Ohio

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. 

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.

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

When Did Ohio Become a State?

Happy Statehood Day Ohio!

But why is today Statehood Day? Why is it not on February 19? On that day in 1803 Thomas Jefferson signed a resolution approving the constitution and the state’s borders. The General Assembly did not meet until March 1st however and that is why that date is set as Statehood Day. Well, yes, and no. That was the first day the assembly met, and that is why it is is Statehood Day. However it was not set in 1803. It was set in 1953. It took 150 to officially set a date .

Before 1812 and the admittance of Louisiana no formal process was established for states entering the union. The first 13 were granted statehood as soon as the country was established. The next few, Ohio included, entered quite fast after the US constitution was approved. Because the formal process was not needed, and it had been 9 years since Ohio had become a state, nobody thought about it. In 1953 when the state was gearing up for it’s Sesquicentennial the error was noticed. George H Bender introduced a bill before the U.S. Congress to admit Ohio as a state. To make sure that everything was legal, and for the pomp, the Ohio General Assembly meet in its first headquarters in Chillicothe and forged a new petition for statehood. This petition , for even more pomp, was delivered to the U.S. Capitol on horseback as it would have been done in 1803. To finally set everything right, and not have Ohio be thought of as the 50th state, the formal date of Ohio’s statehood was set to March 1st, 1803. On August 7th Eisenhower signed the papers and the whole matter was finally finished.

That is why in 1953 Ohio was given statehood in 1803 and today we celebrate that great and powerful statehood.

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The 4th Hangar of The National Museum of the United States Air Force Museum

1100 Spaatz St,
Dayton, OH 45431

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is large. The NMUSAF is old. The NMUSAF is continually changing and growing trying to keep up with the technology of the Air Force.  On June 8th 2016 the museum added a fourth hangar.

The new hangar houses all of the presidential and research and development aircraft that had once been further on base. To get to them previously one had to sign up to take a guided tour. The tours were hourly and filled up fast. Once in the hangars time was limited before the buses had to return and pick up more visitors. The new hangar solves all these problems and gives the museum room to expand the collection even more.

The first thing one will notice when entering the new hangar is p06-16-16_16-191the Allan and Malcolm Lockheed and Glenn Martin Space Gallery. It is hard to miss the full size Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer. While the museum was denied a real shuttle, the trainer is a nice alternative. All of the shuttles are set back from view in their respective museums. The trainer is front, center, and has great access for visitors to climb up and take a look inside. Along with the trainer are spacecraft from previous generations of space travel.  A Mercury capsule, a once top secret Gemini B capsule, and the Apollo 15th Command Module. Apollo 15 was an all Air Force member mission. Through out the 4th hangar are displays of object that might seem unrelated to the Air Force but the museum makes sure to point out the connection and explain the wide ranging reach of its branch of the armed forces.  The largest area in the Space Gallery is dedicated to spy satellites and reconnaissance recovery vehicles. The Air Force was responsible for launching cameras into space and recovering the film once the pictures were taken. In an adjoining part of the museum are some of the rockets they used. The sheer size of the cameras and film is incredible. The final section  is experiential crafts used to test the edge of space and how to get there. They segue nicely into the Research and Development Gallery.

When flown without tethers, the Avrocar was unstable and could reach top speed of only 35 mph. (U.S. Air Force photo)

When flown without tethers, the Avrocar was unstable and could reach top speed of only 35 mph. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Maj. Gen. Albert Boyd and Maj. Gen. Fred Ascani Research and Development Gallery houses aircraft that never made it into full production. These include wacky and impractical like the famous UFO like Avrocar or helicopters powered by jets on the tips of the blades. The gallery is mostly filled with planes that were test vehicles for technology that would later go on to be come a big part of the Air Forces arsenal. The display of early unmanned aerial vehicles like the The Lockheed D-21 and Boeing YQM-94A Compass Cope B to the more modern Boeing X-45A J-UCAS help to explain the rich history of what was once thought of as sci-fi tech, but is now standard in the drone aircraft in the other hangars.

The R&D gallery leads into the The Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner Global Reach Gallery. It tells the story of how the US Air Force has grown to have a reach into all corners of the world. The gallery house aircraft such as the The C-141 “Hanoi Taxi” Starlifter. It was the first aircraft to return P.O.W.’s from the war in Vietnam.

The final and most famous gallery is The William E. Boeing Presidential Gallery. This gallery house what is arguably the most famous air craft in the entire museum. SAM – 26000 was the aircraft that was used by many presidents. It is plane that was used by John F. Kennedy on his trip to Dallas in 1963. Now known by its tail number, it once had the famous call sign Air Force One. So did almost every other plane in the gallery. Almost all of the major planes used to transport presidents from the Sacred Cow to the smaller The C-20B . Quite a few, including SAM – 26000, can be boarded and walked through.

