Southeastern Ohio – April 2019 – Interesting and Unusual Sights Part 2

Part 2 of the Southeastern Ohio tour shows some of the results of the struggles that an area that has been economically depressed for decades looks like.

A Ghost Sign in New Lexington.





Apparently not much fun in the sun anymore. It seems like it would’ve always been a bad business model because pools are expensive, and this area has never had much personal income, not to mention it is sparsely populated.





Some seem to have a unique beauty in their deterioration.





While others seem to be just barely standing.





Welcome to Historic Shawnee, Ohio!




This town once had over 3000 residents, now it is down to 600.




While at first glance it appears to be a ghost town, Shawnee is hanging on. While many of the buildings are vacant, some continue to be used.




Closer inspection of this ‘building’ shows the front is still there, but the rest of the building is gone, resulting in a courtyard of sorts.




This building, completed in 1907, was originally a hotel that hosted among others William McKinley. In addition there has always been a theater within.

This theater has recently been restored, and hosts concerns, plays and amazingly basketball games.




When buying a ‘fixer upper’, make sure it isn’t relying on the neighbor to stand up. (amazingly the small building behind the sign had a sign on the front indicating it was the real estate agents office, but it seems unlikely.




While sadly worn down, the buildings do have interesting architectural elements to them. If this were anywhere near somewhere with real estate in demand these cool little old buildings would be snapped up and restored.




With Shawnee being far from any population or jobs centers, they just look like a movie set.




Moving on, we passed this once a school, once a church, now (apparently) vacant building.





In nearby Glouster is a worn sign for The Wonder Bar (which apparently is long gone). No Wonder Dogs for lunch today.





Nearby is what looks like a scene from a Hitchcock movie – and old dilapidated building covered with birds.





Just out of town is an abandoned school, which nature is taking over.





As noted in Part 1 of this day, Nelsonville was a brick town. A park on the outskirts of town have the remains of a brick factory.




With the tower and a couple of large kilns, it is very cool place to check out.




This factory was started in 1880, and closed in 1940.




Amazingly the bricks are still sitting in the kiln.




Look closely you will see ‘Nelsonville Block’ embossed in many of the bricks. This company won awards for their bricks at the World’s Fair in St Louis in 1904.




Stacks of bricks are stored in the park (thankfully it appears nobody is stealing them).





Nearby is the Hocking Canal Lock 19 remains. Canals were essential to the initial development of the area in the mid 1800s.



This photo is representative of transportation in the area over the times. First there was the canal, then the railroad killed the canals.

The railroad itself was mostly displaced by the highway. Why can I stand in the middle of the highway and take this picture? Because it too has been displaced by a newer freeway that bypass all of the towns and this section of road, further killing any chance of survival these towns have.





Our final stop is in the interesting little town of Haydenville.



Haydenville is a company town founded by Columbus industrialist Peter Hayden. If you check out my posts of the Historic Architecture of Broad Street in Columbus you will find the Hayden Building and the New Hayden Building.
https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2019/03/11/columbus-march-2019-a-broad-street-national-historic-registry-lesson/

For his company town Hayden used the products he produced for sale to build the buildings.




The town was built in stages, and the materials reflect the era that they were producing them in the factory.




Some have interesting architectural features (and satellite dishes and trash).




Even the church was built out of the Haydenville Mining and Manufacturing company’s products.




In fact closer inspection shows a plethora of different tiles used for accent pieces and features.




Even some of the individual homes have these features. Note the pipes in the upper part of the left side of this house used for decoration.




Next door is a similar one, with slightly different features.




The final really unique house in the old company town of Haydenville.

Southesatern Ohio parallels much of Appalachia – there is natural beauty, but much has been destroyed by rampant disregard of nature for the benefit of industry for 100 years or so, now it is left on it’s own.

Yet some survive, either through tourism or other means. Regardless there is much to see in the area, and worth a trip (with an open mind to ‘beauty’)







Southeastern Ohio – April 2019 – Interesting and Unusual Sights Part 1

A long spring Sunday was spent wandering throughout Southeastern Ohio. For those not familiar, this area of the state is the beginning of Appalachia – both the good point and bad points.

Part 1 of the posting is showing the interesting sights of the area. Part 2 (in a second post) shows some of the hardships endured.

