Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Amish to Age of Steam

This is the fourth post about what we did during our busy week in Berlin, Ohio in Amish country. That was the week of Independence Day so you can see how far behind I am with the blog. I have been trying to do one post a week and have several more posts about what we have been doing the last eight week. 
The village of Sugarcreek bills itself as the Little Switzerland of Ohio with many quaint Swiss buildings. The biggest (literally) attraction is the Giant Cuckoo Clock. When it was built in 1963 it was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. It had fallen into disrepair until it was restored in 2007 and moved to its current location in 2012. The clock is worth a stop with a neat show every half hour.   
The main street of Sugarcreek has many Swiss-like building facades but it lacks the Swiss feeling without the mountains. We did check out a couple local stores. 
We have been to a number of places around the country where we have encountered the Amish culture. We find them to be enterprising people that have embraced the tourism that their 1800's lifestyle draws. This is a very common sight on the roads in the area, the charming clop clop of horses hooves and of course the not so charming residue they leave behind.
The old horse and buggy and the modern railroad crossing. 
As with all Amish areas, farming is the most visible of their enterprises but they are also great craftsmen. Our RV was built in Indiana Amish country and the woodwork is wonderful. While there are many quilt shops, woodworkers, bulk food stores, the big draw here seems to be cheese. Guggisberg claims to have the best of baby Swiss out of 2,555 entries in the country. We bought several different kinds and found them all to be delicious. 
It is neat seeing the beautiful farms that are truly a throwback to a different era but, personally, I don't get it. While they live the "simple" life, the Amish do seem to make exceptions to modern technology if it helps them make a living.  
Just outside of Sugarcreek is the Age of Steam Roundhouse. I grew up by the railroad tracks and have always been fascinated by trains so this was a must stop for me. Unfortunately, because of a special event our visit did not live up to expectations.   
The Age of Steam was the dream of Jerry Jacobson who bought the 90-mile Ohio Central Railroad System in 1988. After building it into a 525-mile system he sold it in 2008. He kept all the old equipment that included several steam locomotives and a few diesel engines. There are now 22 steamers in the collection.
To house all those locomotives he built a 18-stall roundhouse with 115 foot turntable. It was the first full size roundhouse built in the country since 1951. The restored engines are displayed in the roundhouse but, because of the special event, we did not get an up close tour. Steam engines are classified by the number of wheels they have. This 2-10-0 No. 401, built in 1928 in Philadelphia, was used on the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railway. The first number is the number of wheels on the front, next is the number of larger drive wheels and the last is the number in the back.  
Canadian Pacific engine No. 1293, built in 1948 in Kingston, Ontario, had a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. All steam engines pulled a tender that carried the fuel, usually coal but sometimes wood. These are the only locomotives we could see in the roundhouse the day we were there.
The Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 No. 6325 was built in 1942 in Schenectady, New York and carried supplies and passengers during WWII. In 1948 in was used to pull President Truman's campaign train. Because of that, it was preserved and displayed in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1959.
The U.S. Navy 0-6-0 No. 4, built in Pittsburgh in 1912, was originally used as a switch engine in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The S-160 class U.S. Army 2-8-0 No. 2630 was built in Philadelphia in 1943. There were 2,120 S-160 class engines built during WWII that were used in Africa, North and South America and Europe. This one No. 2630 stayed stateside and was used in operation and maintenance training. It was not retired until 1972. It was very neat seeing all these old steam locomotives but I was very disappointed we did not get to tour the roundhouse.
The special event, Steam to Victory, was a WWII reenactment to honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Of course if you are going to do a reenactment you need a few Germans. This guy looks like Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes, "I see nothing". 
The American soldiers encampment. Check out the 48 star flag.
US Army M-3 WWII half track.
US Army WWII tank.
The camps of both the Allies and Axis camps and more military equipment.
Of course every battle needs a medical unit to care for the wounded. We did not stay for the skirmish that depicted the allies capturing a German bunker.
We did enjoy our week in Amish country and getting a chance to check a few places off our to do list. We are having a great time in WashPA seeing many friends and family while doing last time visits with our doctors and dentist.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

