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Although Cleveland seems to get more than other places, Ohio still gets a bad rap! I just saw a quote about the Mall of America in Minnesota. The person said, “I’d rather go to Ohio than MOA!” And 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio continue. But, here are The Driveby Tourist experiences in Ohio on the Eastern 26 trip. Of course, a couple of other states come to mind as well. I’m looking at you, Nebraska, Kansas, and North Dakota! However, this post covers Ohio. Or, as Mark Twain once said 150 or so years ago, “There are three cities in the US: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans; all the rest are Cleveland!” Of course, I don’t see it that way, but it’s funny anyway.
Here’s a Table of Contents for 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
- Ohio Presidents
- Columbus – The state capital
- Museums and Universities – more of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- American Sign Museum
- Carillon Historical Park – Dayton – Wright Brothers
- National Museum of the Air Force – Another of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
- Viet Nam and after
- Great Lakes Science Center
- “The” Ohio State University – 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio! – And 1 Reason to do so!
- Halls of Fames – another of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
- Ohio Quirky – 2 Visited + a few others
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park is another 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
- Sports Venues
- Finalize and Summarize 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
Here’s an additional map that shows the places I visited and a few more quirky locations. You can click on the map for an interactive version.
Ohio claims eight presidents, although William Henry Harrison migrated from Virginia at a young age. During the Eastern 26 trip, I visited five presidential sites in Ohio. Both of the Harrisons have home museums in Indiana, and US Grant only has a birthplace monument in Ohio. But I missed that one. I missed William Henry Harrison’s home in Indiana but visited the Benjamin Harrison home in Indianapolis. William Henry Harrison’s house was closed for a significant renovation and about a 200-mile detour. So I passed on it. Some of them are among the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
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William Howard Taft – one of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
William Howard Taft became the 27th President of the United States and the 10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Additionally, the only person to ever hold both roles. Generally, historians consider him an average president and an excellent Chief Justice. Of course, here is a link to an earlier post.
For example, I found one ranking from C-Span that showed him rising from 24th in 2000 to 23rd in 2021. While Abraham Lincoln and George Washington have remained first and second over that time, Eisenhower has risen from 9th to 5th in the past 20 years. But James Buchanan remains in last place! (More on him later.) As of the 2017 rankings, Obama is the last one ranked, and he was the 43rd president, and he ranked 12th. We’ll have to see how history ranks all of the presidents in the last 50 years. The panel participants include about 90 presidential historians, and many are university professors from around the US.
Warren G. Harding – Not necessarily one of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
Warren G. Harding became the 29th President of the US in 1921. But, he died in office and only served two years and five months. Many people said he “looked presidential,” which may hint at how historians viewed his presidency. I will focus more on that when I publish the post. In a C-Span ranking (above), I found that Harding ranked 40th overall.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hays gained the office of President of the US in 1877. He served one term. But, he did not seek a second term. Generally, history ranks him in the third quartile regarding effectiveness in office. Naturally, historians don’t “settle in” on a president’s effectiveness until at least 50 years after his term.
The C-Span ranking showed him at 33rd. While other rankings vary, I found the C-Span rankings, based on 10 factors, to be generally in the middle of other rankings and seem to be respected.
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James A. Garfield
Garfield took office in March of 1881 and died by assassination six months later. Due to his short time in office, his ranking varies from average to “not in office long enough to rank.” However, the C-Span rankings placed him at 27th of 44.
McKinley succeeded in the election of 1896 and took office in March of 1887. He won reelection in1900 but died due to assassination in September of 1901. He ranked as an above-average president at 14th in 2021 by the C-Span ranking.
Columbus – The state capital
The current capitol building opened to the legislators and the public in 1857. The House and Senate met in their respective chambers. Most of the executive offices, including the governor, opened as well. Interestingly, Ohio Penitentiary prisoners worked on the building project. So, at some point in history, state employees found a sketch profile of a man with the name “Badger” written above it. By searching the history of prisoners, records indicated a man name Ephraim Badger, serving time for burglary, received a pardon for “service to the state.”
