Columbus – July 2020 – Sports Venues Past and Present

Today we take a look at the extensive history of sports venues in Columbus. While many are associated with Ohio State University, the city has a long history of professional sports.

 

Baseball

For more than 150 years they have played professional baseball in Columbus – all at the minor league level.

The first true stadium in the city was one of the first in the country to be constructed of concrete and steel. Previously many were built of wood, and often burnt down.

The stadium was called Neil Park.  It was located on Cleveland Avenue just north of downtown.

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This stadium was the home to professional baseball until the 1930s. Today there is no sign of any history of the venue, now being a facility for Abbott Labs

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The next stadium was built on the near west side of the city, along Mound Street. It was originally named Redbirds Stadium, as the team was a farm team for the St Louis Cardinals, and were called the Columbus Redbirds.

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The stadium served the city until 2008, although it changed names a few times, usually when the team changed names. From 1955 until 1970 they were the Columbus Jets

 

 

Finally it was named after a county commissioner who was able to secure a team in the 1970s after a 6 year absence, Harold Cooper.

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Today it sits vacant, partially torn down. It has been the subject of numerous schemes for redevelopment over the years, but nothing has come of it.

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The current stadium is called Huntington Park (the naming rights were sold to a local bank). It is located much closer to downtown, in the middle of a large area of gentrification.

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Professional Football

The National Football League generates the most revenue of any sports league in the world, with it’s 32 teams scattered across the United States. But the NFL did not start out that way – they started in an assortment of cities and towns scattered around the Great Lakes, including Columbus.

For 12 years their headquarters was in  the historic New Hayden Building.

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The Columbus team was comprised mostly of railroad workers who worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Panhandle Division. So named because it traversed the Northern West Virginia panhandle, the railroad had a large yard on the south side of the city.

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While most of the teams in the league were made up of former college players, the Panhandles were tough railroad workers who quickly became known for their physical play. Their logo was reflective of the Pennsylvania Railroad Logo

 

Because they worked for the railroad, and had free travel on the trains, they played most of their games in other cities. Their home field in Columbus was at Indianola Park, an amusement park located just north of the city.

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Today the former Amusement Park and NFL home is a strip mall and church.

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College Football

What Columbus lacks in professional football it makes up in college football. Ohio State  football. The budget for athletics at Ohio State is over $200m a year, with the football program generating much of that revenue. But it wasn’t always that way.

The first team was fielded in 1890, with 22 players making the trip to the nearby town of Delaware, Ohio for a game again Ohio Wesleyan College.

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Later that year they had their first home game. It occurred a few miles away from campus at a field in German Village – now home to a grocery store.

 

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Football quickly became popular and the university built their own stadium – Ohio Field. This field was located on North High Street – near 17th Avenue.

Most people sat around the field until 1907 when the first stands were built. As college football continued to be very popular and by the time the stadium was abandoned in 1921 it has seating for 14,000.

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Today a parking garage and campus buildings occupy the site.

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With much debate and fanfare the university opened Ohio Stadium in 1922, with an astounding 62,000 seats. Many thought they would never fill it, but by the last game of the year again Michigan they did.

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Today it seats over 105,000.

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Ohio State football is such a big deal they have this airplane hangar sized indoor practice facility, complete with a statue of legendary coach Woody Hayes out front.

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Arenas

Columbus is home to a number of arenas that have served the city and university over the years.

The State Fairgrounds Coliseum (aka – Taft Coliseum) was built in 1918 with 5000 permanent seats. It has hosted everything from Ohio State basketball to minor league hockey games to horse shows, and one of the venues for ‘The Arnold’.

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St Johns Arena

The Fairgrounds Coliseum served as the home to Ohio State basketball until the 1950s when St Johns Arena was completed on campus.

It was opened in 1956, named for a former basketball coach and athletic director. The 13,276 seats are very cool old school wood.

Once Scottenstein Center was completed, the arena has been relegated to secondary sports like gymnastics and volleyball.

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Nationwide Arena

The only major league team in town, the Columbus Blue Jackets, play their home games at Nationwide Arena. Completed in 2000 for the expansion Blue Jackets it is typical of the arena’s built in the last 25 years – with a large number of luxury suites, and quirky designs including an ear piercing cannon that they shoot off when they score.

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Schottenstein Center – Value City Arena

This 20,000 seat arena opened just a couple of years before Nationwide Arena, so the city has 2 very large indoor venues.

When they were planning both arenas the city wanted the site to be downtown, whereas the university wanted it on campus – 3 miles north. When the university didn’t get what they wanted they ‘took their ball and went home’.

