We drove through the natural harbor of Sandusky, Ohio and checked out the old time amusement park at Cedar Point on our way to Milan, the birthplace of Thomas Edison. Although Edison’s family only lived here until he was seven years old, the town still celebrates him as a “hometown boy” and has preserved his home as a museum.
From 1839 until 1867 the 3-mile long Milan Canal was a leading Great Lakes port. Railroad competition and the flood of 1868 ended Milan’s port activity.
Edison’s parents sold the house in 1854 and the family moved to Port Huron, Michigan. In 1894 Edison’s sister, Marion Edison Page, re-acquired the home and lived there until her death in 1906. When Edison made his last visit to the home in 1923 he was surprised to see that his old home was still lit by oil lamps and candles!
Next stop was Vermilion, Ohio – the Inland Seas Maritime Museum.
(above) 2nd order (below) 5th order
September 2 & 3
We continued along the Oregon Trail to the college town of Oberlin, Ohio. Oberlin College and surrounding town were founded in 1833. In 1837 Oberlin became the country’s first co-educational college and was also among the first to embrace the education of African-Americans. In the 19th century Oberlin graduated more black students than all other mainstream American colleges combined. We headed to the Allen Art Museum on campus, but it was closed for renovations until next year. We were also disappointed because it is through the Art Museum that you buy tickets to see the local Frank Lloyd Wright house, but we went to look at it from the outside, anyway.
We couldn’t help but take these two photos along the way. They REALLY expressed the “middle America” hometown feeling of this area – and we thought the 3-meter diving board in the above picture was a great tribute to Roberta’s younger son who is a former college springboard diver!
As we drove along outside of Oberlin (on our way to the Dayton area) Dave mentioned that his grandfather had grown up in this part of Ohio. After a quick phone call to Dave’s mom and a map/GPS search we discovered we were driving right by his grandpa’s birthplace – Mt. Gilead, Ohio.
We arrived in the Columbus / Dayton area and looked for a place to get some work done online – and obviously ended up at a Starbucks. But this Starbucks turned out to be in a place called “German Village”. The German enclave of the Columbus area flourished here between 1840 and 1918. But during the period of the two World Wars, rising anti-German sentiment and prohibition the neighborhood fell into decline. In 1960 The German Village Society was formed to guide revitalization. German Village is now primarily a residential community with many quaint and unique little shops and restaurants.
On September 7 we flew to Salt Lake City so Dave could officiate at the wedding of a dear friend. We also were able to spend some time with his family – always a treat!! – and to do something Roberta has wanted to do for a long time – see Timpanogos Caves.
We returned from Utah to our home parked in the driveway of our friend’s home in Vandalia, Ohio to much cooler weather than what we were anticipating. We also had LOTS of rain the next few days – but that didn’t dampen our spirits because our friends were such great hosts and we really enjoyed their company! We spent our days working around the RV or doing a bit of local sightseeing while they were at work, then spent many lovely evenings in conversation on their patio or around town enjoying the various sights and activities.
Today we went to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park – where one of the Wright Brothers original Cycle Shops is located.
Frank Hale opened a grocery store on this corner in 1900 and for the next 17 years sold groceries and other goods to working men and women of this west Dayton neighborhood. The Wright Brothers and Paul Dunbar shopped in this store. Here it has been re-created to how it actually looked at that time.
Looking out the storefront window it looks pretty much the same as it did at the turn of the century (except for the automobiles!)
One of the highlights of the museum was the parachute section.
After a long day at the museum we walked across the street for lunch at a small diner. On the street poles we saw several of these airplane models, but we especially liked this one – peace symbols even on the bombs!
Our next “must-see” was the National US Air Force Museum, also in Dayton. We were warned that it was HUGE – but it was bigger than we ever imagined! We spent the whole day there, skipped lunch to make sure we didn’t miss anything and came out thoroughly exhausted, but happy we did it. The entire history of aviation is pretty much covered – from the Wright Brothers through space exploration. Every major armed conflict is included – WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Mideast. The cold war, the arms race, and both manned and unmanned space exploration are there too. This is a place that Roberta’s dad would have LOVED to visit !!
Believe it or not, this is a radio- controlled model plane! It is a Thunderbolt II flying scale model (1:5.5) built from scratch over a period of one year at a cost of $12,000. It weighs over 65 pounds, is capable of reaching speeds up to 300mph and holds enough fuel for about 15 minutes of flying time. At the 2008 Top Gun Invitational Tournament, where the world’s best RC model builders compete, it received the Team High Static Award with an unprecedented score of 99.667. It is proudly displayed here at the entrance to the USAF Museum.
We thought the evolution of the Wind Tunnel, as you see in the next few pictures, was interesting…
This exhibit demonstrates what could happen to a cadet pilot when applying the brakes too hard while taxiing with the wind behind him. On average during the war, 40% of cadets did not graduate from flying school!
Service flags – like those pictured above – are symbols of love and patriotic pride that families feel for their enlisted loved ones who serve in the military during wartime and are usually hung in home windows. Blue stars represent a loved one serving while gold stars denote those who died in the line of duty.
A “short snorter” from WWII – During World War II friends would take the local currency and sign each others bills creating a “keepsake of your buddy’s signatures”. This one includes bills from about 30 different countries.
The “Party Suit” tradition was a local and unofficial tradition that arose in Southeast Asia in 1967. These lightweight, brightly colored suits were worn on base only for special social occasions in lieu of official dress uniforms.
Welcome to the Cold War – entering the Russian sector of Berlin
Of course we had to have a little fun in the interactive gallery!
Here we are each trying our hand at landing a plane on an aircraft carrier.
Friday night we got to see Karen and Butch “in action” as DJs at their local nightclub and met Karen’s two sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. On Saturday they took us to Oktoberfest that was being held at the Dayton Art Museum. It was a great end to a wonderful visit we had had with them. We look forward to going back to see them again – soon, we hope!