As a historic city San Antonio had a decent amount of older homes and buildings in the center of the city.
The King William Historic District is just south of downtown. It has a great collection of restaurants and shops, but the highlights are the beautiful old houses.
As we reached downtown we passed by a couple great old buildings.
A classic clock, which we appear to have caught at high noon.
Nix Hospital s housed in a very fine example of an Art Deco building.
There are still a couple vintage theaters in town.
The Post Office and Court House is located across the plaza from the Alamo.
The Tower Life Building was completed in 1927. This eight sided classic Art Deco skyscraper also housed San Antonio’s first Sears store when first opened.
The Drury Hotel occupies the former Alamo National Bank building. Located along the famed Riverwalk the 24 floor building has many impressive details in the lobby.
We chose instead to stay at the Gunter Hotel, another great old hotel.
The Gunter Hotel is famous for being the location that blues legend Robert Johnson recorded most of the 29 songs he ever recorded. The bar celebrates the fact that he recorded in room 414, by calling themselves the Bar 414.
Despite the fact that Robert was from Mississippi, he was brought to San Antonio by a talent scout for Vocalion Record, Ernie Oertle. A producer from the label, Don Law, set up a recording studio in room 414 and 413 of the Gunter Hotel.
The drawing below is from an album cover of Robert’s music that was re-released in the 1960s depicting this recording session.
This is the room today, with the small white chair in the corner where Robert was sitting, facing the wall for the acoustics. How do I know this? This was our room for the night!!!
When we arrived every cushion was turned on end, every drawer was open. I immediately assumed it was Robert welcoming us! We spent the night hanging out listening to Robert’s music, either his original or the hundreds of covers from the Stones, Clapton and others.
The website Roadside America is one of my favorites, and easily one of the most ‘classic Roadside America’ is the Beer Can House of Houston!
As you arrive you are greeted by a fence of (of course) beer cans.
In the late 1960s a retired upholsterer named John Milkovisch started inlaying thousands of marbles and rocks into concrete and wood to make landscaping features because as he said at the time ‘he was tired of mowing grass’.
For the next 18 years he flattened beer cans, that supposedly he and his friends emptied, and attached them to his house. Today the estimated 50,000 beer cans cover the entire house and former garage.
The early morning sun shining through the beer can top fence made an interesting pattern on the driveway.
It is owned today by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, who have the interesting exhibit next to Smithers Park.
The stringers on the front of the house sing in the wind. It is said that the beer cans actually help keep the house cooler in the hot Houston summers by reflecting the sun rays away from the house.
New Orleans is a city with a lot of history, from many different places, resulting in one unique culture. They like to refer to themselves as living on ‘the island of New Orleans’.
Their residential architecture and style reflect that diverse environment as well. There are a number of different residential architectural styles prevalent in the Crescent City. Perhaps the most common one is the duplex ‘shotgun’ house.
So named because if you had all the doors open in the house you could fire a shotgun straight through the house and out the back door without hitting anything. Note while they all started out the same, the owners have given their own unique style to each.
The bungalow is another style commonly found in New Orleans.
Most streets have a mix of architectural styles side by side.
While the term townhouse is used for this style, it is not what is commonly found in northern cities where they are a row of attached houses, rather they are the two story ‘boxy’ look that is detached from the neighbors.
There are even modern variations of the townhouse scattered throughout the city.
Some of the new construction seems out of place.
In this new construction the traditional courtyard was replaced with a pool.
With the damage from Hurricane Katrina, many sections of the city had numerous properties that the structures were no longer habitable, so the new construction is welcome.
There are a few cottage styles found as well – again with the owners unique take on style.
As noted previously courtyards are a very common use of the small space behind the home.
While not common, there are some examples of larger duplexes often found in American cities.
Another unusual structure for the city are more traditional rowhouses.
This unique home appears to have once been a firehouse.
Easily the most unique houses in New Orleans are found in the Holy Cross section of the lower 9th ward. They are known as the Steamboat Houses.
In the early 1900s a steamboat captain designed and constructed the first of the two homes, adding the second in 1913.
Built to resemble a steamboat, they even use steel stacks instead of chimneys.
New Orleans is a fantastic city for architecture fans, just make your way to any neighborhood and you will find examples of multiple styles.
Maysville, Kentucky was one of the original settlements west of the Allegheny Mountains, as it is situated along the Ohio River about 80 miles upriver from Cincinnati.
