Kansas City’s Union Station still provides what little passenger rail service exists today, but it has so much more. It has been restored as a museum, restaurant center and post office. The station was, and is, one of America’s great stations.
The Cincinnati architecture tour starts with a view of the historic City Hall. This impressive Romanesque building dates from 1893, after taking 5 years to build. The design was intended on reflecting the taste of the German descended majority of the population of the city at the time.
The Cincinnati Fire Museum (back side). Dating from 1907, the building is on the National Register.
The Plum Street Temple (now known as the Isaac Wise Temple), was built in 1865, with construction occurring during the Civil War. As with City Hall, which is caddy-corner from the temple, it is built in a style (Byzantine Moorish) that was popular in Germany at the time.
With World War II, all the temples in Germany in this style were destroyed, leaving only this and one in New York City in this style.
The Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone Company Building – This art deco building was completed in 1930.
Note the frieze – it is a series of rotary phones.
One interesting note, in the 1930s it contained the worlds longest straight switchboard (photo from Cincinnati Enquirer article). The floors were built at an unusually tall for the time 12′ high to support the equipment.
The western end of Garfield Place has a number of interesting structures.
The red brick building is the 1891 Waldo Apartments. The designer, Samuel Hannaford, also designed the Music Hall, nearby City Hall, and the Hooper Building.
The Covenant First Presbyterian Church is another late 1800s religious building. Both the church and the Waldo are on the National Registry.
William Henry Harrison is overlooking the entire scene. The statue’s statement of ‘Ohio’s first President’ is a bit of a controversy, as Harrison was born in Virginia, but elected from Ohio.
The Doctors Building is just down the block, on the south side of Piatt Park. The building has an impressive terracotta façade, while the construction itself is brick and concrete.
The east end of Piatt Park has a wider view of the Doctor’s Building on the left, as well as a statue of James Garfield.
The Garfield statue was commissioned just 2 years after he died, finally being unveiled in 1887.
Tucked in what is essentially an alley, the Cincinnati Gymnasium and Athletic Club dates from 1902. The club claims to be the oldest continuously running athletic club in the country, including Rutherford Hayes once being a member and president of the club.
In a controversial move the club would hold basketball games against other clubs, charging an admission and sharing the proceeds, thus making them ‘professional athletes’ in a time where that was frowned upon.
The Second Renaissance Revival Building was named to the National Registry in 1983.
The former Shillito’s Department Store building is unique in that the front and one side is very Art Deco in style, but the back is a far more traditional look.
TV fans of the 1970s will recognize this building as the home of ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’. In reality it was the home of the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper.
This limestone building was opened in 1926. Today it is home to a couple of hotels.
Cincinnati was clearly a boom town in the 1920s, as yet another of the classic buildings, the Taft Theater, opened in 1928. This art deco hall seats 2,500, and is used for touring Broadway shows and concerts.
The John Roebling Bridge is one of the highlights of the city. When completed in 1866 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 1057′. This was supplanted by his more famous Brooklyn Bridge in 1883.
A mix of old and new – the St Louis Church. Another 1930s building, it’s location at Walnut and East 8th Street is located along the new Cincinnati Streetcar route. Ironically the streetcars that would’ve been there when the church was built was torn out in the 1950s, only to be replaced by this new system costing $148m.
Just down the street, and a few decades before, streetcars ran everywhere. (photo from Wikipedia – ‘Metro Bus’). If only they had left the tracks.
Easily the best (in my opinion) is Cincinnati Union Terminal. Once a grand train station (still a small Amtrak station), it is now a museum center.
The building is known as the second largest half dome building in the world, after the Sydney Opera House.
Two landmarks for one – Fountain Square and the Carew Tower.
Fountain Square has been the center of the city since it was installed in 1871. The fountain’s name is ‘The Genius of Water’.
The Carew Tower was the tallest building in the city from it’s opening in 1930 until it was surpassed by the Great American Tower in 2010. While the interior is very ornate, the exterior is a very basic approach towards art deco.
Our tour complete it is time to get out of town at the 1937 Lunken Airport Terminal.
This posting is the start of a series of Ohio County focused random views. Unintentionally many of Marion County’s turned out to be barns and other structures in various states of disrepair.
A right hand drive Rolls Royce.
The late summer provided many contrasting colors with the barns.
The corn is so high it felt like walls along the road.
Marion is a railroad town. The light off in the distance was an oncoming train, but is a couple of miles away.
Marion was home to President Harding.
They have built a new Presidential Library for Harding, showing that no matter how crooked you are you will eventually get a Presidential Library.
