Eastern Ohio Towns – August 2020 – Architecture Along the National Road

The final posting on the National Road day is of architecture in the towns and small cities along the way. Much like in Wheeling, there is both nicely restored and the delightfully appealing vacant buildings.

Every county has restored their historic courthouse – could be a theme for a posting of it’s own in the future – the 88 courthouses of Ohio.

St Clairsville, Ohio

Morrisville, Ohio

Cambridge, Ohio

Zanesville, Ohio

Cambridge, Massachusetts – August 2019 – Insider Tour of MIT

I am fortunate enough to know someone who has spent considerable time at MIT, and she was kind enough to show us around to sights on campus that most visitors don’t realize is there to be seen.

We started out with some familiar sites; the Kresge Auditorium. Designed and completed in the mid 1950s by Eero Saarinen, it is an excellent example of mid-century modern.

Next door is a chapel, also designed by Saarinen.

The Rogers Building serves as the center of MIT. It’s atrium is beautiful.

The windows facing Mass Avenue are equally impressive.

The Frances Russell Hart Nautical Museum is tucked away on an upper floor of the main building. It contains a number of intricately designed model ships.

As you wander the halls you come across all sort of great sights.

While this might look like any other hallway at MIT, it is very special. It is known as the Infinite Hall, running the length of the main building and leading to a second building.

You have heard of Stonehenge, perhaps Manhattanhenge (a posting is available), and even Carhenge.

This otherwise nondescript hallway twice a year is the location of MITHenge – the sun shines straight through the entire distance, lighting up the floor. I need to come back in November!

The outdoor space is enhanced with sculptures. MIT is a very cool place, and thanks to an insider we saw some cool sights (all completely open to anyone, you just need to know where to look).

Cambridge, MA – May 2018 – MIT Buildings

A couple of hours on a Sunday morning provided the perfect time to wander the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and check out the buildings.

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The Stratton Student Center faces Mass Avenue – featuring the 2010 piece ‘Alchemist’.

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Nearby is the Kresge Auditorium. Designed by Eero Saarinen it was completed in 1955.

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Across Mass Ave is the Rogers Building. While much of MIT was built in around 1915-1916, this building was built in the 1930s to provide an interface to Mass Ave, but built in the same style – with an impressive dome.

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The Maclaurin Building’s dome is equally impressive – highlighting a reading room on an upper floor.

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The Green Building. Cambridge has laws restricting height, so to get around this MIT built the first floor 30′ high. Unfortunately because of this design the winds around this building hamper the ability to open and close the doors some days.

The artwork in front ‘The Big Sail’ was rumored to be an effort to deflect the wind – but MIT says this is an urban legend.

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Finally the Ray and Maria Stata Center. As anyone who has studied any architecture can immediately tell it is a Frank Gehry design.

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Cambridge, OH – October 2016 – Paul Bunyan Festival

A cool October weekend found us in Cambridge, in eastern Ohio for the Paul Bunyan Festival, founded in 1957 making it the oldest event of it’s kind in America (according to the program). It was held at the¬†Guernsey County Fairgrounds, located just outside of Cambridge.

There were more than 130 exhibitors representing the forest industry throughout the U.S. and Canada. The crowd was an interesting mix of 4 wheel drive type folks mixed in with a large Mennonite crowd

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After we spent some time touring the grounds, we made our way to the grandstands for the main events. First up was a competition where two contestants using something known as a knuckleboom loader to pick up a number of large logs, stack them neatly, then return them to the starting point. Most of the contestants showed amazing skills in picking these large logs up, and setting them down in a small space.

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Next up were the axe throwers, another sport you wonder how many injuries there are for those just starting out…

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There were a number of rounds of chain saw contests. Most made 3 passes through the log within 12″ of the edge in around 10 seconds.

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The axe choppers were intense.

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There were categories for male, female and mixed in the two person saw contest.

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One event had the contestant notch a log, stick their stand in it, jump up and cut a log in two. I would’ve fallen off instantly.

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Cambridge, OH – June 2016 – Wooden Toys & Fancy Glass

Our first weekend road trip once we were back took us to Cambridge, Ohio, with a few sights along the way, including a return visit to Dawes Arboretum, where the roses and many other flowers were in full bloom. It was ironic that the two areas featured here were the roses and a small bonsai display given we had recently been to a world class display of both in Portland, but for eastern Ohio it was quite nice.

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Our first stop in Cambridge was to find the Hopalong Cassidy Museum, only to find out that it had been located in a flea market that had closed and been torn down, so we settled for an Ohio Historical Society plaque noting that this was his birthplace. Having failed at that we drove across town to The Great American Steam Locomotive Museum located at the Cambridge Wooden Toy Company. Despite the impressive name it is really just a small shop in a residential neighborhood in Cambridge. It is however, a great place to visit.

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Seattle native Brian Gray has been carving wood since 1976, having landed in Cambridge after having met his wife, a Cambridge native, while in the service. As you enter the building you immediately come into the wood shop. You can’t help but notice how immaculate and organized it is. The back room is where he has his collection of carved trains, as well as other toys on display and for sale.

Brian really seemed to enjoy showing us around, telling us about each locomotive, and his personal connection to many of them. In the end we had a nice conversation, took some great photos and came home with a new wooden toy helicopter.

Our next stop was the National Museum of Cambridge Glass, displaying glassware produced by the company from 1902 until 1958 in three main rooms, the Dining Room, Sample Room and Member’s display area.

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It houses a superb collection of Cambridge glassware produced by The Cambridge Glass Company from 1902 to 1958.

The museum is located at 136 South Ninth Street, one block south of the main street of Cambridge, and is open April through October with hours of operation shown at the bottom of this page. The museum features over 6,000 pieces of glassware, with an interpretive area demonstrating how glass was made from gathering, shaping, etching, and engraving.

Just minutes after we arrived a bus load of elderly ladies came rolling in, along with a lot of chatter, an abundance of perfume and the general feel of being overran by a collection of eccentric old aunts. We proceeded to speed tour and went on our way, but in our brief time there we did see a very nice collection of glass, and even a few marbles.

We had plans for later in the day in Coshocton, a 30 miles, 45 minute twisty drive away. As we neared Coshocton I detoured to a small crossroads town called Iselta where a small stone building that is reputed to be the oldest building in the midwest, having been built around 1680. It is located in a field literally 10′ from a house trailer. The building itself has no interior to speak of, but it is still interesting to think a building from the 1600s exists in Ohio.

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Just around the corner from here is a restaurant called Unusual Junction. Built to look like an old wooden train station, complete with a few rail cars and a brightly painted VW Bus out front, but the highlight is the original giant Price is Right sign inside. We continued on to Cambridge for a hoped hot air balloon launch, but the day had high winds so none were flying that day.

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On the way back to Columbus we stopped off a the Longaberger factory store in Frazeysburg. Makers of overpriced baskets that were all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s their business has all but dried up leaving a large, mostly vacant, complex complete with grass growing through the cracks in the pavement of the parking lot. Amazed to find the store open, we went in for a few minutes, and even more amazingly came home with…a gourd with holes punched in it filled with colorful lights, because every home needs old dried fruit as nightlights.

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Also located on the complex is a museum celebrating the good times of the founder, Dave Longaberger, as well as a giant faux basket full of apples

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