  47. The 1913 flood was the worst natural disaster to hit Ohio. It is the second deadliest flood in the US.
  48. 428 people died in Ohio during the 1913 flood.
  49. The oldest existing American-built locomotive is the John Quincy Adams. It is on display at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton
  50. Ohio’s official state groundhog is Buckeye Chuck

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

Photo By Chris Light at English Wikipedia

219 N Paul Laurence Dunbar St,
Dayton, OH 45402

https://www.nps.gov/daav/planyourvisit/paul-laurence-dunbar-house-historic-site.htm

Some places in Ohio are run by local history groups. Some places in Ohio are important enough for the Ohio History Connection to get involved. A select number of places in Ohio have even gotten the National Parks service to recognize them. One place in Ohio is run by the local, state, and national historical systems, The Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African American poet at the turn of the 20th century. He wrote in both dialect and standard English. Dunbar became famous as a poet after self publishing Oak and Ivy, his first book, in 1892. After the popularity of the book he began to tour around the state, then then the nation, and finally England.  At the height of his career in 1902 Dunbar bought a house in Dayton for his mother. After he started to suffer medical issues he moved in to the house with his mother. On February 9, 1906 in the house he had bought for his mother Paul Laurence Dunbar died of tuberculosis.

The House was bought by the state in 1936 and turned into the first state memorial to an African American. It was later in the century that people started to notice his works effect on the larger literary world. Maya Angelou even named her first book after a line in Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy.” In 1962 the house became a National Historic Landmark. 30 years later it was incorporated in to larger Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park when the park was created.

The Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site is a small location with just the house and accompanying visitor center. The center contains a short film on the life of Dunbar, a few of his artifacts, and information about the history of the house. The House itself is a small 2 story building common of the area. Together the entire site can be visited in 1.5 hours.

While that may seem to small for a journey to the area, the House is only .5 miles from the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park’s Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. The center contains more information on the life of the printers of Dunbar’s first Newspaper, Orville and Wilbur Wright. One could easily spend an entire morning visiting both the Paul Laurence Dunbar House and Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, grab lunch at one of the areas great restaurants, and spend the heat of the afternoon walking around Woodland Cemetery where both the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar are buried. With the Carillon Historical Park, National Museum of United States Air Force, and the rest of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park one could make a long weekend in Dayton. Even being rewarded if they go to enough places.

Airstream Factory Tour

419 West Pike Street
Jackson Center, OH 45334-0629
https://www.airstream.com/company/tours/

The history of Recreational Vehicles took a turn when Wally Byam acquired the Bowlus Company, took the door moved it to the side and created the Airstream Clipper. For about the next 16 years, except for a period during the war years, Airstreams were only manufactured in California.  In July 1952 a factory was opened in Jackson Center, Ohio. In 1979 the California plant was closed, leaving Jackson Center as the only place in the world where the unique trailer is produced.

The Factory is located in Jackson Center and is just down the highway from Armstrong Air and Space Museum. The tours start at 2pm and leave enough time in the morning to go the museum and have lunch at Al’s Woody’s Diner. The Airstream Factory also is a fitting location with the museum because NASA used Airstreams as Mobile Quarantine Facility for the returning Apollo 11 crew.

The Factory tour starts at the Service center. The center is where Airstream gifts and parts can be bought before the tour. This is where the guide will have each person a pen (a great souvenir ) to sign a wavier and give out ear and eye protection. The tour is on the actual factory floor and protection is needed.

The tour starts with a brief history of the company before heading outside. On the way to the main factory the guide will show some of the campers parked outside. This is not a museum tour or a Dealers lot. Wally Byam’s Gold trailer, “Stella’s Gold Airstream,”  is there but the rest are finished trailers about to be sent out and not really for display.

Inside the factory the noise can be loud at places. The earplugs protect visitors ears but also block out the guides voice. To get around this one member of the group is given a portable speaker. The guide can be heard from the front and back at most times, even over the noise of the factory. Sometimes the noise and spread of the group will make it hard to hear.

The tour goes through the process of constructing an Airstream from the ground up. Well more from sides to the floor to the internals. While it might not seem like much at first. Eventually the trailer comes together to the memorable shape. After the trailer is weather tested it is ready for interior. The interiors and wiring are added and the final product is ready to ship.

