Pittsburgh – July 2017 – Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center, like most science centers, is geared towards children, but with an excellent railway model of the highlights of Pittsburgh I wanted to check it out.

An added bonus was the Robot Hall of Fame, as well as a submarine docked on the banks of the Ohio River!

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An interesting display showing the stress high heel shoes put on a woman’s ankle and foot.

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Forbes Field

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

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Danger Will Robinson….

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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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Cleveland – May 2017 – Harbor Views

Cleveland is a major port on Lake Erie, with most of the large commercial ore boats traversing the narrow, crooked Cuyahoga River. There is however a port at the entrance to the river, as well as an old Art Deco Coast Guard station, all with great views of the river, lake and city.

A marina on Whiskey Island (actually a peninsula) is home to the tug boat fleet, as well as some pleasure boats.

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The vacant coast guard station is a beautiful art deco building that the city is now restoring.

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The harbor lighthouse leads out from the safe waters behind the breakwater to the often turbulent water of Lake Erie.

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The mix of huge ore boats and small sailboats is interesting.

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An amazing collection of bridges cross the Cuyahoga, some are small lift bridges (the foreground is a lift bridge for the railroad), as well as high level bridges.

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The harbor crane with a background of a downtown skyscraper.

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Hilliard, OH – May 2017 – N Scale Model Trains

A rainy Sunday morning meant trying to find something inside to do. Fortunately there was a N Scale Model Train show in Hilliard, Ohio. N Scale is a very small scale, and the scenery that the various groups did was very intricate.

The model rail clubs came from throughout Ohio and surrounding states. The best was easily the Dayton N Scale club, as they had working carnival rides, ski lifts, and many others.

A German Rail Station

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With the small scale they build models in suitcases, and in this case, a guitar case.

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Some of the scenery the trains run through included a drive in movie theater.

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The ski lift.

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Clubs came from as far away as Indiana and New Jersey.

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The small, fast moving trains proved to be tricky to photograph.

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Another station.

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Buffalo – May 2017 – Central Terminal

The Buffalo Central Terminal is a rail station that was built and opened in 1929. It served as the main rail station until 1979, when it was abandoned. It was designed Alfred Fellheimer, who also designed Grand Central Terminal, of which it bears a striking resemblance.

A few times a year they host tours and the day we went there were about 100 people showed up. We spent two hours getting a tour and in depth discussion on the building and the effort to restore it.

In addition to the main lobby, there is a 17 floor office building, a freight building, and the original platforms, but only the main lobby has been restored.

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The exterior shape of the main lobby is also similar to the look of Grand Central Terminal.

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Four large clocks adorn the upper level of the office building.

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The ticket counters.

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One of the original news stands.

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A view from a mezzanine level.

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For a few years someone lived in the building in an apartment. It is now in a very poor state, but had a great view of the lobby.

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The ticket counter and baggage check.

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First view of the lobby

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The lobby and center clock

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The lobby from the mezzanine.

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Close up of the clock

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Second view of the clock

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Columbus – May 2017 – Historical Markers

The Ohio History Center has arranged for over 1,500 Historical Markers to be erected throughout the state, with over 100 in Franklin County (Columbus) alone. Each of these markers provides a snippet of information about a person, place or activity that took place on or near the marker.

We spent the day wandering around looking for a few that were associated with structures of interest. In the end we visited 12 unique locations.

The text for each photo is the transcription from the marker (thank you Ohio History Center for the signs!)

Worthington Masonic Museum

Worthington was the center of Masonry for the central Ohio area in the early years of the nineteenth century. New England Lodge, with its original charter from the Grand Lodge of Connecticut dated 1803, is the oldest lodge in continuous existence in Ohio. This building, erected in 1820, is the oldest Masonic Temple west of the Allegheny Mountains.

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Groveport Log Home

Built on Main Street, circa 1815, this two story log residence was later sided. In 1974 during new post office site preparation, the log structure was discovered and moved to present location along Ohio-Erie Canal route. In adjoining Groveport Cemetery a monument honors local resident, John S. Rarey (1828-1866), internationally known horse trainer and owner of famous horse, Cruiser.

