Marietta, Ohio – September 2019 – Sternwheeler Festival

In the early days of river transportation a common style of boat was the sternwheeler. With it’s distinctive large wooden wheel on the back (stern) to propel it, it was a common sight along the Ohio River.

Today most of the sternwheels are mostly decorative, with a traditional propeller providing most of the propulsion. The boats at the Marietta Sternwheeler Festival were mostly campers on boats.


































Across America – May 2019 – Random Scenes Part 2

Central Tennessee – Bus Graveyard







Northern Alabama – Rock Zoo





Scottsboro, Alabama – Did you ever lose your luggage on an airplane and never get it back. It likely ended up here, as they buy all of the unclaimed luggage from the airlines and sell it in essentially a thrift store.





Pawhuska, Oklahoma



Bartlesville, Oklahoma – Phillips 66 Petroleum Company Headquarters







Vinita, Oklahoma – Will Rogers Rodeo



Eastern Oklahoma – Pensacola Dam. A mile long and releasing a lot of water because of the recent rains.





Joplin, Missouri – America’s 2nd largest truck stop.



Southern Missouri – Presumed dead armadillo



Somewhere else in Southern Missouri – Coke Machine Graveyard



Scenes around Cairo, Illinois – At the confluence of the Ohio River and Mississippi River – with flooding.











Evansville, Indiana – Restored Greyhound Bus Station, now a hipster hamburger place. Manhattan prices in small town Indiana.

The interior looked nothing like a bus station.



Evansville, Indiana – County Courthouse



Scenes around Louisville, Kentucky







And after 3 weeks of running around the country – back in Ohio (in Cincinnati). Only 2 hours to home.






Maysville, Kentucky – May 2019 – Great Architecture in an Unlikely Place

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.






Pittsburgh – October 2018 – More Architecture

Having spent the weekend in the city for Doors Open Pittsburgh, we had additional time to check out the sights that weren’t officially part of the tour.

 

The Armstrong Tunnel. Built in 1927, there are longer tunnels in Pittsburgh, but none have a curve in them like the Armstrong.

There is great debate as to why the tunnels have a curve.

2018 10 05 4 Pittsburgh.jpg

 

 

South Side Slopes – An old church, an old bridge and new condo’s.

2018 10 06 1 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

The Warner – it was once a theater, then a food court, now a welfare office. But the sign is cool, with one of the newer skyscrapers as a backdrop.

2018 10 06 212 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

The famed Kaufmann’s clock – the store has been closed for some time now, but appears to be getting new life soon.

2018 10 06 262 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Some classic cornices.

2018 10 06 270 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

A streetlight, the US Steel (aka UPMC) building with interesting lighting after a thunderstorm.

2018 10 06 338 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Even the smaller old buildings on Liberty Avenue have excellent detail up high.

2018 10 06 273 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

From Mt Washington the view of the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt looks quite small. In reality it is 500′ high, but partially hidden behind the hill.

2018 10 06 561 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Another vintage downtown building.

2018 10 06 276 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Not to be outdone by Kaufmann’s, Gimbels had a cool clock too.

2018 10 06 518 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Heinz Field just after a University of Pittsburgh game ended.

2018 10 06 567 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Carnegie Science Center on the north side with one of the subway trains in the background.

2018 10 06 573 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

A view from Mt Washington through downtown buildings up the Allegheny River.

2018 10 06 584 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

It has been almost 40 years since Station Square restored the old rail station and yards and it is still going strong.

2018 10 06 616 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Sun setting on the Mon.

2018 10 06 637 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Replica Christopher Columbus ships have been making their way up the Ohio River all summer, and are now in Pittsburgh – as this panorama shows the Nina and Pinta.

2018 10 06 655 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Four Gateway Center.

2018 10 07 3 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Gateway Center with a purple fountain. (must have been Raven’s fans sneaking the water coloring in).

2018 10 07 6 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

The 1764 Ft Pitt Blockhouse, the 1960 Ft Pitt Bridge and Mount Washington in the background.