Overall the tour is a little under 2 hours depending on the size of the group. The distance is walked can be close to a mile. The process of building one of the most memorable trailers on the market is fun to see and the price (FREE) can’t be beat.

When we went the second factory building was being retooled for the next model years line of bus style touring coaches. Expect an update when we get a chance to return. 

Memorial Day Road Trips

On the final Monday in May America takes the time to honor those who died in service to its armed forces. This tradition started in 1868 when former Civil War soldiers decided to decorate the graves of fallen veterans. While the custom is a long held tradition around the world, this time was different. So many soldiers had died in the recent Civil War, and so many families effected, that having a single day to do this helped to bring larger importance to the act. It wasn’t until 1971 with the enactment of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that the day created a yearly 3 day weekend.

To honor the veterans who gave it all here are some road trip ideas that have a military background. Some can be completed in one day some might take two. A great site to learn more about Ohio historical places and come up with you own trips is http://touringohio.com

Northwest Ohio and the War of 1812:

Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site  – Fallen Timbers was the site of a major battle between American Indians and the newly formed United States of America. At the treaty of Paris in 1783 Britain gave the USA all of the land east of the Mississippi River. This include the Ohio Country. The American Indian tribes living in the area felt that they had no representation in the matter and that the land was still theirs. This led to the Battle of Fallen Timbers. At this battle American Soldiers fought the natives who were supplied by British from Fort Miamis. The defeat of the American Indians led to the Treaty of Greenville (see Garst Museum Below).

Fort Meigs – This fort with stood 2 attacks from the British and defended the Ohio country during the War of 1812. This is a full standing fort with a visitors center.

Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Library and Museum: The home and Museum of The former Civil War General and 19th President. For more information see our review.

Southwest and the Civil War

William Henry Harrison Tomb – The resting place of the 9th President and Ohio Indian Wars Veteran. He was the first president to die in office and is still the short serving person to have held the office. See our review here

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – This museum is dedicated not only to the Underground Railroad and the struggle of American Slaves, but the struggle of all people for equality, even in modern times. The museum is a powerful testament to the struggles that lead to the Civil War.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The birthplace and boyhood home of the 27th President. Governor of the Philippines following the Spanish American war, Secretary of War, and Commander in Chief gives this site some great military background.  See our review here

Land of Grant Grant Birthplace and Grant Boyhood home and School House – The 18th President and commander of the Union armies during the civil war. Visit where he was born, grew up and learned. See our review here.

West

Fort Jefferson – The site where St. Clair retreated after his defeat.

Garst Museum – Dedicated to the history of Darke county this museum tells the story of the Treaty of Greenville and the role it played in shaping Ohio. A nice large museum with lots of artifacts from the area. See our review here.

Fort Recovery – The site of the two largest and most important American Indian battles, The Defeat of St. Clair and the Battle of Fort Recovery. St. Clair had 900 of his 1200 men killed, about 1/4 of the US army. It is also the site of the fort that was built after the battle. It was this fort that allowed the US to win the next battle and led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville.

Northeast

Fort Steuben – Built to protect the surveyors of the northwest Territory. The Fort has a visitor center, full wood fort and large grounds surrounding it.

Fort Laurens – Site of the only Revolutionary War battle in the state.

McCook house – Home of the “Fighting McCooks.” Major Daniel McCook and his 9 sons and 6 nephews fought before and mostly during the Civil War.

The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum – The Tomb of William McKinley, the 25th President, and commander and chief during the Spanish-American War. Next to the tomb is the Library and Museum which house exhibits on the natural world, Stark County, and the life of the president. See our review here. 

Bears Mill

6450 Arcanum Bears Mill Rd,
Greenville, OH 45331
https://www.bearsmill.org

Bears Mill in Darke County is one of the last water powered mills still in operation in Ohio today. The 4 story mill has become more of a museum than a full day to day mill. The mill still mills tho.

Bear Mill has a shop on the first floor with a wide variety of kitchen utensils, pottery, decor, and ever chaining selection of art. Of course the shop also offers a selection of grains milled on site. The shop is a nice place to get a gift, or even just to get something for oneself.

The difference between Bear Mill and other local shops is in the mill itself. The mill is still in operation and during certain times one can actually see the grinding going on. When the miller is away the museum still is informational. The four floors are full of informational placards and pictures of the older days. Along with the working equipment are artifacts and items to support the story of how a mill works. One of the unique things about Bear Mill is that it has both the old buhr stone along with newer roller mills. Most mills discarded the old stones when they got the new rollers. The fact that the mill has both is a testament to the history that is preserved at the site.

