Trip Peek #5
Trip #26
Pair of Madonnas

Madonna at Springfield, OHThis picture is from the my 2004 Pair of Madonnas day trip. The trip was loosely organized around the Madonna of the Trail monuments in Springfield, Ohio, and Richmond, Indiana. From home, I headed northeast to intersect the National Road east of Springfield then more or less followed it west to Richmond. The photograph shows the Springfield Madonna in its nicely landscaped but hard to reach spot near Snyder Park on the west edge of town. In the fall of 2011, the statue was moved to a new park near the center of town. The new home is much more accessible but is even further from the statue’s original location a half mile or so west of Snyder Park.

Trip Pic Peek #4 — Trip #60 — Crescent City Christmas

Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

Ohio National Road Meetup

Springs Motel, Yellow Springs, OhioAlthough I did spend a night away from home, it wasn’t really a road trip and, though I did attend an event, it wasn’t the sort of thing that produces a lot of pictures for an Oddment page. Good thing I’ve got a blog, eh?

The focal point of my little outing was Friday’s annual meeting of the Ohio National Road Association. These meetings are held in the Columbus area and, while it would be feasible for me to drive home after one of them, it wouldn’t be all that much fun. In the past, I’ve used them as an excuse to spend a night near Columbus and do Columbusy things. This year’s meeting was in Lafayette, Ohio, about midway between Columbus and Springfield. I thought about using it as an excuse to spend the night in Springfield then had a better idea.

Springs Motel, Yellow Springs, OhioSprings Motel, Yellow Springs, OhioThe Springs Motel is about ten miles south of Springfield near the town of Yellow Springs. I stopped here a few years back to check out the place as a possible overnight on a weekend cruise being planned. It didn’t work out that time but it has remained in my mind as a place I’d like to stay. I had envisioned staying here in the summer when I could sit outside and chat with the neighbors but temperatures in the twenties pretty much eliminated any chance of that happening. I still very much enjoyed my stay, however. The twelve room motel was built in 1956 and refurbished in 2002. It’s reasonably priced, quite comfortable, and operated the way an independent motel should be. Its owner has imprinted it with a personality that comes through on the website and in placards like this. Folks often rent the entire motel for family gatherings or events in Yellow Springs.

Red Brick Tavern, Lafayette, OhioThe meeting in Lafayette was at the Red Brick Tavern which identifies itself as “A house of hospitality since 1837”. Its construction anticipated completion of the National Road in this area by just a bit but it was soon providing food, refreshments, and lodging to travelers on the new road. What better place for a bunch of National Road fans to meet than in a building that started serving our kind about 175 years ago? The tavern’s fortunes fell with the coming of the railroads, rose with the coming of automobiles, and fell again when I-70 pulled traffic away from the National Road/US 40. It was idle and about to be auctioned when the current owners, Madonna Christy and Cris Cummins brought it back to life. It was sure busy Friday night. Of course, our group of near forty helped but, in addition to the dining room that we occupied, the main dining room seemed just as full and the bar area was overflowing. Partly because of the crowd, I took no pictures inside and barely got this one outside as the sun was setting. I had to deal with on going construction as the road is widened once again. I wonder how may times the Red Brick Tavern has seen that happen.

An excellent meal was immediately followed by the business meeting. Highlights included a report on the ongoing interpretive signs project and the ramping up of a project to replace or repair missing or badly damaged mile markers. Two Milestone Awards are given each year. Mike Peppe received the Leadership Award for his work with the interpretive signs while  Madonna Christy and Cris Cummins received the Preservation Award for their resurrection of the Red Brick Tavern. Dean Ringle will remain on the board as Immediate Past President while Doug Smith ends his possibly record setting run as Vice President to become President. Mary Ellen Weingartner is the new Vice President.

Springs Motel, Yellow Springs, OhioSprings Motel, Yellow Springs, OhioIt was full on dark when I drove back to the motel so the lighted sign and neon bordered building were welcome sights. My room was also quite welcoming. Take a look here.