As we continue to be restricted to any travel the ‘virtual travel’ series is continuing with some history. This posting will detail the history of Chicago through maps and photographs, and take a look at what it looks like now.
In 1840 when New York City already had over 300,000 people, Chicago was just starting as a town with just a few thousand. By 1860 is was in the top 10 with over 100,000, and just 30 years later there was 1.1 million people and Chicago was ‘The Second City’, doubling in population from 1880 to 1890.
Celebrating Chicago through World’s Fairs
It was around this time that Chicago decided to make it’s presence known on the world stage by hosting a World’s Fair. Local leaders lobbied hard to land the right to host this fair with the federal government, winning out over New York, Washington and St Louis.
The site chosen, Jackson Park, provided the 600 acres required. The lead architect was the famed Daniel Burnham, who was a proponent of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement.
While most of the buildings were designed and built to be temporary, there are a few that remain to this day.
With all of the buildings built in a neo-classical design and painted the same color, it became known as The White City.
Getting to the Fair
With the incredible growth of the city from the end of the Civil War to 1890, Chicago’s transit struggled to keep up. Initially private companies had built horse drawn trolleys downtown. In 1892 the first of the famed El’s was completed from 39th Street (Pershing Road) to the Loop. The next year the Chicago and South Side Elevated Railway extended this to the fair site at Jackson Park.
The map below dates from the 1930s but clearly shows the line going south before turning left towards the lake, ending at Jackson Park. (Red Lines denote the El). This company failed not long after the fair ended because there was not enough ridership to maintain financial stability, being sold under foreclosure.
Of note this line was originally not electrified, the coaches were pulled by an engine.
The Chicago History Center has one of the original cars on display.
Green Line Train today
Also note the Midway Plaisance connecting Washington Park and Jackson Park (Green strip on map between the parks). This area was the Entertainment section of the park (more on this below).
Today the Green Line takes a very similar route, although the spur towards the lake only goes to Cottage Grove Avenue, and the southernmost branch is gone.
As noted in the photo description this is the entrance at the Midway Plaisance.
The map detail shows some of the highlights of this area, including the famed Ferris Wheel. While there had been a wooden wheel built in Atlantic City in 1891, but it burned down the next year.
Ferris’s wheel was to be Chicago’s answer to Paris’s Eiffel Tower. It was massive – 264 feet high, with a capacity of 2,160 passengers. So renown was this feature that for many years Ferris Wheel’s were known as ‘Chicago Wheels’
Today Chicago’s Navy Pier has one that, while impressive, is shorter than the original.
The Midway Plaisance today serves as a park area next to the University of Chicago. There are a few reminders of the fair.
The grounds and buildings were magnificent.
The Palace of Fine Arts was one of the few buildings built to remain after the fair.
It serves today as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
The Statue of the Republic Was the Centerpiece of the Basin.
While no longer surrounded by water it is one of the few remaining structures from the fair.
But Chicago had a second chance at a World’s Fair just 40 years later, when they hosted the Century of Progress, which ran from May 1933 until October 1934, taking the winter off.
But the city, and world, has had significant change since 1893.
The Auto Club sponsored ‘Routes’ with fair themed names for automobile travelers to come to the city. In addition they sponsored ‘Motor Villages’, campgrounds and motels on the outskirts of town,.
Despite the introduction of the automobile, train travel was still the primary way to get to Chicago.
This Conoco map shows an Illinois Central Railway Station at the entrance to the fair.
In addition to the station at the fairgrounds entrance, there were another 6 train stations downtown, including the commuter rail stations.
Today there are 3, two for the commuter rail and Union Station, and even that station is just a portion of what it was.
Union Station is still very nice, but this grand space above was torn down in 1969.
Once you were in town the El or streetcar network would take you to where you needed to go.
Including directly to the Fair.
Welcome to the Century of Progress World’s Fair entrance.
The skyride took passengers from the main entrance on Columbus Drive to the lake shore. In this photo the Field Museum and the skyline of downtown is clearly visible.
One of the features of the 1933 fair compared to 1893’s is that it was essentially downtown, whereas the Columbian Exposition was a couple of miles south of downtown.
The 1930s was the height of the Art Deco movement (a favorite of mine), and the advertising for the fair highlighted this.
The industrialists of the day had major exhibits. GM even built an assembly line.
You could see the homes of tomorrow.
After the fair an investor purchased the homes and moved them by barge to nearby Indiana, and placed them along the lake shore as an attraction to the community he was building.
Time was tough on the homes, but over the last 20 years or so the state of Indiana has sponsored a program where you can lease them for $1 with the stipulation you fix them up (which costs $1m +). The results are fantastic.
Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium
as well as the Field Museum and Soldier Field.
Chicago has always used their lake shore for the public’s enjoyment, never more so than during the two World’s Fairs. Part 2 of this series in a few days will focus more on the development of the transportation in the city.
Welcome to the Empire State – New York. While there is some doubt as to where the nickname came from, most attribute it to a comment from a George Washington letter to New York City mayor James Duane where he referred to it as ‘The Seat of the Empire’.
While the state is dominated by New York City, the capital is Albany. The entire center of the city is known as the Empire State Plaza, and is surrounded by government buildings.
Unique State Symbols
State Beverage – Milk. The state ranks 3rd in the amount of milk produced. (photos from statesymbols.org)
State Muffin – Yes, we have another state muffin, the Apple Muffin. As you may recall we featured the blueberry muffin of Minnesota, however I missed the Massachusetts state muffin – corn muffin.
New York also has a state snack – yogurt. The state is the leading producer of yogurt, likely as an offshoot of that dairy business.
While most states have a slogan – New York’s is ‘official’
Highlights of the State
1947 1975 2004 2005/2009/2011 2006
While all the maps on these postings have been road maps, transit in New York is much more. New York City has a long subway history that is celebrated at the Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn.
If you are lucky enough you can get a tour of the vacant, but fantastic City Hall Station in Manhattan. This was one of the original stations, but because the platform is curved when they introduced new, longer trains in the 1940s it became obsolete.
New York has a plethora of great bridges – including the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge (top row). Other bridge featured below include the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands Bridge, the South Grand Island Bridge near Buffalo, and of course the Brooklyn Bridge.
No trip to New York City can be complete without admiring, and photographing the great architecture.
Back upstate is the Watkins Glen Racetrack. This legendary track hosted the U.S. Grand Prix for 20 years, and has continued to host racing for over 60 years.
Beyond the City
1982 1987/2011 Boldt Castle 1989 2009 Fire Island Lighthouse 2013 2017 Whihteface Castle – Lake Placid
Long Island – Land of endless suburbs and massive estates, Long Island’s most famous residence is likely Sagamore Hill. This was President Theodore Roosevelt’s home.
But there are many more estates, thanks to the ultra rich looking to have country homes outside the city.
When most people refer to Long Island they think the area beyond Queens, but the reality is both Brooklyn and Queens are on Long Island – making it one of the most populated islands in the world with over 7 million people.
Woodstock – Well technically it is nowhere close to the actual town of Woodstock, it is near Bethel since Woodstock. The festival, with 400,000 spectators, took place on Max Yasgurs farm in 1969. Today the site has an amphitheater, arts center and museum.
Back to Watkins Glen – only this time to the actual Glen. This picturesque park and gorge is just at the edge of town.
Niagara Falls and other great tourist attractions of the state.
Niagara Falls – One of the world’s greatest waterfalls.
Buffalo – Just upriver from Niagara Falls. This once great industrial city has some great relics like the Buffalo Central Station (bottom photos).
Western New York is home to a number of Frank Lloyd Wright design structures. The Martin House is featured in the top photos, the boathouse on the left middle was from a FLW design. The gas station on the middle right is in Pierce Arrow Museum, and finally the lower house is Graycliff, located along the shores of Lake Erie south of the city.
New York City has a number of major tourist attractions. Featured here is Times Square, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, The High Line, Radio City and others.
Public Art abounds in the city. My favorite is the collection from Tom Otterness located in the 8th Avenue/14th Street subway station.
Public Art is scattered throughout the city. While we could go on for a long time on great sights of New York, we will end here.
Welcome to New Jersey – my usual first views of the state are landing at Newark airport, for better or worse.
At the other end you can take a ferry from Delaware.
1955 2000 2002/2003/2004
The New Jersey State Capitol is in Trenton. (Photo from Flickr)
The unusual state symbols of the day include:
State Colors – Jersey Blue and Buff. This dates from the Revolutionary War when Washington assigned the colors to the regiments of the New Jersey Continental Line. It is thought he chose these because New Jersey (as well as New York) were settled by the Dutch, and those colors are the Netherlands colors.
State Tall Ship – A.J. Meerwald. This ship, built in 1928, is featured on maps below. It is a Oyster Schooner.
Officially known as the New Jersey State House, the building was completed in the 1790s, behind the capitols in Maryland and Virginia.
Let’s visit some other cities in the state starting with Atlantic City. It’s main business since being started in the 1850s has been tourism. It was marketed to the crowded city folks in New York and Philadelphia as a healthy resort on the ocean.
