national park

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.

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. 

Summer Time in Ohio

As the weather warms we prepare for the changing of the season. Like the rain watering the flowers the warmer weather makes Ohio’s outdoor options grow. Ohio does not disappoint in the summer.

We have big plans for this Summer. We are excited to visit some more sports teams, see the new stuff at The Ohio History Center, goto a Drive in, and see a bunch of different roadside attractions along the way. So stay tuned over the next few months for a flurry of posts and reviews about the great state of Ohio.

Want to see the state, plan a trip with the help of Ohio’s tourism board or other helpful sites. Or just use our suggestions (click for more info):

Goto an Amusement Park:
Kings Island
Cedar Point
Coney Island
Zoombezi Bay

See a Show:
Drive-ins
Fraze Pavilion
Blossom Center for the Performing Arts
Riverbend Music Center
Express Live – Columbus
Toledo Zoo Ampitherater

See a game:
Dayton Dragons (the hardest seats to get in pro sports)
Cleveland Indians
Columbus Crew
Columbus Clippers
Cincinnati Reds
Toledo MudHens
Akron Rubber Ducks
Lake County Captains

Goto a Zoo:
Columbus Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Toledo Zoo

Go to a park:
Ohio State Parks
National Parks in Ohio

Goto a Festival:
Ohio Festivals – a crazy good list of them.

Goto a Museum:
Cleveland History Center (formerly Wester Reserve Historical)
COSI
Cincinnati Museum Center
Toledo Museum of Art 
Dayton Art Institute

Go for a Drive:
Ohio Roadtrips

While we hope this gave you some great ideas for the summer, this is just a small portion of things to do in Ohio.

 

 

 

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!

Ohio’s Great 8: A large collection of presidential sites in Ohio

Ohio has given this mother of presigreat nation 8 of its 44 presidents. Because Ohio is “The Mother of Presidents” it has gained a large collection of presidential items and locations. From small knick knacks to house, planes, and even battlefields her is our list of places to see a bit of presidential history.

Presidential Memorabilia:
The National Museum of the United States Air Force – Planes from every president to fly
Golden Lamb – Historic Inn and restaurant that has been visited by every Ohio president and many more.
First Ladies National Historical Site – The home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley which celebrates the wives of all presidents
Ohio Statehouse – Houses artifacts from presidential visits
Ohio Historical Center – Houses many artifacts ( not many on display) from Ohio’s historical presidential campaigns
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Tells the story of slavery and the struggle to end it. Talks about Lincoln, and many other presidents, struggle with the dreaded institution of slavery.
Cleveland History Center – Talks about the history of northwest Ohio and the area that made James Garfield. Right next door to Garfield Tomb.

William Henry Harrison:
Fallen Timber Battlefield
Fort Miegs
Adena Mansion and Garden – Visited many times as a Governor and General.
Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama – A loud Outdoor Drama telling the life and troubles of the great Tecumseh and his interaction with Harrison.
Tomb of William Henry Harrison

Ulysses S. Grant
Land of Grant – Birthplace, Boyhood home, and Schoolhouse

Rutherford B Hayes
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center – Also house the Tomb of the late President

James A. Garfield
James Garfield Birthplace
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
James A Garfield Tomb

Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison Birthplace – A small plaque .3 miles from his grandfathers tomb denotes the site of his birth

William McKinley
The William McKinley Birthplace Museum 
William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum – Also house the Tomb of the late President

William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft National Historical Site

Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding Home
Warren G. Harding Tomb

 

Ohio’s Great 8: William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft was the 7th person from Ohio to become president. He became the 27th President of the United States of America. The first Ohioan to become president after the Civil War to not have served. Born September 15, 1857 near Cincinnati. His birthplace is a National Park not far from the resting place of William Henry Harrison and the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison.

He spent a pretty uneventful youth in Cincinnati. He went to Woodward High School. He graduated 2nd in his class from Yale University.  Finally, he gained a law degree from Cincinnati Law School.

After the Spanish American War Taft was named the first civilian Governor of the Philippines. After serving 1 term he was named Secretary of War, a position once held by his father under President Grant. While Secretary America was given construction rights to the Panama Canal.

In the 1908 election William Howard Taft ran against William J. Bryan, who had previously lost twice to Ohioan William McKinley. Taft beat Bryan hands down in what was one of the most uneventful campaigns of any Ohioan.

