Local Landscape

What makes Here… Here

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.

 

Dayton’s Black Box Theaters

Dayton has had an active arts scene since the end of the Civil war, probably since the first human stepped foot in the area. While the bigger Schuster, Victoria, or Loft get all the praise, the city has many, many little theaters too. The smaller theaters are sometimes just black rooms with an area for the audience to sit and an area for the performers to perform.  These little spaces are known as Black Box Theaters.

Bassani Theater off Third
http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org/locations/main

This theater is housed inside the Dayton Metro Library’s Main branch. It was Built during the Major renovation (stay tuned for more on that) of the Main Branch. Almost not a theater, it is a large room with lights, space, and great views of the city. This one is more a multi use room than a dedicated theater. When they do have show they are mostly free, being a library and all.

The Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center
https://www.humanracetheatre.org/about/philips-center

This 54 person seat is run by the Human Race Theater Company. They mostly make it available to be rented. It is a good place to stage a one person show or other experiential work. While small it is large enough and has a lighting rigs and a good sound system. Shows are intimate but if designed for the space can be amazing.

PNC Arts Annex
https://victoriatheatre.com/venues/arts-annex/

The 200-seat theatre and Studio space is the newest arts venue in town. It is located across the street from the Schuster and the Arts Parking Garage. The space was built to take advantage of the unused property in the heart of Dayton’s “Theater District.” This space is used for more experimental productions, smaller local companies, and other events and productions. The space is more intimate than the Broadway style theater whose shadow it lives in, but has more equipment than the other Black Box theaters of the region.

Mathile Theatre
https://victoriatheatre.com/venues/schuster-center/

A “56’ x 36’, 150-seat black box” in the heart of the Schuster Preforming Arts Center. The space is used as a rehearsal space mostly. It is then rented out of private events, like wedding receptions and the like. Due to the location, and the forethought of the Victoria Theater Association,  it can actually be used along side the large Mead theater. Like the Bassani Theater off Third, it is mostly just a multi use room. However this one is backed by one of the best theater groups in the state.

 

 

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.

 

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.