2018 10 07 18 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

A major rowing competition was occurring on this early Sunday morning as the first of the boat tailgaters were arriving for a Steelers game.

2018 10 07 37 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

An amazing wildlife photo from the Allegeheny River.

2018 10 07 40 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

The Point Fountain from a different perspective with the apartments on Mt Washington in the background.

2018 10 07 45 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

The very cool Duquesne Incline.

2018 10 07 53 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Along the Mon Wharf.

2018 10 07 70 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

The Gateway Clipper crews getting ready for that Steelers crowd.

2018 10 07 75 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Pittsburgh is the city of bridges.

2018 10 07 81 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

Finally a shot of PPG Place with one of the more architecturally interesting parking garages.

2018 10 07 118 Pittsburgh Doors Open Festival.jpg

 

 

 

 

Cincinnati – June 2017 – Scenes of the City

A day in Cincinnati for a couple of tours (other posts) resulted in some ‘scenes of the city’ shots…

 

The view from the Incline Pub on the west side of Cincinnati.

2017 06 24 54 Cincinnati Incline Pub.jpg

 

With a major bridge under construction causing massive traffic jams, we took the Anderson Ferry to Kentucky.

2017 06 24 60 Cincinnati Anderson Ferry.jpg

 

The Pride Parade had just ended as we arrived downtown.

2017 06 24 121 Cincinnati.jpg

 

The Cincinnati Bengals are celebrating their 50th season (still without a Super Bowl win!)

2017 06 24 123 Cincinnati.jpg

 

Findlay Market.

2017 06 24 129 Cincinnati.jpg

 

2017 06 24 128 Cincinnati.jpg

 

Cincinnati Streetcar barn

2017 06 24 154 Cincinnati.jpg

 

Rookwood Pottery Mural

2017 06 24 152 Cincinnati Rookwood Pottery.jpg

New Richmond, OH – August 2015 – Cardboard Boat Races

As noted previously this was the one quirky event I really wanted to check out, the Cardboard Boat Races. The town of New Richmond is on the Ohio River east of Cincinnati. The easy route there is back down I-71, but that wouldn’t be any fun so we took the backroads through Lebanon and Georgetown.

In Georgetown we visited the home and school of U.S. Grant. While he was born in nearby Point Pleasant, it is Georgetown where he was raised and educated. After our brief stop we continued on down to the river.

2015 08 15 10 New Richmond Ohio Cardboard Boat Races.jpg

 

We reached New Richmond late morning and found a convenient parking space near the center of town. I had read that the International Cardboard Boat Regatta typically draws 5,000 to 6,000 spectators to New Richmond’s Ohio Riverbank.

We met the race committee chairman Ray Perszyk, who’s better known as “Cardboard Ray”, at the museum located in an old gas station. The unusual regatta is sponsored by the Cardboard Boat Museum, a quirky little attraction in downtown New Richmond that bills itself as the world’s only cardboard boat museum. The cardboard regatta’s 200-yard race course offers 27 trophies for everything from Snappy Dresser for best team costume to the crowd-pleasing Titanic trophy for most dramatic sinking.

2015 08 15 262 New Richmond Ohio Cardboard Boat Races.jpg

 

Unfortunately, the number of competitors in the latter category has dwindled in latter years, organizers say, as participants have gotten more experienced at building compex watercraft.

Past race creations on display at the museum include “Miracle on the Ohio,” a takeoff on the 2009 “splash landing” of a passenger jet on the Hudson River, as well as a bat boat, a replica of the Delta Queen, a 10-foot long guitar, a model of the S.S. Minnow from “Gilligan’s Island” and an oversized coffee cup.

After walking down Main Street where all of the festival vendors were located, we proceeded down to the ‘dock’, which was the muddy banks of the Ohio River. Along the banks sat all of the boats, ready to race. The collection was interesting, and very creative.

