Columbus – June 2018 – Hot Baseball

It’s literally 100 degrees (38c) and humid so what should we do, go to a baseball game. So some decisions are dumber than others, but we lasted about 2 hours and gave up (although we found seats in the shade).

It did provide enough time for some views of the game and the crowd.

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After some casual stretching.

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It was time to play.

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Dad is a great role model for the  little ones – what most people consider an insensitive hat and a shirt asking for beer with the baby on his lap – sitting in the sun on this hot day. The kid of the left’s face says it all.

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Swing and a miss.

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The play was sketchy at times, there were 4 credited errors in the first 3 innings.

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Although there were some good plays too.

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An Indianapolis player launched a massive home run into the bleachers, which the guy in the pink shirt clearly does not want to catch.

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Nor do the stunned little kids (or anyone around them)

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Jake the Wonder dog brought drinks to the umpires.

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While the manager is trying to figure out how to get through to his pitcher.

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What brings the crowd to their feet – free t shirt toss!

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Why is it when a pitcher is doing so poorly he gets pulled, yet they always pat them on the butt?

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The players look at the fans taking cover from a foul ball wondering why.

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Finally the 4th inning was over and we gave up and went to the air conditioned car.

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Logan, Ohio – June 2018 – Washboard Music Festival

Each year the Columbus Washboard Company (detailed on another posting) sponsors a Washboard Music Festival.

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In addition to the music they had a parade.

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Which featured mostly vintage tractors.

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Vendors selling an assortment of unusual items, including box guitars.

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As well as observing the local way of securing criminals?

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But we were here for the music.

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Artists from the various groups joined in with the other bands, including this fiddle player from Canada.

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Ira the somewhat cynical banjo player from Philadelphia. For the most part he had an audience of 1 (me), and had to play in front of a payday loan store, so I can see why he is cynical.

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Meanwhile on the main stage a collection of washboard players gathered…

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Bringing their strange instruments.

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Coming from far and wide.

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To join the legendary Washboard Hank, from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. I am not sure why but a number of the performers were from Canada!

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Hanks helmet is also an ‘instrument’

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The collection of washboard players joined Hank and his band on stage for a few songs.

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But we had to catch the Hillbilly Bus…

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It was time to leave the laundry hanging across the street and get out of town.

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Logan, Ohio – June 2018 – Washboard Factory

Our return visit to Logan included a second trip to the Columbus Washboard Company. Since people only use washboards for decoration or musical instruments, this is the last washboard manufacturer in America.

Since this was our second visit here as well, I spent more time getting a closer look at the process. The factory is small, but efficient and very retro.

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Even the dolly is old school.

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A stitching machine.

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Rolls of aluminum for the boards themselves.

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Fed through a crimper. They have a variety of crimp styles for the various boards.

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Ready for the next step.

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Meanwhile in another section of the factory they make the finger joints for the frame.

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More of the collection of vintage, but effective, machines.

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The frame sides are ready.

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They use plates for the logos.

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The assembler said she can make 20 washboards an hour.

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Ready for your band, or laundry.

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And they even have tubs if you need them.

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Logan, Ohio – June 2018 – A Sharp (Pencil) Place

A couple of years ago we were in Logan, Ohio and made a brief stop at the Pencil Sharpener Museum. Since we were back in the area we made another stop, spending more time to really check out the amazing collection, put together by a man named Paul Johnson – 3,479 in all!

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Paul died in 2010, but the Hocking Hills Tourist Information Center maintains his collection in a small building that looks more like a garden shed from the outside – but is very cool inside.

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The thousands of sharpeners were arranged by categories, including photography items. I wish I had a ‘roll of film’ pencil sharpener!

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Household items like a chair, gas grill and cement mixer sharpener.

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An entire collection of airplanes

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Famous buildings of the world.

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Office and retail shop tools.

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Presidents.

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And finally globes. If you find yourself in southern Ohio and need a break, give the nice ladies at the Hocking Hills Tourist Information Center a visit, and check out Paul’s collection – well worth the visit.

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Worthington, Ohio – June 2018 – Come for the Produce, Stay for the Art

The town of Worthington, Ohio was settled in 1803 by settlers from Connecticut. As a result the center of town resembles a New England town, complete with the village green. Long an affluent Columbus suburb, Worthington has a year round farmers market, with the summer season held in the village green area.

This farmers market is nice, with an interesting selection of produce (when in season), meats and a collection of hipster booths like artistic chocolate and little bags of pasta from Cleveland. Still we enjoy going down to buy local honey and other items.

This week though we had a surprise in that the annual Worthington Arts Festival was being held.

