Olentangy Indian Caverns

I visited this place more for it’s role as a retro tourist attraction than for it’s supposed Indian history. It was a rainy day, and a lot of that water was seeping into the caverns themselves. I had the place to myself, which is good because there wouldn’t have been a lot of room for many more people. The caverns aren’t large — perhaps 50 yards long. It’s claimed the the Wyandotte Indians used to hold tribal ceremonies down there. If they did, it must have been a small tribe.

I paid for my tour in the gift shop.

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Then ran through the rain to the small museum building.

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There are a couple cases with items supposedly taken from the cave, but most of the display is just random stuff about Indians.

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J.M. Adams is believed to have been the first White man in the cave. He was looking for a lost ox. Some years later, a few ox bones were found in the cave.

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The stairway down into the cave starts in the museum.

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I found the stair way to be the most interesting part of the cave.

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A bunch of arrowheads were found in the room now called the Indian Council Chamber. The large, flat rock in the middle of that room is, of course, called the Council Rock.

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The Council Rock from the other side. You’re looking at about a fourth of the cave here.

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The Echo Chamber. The flat rock in the foreground is called the “Indian Lovers Bench.” Right.

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The Echo Chamber from the other side. The rock formation on the left is supposed to be the profile of Chief Leatherlips. Some people have claimed that the chief was killed at the entrance to the cave, but I don’t think informed people believe that.

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There’s a lot of dripping in the Crystal Room, which has produced some minimal cave formations.

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And, of course, this cave, like every cave, has it’s “Fat Man Misery” [sic].

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My favorite feature was a random rock that is wedged above the passage. It’s called “Rock of Many Names.”

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I think that’s it for the major features. Here are some other shots from inside the cave.

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I made sure I took my time and saw everything. There were five places where I could push a button and listen to a recording. I listened to all of them except the one telling about how the cave was millions of years old. I was thorough. I think it took me 20 minutes. Still, it was something to do on a rainy day and I couldn’t help thinking it would be a good place to play hide ‘n’ seek.

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Hall of Heroes

I collected comic books when I was in high school, and again when I was in my 20s. I still have some of them, and perhaps once a year I pull them down and browse. It doesn’t take me long to get my nostalgic fix and I put them away again.

This museum in Elkhart, Indiana, is owned by a guy who never got over his fixation. He’s built a museum in his backyard, shaped to look like the Hall of Justice from the Super Friends cartoon, and filled it with thousands of figurines, comic books and other comic-related stuff. He was clever enough to realize that there are geeks out there (and I guess I’m one of them) willing to pay $6 to see the collection. My wife sat in the car and read.

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The most interesting items were uniforms, one worn by Adam West in the 1960s Batman TV show and one worn by William Katt on the 1980s TV show Greatest American Hero.

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A note from West reads: “This letter is to document the fact that the accompanying costume is a Batman costume worn by me, Adam West, the lead actor in the 1966-1968 television series Batman.

I hope the owner of this classic Batman costume enjoys it as much as I have over the years. However, please keep in mind that wearing it in public can bring some strange looks and the chance of being permanently institutionalized.”

I wandered about for about 20 minutes, glancing at things here and there. There was very little rhyme or reason to the organization of much of it, although there would occasionally be clumps of figurines of a given hero or group. The comics were all bagged and backed with cardboard, and I wasn’t sure I was even supposed to be looking at them, so I didn’t.

It claims to be “the world’s only superhero museum,” which it isn’t unless you disqualify the much larger and more interesting Super Museum in Metropolis. It also claims to have a reproduction of the Bat Cave. Here it is.

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I can’t imagine how much all of those figurines and comics and other stuff cost. I guess I can’t blame him for charging admission. But it’s not a place I feel the need to visit a second time.

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Wendy’s Flagship

Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus in 1969. That location is gone, but corporate headquarters is located in nearby Dublin. Across the street, they have built what they consider to be the “flagship” restaurant, with all the most recent designs and technology — and a room full of artifacts from the first restaurant and Dave Tomas. We had this room to ourselves.

