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.
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’)
Unfortunately for Detroit when your population goes from nearly 2 million to 600,000, and most of the jobs leave the city you are left with a lot of vacant properties. One of the most famous is the 3.5 million square foot Packard Automobile Factory.
Completed in the early 1900s, it was state of the art for it’s time.
At one point there were 90 buildings in use across the campus. Today only one remains in use, the rest are decaying to various degrees.
Designed by Albert Kahn it was a model factory for 1911. This view is of the former administration office building.
The complex has been vacant so long a tree has grown over a fire hydrant.
At it’s peak 40,000 people worked here.
Today bridges lead to nowhere.
While it closed in the 1950s as a car factory, portions of it were used for a variety of other purposes until the 1990s.
There is a large amount of graffiti throughout.
Including places you wonder how they got up there.
Debris is strewn about everywhere, including this column from one of the buildings with the rebar wrapped around it.
The campus has a tunnel complex throughout – originally used to provide electrical and other utilities.
Today it is mostly filled with debris like tires. The light down the tunnel is from collapses on down the line.
This bridge ‘sort of’ connects two buildings.
Some random dumping, including a boat that was then covered in graffiti.
A bumper – but no car.
Our intrepid white hard hatted group wandered about with the Pure Detroit guide learning about the history of the Packard Company and the facility.
At last we made our way up the ramp to where the assembly line ended.
With a look down the line. In the history of the factory over 1.5 million cars and trucks were produced here.
Some of the more artistic graffiti.
One of the buildings minus every single window frame (the glass has been gone from the buildings for decades).
Some of the buildings were originally built with 2 floors, but later expanded. Look closely you will note that the columns are slightly different between the floors indicated a later construction for the upper floor.
There were a number of hard core photographers in the group.
This building still has some remaining window frames, at a great happenstance view.
An elevator building that is amazingly still somewhat standing.
Ironically the complex has become popular with large scale movie production – this ‘concrete’ is actually a piece of Styrofoam painted to look like concrete from the latest ‘Transformers’ movie.
The last bastion of glass…
A survivor of the apocalypse – or a slightly burnt teddy bear in a factory in Detroit, minus one arm but still a smile.
The front building area has been cleared of debris as they try and restore it to a functional state.
While the office area has been cleared out waiting for a lot of money to come along to rebuild.
The funeral for the Packard Automobile Company was held over 60 years ago, and the factory itself over 20 years ago – but Detroit still holds out hope someone will bring this amazing place back from the dead. (and it was total coincidence a vintage hearse drove by while we were standing there waiting on the tour).
Day 18 of the Hawaii trip is a travel day, so we stayed fairly close to the airport for our late afternoon flight. We found a number of interesting artistic and historic sites to visit.
First up was the Sacred Gardens. This location seemed to be part gardens, part religious, part cosmic and more.
They did have a ‘Buddha Garden’, with some nice sculptures.
Their claim to fame though is their labyrinths.
Just down the road is the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. Situated on the grounds of a former sugar plantation owner, there are a number of buildings for various uses including a tiny high school.
The grounds are immaculate.
Makai Glassworks is located in another former sugar plantation. We were able to observe the artist at work.
In the same area, but off the tourist path, is the Dingking surfboard shop.
A true find, they make custom surfboards.
In addition to the surfboards, they do other custom woodwork including this great canoe.
But their specialty is surfboards.
Our next stop was the Surfing Goat Dairy, and as our directions had us turn into the road we were amazed that a dairy would have such a fancy entrance – until we realized the entrance was for a neighborhood of multi million dollar houses, and the dairy was off to to the side.
But they did have goats, and surfboards.
While most of the employment in Maui now is tourism, they once had thriving businesses in agriculture, primarily the sugar plantations and pineapples. They even once had railroads to bring the goods to the port, as evidenced by this former railroad office.
In my 3 weeks in Hawaii I did not see 1 railroad track (although there are apparently a couple of historic railroads around).
Sugar cane processing was once a big business, but it is all now gone. This was the last processing plant, and it closed a few years ago.
The history is celebrated by a museum housed in the former superintendents home.
The interior has a nice display of the people and lifestyles of the plantation life. Outside they have some of the equipment used in the processing.
This truck and trailer was used to bring in massive amounts of the sugar cane into the factory.
While these large claws picked up the cane in the fields.
A quick stop at Target – where they are ready for Christmas Hawaiian style.
And a great Hawaiian pizza – and it was off for our flights to Kauai.
Day 7 started out with breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes – enough breakfast we didn’t have lunch. When in Hilo, stop at Kens 🙂
About an hour north of Hilo we arrived at Waipii’o Valley Overlook. The valley is 2000′ deep, with great sea cliffs just beyond.
A waterfall comes out of nowhere along the cliffs.
Hawaii has a number of micro climates, with the landscape looking very different. Once we passed Waimea (Cowboy Capital of Hawaii), it all of a sudden switched from rain forest to ‘Central California hills’.
Our next stop was one of the highlights of the island – Polulu Valley Overlook. With a bit of a hike down and toward the ocean, the view south was stunning. I realize after 7 days there are a lot of ‘cliffs and ocean’ photos, but this is one of the best spots.
The town of Kapaau is famous as the birthplace of Kamekameha. It is celebrated with a statue of him. Legend has it that this statue was made for placement in Honolulu but it was lost in a shipwreck, so they made a replacement.
Locals in Kapaau believed it was karma as they felt Honolulu should not have the statue since he is from their town. The original was recovered from the sea and sent to Kapauu.
Kapaau is a nice little Hawaiian town.
On the way back to Kona we stopped at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory.
