Washington DC – June 2018 – Library of Congress

Since the beginning of the U.S. government there has been a Library of Congress. Starting in Philadelphia, then New York, it came to DC in 1800. The current main building was constructed in the 1890s.

When you enter the building you are greeted by a two story Great Hall.

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As with many grand buildings constructed during this period the ceiling is impressive as well.

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There are numerous sculptures throughout.

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The upper level is lined with stately columns.

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While from the upper level you get a clear view of the zodiac symbols in the main level’s floor.

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Additional stylish ceilings and artwork.

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The map room.

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The mosaic in the lower levels floor.

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The building is easily one of the most impressive in DC.

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The Reading Room viewed from above.

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We were so impressed with this room that we went through a process to apply for, and receive, a library card – only to find out that on the reading room floor itself photography is strictly prohibited!

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So we went down the hallways and continued on our way.

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Milan, Ohio – May 2018 – Unexpected Architecture at the Library

For decades I have heard that Thomas Edison was born in Ohio. Finally since we were in the area we decided to visit.

 

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While they did have a small display of some of Edison’s inventions, overall the home is exactly that – a small home from the 1800s with period pieces. Nice – but not our speed.

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As we were leaving town we noticed the really cool library – so we stopped to take some photos. Outside were a number of people playing Pokemon and as we were checking out the building one of the group walked over to speak to us.

It turns out we had the good fortune to meet the Director of the Library – James. He is rightfully proud of his library, and was more than welcoming in showing us around.

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The library was built from a Carnegie Fund in 1912. The detail they gave this library in this small Ohio town is stunning.

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Later additions have stayed true to the original architectural styles.

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It is virtually impossible to tell the difference between old and new.

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Inside is interesting as well.

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Artwork is display on the bookshelves …

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… and walls – a tribute to Edison.

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In my opinion the entire building has a Frank Lloyd Wright feel to it. If you find yourself in Milan, Ohio the best building in town is not Edison’s birthplace – it is the local library – ask for James 🙂  (thanks James!)

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Baltimore – May 2018 – George Peabody Library

 

George Peabody was one of Baltimore’s first commerce leaders, and as such made a fortune. To give back to the community he funded the Peabody Institute in 1857.

In the 1860s the institute built the impressive library. Today it stands as one of America’s most amazing buildings. The photo below is a panorama of the library.

 

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The library is 6 levels high, with all 6 levels full of stacks. Unfortunately the upper levels were off limits.

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Still used today by Johns Hopkins students, a steady flow of tourists came in and took photos as we did.

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The railings are amazing.

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There are numerous alcoves to study in.

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The lighting adds to the overall atmosphere.

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Not to mention the classic old Dewey Decimal System card file. A visit to the George Peabody Library is a must for any architecture, history or book fan.

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Delaware, OH – April 2018 – Architectural Tour

The small city of Delaware, Ohio is the county seat of a county of the same name. Located just north of Columbus it was for more than 150 years the center of a farming county, as well as the home of the small college, Ohio Wesleyan.

With Columbus suburbs fast approaching, most of the county to the south has been developed  in tract housing and shopping centers, and it now has a population of over 200,000, and is recognized as having the highest per capita income in the state.

The town of Delaware however still feels like a small town, with many historic buildings.

First up is Beiber’s Mill which was was built in 1877 as a grist mill. Long abandoned, it sits directly on the Olentangy River – there were enough No Trespassing signs, and neighbors that looked like they would have shotguns that we took the photos from the road.

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The next stop was Perkins Observatory.  While in town there is an observatory that was built in 1896 that is still standing (barely), this building is about 3 miles south of town, next to a golf course.

Built in 1925 it has been in use ever since, but has over time reduced in scope as central Ohio is not very conducive to astrological observations – due to the low altitude, cloud cover and light pollution from the cities.

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As we arrived on the small campus of the 1900 student Ohio Wesleyan University, we found Edwards Gymnasium. Built in 1905 it is a spectacular building with an amazing wood ceiling with skylights.

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Just up the hill is Slocum Hall, which contains a library.

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As well as a great skylight.

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Next door is the University Hall and Chapel, although it appears to me very similar to most of the county court houses and jails around the state.

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On the west side of the campus are a series of newer buildings.

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Leaving campus we moved on to an area where all of the Delaware County Government buildings are located including what was a Carnegie Library – now the County Commissioners home.

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Next door is the old courthouse.

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Our last stop is what should be the main attraction of the town – the birthplace of a U.S. President – in this case Rutherford B. Hayes. However someone messed that one up long ago when the home was torn down, so now it is the Rutherford B Hayes Memorial BP Gas Station. But it is the only Presidential Gas Station in America, so Delaware, Ohio has that going for them.

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Cleveland – September 2017 – A Super Library

Two teenagers growing up in the Glenville neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland came up with the idea of Superman in the mid 1930s. From this humble beginning they launched the most famous superhero of all time, which the Main Cleveland Library is now celebrating.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were friends from the neighborhood when they partnered to come up with Superman. As children of Jewish immigrants the idea of Superman coming from another land was close to their experiences, as well as their influence from the pulp fiction of the day. And the rest as they say is history….

 

Small steel statue

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Original sketches.

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Cleveland – proud true home of Superman – take that Metropolis!

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Phone booth – complete with a cape left behind.

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The 1950s Superman costume, apparently these colors filmed better in black and white than the more well known red and blue.

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Large statue – eventually headed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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A Superman telephone.

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Cleveland – September 2017 – Chess Collection

A visit to Cleveland with some extra time lead us to go into the Cleveland Public Library’s Main Building on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The sign in front advertised a Superman exhibit (detailed in another post), but on the 4th floor in the Special Collections area was an amazing collection of books and periodicals on chess, as well as a great chess board/pieces collection. This collection is the largest in the world!

John G White was born in 1845, living until 1928. As an attorney and an avid reader he donated 60,000 books to the Cleveland library upon his death. Included in those were thousands on chess. To compliment these the library has a great collection of chess boards and pieces on display.

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Celina, OH – March 2017 – Mineral Collection

Most people go to the library to find a book, a CD, or even a DVD. We went to the Celina, Ohio Mercer County Library to find minerals. We were not disappointed.

Ron and Ruth Langsdon collected minerals from all over the world through dealers for many years. The librarians told the story that Langsdon’s wanted to donate their collection to the library or schools in their nearby hometown of St Marys, but nobody wanted them. Celina did – and built special cabinets for them. They have 21 cabinets full of them, and now other branches of the county library are adding their own portion of the collection

I am not a geologist, but the minerals displayed in the mirrored cases, with direct lighting was tough to photograph, but look great when you get it right.

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