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Over 100 artists had booths set up offer a variety of mediums including ceramics, paintings, photography, fiber, glass, jewelry, metalwork, leather work, and sculptures.

A local art teacher makes Bruce the Garden Shark – whose role is in theory to be like a scarecrow. We brought one home to ward off the groundhogs and skunks.

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While the much larger Columbus Arts Festival attracts artists from all over the country this one was mostly local artists, including this one who did a mixed media sculpture.

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There were a number of wood carvers making sure we know we are in Ohio.

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A clay ceramics artist had great skill in his use of paints and approaches to his firings to make interesting pieces.

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Interested in the steam punk look?

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A husband and wife team had a wood/glass mix.

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Finally a basket of funky little characters.

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Columbus – June 2018 – Old Oaks Neighborhood House and Garden Tour

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.

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The church has impressive stained glass throughout.

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But we were here to tour the neighborhood …

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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.

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The neighborhood is nearly all stately brick homes.

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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.

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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.

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Not all of the homes shown here were on the official tour, but grace the streets of the neighborhood.

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With the flags it is clear you are in Ohio – USA.

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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.

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A few of the interiors of the homes were open for inspection.

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They were all beautifully restored and decorated.

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A great use of an old pull down school map – a window shade!

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Some had stained glass windows (you can also see the use of stained glass from the street as well).

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Fireplaces were present in many of the bedrooms.

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All of the homes have excellent wood work throughout.

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Another example of a bedroom with a fireplace.

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An older look was present in one of the homes.

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The highlights though were the garden tours – this one featured a massive pergola leading to the original (apparently un-restored) garage.

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An arch frames the garden of another home.

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If nature wipes out your tree, make it art.

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One of the homes had extensive outdoor living space including a pool and a palm (Ohio palm tree?)

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Another had a number of artistic touches include beer bottles made into candles.

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The garages are in the rear, as originally they were carriage houses, to house horses. Alleys line all the houses in the back.

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Technically not a garden, but the front porches were great – giving the neighborhood a sense of community.

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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).

 

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Sugarcreek, OH – June 2018 – Age of Steam Roundhouse

The Age of Steam Roundhouse located in the countryside outside of Sugarcreek, Ohio is the result of a single man’s passion for trains. Jerry Joe Jacobson had a lifelong interest in trains, and over the years collected numerous steam and diesel engines,, along with a number of cars.

In 2011 they completed the roundhouse to house the collection. I had read about this online and sent an email querying about visiting. The email I received back detailed how they only opened to large group tours, but that sometime in the summer they would offer up public tours – so I signed up and a few months later had my tour.

I received back a lengthy waiver detailing numerous don’ts for the visit. While giving me pause we headed out. Upon arriving we had yet another lengthy warning speech about safety (don’t step on a rail you might twist an ankle!) and numerous other things. Now I was concerned it was going to feel like a school field trip we headed out.

Thankfully I was very wrong once we went out on our tour. Our primary tour guide was the son of Jerry (who passed away a year or so ago). He was informative, engaging and lead us throughout the facility – although they did group us into 3 large piles of 30+ people.

 

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The roundhouse is 48,000 square feet with space for 18 locomotives. Built out of masonry and heavy timbers it is an impressive sight.

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Our first stop was the shop where they restore the locomotives.

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It was here we got our first close view of the impressive doors, each weighing over 2000 pounds (1000 kilograms). They are proud that they are so well balanced you can close them with 1 finger.

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Also outside is the large water tank and delivery system that steam locomotives require.

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Returning back inside we toured the numerous engines housed there.

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A couple of the middle bays were free of trains to give a nice overview of the building.

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The assistants to the tour were all dressed for the part – and helpful.

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Each bay has a chimney to capture the significant smoke that a steam locomotive puts out. Note the impressive ceiling.

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They had a variety of engines, although to be fair with the large crowd you could either a) be up front where you could hear the description but have 35 people in the way of the photos  or  b) hang back and get nice photos but no description. One of the numerous opening instructions were no talking to each other or the other guides so you don’t disrupt the tour – they have a schedule to keep.

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Outside are the doors to the turntable – a very impressive sight remembering each of the doors (36 in all) are over 2000 pounds.

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The tracks to the turntable with an engine on the table.

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One of the ‘pushers’ (to keep everyone in line) was Jerry – he and the others were really great and helpful (I whispered my questions!). After the tour I was able to speak to Jerry further finding him a very interesting man.

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Returning back inside – another great view.

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A close up of one of the engines and the ceiling.

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They did have a couple of small display of ancillary railroad items.

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A final look inside.

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A view from outside the fence surrounding the property. The Age of Steam Roundhouse is an amazing place well worth the visit, even with the extensive (silly) warnings and processes and slightly expensive cost to attend.

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