We entered the town via the 1931 Simon Kenton Bridge. Spanning the Ohio River for almost 2,000 feet it is a classic old steel bridge.
As with many river towns the flood wall is adorned with murals. Maysville’s are well done – including this one as a tribute to favorite daughter Rosemary Clooney, who from the 1940s until the turn of the century was an actress and fantastic singer (and also well known as George Clooney’s aunt).
The town is in remarkably good condition compared to most of the little river towns of this part of the world.
Much of the center of town has been restored, including this fountain and square.
More of the excellent flood wall murals – horses are a big deal in Kentucky.
This mural depicted the street we were standing on 100 years ago.
For most of the Ohio River valley in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky there are steep hills just a few blocks back – Maysville is no exception.
The Washington Opera House dates from 1898 in a Beaux Arts style. It is used today for theater and concerts.
Another great example of the nice restoration done in town.
The main street has some galleries to go with the small stores.
Some architecture is reflective that we are in the beginnings of the south.
The Kentucky Gateway Museum is a new building, but well done and blending nicely with it’s surroundings.
Maysville was once a center of wrought iron manufacturing, and many of the homes show this heritage.
Even a vacant lot has been re purposed as a small park – along with another great ghost sign.
Even the vacant house it very cool – the building in front and most of the house appears to be covered in kudzu, which I haven’t seen this far north before.
Just down the rest are more restored homes.
This row of houses to me is reminiscent of the famed ‘Painted Ladies’ of San Francisco – only at 1/10th the cost.
If you ever get the chance stop by Maysville, Kentucky – it is worth the visit.
Our weekend in Detroit resulted in some venues that didn’t result in enough photos for a single posting so they are grouped together in ‘Random Sights’
Up first – Eastern Market.
Detroit has one of the finest farmers markets in the country. Contained in a number of indoor and outdoor ‘sheds’, they offerings vary throughout the year.
On this day there was little produce, but many people with various meats and even landscaping items.
A few street performers were on hand trying to generate some tips.
Surrounding the market are many food service companies. A number of the buildings had food related murals.
A little Detroit muscle in the Market.
In nearby Dearborn is the Henry Ford Estate.
When you invent the Model T you can have any house you want. Henry had this nice home on what was once a 1700 acre grounds. Most has been developed into a college, mall and corporate center for Ford.
This home’s styling has kept up better than most of it’s era.
And when you start a car company you need a really stylish 5 car garage.
A brief tour of downtown revealed a number of art pieces. This skyscraper at One Woodward Avenue was designed by Minoru Yamaski. If the design of the windows looks familiar it is because he later designed the original World Trade Center in New York.
The statue is The Passo di Danza (Step of the Dance).
The Spirit of Detroit is a large statue completed in 1958. Today this symbol adorns most of the city of Detroit’s department logos.
A recent addition is a 17′ high statue called ‘Waiting’ . While many like the addition some say the ‘X’ for eyes represent death.
Detroit is in Wayne County – and the County Building is in a classic Roman Baroque Revival style,, and was completed in 1902.
Cadillac Tower was the first building outside of New York and Chicago to be 40 floors tall when completed in 1927.
Across the street from the Guardian Building is the Buhl Building. Stylish in it’s own right, it pales to its world renown neighbor.
From the 32nd floor of the Guardian Building we had a great view of the surrounding area. This is a view southwest looking at the Ambassador Bridge leading to Canada (on the left), as well as the Rouge Factory in the distance.
The Renaissance Center was built in the 1970s in an effort to revitalize downtown, however it was built across an 8 lane street, along the river, and with huge walls that visually were imposing. Fail.
From our high vantage point we could see out to the vacant Packard factory that we toured the day before.
The Penobscot Building was Detroit’s tallest building from it’s completion in 1928 until the Ren Center was finished in the 1970s.
The building was named after the Penobscot Native American’s in Maine. The exterior motif pays tribute to them.
The National Historic Registry has over 80,000 places listed throughout the country, with over 3900 in Ohio, of those 159 are in the city of Columbus. This fairly lengthy posting details those along one of Columbus’s primary street, the aptly named 6 to 8 lane Broad Street.
Some of the properties are in excellent shape, while others are in need of some TLC. Through a number of online sources, including the Ohio Historic Places Dictionary, I was able to pull together some highlights of each property.