McKinley and First Ladies Libraries

We made another day trip to Canton to check out the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum and the National First Ladies' Library.  
There are thirteen presidential libraries that are recognized by the National Archives Foundation. We have visited eight of them. There are others that are part of local libraries or museums that are independent. The McKinley Museum is one of those. It is a small part of a science and local history museum in Canton, Ohio. 
William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio on January 29, 1843.  He was active in Ohio politics serving in the US House for six years and then governor for four years. In 1896 he was elected president. He was the last Civil War veteran elected to the highest office. Six months into his second term he was assassinated in 1901.  
McKinley's wife Ida Saxton was born in Canton in 1847. She married William in January 1871 in the First Presbyterian Church which was still under construction. The church still stands in Canton. 
William McKinley's run for the presidency was a front porch campaign. People would travel to Canton to see him while his opponent William Jennings Bryan traveled hundreds of miles giving over 600 speeches. 
The McKinley Gallery contains many artifacts of his time in Canton and as president.
There are several exhibits showing his life, from growing up in Canton through his time as president and his untimely death by assassination. This one is about his campaigns and inaugurations.
This one is about his four and a half years in office. The less than four month Spanish American War was fought during his first term. During that war Teddy Roosevelt became famous for his charge up San Juan Hill. This led to McKinley picking Teddy as his vice-presidential running mate in the 1900 election and Roosevelt becoming president when McKinley was assassinated.  
After his death, his many friends formed an association to raise money to build an appropriate memorial in Canton. The McKinley National Memorial was dedicated in September 1907. 
The nine and a half foot bronze statue depicts McKinley delivering his final public address at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo the day before he was assassinated.
The coffins of William and Ida are entombed in a green granite sarcophagi inside the memorial. Although not nearly as impressive as the others we have visited, the McKinley Library is well worth a visit.
The National First Ladies Library includes a research center to promote, preserve and educate about the important role of first ladies on American history. Part of it includes the family home of Ida Saxton McKinley that was the long time residence of William and Ida.
The home that had once been used as a boarding house after the McKinleys lived there has been restored to its original appearance.
While many of the furnishings are just from the period, the piano was owned by Ida.
The library was a gathering place where many famous visitors came to meet McKinley. No pictures are allowed in the research center, but the home was well worth the visit.

We are still way behind in the blog. We have been having a great time in WashPa and have several entries to write about what we have been up to.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pro Football Hall of Fame

It seems like I am getting further and further behind with the blog. I still have three more posts about our time in Ohio the week of the Fourth of July. Since we are back in WashPA for three months and aren't doing many news things that will give me time to get caught up, I hope.
Even though we lived most of our lives within 100 miles of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, we had never visited. Going north on I-77 you can't miss the exit when the power lines crossing the highway are attached to a goal post. 
The Hall of Fame is a huge complex that includes a stadium, practice field, research center and galleries with football memorabilia and to honor the inductees. 
Welcome to the Hall of Fame.
I finally scored a visit to the Hall of Fame.
The hallway to the first gallery is lined with a painting of showing one honoree from each team. 
November 12, 1892 is considered the birthday of pro football when William (Pudge) Heffelfinger was paid $500 by the Allegheny Athletic Association to play a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. After this, teams began paying more players, thus the beginning of "pro" football. The poster is from the 1917 Ohio Championship game Massillon vs Canton.
Jim Thorpe played for Canton and lead them to three championships. He later played for six different National Football League teams.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Lockers for each of this year's inductees: Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed, Johnny Robinson....
....Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, and Tony Gonzalez.
Yes, most of these players are huge. Nanc could fit in the mold of Jerome Bettis' leg.
A Game for Life exhibit uses holographic figures to have coaches and players tell stories of how football helped shape their lives. Joe Namath is the host and there are also presentations by George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Alan Page, Jim Brown, Curtis Martin and Steve Largent. This was one of the neater exhibits in the hall.
The locker room where A Game for Life is shown.
Every inductee has a bust made when they are enshrined in the hall. With this year's class there are now 326 members in the hall.
Every inductee also receives the famous gold jacket.
Of course our main interest was anything Steelers. Here are all the Steelers who are in the Hall of Fame.
The greatest era of Steeler football was the team that won four Super Bowls in six season. These four defensive players: Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount and Coach Chuck Noll, were with the team for all those championship. 
These five offensive players: John Stallworth, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris and Mike Webster, also played in those Super Bowls. It really was a great time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh. 
Other people who had ties with the Steelers who are in the Hall. (Top) Dick LeBeau, who is in the Hall as a player, was a coach with the Steelers for many years. Art Rooney, team founder. Tony Dungy, who played for the Steelers, was inducted as a coach. Team president, Dan Rooney. (Bottom) players from the pre-Super Bowl years; Jack Butler, John Henry Johnson and Ernie Stautner.  
The Lombardi trophy is given to the Super Bowl Champs each year. The Steelers were the first team to win six times in their eight trips to the big game. 
The play that changed Steeler football. The Immaculate Reception was a desperation fourth down pass by Terry Bradshaw that bounces in the air and into the hands of Franco Harris to give the Steelers their first ever playoff win. The following year their Super Bowl run began. 
The 1970's sure were the greatest for Steeler fans. Art Rooney with the four trophies.
Terry B's jersey. We enjoyed the Hall of Fame, but feel the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY is better. Maybe it's just that we followed the Pirates more growing up than we did the Steelers, who were not very good until the 70's.  The Baseball Hall of Fame had much more memorabilia which was really cool to look at.  If you are a Pats fan, this is a good year to visit as each year the team that wins the Super Bowl is highlighted.