 

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Canal Winchester Covered Bridge

In March, 1887, the Franklin County Commissioners announced the building of a bridge in Madison Township over Little Walnut Creek at Kramer’s Ford. Area citizens had petitioned for a bridge to transport agricultural products to the canal and railroad. Michael Corbett of Groveport contracted to construct the abutments and the Columbus Bridge Company built the covered bridge for $2,690.00. Reuban L. Partridge, company vice president, supervised the building, using his patented truss system consisting of double and triple truss members constructed of pine and oak. Back Text: In the 1930’s the road traveling over the bridge became State Route 674 and in the 1950s the road was redirected to bypass the covered bridge. In 1990, the county contracted with Abba Lichtenstein & Associates to evaluate the condition of the bridge. The W.J. Seidensticker Company repaired and restored the Bergstresser bridge using original and new materials. This, the last covered bridge in Franklin County, was rededicated September 1, 1991. At this time the ownership of the bridge was transferred to the Village of Canal Winchester.

 

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Grandview Heights – The Bank Block

Built by pioneering retail developer Don Monroe Casto Sr., the Bank Block was dedicated in 1928. Considered one of the earliest regional shopping centers in the United States, it innovatively featured 350 free parking spaces-complete with uniformed attendant-to accommodate the rapidly growing numbers of automobile-owning suburbanites. The Bank Block’s first tenants included several competing national grocers (Kroger, A&P, and Piggly Wiggly), the First Citizens Trust (later Ohio National Bank), a stationer, barber shop, and pharmacy. It remains the nucleus of Grandview’s commercial district. Casto, once described as “the man who changed the shopping habits of the free world,” also built the Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall and was a dominant figure in retail commercial development in the Midwest for much of the 20th century.

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Worthington – Orange Johnson House

The original pioneer structure of this house was built by Arora Buttles in 1811. It was purchased by Orange and Achsa Johnson in 1816. Orange Johnson came from Connecticut as a comb maker; he became a farmer, landowner, turnpike commissioner, paymaster for the militia, banker, and railroad stockholder. In 1819 the Federal style addition was constructed on the west side of the pioneer house, and the Johnsons continued to live here until 1863. Restored and owned by the Worthington Historical Society.

 

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Columbus – Original Airport Terminal

The original Port Columbus Airport terminal was founded by the people of Columbus and was one of the first airport facilities in the United States. Dedicated on July 8, 1929, Port Columbus was the first transfer point in the westbound transcontinental passenger service, which was operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), and the Santa Fe Railway. Its first passengers departed by rail from New York City on July 7, 1929, and boarded TAT Ford Tri-Motor aircraft at Port Columbus to fly to Waynoka, Oklahoma, the following day. They then traveled by rail to Clovis, New Mexico, and completed their journey with a TAT flight to Los Angeles. The scheduled 48-hour trip was celebrated in Columbus, marking the beginning milestone of national airport travel. (continued on other side) Back Text: (continued from other side) With the nation sinking into the Great Depression, the national air travel venture at Port Columbus was not profitable enough. As a result, the scheduled train-plane operation was suspended and replaced with coast-to-coast air service in 1930. The arrival of mail service at the airport in 1930 helped, as did a huge contract with the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in 1940. Curtiss-Wright leased 83 acres of airport property to produce 6,000 planes, including the SB2C Helldiver and SO3C-1 Seagull aircraft. The federal government took over airport operations in 1941. In 1942 a Naval Air Facility was established adding several new buildings and lengthening runways. This building served as the passenger terminal until the present terminal opened on September 21, 1958.

 

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Columbus – Lincoln Theater

The Lincoln Theatre, originally known as Ogden Theatre Lodge, opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1929. Developer Al Jackson was spurred to build the theatre because African-Americans were segregated from the other area theatres. Among the bands that have played at the Lincoln was the Eckstine Band, which launched the careers of a number of legendary jazz stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughn. The Lincoln Theatre retained a high level of integrity during a period of unequaled African-American cultural, social, and economic strength in Columbus.

