Delaware, OH – July 2018 – Fun with Funghi

Our hot weekend continued with a visit to a local Metro Park – Gallant Woods – that was holding a ‘Mushroom Hike’. Lead by Kari, one of the Education leaders from the park service, we wandered through the woods for an hour while she and others spotted various types of mushrooms.

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Our group was small, with Kari and another family who was into foraging for mushrooms, making it very educational.

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Most of the mushrooms were quite small, but still very interesting.

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We found interesting growth on trees.

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A red one on a small twig.

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Mushy ones on another dead tree.

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It was fascinating how when you start looking closely how many different types there are. Much time was spent explaining how difficult it is to see the difference between poisonous ones and those that are edible.

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Kari would often pick them to give us a closer look.

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When you looked closely the details are amazing.

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One large tree had them growing all the way up the 50′ tall tree.

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While you are supposed to leave the mushrooms where they grow for others to enjoy, we were permitted to keep some since Kari picked them as part of our tour.

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Across the road is the original homestead complete with a restored 1930s farm house.

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The entire county parks system is featuring flight this year so one of the barns had a great exhibit with model planes.

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The exhibit’s planes were very impressive.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our hike with Kari, and the time spent with the other staff and volunteers afterwards in the farm house. The staff was even kind enough to share some mushroom quiche they had been preparing in the 1930s stove.

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Delaware, OH – April 2018 – Architectural Tour

The small city of Delaware, Ohio is the county seat of a county of the same name. Located just north of Columbus it was for more than 150 years the center of a farming county, as well as the home of the small college, Ohio Wesleyan.

With Columbus suburbs fast approaching, most of the county to the south has been developed  in tract housing and shopping centers, and it now has a population of over 200,000, and is recognized as having the highest per capita income in the state.

The town of Delaware however still feels like a small town, with many historic buildings.

First up is Beiber’s Mill which was was built in 1877 as a grist mill. Long abandoned, it sits directly on the Olentangy River – there were enough No Trespassing signs, and neighbors that looked like they would have shotguns that we took the photos from the road.

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The next stop was Perkins Observatory.  While in town there is an observatory that was built in 1896 that is still standing (barely), this building is about 3 miles south of town, next to a golf course.

Built in 1925 it has been in use ever since, but has over time reduced in scope as central Ohio is not very conducive to astrological observations – due to the low altitude, cloud cover and light pollution from the cities.

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As we arrived on the small campus of the 1900 student Ohio Wesleyan University, we found Edwards Gymnasium. Built in 1905 it is a spectacular building with an amazing wood ceiling with skylights.

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Just up the hill is Slocum Hall, which contains a library.

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As well as a great skylight.

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Next door is the University Hall and Chapel, although it appears to me very similar to most of the county court houses and jails around the state.

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On the west side of the campus are a series of newer buildings.

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Leaving campus we moved on to an area where all of the Delaware County Government buildings are located including what was a Carnegie Library – now the County Commissioners home.

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Next door is the old courthouse.

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Our last stop is what should be the main attraction of the town – the birthplace of a U.S. President – in this case Rutherford B. Hayes. However someone messed that one up long ago when the home was torn down, so now it is the Rutherford B Hayes Memorial BP Gas Station. But it is the only Presidential Gas Station in America, so Delaware, Ohio has that going for them.

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Delaware, Ohio – October 2017 – Can’t Be Bored at a Gourd Show

The Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio was the host for the annual Gourd Show. Apparently a lot of people like making art out of gourds. With the results it is obvious there are some skilled gourd-artist around.

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There was also entertainment. While we were there a band called the ‘Rum River Blend’ played a mix of acoustic rock, bluegrass and folk. Their fiddle player, Carl, was 95 years old (he was the 1948 Ohio Fiddle Champion)!

Let’s give it up for Carl!

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Bellefontaine, Ohio – April 2015 – Caverns and a BP Station in honor of a President

Ohio Caverns is the largest of all the cave systems in Ohio and contains many crystal formations. Approximately 90% of its stalactite and stalagmite formations are still active. The cavern system was originally an aquifier, holding an underground river of melted glacier water. This river eventually receded to lower levels of the ground and is now unseen

The tunnel system known today as the Ohio Caverns was discovered in 1897 by a farmhand who worked on the land. Shortly after they started tours in the small section discovered, nearly destroyed it by removing crystal formations in that area and writing their names on the walls and ceilings.

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More controlled tours have occurred since then, and in the 1980s professional cave lighting was added. The day we were there we were the only two people on the tour with a young guide. He took the time to explain everything and show us special views that you normally wouldn’t have seen with a larger group.

Nearby are two faux castles that have been tourist attractions for many years. They are called the Piatt Castles, built in the 1870s and are called Mac-o-Chee and Mac-o-Cheek. For this trip they were still closed for winter, but we were able to view them from the outside.

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Once we completed our tour we continued on into the town of Bellefontaine, who have two claims to fame, both involving streets.

They claim that in 1891 George Bartholomew guaranteed the city that he could pave the street around the courthouse with the newly created compound called concrete, and that it would last 5 years. That street has lasted over 120 years. They are so proud of their street and George, that it is now closed to automobiles and there is a statue of George in the middle of it.

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A couple of blocks away is McKinley Street, which is 15’ long. For many years this was known to be the shortest street in the world, but recently there has been some controversy that a street in Scotland is shorter.

After this much excitement it was time for lunch, and we found a local pizzeria called Six Hundred Downtown. After a lunch of cheesesteak and a sausage calzone, that was very good, we were now ready for the afternoon activities.

Ohio, while it has rolling hills throughout much of the eastern and southern portions, is a relatively flat state with no real mountains. The best we can do is 1550’ above sea level at Campbell Hill, just outside of Bellefontaine. We made the long trek up the hill, about 100 foot walk from the car (!), and took some photos of the panorama.

Our last stop in Bellefontaine was the Logan County History and Transportation Museum at the Orr Mansion. This complex was impressive for such a small city.

The history museum had a number of rooms built to represent small business of the early and mid 1900s in Bellefontaine. The mansion was well appointed with period pieces.

The most recent addition, the Transportation Museum, is in the shape of a railroad roundhouse, and include several larger transportation artifacts including the Shawver-Shick covered wagon, Kingsbury & Crockett carriage built in Bellefontaine, a sleigh used by the Sharp family of West Liberty, a 1920s airplane designed and built by Clarence Wissler of Bellefontaine, a 1921 West Liberty fire truck, a 1947 A.J. Miller hearse built in Bellefontaine, a 1950’s railroad maintenance car that was used in the Bellefontaine railroad yard, and vehicles on loan from Honda of America made in Logan County, as well as an extensive motorcycle collection from Honda.

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A scenic route home took us through Delaware, Ohio. This town’s most famous native son was President Rutherford B Hayes, who was born there in 1822. The house he was born in was torn down in 1925, never to be rebuilt. What is at this site, the Rutherford B Hayes Memorial BP Station. A presidential birthplace is a gas station, and a British owned one at that.

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After a brief stop at the historic Selby Stadium at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware we headed out of town for our last stop of the day, a giant cottonwood tree in Galena. Measurements have shown it is nearly 30’ around the base.

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