The newest addition to the National Museum of the United States Air Force is large enough to spend half the day in itself. It is worth a visit even if one has seen the museum quite a few times. Do make sure to allow time for it and all of the rest of the galleries in what is the one greatest museums in Ohio, the nation, and the world.

Woodland Cemetery – Dayton Ohio

118 Woodland Avenue, Dayton, OH 45409-2892

http://www.woodlandcemetery.org
This is a review of a cemetery. As with all cemeteries respect for the past, present, and future is required.

Woodland Cemetery is one of the most historic cemeteries in the state of Ohio.With hillside paths winding through the namesake woods and a large lake in the back Woodland is not just historic but one of the prettiest place in the city too.

Opened in 1842 and with over 170 years of history to it’s name. Woodland Cemetery is one of the most historic places in the city of Dayton. Most of the buildings are on the National Registry of Historic Places. The history also flows on to the grounds with it’s century old tress and large list of famous people laid to rest there.

100_2541Quite a few nationally known people are buried there. Orville and Wilbur Wright, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Erma Bombeck ,  Charles Kettering to name a few. The list of local celebrities buried in the cemetery is even bigger. Former mayors, sports figure, inventors, actors, gypsies, and others are all interned there. Most of the major streets in the Dayton are named after a person in the cemetery. John Patterson has a hillside plot. James Ritty, the man who’s invention made Patterson famous, is just on the other side. Almost every location in the cemetery has a view of one famous person or another.

The natural beauty of the place is another reason it is so famous. More than 3,000 trees grace the cemetery. 9 of them being Ohio Champions. They are big and beautiful through out the entire property. In the fall they give one of the best glimpses of Ohio foliage in the city. The large hills provide excellent views of surrounding area. Woodland Cemetery houses the highest point in the city of Dayton. The hill has been turned into Lookout Terrace. The terrace is a great place to get a view of the city or of the grounds. As with most of the cemetery grounds the walk is quite strenuous with roads going up and down in both directions. There is a road that leads to the top of the hill for cars to drive, but parking can be a problem.

Tours are offered quite often. There are a lot of tour options available. Tours of the nature of the cemetery, Tours of the famous people, Tours of the Historic landmarks, and many more are offered. Some are self guided, with plenty of brochures and maps available.  Some are guided by a tour guide. The guided tours often fill up fast, especially in the fall.

If in the Dayton Area and looking for a good walk through the history of not just Dayton but the world, visit Woodland cemetery. This should be on everybody’s Dayton must do list.

 

Happy Centennial National Parks

Today marks the 100th birthday of our National Parks Service. The parks service started in 1916. The first park was established in Ohio in 1923.  From that day forward the parks have been one of the great attractions in the state. The parks have something for everyone.

A Brief Timeline of National Parks Service in Ohio

1923 –Hopewell Culture: Started as part of the Mound City Group National Monument. It is fitting that this was the first park because it is dedicated to the history of Ohio’s earliest inhabitants

1966 – Perry’s Victory & International Peace MemorialA monument to the Commander of the Battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812. Also memorializes the war as the last conflict between the United States, Britain, and Canada.

1969 – William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The boyhood home, and later family home, of the 27th president of the United States.

1980 – David Berger National MonumentA monument to one of athletes killed at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
North Country Scenic Trail: Established as one of the longest of the 11 scenic trails. In Ohio it connects to the Buckeye Trail and runs through Hocking Hills, one of Ohio’s most hiked areas.
James A Garfield National Historical Site: The Home of 20th President James A Garfield. Considered the first Presidential Library in America.

1992 – Dayton Aviation HeritageCelebrates the history of flight and the two Dayton Brothers who solved the problems of getting man in the air. Is spread out in 5 different locations through out Dayton.

1999 – Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis: The site of the battle of Fallen Timbers, the final battle in the Northwest Indian War, and the site of Fort Miamis, a British fort built to stop Gen. Wayne, which he eventually held.

2000 – Cuyahoga Valley: Originally created as a recreational area in 1974, Cuyahoga became a National park in 2000. This park celebrates the history of the people, canals, and nature of the northwestern Ohio valley.
First Ladies National Historical Site: Built in the home of Ida McKinley, this site is dedicated to the history of the wives of the Presidents of The United States.