By the 1870s more than 500,000 people a day made their way to Atlantic City. By the early 1900s it had large hotels lining the coast, along those streets whose names have been made famous by the board game Monopoly, as well as the notoriety from the Miss America Pagent.
The mayor of the time quoted during Prohibition ‘we have whiskey, wine, women, song and slot machines. I won’t deny it and I won’t apologize for it.’
By the 1970s it had fallen on hard times, so they introduced legalized gambling. These photos show the rebirth in the 1980s, but the convention hall still being the showpiece.
Today it is similar, only with so many cities introducing gambling, the city has one again fallen on hard times. (photo from NJ public radio)
Much of the Jersey Shore (not beach or coast) has some cool/kitschy features, but the best is easily Lucy the Elephant in Margate. This 140 year old elephant still brings in the tourists.
Jersey City – The second largest city in New Jersey has the good fortune of being located just across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan. While the city has had it’s ups and downs, peaking out at 316,000 people in 1930, it dropped down to a low of 223,000 by 1980. This reflected the exodus of people from New York City as well, as everyone was headed to the suburbs.
Since then though, with significant renewal of the waterfront area the population has gone back up to 265,000, and continues to grow.
Just upriver Hoboken is experiencing a similar rebirth, but retains the fabulous Hoboken Terminal for New Jersey Transit Trains, and ferries to Manhattan.
Statue of Liberty
It is interesting that New Jersey has featured the Statue of Liberty on the cover of some of the maps, as technically it is in New York. The island that the statue sits on is in New Jersey water, but is a federally owned island that belongs to Manhattan.
This is a result of a dispute dating (amazingly) from 1664, that stated the New Jersey borders did not extend to the middle of the river, or bay. In 1834 the US Congress did set the boundary in the middle of the waterways, however specifically exempted Liberty Island, stating it would remain in New York. This was held up in 1908 by the Supreme Court, and again in 1987 when New Jersey sued to take control of the island. Clearly these maps from 1983 and 1984 were when Jersey was confident the island would once again be theirs.
Ellis Island however is much simpler, it is in New Jersey. So all those ancestors of ours who were so proud to step of the boat onto New York, really set foot in New Jersey.
Interestingly it is connected to New Jersey by a bridge that is not open to the public, just park service personnel.
Those immigrants – unless you were headed to New England, you were herded onto barges and sent to the train stations in Jersey City and Hoboken, having never set foot in New York.
Liberty State Park in Jersey City is along the mainland near both islands. The park is on an area that was once large rail yards, with the centerpiece being the Jersey City Terminal of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. This building dates from 1889, and is currently undergoing renovations (for years).
Outdoors in New Jersey
1988 1990 1992 2007 Holgate 2009 2012/2014/2015 AJ Meerwald
Sandy Hook is a spit at the far northern end of the Jersey Shore, sticking out into New York Harbor. It is home to a vacant military facility, but is now a vast park, including large areas of natural settings with views across the harbor to Brooklyn and Manhattan.
New Jersey Palisades. This geological feature along the Hudson River just north of New York City has been protected since 1900, as the industry of the times were blasting it away for crushed stone. (all photos in this section fromonlyinyourstate.com)
Welcome to Michigan.
Michigan is known as the Great Lakes States, and the plethora of road map covers featuring them is evidence of the importance to the state.
Maps – 1947 – Lakeshore 1968 – Soo Locks 2000 – Lighthouses 2001 – Great Lakes Great Times 2010 – Fishtown in Leland 2012 – Unidentified Small Harbor
Bordering 4 of the 5 Great Lakes gives Michigan 3,288 miles of shoreline – more than any state other than Alaska. With that much shoreline, they have a large collection of lighthouses.
Below are two from the Lake Michigan area near Ludington.
Below photos are from various internet sources
Transportation in Michigan
Maps – 1951 – Unidentified Country Road 1974 – Modes of Transportation 1975 – Interstate 75 1993 – Boats and Cars 2005 – 100 Years of Michigan Transportation
For more than 100 years Michigan has been the automobile manufacturing capital of the world.
Detroit area map from 1951 – before freeways. Detroit, and other midwest cities, were the first cities in the world built with the car in mind.
Most of the main roads are multi-lane, with very wide median strips to enable ‘Michigan Lefts’.
In virtually the entire world there are left turn lanes, and protected by traffic light left turns. In Michigan where there is a boulevard, there are no left turns – rather you turn right, immediately jump over to the left laen, do a U turn, and go on your way.
This photo from the Woodward Dream Cruise shows the northbound traffic, with a U turn to return to Marshall Street Westbound . Also note the No Left Turn sign at the intersection itself.