The Statehouse received designation as a National Historic Landmark. Additionally, the architecture of the building gave credit to five men. Of course, there’s always a story… Ohio-born Nathan B. Kelley lived and worked most of his life in Columbus. Since the building would become a Statehouse, Kelley added great ornament and detail to the building’s exterior. The commissioners fired him because they believed the extra flourishes were too expensive and too lavish!
However, Kelley received kudos for many of the architectural improvements of the Statehouse. For example, planners didn’t allow for heating or ventilation ducts. Kelley solved the problem by building brick walls on the inside of the building. The inside walls allow the moving of air through the building. While that system is common in modern architecture, Kelley remained ahead of his time.
The capitol underwent renovations over the years, but the basic design remains the same. I believe the design and the interior are about average for all of the capitols I’ve seen.
Museums and Universities – more of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Another must-see on the list. Here’s the link to the website. The point of the bridge is right in front of the museum. Ohio maintained its “free state” status at all times. Kentucky became a “slave state.” The museum looks across the bridge in permanent defiance of that state of affairs. Pictured above are a few of the displays within the museum.
Surprisingly, the museum gave examples of slavery still existing today. For example, human trafficking remains a scourge in the world. And a few countries, most notably North Korea, hold a significant percentage of their citizens in virtual slavery.
American Sign Museum
I didn’t have an opportunity to visit the inside. Because my schedule had me keep moving! But since it’s on the north edge of Cincinnati, I still stopped for some pictures. Apparently, visitors view it as one of the best sign museums in the US.
Carillon Historical Park – Dayton – Wright Brothers
While in Dayton, the Wright Brothers Museum is a must-see, even if just to “check it off your list,” as the Wright Brother’s contribution to aviation is astounding. And to think they started making, selling, and repairing bicycles. Often, in any industry, innovators come from unexpected backgrounds. I once watched a video on “The Business of Paradigms” by Joel Barker. His theme became “when the paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero.”
Often, paradigm shifts happen when someone outside the industry makes a successful attempt. Although the airplane industry was virtually non-existent, others more related than bicycle makers made unsuccessful tries. But the bicycle makers from Dayton, Ohio, succeeded where others failed.
National Museum of the Air Force – Another of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
Information from the museum
This one’s a great museum to visit. It’s laid out by era. Of course, starting with early military use and World War I, World War II, Cold War, Vietnam, and others. So, here are some photos and a few details. But see for yourself when in the area! And the obligatory link!
The pictures above show the early days of military aviation, the famous Mustang from WW II, and a map of concentration and POW camps in Germany.
The Upper left picture is a 1909 military plane, one of the first airplanes being tested for military use. On the upper right is information about Germany’s famous “Red Baron.” His consideration as the “ace of aces” happened during World War I. His record contains 80 confirmed enemy kills.
On the lower left, a WW II P-51 Mustang proudly stands, making a statement of a workhouse plane in WW II and the Korean War. And the lower right shows a map of Germany’s concentration and POW camps.
The first picture on the upper right provides information about the Berlin Airlift. In 1948, the Soviets blockaded West Berlin. No supplies could get through the blockade. For over a year, the Air Forces of the US, the UK, and a couple of other countries supplied everything the citizens needed. Sadly, the blockade continued until 1949.
Eventually, the Soviets realized their blockade wasn’t working. When the Allies divided up Germany for occupation after the war, Berlin landed in the Soviet-occupied portion, but the city of Berlin also split into two parts. A narrow strip of one hundred miles of railroad and highway connected West Berlin with West Germany. Following the blockade, the Soviets didn’t try that again.
Following, on the upper right, shows a picture of the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Although developed during the Cold War, the plane made its first appearance in 1989, just at the end of the Cold War. The plane continues in use to this day. It’s still considered the most sophisticated bomber in the world after 30 years!
The bottom two pictures depict Minuteman missiles developed during the Cold War and their locations in the US. The missile’s original deployment began in 1967, with most of them placed that year. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush announced their withdrawal from active service. The missiles are still available for use but not in “ready” status. They are located in Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota.
