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.

IMG_8790.jpg

 

 

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)

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 3.jpg

 

 

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.

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 54.jpg

 

 

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

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 44

 

 

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

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 37

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 71.jpg

 

 

This S Bridge dates from the pre-automotive days.

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 69

 

 

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

2015 05 24 National Road in Ohio 93

 

 

 

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.

IMG_8854.jpg

 

 

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

Canals-of-Ohio.jpg

 

 

 

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

IMG_8926

download (13).png

canal-edad10379138eca0

 

 

Ohio_Canal.jpg

 

IMG_8875

 

 

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.

IMG_8878

 

IMG_8891

 

 

The city of Groveport has restored their lock.

IMG_8810

 

 

IMG_8831.jpg

 

 

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

IMG_8935

 

IMG_8923

 

IMG_8918

 

 

Trains

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

default

 

 

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.

IMG_8793

 

 

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

interurbanmapsmall

 

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

int station-1000

 

 

photo-8r

 

 

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

IMG_8809

 

 

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…

SVTC 015

 

 

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

IMG_8820

 

 

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

IMG_8842

 

IMG_8848

 

 

While nearby the town had a mainline train station.

IMG_8860

 

 

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).

IMG_8776

 

 

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

nf-big

 

 

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.

norton field.jpg

 

 

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.

IMG_8763

 

 

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.

03 TAT - Transcontinental Air Transport Ford Tri-Motors at Port Columbus, Ohio Airport, 8 July 1929, Opening of Eastern Air Link of TAT's First Rail-Air, NY to CA

 

 

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.

airport 1941-1200.jpg

 

 

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

IMG_8766

 

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

IMG_8768

 

 

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.

2018 06 10 86 Columbus Old Oaks Neighborhood House & Garden Tour

 

First_Lieutenant_E._V._(Eddie)_Rickenbacker,_94th_Aero_Squadron,_American_ace,_standing_up_in_his_Spad_plane._Near..._-_NARA_-_530773.tifEddie_Rickenbacker_-_Maxwell_-_San_Francisco_1915_3

 

 

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

 

IMG_8907

 

 

 

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

7a01b1b04cff8a7c94521fc053cf03fb23-15-virgin-hyper-loop.rhorizontal.w700

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

wce3

 

wce2

 

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.

el 1893

 

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

2019 02 17 106 Chicago History Center

 

Green Line Train today

Green_Line_at_51st_Street

 

 

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).

IMG_8398

 

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.

green line

 

 

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

3a51887r

 

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.

IMG_8368_renamed_30934

 

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’

Original_Ferris

World's_Columbian_Exposition_Ferris_Wheel,_Chicago,_United_States,_1893

 

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

2018 10 14 713 Chicago Open House

 

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.

map

 

It serves today as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

2017 12 27 22 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry

 

 

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

1893-worlds-fair-001

 

 

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

2018 09 02 33 Chicago Jackson Park

 

 

 

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.

IMG_8508

download (7)

 

 

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

COPparking

 

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.

IMG_8422

 

 

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

IMG_8517

 

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

IMG_8419

 

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

1933-New-Union-Station-Building-Canal-Clinton

union station 1

 

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

2019 02 14 37 Chicago Union Station

2019 02 14 17 Chicago Union Station

 

 

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

73e0aebc602e8c27b17f518e13f77cad

 

El to Fair

 

Including directly to the Fair.

download (9)

 

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

IMG_8546

 

 

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.

chi-fair24skyride-20120827(1)

 

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.

1933-34-fair-001

IMG_8553

 

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.

2016 10 15 128 Indiana Dunes Century of Progress Homes

2016 10 15 94 Indiana Dunes Century of Progress Homes

 

 

Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium

kp7tw12

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 – Ontario

Welcome to Ontario – Canada’s largest province by population, and the center of the country’s media.

It is also home to more NHL hockey players than any other place in the world.

2019 07 28 174 Toronto

 

Government/History

1931     1946     1948     1952     1955 – Parliment Buildings     1968     1970     1973    1996 – Yonge Street

 

 

 

 

Ottawa

The Canadian National Capital is in Ottawa. The collection of buildings are on what is known as Parliament Hill. They were built between 1859 and 1927.

The metro area is the 5th largest in the country with 1.3 million people.

2019 07 29 185 Ottawa

 

Many of the buildings are open for tours. The main assembly hall has started a 10 year reconstruction effort, so a new hall was built in what was previously an open space between buildings.

 

 

The city is located at the confluence of the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River.

 

 

During the summer the buildings are lit up in the evenings with an impressive light show.

 

 

 

 

Roads and Bridges

1957     1958     1959     1960     1962     1964     1965     1967    1986 – Ivy Lea Bridge    2010 – Highway 406 St Catharines

 

 

Toronto is by far the largest city in Canada, and one of the major cities in North America. It is also one of my favorite cities in the world.

2019 07 28 6 Toronto

 

 

The CN Tower was completed in 1973 as the worldest tallest freestanding structure, a record it held until 2007.

 

 

The railroads and the lakes built the city. Today the city still has long distance train travel, as well as an extensive subway and streetcar network.

 

 

The lakeshore was once an industrial area, but is now filled with luxury condos and apartments.

 

 

The entire downtown area is filled with great architecture.

 

 

 

 

Toronto is the center of the hockey universe, including the Hockey Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

Hamilton is located 50 miles from Toronto, but it is one continuous city. Once a steel town, it still has some industry, but has transition to a more diverse economy today.

It is also home to Tim Horton’s #1!!

2019 07 27 5 Hamilton ON

 

 

 

Windsor is across the river from downtown Detroit.

2017 06 17 116 Windsor ON

 

 

 

 

Countryside

1966     1974     1978     1980     1990 – Highway 17 – Wawa      1992 – Algonquin Provincial Park           2001 – Algonquin Provincial Park      2003 – Pancake Bay     2005 – Pancake Bay Provincial Park      2006 – Highway 118 Muskoka      2008 – Highway 141 – Muskoka     2014 – Highway 69 French River

 

 

Niagara Falls is shared with New York, but the Ontario side is much nicer.

2016 09 11 4 Niagara Falls

 

 

 

Scarborough is now part of the city of Toronto but was for many years a separate suburb. It is home to Guild Park – home of relics from down demolished buildings in downtown Toronto.

 

2019 07 29 38 Toronto Guild Park

 

 

It is also home to the RC Harris Water Treatment Facility AKA – Palace of Purification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Quebec

Bienvenue au Québec

 

 

2019 07 30 71 Ottawa - Copy

 

Quebec is 2 1/2 times the size of Texas, and nearly as large as Alaska, stretching from the USA border to past the Arctic Circle, with nearly all the people living within 100 miles of the American border.

With French being the primary language it truly feels like you have arrived in Europe, only it looks ‘North American’. I have always enjoyed visits to Quebec and look forward to going back.

 

Quebec City is the capital of the province. It is one of the oldest towns in North America, having been first settled in 1535, and founded as a town in 1608.

2011 05 29 Jill Road Trip Day 4 10

 

 

Nearby is Montmorency Falls, one of the largest volume waterfalls on the continent.

2016 09 09 68 Montmorency Falls PQ

 

 

Canyon Saint Anne is another impressive natural setting, with a series of waterfalls dropping over 200′ through the canyon.

2016 09 09 49 Canyon Sainte Anne PQ

 

 

 

Pohenegamook is a small town on the Maine border, where some houses literally are sitting in both countries.

2016 09 09 27 Pohenegamook PQ

 

 

Montreal is the 2nd largest French speaking city in the world.

2016 09 10 59 Montreal