Michigan has a long history of railroads throughout the state. While much of the passenger traffic is gone there are still some nicely restored stations throughout the state.
In the small town of Hickory Corners is the Gilmore Car Museum. Built across a campus like a small town, they have a fantastic collection of American cars, plus numerous buildings that have either been moved there or built there to recreate the original.
Below are some examples, a diner moved from Connecticut, and the Cadillac dealership.
The Sinclair station is in a nearby town.
Grosse Pointe is a wealthy suburb of Detroit. Each year they the Great Lakes Boating Festival at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.
Maps – 1965 – Douglass Houghton Waterfall 1980 – Au Sable River 1989, 2011, 2014 – Sleeping Bear Dunes 2009 – Roadside Parks 2013 – Pictured Rocks National Seashore Cruise 2016 – Isle Royal National Park
There are a number of National Park Service locations in the state.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It spans 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and has dunes over 200′ high.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is in the Upper Peninsula. There are two waterfalls in the park, with the upper falls dropping 48′, with a width of 200′ making this one of the highest volume waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. It’s nickname is Rootbeer Falls, due to it’s color.
Grand Marais is at the eastern end of Pictured Rocks National Seashore.
Pictured Rocks is one of the most dramatic locales in the east.
1970 – Winter in Michigan 1976 – Bicentennial 2003, 2006, 2018 – Collages of Seasons and Regions
Frankenmuth is a faux German town. It is a huge tourist spot.
Grand Rapids is the second largest city in the state, far behind Detroit.
Meyer May House is a classic Frank Lloyd Wright design located in Grand Rapids.
Also in Grand Rapids is the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Battle Creek had a forest of trees killed by the emerald ash borer disease. Rather than just clear cut them, they had a number of carvers come turn it into something special.
Marquette is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula. It is also home to Northern Michigan University. With the long, cold, snowy winters they have opted for a domed football stadium. This one is special as it is primarily wood.
The Upper Peninsula people (affectionately known as Yoopies) are a unique bunch, with a creative side.
1971 – History of Bridges 1984, 1997, 2007, 2017 – Mackinac Bridge
The Mackinac Bridge is the most famous bridge in the state. It connects the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula.
Among the others in the state is the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada
In Battle Creek they have a park where they take all the old obsolete county road bridges and used them in the hiking/biking trail.
Detroit – 1973, 1978, 2015
Tiger Stadium – Home of the Detroit Tigers from 1912 until 1999. It sat empty for 10 years before the city tour it down – but not without much fight from the community.
It was replaced by Comerica Park.
The Detroit Institute of Art has an amazing Diego Rivera mural depicting the industrial life of the city in the 1930s.
The Guardian Building in Detroit is one of the best art deco skyscrapers in existence.
The Fisher Building is another great art deco building.
Detroit is Motown.Unfortunately many of the auto factories have long closed like this massive former Packard factory.
The Woodward Dream Cruise is the largest classic car gathering in the world. It occurs each August in the suburbs just north of Detroit.
Detroit is home to one of the most important New Car Shows as well.
Henry Ford spent much of his fortune on building Greenfield Village. He moved actual buildings in (like the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop) to build the town.
1987 – Mackinac Island
This entire island became Michigan’s first state park in the late 1800s.
Main Street (from Wikipedia)
1996 – State Capitol
Lansing is Michigan’s state capital.
State Wildflower – Dwarf Lake Iris
State Children’s Book – Legend of Sleeping Bear
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was established in 1628, with the initial towns being located in Salem and Boston. This colony was established 8 years after the Plymouth Colony, but the name they chose stuck.
The state has numerous locations of historical importance, but it does not live in the past. With colleges like MIT it is at the forefront of technology.
But you have to travel to get around the state so we start with:
1971 – 1999 – 2012 Transportation in Massachusetts
According to some statistics Massachusetts drivers are statistically the worst drivers in the country. But if you leave the hotel at 5 AM on a Saturday you get a tunnel that looks like this…
Instead of this….
Boston does have an extensive subway system.
There are two major train stations in the city, including South Station
Logan Airport is just 3 miles from downtown Boston, but it is across the harbor.
The MTA also has a fleet of ferry boats, however most are very small.
2009 History in Massachusetts
As previously noted, Massachusetts has a lot of history. Below is a actor playing the part of Paul Revere
Salem – House with 7 Gables
Lowell – Historic Cotton Mills
2001 & 2007 – Boston
Boston is a city where the latest is next door to the historic.
Fenway Park – the legend
Boston Main Library
2003 – 2011 Cape Cod & The South Shore