 

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Columbus – Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad Station

The only remaining Columbus railroad station, The Toledo & Ohio Central (T&OC) Railroad Station was constructed in 1895 and was the departure point for William McKinley when he left for Washington D.C to be sworn in as president. Designed by noted Columbus architects Joseph Warren Yost & Frank L. Packard, the pagoda style roof and tower have become Columbus icons. By 1900, the T&OC was purchased by the rival Hocking Valley Railroad and in 1911 the tracks were elevated above Broad Street. Later the New York Central Railroad gained control and used the station until 1930 when passenger service was transferred to Union Station in Columbus. Restored after the 1913 Flood and major fires in 1910 and 1975, the station was headquarters for the Central Ohio Volunteers of American from 1930 to 2003. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Back Text: The Macklin Hotel was constructed prior to 1895 and predates the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Station. It was located adjacent to the station and had three towers and a pagoda style roof matching the depot. The Macklin Hotel was located at 387 W. Broad St. in front of the crystal ice plant which supplied ice to the railroads prior to refrigeration. After the hotel closed, the building was used for several restaurants and cafes until its demolition in 1955.

 

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Grove City – Beulah Park Race Track (Abandonded and mostly demolished)

The origin of Beulah Park Race Track began in 1889 when local businessman A. G. Grant petitioned the village of Grove City to create the Beulah Addition housing development on farmland once owned by town founder William Foster Breck. Grant named the new addition, located west of Harrisburg Pike, in honor of his daughter, Beulah. Grant, whose grandparents ?Hugh and Catherine Grant? were Jackson Township’s first settlers in 1803, added a recreational park to the development to attract potential buyers. The beautifully wooded park attracted visitors who enjoyed picnics, concerts, speeches, and baseball games there. Soon the park was expanded to include a small racetrack on the grounds. Back Text: The new track grabbed the attention of Franklin County Fair officials who held the fair on the site intermittently until 1918 when it was relocated to Hilliard. Shortly thereafter, Colonel James M. Westwater purchased the grounds and added improvements. In 1922, Westwater sold his interest to the Capital City Racing Association and, in 1923, the Association founded Beulah Park ?Ohio’s first Thoroughbred racetrack. The main entrance of the park was located on Grant Avenue, a street named in honor of Jackson Township’s first settlers. In 1931, pari-mutuel wagering commenced under the supervision of the Ohio Racing Commission. In 1983, Beulah Park was the first track in Ohio to offer simulcast wagering on the Kentucky Derby.

 

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One interesting building we came across that did not have a historical marker was the Wagnalls Library in the small town of Lithopolis. This library is a result of Mabel Wagnalls Jones, who was the daughter of Adam Wagnalls, a co-founder of the Funk & Wagnalls Publishing Company.

Built in 1925 it has graced this small town for nearly a century.

 

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While we were in Canal Winchester looking for an Interurban station we came across their Main rail station, along with a couple of restored cabooses. We never did find the Interurban station.

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Cleveland – March 2017 – Midwest Railway Preservation Society

It was back to Cleveland again for an open house at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. Springtime in Cleveland can be interesting depending on which way the wind is blowing, as it was this day. Twenty miles from the lake it was 70 degrees, but with the lake water still cold it was a brisk 44 downtown.

The Midwest Railway Preservation Society has a rail yard at an old roundhouse in the Flats, which in this area is all old industrial. The cold cloudy day, coupled with the industrial landscape was a perfect setting for the rusty old rail cars.

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To be fair the group has done an a good job in restoring some cars and engines, and continue to restore equipment for themselves, and others. The problem is the cost is substantial in attempting a restoration and that much money is hard to find. They are proud one of their passenger cars was used in the movie The Natural.

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer (a newspaper) had featured an article on the open house, and it seemed as though much of Cleveland had read it, as the place was packed. We lucked out and got a parking space close by and headed in.

After paying our entry fees, we waited with a large group to start the required tour. As with the stop in Marion, all of the volunteers are very enthusiastic about railroading. Our tour guide, complete in coveralls, was clearly into railroads. Unfortunately he was very verbose, and our tour took forever (we were actually passed by the tour behind us).

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Next door was an active rail yard that had a number of parked cars, many of which had significant amounts of graffiti, some of which was quite good.

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All in all it was an interesting couple of hours, and provided some interesting photo ops.

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