Our first stop was on the near west side in Franklinton at the Franklinton Apartments. Located at 949-957 West Broad Street the building was completed in 1920, and is still functioning today as an apartment building.
We would’ve had more photos except for the very sketchy looking people hanging out along the sidewalk on the side of the building, despite the No Loitering sign on the building.
William Henry Harrison Headquarters –
W. Broad St
When Ohio became a state in 1803,
there was significant debate on where the capital should be located. Originally
set in the southern Ohio town of Chillicothe, and briefly in Zanesville, it was
decided in 1816 to build a new town across the Scioto River from Franklinton in
the center of the state. As a result the near west side of the city of Columbus
was originally the town of Franklinton.
This house was built around 1807, as one of the few brick buildings in Franklinton. It remains one of the few remaining buildings from the Franklinton era. During the War of 1812 it was used by General (future President) William Henry Harrison as his headquarters for the Northwest Army. Later during the Civil War a confederate spy lived in the home.
A smaller house is locate in back.
House No. 6
W. Broad St
This 124 year old building
served as a fire engine house until 1966, when it was sold and used for a
variety of businesses, as evidenced by the dilapidated sign for Jimmy Rea Electronics.
A non profit historic preservation group, Heritage Ohio, has purchased it with
plans to renovate it as their offices, with retail on the 1st floor.
As with most of the early fire stations this one has a tower attached for drying the hoses.
and Ohio Central Railroad Station
W. Broad St.
This unique former
railway station was designed by Frank Packard and Joseph Yost, both noted
Columbus architects of the late 1800-early 1900s. It was designed in an Art
Nouveau styling uniquely accented with Japanese touches like the pagoda tower.
While the pagoda stands out now, it matched the motif of the Macklin Hotel that
was present next door until being torn down years ago.
Even though it now seems
Japanese in style, it was actually rooted in French and Swiss feudal
architecture. The tower originally had 3 large clocks facing all sides, except
the railroad tracks. Originally the tracks crossed the street at grade level,
but was raised in 1910. The construction of the elevated tracks resulted in a
fire that burned the roof of the depot.
In 1930 the passenger service moved to Union Station, making the stations obsolete. New York Central Railroad then sold the station to the Volunteers of America for $1, since the VOA had lost their building on Front Street to eminent domain for the building of the State Office complex. In 2007 the Firefighters Union bought the station and restored it for their use. After 100 years of service, and multiple floods and fires, it stands proudly as a great architectural wonder.
The older photo shows the now demolished hotel along with the station.
W. Broad St.
Built in 1898 by Daniel Burnham, the famed Chicago architect, the Wyandotte is Columbus’s first skyscraper. As with the other tall buildings of the era, it incorporated the new technologies of steel frame and safe elevators to rise to the dizzying height of 11 floors. The bay windows were to allow as much light as possible in these early days of the electric light bulb.
Building and the New Hayden Building
E Broad St & 16 E. Broad St.
The Hayden Building was completed in 1869, and remains to this day as the oldest building on Capitol Square. Next door is the New Hayden Building, which at 13 floors surpassed the Wyandotte Building as the tallest building in town when completed in 1901. Both buildings are currently undergoing renovation. For this building we have a ‘then and now’ look at it.
E. Broad St
Trinity Episcopal Church is a historic church at 125 E. Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. It was built in 1866 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It continues to serve as a church, as well as a community center including a restaurant in the basement that feeds the homeless.
Athletic Club of Columbus 136 E. Broad St.
The Athletic Club building was
completed in 1915 in a Spanish Renaissance Revival style with Italian influences.
Designed by Richard, McCarty & Bullard, it has changed little in the 100 +
years it has stood in downtown Columbus.
It’s members have included a president (Harding), multiple governors and other business and political leaders.
E. Broad St.
The eight-story building at the corner of Third and Broad is now called the Empire Building. Designed and built by Frank Packard in the 1920s, it has a two-story base faced in stone features Gothic-inspired relief sculpture and ornamental grilles, and the lobby has a vaulted ceiling with decorative plasterwork and ornamental light fixtures,”
Benjamin Smith House 181 E. Broad St.
Built in 1860 and now occupied by the
Columbus Club, it has been the residence of multiple Ohio governors, and it is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by Benjamin Smith, a
railroad contractor and banker following the Civil War, the home had bricks
that were made in Philadelphia and shipped to Columbus.