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Soccer

Mapfre Stadium

When the MLS started in the 1990s all of the teams played in stadiums built for American football. The Columbus Crew was no different, playing in the 105,000 seat Ohio Stadium.

In 1999 they became the first MLS team to build a soccer specific stadium. This 20,000 seat stadium sits on part of the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Ironically they sometimes played high school football here as well.

In 2015 they sold the naming rights to an insurance company, hence ‘Mapfre Stadium’.

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After shaking down the city and state with a threat to move to Austin, Texas the Crew has received 1/2 of the $200m required to build a new stadium downtown.

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The artist renderings show what a difference it will be.

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Jesse Owens Stadium

Our last venue is on the Ohio State campus, Jesse Owens Stadium. This facility is home to track and field, as well as soccer.

In front is a statue and Ohio Historical Marker detailing the amazing feats of Jesse in the 1936 Olympics.

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Columbus – July 2020 – Birds and Buds of the Backyard

Continuing to stay close to home doesn’t mean you can’t find subjects for photography. Sitting on the patio on a Saturday morning checking out the birds and buds of the backyard.

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It has been 4 months since returning from Argentina. With ‘nothing else to do’ I, like many people around the world, have taken to gardening – a new skill for me.

Everything has been grown from seeds. All of these buds are from the same ‘family’.

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The first couple sunflowers have fully bloomed – guessing many more are soon to appear.

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As a new gardener I made the mistake of planting seeds in the small planter on the right and throwing away the packaging – the mystery plant has yet to be identified via the apps on the phone. I could be carefully cultivating weeds for all I know.

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Across America – A More Detailed Look at the National Park Tour of 2015

While we continue to stay very close to home, I have had a chance to go back and look at some of the older postings. I realized that one of the best road trips we have ever taken was the 2015 ‘National Parks’ road trip. When looking I realized it featured very few photos, so that has been corrected.

The links below will take you to each day of the trip, only with many more photos showing the beauty of the parks, as well as the other cool and quirky sites of the country.

Day 1 – Trip through Lower Michigan  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/11/national-parks-road-trip-day-1-lower-michigan/

 

 

Day 2 – Pictured Rocks National Seashore  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/11/national-parks-road-trip-day-2-pictured-rocks-national-lakeshore/

 

 

Day 3 – Across the UP and Northern Wisconsin  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/11/national-parks-road-trip-day-3-abandonded-air-force-base-marquette-mi-and-duluth-mn/

 

 

Day 4 – Fargo and Beyond

https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/11/national-parks-road-trip-day-4-northern-minnesota-and-fargo/

 

 

Day 5 – Theodore Roosevelt National Park  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/11/national-parks-road-trip-day-5-theodore-roosevelt-national-park/

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Day 6 – Makoshika State Park & Pompey’s Pillar National Monument    https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/12/national-parks-road-trip-day-6-makoshika-state-park-pompeys-pillar-and-billing-montana/

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Day 7 – Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area & Legend Rocks Petroglyphs  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/12/national-parks-road-trip-day-7-bighorn-canyon-legend-rock-petroglyphs-and-thermopolis/

 

 

Day 8 – Yellowstone National Park    https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/12/national-parks-road-trip-day-8-yellowstone/

 

 

Day 9 – Yellowstone National Park  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/12/national-parks-road-trip-day-9-yellowstone/

 

 

Day 10 – Yellowstone to Jackson Hole  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/12/national-parks-road-trip-day-10-yellowstone-to-jackson-hole/

 

 

Day 11 – Golden Spike National Historic Site & Salt Lake City  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/12/national-parks-road-trip-day-11-golden-spike-national-historic-site-salt-lake-city/

 

 

Day 12 – Zion National Park  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/13/national-parks-road-trip-day-12-zion-national-park/

 

 

Day 13 – Bryce Canyon National Park & Capital Reef National Park  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/13/national-parks-road-trip-day-14-bryce-national-park-capital-reef/

 

 

Day 14 – Arches National Park & Canyonlands National Park  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/13/national-parks-road-trip-day-14-arches-and-canyonlands/

 

 

Day 15 – Natural Bridges National Monument & Hovenweep National Monument  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/13/national-parks-road-trip-day-15-natural-bridges-moki-dugway-monument-hovenweep-four-corners/

 

 

Day 16 – Mesa Verde National Park  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/13/national-parks-road-trip-day-16-mesa-verde/

 

 

Day 17 – Great Sand Dunes National Park & Santa Fe  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-17-great-sand-dunes-national-park-hot-air-balloons-santa-fe/

 

 

Day 18 – Anbuquerque & Sandia Peak  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-18-albuquerque/

 

 

