Mink Hollow Covered Bridge in Arney Run Park, Early Autumn

Covered Bridge, Arney Run Park

That may be my longest post title yet, but that’s barely half the name of of this pretty covered bridge—”The Mink Hollow Covered Bridge in Oil Mill Hollow Over Arney Run Near Borcher’s Mill”! That means this bridge has the longest name of any covered bridge in the nation, something I was unaware of when photographing the structure.

Covered Bridge, Arney Run Park

Built by Jacob Brandt in 1887, the bridge is 51 feet long and stands on its original sandstone abutments. Part of one of Fairfield County’s historic parks, crosses Arney Mill Run in Lancaster; the “Oil Mink Hollow” part comes from the days when a flaxseed-pressing mill stood nearby.

Covered Bridge, Arney Run Park: Bent Nail

The Mink Hollow Covered Bridge et cetera, et cetera, et cetera boasts of not just a long name, but also an unusual structure—if I understand correctly, its central X-brace, combined with multiple Kingpost through truss, are unique to the Buckeye State. This is one of eighteen (or sixteen; there seems to be disagreement) covered bridges in Fairfield County—eighteen remaining of the county’s original two hundred and twenty! Indeed, Fairfield County can still boast of having more covered bridges than any other county in Ohio.

There are reports that the bridge is illuminated at night—I may have to go back for that after a really good snow despite the cold. Wouldn’t those make lovely photos?

Covered Bridge, Arney Run Park

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Riverview Florist, Alone

Riverview Florist. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

Riverview Florist door. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

In a now-quiet Ohio Valley steel town—right around the corner from the famously abandoned car dealership—stands a building so grand for its purpose, it’s difficult to believe it was simply a greenhouse and florist. The English Tudor-style building is so very handsome it seems to have been plucked from one of Britain’s verdant fields and plunked in the centre of fields of concrete instead; that it is flanked by massive, overgrown greenhouses made it an even more outstanding sight.

Riverview Florist. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

This is not the original Riverview florist and greenhouse headquarters (nor the last); that caught fire in 1935. The Tudor edifice in my photographs was designed by East Liverpool architect Robert Beatty, with the admonition he include pieces of the old greenhouse building—specifically, charred beams rescued from the ashes of the original. These Beatty integrated into the French doors leading to the greenhouses. Presumably, there they remain, future success built, as it nearly always is, on the success of the past.

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

You’re probably thinking this enterprise must have been at least a little successful for such an impressive structure to serve a florist & greenhouse during the Great Depression, and you’re right. It’s such a marvellous story, too!

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

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Throw the book at her

Preferably Virgil or Shakespeare or something that will teach her to consider people other than herself.

It’s likely none of you need any admonition to avoid acting like the tremendously self-important Casey Nocket, because you’re smart and decent.

There are, believe it or not, people (including supermarket birdcage-liner Cosmo) defending this gal and her suspected vandalism of National Parks, including family members who refer to her as a “good girl“. Strangely, I find myself wondering how one can so badly screw up raising a female that she thinks finger-painting national monuments with difficult-to-remove paints is at all something one can rationalize doing, much less consider acceptable or defensible—to the point of signing your name to each ‘artwork’.

Don’t be a self-important screwball like Casey. If you want to paint, buy a canvas from the craft store. Heck…aren’t there walls in your home? That should work. Go bananas!

So far as Casey, she ought to be prosecuted, pay any applicable fines, and ordered to clean up these defacements on her own dime. Throw the book at her. Why?


Courtesy ModernHiker.com

 She’s so very proud of using acrylic instead of, say, chalk—this was an intentional effort to “make her mark”.

And remember, when partaking of the beauty of creation, the only mark you should leave is your footprint.

More at Calipidder (along with Modern Hiker, the first to break this stomach-turning story) PetaPixel & CTV News. There’s an NPS press release, a petition to the White House asking that she be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and reports that Nocket is talking to the NPS.


Small Town, Saved—By Individuals

Red Cloud Farmer's and Merchant's Bank from NW

Red Cloud Farmer’s & Merchant’s Bank. By Ammodramus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s a terrific and encouraging article over at the PreservationNation Blog about the preservation of author Willa Cather’s Nebraska hometown of Red Cloud. How was Red Cloud preserved? Why, by the actions of individuals, of course! That’s probably my favourite part of the story—it wasn’t eminent domain, it wasn’t anything overbearing, it was simply someone who learned about and became interested in Cather who decided to do what she could to save the writer’s home town.

