Father’s Day

For Father’s Day, Beth took Sally and me to The Onion Pub in Lake Barrington.


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I-65 in Northern Indiana, heading north toward Chicago. It looked scarey, but except for about three minutes of intense downpour by Crown Point, we managed to slide in just behind it.






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We visited the two most famous locations in Columbus’s Germantown neighborhood.

The first was The Book Loft, a store built into several pre-Civil War era buildings that once contained a couple general stores, a saloon and a nickelodeon cinema. There are several levels, with 32 rooms filled with bargain books. I could rarely see more than two of the tiny rooms at once, which gave me the impression that the place was a lot larger than it really is. It was fun wandering through, but in the end, my impression is that their selection isn’t very large or compelling. I did find two books, and Sally found two, and we bought a present for our nephew, but it’s not a place I’m dying to return to. (It’s no Powell’s, although it very much wants to be.)



I took some photos of the inside, but since none of them give more than a peek into a couple tiny rooms, they aren’t very impressive.

We then went to the place this is supposed to have the best hamburgers in the city — The Thurman Cafe.


It’s just a bar. We were put at a high table with stools in the middle of the barroom, with the counter and stools three feet to our right and a table with a guy and his two young sons a foot and a half to our left. I ordered the Thurman Burger which is described as “Our head honcho overloaded with ham, sauteed mushrooms and onions, mozzarella and American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers and mayo with chips and a pickle spear.”


It may have been very tasty, but I have no idea because it was so huge I had to eat it with a fork and could only get two or three ingredients in my mouth at once. I actually gave up on it before I started feeling sick. I’m very proud of myself.

Sally’s burger is in the background. It’s the Macedonian — “The family burger served on Texas toast with sweet red peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and fries.” She said she liked it.

The restaurant looked like it was decorated by a drunk in 1972 and not updated or cleaned since. I was somewhat surprised to find a Cubs banner on the ceiling above my head.


Much like The Book Loft, this place was OK but definitely not somewhere I’m in a hurry to see again.

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Inside the Ohio Statehouse

After my circumperambulation of the Ohio state capitol, I wandered inside. The lower level, or at least those parts of it I had access to, were given over to displays and artifacts related to Ohio history.


The first room had a county map of the state on the floor.


A replica of the Liberty Bell.


A stagecoach was tucked in a corner next to a stairwell to represent the way people traveled to the capital when the statehouse was first built.


I took the elevator  up a level to the rotunda. This is the rather odd skylight in the weirdly-abbreviated dome.


There were several giant paintings, most of which looked vaguely familiar. The top one is The Battle of Lake Erie — Perry’s Victory.


The Treaty of Greene Ville


Dawn of a New Light


The Lincoln-Vicksburg Monument, commemorating the 1863 Civil War battle with a phrase from Lincoln’s second inaugural address.


A statue of Thomas Edison which will be moved to the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol in October, 2015 to take its place with other statues of great Americans.


There was much more of this type of thing, and it was fun to wander around and look, but I didn’t have time to take the guided tour.

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Outside the Ohio Statehouse

I spent an hour and a half on a rainy Monday morning exploring outside and inside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Here in the approximate order in which I happened upon it, is what I saw.

I parked on the street about half a block away, and approached from the southeast. This was my first view of the weird abbreviated dome.



There’s a Civil War cannon at each corner of the plaza.


Monuments to soldiers of (left) the Spanish-American War, the Philippines Insurrection and the China Relief Expedition and (right) World War I.

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The west side. I still think (and always will) that the cupola without a dome looks unfinished and weird.



President William McKinley Memorial. McKinley was a native of Ohio and governor of the state from 1891 until 1896 when he became President. When McKinley was in Columbus, he and his invalid wife Ida lived in the Neil House Hotel across the street from the Statehouse. As William walked across the road to work, he would stop at this spot and wave his handkerchief to his wife who was watching out the window.

The statues on the sides represent peace and prosperity, both with children who represent future generations.




The quote is from the speech he made in Buffalo, New York just before he was assassinated.

The state seal of Ohio


This statue is called “These Are My Jewels” referring to a legend about a Roman woman named Cornelia who, when asked where her jewels were, returned with her sons. The seven men around the base are seven natives of Ohio who were active for the Union during the Civil War. They are Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Phillip Sheridan; Generals and Presidents James A Garfield and Rutherford B Hayes; Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase; and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. It was created for and displayed at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

James Thurber, a native of Columbus, wrote the statue into a short story titled The Day the Dam Broke. He described a mob of women climbing onto the shoulders of the Jewels to escape an imaginary flood.


The north side. The Columbus Dispatch sign advertises the local newspaper which has been published since 1871.



Peace, in honor of Civil War soldiers.


The east side, with flags for each of the counties in the state. They, and the curved white walls at each end of the plaza, commemorate the soldiers of World War II and wars since then.



Christopher Columbus Discovery Monument. The city is named after Columbus. The statue was created in 1892, on the 400th anniversary of his founding of America. It was moved to the capitol in 1932. The base was created in 1992, on the 500th anniversary.


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Goodyear Airdock

We were driving through Akron, looking for Stricklands Frozen Custard when our view was suddenly blocked by a huge blue building. The shape was a give-away — it could only be an airship hanger. It turned out to be the most famous airship hanger, built in 1929 by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation and used to build airships until 1960.


