The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.
The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.
A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.
One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.
While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.
The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.
High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.
Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.
The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.
At the edge of Canton, Ohio behind a row of old shopping areas, is a building that at first appearances is a vacant factory. As you drive up you see a small sign that says ‘Blue Water Majesty Museum’.
Once you enter and meet Larry Pulka, the owner and craftsman, you see it is much more. For more than 40 years Larry has built from scratch model ships. These ships are built just like the real thing, starting with the skeleton and beyond.
The display area is well done, with display cases and backgrounds very professionally done.
Most are scale sailing ships.
Each ship has details such as lifeboats, railings and masts. All are built out of exotic woods, using different woods to represent the various colors.
Larry goes into such detail that he has made tiny wood nails that are used extensively.
Further detail is shown in the peripherals on the ship.
If you find yourself in Canton, Ohio it is well worth a visit to go see Larry and his amazing ships.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is somewhere I have been numerous times over the years, but not since 2014. Since I was in Northern Ohio and had some time I stopped by.
The only fundamental change is a football card display, the rest of the displays were the same as three years ago. Still with new lenses and a different perspective it was a good chance to challenge the photography skills.
Canton is the home of professional football in America, with the NFL being founded in a car dealership garage there in 1920. In the early 1960s the leaders of Canton thought it would be a good idea to build a Professional Football Hall of Fame, having seen the success that Cooperstown, NY had with the baseball one.
The distinctive building, in the shape of an upright football coming out of the roof, was expanded in the mid 1990s to it’s current 80,000 + square feet.
As you enter the rotunda you are greeting with a life sized statue of Jim Thorpe, one of the best athletes of all time. Jim, who was a Sac and Fox Native America named Wa Tho Huk (Bright Path), won Olympic Gold Medals in the Pentathlon and Decathlon, played American Football, Professional Baseball and Basketball, and excelled at all of them.
Winning his gold medals in 1912 Stockholm Olympics; when he was presented his gold medals from King Gustav V, the kind said “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world”, to which Thorpe (being a true American) replied, “Thanks, King”
The first exhibit hall displays equipment from the early days.
The Bust Gallery of all of the Hall of Fame players is especially impressive.
Throughout the day the docents presented different programs; we watched one on the evolution of the helmet.
There was an exhibit on professional leagues other than the NFL.
Finally as you reach the end you are greeted by a Super Bowl trophy.
With a sunny early fall weekend with nothing to do, we played tourist in the area we lived.
A flower festival in Barberton
Sand castles and carvings were on display
The statue was even adorned with flowers.
Akron was once the rubber capital of the world, and there is plenty of evidence of this – including Firestone Stadium, a depression era baseball stadium that has been converted for the Women’s Professional Softball team.
Quaker Oats started in Akron – one of the old silo complexes was turned into a hotel, and later, University of Akron dorms.
The new University of Akron football stadium – likely overbuilt as they never fill it.
The William McKinley Memorial in Canton.
The steps are a popular workout location.
Canton is home to the Professional Football Hall of Fame – as the freeway bridge proclaims.
Back in Akron – Fulton Airport – Home of the Blimp Hangar