Columbus – August 2018 – Cars Have Noses and Tails Too

A quiet Sunday found us at a car show close enough we could ride our bicycles too. Since I take lots of photos of custom and classic cars, I decided to focus on the ‘noses and tails’ for something different.

Including a 1967 Ford Mustang fastback.

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1950s Ford Thunderbird.

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A custom 1932 ragtop.

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1959 Chevrolet Pickup.

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1971 Buick Gran Sport

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Late 1940s Buick Roadmaster.

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A heavily customized 1950s pickup (so customized I have no idea what it started as)

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1950s Ford Pickup.

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How to stuff a big block engine in a VW Beetle – stretch it!

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1940 Cadillac Fleetwood.

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1929 Dodge Roadster.

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Customized 1967 Ford Mustang.

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Who doesn’t love a ’59 Pink Cadillac?

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Cincinnati – August 2018 – 1940s Day at Lunken Airport

Lunken Airport is located in a valley on the east side of Cincinnati where the Miami River flows into the Ohio River. Because it is in a valley that has a tendency to flood it is known as ‘Sunken Lunken’.

In the early days of aviation it was the airport for Cincinnati, but in the late 1940s they moved to a much larger site across the river in Northern Kentucky.

 

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Lunken still is a very busy airport, serving corporate jets and other smaller private planes, while maintaining it’s classic art deco look.

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On this day the Cincinnati Museum group was hosting ‘1940s Day at Lunken’. Among the events was a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ photo shoot.

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Amazingly a couple of elderly women were on hand actually were ‘Rosies’ during the 1940s.

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People were encouraged to dress the era, and many did.

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The festival hosting a number of vintage airplanes and cars, and those that came in costume fit in perfect with the equipment.

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Either she is a spy or one of the museum workers.

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A Carmen Miranda look, minus the fruit.

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We saw a couple of ladies dressed in their ‘League of Their Own’ uniforms – a great touch.

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There was entertainment all day. The ‘Queen City Sisters’ acapella group were great singers, with style in their presentation.

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The umbrella served two functions this day – shade in the hot sun, then protection from the rain when a hard shower came through.

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She made a great entrance from the sidecar.

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As noted previously there were some vintage planes and cars, and this fire truck.

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They were very selective in the cars presented, all fitting the environment, if not exactly period perfect.

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Some Model A’s.

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Airplanes and a stylish dress and hat – how cool.

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A vintage Navy plane was on hand.

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I can see this being 1935 in Cincinnati.

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Molly Wellmann is a local tavern owner, and historian. She entertained the crowd with the history of alcohol production in Cincinnati (which is extensive).

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Meanwhile the contestants for the costume contest gathered.

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I suggested to these three they visit Twinsburg next year, they would be a hit there too.

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These ladies were also from the museum.

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The styles were great – without the people who came this would’ve been a mediocre event with a couple of planes and cars. With them it was fantastic.

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A vintage couple with a vintage hangar in the background.

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One observation I have made over the last couple of years that if you ask someone to take their photo and you have your phone or a point and click camera you don’t get much response, but if you have a SLR you get enthusiasm.

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While the dancing was occurring in another tent, this costume contestant decided to combine them.

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The pilots are ready for boarding.

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If this is the 1940s I need to time travel – what a great day.

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And they danced the day away….

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Pittsburgh – August 2018 – Photo Antiquities Museum

On the North Side of Pittsburgh, near Allegheny Commons, is the Photo Antiquities Museum. Located upstairs near a classic old camera store, this museum is packed with great old cameras and photographs.

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As we arrived there was a sign that says ‘buzz here’ – we did and at first nobody came so we went next door to the camera shop. Someone from the shop took us back over and by then Frank from the museum was waiting at the door for us.

He lead us upstairs to a real hidden treasure of Pittsburgh.

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After a brief explanation on the history of photography, he showed us where the various rooms were located for each topic – Antique photographs – The Pittsburgh Photo History Room – and finally the Camera Collection!

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Their collection is vast. Many have small tags detailing important facts like manufacturer and date.

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Many look very different to today’s cameras.