During his Presidency many things were accomplished. Taft, a Republican, was a progressive and fought cooperations his whole presidency. Taft created the United States Chamber of Commerce.  In 1909 he implemented cooperate income tax and prepossessed what would become the 16th amendment, allowing the government to tax income.
Taft would run again in 1912, against not only the Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, but also former President Roosevelt. William Howard Taft was not a great campaigner and lost to both of his competitors. This lose was not the end of his political career. On  June 30th, 1921 Ohioan and President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft to Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Many important rulings were handed down under his tenure. Carroll v United States, which made searches of vehicles without a warrant legal,  still resonates today.

In the end his many health problems would catch up to him. He died of cardiovascular disease on March 8, 1930. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was the first president and the first Chief Justice to be buried in the cemetery.

Taft’s headstone

P.s. Taft was a huge fan of Baseball. He was the first president to throw out a ceremonial pitch. To commemorate this the Nationals have made him a mascot. Follow him on twitter @NatsBigChief27.

Did he get stuck in a bathtub? The myth is that he did, but the truth is that he probably did not. The rumor started after a comment in a book by the former White House usher.

Blossom Center for the Performing Arts and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Rating:   Blossom **** 
            Cuyahoga ****

Link:

Blossom – http://www.livenation.com/venue/blossom-music-center-tickets

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – http://www.nps.gov/CUVA/index.htm

Blossom Center for the Performing Arts is located in Cuyahoga Falls outside of Cleveland. Blossom is an outdoor amphitheatres that hosts concerts and is the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Blossom pavilion section seats 5,700 people, with space for about 13,500 more on the lawn.  Blossom is a great place to see the orchestra and a more upscale productions, but has does not always receive favorable reviews for rock concerts. The are many options to what to see at the blossom, so one should go to the Blossom first before deciding the place is a waste of time. The best seats are under the pavilion (no worries about rain), but expect to pay more than a lawn seat.

The Blossom Music Center for the Performing Arts is located inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Cuyahoga is the only national park in the state of Ohio. This park was first established as a national recreation area in 1974 by president Ford and designated a national park on October 11, 2000. The park was established really because many people in the are wanted to prevent urban sprawl from taking over the park.

There are many things to do inside the park. Some of them include backpacking, bicycling, bird watching, camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, golfing, picnicking, horseback riding, train riding, and doing winter sports.  There are also Ranger led events all year long. Now this is something for everyone.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates 12 months a year and offers transportation in the park. This is a great way to not have to drive in parts of the park. One wanting to ride the railroad should first visit http://www.cvsr.com/. This will give one a good idea of prices and where to board the train. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates outside of the park also, so definitely visit their site to figure out which city to board in so you are on the right train trip that goes through the park.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a national park is hiking and Cuyahoga does not let down. Cuyahoga has over 125 miles of hiking trails. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, are nearly level and are accessible to all visitors. A portion of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail also passes through the park. There is a trail for everyone at the park. One trail of mention is the the Towpath Trail. The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.  You can walk or bike on what used to have mule pulled canal boats on it.

The park offers campsites and even offers a small bed and breakfast. The park is also located between Cleveland and Akron Ohio, so those two cities also have hotels and so do many of the cities in between. So lodging in or around the park is not a problem.

One can spend the day hiking then seeing a concert at Blossom Music Center. The Blossom Center for the Performing Arts and Cuyahoga Valley National Park are two great places in Northeast Ohio not to be missed.

 
 
 

Carillon Historical Park

1000 Carillon Blvd,
Dayton, OH 45409
http://www.daytonhistory.org/

Quick Review: Dayton is a very diverse place; well it invented modern transportation at least.

A carillon is a bell tower (I should have used a picture of the bell tower but…) Dayton’s Carillon is a historical park.

Set up as a small village, like most other open air museums, Carillon seems grounded but still enthralling. Although each of the buildings may come from different eras of Dayton’s unique history the layout is well designed and none seems out of place. From the entrance, with its one room school house and log tavern, to the back transportation building, every building seems to transport visitors from time period to time period.

If necessity is the mother of invention then Dayton must be its birthing room. The park seems to dwell less on the day to day life of old Dayton and more on the major inventions made here. The biggest sector of this early inventing boom is transportation. Did you know Dayton invented the modern car? Well…. the electric starter at least (Sorry hand crank manufactures.) Did you know that somebody from Dayton invented the airplane? Yes the park actually has a portion of the National Park in it. This section houses a mock-up of the Brothers original workshop and the ORIGINAL 1905 Wright Flyer III. This is the plane that took flying from an idea to a reality.

The park also has a interesting Transportation building dedicated to the ways Daytonians moved throughout the years. Mostly just street cars and buses, it is nice to see the evolution of mass transit from a trolley to the modern bus. Also on site is a working small scale train that kids can ride on.

Overall the park is a nice way to see what Dayton was like in the past and to marvel at all that it has accomplished.