Mr Smith lost his fortune over time and was forced to sell the house. Two governors then lived there, however the pay for governor was so low, the second Joseph Foraker, had to vacate the house because they couldn’t afford to heat it. The Columbus Club purchased it in 1886, and retains ownership to this day.
E. Broad St.
Yet another Frank Packard design, the Seneca Hotel was completed
in 1917, with the additional four story addition on the east side of the
building being erected in 1924. It served as a hotel until the late 1950s, when
it became a school called the Nationwide Beauty Academy, with the hotel rooms
One of the unique requirements of living there during this time was ‘Girls living in the dorms must be in by 11 p.m. week nights and 1:30 a.m. on weekends, and men and liquor are taboo in the girls’ rooms, as are bare feet in the lobby or hair curlers in the cafeteria.’
It then served as the headquarters of the Ohio EPA from 1976 until 1987, then at vacant for nearly 20 years before a restoration project turned it into a 76 unit apartment building.
Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts 480 E. Broad St.
The Columbus Museum of Art was built on the location that once was home to the Sessions Mansion. As with the Athletic Club, it was designed by Richards, McCarty and Bulford, and opened in 1931. An additional, much larger building was added in 2005.
Street United Methodist Church
E. Broad St.
This church was opened
in 1885 as a state of the art church in what is known as an ‘Akron Plan’, which
is a design where there were wings radiating from the main church for uses like
Sunday school. It was designed by Joseph Yost, who had done many major Columbus
buildings and churches.
The exterior design
is in a High Victorian Gothic style, using masonry materials, point arch bays,
and numerous gabled roof lines and towers. The highlight is the green
serpentine stone as facing on the brick walls, with limestone and sandstone for
the base. This serpentine was replaced with designer stone in 2008.
The wall that fronts Broad Street has art glass windows that came from the Central Church when it was demolished. The east wall has windows that were installed in 1908.
W.H. Jones Mansion 731 E. Broad St.
The W H Jones Mansion was built in 1889 in the Queen Anne style, with a corner turret, third story ballroom and a matching carriage house in the rear.
Jones modeled the mansion after a home in the small town of Barnesville, Ohio, not realizing that his model house was designed to ward off evil spirits, with a number of sevens and threes in the design. It has seven gargoyles built on his home’s exterior, seven steps going up to the porch, seven posts in one section of the front staircase, three vertical rows of seven horizontal blocks in the interior paneling, and so forth.
Central Assurance Company 741 E. Broad St.
Even though this building was completed at the end of the Art
Deco period, it is one of the few examples in Columbus, therefore a significant
building. This streamlined commercial building is built directly next to another
National Historic Registry building built in a Tudor Revival style, with half
timbered 1920s apartments.
Completing this most unique block is a 1880s Italianate home with a large L shaped porch. While it remained in the same family for almost 100 years, it has been a rental property for the last few decades.
Broad Street Presbyterian Church
E. Broad St.
This church was completed in stages, the first being in 1887, then additions in 1894, 1908 and 1924. Elah Terrell was responsible for the initial design with Frank Packard contributing to the 1908 expansion. It is built in a Romanesque style. As part of the National Register of Historic Places since 1987, it remains a church as well as a community center serving a food pantry open to the public.
E. Broad St.
This apartment building was built in an Old English Tudor Style with a courtyard. The building is in the traditional brick and half timber construction with stone ornaments and diagonal basket weave and herringbone brickwork, terra cotta roping and other touches. It was completed in 1929, after being designed by Galbreath and Leonard.
E. Broad St.
The Joseph Cherrington House is significant as representing the earliest period of residential development along East Broad Street and for it’s Italianate style architecture. The house is the second oldest building out of the five remaining Italianate examples along this street. It displays distinct Italianate characteristics through it’s low pitched hipped roof, tall narrow windows with carved stone segmental arched hood molds, bracketed stone sills and a brick stringcourse under the cornice with frieze windows.
Wilden E Joseph was affiliated with the Patton Manufacturing Company. In 1930 Mr Harold Cherrington and his wife purchased the home. Cherrington was the dramatic editor of the Columbus Dispatch, and later a noted reporter journalist and publicity man.