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Most have a great look to them – imagine the memories each created over the years.

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In addition to the still photography there was an extensive collection of video recorders (aka – movie cameras).

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Kodak had a grouping by itself.

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Also included were ancillary items such as light meters.

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And film (what is film???)

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Shelves of cameras.

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An early motion picture cameras with a crank.

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A Magic Lantern viewer. It was an image projector for transparent plates.

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If you are reading this blog you must like photography – and if you like photography you will love the Photo Antiquities Museum for the camera collection alone.

And if you love vintage photographs this is the place – there are plenty to keep you occupied for hours.

A bit thanks to Frank for showing us around.

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Mansfield, OH – July 2018 – Elektro The Robot

Mansfield, Ohio is a mid sized city in north central Ohio. It is most famous for the historic Mansfield Reformatory, which was used for the filming of Shawshank Redemption.

Also in Mansfield is their local museum, housed in a 1800s Soldier’s and Sailors Home.

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Mansfield was once home to a division of Westinghouse that built home appliances. At one point in the 1950s over 8,000 people from Mansfield worked for Westinghouse.

Without a doubt the most interesting thing ever developed and built for Westinghouse in Mansfield is Elektro, the Robot.

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Elektro was designed by Joseph Barnett for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He is credited with being the first true robot ever built.

With voice commands he could walk, talk and count on his fingers. Built out of gears, cams, motors, vacuum tubes and a photo electric cell, one of Elektro’s stranger talents was the ability to smoke a cigarette.

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When we arrived in Mansfield we were greeted by Scott Schaut the curator of the museum, and expert on Elektro. When I asked why he wasn’t in a museum in Pittsburgh, the home of Westinghouse, Scott replied ‘over his dead body’!

Scott has re-created Elektro with modern resin’s and other components. The original is on the left, with the recreation on the right. There was once a dog named Sparko but he was lost to time.

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Also within the museum are some exhibits on the Westinghouse products built in town.

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Including a roasting pan.

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The museum has other local interest items scattered throughout.

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While much of the museum has a military feel to it, they also have some local minerals on display, along with more eclectic items.

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As part of their military display they have a very large model airplane collection.

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While most are military, they have some of the early airplanes like the Wright Flyer.

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The models are very detailed in the presentation. Scott said it best when he said, we are the museum for Mansfield but 90% of the people that walk through the door are looking for Elektro – just like us.

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Richmond, Indiana – July 2018 – Gennett Records Walk of Fame

Gennett Records was a prominent record company based in Richmond, Indiana in the early 1920s. They are known for producing early recordings of numerous well known artists.

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The company was founded in 1917 by the Starr Piano Company. A park in Richmond contains the remains of the Starr Piano factory, as well as a walk of fame.

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The walk of fame highlights the artists and their history at Gennett. Each marker is a three dimensional, cast bronze and colored mosaic tile emblem in the form of a 78 record. A few are shown here including:

 

Hoagy Carmichael – An Indiana native Hoagy began his jazz career at Indiana University. While his early recordings were with Gennett, he only recorded with them a couple of years.

Hoagy had a long career and wrote such classics as Georgia on My Mind and Skylark. Hoagy remains a legend in jazz to this day, almost 40 years since his death.

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Duke Ellington – While he had a few early recordings with Gennett, Duke had a long career in jazz.

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Jelly Roll Morton – Another early jazz musician, he is most noted for a collection of recordings later that reside in the Smithsonian as the definitive example of jazz.

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Charley Patton – As a Delta Country Blues performer Charley wrote and recorded numerous classics. Known as a classic guitar player, Charley is sometimes known as the Founder of the Delta Blues.

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Fats Waller – With a style all his own, Fats could bridge the gap between white and black artists, jazz and blues. In addition he was known as quite the character.

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Gene Autry – Gennett Records gave Gene Autry his start. From there it was on to superstardom as a country musician and actor/entertainer.

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Artie Shaw – Known as one of the greatest clarinetists of all time, as well as a bandleader. His early recordings with Gennett were lost as the masters were inexplicably destroyed.

