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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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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Philadelphia – May 2018 – Views of the City

A Sunday afternoon in downtown Philadelphia…

 

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Flowers outside Independence Hall Visitor Center.

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Everything in Philadelphia seems to be dedicated to Benjamin Franklin. Apparently his newspapers are laying on the ground to this day.

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The Benjamin Franklin Parkway that leads to the Art Museum (and the Rocky statue)

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An Airplane outside the Franklin Institute

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As well as the grand front entrance.

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A fountain in the Franklin Parkway looking back towards City Hall.

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The Pennsylvania Convention Center – built in part in the old Reading Railroad Terminal.

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Kennett Square, PA – May 2018 – Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is located in suburban Philadelphia, in the town of Kennett Square. Considered by most as one of the foremost gardens in America it is an amazing display of horticultural coupled with architecture and water features.

The Gardens have been located here since the 1700s where the Pearce family began cultivating trees. It wasn’t until the early 1900s when one of the DuPont family members purchased the gardens did it really become the showcase that is renown around the world.

 

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The day we visited nearly every person arriving headed straight for the flower gardens.

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Where a fountain graced the pathway.

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There are over 800 volunteers who keep the gardens immaculate. Once a flower loses it’s bloom they will remove it and replace it with something else.

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Resulting in vivid displays.

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Water features are everywhere, including this Italian Water Garden.

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This gazebo is a popular spot for weddings.

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While other buildings used for mechanicals are equally impressive with the floral.

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But the highlight is without a doubt the are the fountains. The  5 acre Main Fountain Area is said to combine Italianate ornamentation with French Grandeur coupled with a World’s Fair showmanship.

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Water features are everywhere, all synchronized to provide displays. The Bellagio has nothing on Longwood for fountain displays.

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Inside the Conservatory the floral and fauna continue to amaze.

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The variety of plants and flowers are extensive, many I had never seen before.

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And all in picture perfect condition.

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As you exit the conservatory you are again given an expansive view of the fountains.

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As well as another smaller flower garden.

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Before ending up at the Carillon, which provides chimes every 15 minutes. Longwood Gardens is truly an amazing place.

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Baltimore – May 2018 – Kinetics Race

Baltimore hosts the largest Kinetics Festival/Race on the east coast. For the 20th consecutive year human powered works of art have taken over the streets of the city.

 

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While not quite as large as the one in Humboldt County, California, the Baltimore race still featured a number of well done sculptures, as well as coordinated racers.

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Even the spectators were interesting.

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Many dressing for the occasion.

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While the teams got ready for the 15 mile race around the streets, into the bay and through a mud pit.

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Eventually they were off and made their way up Federal Hill.

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Which provided a nice backdrop of the skyline.

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The machines had all sorts of designs, some better than others (although this one used their arms and hands, not their legs, which proved troublesome).

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Eventually they made their way into downtown.

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With a highlight being Patterson Park and the mud pit. The crowds were 5 deep on both sides.

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And the mud was deep.

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But with 48″ alien wheels the mud was no problem.

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Which made for happy aliens.

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