Some of their processing is located here where you can check out people preparing the nuts.
We left with plenty to last us the rest of the trip.
As we neared Kona, we headed 3000′ up a mountain (and from 86 degrees to 67 degrees) to the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation.
Kona is famous for their coffee, and this nice small family business gave us a tasting and a tour.
The beans after the first step of processing.
The coffee trees are grown on top of lava shoots, which provides the unique chemical balance that makes Kona coffee what it is.
We were fortunate enough to get tickets to two Open House Special Tours.
Our first tour was of the CTA El Train Repair Shops in Skokie. Directions to our tour was to go to the Howard Street Station on the Red Line and gather on the far end of the platform.
For this Saturday morning the platform was jammed with many people not used to taking the train, as they were in town for the University of Nebraska game against Northwestern in Evanston. To the normal commuter seeing a 1922 El Car come rolling into the station would be a surprise, but to this large out of town crowd it was stunning.
One of the volunteers was dressed in a period uniform.
While others had their safety vests on. All of the vintage cars are maintained by volunteers – many retired CTA workers.
The passengers were excited…
As we arrived at the yard we were greeted by other vintage cars awaiting restoration, as well as the revenue generating current cars.
The 400 series cars really stand out against the modern cars in the yard.
But it was time to tour the shop.
Our tour guide was the manager of the facility.
There were El cars in various states of repair.
This station refurbishes the wheels.
While another lifts the entire car for easy access.
They also have some bays with pits to get underneath the cars.
A great Chicago tradition is the Holiday Train. Started in 1992, the Holiday Train is a labor of love for the CTA employees who volunteer to work on the cars, as well as the public. During the holiday season the Holiday Train visits every El station on every line, usually taking food baskets to local organizations.
Another vintage car along ithe snow removal engine (minus the blower)
The El Cars have springs and shocks like a regular car, just much larger.
An axle and wheels.
A pile of wheels waiting on refurbishing.
A collection of contact shoes that connect the train to the third rail to provide power to the engines.
A series of trucks ready to go. After this we headed back to our vintage car and returned to Howard Street Station.
Our second tour of the day was the Chicago Tribune Printing Facility
The Chicago Tribune Freedom Center is a printing and inserting facility located along the Chicago River. Built in 1981, it was located along the river with the theory of bringing the paper products directly into the facility by boat, but the first shipment showed that with the bend in the river, the bridges and the building itself they couldn’t get to the dock. While the doors are still there they have never been used for their original purpose.
Our guide was someone from the receiving department.
Our tour of the 800,000 square foot facility started in the warehouse with massive 1 ton rolls of paper.
From this warehouse they are loaded onto carts that are electronically routed (via a wire in the floor – 1980s technology at it’s finest) to the appropriate press.
There are a total of 10 massive presses that are used. The Tribune facility prints not only their own newspaper, but also for the regional suburban newspapers, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for the Midwest, and even their local competitor the Chicago Sun Times.
The tour group was very focused.
The massive printing presses are very cool.
The Chicago Tribune Printing Facility was a great tour – one of the best we have done.
Our weekend continued as we made our way into Chicago on an early Sunday morning. There were a couple of places I wanted to check out as we made our way across the city.
First up is the Pullman District. Built in the 1880s by railroad car manufacturer George Pullman, the neighborhood was a model for a company town. Pullman was determined to make a town that met all the workers needs, thus resulting in attracting better workers.
They built many homes throughout. While most of the workers lived in row houses, there are a number of single family homes.
A strike in 1894 brought to light the fallacy of some of Pullman’s statements, as the workers struggled to make ends meet.
The neighborhood however lived on until the 1950s when many people left to move to the suburbs.
Threatened with the possibility of the entire neighborhood being bulldozed for an industrial park, community leaders pulled together a civic organization and lobbied the city to save their neighborhood.
By the early 1970s the Pullman Historic District had received landmark status. Today it is a National Historic Park, as well as a neighborhood that people live in.
There is still more to do, but it does live on as a showcase for the South Side.
Further into town is the Fountain of Time, a sculpture that is 126′ wide x 10′ high. Completed in the early 1920s, it was designed by Lorado Taft.
It’s location is at the edge of Washington Park and the Plaisance Midway.
Nearby is Jackson Park, and the 59th Street beach. The grasses protect erosion from Lake Michigan.
The Golden Lady is a 24′ gilded bronze likeness of a statue that was known as the Republic. The original was a 65′ high statue that was displayed in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
She sits in the general area they are planning on building the Obama Library.
With the University of Chicago nearby there are a number of architecturally interesting buildings in the area.
The most important building in the area is the Robey House, a classic Frank Lloyd Wright design.
They are restoring the interior so we opted just to check out the exterior and return after the restoration work is done for a full tour.
Even from the outside the style and grace of FLW is noticeable.
The area that the park and the university is located is known as Hyde Park. This was President Obama’s Chicago home, which he still owns The block is off limits to traffic, but someone has modified the ‘Residents Only’ sign to be more appropriate.
Leaving the South Side we headed downtown, passing Soldier Field. Originally built in 1924 in a Neoclassical style, with columns lining the sides, it has undergone numerous renovations.
The last in the early 2000 added a strange modern look sitting on top the classical columns.
Passing through downtown, we crossed the Chicago River on Lakeshore Drive.
While not technically on the south side the Washington Library is Chicago’s main branch.
Definitely not on the south side, the 606 is a bike/walking path on former elevated train lines (similar to the High Line in New York). It’s name comes from the zip codes for the areas it passes.
Originally a rail line known as the Bloomingdale Line, it was converted to a trail starting in 2009. At 2.7 miles long it is twice as long as the High Line.