Viet Nam and after
The picture on the right shows the background of the Viet Nam War. Actually, US troops became committed as advisors by President Eisenhower in the late 50s and accelerated by President Kennedy in the early 1960s. However, on August 2nd and 4th, North Viet Nam attacked two US Navy destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf off the Viet Nam coast. Following a few days later, the US House passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution unanimously. The Senate passed the resolution with only two opposing votes.
President Johnson signed the bill on August 7th. The resolution committed the US to formally pursue actions in the Civil War in Viet Nam. The country’s civil war began decades before that. As many of you know, the war didn’t go well, resulting, to some degree, in LBJ deciding not to run for re-election. This left Richard Nixon to disentangle from the war. As you also know, Nixon’s presidency didn’t end well for other reasons!
Great Lakes Science Center
The Great Lakes Science Center stands on the shore of Lake Erie between the First Energy NFL football stadium for the Cleveland Browns and the Rock ‘n’ Hall of Fame! Of course, the museum features exhibits that document the natural environment around the Great Lakes region of the US.
“The” Ohio State University – 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio! – And 1 Reason to do so!
Since I visited Columbus, OH, I had to obtain a picture of the sign for the stadium. Since the Buckeyes are my least favorite team, I mainly added it because they were just upset by Oregon the prior week! Anyway, for me, it’s good to see the Buckeyes lose!
Halls of Fames – another of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! – Definitely, one of the 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
Strange how the Rock Hall came to Cleveland. If you want to find out, here’s a link. Back in 2018, I spent a full day here and loved it! This time, I “drove by,” looked in the gift shop, and took some pictures. Of course, since it’s a hall of fame, there will always be arguments about who belongs there and who doesn’t. I say if you don’t agree with the selections. treasure what you see, bypass those selections you don’t think should be there, and, later, obsess about who should be there!
As we toured the Hall, I took far too many pictures to display here. I show a few of my favorites. While I’m not a particularly huge fan of Elvis, you can’t have a Rock Hall without Elvis. Bob Dylan remains my favorite from the mid-sixties to today! Of course, the Beatles were the “Band of the Generation” in the 60s.
As I’ve heard on XM radio, the decade started with a dance (the twist) and ended in the mud (Woodstock!) Next is a group of pictures of the autographs of some inductees. These are mostly from the 70s.
Therefore, let us begin with four favorites that did much of their work in the 70s. By the way, I’ve “Stood on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona!” It’s right on Route 66! “Hotel California” ‘gotta’ be one of the best Rock songs of all time. Next, Fleetwood Mac and all their iterations. But I liked Stevie Nicks the best of the group.
Following, on the bottom, you’ll find Queen. Great artists, great songs. Of course, probably the most unique Rock n Roll song of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody! Freddy Mercury was a great talent! And did you know that guitarist Brian May became a top guitarist and earned a Ph.D. in astrophysics?
Finally, Bob Seger, whom I now listen to more than most other artists. I started a playlist of my Seger favorites and ended up with 23 on my list. You need to listen to Turn the Page for a road trip song! Although it’s about musicians on the road, it’s a great road trip song.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Canton, OH, provides a home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Interestingly, the Canton Bulldogs became an original NFL team as well. The Bulldogs only lasted until 1926. Many of the early franchises didn’t last very long. The two remaining teams from 1920 are the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals. The Green Bay Packers joined the league in 1921. The Packers remain the only team that never changed locations. (The Bears originally were the Decatur Staleys.) The Bears began playing at Soldier Field in 1971, playing at Wrigley field all of their early years.
For the last 20 years, it’s been tough being a Raider fan. They’ve only made the playoffs twice since losing the Super Bowl in 2002. And they’ve had mostly losing records. My favorite players and coach go back to the 1970s. Fred Biletnikoff, wide receiver, became my all-time favorite player. Of course, “The Snake” became my all-time favorite player. And John Madden, my all-time favorite coach! The team won 3 Super Bowls, in 1978, 1981, and 1984. Biletnikoff became the MVP of the 1978 Super Bowl with his clutch receptions.
