Columbus – July 2019 – Chihuly Glass Sculptures Exhibit

In the world of blown glass nobody is better than Dale Chihuly. For more than 50 years he has turned out the most impressive glass pieces around.

The Franklin Park Botanical Gardens has always had a number of Chihuly pieces, but for the next few months they have expanded their collection to be the largest Chihuly collection in a botanical garden anywhere. Entitled Chihuly: Celebrating Nature, it blends nicely with the gardens.

Columbus – December 2018 – Ohio’s Attic

The Ohio History Center in Columbus is sort of Ohio’s attic, if an attic is a brutalist style concrete building with a number of galleries with extremely diverse displays.

Still, a good way to spend a few hours on a cold, rainy Saturday.

First up – African American Art

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A long time Columbus TV legend, Flippo (or more appropriately Flippo’s outfit)

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A small engine.

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Silver Bracelet from the 1800s.

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Ohio has always been known for it’s many glass makers.

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A display on World War I had a gas mask. Interestingly the precursor to the gas mask was invented by Garrett Morgan in Cleveland. An African American, Garrett had a long and distinguished life as an inventor.

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An exhibit on Ohio artists. This display honors Paul Henri Bourguignon, a Belgian born artist who settled in Columbus in 1950 after his wife joined the faculty of Ohio State University.

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Flywheel for a steam engine. I just like the symmetry and color.

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Early fire engine.

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Horse drawn streetcar.

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Model Train set.

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Miss America 1953’s gown and portrait.

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Etch a Sketch – from ‘Ohio Art’

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A 1957 Chevy and an Airstream Trailer. The camper has been built in Ohio for a long time.

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The Soap Box derby is synonymous with Ohio.

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Lustron Homes were prefabricated, metal houses made in the 1940s and 1950s.

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This display is all set for Christmas 1955.

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Native American pipe.

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And effigy.

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A display of Civil War era Ohio Companies flags.

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Dinosaur skull.

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Taxidermy of animals that once, or still, are present in Ohio.

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An airplane, because we need an airplane.

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And cars. We need cars to. And the state has long produced both.

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An early tire mold from Firestone.

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Finally we are hungry, so we stopped by White Castle (at least the exhibit – we found better food for lunch afterwards).

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 18 Art and History of Maui

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.







Kokomo, Indiana – July 2018 – Hot Times in a Glass Factory

Kokomo, Indiana is a city of 50,000 in north central Indiana, about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. Always an industrial town, Kokomo was surprisingly a nice town.

We were in town to take a factory tour (below) but while we waited we checked out all of the places in town noted on Roadside America.

The first site is the Seiberling Mansion. Built in the late 1800s it is a stately home along Sycamore Street.

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In the middle of town is the Kokomantis – a 17′ high steel sculpture of a mantis.

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A block down the street is the Storybrook Express, a quirky building used for a drive through beer distributor.

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Finally in Highland Park are two attractions including Big Ben who was thought to be the largest steer in history at over 5000 pounds.

He is now stuffed and on display inside a shelter behind glass.

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Also in this shelter is the remains of a giant sycamore tree. This stump is 57′ in circumference.

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Our main event for the day was a tour of the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company. It is the oldest manufacturer of opalescent glass in the world, with this factory in continuous use since 1888.

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Our tour started next to the furnace. We were about 50′ away and it was 120 degrees.

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They use an assortment of ladles for pouring the glass.

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The vintage carts have already mixed material for the various colors ready for the furnace.

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When they are done the pieces of glass are placed in barrels scattered about the factory for remelting and forming later.

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A few of the ovens.

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KOG is famed for their skilled glass blowers. We were treated to a demonstration.

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A trainee demonstrated how to blow glass.

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Our tour consisted of a number of elderly from a church and two moms who had 9 kids between them! As you can see the kids were thrilled to be there.

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Our tour took us back past the furnace area.

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Once completed, the glass is inventoried. With hundreds of colors and patterns the selection is immense.

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The storage reminded me of the end of the first Indiana Jones movie.

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Throughout the history of the company the workers have signed a wall, with some signatures dating back to the 1800s.

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They have high skilled workers who can customize the glass for various uses, including stained glass panel replacements.

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The pubic has the opportunity to come in and make their own glass beads.

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Another one of the skilled workers with some detail glass work.

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The Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company is a great place for a visit.

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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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Lancaster, Ohio – March 2015 – Museum Day

With the cool March day, and spring still not yet blooming, we decided to spend the day at a few local museums that I have been planning on going to.

The Jack Nicklaus Museum is on the West Campus of Ohio State, near Schottenstein Arena. While well done, it doesn’t appear to have been updated since it’s opening years ago. The time we were there nobody else came in.

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The museum focuses on his youth in Upper Arlington, his accomplishments, with a nice collection of trophies, courses he designed, a small section on other golf legends, and a section for Ohio State golf. All in all it was ok for it’s $10 admission price, but not one of the better ones.

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The Decorative Arts Center in Lancaster is located in a mid 1800s house, with period pieces on the first floor. The second floor has rotating exhibits, when we were there the display was A Tradition of Progress, Ohio Decorative Arts 1860-1945. The items displayed were made in Ohio during that period, a time when America was going through mechanization.

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The display emphasizes items that the emerging middle class would have purchase, sometimes practical, often just for display. The highlight were items from the Arts and Crafts movement, including some wonderful chairs, and pottery from Rookwood, Roseville and Weller.

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The Ohio Glass Museum is located in an old bank on Main Street, in the middle of some small shops, and vacant buildings.

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They pay tribute to the primary industry of my hometown, glassmaking. Among the displays were a collection of items used in glassmaking, the ‘Treasures of Ohio’ collection of some fine art glass, and a large collection of Degenhart Glass in the lower level

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The best display was filled with TV tubes, medical equipment, tail light fixtures, and other ‘every day’ uses like exit signs, turn signals and streetlight covers that when they were produced in the early 1900s, were down with mouth blown tools.

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Columbus, IN – October 2013 – Architecture Tour

The small city of Columbus, Indiana is known for the depth and breadth of modern architecture and public art. This amazing collection is due to Irwin Miller, the 2nd CEO of Cummins, a diesel engine manufacturer.

Miller initially paid the architects fees if the firm select came from a list he approved. First used for schools, it was later expanded to other non profit and civic organizations.

The Cummins Headquarters is a fine example.

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The interior is impressive as well with engines displayed from the ceiling detailing the components

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The visitor center has an impressive glass art display as well.

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An impressive sculpture adorns the center of a boulevard.

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The local newspaper office.

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City Halls curved glass wall provides numerous interesting reflections.

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A ‘Gizmo’ in the local mall.

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The Miller House and Garden was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1957. Unfortunately interior photography was prohibited.

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