Day 19 – Oklahoma City National Memorial  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-19-amarillo-oklahoma-city/

 

 

Day 20 – Paris, Texas  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-20-oklahoma-and-texas/

 

 

Day 21 – Mississippi Blues Trail  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-21-mississippi-blues-trail/

 

 

Day 22 – Mississippi Blues to Elvis  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-22-from-the-blues-to-elvis-the-natchez-parkway/

 

 

Day 23 – Nashville  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-23-from-the-blues-to-elvis-the-natchez-parkway/

 

 

Day 24 – Crushed Corvettes  https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/01/14/national-parks-road-trip-day-24-back-to-ohio/

 

 

 

Central Ohio Transportation History Through Historical Markers – July 2020

As you travel around Ohio you will often see historical markers – there are 1700 of them scattered throughout the state. Using sound caution during these challenging times I spent a couple of hours running around the area finding markers that highlight the history of transportation in Central Ohio. This allowed me to start again the photo efforts, as well as history research, while avoiding people.

 

The National Road

Ohio was still wilderness in the late 1700s, inhabited by only Native Americans. When the Europeans arrived and started to push west from the eastern seaboard the state was one of the first destinations. The primary route for many of these settlers was the National Road.

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In Ohio the National Road started on the western end of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River. (this historic marker is from West Virginia)

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Initially it was just a trail through the countryside. This non paved alley in a small Ohio town is the exact location of the trail.

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The National Road had mile markers indicating how far you were from Cumberland, Maryland, the eastern terminus.

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A number of the famed ‘S’ bridges were along the route. This one dates from the early days of the automobile.

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This S Bridge dates from the pre-automotive days.

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Of course as soon as you have people and transportation someone is going to go off course.

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Canals

Not long after the National Road was first completed the canals started to be built. This transportation mode was the primary driver that lead Ohio to become the the 3rd most populated state by 1840, a position it would hold until Illinois passed it in 1900.

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The canals opened up the interior of the state with connections to the Great Lakes and the Ohio River.

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In addition to the main canals, there were ‘feeder canals’ branching off to spur industrial development.

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The little village of Lockville has 3 locks in a short distance, as well as a vintage covered bridge that would’ve once crossed it.

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The city of Groveport has restored their lock.

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The town of Lockbourne is proud of their canal and lock heritage, although their one lock could us a bit of attention.

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Trains

The canals had their heyday until the trains became prevalent in the 1850s.

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While the mainline trains carried commerce and passengers across the state and beyond, Ohio became a center for the ‘Interurban’.

The Interurban served as a local transportation option between cities closely aligned, essentially the same as today’s commuter rail systems.

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The map below shows how extensive the interurban network was in the state.

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As one of the larger cities in the state, Columbus was a hub for the interurban transportation.

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The line going south out of the city was known as the Scioto Valley Interurban.

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Amazingly it had a third rail in the countryside (providing the power from a rail in the ground, not overhead wires).  You would think that a number of cows became instant steaks by stepping on these…

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The rails are still part of a street in the town of Groveport.

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Canal Winchester has restored their Interurban station as a community center.

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While nearby the town had a mainline train station.

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Airports

While the Wright Brothers were the first developers of the airplane in nearby Dayton in the first decade of the 1900s, it took until 1923 for Columbus to have it’s first permanent air field.

It was named Norton Field, and as the historical marker indicates, was named after a Columbus native and World War I casualty John Norton. The opening was attended by Eddie Rickenbacker (more below on Eddie).

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The field was located east of the city, just south of the current airport.

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It was used primarily by the military, and was shut down as suburbia reached the area in the 1950s. Today the only reminder of it’s history (other than the marker) is the park in the neighborhood.

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Just north of Norton Field is John Glenn Columbus International Airport, whose airport code is CMH – Columbus Metropolitan Hangar – the original name for the field.

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The airport location was selected by Charles Lindbergh as the eastern terminus of the Transcontinental Air Transport. This unique design had passengers travel to Columbus from New York on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

From Columbus the passengers could fly to a town called Waynoka, Oklhoma, where they would again get on a train – this time to Clovis, New Mexico.

In Clovis they would again get on an airplane and fly on to Los Angeles.

The photo below clearly shows how close the train was to the airport. Note the T-A-T airplanes in the foreground – they later merged with Western Air Express to become TWA.

The entire concept was a disaster. In 18 months they lost $2.7m, was involved in the first plane crash on a regular commercial route, and eventually became involved in a scandal known as the Air Mail scandal.

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But the airport survived. This photo looking southwest shows the field.

Norton Field is in the upper left grassy area, and on the center right is the construction of Curtiss-Wright Airplane factory. This factory built military aircraft until the 1988.

