History

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.

 

Mound Cold War Discovery Center

1075 Mound Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342

https://www.daytonhistory.org/visit/dayton-history-sites/mound-cold-war-discovery-center/

Dayton Ohio and the surrounding area has a long history with inventions, technology, and war. The National Museum of the United States Air Force tells the story of the war. Dayton History at Carillon Park tells the story of the technology. Now Dayton History has helped to preserve the history of a major component of technology in war. The Mound Cold war Discovery Center tells the story of the part Dayton played in creating some of the most destructive weapons ever used.

On August 6, 1945 the United States, while at war with Japan, dropped the most destructive weapon ever used. The Atomic Bomb was again used on August 9th. These two bombs ended the war and changed the world forever. The bombs were so powerful that they were developed under the most secret project of the early 20th century. The Manhattan Project, while most known for being at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, had sites across the country. One such site was in Dayton, Ohio.

The Mound Cold War Discovery Center tells the story of what Dayton did for the Project, why they it continued its work, and what finally happed to it in the end. From being the first post war site built by the Atomic Energy Commission to the beginning of the 21st century, the role the site played was both militaristic and peaceful. The Museum is one large room with displays along the walls that tell the story of the Mound. Using videos, pictures and artifacts the museum unfolds the work from the early days of the Dayton Project to the cleanup and closure. Many of the displays are just text and pictures, or artifacts and text. Some however are larger interactive items, such as a working Geiger counter and a glove box. Upstairs is the archives with information on almost every worker at the mounds, and photos of the workers experience.

Overall the story gets across without bogging down too much in the details. With the price of admission being free, it is well worth the price. Adding in a trip to the Miamisburg Mound across the street, also free,  and a stop downtown for lunch, one can easily fill a morning.

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Poet and Park

With this being National Poetry Month and National Parks Week, We thought we would honor both by honoring Ohio’s own Paul Laurence Dunbar. His house is free to visit, and part of the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park. Here is his most famous poem.

Sympathy
Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

Cleveland History Center (former Western Reserve Historical Society History Center)

Now the Cleveland History Center

10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106

http://www.wrhs.org/plan-your-visit/history-center/

The Western Reserve Historical Society is more than just a museum. For this article we are only reviewing the museum. The museum contains many parts. Some of them are temporary exhibits and some are permanent areas.

The museum is one of the hidden gems of the Cleveland Area. It is a very good way to learn about the history of the Cleveland area. The museum has something for all tastes. Kids will love the kid’s area and adults might like the classic cars.

The upstairs area of the museum houses lots of aviation memorabilia and other interesting artifacts. The downstairs houses Crawford Aviation Collection. This collection has cars that range from old to newer. There are race cars, porotype cars, and your typical classic car. This was an area that one can walk around in for a while. Even a non-car person would find something to love.

The museum does give tours of the Hanna & Mckinney House, which is housed inside the museum. There are tours daily to see the house. Tours are included in admission. The house is set up with rooms that represent different historical periods. Having the tour lead by a tour guide is a good idea because you learn so much more about the house than if you went on your own. The house is a great place to see how people once lived, especially how the well to do lived. Make sure to sign up in the gift shop for a house tour as early as possible. The tours are limited and can fill up fast.

This museum is bigger than it lets on from the outside. You snake down one exhibit hall to another, with more to see. The Browns area is great, probably better if you are a true browns fan, but it is nice to see the history. The invention exhibit area was another great exhibit. It was nice to see some local inventions. It is hard to talk about museum exhibits in a review, as they might change, but these two exhibits were fun to see. If they are any indication of what they museum can do then other exhibits will be amazing.

There is also a grand carousel to ride. This carousel comes straight out of 1910. The ride was once a major attraction at Euclid Beach Park. After 45 years in storage, the horses have come back to life.  We cannot do the carousel justice in our description, so after your done reading this review hop on over to the carousel’s website page. http://www.wrhs.org/explore/exhibits/euclid-beach-park-grand-carousel/

If you’re coming to Cleveland put the Western Reserve Historical Society History Center on your itinerary, you will find something new to learn.

Call beforehand and time your visit to go along with when a house tour is happening. This way you can see the museum after or before your tour and not have to wait around. This museum does cost along with a separate parking fee. Two carousel rides are included with admission.