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Chief Leatherlips

We arrived in Dublin, Ohio at Scioto Park, on the banks of the Scioto River, just as it began to rain. I waited until the heavy stuff passed, then dashed out and took some photos of the Chief Leatherlips Monument. The plaque nearby reads:

Chief Leatherlips was a good friend to Indian and white man alike. To the Wyandots, Chief Leatherlips as called SHA-TE-YAH-RON-YA, which means “same size as blue.” In later years, he was called SOU-CHA-ET-ESS, which means “Long Gray Hair.” He was given the name, Leatherlips, by the white settlers in this area. They called him this because of his admirable trait of never breaking a promise.”

He was executed somewhere in this general area by fellow tribe-members who weren’t thrilled with his friendship with the evil white people.

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You can walk up the back to the top of his head and pretend you’re his hair, but since Sally didn’t get out of the car in the rain, I had to settle for these photos.

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Food

Buckeye Donuts — tasty but not as fresh as they could have been.

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Wildflower Cafe — excellent breakfast but the ambiance inside was seriously lacking

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Melt — I looked up “best hamburger in Columbus” and found this place — and then went with the Cleveland Cheese Steak because my waitress said it was their most popular item.

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The menus were pasted on the back of old album covers. Mine was the soundtrack for Far and Away.

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My sandwich was HUGE. Half of it was more than enough, but I went ahead and ate the whole thing, of course.  It tasted amazing, but was too salty. I was thirsty for the next week.

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The place had an interesting decor, although I’m not sure I can identify the theme.

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Piece of Cake — I happened to park in front of it, so I stopped by after eating at Melt. I was too full for dessert, but I bought a small bumbleberry pie to share with my wife later.

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Rutherford B. Hayes Birthplace

President Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, on October 4, 1822. The house he was born in remained standing until 1926, when it was knocked down and replaced by a gas station. There is still a gas station on the site, one owned by the British, interestingly enough. When the house was torn down, a plaque was put up, but it doesn’t really give one a strong sense of history. Here’s what the house looked like.

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Bun’s Restaurant

Bun’s claims to be the oldest continuing business in Ohio. I find this claim somewhat dubious since 1) it wasn’t called Bun’s when it opened; 2) it’s had two owners since the last of the original owners’ families sold it; 3) the original building burned down in 2002 and it’s now in another location; 4) it started as a bakery but is not basically a Greek restaurant; and, 5) it was closed for two years after the 2002 fire.

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But it does get pretty good reviews, so we thought we’d check it out. It was empty when we arrived but full when we left.

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I ordered ham loaf because it was the specialty. It was very good, as was the bread.

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The sign, also visible in the top photo, hangs from an arch across the road.

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Armstrong Air & Space Museum

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio. That explains the existence of this small, but surprisingly interesting museum. It’s built to look like a moon base might look — or at least how people thought a moon base might look at the time the museum was built. It tells the history of Armstrong and of space exploration, and while it does so rather sketchily, there are definite highlights.

There is an exact model of Sputnik, a goofy round air hockey table that supposedly demonstrates orbits, the plane in which Neil Armstrong learned to fly (stacked up against a wall as though it crashed), an exhibit on how astronauts go to the bathroom and a smattering of random items from Armstrong’s childhood. But mixed in with all that stuff are some really impressive displays — the actual Gemini VIII spacecraft, Armstrong’s space suits from his Gemini and Apollo flights and a golf-ball sized moon rock. There’s also a video of the first landing on the moon.

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An exact replica of Sputnik, the first satellite, launched by Russia in 1957. It did nothing except emit the occasional beep, but it had the rest of the world quaking in its boots.

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The Gemini VIII capsule, on which Armstrong traveled with David Scott. The mission was cut short after the capsule docked with the Agena Target Vehicle when a malfunction occurred. The Aeronca Champion airplane in which Armstrong learned to fly can be seen stacked against the wall in the background.

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A flag carried on the Apollo 11 mission.

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Armstrong’s suit from his Gemini mission, I think.

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F5D Skylancer, the only remaining (of 4) example of a plane built to “emulate flight characteristics of the space vehicle planned for use in Project Dyna-Soar, which called for the launch of a winged craft which could reenter the atmosphere and glide to a conventional landing following a mission to space.” Neil Armstrong piloted this plane during the early 1960s.