Paul’s Episcopal Church
E. Broad St.
Saint Paul’s Church was established in 1839, with the first building being at Mound and Third in downtown Columbus being built in 1842. With the growth of the east side, the church moved to the ‘outskirts’ of town in 1904 with this building. As with many of the downtown churches, The episcopal closed in 2011, but now serves the Shiloh Christian Center.
Carrie Lovejoy House 807 E. Broad St.
A two and a half story residence with massing and ornamentation, the Carrie Lovejoy House reflects the residential development along East Broad Street. When this house was build around 1900 E Broad Street was considered the most fashionable street in the city.
This house display elements of the colonial revival style in its classical details including the third floor dormer with palladian window, bracketed eaves, and a multi pane window entrance portico with paired Doric columns.
Carrie Lovejoy was the widow of Nathan Lovejoy, who was in the lumber business. He operated a sawmill in the city in the late 19th century. Carrie moved into this house after his death and lived there until 1914.
E. Broad St.
This Queen Anne two and a half story brick house was built in the late 1800s in a Romanesque Revival style with the massive asymmetrical elements. Other noted features include the para-petted gables with stone, high stepped chimneys and irregular fenestration with the windows capped by cut stone lintels. The porch on the north facade is supported by heavy squat French Romanesque columns. The facade is also defined by an octagonal tower on the west.
Built around 1897 it was the home of C E Morris, owner of Morris Ironworks, who was also a real estate attorney, and president of the Hotel Lincoln Company. They lived there from 1897 to 1924.
W. Schueller House
E. Broad St.
The house was built
for him in 1909 where he lived until his death in 1914. Built in the Queen Anne
style, the house is two and a half stories of brick construction with a slate
hip roof, front bay windows and second story round arched window. Dr.
Schueller’s wife Sara continued to live there until around the mid-1940s when
it was converted to offices. The house had a few other owners. Notable ones
include The Ohio Nurses Association had their offices there in the 1950s. In
the 1980s, the home housed the National Alliance of Postal and Federal
Employees’ local chapter. Their membership declined and they lost tenants and
were unable to maintain it.
When a home restorer
bought the home in November of 2007 it was not habitable. Restoring the slate
roof was the first order of business, as it had over 80 leaks. Using old photos
he was able to restore much of the home to the original look. The link below
has a great article detailing the amazing work it took to bring back this grand
Built 1870 Another Italianate style
with outstanding and ornate carved stone ornamentation. Low pitched roof, tall
narrow chimneys wide eaves supported by brackets, frieze windows, long narrow
windows with carved stone lintels, and bracketed stone sills. Linus Kauffman
was VP of the Kauffman Lattimer Company, wholesale druggists lived here from
1907-1931, with his wife Clara residing there until 1936.
Clara was an active woman, being a supporter of the suffrage movement, the president of the YWCA, as well as active in numerous historic societies.
E. Broad St.
Built in 1928, the Cambridge Arms Apartments was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, but was removed in 1987 because of owner objection. They now advertise they are indeed on the Registry.
The concrete building rises 9 floors and has a height just under 100 feet. The building was home to many notable families at the time, including the Wolfe family who owned the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
E. Broad St.
Another turn of the century residence, this one was built in the Arts and crafts movement style of American architecture (aka FLW) Prairie style through its ribbon windows, high water table, smooth stone stringcourses and horizontal emphasis. Levy was the founder and president of the union clothing company, now the Union, established in the late 1890s.
E. Broad St
This 1889 Queen Anne, one of 16 remaining 19th century single family residences along East Broad Street in original condition. Projecting pediment bays with slate trim and double hung one over one windows, arched windows, rusticated stone lintels and smooth stone sills, an entrance with transom and double doors and decorative wood window trim. An ornate tower with a conical roof on the west side of the house. Built for Dr Amos Sharp and Elmer Sharp (a real estate broker). Today it serves as a women’s health center.
The next few make up a block featured in the old photo below.
957 E Broad Street was the Bible Mediation League building in 1948. Previous owners include real estate agent Perin B Monypeny and Frank Hickock manufacturing agent. It is now an office for the Community Housing Network.
E. Broad St.
The Shedd–Dunn House is also known as Noverre Musson & Associates, Architects. The house was built in 1888 and is of the Queen Anne architectural style. The home originally belonged to Frank J Shedd, who was a partner in E E Shedd Grocers. It later became the home of Eggleston Dunn of the Dunn Taft Store.
