Chicago – February 2019 – History Museum

Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.

During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.





In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.





Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.

His photographs were used for many album covers.





Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.





The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.





All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.





In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.

This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.





Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.





Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.





A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.





Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.





As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.





Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.





As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.






Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.








Columbus – January 2019 – Time Travelling Up High Street

When we lived close to Pittsburgh I would sometimes take old photos and recreate them with the current view. Being a city that has developed significantly since the 1950s, Columbus doesn’t have the quantity of old buildings to match up with current photos, it still offers enough to make for an interesting Sunday afternoon.

Most of the old photographs are from the Library of Congress website, and are in the Detroit Photographic Company section of the online photos (easily the best collection of vintage photos anywhere).

For this effort we made our way up High Street from the south end of downtown to the north end, where the former railroad station was once located.

We start with the grand old Southern Hotel. Still there, and still in the hotel business, it hasn’t changed much from the street view since 1910. A few horse and wagons parked instead of cars, and obviously no traffic lights!





We continued north on High Street, stopping at State Street to take a view back south towards where we just came.

Interestingly none of the 1910 buildings seem to still exist, and those that replaced them have also aged long enough to be re purposed into other functions. Most noteworthy is the large building on the far right on the new photo – it was for many years the downtown flagship Lazarus Department Store, which closed in 2003.







Turning around and looking north on High Street – the State Capitol Building on the right (just out of view). I would estimate this photo to be from between 1910-1915, with the presence of a few automobiles.

Note the two 12-15 floor high buildings on the right. The shorter one was the tallest in the city when completed in 1901, with the slightly taller one surpassing it in 1906. One interesting bit of trivia, one of the original leaders of the NFL was a Columbus native, and as the president of the league their headquarters was in the building on the right from 1927 until 1939.

Along the street in the distance you see mass transit – a street car in the 1910 photo, and a bus in the new one.







A second view of Broad and High Street. The older photo was obviously taken from the 2nd or 3rd floor, which I can’t recreate exactly since the buildings are all closed to the public.

It is amazing that since Broad & High is often considered the center of Ohio, being the two main streets in the city directly across from the Capitol that the small buildings on the northeast corner survive to this day, albeit with significant remodeling.

This view also gives a closer view of the transportation choices of the times.








One last view of Broad & High. The line of streetcars in 1910 and buses now.







Another block north brings us to Gay Street. Note the buildings on the northeast corner are all still in existence – although the concept of a Target store was still 50 years away.








Long Street – The Atlas Building has always been a presence at this corner. Not much about the exterior has changed, a couple of neighbors are missing though. Note that Long Street was a two way street in 1910, with the streetcar tracks down the middle.








High Street at Spring Street – Absolutely nothing remains, most has been replaced in the last 40 years.

Even on a Sunday it was easy to get a bus in every photo, as they seemed to pass by about every 5 minutes. The old photos also had a streetcar in nearly every one.








Our final stop on High Street – Union Station. This location on High Street was the location of the main railway station for Columbus from 1851 until the last train left in 1977. The wonderful building was demolished by 1979.

The station was replaced with a convention center, and later the arcade (shopping mall – not video games) was replaced with shops and restaurants built over the freeway in a style that recalls the architecture of the original.




The convention center and hotel sits exactly where the main concourse was located.




It still remains a public gathering space, only for a different purpose.

With that our time travelling up High Street came to an end. Look for more in future visits to other cities (Chicago, Cleveland) or even more in Columbus.








Columbus – December 2018 – Ohio’s Attic

The Ohio History Center in Columbus is sort of Ohio’s attic, if an attic is a brutalist style concrete building with a number of galleries with extremely diverse displays.

Still, a good way to spend a few hours on a cold, rainy Saturday.

First up – African American Art

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A long time Columbus TV legend, Flippo (or more appropriately Flippo’s outfit)

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A small engine.

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Silver Bracelet from the 1800s.

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Ohio has always been known for it’s many glass makers.

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Coverlets

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A display on World War I had a gas mask. Interestingly the precursor to the gas mask was invented by Garrett Morgan in Cleveland. An African American, Garrett had a long and distinguished life as an inventor.