2015 08 15 130 New Richmond Ohio Cardboard Boat Races.jpg

 

Some of the more interesting ones were a submarine, an Ohio State paddlewheel, hot rod car, a lego man skiing behind a ‘jet ski’, and a topside shoe.

True to the comment about construction improving too much, there were far too few sinkings, but the Lego Man went down at the start with an impressive flounder and submersion.

Most of the boats actually looked like boats, including one from North Dakota and another from Boston. It turned out to be more competitive than I expected in all categories, including the kids.

2015 08 15 255 New Richmond Ohio Cardboard Boat Races.jpg

 

The highlight of the competition was the topsider shoe, not for his stunning speed, but for the artistic look of his boat, and for his true mission, heading out to the large collection of spectator boats to mooch beer.

2015 08 15 160 New Richmond Ohio Cardboard Boat Races.jpg

 

While most of the boats had creative names, such as ‘Lator Gator’, and airboat, and the aforementioned North Dakota boat, the Hockey Monkeys, my favorite was the ‘Floater’, complete with a roll of toilet paper as the bow mast. The event was all I expected, and I plan on going back next year.

Southwest Ohio – May 2015 – More Mounds in finding Utopia

The second Saturday in May found us southbound for a long day of finding unique places to see. Our first stop was in Chillicothe, at of all places, the VA Hospital.

The VA Memorial Stadium is located on the grounds of the hospital, with a seating capacity of 3000 in the brick main grandstands that is representative of the period it was built in the 1950s.

2015 05 10 3 Chillicothe VA Stadium.jpg

 

Across the road from the VA Hospital is the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, where a collection of Native American earthworks known as Mound City are located. While we did not visit Mound City on this visit, we did stop by another unit of this park west of Chillicothe called Seip Mound.

This large earthwork complex contains a low embankment forming a small circle and an irregular circle and a square, all connected and enclosing about 121 acres. Within the enclosure is a large elliptical mound, three smaller conjoined mounds, several small mounds, and several structure outlines found through excavations. It is estimated that the large mound was originally 240 feet long, 160 feet wide, and 30 feet high. A reconstructed mound and a portion of reconstructed wall are visible

2015 05 10 7 Seip Mound Ohio.jpg

 

Nearby Seip Mound is located near what was once a small village called Knockemstiff. This town was made famous by in 2008 by a local writer who used it for a location in a fictional book, which became a best seller. The book made the town so famous that someone has stolen the sign with the name of the town on it, so we had a difficult time locating it, finally realizing we were there, even though there was nothing left.

If you ever have the desire to see Knockemstiff, Ohio, don’t bother, just go out in the country, find a vacant, dilapidated house trailer in a field, take a photo and claim you were there, because in essence you were.

2015 05 10 6 Knockemstiff.jpg

 

Next on the agenda for the day was Serpent Mount, one of the most renown earthworks in the world. The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot, three-foot-high prehistoric effigy mound on a plateau of the ancient Serpent Mound crater in Adams County, Ohio.

The mound is maintained within a park that is administered by the Ohio Historical Society, and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

2015 05 10 30 Serpent Mound Ohio.jpg

 

Originally thought to be Adena in origin, it is now believed to have been built my the members of the Fort Ancient culture around 1070. Further research points to the potential of it being built even earlier, around 310 BC. It is the largest serpent effigy mound in the world.

The park is well maintained, with a visitor’s center/museum and picnic grounds. The museum gives a nice overview of what scientists believe it was used for, and how it was built, along with its relationship to the sun and moon. The observation tower gave us an excellent overview of the mound, while the trails around it let you see it up close.

Once we had finished our discovery of Serpent Mound, we continued south into the small town of Ripley on the Ohio River. Upon our arrival in Ripley we went on the hunt for something to eat. We parked on Front Street, along the river, and noticed a number of people going into Rockin’ Robins Soda Shop, so we followed. It turned out to be another of the 1950s style places that focused primarily on ice cream, but served food as well. It was amazing that we were only 100 miles south of Columbus and the accents sounded as though we had gone 500 miles south. After the standard fare of hamburgers and fries we continued on our way.

