Todays Drone Tour starts out along the Ohio River at Portsmouth. The first view shows the flood wall covered in murals (later posting revisiting the murals).
The sun was just rising in the east, giving the U.S. Grant Bridge and the Ohio River some interesting lighting.
The Carl Perkins Bridge across the Ohio River, where the Scioto River enters.
The hills in Kentucky with the clouds reflected in the river.
Spartan Stadium was home to the NFL’s Portsmouth Spartans from 1928 until 1933, when the NFL had teams in relatively small cities. The Spartans moved to Detroit and live on to this day as the Detroit Lions.
An overview of the city of Portsmouth. The town has for decades lost population, dropping from a high of 43,000 in 1930 to the current population of 20,000.
The view east
Norfolk Southern Railroad has a large yard along the river in east Portsmouth.
Lake White State Park near Waverly.
The next stop was the city of Chillicothe. This view is of a large paper mill.
The same neighborhood has this large grain elevator. Unfortunately at this time the rain came and the drone became grounded.
Portsmouth easily has one of the best collection of murals in the country. They have taken a massive, ugly concrete flood wall and created almost 1/2 mile of murals celebrating the towns history.
The drone view give an idea of how large they are – this is just a small portion.
The theme of the walls was 2000 years of history in 2000 feet of flood walls. They were created by a team lead by Robert Dafford, a famed mural painter.
Most sections of the wall are 40′ wide x 20′ high. Some, such as the view of Portsmouth in 1903, take up multiple sections.
Some aren’t even on the flood wall, including this mural on the side of the local Kroger Grocery store.
The floodwall not only runs along the river but in places goes inland. One of the inland sections celebrates sports, including the ‘Tour of the Scioto River Valley’, an annual bicycling event that goes the 100 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth, then back.
Another section of the inland wall includes a tribute to the local labor unions.
Another includes Portsmouth’s rich baseball history.
The original U.S Grant bridge is featured on this panel.
For a short time there was an amusement park located in Portsmouth, but it was badly damaged in the 1913 flood.
The shoe industry was one of the major employers in Portsmouth.
Streetcars provided transportation from the late 1800s until 1939.
Government Square was the center of the city in the early 1900s.
The murals are done with fantastic depth.
One of the original NFL teams, the Portsmouth Spartans.
Portsmouth has had a few devastating floods, including 1937.
Chillicothe Street has always been the main commercial street in town.
Industry in Portsmouth.
A close up of the detail of the right panel for industry.
A 3 panel education mural shows various periods.
Situated in southernmost Ohio, the railroads have always been an important part of Portsmouth’s industry.
The Portsmouth Motorcycle Club is the oldest in the world, having been founded in 1893. Obviously it had to be founded as a bicycle club first since the first motorcycle was not invented until 1898.
It was known as the Portsmouth Cycling Club from 1893 until 1913.
This western view would be the actual view if the flood wall was not in the way.
Much like the European settlers later, the Native Americans utilized trails that went through the area. One originated on Lake Erie near Sandusky and went south along the Scioto River to Portsmouth.
The original village was known as Alexandria, but was abandoned due to frequent flooding.
The first European settlers arrived in larger numbers in the early 1800s.
The completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal was a boom to the area.
Built in 1901 this rail station served both Norfolk and Western as well as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroads. It was used until 1931 when an art deco station was completed.
A close up of the Chillicothe Street mural.
The Riverfront in 1903.
The Portsmouth Murals are one of the most impressive art installations in Ohio – well worth a trip.
This posting of drone views focuses on the fall foliage.
The leaves seem to be changing fast, so it is a tough call to wait a week, or capture the mix of green, and the changed leaves. Clearly the tree lawn trees in this neighborhood are all the same, as they all have the same red leaves for the moment.
One of my personal favorite photos in a long time – Alum Creek State Park.
Another nearby view.
The trees are changing but with enough chemicals the golf courses will stay green until December.
Delaware Ohio State Park
The dam for the park. Whoever lives in the house in the foreground has the greatest confidence in the dam, and clearly is not a Johnstown, Pennsylvania native.
A return to Fairfield County covered bridges, and in the case below, an old canal lock.
This challenged my drone flying – a small space between the power lines, the trees, and the ravine.
Another tight spot for a bridge view – note how close the tree on the right is.
A neighborhood in Lancaster. The large house on the hill appears to be ruling over the smaller ones scattered across the photo like some old English estate.
Highbanks Metro Park, with the first tree changing colors for fall
Big Meadows in Highbanks
The sheep farm across the road from Highbanks Park is the last bastion of the former rural atmosphere. The entire area around it is now suburbia.