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An exhibit on Ohio artists. This display honors Paul Henri Bourguignon, a Belgian born artist who settled in Columbus in 1950 after his wife joined the faculty of Ohio State University.

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Flywheel for a steam engine. I just like the symmetry and color.

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Early fire engine.

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Horse drawn streetcar.

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Model Train set.

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Miss America 1953’s gown and portrait.

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Etch a Sketch – from ‘Ohio Art’

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A 1957 Chevy and an Airstream Trailer. The camper has been built in Ohio for a long time.

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The Soap Box derby is synonymous with Ohio.

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Lustron Homes were prefabricated, metal houses made in the 1940s and 1950s.

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This display is all set for Christmas 1955.

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Native American pipe.

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And effigy.

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Flints.

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A display of Civil War era Ohio Companies flags.

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Dinosaur skull.

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Fossils.

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Taxidermy of animals that once, or still, are present in Ohio.

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An airplane, because we need an airplane.

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And cars. We need cars to. And the state has long produced both.

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An early tire mold from Firestone.

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Finally we are hungry, so we stopped by White Castle (at least the exhibit – we found better food for lunch afterwards).

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Across America – September – The Depot Tour Continues

The ongoing Train Depot/Station post continues to grow….

 

Manhattan – PATH station in the World Trade Center Oculus.

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The train to Hoboken

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Hoboken Terminal

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Jersey City – New Jersey Transit Light Rail – Newport Station

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Urbana, Ohio

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Columbus – near German Village – The High Street Streetcar Line Car House. Very nicely restored as a banquet facility.

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On this Sunday morning they were setting up for something – so the door was open 🙂

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Berea, Ohio Depot – Now a restaurant and tavern.

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The Berea Depot sits along two major rail lines, and the parking lot had a number of die hard Railfans hanging out to watch the freight trains go blowing by.  Apparently this spot in the best spot east of Chicago for those type of activities.

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While in nearby Olmstead Falls is a small depot that was also once located next door in Berea.

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It is part of a railroad themed shopping and entertainment complex.

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Elyria, Ohio is a medium sized city, so they had a larger station. It too has recently been restored.

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The Elyria station features some nice architectural touches.

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Amherst, Ohio Depot.

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As with many others it too is a community center.

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Oberlin, Ohio is home to to Oberlin College – the oldest co-educational college in America, and second oldest in the world.  It continues to be one of the highest ranked liberal arts colleges in America – in this tiny little northern Ohio town!

Their train depot is located in a small park.

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It is nice to see how many towns have retained these historic buildings.

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Just down the road in Wellington is the Lorain and West Virginia Railway Museum. While situated along the tracks, this depot was moved to the site.

2018 09 15 47 Wellington OH Lorain & WV Railway Museum.jpg

 

 

The museum offers rail excursions.

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The little town of New London, Ohio has a tiny little depot that has been moved to a local park.

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Our last stop of the day was in Galion, Ohio. We came upon this great Queen Anne style station that was open for a ‘Doors Open’ event.

2018 09 15 62 Galion OH Train Station.jpg

 

 

The station’s interior needs some work,  but it is standing and seemingly solid.

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The stone and brick building still features much of the canopy for waiting passengers.

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This station was home to the ‘Big Four’ railroad – that connected Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus & St Louis (they must have skipped Indiana).

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Outville, Ohio

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Johnstown, Ohio.

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On our Labor Day weekend throughout the Midwest we visit a few stations that were along the way.

Battle Creek, Michigan

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Three Oaks, Michigan – It is now an upscale clothing store in a tiny little tourist town.

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Ada, Ohio

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Forest, Ohio

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Chicago – Union Station (Interiors)

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Buffalo Central Terminal – There is a dedicated posting for this amazing station

https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2017/05/17/buffalo-may-2017-central-terminal/

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Jersey City – This station is at the dock for the ferries to the Statue of Liberty. Currently unused, it appears to be being restored as part of Liberty State Park

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Portland, Oregon

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St Louis – Union Station. Now a hotel and a shopping mall

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Philadelphia – 30th Street Station

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Boston – South Station

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Denver – Union Station. I understand it has been restored since this photo was taken.

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New York – Grand Central Terminal. I have amazingly few photos of this great terminal despite having been in and out of there numerous times.