2015 05 10 36 Ripley Ohio.jpg

 

Ripley was founded in 1812, and given it’s location on the Ohio River across from Kentucky became a destination for slaves escaping from slavery. Both black and white residents developed a network, making Ripley and early stop on the Underground Railroad.

One of the more famous abolitionists who lived in Ripley was John Rankin, who built a house on Liberty Hill  overlooking the town, river and Kentucky shore. From there they would signal escaping slaves with a lantern on a flagpole and provide them shelter once across. It was here that Margaret Garner, a slave who had escaped to Ripley in 1838, inspired the character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The house still exists high on the hill overlooking the Ohio River, with it’s famous ‘steps to Freedom’

2015 05 10 37 Ripley Ohio.jpg

 

Just downriver from Ripley is the crossroads town. Utopia was one of a handful of “phalanxes” established in America in the mid-19th century, social communes a century ahead of their time. All of them failed but none as spectacularly as this one.

2015 05 10 42 Utopia Ohio.jpg

 

The community was founded in 1844. Its original inhabitants were followers of French philosopher Charles Fourier, who believed that all work and profits should be shared equally. Its residents built a 30-room communal brick house and many private dwellings. But they left two years later because they weren’t making enough money to survive and, frankly, didn’t get along with each other.

Ohio erected a historical marker, designating this “Utopia,” in 2003. There’s an underground church across the street where the Wattles people would practice their rituals. John Wattles’ stone house is visible, supposedly haunted on rainy nights by dripping ghosts, as is the riverbank.

Finding no ghosts, just weeds, a country store and a couple of signs, and a large fence around the pit that apparently leads to the underground church, we continued on our way.

2015 05 10 52 Grants Birthplace Pt Pleasant Ohio.jpg

 

Further downriver we came to another small village, Point Pleasant. In this town is the house that U.S. Grant was born in.  The one story cottage was later taken by barge on a tour across the country before being displayed in Columbus at the state fairgrounds. In 1936 it was returned to Point Pleasant in 1936, where it has been restored with period furniture and opened to tours.

The Ohio Historical Society operate the house as a museum. The house and surrounding buildings make up a nice little park, just up from the Ohio River.

Our trip downriver continued with a brief stop in New Richmond, where we wanted to see the Cardboard Boat Race Museum, but it was closed this day. Our visit will have to wait until another day.

Once we arrived in Cincinnati for the second time in less than a week, we jumped on I-275 to run over to Newport. Once in Newport we went to their downtown to check out the World Peace Bell, one of more than twenty Peace Bells around the world. It weighs 66,000 pounds 12 feet wide. From 2000 until 2006, it was the largest swinging bell in the world.

2015 05 10 65 Newport & Covington.JPG

For the first time in the U.S., the bell was rung by swinging on January 1, 2000, at midnight. Struck twelve times, its peal was heard for distances of about 25 miles. At present, the bell is swung on special occasions, as well as daily at five minutes before noon. The time difference in the daily ring is to avoid interference with the nearby courthouse bells, which ring exactly at noon.

The bell tower, the bridge linking the museum and the bell, and most of the other components of the Millennium Monument, were produced at companies local to the Newport, Kentucky, area

Our final brief stop was to check out another Futuro house in Covington. High on a hill, not far from the freeway you can spot this as you cross the bridge from Cincinnati.

2015 05 10 76 Newport & Covington.jpg

 

We had taken the Ohio River Scenic Highway runs along the north side of the Ohio River, which run nearly the length of it from East Liverpool to Cincinnati, over 400 miles. Much of this road is very industrial from East Liverpool past Steubenville, Marietta, Parkersburg, Huntington & Portsmouth. Once past Portsmouth it interestingly becomes truly a scenic road, with little industry. It isn’t until one nearly comes to Cincinnati does the industry return. This drive from Ripley to Cincinnati was one of the first times I have ever seen the Ohio River have enjoyable scenery for very long.