Day 2: March 16, 2011
McKinley, Hoover, & Lincoln
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I stopped by the McKinley Memorial once but just to snap a couple of pictures. I don't think I was even aware of the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum right next to it. Today the museum would be the target. Just inside the entrance is one of those giant pendulums that knock over pegs as the earth rotates. It is, I now realize, something of a hint about the science component of the museum. The entire lower floor is devoted to science. There are lots of exhibits that, like the pendulum and a miniature man-made tornado, demonstrate something. Many are hands-on. I was surprised and impressed.

The Stark County Historical Society owns and operates the museum which explains why the majority of space is devoted to Stark County History. It may also help explain the existence of the science museum but I'm not sure how. I've included pictures of the "Street of Shops", a long retired Canton fire engine, and the laughing lady from a local amusement park.

There were several groups of young students in the museum today. My route through the museum was decidedly non-linear as I tried not to interfere with them. When I found myself alone with the Laughing Lady, I pushed the button that triggered her laugh, snapped a picture, and walked on with a big grin. Later, as I retraced my path to see something I'd missed, I encountered a lone woman coming from the direction of the Laughing Lady. I think she was a chaperone for one of the school groups which may be why she felt compelled to give me an explanation. "I stayed behind so I could hear the Laughing Lady," she told me. Children in groups can be rather loud. She recalled seeing the Laughing Lady as a child. In her amusement park home, the Laughing Lady had moved, bending at the waist as she laughed. Pretty scary stuff it seems. "If she'd started moving, I'd have probably ran away screaming," the wayward chaperone told me then hurried down the hall to rejoin her group.

Just one room of the museum is dedicated to President McKinley but it's a big one and it's fully packed. The wall opposite the roped off furniture is filled with display cases containing lots of McKinley artifacts including the presidential top hat and cane. That same case also contains his razors; all seven of them.

"Celebrate the Sixties" fills the changing exhibit area through June 5. There are a few big things, like the 1969 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible, and lots of smaller things.
...who's there? Dewey! Dewey who?
Do we remember these? Yes we do!
Ah, do we, do we remember these!
    --Statler Brothers

Before leaving, I climbed the 108 steps to the tomb but found it locked. From a movie in the museum, I learned that the tomb was designed to represent the handle of a sword with the long grassy area representing its blade. The sword, they say, symbolizes leadership.

The Hoover in the page title is neither the US president nor the federal cop. It's the Hoover that made vacuum a household word. The story is told inside the 1853 house and even older barn at the Hoover Historical Center in North Canton. Here's the really short version on the sign. The tour starts inside the barn where I was instantly made aware of just how little I knew about the Hoover Company. The first business was tanning and the barn was the tanning shop. In time, the Hoovers started selling finished products made from there own leather. A breakthrough of sorts came with the development of the "Sensible Irish Horse Collar". Apparently "Irish" refers to the style of the collar and "Sensible" refers to improvements in padding and support made by the Hoovers. Unfortunately, this development came not long before Henry Ford developed the sensible Model T. Seeing the writing on the stall, the Hoovers tried some other products including a line of leather automobile straps and accessories.

I knew absolutely nothing of the Hoover connection to leather, collars, or automobile straps. I figured the Hoover business started when one of them invented the vacuum cleaner but even that "knowledge" was wrong. Floor sweeping devices have a long history. Several pre-Hoover versions are displayed in the barn and my fourth photo shows a few of them. An asthmatic janitor named James M. Spangler patented an electric vacuum sweeper. William H "Boss" Hoover bought Spangler's patent and a star was born. The next to last pictures shows a Spangler assembled sweeper and one of the first Hoovers, looking just about the same, is in the center of the last picture. The Hoover still runs and they had me turn it on. That is Ann Haines at the right of the last picture. She was the primary guide but I actually had three. Carly is supposedly in training of some sort but she soloed quite well on the barn portion of the tour and chimed in at some other points, too. There were two of us taking the tour but the other fellow was a Hoover collector who had been here multiple times. He has seventy Hoovers at home and knew just about as much about the various Hoover models as Ann or Carly. Today I helped demonstrate that it only takes one dummy to make a successful museum tour.

There are a couple of fairly long brick pieces of Lincoln Highway east of Canton. This is the half mile long section of Cindrell Street at Sam Krabill Avenue. At Krabill, the drivable section ends and you're put back on the modern US-30. A few rows of brick remain beyond Krabill and the blocked off two-track that was once the Lincoln Highway heads off into the distance.

Nice byway signage is apparent on Cindrell and here at the west end of the longest brick section in the area. There are also a couple of old style highway markers along the way.My guess is that about half of the two and a half mile stretch of Baywood Street remains brick. Because of potholes, the asphalt sections are now the roughest but the fact that they were paved over probably means the bricks underneath are in pretty sad shape, too. Palmantier's Motel can be seen across the road where Baywood crosses US-30.

The recently reopened Palmantier's was my destination for the night. I've stayed here once before, in 2008, but things have changed. Kevin Sonntag and his parents now run the place and I've rarely felt so good about stopping at a motel as this one. Lots of cleaning and behind the scenes repairs/improvements have already occurred though there is still plenty to be done. Kevin is enthusiastic and energetic and remarked more than once that "It's only going to get better." Of that I have no doubt. Most rooms have attached garages although my room on this visit did not.

The Sonntags have experience with running a motel and they are well aware of the Lincoln Highway connection. Palmantier's (330-868-6000) is in good hands.

I asked Kevin about places to eat. He told me of a couple but I think his mouth started watering when he got to the Hart Mansion Restaurant. The Mansion is a bit more up scale than I originally had in mind but Kevin's glowing description sold me and I'm very happy it did. The red snapper with sweet curry was wonderful and so was the soup (seafood chowder), service, and setting. The mansion itself was built in 1869 but -- in my view -- became a restaurant only recently. I'd never heard of the place and asked my waitress if it had been there long. She replied yes then, when I asked how long, said "About three years." I vaguely remember when three years was a long time.

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