Milan, Ohio – May 2018 – Unexpected Architecture at the Library

For decades I have heard that Thomas Edison was born in Ohio. Finally since we were in the area we decided to visit.

 

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While they did have a small display of some of Edison’s inventions, overall the home is exactly that – a small home from the 1800s with period pieces. Nice – but not our speed.

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As we were leaving town we noticed the really cool library – so we stopped to take some photos. Outside were a number of people playing Pokemon and as we were checking out the building one of the group walked over to speak to us.

It turns out we had the good fortune to meet the Director of the Library – James. He is rightfully proud of his library, and was more than welcoming in showing us around.

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The library was built from a Carnegie Fund in 1912. The detail they gave this library in this small Ohio town is stunning.

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Later additions have stayed true to the original architectural styles.

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It is virtually impossible to tell the difference between old and new.

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Inside is interesting as well.

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Artwork is display on the bookshelves …

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… and walls – a tribute to Edison.

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In my opinion the entire building has a Frank Lloyd Wright feel to it. If you find yourself in Milan, Ohio the best building in town is not Edison’s birthplace – it is the local library – ask for James 🙂  (thanks James!)

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Bellevue, Ohio – May 2018 – Mad River and Nickel Plate Railway Museum

While I am a fan of all types of transportation, I am not a train fanatic like some. Still, even though we had recently been to a major train museum in Pennsylvania this Saturday brought up another opportunity to check out one closer to home – The Mad River and Nickel Plate Railway Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

The drive up to Bellevue paralleled a major rail line, and a stop in the town of Bucyrus to check out their historic station was interrupted as we waited out a 150 car freight trian.

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Eventually we made it to Bellevue and the Mad River – Nickel Plate Railway Museum. The name requires some explanation – Mad River is flows for 70 miles across Ohio. It gained it’s name from the ‘mad rapids’ that occur along much of the river.

The New York, Chicago and St Louis Railway was founded in the 1880s, but was based in Cleveland. It was given the nickname Nickel Plate from a local newspaper who thought it’s financial prospects were ‘nickel plated’ – or very good.

 

 

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The museum has an indoor area with a number of small artifacts including dinnerware and waiter uniforms.

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One of their prized possessions is the bell from the Lincoln Funeral Train.

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In addition to the rail rolling stock they have a couple of nicely restored trucks.

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What sets this rail museum apart from the others is nearly all of the cars are open for inspection, including numerous cabooses.

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Outdoors are many more rail cars – including numerous box cars that house even more artifacts. Below is a telegraph desk.

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They also have a nice collection of tools – note the ‘track level’

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Many of the cars are connected together to pass between them. All have been restored to original vibrant colors.

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A small station was brought from a nearby town.

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It too is restored to original condition.

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The cars are fairly packed into their yard – but as the rain came this was welcome.

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A manual brake on a car.

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They also have a beautiful postal car.

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As well as some switching lights.

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A diesel locamotive.

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The venting on the side gave it an aerodynamic feel.

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Literally across the tracks was an area with a few more restored cars, as well as a couple un-restored ones next to some cool giant, empty concrete silos.

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But alas we have reached the end of the road. This rail museum is well worth the visit, with their great collections in the rolling stock that allow you to actually go in and check them out.

Given that Bellevue is on multiple active rail lines the constant train whistles in the background made it even better. It was all very cool.

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Bellevue, Ohio – May 2018 – Seneca Caverns

A full Saturday had us heading across the north central Ohio flatlands …

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To – A Cavern! We have been in a number of caves and caverns before but the pancake flat Ohio countryside seems like an unlikely location for one. Aided by Google maps and about 50 road signs we arrived just as they opened for the morning.

The small tourist attraction is a family owned business, and it was quickly apparent they appreciate the people who showed up to tour their cavern. All who worked there were friendly and helpful.