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Big Bill Broonzy – One of the original bluesmen. His style lead to Chicago blues. If you listen to Eric Clapton, you are listening to Big Bill Broonzy, as Eric idolized his style.

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Blind Lemon Johnson – Before Robert Johnson, before Big Bill Broonzy there was Blind Lemon Johnson.In 1929 he hired a Ford car with a chauffeur and came to Richmond, recording 12 country blues songs. Sadly later that night back in Chicago it is believed he became disoriented and lost. When he was found the next morning he had frozen to death on a Chicago sidewalk.

He continues to influence many, the bands Blind Melon and Jefferson Airplane are named in his honor.

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And finally – Sachmo – Louis Armstrong – One of the earliest recordings in Richmond were from Louis. He is likely the most important jazz musician of all time.

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There are more honored on the walk – make your way to Richmond for a music history lesson someday.

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The park is well worth the visit.

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Indianapolis – July 2018 – The Ruins of Holliday Park

If someone blindfolded you, put you on a plane, and took you to this field before taking off the blindfold you might say ‘are we in Rome – what ruins are those?’.

Needless to say they would be very surprised to find they are in the middle of Indianapolis.

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Surrounded by columns it is an impressive sight.

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But this structure is not a thousand year old Roman ruin. It is not even from Indiana. These are the remains of what is considered New York City’s first skyscraper – the St Paul Building.

Built in 1898 at 220 Broadway by Karl Bitter, a well known architect of the day.

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The building had three large statues made of Indiana limestone. These statues were called ‘The Races of Man’ and represented African American, Asian and Caucasian laboring together to hold the skyscraper up.

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By the 1950s it was decided to tear down this building to build a new, boring, glass and steel skyscraper. The owners of the building held a competition to find a new home for the sculptures, and Indianapolis won.

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The sculptures were relocated to Indiana and included in a reproduction of the facade. Over the years there were various modifications, and eventually the ruins, somewhat ironically, fell into disrepair.

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For almost 20 years they were roped off from the public.

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Fortunately in 2015 a restoration project began.

Today they stand proud in a promenade with other pieces including these 3 large stone ones with a portion of the declaration of independence carved into them.

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Holliday Park in Indianapolis is now a beautiful place to spend some time amongst the ‘ruins’.

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Elkart, Indiana – July 2018 – RV Capital of the World

The town of Elkhart, Indiana is where an amazing 80% of the world’s RV production occurs. What Hollywood is to movies, and Wall Street is to finance, Elkhart is to campers.

As a result the RV Hall of Fame is located here.

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While I was questioned why I would want to see the RV Hall of Fame, as soon as we entered it was obvious. The first one we saw was one of the earliest ever, built in 1913.

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The inside has a simplistic beauty.

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Next door is a Model T with a structure on the back that contained storage, but when expanded had a bed. Built on a 1915 Model T, it was a one off build known as the Telescope Apartment.

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Many of the campers were from the 1930s through the 1950s. The one below is a ‘Yellowstone’ 18 foot travel trailer from 1954.

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The vintage ones had a lot of woodwork.

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The 1937 Hunt Housecar was built by a Hollywood cinematographer named Roy Hunt.

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The Hunt Housecar has a great interior.

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Another example of the detailed woodwork.

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This weird looking camper is on a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado base. Many refer to it as the Star Trek Camper.

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The 1931 Chevrolet Housecar was built by Paramount Studios for Mae West.

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It was at this point I came to realization that there many of the numerous manufacturing facilities in the area offered tours. A bit of internet surfing revealed that the Heartland RV company was located a few miles down the road, and had tours starting in 30 minutes.

Before you knew it we were touring their facility. The outdoor inventory included these axles used for the ‘bump outs’.

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With the number of campers built daily, they go through a lot of toilets.

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We toured the factory that builds ‘Fifth Wheels’, huge campers that are towed by a ‘wheel’ in the bed of pickup trucks.

Interestingly they build the interior components, then add the shell of the camper.

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Once the sides are on, the roof is added and secured by workers using this yellow catwalk.

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A bump out ready to be installed.

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The massive backs of these campers are one large component.

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Indiana – home of mobile homes and campers.

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