Winds Cafe, Yellow Springs, OhioWinds Cafe, Yellow Springs, OhioOn Saturday, I hung around Yellow Springs long enough to try out the highly acclaimed Winds Cafe. This place gets considerable press and I found it classy but not stuffy. I was there for lunch so it’s possible that dinner time is different but I doubt it. Menus, featuring local ingredients, change seasonally. Today’s offerings included an omelette and, this being my first meal of the day, that was my pick. This was not, however, a ham & cheese omelette from some chain restaurant. This was a smoked trout and Boursin omelette “flipped the traditional way” in a French iron pan and that’s exactly what it tasted like. Excellent!

War protestors, Yellow Springs, OhioAs I headed south out of Yellow Springs, I passed something that could have been part of an SNL skit about old hippies. Of course it also looked like something I could probably be a part of so I smiled and waved as I drove by. I get to Yellow Springs a few times each year but I guess I’ve not been there between noon and 1:00 on a Saturday in at least ten years. Since late 2002, a small group of anti-war protesters has been spending the first hour of each Saturday afternoon standing on  a Yellow Springs street corner. A nice article here tells much more. I have immense respect for those people and they’ve got me thinking about digging out my old beads and scrounging up some cardboard.

Trip Peek #1
Trip #42
Dayton Cutoff

The Western RejoiningThis picture is from my 2006 Dayton Cutoff day trip. The Dayton Cutoff was an alternative to the official National Road between Springfield, Ohio, and Richmond, Indiana. It passed through both Dayton and Eaton, Ohio, and was much more popular than the official National Road. In fact, it was included in the National Old Trails Road automobile trail in 1912. A century of development has moved things around a bit and the name National Old Trails Road seems to have morphed into Old National Road but this is where the modern equivalent of the National Old Trails Road (a.k.a. Dayton Cutoff) connects with the National Road at Richmond.

I knew when I started this blog that interesting things might not happen in my life with adequate frequency to feed a weekly post. I consider it important to post on a regular basis but knew some weeks would just be flat out boring and others simply would not have enough open time to write anything. The My Gear and My Apps series of articles were conceived to address the problem. Since their subject matter was not tied to the current date, I could write the articles during those boring weeks and post them whenever the need arose. That worked rather well until my recent twenty-eight day trip.

I anticipated being gone three Sundays and left home with almost three articles ready and waiting. I figured that, sometime before the third Sunday rolled around, I’d find the time to finish off that third article. Wrong. When the third Sunday arrived, not only didn’t I have a blog post ready, my daily trip journal was about three days behind and what computer time I had was spent trying to get it current. I gave up and posted a white flag in the blog. When I did that, experienced blogger Jim Grey gave me some advice. He suggested that I pick some photos from completed road trips, write a paragraph or two about them, and save them for an empty or too full Sunday.

This is pretty much how My Gear and My Apps work but there are some important differences. Talking about gear and apps tends to run into more than a paragraph or two and typically requires a little research. Finding appropriate pictures can also take a little time. Jim’s idea uses pictures I already have and I soon realized I could shorten the process even more. I’ve already picked a picture from each of my completed trips to appear at the top of this site’s home page. A different picture is randomly selected each time the page is displayed so I even have an automatic way to select a next picture for the blog. As Jim stated at the end of his tip, “Problem solved.”

Both My Gear and My Apps will continue but I’ll also be filling some Sundays with a picture from one of my road trips. The thumbnail will link to the full sized version of the picture and a link to the trip it is from will be contained in the descriptive text. This is the first.

Ohio’s Revolutionary War Battle

Bill Smith at George Rogers Clark monumentOhio did not, of course, exist in any official form during the American Revolution and there were no British troops at the Battle of Picawey, but the conflict that occurred a few miles west of present day Springfield, Ohio, was between American rebels and British allies and definitely part of the American War of Independence. I knew a little about the battle but today I learned a whole lot more about it from a fellow wearing a tricorn hat and sitting on a stump.