The day started out passing through the small town of Somerset, home of the Civil War general Phillip Sheridan. His statue graces the middle of the traffic circle in the center of town.





Just south of Somerset we passed by a large collection of ‘Ghost Bikes’. These bikes are normally placed where a bicyclist was killed in accidents. I am not sure if this person is paying tribute, or makes the bikes.





Southeastern Ohio is made up of small towns that all have seen better days. They were mostly coal towns or clay/brick towns. Murray City has restored their small train depot and even has a small engine and caboose.



While inside they have the items used to run the depot. Apparently nobody has used the calculator in a long time as it was covered in cobwebs.





Nearby Glouster has restored their depot as well.




Glouster also has a number of public art installations including a large, nicely done mural showing the history of the town.




They also have a number of reproductions of famous pieces of art on the side of the building in the center of town.





Nearby Nelsonville is a center for tourism for the area, as they have a very popular scenic railroad. In addition the town square has been restored, including this great building – the Stuart Opera House.

Nelsonville has a music festival that brings ‘nationally known’ artists, as well as many regional artists. The Stuart also hosts many concerts.




This stylish house on the edge of the town square is made of some locally made bricks, with the interesting coloring.




Nelsonville was a brick town, as noted by this great building and the brick street.




One of the manufacturers was the Star Brick company, with their distinctive stars embossed in each brick.





With the natural beauty of the hills and valleys, it has become a tourist mecca with nearby Hocking Hills being the center.

As with many parts of the country they have converted old railways to trails. This trail goes through the King Hollow Tunnel. This tunnel is unique in that is was (and still is) wood frame, as opposed to stone or concrete. It was recently restored and stabilized but still done with wood.





Nearby Lake Hope State Park has a historic Iron Furnace.





The highlight of this area is the famed Moonville Tunnel. The guide at the visitor center told us to take a road until we reached the stream and walk across the bridge. Clearly this is not the bridge to cross.




We eventually found the correct one, and headed for the tunnel. The Moonville Tunnel is infamous for being haunted, with numerous different stories about ghosts.





All we found were graffiti from previous ghosts (or tacky people).





It has rained a lot recently and the side of the trail through the tunnel had a light layer of water which coupled with the stunning amount of graffiti gave it an interesting look.

Part 2 of this day is highlighted in a second post.






Detroit – April 2019 – The Guardian Building

With the auto industry booming in the 1920s Detroit was flush with cash. As a result most of their grand buildings date from that period – which coincided with the Art Deco movement in architecture.

The Guardian Building is the best example in Detroit, and one of the very best in the world. It has made every single list of top 10 Art Deco skyscrapers every published.





In addition to the Art Deco, they use a Native American theme throughout the exterior and interior.





This unique, and stylish mix is fantastic.





The building is asymmetrical, with a taller tower on the north end, with a slightly shorter wing on the south.

The unique custom coloring became so popular that it is now known as ‘Guardian Bricks’.





As you enter the smallish lobby you are greeted by this great mosaic.




The north tower elevator lobbies are unique from any other with the native theme continuing. Note the stained glass window.





A close up of the stained glass. The building was designed by Wirt Rowland, and features the colored materials set in geometric patterns.





A close up of the elevator lobby ceiling shows this detail.





A Montel metal screen separates the lobby from the banking hall.





This close up of the Montel metal screen shows the very cool clock.





The massive banking hall gave this building it’s nickname – the Cathedral of Finance, with it’s strong design homage to the great cathedrals of the world.





The hall is 3 floors high and is flanked on the south end by an impressive mural.





The mural is by Michigan native Ezra Winter, and celebrates all the highlights of the state. Winter also did the mosaic featured above.





A detailed look at the mural shows this industrial side, which compliments an agricultural side (not pictured).





At the apex of the mural is a tribute to finance (after all it was built as a bank)





The newer lighting retains the art deco look.





The ceiling is covered in an acoustical absorbing material, a 3/4″ thick horsehair covering over the plaster ceiling.





This design keeps down the echoing in the great hall, as well as provides a much easier restoration that a 90 year old building requires from time to time.





Even the information sign contains the Native American elements.

The Guardian Building is truly one of the greats, worth a trip to Detroit by itself.