When we first visited Ohio back in 2000 we ‘cheated’ by just popping across the border from Indiana, but at least we were able to count it towards our objective of visiting all 50 states. It wasn’t until 2007 that we visited the state properly and even then our tour was confined to the east of the state. In 2010 we made it to Columbus and Cincinnati and could then say that we had really visited Ohio. The French named this area Ohio Country when it was part of New France. It became a major centre for fur trading and a cauldron of conflict between Indians and European settlers. The 1763 Treaty of Paris ceded the area to Britain but the turmoil continued until well after the American Revolution. In 1794 the USA won the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the resultant Treaty of Greenville began a period of European settlement. Ohio then was part of the Northwest Territory that had been created after the revolution but by the start of the 19th century the territory began to fragment into a number of potential new states. The state of Ohio was created on February 19, 1803. Ohio was the home state of the Wright brothers who were the first to demonstrate powered flight at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. It is also the birthplace of seven US Presidents and of the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Modern day Ohio is part of the US’s industrial powerhouse, although many parts of the state are surprisingly rural and agricultural.
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Stan Hywet Hall, Akron
This Tudor Revival Manor House was built between 1912-1915 for F. A. Seiberling, founder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. He modelled it on several houses that he had visited in England. It was never the home of a Stan Hywet, the name was chosen by Seiberling from the old English for ‘hewn stone’, reflecting the former use of the site as a stone quarry. The original gardens covered an area of 1200 hectares (3000 acres) but only 28 hectares (70 acres) remain. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens have been preserved and are open to the public. Click Tab 2 to see a picture of the Corbin Conservatory in the gardens.
Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor
People lining up on the beach to paddle in the sea? Anyone familiar with the geography of the USA knows that Ohio is nowhere near the sea. This is the fresh water of Lake Erie but, apart from the fresh water and lack of tides, this could easily be the seaside. Just like the sea the lake is too big to see the other side, it can get rough and you will see large ships sailing on it. This particular beach is protected as Headlands Beach State Park. In the background of the picture is the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light which replaced the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.
Ashtabula Bascule Bridge from Point Park
Astabula was founded on the shores of Lake Erie in 1803 and by the middle of the century it had become a major stopping off point on the Underground Railroad, a series of routes and safe houses used to smuggle slaves from the southern states to freedom. Escaped slaves would wait in a safe house such as Hubbard House until they could catch a boat to Canada where they would finally be free. In the late 19th century Ashtabula became known as a major port for shipping coal and ore. Port traffic has declined, but Astabula remains a city of around 20,000 people. In the Harbor Area can be found the Bascule Bridge shown in this picture and running from the bridge, Bridge Street has many restored buildings from the late Victorian era.
Fairport Harbor Lighthouse
Opened in 1825, the original Fairport Harbor Lighthouse was 9 metres (30 feet) high. It was rebuilt in 1871 to double its original height. In 1925 it was replaced by a new light and foghorn built on the west breakwater pier head. The old lighthouse and keeper’s house are now the Fairport Harbor Marine Museum. Visible to the left of the keeper’s house is the former wheel house of the Great Lakes carrier the ‘Frontenac’, which forms part of the museum.
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Ohio State House from High Street, Columbus
In 1812 the Ohio government decided that the capital of the state should be a greenfield site called Columbus. The state government moved there in 1816, squeezing into a 2 storey building that quickly proved to be inadequate. In 1838 the state government initiated a competition for the design of a new State House. The commission set up to oversee the competition could not agree on a single winner, so three designs were awarded prizes and Ohio had no design for its new State House when the cornerstone was laid in 1839. A New York architect attempted to produce a composite from the three designs, but his plan was rejected as too expensive. Eventually Henry Walter, whose design had been given the first prize, was asked to supervise construction and he produced a composite design mainly based on the third placed design. Shortly after construction began it was suspended because the government decided to debate moving the capital elsewhere. Work restarted in 1848 with new architects but was hit by a cholera epidemic. In 1852 the old capitol burned down giving the construction work more impetus and the State House was eventually opened on January 7, 1857. That State House is still in use today, although some functions such as the Supreme Court have been moved to other buildings to reduce overcrowding. Proposals to build a new State House have been defeated probably because nobody wanted a repeat of the experience of building the existing one!