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Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania Station. Now luxury apartments.

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The Amtrak station is connected, but in an ugly little building near the lower level

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Greensburg, Pennsylvania

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Latrobe, Pennsylvania

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Dennison, Ohio – This nice little station has been restored into a museum.

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Scranton, Pennsylvania – Steamtown National Historic Park has a great roundhouse that serves as the museum.

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Also in Scranton is an old station.

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Canon City, Colorado – The spectacular Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad station.

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Greeley, Colorado – Centennial Village Union Pacific Depot

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Bowling Green, Ohio Depot – now located at Dayton’s Carillon Park

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Glendale, Ohio – Now serves at the Visitor Center

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Dearborn, Michigan – Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum.

A roundhouse

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Thurmond, West Virginia – Located in the New River Gorge National Park.

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Ironwood, Michigan

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Superior, Wisconsin

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Fargo, North Dakota

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Nelsonville, Ohio – Home of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad

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Elmore, Ohio – Another visitor center

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Bellville Depot – It has been restored and is now a rest stop along a ‘rails to trails’ path.

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A stylish clock is on the other side of the path, facing a great looking bridge.

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The overall scene of the Bellville depot.

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The town of Mt Vernon has two passenger depots and a former freight building. The first building was a Baltimore & Ohio depot.

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It actually sits along active tracks.

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Used by the local community development organization, it is beautifully restored inside and out.

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The second station, just a few blocks away is restored as well.

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A passenger station for the Pennsylvania Railroad, it closely resembles the B &O station. If you have ever wondered why some towns have ‘Union Stations’ it is because of this, why have 2 stations – have a ‘union’ of railroads and build one.

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The tracks here have been converted to a rails to trails as well.

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The interior is fantastic.

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Even the heating radiators are stylish.

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We arrived at Granville in the pouring down rain, so I took a couple photos out the car window. As with many of the others, it is a stop on a rails to trails.

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Leaving the rain we stopped in the tiny town of Alexandria, where the station has been moved a mile or so from it’s original location to a parking lot of a business.

2018 08 25 204 Alexandria OH Depot.jpg

 

 

The next day we headed to western Ohio to the town of South Charleston. This depot had the best of both worlds, it was on a bike trail going one way and an active track going the other way.

2018 08 26 8 S Charleston OH Depot.jpg

 

 

Across the tracks was a park with a couple of cabooses.

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The small city of London, Ohio was our next stop.

2018 08 26 13 London OH Depot.jpg

 

 

The station here was along unused tracks, and appears to be owned by a club. The building appears to have been restored, but the area around the building is a bit shabby.

2018 08 26 15 London OH Depot.jpg

 

 

As with most of the medium size stations there is some character to the architecture.

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I had read that a depot from the southern Ohio town of Bainbridge had been moved to a place called Greene’s Museum Village, but when we found it, the place looked overgrown and someplace I didn’t want to go knock on a door – so a photo from across the corn fields sufficed.

2018 08 26 23 Orient OH Depot.jpg

 

 

Finally back in Columbus we unexpectedly passed by some remnants of the streetcar years. This unused building is just north of downtown and was the business offices for the streetcar company.

A streetcar barn had been located across the street but has been torn down years ago.

I can’t believe someone hasn’t restored this great building.

2018 08 26 74 Columbus Streetcar Houses.jpg

 

 

On the east side of Columbus, near Franklin Park is the Kelton Avenue streetcar barn. Actually this is the repair shop, the storage barns have been torn down here as well.

I have added the rest of the streetcar remnants to my list of places to go see, so stay tuned for more in the future.

2018 08 26 77 Columbus Streetcar Houses.jpg

 

 

The Brice Station served a small town just east of Columbus, now it is part of an events center on the northwest side of town.

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We were lucky enough to meet a Reverend who was getting ready for his Sunday morning services. He was more than happy to let us look around the nicely restored station.

2018 08 19 118 Columbus Brice Depot.jpg

 

 

In the back they have a dining car, that still functions as a dining car – it just doesn’t move.

2018 08 19 123 Columbus Brice Depot.jpg

 

 

The counter is a work of art.

