Central Ohio – October 2020 – Views From Above Part 3

The drone tour of Central Ohio continues….

Highbanks Metro Park, with the first tree changing colors for fall

Big Meadows in Highbanks

The sheep farm across the road from Highbanks Park is the last bastion of the former rural atmosphere. The entire area around it is now suburbia.

The largest office building in Ohio – a horizontal skyscraper. The Chase offices in Polaris has 2 million square feet of office space. To compare the tallest building in the state is Key Tower in Cleveland (947’/289m) only has 1.5 million square feet.

Note the entire roof is covered in solar panels and the parking lots and garages to the right are being covered in solar panels.

Ohio gets cold, Ohio gets snow, but alas – no mountains, so this qualifies as a ski resort. Snowtrails near Mansfield.

Mansfield Reservoir

A covered bridge in Union County.

Just down the road from the covered bridge is this corn maze (Maize maze?)

A berry field with a pumpkin sales.

A grain elevator in Urbana, Ohio.

Literally turning to the right you get a view of the old train station, the vacant factory and the rest of the town.

A massive shrub nursery surrounds the town of New Carlisle.

Deceased people and cars.

This view of Madison County shows Interstate 70 along the upper right, US 40 (The National Road) through the left middle, and an airport runway running along side – all in perfect East-West orientations.

Scioto Downs Horse Race Track and Casino (newer building on the left)

The 105,000 seat Ohio Stadium. The GPS in the drone would not allow me to fly any closer without seriously violating FAA rules (which I did not!)

Franklin Park Conservatory

A view along East Broad Street in Columbus

New apartments surrounding Columbus Commons Park.

We end this tour with a view of downtown Columbus, including the State Capitol surrounded by 30 to 40 floor buildings.

Urbana, Ohio – October 2020 – Random Views of Champaign County and beyond

Todays road trip through the country takes us to the town of Urbana, county seat of Champaign County. Full disclosure – some of the photos are likely from border counties as I was on country roads without county line markers.

Each little town seemed to have a commercial block of 100 year old buildings, this one with a restored clock tower.

Talk about a barn find for the Ohio countryside – an old Mercedes with late 1980s license plates!

An abandoned school in a crossroads town.

This stylish little building was in the small town of Mechanicsburg.

Normally ‘Quilt Barns’ are much larger than this, but the contrast of the farm implements added to the look of this one.

Not too many farms date from 1814 in Ohio.

Eventually I reached the town of Urbana. As with most county seats it seemed to have the best collection of buildings in the area. Some nicely restored, some not so much, it was worth the stop.

The Hotel Sowles dates from around 1800, it is said to have hosted every Ohio governor from the beginning of the state until 1900. A community effort resulted in this great old building being restored.

This former bank in an Art Deco look is now a law office.

The Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan has been located in Urbana for 140 years. The building is generally designed in a Roman Corinthian style, but with classical touches. A true midwest building it is built out of Minnesota granite and Indiana limestone situated in a small Ohio town.

Personally I think the Yellow Mini sets it off nicely.

This classic Gulf Gas Station from the 1970s is still in use as an auto repair shop.

The local airport is home to a small museum where they are restoring a B-17.

This small theater started life in 1904, However in the 1930s it was destroyed in a fire, and was rebuilt in 1941 – hence the Art Deco look.

It is currently undergoing restoration.

Urbana has a number of great ghost signs.

This vacant, decaying building once housed a company that provided galvanized iron for railroad use.

Just across the street is the former train station, now a coffee shop. This station served the Pennsylvania Railroad for many decades.

Our time in Urbana is over, time to move on.

Urbana, OH – August 2017 – Cedar Bog

Champaign County, Ohio is the home to Cedar Bog, a nature preserve created by the receding glaciers and the ground water from the Mad River. As a result there is a great deal of vegetation that is not common in Ohio. The result is a beautiful,  but bug filled, boardwalk through the bog.


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Western Ohio -March 2015 – Amazing Find in Small Town Ohio

Looking at a map I realized I had been in all but 8 Ohio counties, 7 of which were contiguous throughout western Ohio, so I mapped out a day trip to go through those counties, and see some sights along the way, mapped mostly with Roadside America attractions.

First stop – Urbana, Champaign County – Just to the east of Urbana was a berry farm that was supposed to have a rock sculpture of Iwo Jima. It was in reality just a pile of rocks – bust. Next stop was the airport that has a museum, and they did have a nice old airplane out front. On the way through town we passed an old house that had a slate Ohio State roof, as well as a coffee shop called the Teabaggers!