Along with the beautiful mill are the acres of land surrounding it. Take a hike along the powerful Greenville Creek and see the force that drives the wheels inside. Sit and enjoy the sounds of the water and nature at the gazebo near-by.  Bears Mill has something for everyone.

Caesar Creek State Park: An Update

Original Post: Caesar Creek

The popularity of boating at the park has led to the creation of a Marina. The Marina at Caesar Creek was in the original plans for the lake. It is located down the road from the beach swimming area. It has a small concessions shop with food and drinks, fishing supplies (license needed to fish in Caesar Creek) and boat supplies. The marina also has coin op laundry for the hiker, camper, or boater.

Being that the marina is a marina it does have items for boaters. 91 Octane Gas without Ethanol is available along with a pump out station. The marina itself has 112 seasonal slips, but due to the popularity of boating at the park they fill up each year. 20% are available via a lottery in August. They also have 10 Transient Slips open each day.

Before the marina was built the water level had to be lowered in the Creek. While the water was lower the state took the opportunity to do archaeological research on the area. The study found nothing of note as the area had been searched before the lake was filled.

The marina is not the only new thing at the park. On the trail to the Horseshoe falls is a new large swinging bridge. the bridge is a nice addition to an already scenic area.

 

Garst Museum

205 North Broadway, Greenville, OH 45331
http://garstmuseum.org/home.php

What’s larger than a bread box?
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The Garst Museum in Greenville Ohio is larger than your average local history museum. This museum, while not as big as Carillon Historic ParkCleveland History Center, or the former Cincinnati History Museum, is not small. The multiple wings of the building are crammed full of interesting artifacts and history.

The museum starts by telling tp09-24-16_12-08he history of the most famous event in Darke County, the signing of the Greenville Treaty. The treaty was not signed right as either side entered the area, but after societies were built and battles fought. The museum does a great job of setting up that history. With plenty of artifacts of the time and information to describe and explain the use of the artifacts. So much information that it can almost get overwhelming. The Garst fortunately uses multimedia displays to break up the text and to give a bit of living history too.

Darke County did not end on August 3, 1795 and neither does the museum. The museum continues on to tell the story of two of the areas most famous children, Annie Oakley and Lowell Thomas. The Annie Oakley National Center houses pieces of Annie’s own effects. Not just the guns she fired as a famous sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, but clothes, jewelry,  souvenirs, trophy’s and so much more. The center helps to break apart the myth of Annie Oakley as tomboy and show her real life as complicated as it was.

The Lowell Thomas section tells the life of the globe trotting man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous. The Garst Museum goes beyond the story of the desert and tells the whole life of the man from birth, with the Lowell’s Birthplace outback, to his death.

p09-24-16_12-55Most of the rest of the museum is dedicated to the history of Darke County as an average American county. Inside of small rooms set along the walls are vintages of American life. Displays of what a kitchen, beauty shop, dentist office, and more would look like are filled with actual artifacts from said places. Along with the small rooms is another large room filled with more leftover pieces. This room is a great place for grandparents to take kids and teach them about the items they saw in their grandparents houses or even used themselves.

The upstairs houses one of the best displays of military uniforms in the state. With cases of uniforms and other memorabilia from almost every war the country has been in. All donated by local citizens or their families.

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The Garst Museum in Greenville works hard to live up to the “Best History Museum” award it was given by the Ohio Magazine and it shows. This museum is a great visit for people of all ages, even if you don’t live in Darke County.

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus: Updated!

Original Post: Schmidt’s Sausage Haus

NEW: Food trucks (http://www.schmidthaus.com/sausage-truck/)

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus is still serving the classic German fare it has for over 100 years. They still have the Autobahn Buffet. They still are in the old building that fills up on weekends and is hard to park at during busy hours. They have added a food trucks to help with this problem.

We have not been to the food truck yet, but have been to their tent at local fares. The food is just as good as at the original location and the cream puffs just as large. The food trucks are outside of  business most days. They have more than one truck and generally spread through out the city pretty well. They also have a truck tracker and schedule on their website. On weekends in the fall they are with everyone else in Columbus at the OSU games. So where ever one might be in Columbus they are never to far from good German food.