2004 – National Heritage AreaIncorporated just after the Centennial of Flight this large area of western Ohio houses the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, and Woodlawn Cemetery (with the graves of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and The Wright Brothers)

2013 – Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers: So new that it is not even finished opening yet. The Monument is dedicated to one of the most famous Buffalo Soldiers and first African-American national park Superintendent.

Belgrade Gardens

401 E State St, Barberton, OH 44203

Link: http://www.belgradegardenschicken.com

Rating: ****

In order to understand Belgrade Gardens Restaurant you will need to know about Barberton chicken. Barberton chicken is a kind of chicken the originated in Barberton and is Serbain-American style. Here is what the chicken looks like.

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The breading and chicken only seasoned with salt and pepper and are fried in lard. Maybe there was no salt and pepper, we are getting a few conflicting internet recipes, but it was for sure not heavily seasoned with lots of spices. The chicken is available in many different cuts.

Belgrade Gardens has been around since the 1930s in an old farmhouse. The place has been expanded and if you walk around you can see that the restaurant is huge and can seat hundreds of people. It has won many awards and has been featured in magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. They even won a Food Network TV show. The place is comfortable and the menu is more than just chicken with many daily specials. When we went we had great service and the great food.

The chicken is well know, but the sides are also great. They have a dish called hot sauce. We were expecting some sauce in a bottle, but were surprised when this dish came out. IMG_0312

Their hot sauce has rice, tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers in it. It was very tasty and just the right amount of heat. The peppers might of been removed before the dish was served, we did not bite into a really hot part.

We ordered the regular which came with chicken, fries, hot sauce, and cole slaw. Each item was well done and very tasty. We also ordered there root beer, which was a nice treat.

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In the area, or not, this is really worth the drive. The chicken is crisp, but not too crisp and very fresh. The breading has a nice chew to it and is not over hard. The chicken was very juicy and not dried out. This is a restaurant that really knows what they are doing and sticks to recipes and dishes they make well. This restaurant has a local feeling.

If you want to experience good food and a great time this is your restaurant. Worth the trip no matter how far.

Note: The restaurant’s website has a great about section. Yes, we saved that for last so you would not jump over too soon.

Breakfast Places

Breakfast PlacesHere are a few places that we have been to for breakfast. A good breakfast place needs to have good coffee, reasonable prices, good food, and be a place that is either close or worth the drive. The food can be simple or complex, it does not matter. One can tell if a restaurant is good if locals go there and conversations are going on. You also need a wait staff that is friendly and attentive. Make sure to look at times as many of these places are not all day.

Breakfast Club Cafe

http://breakfastclubcafe.com/

102 N Broadway St

Lebanon, OH 45036

Rating *****

This is a great local place with a good menu. This business also has a restaurant in Dayton. The food is homemade and you can tell that love and care goes into the food. There are many of your typical breakfast type foods there. You can get pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, omelets, sandwiches, burgers, soup, salad. They have great waffles, with many different kinds available. They also roasts their own coffee. The coffee is great and can be sipped in many different varieties. The service was great when we went, we were attended on but not over bothered. This is the type of place you could go to every week, and it seemed people did.

Buckeye Donuts

http://alwaysopen.buckeye-donuts.com/

1998 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201

Rating*****
Buckeye Donuts is in Columbus near the university. It is open 24 hours a day, so anytime you get a craving for donut, you can get one. They have a menu that includes more than just donuts. You can get good coffee or a sandwich. They have your standard donuts and some a little fancier, what they do not have is those over priced hipster donuts in the fad places. Just expect good quality donuts, not hype. Good hand cut donuts. The place is smallish and even Saturday afternoon in the summer is filled with people. It might be a wait during the school year. What is nice about the place is you can hang out or it is set up for a quick pick up of donuts. They also do catering, so you could fill your office with their great donuts. If you in Columbus make sure to stop by this place.
 Koffee Kup
428 S. First St.
Miamisburg, OH 45342
This is a restaurant we have passed many times and thought nothing about it. We then decided. The food is your typical breakfast and lunch fair. The service was friendly and the food was hot and fast. We enjoyed the food and like the reasonable prices. The place is not huge, but just the right size. The food is good and this would be a great place to go before going out the local bike trails.

Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice: An update on Cincinnati Museum Center and Union Terminal

In 2014 the citizens of Hamilton County voted to increase the sales tax of their county to pay for a restoration of the historic Union Terminal. Due to the the work that needs to be done on the building Cincinnati Museum Center’s two history museums will be closed during the process. The Duke Energy Children’s Museum and Special Exhibits should remain open during construction.

The construction is expected to take up to two years and be completed around Nov of 2018.

For more information visit the website of Cincinnati Museum Center

Here are a few pictures of what the museum looked like before the renovation.