Northfield OH. Monday-Tuesday Sept. 12-13. (Cuyahoga Valley National Park)
Dayton held our interest for a few extra hours on Monday morning. Instead of a quick exit, we visited the Inventors River Walk, part of the Riverscape Park, and then Carillon Park. Riverscape Park is along the Great Miami River, site of disastrous floods in 1913 that resulted in flood control measures that seem to leave Dayton protected from floods.
Dayton has continued its proud history of inventions beyond the Wright Brothers era. Charles Kettering is from Dayton and, after Thomas Edison, has the most patents approved by the U.S. Patent Office. Some of Kettering’s work includes the first automotive self-starter, the first electric cash register, and automotive lacquer paint. He was the head of research for General Motors and the founder of Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company).
The Inventors Walk is a segment of the Riverwalk with seven sculptures honoring local inventions. Below are four of the seven; you are being challenged to identify the invention with the sculpture. (Answers at the end of the blog for today.) (Remember, touching the picture should blow it up to a larger size for better identification.)
Carillon Park is a 65 acre park representing the history of Dayton through restored buildings and displays. We skipped the Dayton specific buildings and headed just to the other NPS site for the Dayton Aviation Heritage Park. This building houses the original Wright Brothers Flyer III that flew from Huffman Prairie and one of only five remaining Van Cleve model bicycles built by Orville and Wilbur Wright.
A docent, originally from St.Paul who worked for Deluxe Check company for eons and is now retired and living in Cincinnati, gave us a personalized tour. One of the new stories we heard from him was that Wilbur, Orville, and Katherine Wright (the only sister and just younger than Orville)had made a pact to never marry and to care for each other as they aged. As you know,Wilbur died relatively young. Katherine at age 52 married an old sweetheart and Orville refused to talk to her. At age 54, she contracted pneumonia and, under pressure from a younger brother, Orville finally went to her home in Kansas City as she was dying and was at her bedside when she died at age 54.
After having gotten our fill of the Wright Brothers, we departed for Akron. Akron is home to my cousin Colly and her husband Bob. We spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with them.
Our lodging for Monday and Tuesday nights was at the Inn at Brandywine Falls, a bed and breakfast located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is the only B and B in a national park and once was the farm and home of an early settler here next to Brandywine Falls. Like most waterfalls in the early days of settlement, it was used to run mills and provide water for a prosperous farm. The old farm and barn are now a six-room inn, well-appointed and with a sumptuous breakfast.
Since breakfast begins at nine, includes several courses, and is the setting for discussions with guests and innkeepers, our daily adventures started a little later than usual. The innkeepers, Katie and George Hoy, took up the challenge to run this inn after their regular retirement. At 88 and 90, they are vigorous, sharp and protective of the historic aspect of the inn which they restored. They have a fifty year lease on the inn with National Park Service and are only halfway through the lease. The chickens on the grounds provide fresh eggs; the goat, I believe, only provides entertainment.
The Brandywine Falls are just a three-minute walk away. Tuesday morning I went for a walk to the falls and a mile hike along, up, and down the gorge surrounding the falls. Colors are not turning yet although leaves are falling. It was a pleasant morning for a hike, sunny skies and temps in the 60s. Later in the afternoon, Chris and I went for another, longer walk through the woods when it was warmer but still sunny. A very pleasant inn to stay at. There were numerous people hiking and biking along the paths. One option is to ride your bike and then five days per week there is an excursion train running through the park you can take back to your starting point with your bike.
Our major excursion for the day was a forty minute drive to Mentor Ohio to the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Garfield was only an active President for less than three months before he was shot. He lingered for 80 days before dying. Even though his term was short, his life was interesting and inspiring. The last President born in a log cabin; his tale is another one of a person born in poverty, educated at a sacrifice by his mother (father died while Garfield was still young), and driven to succeed. He knew six languages, five of them well. He became a prosperous farmer, state legislator, U.S. Congressman, Union General in the Civil War, elected U.S. Senator and then at the Republican Convention in 1880, elected as the Republican candidate for President when none of the leading contenders could muster a majority through 33 ballots. His campaign in 1880 was the first when the candidate actually appeared publicly and talked to ordinary citizens and the press instead of through mouthpieces and newspaper articles. Garfield did not barnstorm the country but people arrived at his home in Mentor and Garfield would come out of the house, talk to them, shake their hands, and even invite them into the house.
Garfield was shot by a discontented office seeker on July 2, 1881 and died 80 days later in September. He lingered near death and there has been great speculation that his death could have been prevented if a more knowledgable doctor had attended him. Garfield’s assassin was upset because he had not been given a job. 1880 was still a patronage system for federal job holders and the President was expected to interview and give jobs to the “right” people. Garfield had also fought, and won, a highly political battle against a New York politician, Roscoe Conkling. Conkling wanted to appoint New York office holders, especially for the lucrative customs and port offices. Garfield appointed qualified people not beholden to Conkling.
Garfield’s widow was well provided for because an industrialist, Cyrus Field, began a national subscription for the widow after Garfield’s death. Field had seen the financial problems Lincoln’s widow had after Lincoln’s death. People all over the country contributed generously; Garfield had been well liked and his death stirred their emotions. Lucretia Garfield was provided with a sum equal in today’s dollars to about 8.5 million dollars. She expanded the house and created a library of Garfield’s papers made available to scholars. The family maintained possession of the home until 1936 when it was donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society. Today the Park Service owns and maintains the property. (Minor, quick side note. The Western Reserve stems from the fact that in early days of the U.S.colonies, Connecticut had been given land west of Pennsylvania by King George before anyone really knew the geography of America. This land was called the Western Reserve of Connecticut.)
On our return from Garfield National Historic Site, we stopped at one of the visitor centers for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The “hook” for the park was the Ohio and Erie Canal, a canal was dug by hand. The route was chosen by money and politics (surprise). One of the issues was the geology and geography of the area. In trying to connect the Great Lakes to the Ohio RIver, there is a continental divide about halfway through the state of Ohio necessitating additional sources of water. When that was resolved by the donations of land to have the canal run by or through one’s property, the canal digging began. Prosperity was assured, at least until the railroads changed the economics, for the land owners along the route of the canal.
After the walk mentioned above, it was dinner at a restaurant in the small town of Peninsula OH.
Answers to Sculpture Quiz: A. Pop Top cans invented. B. The metal ice cube tray that released the cubes by pulling a metal lever. C. The electric cash register. D. Lexis-Nexis-the search algorithm using and,or, not, etc.
Ed and Chris