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.

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.

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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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Virtual Travel – Washington

Time to visit the beautiful state of Washington.

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History

1957     1958     2004       2006

 

 

State Capital – Olympia. The building is another traditional style set in the small town of Olympia. While it might seem strange that this small city is the capital when Seattle is just 60 miles away, in the early days of the European settlement Olympia was the most important towns, becoming the territorial capital.

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State Symbol

State Tall Ship – Lady Washington

 

Boeing has a long history in the state, having been founded in Seattle in 1916. The factory in Everett is the largest building in the world by volume, but when you are inside it doesn’t feel that way because of separations. ( 2 photos below from Wikipedia)

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Harold LeMay, a Tacoma refuse company owner, had one of the largest collections of cars when he died in 2000. His collection is displayed in 2 very different museum.

 

 

 

 

Seattle

1975     1978     1982

 

 

Seattle is a beautiful city that has been booming over the last couple of decades.

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It is the cultural center of the Northwest.

 

 

The Chihuly Museum has the best art that he has ever created.

 

 

Next door is the Museum of Pop, with an eclectic collection.

 

 

 

 

Mountains

Mt Rainier 1959     1965     1967     1998     Cascades 1970     2003     2006

 

 

Olympic National Park has two major sections, the mountains above Port Angeles, and a rain forest closer to the Pacific Ocean.

The day we chose to go to Hurricane Ridge was a fantastic, sunny day, with views forever.

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Mount Rainier is the postcard of the state. (photo from internet)

Special Offers & Packages | Mt. Rainier National Park Lodging

 

 

With the mountains and abundant rain amazing waterfalls are found throughout the Cascades. (photos from internet)

15 Amazing Waterfalls in Washington - The Crazy Tourist

The Best Waterfall Hikes Near Seattle | Fitt Seattle

 

 

 

Oceans and Rivers

1992- Puget Sound – Lopez Island – Shaw Reef     1994 – Columbia River Gorge     2000 – Sagebrush & Phlox in Columbia River Valley     2002 – Olympic Peninsula     2008 – Skagit Valley Tulips

 

 

The Puget Sound is one of the economic and recreation centers of the state.

 

 

The Pacific Coast is rugged and fairly unpopulated. (photos from internet, but I wish I was there for the bottom one).

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Virtual Travel – Virginia

Today’s visit is Virginia, starting in the Washington DC Suburbs.

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History

1962     1972 – State Capitol     1975 – Houdon Statue of Washington in the Virgnia Captiol     1977 – St Johns Church Richmond     1981 – Yorktown Battlefield     1982 – Stratford Hall  Plantation Westmoreland County Robert E Lee Birthplace     1984 – Monticello     1988/1989     1990/1991 – Appamattox Court House     1998 – Mount Vernon     2000

 

The Virginia State Capitol dates from the 1780s, housing the Virginia General Assembly. This group is known as the oldest elected legislative body in North America, having been founded as the House of Burgesses in 1619. (Photo from Wikipedia)

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State Symbol

State Spirit – George Washington Rye Whiskey.  George was a whiskey producer, and this product is in tribute to that.

 

 

Jamestown – The first permanent English settlement in the New World.

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Antietam Battlefield – The Battle of Antietam is one of the costliest day in American history, with over 22,000 dead and wounded in the battle.

 

 

Roads & Bridges

1954     1958 – Hampton Bridge and Tunnel     1964     1965     1966     1967     1970     1973 – Interstate 64     1992

 

 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnels. The area around Norfolk has numerous bridges and tunnels, including the 23 mile long Bay Bridge and Tunnels.

 

 

Udvar Hazy Air Museum. The National Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington DC.

 

 

 

Oceans

1980 – Norfolk     1986- Sailing ship The Godspeed     1994 – Assateague Island Lighthouse     2004 – Eastern Shore     2006 – Jamestown Settlement ship Susan Constant     2012 – Virginia Beach     2016 – Chesapeake Bay – Tangier Island

 

 

Assateague Island & Lighthouse. This island is shared with Maryland, and contains wilderness area and the feral horses.

