Cincinnati – July 2017 – Underground Tour

While in Cincinnati for the day we took the ‘Ultimate Underground Cincinnati’ tour. While the tour guide was funny, informative and insightful, the tour itself seemed to lack in content. While we did go under a church to see a crypt and in an old brewery to see some long forgotten underground rooms, for a 2 hour tour they seemed to not have enough places to see  – filling much of the two hours with amusing stories.

Still once we were in the two underground portions, they were fascinating. We did come away knowing much more about the ‘Over The Rhine’ neighborhood of Cincinnati.

The neighborhood had a mix of gentrification and scruffy.

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The crypt under the St Francis Church was filled with graves of Irish immigrants from the 1800s, which is unusual given the neighborhood was noted for the German immigrants. The Irish had been there first.

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An old brewery that is being rehabbed into condos included some ‘art’ that are the burnt columns from a church that had caught fire in 2008.

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The massive rooms underneath the old brewery (as well as the modern day Moerlein Brewery) were great to see.

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A mural on the front of the old brewery.

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The tour ended at the Moerlein Brewery.

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Springfield, OH – July 2017 – Airplane Barnstorming Festival

The Springfield, Ohio airport hosted a ‘Barmstorming Festival’, celebrating vintage aircraft. Open to the public there were aircraft from the 1910s through the 1970s on display, with their owners more than happy to tell you about their planes.

 

There were a number of bi-planes.

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A WWI vintage plane.

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They lined both sides of the taxiway.

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Who flies with 3 instruments and a leather helmet?

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Some great piston engines.

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The paint jobs were outstanding on all of the airplanes.

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The Springfield Municipal Airport was the host.

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What a way to refuel your plane, stand on top to reach the upper wing where the fuel tank is.

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In addition to the planes there were a few vintage trucks.

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And they flew off into the sunset.

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Grove City, OH – July 2017 – Flashlight Museum

As I research various unique places to see I sometimes come up with one that doesn’t really appear to exist. One such place is the ‘Flashlight Museum’ in Grove City, a Columbus suburb. There is a website for it (http://www.flashlightmuseum.com/), as well as a contact page, but no actual address, so I entered some information in a contact page of the website and a couple of weeks later received an email.

After a phone call I realized the museum itself is actual one person’s (Steve Giterman) personal collection. Steve was more than happy to have us stop by for a visit to see his collection.

In his home he had ‘thousands’ of flashlights, virtually all in working condition.

In addition he had a great collection of peripherals and advertising.

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Who knew that flashlights came in so many different looks.

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They were loosely grouped together by age and style.

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All were in excellent condition, including the advertising.

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Steve had many unique flashlight accessories, including these stamps.

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Of particular interest are the ‘novelty’ flashlights.

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The older, standard flashlights have a great streamlined look to them.

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More novelty flashlights.

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In addition Steve does flashlight repairs. If you have a classic old flashlight that doesn’t work, contact Steve at sgiterman@columbus.rr.com, he will be more than happy to help you, and welcome you to see his fantastic collection.

Columbus – July 2017 – Here’s Looking at You, Doll Face

In the Columbus suburb of Canal Winchester is the Doll & Toy Museum. The museum is well displayed in a building next to a winery, with thousands of dolls and toys.

One of their feature collections is the marionettes for Scrooge.

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They had numerous shelves full of small collectible figures with familiar faces.

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Among the collection were many from the 30s and 40s, including Shirley Temple.

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Most have lifelike looks.

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They also had 3 ventriloquist puppets.

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A large collection of foreign dolls.

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Lucyyyyy

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Flintstones, meet the Flintstones….

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Moundsville, WV – July 2017 – West Virginia State Prison

When West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War it instantly found itself needing many institutional venues that were previously served by those now located in Virginia.

One of those venues was a prison, so in the late 1860s they started building a prison in Moundsville, just south of what was then the state capital of Wheeling.

The Moundsville Prison was generally regarded as one of the most violent prisons in America, with numerous murders and other acts of aggression regularly occurring. Eventually in the 1990s it was closed, and now serves as a tourist spot and training facility.

 

Visitation Area

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Gallows  – There were over 90 executions at the prison, initially by hanging. It is thought this was the first location for the gallows, they were later moved to the ‘Death House’, which is no longer standing.

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A cell block.

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The exterior wall.

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Washington, PA – June 2017 – Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is about an hour south of downtown Pittsburgh, near the town of Washington, Pennsylvania. They are one of the oldest trolley museums in the country, having started in 1949 when the trolleys were still running. It is well worth a visit, one of the best streetcar museums I have seen, and we enjoyed our time there checking out the cars, with the bonus of going for rides.

One of their highlights is a New Orleans streetcar number 832. When New Orleans was disposing of some old streetcars to museums they ‘mistakenly’ allowed this car to go to Pennsylvania. It turned out this was the car used in the 1950s movie ‘Streetcar Named Desire’.

 

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The museum has a number of well kept ‘barns’, with numerous cars in each. The Fifth Avenue car was from the early 1900s when they were still horse drawn. The one below was used to take passengers through the week to work, and mourners to funerals on Saturdays.

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The West Penn Streetcar lines were represented.

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An interurban from Toledo.

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A newer PCC streetcar painted in the ‘PAT’ (Port Authority of Pittsburgh) colors.

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Cincinnati – June 2017 – Observatory

The Cincinnati Observatory is located on the aptly named Mount Lookout. As one of the oldest observatories in the country, they feature two fantastic telescopes. A visit to the Observatory is highly recommended.

The main building has a 1904 Alvan Clark & Sons 16″ refractor telescope. The docent who took us up to the telescope allowed us to open the large metal roof with amazing ease with the rope and gears. Once open we spun the telescope over so we could look into the lens.

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The second building houses what is thought to be the oldest continually used telescope in the world, a 1945 wooden and metal Merz and Mahler 11″ refractor scope. While not as functional as new ones, you will not find a more beautiful telescope!

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