Fort Wayne, Indiana – August 2018 – Random Sights Around Town

The city of Fort Wayne, Indiana is the 2nd largest in Indiana, behind Indianapolis. While not huge, it was large enough to have a few interesting things to see and do.

Easily the most architecturally interesting building is the Allen County Courthouse.

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The building had numerous carvings and reliefs.

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The carved tablet emphasizes the idea of justice for all.

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While Lady Justice looks over the setting.

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The Lincoln Tower was for 50 years the tallest building in town. There are a couple of ones taller now, but none more stylish.

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Directly across the street from the classic architecture of the courthouse and the Lincoln Tower is this modern mid rise.

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The main branch of the library.

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Fort Wayne was surprisingly (to me) nice. There is some recent development downtown, the neighborhoods were pleasant and overall it didn’t feel like an old industrial city.

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One of the more unusual local tourist attractions is the Hanson Quarry on the southeast side of town. Where else in the flat lands of Indiana can you find a giant 1000′ deep hole in the ground.

They have an observation deck built that is open during daylight hours where you can come check out the giant hole in the ground.

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The next morning we made our way to Lakeside Park and Rose Gardens.

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The gardens feature some sculptures.

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But their 2000 rose plants are the highlight.

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Late August heat has put stress on the roses.

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Lakeside Park in Fort Wayne is worth a visit.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Looking Over the Topiary Garden

Regular followers of this blog will know we often visit parks and gardens for the interesting landscaping that many contain.

A small park in downtown Columbus is no different. As you approach you are welcomed by a flower bed surrounded by some shrubs.

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The flowers were a home for numerous butterflies

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But this is no ordinary park – it is the Topiary Garden, sculptures in nature.

This park’s subject is the George Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.

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The shrubberies were groomed to make the painting.

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The couple with the umbrella are the center of the design.

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Soldiers with helmets stand guard.

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Some of the figures are easy to make out.

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They use framing the force the shrubs into the correct shapes.

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Interestingly we did indeed spend some of a Sunday afternoon in the park.

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An overview including the rowing crew. The garden is composed of 54 human figures, eight boats, three dogs and monkey and a cat.

It was first planted in 1988, and has continued to be enhanced through the years.

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Next door is the former Ohio School for the Deaf. This school was built in 1868, and features a number of gargoyles shaped as faces above the doorways.

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Rather than the normal grotesque gargoyles, these are friendly faces.

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To me they are the children of the school welcoming others.

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The keep a watchful eye on all who arrive.

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Situated on the east side of the building, they face the Topiary Gardens.

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Not quite sure many of them are sticking their tongues out, but they add some humor to the impressive building.

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A visit to the Gardens and the school are a must.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Classic Cars in a Historic Setting

Fort Hayes was a military post first built in Columbus at the start of the Civil War in 1862. At the time it was located just north of town, now it is at the edge of downtown.

One of the highlights of the remaining buildings is the former ‘shot tower’, used to make bullets in the 1800s. Today it serves as an art gallery and visual arts center.

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On this day they were having a car show on the grounds.

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While I always enjoy checking out classic cars, we wanted to use the opportunity to roam the grounds and check out the buildings.

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Many of the original buildings are still standing. A number of them, like the ones below, have been restored. Others on campus are in poor condition, or have been torn down.

Not shown on this posting is a high school that has been built in the last 30 years.

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We returned to the main yard where the cars were located and found a band was playing. She was clearly getting into it.

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While the guitarist kept his cool on this hot humid day.

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But the cars were the stars – a great VW bus.

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Hats and tails were in order (just not the formal black tie kind).

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Another great VW.

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There weren’t many cars on display, but it was a relaxed show with some shade so it was worth a quick visit.

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It was small enough all the car owners were on hand and happy to tell people about their rides.

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While the judges kept score. The show was small, but the setting was interesting and we left having enjoyed our brief visit.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Urban Scrawl

The near west side neighborhood of Franklinton has been experiencing a lot of activities and redevelopment, many of them based on the arts in the existing warehouses.


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One of the highlights of the year for the neighborhood is an annual event known as Urban Scrawl. This event features a number of artists painting murals on large surfaces.

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The artists took various measures to maintain focus in the very crowded space.

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Some works were two people efforts.

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There was a diverse collection of artists and subjects, but all appeared to be very talented.

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Close ups show the details within each painting.

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Collectively they made a great scene.

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The work was completed over one weekend. We visited mid afternoon Sunday.

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Urban Scrawl is one event that is always worth visiting each year.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Make Your Own Tour

While reading online for something to do I read that there was going to be a tour of the Ohio Statehouse grounds, focusing on the sculptures and landscaping. It was to occur at 10 AM on a Sunday morning.

We arrived 10 minutes early, and waited until 10:15 and nobody showed up, so we decided to make our own tour.

We started along State Street on the south end of the grounds.


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From here we had a nice view of the classic Ohio Theater as well as the flower beds along the entryways.

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The statues flanking the McKinley statue are known as ‘Peace and Prosperity’.

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While McKinley towers over the west entrance to the grounds.

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The other side of ‘Peace and Prosperity’

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Even the lamp posts are stylish.


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There is a statue of a ‘Doughboy’ from World War I – this is the plaque beneath the statue.