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Mountains

1978 – Mabry Mill     1992 – Bicycling     1996 – Grayson Highlands State Park     2008 – Mountains Ravens Roost Overlook blue Ridge Parkway Nelson County     2010 – Blue Ridge Parkway  Crabtree Falls      2014 – Virginia Forestry 100th anniversary. Swinging Bridge Willis River Trail – Cumberland National Forest

 

 

The Skyline Drive was one of the earliest scenic parkways completed in the United States. It opened in 1935, and runs for 105 miles along the mountains in western Virginia.

 

Mary's Rock Tunnel on Skyline Drive Shenandoah National Pa… | Flickr

 

 

Virtual Travel – Ohio

Welcome home! While I have lived a number of places, and visited many more, Ohio is home.

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Capitol

1983     1992       2007

 

Ohio Symbols

State Fruit & State Beverage – Tomato & Tomato Juice

Tomato plant with ripe fruit

 

State Rock Song – Hang on Sloopy (if you go to an Ohio State game you will hear this 20 times).

 

 

State Prehistoric Earthworks – Newark Earthworks

 

 

 

Columbus – State Capital

Ohio is the 7th most populated state, with nearly 12 million people living here. It is wet on both ends (Lake Erie and the Ohio River).

Columbus is one of the larger state capitals with over 2 million people in the metro area. It was founded in 1816 to be the state capital.

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Columbus is home to The Ohio State University, one of the largest campuses in the country with over 60,000 undergraduate students. Ohio State also has the largest athletic budget in the country, so there are over 30 varsity sports.

 

 

Highways & Byways of Ohio

1946     1947     1948     1949     1959     1961     1962     1964     1969     1971     1972     1973     1974     1975     1977

 

The National Road

The National Road was the first federally funded, improved road in the contry, being completed in 1837. It ran from Cumberland Maryland to Wheeling, West Virginia, then on to Vandalia, Illiinois.

In the early 1900s they further refined it for the automobile, thus becoming U.S. Highway 40. It was later re-routed, and eventually replaced by Interstate 70, but many of the early 1900s features still exist.

 

Bridges

With the Ohio River at one end, and the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, there are  lots of cool bridges in the state.

In addition Ohio has the 2nd most covered bridges of any state, with over 140 still in existence.

 

 

 

 

History in Ohio

1953 – Sesquicentennial     1978 – Transportation History    1981/1982 – Inventors     1985     1995 – Canals     1997 – Perry’s Monument     2003 – Bicentennial

 

Automobile Industry in Ohio

Cleveland has always been a major transportation production center. This is celebrated with a number of major car and motorcycle shows, as well as the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum.

 

 

Put In Bay

There are numerous islands in Western Lake Erie. By far the most popular is Put In Bay, where each summer thousands take the ferries to party for the weekend.

Also on the island is the 352′ (107m) high Perry Monument. It is thought to be the tallest Doric Column in the world.

 

 

USAF Museum

Dayton is the home of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. It is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world. (lots of world’s largest in Ohio). The four hangars have more than a million square feet of space for the 360+ aircraft. And it has free admission!

 

 

 

 

 

Nature

1979     1990     1996     1999     2015

 

 

 

Hocking Hills

The most popular park in the state is Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio.

 

 

 

Cleveland

While technically Columbus is the largest city in the state in population, it is because the city limits extend for miles. Cleveland however is completely hemmed in by suburbs, but the metro area is much larger than Columbus (especially if you consider Akron part of the metro area).

It’s many attractions include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Lake Erie Shoreline, and the major league sports teams.

 

 

Cincinnati

At the other end of the state is Cincinnati. It’s location on the Ohio River resulted in Cincinnati very early being one of America’s major cities. In the mid 1800s it was the 6th largest city in the country.

It still remains a major city, with numerous attractions like the Cincinnati Union Terminal Museum Center, the Cincinnati Bengal and Reds, and the riverfront.