George Rogers Clark Park is where the “New Boston Fair”, which I attended in 2010, is held and the group responsible for that, George Rogers Clark Heritage Association, also conducts a “Spring at New Boston” event. It is a two day, Saturday & Sunday, affair that seems to be promoted as a plant sale. That didn’t interest me very much, but a “History Walk”, which did, was also mentioned. Today, Sunday, I turned out to be the only participant and, when historian Bill Smith explained that the walk wouldn’t reveal anything he couldn’t point to, it didn’t take long for two men of a certain age to talk each other into finding a pair of comfortable stumps. He and a couple of similarly aged gentlemen had done the same thing yesterday. Of course, if some youngsters show up for one of these, Bill will gladly lead them across the road and just might have a few reenactors pop out of the shadows along the way.

George Rogers Clark MonumentBill handed me a sheet with a few paragraphs on one side and a map on the other. Neither of us ever looked at the text but the map was a great help in understanding the battle. Before detailing the battle itself, Bill described some of what led to it and I believe I found that even more interesting. In June of 1780, Captain Henry Bird led a group of Indians and British soldiers into Kentucky where both Ruddle’s Station and Martin’s Station were overpowered. Both stations surrendered, but Bird could not keep some portion of the Indians from killing a number of what were essentially his prisoners. Although Bird then returned to Detroit with his prisoners, he had certainly frightened the Kentuckians and got the attention of Colonel George Rogers Clark who raised an army and headed north. Although a British built stockade stood nearby, there were no British forces at the Indian village of Peckuwe when Clark attacked on August 8, 1780. The Indians were driven from the village and the battle was a victory for Clark. There were no more raids into Kentucky for the duration of the Revolutionary War.

George Rogers Clark Monument  - TecumsehClark is on the front of the 35 foot tall monument. Tecumseh is on the back. He was at the battle — sort of. He was about twelve years old and was among the women and children who fled the village in advance of the attack. The marker identifies this as his birthplace. It is one of at least three locations identified as such by someone. One of the claims for it being near this marker comes from Thomas Worthington, the future governor of the future Ohio, who is one of two men who say Tecumseh himself identified the nearby river as his birthplace as he passed it in their company.

1812 encampment1812 encampmentThe history lesson on a stump was certainly fun but there was even more fun to be had. There was a small War of 1812 encampment across the way in the field that is filled by the fair on Labor Day weekend. Bill had pointed to it a few times when talking about the 6-pounder cannon that Clark had used at the battle.

1812 encampment1812 encampmentThe cannoneers were clearly enjoying themselves but were nearly as polished as the brass barrel of the big gun. There was no grapeshot or heavy balls loaded into that barrel but black powder is not something to be sloppy with. They weren’t. They knew their duties and performed them on command.

Cannon shot #4I learned later that the cannon, though present, had not been fired on Saturday. That might explain why the crew seemed to really be enjoying themselves today and why they fired the gun multiple times. Timing is not precise. There might be a second or two between the touching of the match and the actual blast. That’s my excuse for jumping at every boom even after I knew exactly what to expect. The picture above is of the fourth and final shot but there are also pictures of the first three: Shot #1, Shot #2, Shot #3.

More Horses (and a bit on a madonna)

Last night I completed the trifecta of southwest Ohio horse parades. I just happened to be in Greenville on the occasion of their parade two weeks ago. I blogged about it here. Last week I was again in Greenville and came home through Springfield with a goal of getting some pictures of the recently relocated Madonna of the Trail statue. (More on that later.) I was surprised to see downtown Springfield blocked off and more surprised to learn that it was for the city’s first ever hose parade. I certainly had to stick around for that.

Springfield Horse ParadeCarriage rides were available before the parade and, yes, I took one. Neither the carriage rides nor the parade actually passed the Madonna. The picture at right shows one of the “public” carriages leaving the blocked off area in anticipation of the parade itself. The parade formed behind where I stood to take the picture and turned right to reach the parade route proper.

Springfield Horse ParadeSpringfield Horse ParadeAs mentioned, this was Springfield’s first year for a parade and there were just fourteen entries. All were “hitches”. In other words, there were no horseback riders. The portrayal of  the Christmas story in a setting where eighteenth and and nineteenth century covered wagons (albeit with pneumatic rubber tires) was the norm was simultaneously shocking and 100% fitting. I liked it. Future generations of Springfieldians may have a very unique take on the whole Christmas-pioneer-Madonna-covered-wagon thing.