The largest office building in Ohio – a horizontal skyscraper. The Chase offices in Polaris has 2 million square feet of office space. To compare the tallest building in the state is Key Tower in Cleveland (947’/289m) only has 1.5 million square feet.
Note the entire roof is covered in solar panels and the parking lots and garages to the right are being covered in solar panels.
Ohio gets cold, Ohio gets snow, but alas – no mountains, so this qualifies as a ski resort. Snowtrails near Mansfield.
A covered bridge in Union County.
Just down the road from the covered bridge is this corn maze (Maize maze?)
A berry field with a pumpkin sales.
A grain elevator in Urbana, Ohio.
Literally turning to the right you get a view of the old train station, the vacant factory and the rest of the town.
A massive shrub nursery surrounds the town of New Carlisle.
Deceased people and cars.
This view of Madison County shows Interstate 70 along the upper right, US 40 (The National Road) through the left middle, and an airport runway running along side – all in perfect East-West orientations.
Scioto Downs Horse Race Track and Casino (newer building on the left)
The 105,000 seat Ohio Stadium. The GPS in the drone would not allow me to fly any closer without seriously violating FAA rules (which I did not!)
Franklin Park Conservatory
A view along East Broad Street in Columbus
New apartments surrounding Columbus Commons Park.
We end this tour with a view of downtown Columbus, including the State Capitol surrounded by 30 to 40 floor buildings.
In the 1800s Springfield was known as the City at the End of the Road, since the National Road ended there. Eventually it was extended and most people kept going, bypassing Springfield. Still it grew into a medium sized city with about 100,000 people in the area.
As with most Ohio cities of this size, the buildings tend to be older; built during Springfield’s heyday. This former church is now a community center.
This mural celebrates Springfield’s entertainment history. It covers the entire 6 floors of the back of the Regent Theater.
The side of the YMCA has another great mural.
The former city hall now houses the Clark County Heritage Center. Completed in 1890 the clock at the top must be adjusted manually during the spring and fall time changes.
Ironically despite the fact it was built to house the clock, it was 34 years before they had an actual working one – prior to the it just had a clock face painted on.
As usual I was on the lookout for ghost signs, this one on a building with a perfectly symmetrical, but sketchy looking, fire escape.
The Clark County Literacy Coalition is located in the former Warder Public Library building. It’s patron was from local industrialist Benjamin Warder in 1890. Warder made his money with the Champion farm machinery company, later becoming International Harvester.
The building is built of Ohio sandstone with Worcester brownstone trim, and a fantastic red slate roof.
The view across the street of St Raphael Church is framed by the main entrance’s archway.
Situated on a small hill, St Raphael is very prominent on the skyline of the city.
It is 156 steps to reach the top of the 184′ tower, but much easier to send the drone up for a closer view.
We leave Springfield with three great advertising signs – two old signs – one ghost signs, one in perfect condition, along with a great Big Boy!
Todays road trip through the country takes us to the town of Urbana, county seat of Champaign County. Full disclosure – some of the photos are likely from border counties as I was on country roads without county line markers.
Each little town seemed to have a commercial block of 100 year old buildings, this one with a restored clock tower.
Talk about a barn find for the Ohio countryside – an old Mercedes with late 1980s license plates!
An abandoned school in a crossroads town.
This stylish little building was in the small town of Mechanicsburg.
Normally ‘Quilt Barns’ are much larger than this, but the contrast of the farm implements added to the look of this one.
Not too many farms date from 1814 in Ohio.
Eventually I reached the town of Urbana. As with most county seats it seemed to have the best collection of buildings in the area. Some nicely restored, some not so much, it was worth the stop.
The Hotel Sowles dates from around 1800, it is said to have hosted every Ohio governor from the beginning of the state until 1900. A community effort resulted in this great old building being restored.
This former bank in an Art Deco look is now a law office.
The Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan has been located in Urbana for 140 years. The building is generally designed in a Roman Corinthian style, but with classical touches. A true midwest building it is built out of Minnesota granite and Indiana limestone situated in a small Ohio town.
Personally I think the Yellow Mini sets it off nicely.
This classic Gulf Gas Station from the 1970s is still in use as an auto repair shop.
The local airport is home to a small museum where they are restoring a B-17.
This small theater started life in 1904, However in the 1930s it was destroyed in a fire, and was rebuilt in 1941 – hence the Art Deco look.
It is currently undergoing restoration.
Urbana has a number of great ghost signs.
This vacant, decaying building once housed a company that provided galvanized iron for railroad use.
Just across the street is the former train station, now a coffee shop. This station served the Pennsylvania Railroad for many decades.