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Our next stop is owned by the same people, only located across town. It is called the Golf Depot, and serves as the restaurant and clubhouse for the golf course.

2018 08 19 139 Gahanna Prospect Depot.jpg

 

 

I was immediately impressed with the views. Central Ohio is very flat and I was surprised that we were on a small rise, with a skyline view and a view of the nearby airport.

Where did this hill come from you ask? It was a huge landfill/garbage dump that they have re-purposed into this golf course. As with the last depot, the train never stopped here, since there were never any tracks anywhere close to here.

2018 08 19 136 Gahanna Prospect Depot.jpg

 

 

They do celebrate their rail history with a mural.

2018 08 19 142 Gahanna Prospect Depot.jpg

 

 

The depot was moved in tact and placed on the course.

2018 08 19 143 Gahanna Prospect Depot.jpg

 

 

The restaurant has all of the original wood.

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We were having such good luck finding great little depots we headed 30 miles away to the small town of Sunbury, Ohio. I had read they too had a station, and a model train exhibit inside. Unfortunately the station was covered in some hideous faux shake shingles.

2018 08 19 160 Sunbury OH Depot.jpg

 

 

It was located where the tracks were, but are now gone. In it’s place is a very nice rails to trails path. I was disappointed in the depot, but the hike made up for it.

2018 08 19 162 Sunbury OH Depot.jpg

 

 

We continued back toward the city by stopping in the small city of Delaware, Ohio where the list said there were 2 stations very close to each other. The list was correct, there was this small wooden depot.

2018 08 19 173 Delaware OH Depots.jpg

 

 

Mostly hidden behind barbed wire fence.

2018 08 19 176 Delaware OH Depots.jpg

 

 

And a larger one across the tracks.

2018 08 19 168 Delaware OH Depots.jpg

 

 

That had warning signs of the hazardous conditions. So much for our good luck with finding cool little depots this day.

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This small depot is located the Mad River and Nickel Plate Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

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The small station serves as a display area for the museum.

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Bucyrus, Ohio is currently restoring their fine brick station.

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We are looking forward to a return visit when it is completed.

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Newark’s is already restored and serves as an office for a local business.

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While a nearby mural celebrates their rail history.

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The small town of Canal Winchester (so named because the Ohio and Erie canal went through the town before the railroads) has two stations – this one if for the Interurbans (regional trains).

2017 05 07 176 Canal Winchester OH.jpg

 

 

It serves as a community center.

2017 05 07 177 Canal Winchester OH.jpg

 

 

On the other side of town is a small depot for the mainline trains.

2017 05 06 42 Canal Winchester OH.jpg

 

 

A small museum resides inside.

2017 05 06 43 Canal Winchester OH.jpg

 

 

With a couple of restored cars outside.

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The Marion station is one of the nicer ones. The exterior is in great shape, and the interior is not bad. A local rail fan club maintains the building.

2017 03 18 313 Marion OH Railroad Club Depot.jpg

 

 

Marion is located near multiple main freight lines and attract numerous rail fans.

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The building has a classic look.

2015 04 18 137 Marion OH Union Station.jpg

 

 

The nearby control tower oversees the activities.

2017 03 18 310 Marion OH Railroad Club Depot.jpg

 

 

In a Lima part there is a small depot called Lincoln Park. This small depot was located in a nearby town and moved to the park as part of the rail display.

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It currently serves as offices for the park.

2017 03 18 276 Lima OH Lincoln Park.jpg

 

 

The Franklin County Fairgrounds is the home of the Hilliard Depot.

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The National Road is more famous for automobile traffic, but this little depot served interurbans that eventually lost out to the cars.

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Another small depot in the town of Pickerington.

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Our last couple are more impressive stations. The Columbus and Toledo station on the near west side of Columbus is a great building with a pagoda look.

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With the main Columbus station gone, it is fantastic that this one survived.

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It currently serves as a union hall, but they rent it out for weddings and other events.

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Finally – Cincinnati Union Terminal.

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On of the best domes in the world, it is mostly used for a number of museums that make their home there.

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But Amtrak does use a portion of the building.

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Easily one of the best train stations in America, the woodwork is stunning.

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Art deco at it’s finest. My plan is to update this posting as we visit more depots and stations around Ohio.

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