Tip: Visit Schmidt’s on most social media platforms @SchmidtsCbus.

Great American Ballpark


100 Joe Nuxhall Way,

Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/ballpark/

Today, April 3, 2017, the Cincinnati Reds play the Philadelphia Phillies at home. This will be the first game of the 2017 season. While the Reds had a less than stellar 2016 season, fans entering Great American Ballpark today will be entering with high hopes. They will also be entering the latest stadium in a series of stadiums that go all the way back to the first games of professional baseball.

Opened in 2003, and named after Great American Insurance headquartered nearby, the stadium is one of a string of attraction along the ever changing riverfront. It’s neighbors U.S. Bank Arena, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Paul Brown Stadium all share the Central Riverfront Garage. The garage has plenty of parking for any game. The garage is very well organized with signs telling which structure is nearest and every exit has a street map telling what section it is and how to get back to it.

The stadium itself is surrounded by an open concourse with a gift shop and Hall of Fame Museum on one side and amazing views of the river on the other. Once inside the main gate fans will find a large open hallway with shopping on the left and a kids area on the right.  The layout is simple and circular. Walking in one direction will take a fan all the way around the park and back to where they started. This is a great way to get exercise during the game, but does not offer 360 degree views of the field like Fifth Third Field or other smaller venues.

The shopping inside the park is good, but the main gift shop is right outside the entrance and connected to the Reds Hall of Fame Museum. Inside the park smaller shops are spread through out with plenty of opportunities to pick up a hat or shirt. There is even a shop selling game used items, such as balls and bases.

Food is abundant at Great American. Most of the traditional ballpark fare is sold at concessions stand ringing the park. Some local items, like chili and goetta, are sold at specialty stands. Fancier sit down bars and restaurants are available too. A market near the entrance sells fresh fruit and bottled drinks. Almost any dish a fan might want is available. While the prices are ballpark prices the portions are huge and one dish will fill a person up. The value is the same as most any restaurant but the unique variety and locale make a meal a must.

Great American Ballpark,The National Steamboat Memorial, and BB Riverboats Docks

The overall theme of the stadium seems to be a river dock during the age of steamboats ( and baseball). The venue can be light on the theming in some places, it makes up for it in others.  Between the two scoreboards is a multilevel bar and patio in the shape of a steamboat. The paddle wheel of the boat is the National Steamboat Memorial located across the street. The smoke stacks billow steam for every Reds home run and fill the sky with steam and fireworks after a win. From certain seats working steamboats can even be seen giving passengers rides up and down the river. Fans will have a hard time forgetting that Cincinnati was once queen of the Ohio river and that steamboats made this possible.

With all that is available downtown Great American will be a highlight to an over filled day of fun for any fan, even if the team is having an off year.

Fort Ancient

6123 St. Rt. 350
Oregonia, Ohio 45054

Website: http://www.fortancient.org/

Quick Review: Historical museum with lots of walking trails to explore more history.

Fort Ancient is a museums and grounds representing the Native American cultures which once inhabited the area. It contains a museum and surrounding grounds.

The history of the area is long and complicated. The first people to build a village at the site were the Hopewell people. They were a mound building society, which they inherited from the Adena. Some of the best examples of this are at Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. The Hopewell Culture only lasted till the 500’s. About 500 years later people of the Fort Ancient culture took over the site and used th area until the arrival of Europeans. It is because of the walls and mounds that the first archaeologist to study the area thought that the recent inhabitants had used it as a fort. Only recently has it be understood that the walls and the later village were from separate unrelated cultures.

img_0386The museum offers 9,000 sq ft of exhibit space. There are exhibits on the first Ohioans, how they used the land, their first contact with the Europeans, and the conflict which ensued. There is also a prehistoric garden, showing all the crops that would of been grown during the time There are lots of hands on exhibits.

Fort Ancient is not just a museum but also and great outdoor space. It is the largest outdoor historic site of its kind in the country. There are 2.5 miles of walking trails. These trails allow one to see the historic mounds and also the surrounding countryside.  There are two overlooks that give a great view. The trails are easily accessed from parking lots through out. The park is nice because what is learned at museum can be experienced in the natural setting. The maps and dioramas in the museums show off where everything used to be, so seeing this outside really adds to the overall experience.

Tip: Fort Ancient is worth a visit on its own, but is also part of the Ohio History Connection and is free with Membership