Finally our time arrived and our tour guide Sam(antha) lead us down the stairs in the small gift shop to the start of the cave. I had previously read on Tripadvisor that unlike many of the larger ‘show caves’ this one meant actually getting a little dirty as you navigate the natural stairs – and they were right.

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But we successfully made it down to level 2 where Sam explained the geology – it is a ‘Crack in the Earth’ cave – cause basically by a sinkhole, not water erosion.

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The cave was discovered by two boys playing (aren’t they all) in the late 1800s, and up until the 1930s it was a fairly ambitious effort to go into the cave. Many who did left marks that they were there, including Mr Moyer who used his skill as a tombstone carver to leave a nice etching of his name in the late 1800s.

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We continued further down, past a few fossil and very small stalactites to level 3.

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The bottom of the cave has an aquifer known as the Old Mis’try River. The water levels will vary greatly depending on rain and we have had enough rain recently the water levels were fairly high. Look closely at the railing continuing down and you will see where the water level has filled the stairway to the next level (the water is the greenish tint).

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Having gone as far as we could we started back up. Squeezing up some of the ‘stairways’ to the top. Sam was a great tour guide, informative without being boring, energetic and fun – making the hour long tour go by very fast. While not spelunking – it was adventurous enough for me.

If you would like a bit of caving Seneca Caverns in the Ohio flatlands is recommended.

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Dayton, OH – May 2018 – Origami Art

The Dayton Art Museum featured for the last few months a display of origami.

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There was a variety of models, some more impressive than the others.

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The approaches seemed a bit random.

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Although the more traditional patterns were most impressive.

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Some were small enough to be displayed in a case.

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One was completed using paper with print on it.

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Another pattern based.

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The finale was a room sized piece made up of corrugated cardboard.

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Harrisburg, PA – May 2018 – Pennsylvania State Capital

In our travels we have seen half of the state capitals in America without really trying. Amazingly we had not seen the Pennsylvania state capital, despite having lived in that state for many years. Since we were in the area we stopped by.

We were immediately blown away by how ornate the interior is.

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The walls and ceilings have decoration throughout, with stained glass and other impressive features.

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The rotunda has medallions and lunettes.

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The chambers are equally ornate.

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The rotunda has an amazing ceiling. Who knew Pennsylvania had such an amazing capital.

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Hershey, PA – May 2018 – Antique Automobile Club of America

The Antique Automobile Club of America built a nice transportation museum near Hershey, Pennsylvania. More commonly known as the ACCA Museum, it houses a number of automobiles, trucks, buses and motorcycles.

Currently the very cool Hershey Kissmobile is displayed at the front entrance.

 

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The building has 3 levels, with a nice lobby featuring a beautiful ragtop.

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Many of the cars are located within themes.

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The museum has a nice mix of automobiles and trucks – all restored to original condition.

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A full Atlantic Gas Station is displayed, complete with the Service Truck.

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The lower level features the Bus Museum.

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Their current primary exhibit is on Tuckers.

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Three fully restored Tucker’s are shown.

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Strasburg, PA – May 2018 – Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania near the small town of Strasburg. With over 100 locomotives and cars it is one of the larger rail museums in America. A trip to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is highly recommended for any rail or transportation fans.

 

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The Rolling Stock Hall, designed like a large train shed is immaculately clean. From above the equipment almost look like model railroad cars.

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The collection covers from the late 1800s until the 1950s.

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The museum was built by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and continues today with support from a non profit group.

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All of the equipment housed indoors has been restored to near original condition.

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In addition to the rolling stock there are numerous other pieces, including benches from rail stations.

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While much of the equipment came from the famed Pennsylvania Railroad, other railroads are represented as well.

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But by far the largest collection is from the PRR.

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Some of the cars are open for inspecting, such as this ‘training car’.

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Another highlight is a full locomotive positioned over a maintenance pit that allows inspection underneath.

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The museum has a replica of the John Bull, a locomotive built in 1831. The original is at the Smithsonian.

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Nearby is the Red Caboose Motel – where you can spend the night in a caboose.

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