Heyne Zimmerman House 973 E Broad Street
This home is a 2.5 story tan brick, and red
mortar structure with Colonial Revival characteristics, but has Classical detailing,
including a Doric columned porch with full entablature and bracketed eaves and
cornice with modillions. The roof is hipped and windows are one over one. A one
story addition was added to the rear of the house.
It was built around 1911 when Carl G. Heyne, president of the American Cash Register Company lived there until 1914. In 1918 Charles Zimmerman, manager of the Ohio Auto Sales Company purchased the house where he lived until his death in the early 1930s. His widow Ottie Zimmerman lived there until the 1940s. It was put on the National Historic Registry in 1987.
E. Broad St
A 5900 square foot house, built in 1900 this buff colored brick on a stone foundation house features a tile hipped roof. Built by James Hanna, founder of the Hanna paint company. The house features carved woodwork, leaded and stained glass windows, a grand staircase and most of the original light fixtures.
Street Christian Church
E. Broad St.
First organized in 1870, this build was designed and built in 1907. It’s architecture is Arts and Crafts with the Mission style through its use of rough faced stone wall treatment and smooth stone trim, bracketed wide eaves, side entrances with bracketed roofs and square corner tower with hipped roof and round corner turrets. Also features round stained glass windows, tile roof and parapet supported by squat Tuscan columns.
In 2009 the church was sold to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, serving new generations to this day.
E. Broad St.
Something different – a Georgian and classical influence with rusticated quoins, modillions under project eaves. Tuscan doric columns, round arched windows with fanlights, and chimneys. It was owned by Edward Johnson, president of the Lorain Coal and Dock Company from 1906-1912, and Joseph Campbell president of the National Bank of Commerce for the next 30 years.
Frank J. Kaufman House 1231 E. Broad St
Yet another Queen Anne with the conical roof and irregular massing built at the turn of the century. A two story carriage house with singled gables is in the rear. This house’s current paint scheme makes a statement.
E. Broad St.
The Old Governor’s Mansion was built
in 1904 as the estate of Charles Lindenberg. It was designed by Frank Packard in
a Colonial revival style. Until 1917 the State of Ohio did not maintain a
residence for the Governor, instead they were on their own in finding a place
to live. In December of 1916 Governor elect James Cox thought he had found a
home to rent at 940 East Broad Street, where the outgoing Governor Bushnell
lived. Unfortunately for Cox in incoming Secretary of State W D Fulton also
needed a place to live and beat Cox to renting 940 East Broad, living him nowhere
to live. Cox had to rent a room in a hotel.
Embarrassed by this, the Ohio General Assembly appointed a committee to find a Governor’s Mansion. They eventually settled on the Lindenberg Mansion, with it’s wide staircase and Tiffany glass. Despite the ornate trappings of their mansion, the Lindenbergs actually sold the home to the state of Ohio at a loss.
Photo during the time it served as the Governor’s Mansion
Once the state purchased the home they
began a complete remodel, as well as razing the home next door to make room for
a garden. The furnishing for the home were made by
prisoners at the Mansfield Reformatory. In 1920 Governor Cox was finally able
to move in. He, and 9 subsequent governors
and their families called this home during a 36 year period before the state purchased
another mansion in Bexley for the new governor’s mansion.
This historic site is said to be haunted by an African American woman in a blue dress who is believed to have died in a fire in the mansion. Staff at the site have reported paintings rearranged after hours. Investigators say that the apparition of a female in turn-of-the-century clothing for a housekeeper has been seen multiple times in the mansion. The unmistakable smell of burning hair and skin is reportedly still detected by visitors to the mansion.
Franklin Park Conservatory 1547 E. Broad St.
In 1852, the Franklin
County Agriculture Society purchased 88 acres located two miles east of
downtown Columbus as a site for the first Franklin County Fair. In 1874, that
land was made the official grounds of the Ohio State Fair. Ohio Legislature
passed a resolution declaring the site as Franklin Park and open for public use
With the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the city of Columbus was inspired to creature a horticulture building influences by the Exposition’s Glass Palace. That grand Victorian-style glass greenhouse is now known as the John F. Wolfe Palm House, it opened to the public in 1895 as Franklin Park Conservatory.
Our trip across Broad Street was interesting and educational. With so many great buildings on the National Historic Registry I encourage you to check out your town’s contribution to this list.
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.
Our group was small, with Kari and another family who was into foraging for mushrooms, making it very educational.