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The north entrance features a statue called ‘Peace’, with floral beds.

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The sundial was added by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1932.

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A second look from the south entrance across the grounds to the Huntington Bank Building.

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While the northeast view from this vantage point looks towards the Statehouse, Senate building and PNC Bank Building. Clearly banks like to overlook the government buildings.

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Christopher Columbus (with yet another bank building in the background)

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Some of the famed Ohioans on the statue ‘These Are My Jewels’.

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This statue is topped with Cornelia, a wealthy and respected Roman woman who when asked where her jewels were – pointed to her sons.

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The back entrance to the Senate building.

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Fountains in front of a World War II memorial wall. It seems almost all of the statues on the grounds have to do with war, or the hope for peace.

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The grounds are fairly open to the streets, this fencing is decorative to protect the landscaping. We didn’t have a formal tour – but had a nice morning wandering the grounds with nobody else around.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Belt Sander Racing

While surfing the internet a couple of weeks ago I came across an ad for ‘Belt Sander Racing’. Intrigued I checked it out – finding that a place in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus called the Idea Factor was indeed having Belt Sander Racing, so I signed up.

The Idea Foundry’s motto is to create a place where anyone can explore their urge to make things. It is huge, 60,000 square feet of workshops and offices.

When we arrived we found they were having an open house showcasing all the great things that the artists and craftsmen do there. Outside they had a number of games set up an including over sized Battleship.

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Inside the artists were creating new pieces. This young lady was sawing a wine bottle in half with a wet saw.

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The artist below specializes in burning wood to make art pieces. The baseball bats with lighting were fantastic.

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A chess board on a restore table.

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Another example of the fine craftsmanship.

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There was a good mix of art and functional.

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But enough of that, we are here for —- Belt Sander Racing!

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For those movie fans I took inspiration from the 1964 political satire black comedy Dr Strangelove. Given our current political climate I thought the idea of a nut case in charge of a country seemed appropriate.

The specific scene I took was the last scene where Slim Pickens is riding the bomb down to the ground. (for those who are not familiar with the movie it is making a strong case for peace in the world by satirizing the cold war)


My version – a Captain America doll strapped to a piece of ducting – christened Dr Strangetrump.

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There were 11 entries in all.

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A Zombie train.

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Rabbit Go Vroom Vroom

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Finally it was time to race.

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The track was laid out with 3 channels – one for each racer and the other for the cords. It was amazing how fast they went.

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Some went better than others – as with the actual team, the Cleveland Browns helmet did poorly.

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After the first round they had a dog race while they set up for the second round. It wasn’t actually a dog race, a couple of people just set their pooches up on the track and they sort of wandered their way down.

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The finals were very close for all 3 heats. Even though I was able to get my racer to run straight and true, I lost in the first round. No matter – it was a blast to do, and I got a cool T shirt!

Wait ’til next year – I will get a faster belt sander.

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Cincinnati – August 2018 – 1940s Day at Lunken Airport

Lunken Airport is located in a valley on the east side of Cincinnati where the Miami River flows into the Ohio River. Because it is in a valley that has a tendency to flood it is known as ‘Sunken Lunken’.

In the early days of aviation it was the airport for Cincinnati, but in the late 1940s they moved to a much larger site across the river in Northern Kentucky.


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Lunken still is a very busy airport, serving corporate jets and other smaller private planes, while maintaining it’s classic art deco look.

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On this day the Cincinnati Museum group was hosting ‘1940s Day at Lunken’. Among the events was a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ photo shoot.

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Amazingly a couple of elderly women were on hand actually were ‘Rosies’ during the 1940s.

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People were encouraged to dress the era, and many did.

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The festival hosting a number of vintage airplanes and cars, and those that came in costume fit in perfect with the equipment.

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Either she is a spy or one of the museum workers.

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A Carmen Miranda look, minus the fruit.

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We saw a couple of ladies dressed in their ‘League of Their Own’ uniforms – a great touch.

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There was entertainment all day. The ‘Queen City Sisters’ acapella group were great singers, with style in their presentation.

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The umbrella served two functions this day – shade in the hot sun, then protection from the rain when a hard shower came through.

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She made a great entrance from the sidecar.

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As noted previously there were some vintage planes and cars, and this fire truck.

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They were very selective in the cars presented, all fitting the environment, if not exactly period perfect.

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Some Model A’s.

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Airplanes and a stylish dress and hat – how cool.

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A vintage Navy plane was on hand.

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I can see this being 1935 in Cincinnati.

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Molly Wellmann is a local tavern owner, and historian. She entertained the crowd with the history of alcohol production in Cincinnati (which is extensive).

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Meanwhile the contestants for the costume contest gathered.

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I suggested to these three they visit Twinsburg next year, they would be a hit there too.

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These ladies were also from the museum.

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The styles were great – without the people who came this would’ve been a mediocre event with a couple of planes and cars. With them it was fantastic.

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A vintage couple with a vintage hangar in the background.

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One observation I have made over the last couple of years that if you ask someone to take their photo and you have your phone or a point and click camera you don’t get much response, but if you have a SLR you get enthusiasm.

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While the dancing was occurring in another tent, this costume contestant decided to combine them.

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The pilots are ready for boarding.

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If this is the 1940s I need to time travel – what a great day.

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And they danced the day away….

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