“The Greatest Game Ever Played”
The 1958 NFL championship game between the Colts and the Giants, often referred to as “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” made Johnny Unitas a star and become one of several defining moments that made the NFL the sports and broadcast powerhouse it is today. Seventeen individuals involved in the game became Hall of Fame members. This became the first (and until 2017, the only) NFL championship game to go to overtime!
Interestingly, not many remember the head coach of the Giants, Jim Lee Howell, but you’ve likely heard of the two coordinators (offense and defense), Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry! To this day, many analysts rank Johnny Unitas as one of the top five (or at least top ten) all-time best quarterbacks!
For more, you’ll have to visit or read all you can online.
Ohio Quirky – 2 Visited + a few others
World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock
Sugarcreek, Ohio, hosts the world’s largest Cuckoo Clock. The “little birdie” comes out and “does his thing” every 15 minutes. Following that, a wooden fiddler and some wooden dancers come out and swirl around to the music. Besides, Sugarcreek is a very nice little town. And it all looks like little Switzerland!
Anyway, just another little place to stop for one of the quirky attractions. Here’s a link to a few midwestern oddities.
Longaberger Basket Company Headquarters
Here’s an oddity! An office building designed to look like the baskets the company sold! The company’s been out of business for several years, and the town continues to look for a buyer to keep the building intact! Here’s a link to the midwestern quirky locations.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is another 25+ Reasons not to hate Ohio!
The park conserves nature areas near Cleveland. It’s practically a metro area park. The park has a scenic old bridge, but a road closure near the trail entrance doesn’t allow easy access. The National Park Service closed portions of a scenic railroad due to significant erosion by the river. Several buildings were also “COVID-closed” while I visited.
Overall, it’s still a good park for hiking and exploring, but if you are looking for magnificent views or unique opportunities, I’d move on to other parks like New River Gorge in West Virginia, Shenandoah in Virginia, and especially Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Paul Brown Stadium (NFL Cincinnati Bengals)
Amazingly, after Paul Brown Stadium (above) received a new name this year (Paycor Stadium), the only remaining NFL teams without naming rights are two of the three oldest teams. Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Soldier Field in Chicago. Paycor bought naming rights after being a team sponsor and HR software provider for the past x years. The stadium is now 22 years old.
Not really a very fancy stadium, but it probably fits the Bengals! I’ve seen a couple of other stadiums that fit the “utilitarian” model. Like M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. By the way, the Raiders went from the worst stadium in the league (the Oakland Coliseum) to one of the best when they moved to Las Vegas. That’s named Allegiant Stadium, but Raider fans call it the “Death Star.” It’s all black and silver, to match their colors. Unfortunately, they are still a horse “hockey” team!
Great American Ballpark (MLB Cincinnati Reds)
This one’s the home of the Cincinnati Reds of the National Baseball League. Before you start thinking they gave it a patriotic name, look around downtown, and you’ll see a building sign saying Great American Insurance! This stadium is now 19 years old. It looks better than the Bengals stadium. Interestingly, the two stadiums are about six blocks or so apart.
The street between them is filled with restaurants, bars, museums, and other tourist attractions. The Underground Railroad Freedom Center lies between the stadiums on the north side of the street.
First Energy Stadium (NFL Cleveland Browns)
Yes, the home of the Cleveland Browns. The team lost their only playoff game played since 2002. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1994. They won the NFL championship in 1964, before the Super Bowl era. It’s the only championship the team won. And they have an amazingly bad record at drafting quarterbacks!
Although the stadium looks better than Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, it’s now 23 years old.
Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (NBA Cleveland Cavaliers)
I’m not an NBA fan, so I don’t really care! But here’s the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s just a couple of blocks away from the MLB stadium. It opened in 1994, so it is now 28 years old.
Progressive Field (MLB Cleveland Guardians)
The stadium took the name Progressive Field over from Jacobs Field several years ago with a change in sponsor. The stadium is also 28 years old. The Cleveland Guardians (for many years, known as the Cleveland Indians) found a home here when the stadium opened. The Guardians/Indians resided in their old stadium since 1931.