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Just west of town in the appropriately named Westville in a historical marker for Harvey Haddix, who once pitched a 12 inning perfect game for the Pittsburgh Pirates only to lose in the 13th (and which elicited a letter from a fraternity in Wisconsin that said ‘Dear Harvey – tough shit’)

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Second Stop – Troy, Miami County – A local family, the Hobart Brothers, made a fortune, mid-20th century, their welding products company, and have shared with the community by funding many buildings and art projects, including an arena and participatory sound piece for its welded metal sculpture park called the Sound Chamber

The structure, a “hybrid of cultures,” is related visually to pagodas and conceptually to ceremonial drum huts of the Mandailing people of North Sumatra. Visitors to Sound Chamber animate drum gongs and kalimbas with their hands; they use mallets and sticks to draw music from tone rods, musical rasps and mbira, flat steel strips clamped to a resonating surface.

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Third Stop – Greenville, Darke County – Greenville is the hometown of Annie Oakley, and there is a statue as a tribute to her in a small park at the south end of downtown. Her burial spot is a few miles north of town.

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A mural on the wall of a nearby building honors Zachary Lansdowne, the Commander of the Airship Shenandoah, a bit of a dubious distinction as it crashed when it got caught in a storm’s updraft pushing it too high and causing it to explode.

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Today Greenville is most known as the home of Kitchenaid Appliances. On the main street of town there is a company store that sells their products, gives demonstrations and has a small museum in the basement. We brought home a mixer, which has paid dividends since in the form of cookies and breads.

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At the north end of Greenville is a small restaurant with a drive through that has become a ‘gum wall’, with thousands of people sticking their used chewing gum on it.

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Fourth Stop – New Bremen, Auglaize County. New Bremen is the home of Crown Equipment Corporation, makers of fork lifts. The owners of this company are big bicycle fans and a few years ago were able to purchase the Schwinn Bicycle Museum in Chicago and move it’s contents to this small Ohio town, where they have added their own. The result is a World Class museum of bicycles.

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As we drove up and parked we noticed a car with Kentucky plates parked out front with 2 high wheeled bicycles on the back, just a precursor of views to come.

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The museum has over 300 bicycles including the oldest bike in America, the Draissine built in 1816, and another from 1819, the Hobby Horse. The entire first floor had bicycles from the 1800s and very early 1900s, as well as advertising posters, display cases with small items, including a collection of 1910 wrenches, and a High Wheel bike with steps up to it you can sit on for a photo opportunity.


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As you make your way to the second floor you pass a collection of contemporary, ultra light weight mountain bikes and racing bikes. The mezzanine level has bicycles used for military purposes, complete with machine guns mounted to them. Another display on this level includes motorized bicycles, mostly Whizzers.


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The top level dedicated to bicycle making in Ohio, along with many of the Schwinn items. There was the obvious tribute to the Wright Brothers, along with Roadmaster. The Schwinn portion had numerous items, including original shipping crates.

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The Bicycle Museum of America is easily one of the top museums not only in Ohio, but throughout America.



Fifth Stop – Delphos, Allen and Van Wert Counties. We had stopped in Delphos to see the Postal Museum, but it had been closed as the owner had been called back to his home in Dublin on some sort of emergency. Fortunately, the local man we met on the street that gave us this level of detail was able to recommend a nearby café for lunch.

Baked to Perfection is primarily a bakery but they do sandwiches as well. As we enjoyed our sandwiches you could smell the baking, and we watched the owner decorate a wedding cake. The Postal Museum was a bust but lunch made up for it.



Sixth Stop – Defiance – Defiance County. Defiance is the home of Fort Defiance, used during the ‘Indian Wars’ of the early 1800s. It sits as the confluence of the Auglaize and Auglaize Rivers, which when we were there were in flood conditions.

The park that is situated where the fort was offered a bit of history on the place on plaques, but overall it wasn’t noteworthy.

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Seventh Stop – Gilboa, Putnam County. This stop was a very brief stop to pose next to a giant bull near some silos.

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Eighth Stop – Kenton, Hardin County. In the 1930s the Kenton Hardware Company, came upon hard times. The toy manufacturer was the only industry in Kenton, Ohio. In 1936, the company received a contract to produce Gene Autry repeating cap guns. The Gene Autry cap gun became the most wanted toy in America! Besides bringing back all their workers, they had to hire considerably more as shifts were added to meet the huge demand.

Autry’s visit to Kenton on August 8, 1938 remains a high spot in local history, and as a tribute they painted a giant mural on a downtown building. Tells you how exciting Kenton is.

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And thus ended our western Ohio day trip, leaving only 1 Ohio county to visit.