Most of the mushrooms were quite small, but still very interesting.
We found interesting growth on trees.
A red one on a small twig.
Mushy ones on another dead tree.
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.
Kari would often pick them to give us a closer look.
When you looked closely the details are amazing.
One large tree had them growing all the way up the 50′ tall tree.
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.
Across the road is the original homestead complete with a restored 1930s farm house.
The entire county parks system is featuring flight this year so one of the barns had a great exhibit with model planes.
The exhibit’s planes were very impressive.
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.
Like many cities in America Columbus had significant growth in the early 1900s. One of the main drivers of this growth was the development of streetcars, which allowed people to live further than walking distance from their place of work.
One of those neighborhoods in Columbus is the Old Oaks neighborhood just southeast of downtown. When the streetcar line was electrified in 1891 the neighborhood followed shortly after.
On this sunny warm June day they had their annual Home and Garden Tour. But before we could tour the homes we made a stop at Holy Rosary St John Church to purchase our tickets.
The church has impressive stained glass throughout.
But we were here to tour the neighborhood …
As with many inner city neighborhoods there had been a long period of lack of investment leading to deterioration. Many neighborhoods, including Old Oaks, has had an infusion of gentrification over the last 20-30 years.
While many Columbus neighborhoods have had a near complete gentrification, Old Oaks still has a mix of the original residents and those who have come in and rehabbed a home.
The neighborhood is nearly all stately brick homes.
There is an interesting mix of those that are in dire need of repair, those that have been fully restored, and then those like this one that are in between. It is understandable with the amount of work and money it takes.
Amongst the large brick homes is this beautiful Craftsman style home – note the house on the left is boarded up – waiting for the right person to come in and bring her back.
Not all of the homes shown here were on the official tour, but grace the streets of the neighborhood.
With the flags it is clear you are in Ohio – USA.
At the edge of the neighborhood, along Livingston Avenue is Greek Revival style home that was built much earlier than the rest of the neighborhood – dating from 1852. Known as the Caroline Brown home, it was a stop on the Underground Railroad to freedom for slaves prior to, and during the Civil War of the 1860s.
A few of the interiors of the homes were open for inspection.
They were all beautifully restored and decorated.
A great use of an old pull down school map – a window shade!
Some had stained glass windows (you can also see the use of stained glass from the street as well).
Fireplaces were present in many of the bedrooms.
All of the homes have excellent wood work throughout.
Another example of a bedroom with a fireplace.
An older look was present in one of the homes.
The highlights though were the garden tours – this one featured a massive pergola leading to the original (apparently un-restored) garage.
An arch frames the garden of another home.
If nature wipes out your tree, make it art.
One of the homes had extensive outdoor living space including a pool and a palm (Ohio palm tree?)
Another had a number of artistic touches include beer bottles made into candles.
The garages are in the rear, as originally they were carriage houses, to house horses. Alleys line all the houses in the back.
Technically not a garden, but the front porches were great – giving the neighborhood a sense of community.
Old Oaks is a community in transition but as is remains a vibrant part of the city. Thanks to all who shared their homes and gardens!
As our tour ended back on Livingston Avenue, we visited the boyhood home of Eddie Rickenbacker, truly one of America’s great men. Raised in this humble house in the early 1900s, Eddie went on to become a record land speed racer, a World War I fighter pilot, a pioneer in the development of Aviation, and many other things.
For some interesting reading about one of Columbus’s great native sons check out the wiki page on Eddie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rickenbacker
Somebody should make a movie (although they did back in the 1940s it could be done so much better now – and Eddie has the stories that would be worth telling).
Our final stop on our tour of North Shore Mansions was Sands Point Preserve. This estate contains two primary mansions, the Hempstead House and Castle Gould.
Castle Gould was built to be a replica of Kilkenny Castle.
Which from a distance has a strong resemblance.
As with the other estates this one too borders the Long Island Sound. While these mansions remain much like they were 100 years ago, the others nearby have been torn down and replaced with modern houses.
Back up on the hill you again get a nice water view.
The Hempstead House features well kept gardens, although large tents mar the view (for all of those brides from Planting Fields I guess)
This home too features a large turret.
The entryway has massive wooden doors, with a smaller side door for actual use.
Clearly if you are going to visit Long Island Mansions of the past, don’t do it on a Tuesday – they are all closed to tours.