Black Horse Tavern at the Golden LambSo, after attending Springfield’s first and Greenville’s eighth more or less by accident, I felt almost obligated to attend Lebanon’s twenty-third horse parade. It’s not only the oldest of the three but, with 122 entries, far and away the biggest. It’s also the only double header. There is a daylight version at 1:00 and an in-the-dark illuminated-carriage version at 7:00. Other commitments kept me away from Lebanon until something after 1:00 but I headed there anyway thinking I might catch the tail end of the matinee. I couldn’t even get close. I whiled away the afternoon on the far side of town then returned thinking it entirely possible that I would just pass through again and head home. But I found a parking spot about three blocks from the Golden Lamb. In the Lamb’s Black Horse Tavern, I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen in quite awhile and managed to while away another couple of hours until parade time was near.

Lebanon Horse ParadeLebanon Horse ParadeI’ve attended both light and dark versions of the Lebanon parade before but it’s been a long time. Both the parade and attendance have had time to grow and they certainly have. All of downtown Lebanon was pretty much shoulder to shoulder and withers to withers.

Lebanon Horse Parade ClydesdalesLebanon Horse Parade Fire EngineSeveral of the parade participants had been at Greenville and a few had been at Springfield but with more than eight times Springfied’s entries and nearly double Greenville’s, Lebanon obviously had some exclusives. Foremost among these were a nineteenth century fire engine and a team of Clydesdales. Both of these actually brought cheers from the crowd when they charged down the street.

Golden LambDuring the parade I managed to somehow walk to it’s origin and back. Some of it was pretty awkward but in the end I just stepped into the street and paced the parade. I recall my father once telling me that the secret to getting around a military base is to carry a clipboard and walk briskly. The same technique works with parades using a camera. The friends I had met in the bar told of past success in watching the parade from the balcony at the Golden Lamb. Even though that appeared to be a bit more challenging than in prior years, they were going to give it a try. As the parade wrapped up, I snapped this picture of the hotel’s balcony just in case they were up there. No, I later learned, they had been blocked from the balcony but found an empty third floor dining room where they and another couple watched the parade in relative privacy. The only intruder was a hotel employee who stopped by now and then to take drink orders.

Ohio Madonna of the TrailNow, about that Madonna. In 1928 and ’29, as the era of named auto trails came to an end, the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a Madonna of the Trail statue in each of the twelve states through which the National Old Trails Road passed. The one for Ohio was placed in Springfield. Two of the four sides on each statue’s base were inscribed with information specific to the statue and its placement. On Ohio’s Madonna these concerned the end of federally funded construction, which was quite close to the statue’s original placement, and George Rogers Clark victory at Peckuwe which was about three miles from the original placement as noted in the inscription. In the mid 1950s, highway construction caused the statue to be moved about a half mile east. The inscriptions were no longer as accurate as they had been but they weren’t off too much. A bigger problem with the move was that, once US-40 became four lanes wide, there was no convenient access to the statue. Reaching it involved either pulling over on the busy highway or parking in a safe spot and walking along the busy highway.

Ohio Madonna of the TrailIn September, the statue was again moved. This move was about two miles distance to a park in downtown Springfield. The setting makes the statue much more accessible while making the inscriptions much less accurate. Some consider this a net win; Others don’t. During the hour or so I hung around the statue last Saturday, I saw about twenty people take note of the statue in some way. There was a lot of foot traffic in the area Saturday and the majority seemed oblivious to both the new park and the relocated statue. Of those that noticed it, about half recognized it including one fellow who arrived with camera and tripod to photograph the old gal in her new home. Quite a few of those who had no idea what it was did read at least one panel. Several read them all. Whether or not any of them develop even the slightest interest in any aspect of the history that this Madonna of the Trail represents is anybody’s guess.

A newspaper article about the September 22 move is here. The Madonna can be seen thirteen days before the move here and here.