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Archive for ohio

An Alaskan Hero

By Linda Tancs

On January 20, 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria in remote Nome, Alaska, made heroes out of a team of sled dogs thanks to their familiarity with the Iditarod Trail, a 674-mile route typically used to carry mail from Anchorage. In just six days a team of huskies led by Balto covered the route to deliver life saving serum to the citizens of Nome. After furious fundraising, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1927 and given a hero’s welcome in a triumphant parade through Public Square. The dogs were then taken to the Brookside Zoo (now the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo) to live out their lives in dignity. When Balto died on March 14, 1933, the husky’s body was mounted and is now housed in the permanent collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

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Black Hand Sandstone and a Hermit

By Linda Tancs

Talk about strange bedfellows.  What does black hand sandstone have to do with a hermit? The answer lies in Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio. More than 200 million years ago, Ohio’s ancient waters drained away, leaving behind a course sandstone resistant to erosion known as black hand sandstone. The sandstone formed cliffs, gorges and recesses like Ash Cave (Ohio’s largest cave) and Old Man’s Cave. A hermit lived in Old Man’s Cave (hence, the name) in the late 1700s and is buried at the site. Hocking Hills claims not only remarkable geologic sandstone formations and a hermit but also the state’s tallest tree.

Two Thousand Feet of Art

By Linda Tancs

Nestled between the northern banks of the Ohio River and east of the Scioto River is Portsmouth, Ohio.  Given its location at the confluence of these rivers, it’s not surprising that great flooding over nearly a century beginning in the 1800s necessitated the building of a floodwall after the great flood of 1937.  But this isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill floodwall.  It’s an outdoor art gallery depicting the last two centuries of the history of Portsmouth and the surrounding area, extending for over 2,000 feet along Front Street in the historic Boneyfiddle District of downtown Portsmouth.  Believed to be the largest known work of art by a single artist, the Portsmouth Murals can be viewed on foot with self-guided audio or from the comfort of your car.

Aligning with the Heavens in Ohio

By Linda Tancs

The largest surviving prehistoric effigy mound is Serpent Mound, located in Peebles, Ohio.  The undulating serpent-shaped earthwork stretches for almost 1350 feet, evoking over the years interpretations related to mysticisms and heavenly alignments.  No wonder, then, that the park grounds are open for extended hours today–the spring equinox–marking Earth’s balance between day and night, a time of many rituals and traditions.  Be prepared for an astronomically good time.

Basket Village USA

By Linda Tancs

Dresden, Ohio is the proud host of the world’s largest basket, a replica of the classic Longaberger basket created by native son Dave Longaberger.  Doyennes of household basket display will love the manufacturing tour.  You’ll find plenty of basket accessories in the village’s quaint shops, along with other fine articles like pottery, glassware, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, artwork, home décor items, and more.

Ohio’s Crooked River

By Linda Tancs

The Cuyahoga River flows north and south, meandering along the way through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the only national park in Ohio.  The river’s trajectory prompted the Native Americans to name it Cuyahoga, or crooked river.  The 65-foot Brandywine Falls are a major attraction, but don’t forget about its other charms, like the visitor center at the canal lock, the Everett Road Covered Bridge (evocative of The Bridges of Madison County), the towpath trail, the grist mill, or Beaver Marsh.  That’s a lot of ground to cover.  If you’re short on time, take the scenic rail ride through the heart of the park.  Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates regular excursions and special excursions from Rockside Station in Independence to Akron Northside Station and from Canton Lincoln Highway Station to Akron Northside Station.  It’s one of the oldest, longest and most scenic train rides in the country.  Buy your tickets now for the 40th anniversary celebration on 8 September.

A Haunted Jaunt in Ohio

By Linda Tancs

It’s no wonder that the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio has seen its share of Hollywood film sets considering its imposing architecture comprising Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne styles.  The reformatory’s doors first opened in 1896 and closed in 1990.  The inmates may be gone in the physical sense, but many would say it’s still a spirited place.  The prison recently announced its ghost hunt schedule for 2012, a series of serious but informal attempts to document paranormal activity at the castle-like structure.  Check-in begins at 7 p.m.  You won’t be locked down for the night, but if you drive out of the gated area you won’t be getting back in.  Skittish ghostbusters might want to join in on the evening ghost walk instead.   You will be taken on a two-hour, guided tour to the hot spots where reports have been made about paranormal activity.  Whatever you believe, you’ll see one of the country’s most historic structures.

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