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The original terminal sits unused in a distant corner of the airport.

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A sign of the times are a number of currently mothballed aircraft – waiting for travel to return after COVID.

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Eddie Rickenbacker grew up in this modest house on the east side of Columbus. From this start Eddie lead a most eventful life. He was a World War I fighter pilot – race car driver – automobile designer – and pioneer in air transportation, leading Pan Am Airlines.

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Eddie’s name graces the former air force base turned freight airport – Rickenbacker International Airport.

 

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Central Ohio has had a long history of transportation – perhaps a Hyperloop is next…

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Chicago – History Through Maps and Photographs – Part 1 The World Fairs

As we continue to be restricted to any travel the ‘virtual travel’ series is continuing with some history. This posting will detail the history of Chicago through maps and photographs, and take a look at what it looks like now.

 

In 1840 when New York City already had over 300,000 people, Chicago was just starting as a town with just a few thousand. By 1860 is was in the top 10 with over 100,000, and just 30 years later there was 1.1 million people and Chicago was ‘The Second City’, doubling in population from 1880 to 1890.

 

Celebrating Chicago through World’s Fairs

It was around this time that Chicago decided to make it’s presence known on the world stage by hosting a World’s Fair. Local leaders lobbied hard to land the right to host this fair with the federal government, winning out over New York, Washington and St Louis.

The site chosen, Jackson Park, provided the 600 acres required. The lead architect was the famed Daniel Burnham, who was a proponent of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement.

While most of the buildings were designed and built to be temporary, there are a few that remain to this day.

With all of the buildings built in a neo-classical design and painted the same color, it became known as The White City.

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Getting to the Fair

With the incredible growth of the city from the end of the Civil War to 1890, Chicago’s transit struggled to keep up. Initially private companies had built horse drawn trolleys downtown. In 1892 the first of the famed El’s was completed from 39th Street (Pershing Road) to the Loop. The next year the Chicago and South Side Elevated Railway extended this to the fair site at Jackson Park.

The map below dates from the 1930s but clearly shows the line going south before turning left towards the lake, ending at Jackson Park. (Red Lines denote the El). This company failed not long after the fair ended because there was not enough ridership to maintain financial stability, being sold under foreclosure.

Of note this line was originally not electrified, the coaches were pulled by an engine.

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The Chicago History Center has one of the original cars on display.

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Green Line Train today

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Also note the Midway Plaisance connecting Washington Park and Jackson Park (Green strip on map between the parks). This area was the Entertainment section of the park (more on this below).

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Today the Green Line takes a very similar route, although the spur towards the lake only goes to Cottage Grove Avenue, and the southernmost branch is gone.

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As noted in the photo description this is the entrance at the Midway Plaisance.

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The map detail shows some of the highlights of this area, including the famed Ferris Wheel. While there had been a wooden wheel built in Atlantic City in 1891, but it burned down the next year.

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Ferris’s wheel was to be Chicago’s answer to Paris’s Eiffel Tower. It was massive – 264 feet high, with a capacity of 2,160 passengers. So renown was this feature that for many years Ferris Wheel’s were known as ‘Chicago Wheels’

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Today Chicago’s Navy Pier has one that, while impressive, is shorter than the original.

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The Midway Plaisance today serves as a park area next to the University of Chicago. There are a few reminders of the fair.

 

 

The grounds and buildings were magnificent.

 

 

The Palace of Fine Arts was one of the few buildings built to remain after the fair.

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It serves today as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

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The Statue of the Republic Was the Centerpiece of the Basin.

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While no longer surrounded by water it is one of the few remaining structures from the fair.

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But Chicago had a second chance at a World’s Fair just 40 years later, when they hosted the Century of Progress, which ran from May 1933 until October 1934, taking the winter off.

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But the city, and world, has had significant change since 1893.

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The Auto Club sponsored ‘Routes’ with fair themed names for automobile travelers to come to the city. In addition they sponsored ‘Motor Villages’, campgrounds and motels on the outskirts of town,.

 

 

Despite the introduction of the automobile, train travel was still the primary way to get to Chicago.

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This Conoco map shows an Illinois Central Railway Station at the entrance to the fair.

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In addition to the station at the fairgrounds entrance, there were another 6 train stations downtown, including the commuter rail stations.

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Today there are 3, two for the commuter rail and Union Station, and even that station is just a portion of what it was.

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Union Station is still very nice, but this grand space above was torn down in 1969.

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Once you were in town the El or streetcar network would take you to where you needed to go.

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Including directly to the Fair.

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Welcome to the Century of Progress World’s Fair entrance.