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Models of the Gemini and Apollo capsules

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Krema Nut Company

I’ve never liked peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Peanut butter is OK. Jelly is good on biscuits and pancakes. But together they make a mouthful of super-sweet mud. But I know my wife likes her PB&Js, so, being the great husband that I am, I took her to Krema Nut Company in Columbus, Ohio. And I thought, “Who knows, maybe if it’s a really good peanut butter and jelly sandwich …”

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Krema has been making peanut butter since 1898. The small store in the front of the factory building has windows where you can watch the process, but nothing was happening while we were there. We ordered “gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Both of us got the Classic Old Timer with “A thick layer of our crunchy peanut butter, followed by a layer of strawberry preserves, and then topped with fresh sliced strawberries.”

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The bread was fresh and good, but otherwise it was just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In other words, a cloying, thick mess of sloppy gunk. I sat next to a peanut bag signed by President Jimmy Carter.

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Dan Quayle Center and Musuem

I first heard about this museum several years ago and figured I’d have to visit it quickly because it wouldn’t be around for long. I was a little bit surprised to discover it was still around.

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Dan Quayle is from Huntington, but there really isn’t a museum’s worth of stuff to say about him, so this soon became a museum about the five Vice-Presidents from Indiana and since has been turned into a museum of all U.S. Vice-Presidents. It advertises that it has something from each Vice-President, although for most of the first 20 or so, the “something” is a newspaper clipping that mentions him.

I enjoyed the museum.  The displays around the wall included a photo, a small board with pertinent information and the occasional interesting bit, and various artifacts related to each Vice-President — enough to be interesting and informative without being boring.

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I struck up a conversation with the curator. He said the museum is thriving and will soon be moving into new, larger quarters at a local university. The reason for the success is that he’s targeted school groups. In fact, the museum often closes to the public because so many field trips are coming through. The guy kept talking about it in the first person — “I have items from each Vice-President …” I asked him about this, and he said he’s the only employee. It’s obviously his passion and he does a good job with it. Much of his collection is from donations from people who find stuff and don’t know what to do with it. Here are some random bits:

Mention of Elbridge Gerry’s death. Gerry served under Madison and is the origin of the term “Gerrymander.”

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A newspaper that mentions the permission given to Pierce’s V.P., William R King, to take the oath of office outside the United States. He remains the only President or V.P. to have done this.

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A political cartoon of Hannibel Hamlin, Lincoln’s V.P. in 1860.

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A local vote tally sheet from the election of Grant and his first Vice-President,Schuyler Colfax, in 1868.

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A campaign handkerchief from 1880 with James Garfield and his Vice-President Chester A. Arthur, who became President when Garfield was assassinated.

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Campaign banner (1884) from Cleveland and his Vice-President during his first term, Thomas Hendricks.

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A handkerchief from 1888, with Harrison and his V.P., Levi P Morton.

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And a plate showing Cleveland and his second Vice-President, Adlai E Stevenson from 1892.

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A thank you note from Garret A Hobart, McKinley’s Vice-President during his first term.

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And ribbons from McKinley’s second campaign with Teddy Roosevelt as his V.P.

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A magazine cover from 1904 with Teddy Roosevelt and his V.P., Charles W Fairbanks, after whom the city in Alaska was named.

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Campaign dinnerware from 1908 with Taft and his V.P., James S Sherman.

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Cartoon of Wilson and his V.P. Thomas R Marshall, from 1916, I believe.

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A song written by Coolidge’s V.P., Charles G Dawes.

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A letter from Franklin Roosevelt’s second V.P., Henry A. Wallace, just before he was replaced by Harry S Truman.

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A plate from the campaign of Eisenhower with his V.P., Richard Nixon.

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Until the 1960s, there was no process in the Constitution for replacing a Vice-President if the President died and the sitting V.P. became President. For several years in U.S. history, there was no V.P. This letter is regarding the legislation that finally corrected that. Gerald Ford was the first V.P. chosen under the new system.

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An assortment of items, including several of Nixon’s V.P., Spiro T. Agnew, only the second V.P. to resign his office. The first was John C. Calhoun who resigned to join the Confederacy.

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A commemorative envelope of the appointment of Nelson A. Rockefeller to be Ford’s V.P. in 1974.

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A larger (but not large) section at the end of the museum focused on Dan Quayle.

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Chair from, and picture of Quayle at Nick’s Kitchen (see previous post).

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