It’s 1,175 feet long and 325 feet wide — enough space for eight football fields side-by-side.

It’s not open to the public, but we drove around the field until we found a good vantage point.





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James A. Garfield Memorial Cabin

The town of Moreland Hills, where Garfield was born in 1831, is only eleven miles from Lakeview Cemetery where he is buried. The town has constructed a log cabin behind city hall. It isn’t spot where Garfield’s cabin was located, but it looks very similar to what it looked like. He was the last president born in a log cabin. His father died when he was two and he spend his childhood in poverty.



There’s a statue of Garfield as a boy by the cabin.


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James A. Garfield Memorial

After touring Garfield’s house, we drove about 20 miles into Cleveland to Lake View Cemetery to see his tomb. We parked behind a car that was festooned with liberal bumper stickers. I was making fun of them as we got out of the car. Just then, the owner of the car came along. He noticed our Illinois plates and started a mostly-one-sided conversation like we were the best of friends. Among other things, he tried to talk us into an architectural tour of the cemetery with him and his wife. He walked with us to the tomb and we didn’t lose him until his wife intercepted him on the stairs.



We walked inside the main floor, to a room with a statue of Garfield surrounded by stained-glass windows and mosaics. A guy came in and gave us a talk on Garfield and the tomb. Each of the windows represents a different state.



We walked downstairs to the crypt where the caskets of James and Lucretia sit. The urns hold the remains of their daughter Mollie and her husband Joseph Stanley-Brown.



We then climbed the winding steps to the second level where we could look down on Garfield’s statue.


We thought the mural above the stairs of Garfield’s murder was a bit morbid.



Then up again to the balcony that looks out over Cleveland and Lake Erie.


The outside of the building was Gothic in style and atmosphere. It had a series of relief sculptures of incidents in Garfield’s life around three sides.




Sally thought the entire structure was a bit scarey.







I thought the scariest thing was the placement of this wasp nest.


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James A. Garfield National Historic Site — Mentor, Ohio

I toured Garfield’s house back in 2001 with Jeff. I remember the guide back then as being conceited and impatient with questions. My blog entry from back then paints a somewhat different picture, but that’s the impression that stuck with me.

Sally hadn’t been with me that trip, so we went back on a Sunday morning for another tour. Our guide this time was much the same — perhaps being full of one’s self is part of the job description … He began his tour by telling us to ask any questions, so I did. But he kept putting me off by saying that he would cover the topic later in the tour. Which he did, but as part of his spiel and not in a terribly interesting way. The one question that I asked that wasn’t part of his spiel, he couldn’t answer: “What denomination was Garfield ordained by?” He kept putting me off and at the end of the tour when I asked again, he said “Anybody with a smart phone could look it up.”

We shared our tour with four others, a lone woman and an Asian couple and their daughter. The man understood no English and spent most of the time wandering off into adjoining rooms.


James and Lucretia were married in 1858. James worked as a teacher, college principal, minister, state legislator, lawyer, Civil War General and congressman before becoming President. The bought the farm in Mentor in 1876 and enlarged it to accommodate their family of seven children (two of whom died young).


Unlike last time, I was allowed to take photos inside. I’m not sure I remember where in the house all these photos were taken, but I’ll do my best.

The front entranceway.


The summer bedroom downstairs.


The parlor.


The woman in the portrait is Garfield’s mother who lived with the family.


Jame’s mother’s bedroom. Note all the pictures of James, including the stained glass.


Three photos from the dining room. This was our favorite room in the house.




A portrait of James in his Civil War General uniform. It was painted by some woman who painted several portraits in the house. The guide tried to make a story of this, but I don’t recall who she was or why we were supposed to care. I think she used her own hands to model his.


Three shots of the library, built by Lucretia after Garfield’s death as a place to keep his books and preserve his papers.




I think this was James and Lucretia’s bedroom. The pattern on the carpet is swastikas.


I forget what these next two rooms were.



The upstairs hallway


I think this was the boys’ bedroom. The painting on the wall is of one of the children who died young.


The bedroom of the oldest daughter.


Garfield’s library with his favorite chair in the middle.


This painting of Falstaff was in the upstairs hallway. The guide asked if any of us knew who it was and when I guessed correctly, he said that I was only the third person in his eight years of guiding who knew. But I think he may have been spouting smoke.


Sally went in the visitor center while I took some photos outside the house. Garfield conducted his 1880 presidential campaign from the front porch of this house.






This photo of Garfield’s family on the front porch was taken shortly after his assassination. The chair is thought to be a memorial to him.



After Garfield was assassinated in 1881, Lucretia remained in the house until her death in 1918. She added to the house and farm, building, among other things, this windmill as a water pump.


I joined Sally in the visitor center, took a quick look at the displays and watched a short video.



A map of what the farm and neighborhood looked like during Garfield’s life.


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Grand River (Fairport Harbor) Lighthouse

We drove into the town of Fairport Harbor to get a closer look at the Grand River Lighthouse. It’s now a maritime museum, but it wasn’t open early on a Sunday morning and we’ve toured a lot of lighthouses anyway.

It was built in 1871 and decommissioned in 1925. We parked and walked around for a couple minutes.




The view from the lighthouse out over the harbor with the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light in the distance.


And a view of the Grand River Lighthouse from the breakwater.


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