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The skyride took passengers from the main entrance on Columbus Drive to the lake shore. In this photo the Field Museum and the skyline of downtown is clearly visible.

One of the features of the 1933 fair compared to 1893’s is that it was essentially downtown, whereas the Columbian Exposition was a couple of miles south of downtown.

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The 1930s was the height of the Art Deco movement (a favorite of mine), and the advertising for the fair highlighted this.

 

 

The industrialists of the day had major exhibits. GM even built an assembly line.

 

You could see the homes of tomorrow.

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After the fair an investor purchased the homes and moved them by barge to nearby Indiana, and placed them along the lake shore as an attraction to the community he was building.

Time was tough on the homes, but over the last 20 years or so the state of Indiana has sponsored a program where you can lease them for $1 with the stipulation you fix them up (which costs $1m +). The results are fantastic.

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Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium

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2018 10 14 607 Chicago Open House

2017 06 03 52 Chicago

 

as well as the Field Museum and Soldier Field.

field museum

2018 10 14 605 Chicago Open House

2017 10 13 91 Chicago

 

 

Chicago has always used their lake shore for the public’s enjoyment, never more so than during the two World’s Fairs. Part 2 of this series in a few days will focus more on the development of the transportation in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – British Columbia

Our last province, British Columbia. As the saying goes, we saved the best for last!

2017 09 06 34 Rearguard Falls BC - Copy

 

 

We start out in far southeastern BC at the town of Sparwood. Named for the lumber that went into making spars (poles) for ships, Sparwood is a mining town. As you enter town you can’t miss Terex Titan, one of the largest trucks in the world, now retired in front of the visitor center.

 

 

Eastern BC has a number of great waterfalls including those below: Helmcken, Dawson and Rearguard Falls.

2017 09 06 50 Helmcken Falls BC - Copy

 

 

The town of Lake Country BC is home to a Kangaroo Farm! It was very cool, especially holding a baby kangaroo.

2017 09 07 62 Lake Country BC Kangaroo Farm - Copy

 

 

High above the town of Kamloops is the Myrna Canyon Trestle Trail. Once a railway, now one of the best bike paths anywhere.

2017 09 07 111 Kelowna BC Myrna Canyon Tresle Trail - Copy

 

 

In Hope BC there is another path, much lower that goes through the Othello Tunnels. Nearby is the Bridal Veil Falls.

2017 09 08 23 Hope BC Othello Tunnels Trail - Copy

 

 

The Vancouver suburb of Burnaby has a great park with these native statues. The persistent rain and fog added to the atmosphere.

2017 09 08 60 Burnaby BC - Copy

 

 

Capilano Park in North Vancouver has an amazing bridge (that bounces!) and a forest canopy walk, along with more totem poles.

2017 09 08 121d Vancouver Capilano Park - Copy

 

 

Vancouver is one of the world’s great cities. Situated on a bay, with islands and the mountains, the views are fantastic. They have height limits on the buildings so that they don’t block the views.

 

 

The Museum of Anthropology has the largest native sculpture collection anywhere.

2017 09 09 16 Vancouver MOA

 

 

Vancouver is even better from the ‘Lookout’, especially after a nice walk along the harbour.

2017 09 09 293 Vancouver

 

 

Vancouver has character!

 

 

 

Our final stop is Victoria, on Vancouver Island (which Vancouver is not). BC Ferries will get you there.

2017 09 10 25 Ferry to Victoria BC

 

 

 

The city is the capital of the province, and has a great history.

2017 09 10 233 Victoria BC

 

 

It is also home to numerous gardens, including Hartley Castle and Gardens.

2017 09 10 50 Victoria BC Hatley Castle & Gardens

 

 

 

Our virtual trips across North America has come to an end, but there is more coming – up next Chicago – History through Maps and Photos…. stay tuned.

 

 

Virtual Travel – Alberta

 

Welcome to Alberta

2017 09 03 20 Southwest Alberta

 

 

 

Where the prairies meet the mountains.

 

 

Calgary is the largest city in the province.

2017 09 03 89 Calgary

 

 

Edmonton is nearly as large as Calgary. They have a strong hockey rivalry.

Oil is the business of Edmonton, and is reflected in the hockey team’s name.  (photos of Edmonton from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Banff was Canada’s first national park, and remains a beautiful area.

2017 09 04 88 Banff Alberta

 

 

 

Lake Louise is renown for the turquoise water, and tourists.

2017 09 05 33 Lake Louise

 

 

 

The Icefields Parkway is a 140 mile long road from Banff to Jasper, passing numerous glaciers and waterfalls. It is one of the best drives in the world.

2017 09 05 181 Columbia Icefields Alberta