The woman in question is Mildred Bennett, who found herself teaching the descendants of those written about by Cather—and then moved to Red Cloud itself, a perfect opportunity for Bennett to learn more about the Pulitzer Prize winner, to the point that she published The World of Willa Cather (afil) in 1951. But that was not enough for Mildred.

Willa Cather house from NE 1

Willa Cather’s childhood home, By Ammodramus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Realizing the town’s potential, Bennett gathered a group of friends around her kitchen table — her “kitchen cabinet” — and the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation was born. When it incorporated in 1955, eight participants kicked in $20 each, most of which went to pay for the notice of incorporation in the newspaper. Bennett was named president, a post she held on and off until her death in 1989. And with donations, grants, and grit, the foundation began preserving the structures that inform Cather’s work. (via)

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A cheerful excursion to the WV State Penitentiary!

West Virginia State Penitentiary, 1876-1995

Yes, nothing like a visit to a forbidding state penitentiary to start the weekend! I hope you’ve been behaving yourself.

West Virginia State Penitentiary

We happened by the former prison once again while returning from a visit to my doctor in, appropriately, West Virginia. Tours had ended by the time we arrived, but as it can be a long trip, we were happy for an excuse to stop and wander around the Moundsville, West Virginia landmark to stretch our legs.

Goofily enough, though Hubby and I lived in the wonderful Mountaineer State for many years, whenever we visited it was raining, so this was the first real opportunity I’ve had to photograph the six-foot-thick hand-carved sandstone Gothic Revival walls of the Penitentiary despite the rain that was threatening (what is it, Moundsville? Do you not like me?).

Aerial 8th Street

Aerial view, 8th St. Photo courtesy Willy Nelson, who has a nice set of Moundsville photos. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Moundsville is named for the 2,000 year-old Adena/Hopewell people’s burial ground in the town’s center; part of the prison is rumoured to be built upon the burial ground, and the namesake burial mound is right across the street from the prison. Thus the men or women occupying cells at the Pen’s front had quite the concrete reminder of death added to the prison-life reminders.

Surrounding the prison, believe it or not, is the town of Moundsville itself—oodles of residences and small businesses, right across the street. As you can see from these aerial shots (circa 1950s-1970s, the date is uncertain), it’s a charming little all-American town! But there’s the state prison, big as life.

Aerial View of Moundsville 2

Note the prison at the upper right-hand corner. Aerial View of Moundsville 2, courtesy Willy Nelson. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 From Nelson’s set of aerial views of Moundsville.

The Moundsville prison was birthed during an upheaval that shook the entire nation. Continue reading

Miami (Oklahoma’s) Coleman Theatre Beautiful and its Spectacular Restoration

The Coleman

Monday, Ron over at the indispensable Route 66 News posted a delightful (for preservationist types and lovers of architecture alike) mini-documentary about the incredible restoration of Miami’s Coleman Theatre Beautiful. I could post it here, too, The Colemanof course, but he found it first and you might as well pop on over there to enjoy it yourself.

It was a rather miserably drizzly day during our visit, but I was able to get some photos of the stunning interior. As the first commenter on Ron’s blog post notes, it’s a shame if you only take in the Theatre’s exterior without going inside! I must tell you that it’s so grand as to be nearly overwhelming, making its restoration all the more impressive and laudable; this is the sort of gem that shan’t ever be built again (much to our nation’s detriment). The Coleman is absolutely stunning and borderline magnificent…right in friendly Oklahoma! Once you watch the video, you’ll understand why, aside from its history, the Coleman Theatre Beautiful was saved (and why that rather unusual name is not at all overblown).


Always Here

This backdrop was used on The Coleman’s opening night in 1929, and was found rolled up with many others. Most were terribly water damaged—but this, the original, survived, and hangs proudly over the stage today!

Free tours are offered daily, and we ourselves benefited from an impromptu one (these are often best, in my view, because your host is often very happy to spend all the time you like wandering about and talking about the theatre). Continue reading

Columbus’ T&OC, the Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad Station

Toledo & Ohio Central RR Station As part of my continuing effort to photograph Columbus’ architecturally significant buildings, abandoned or otherwise, I today offer you the very handsome Toledo & Ohio Central railroad station, or the T&OC, as it is called by natives. This marvellous place stands on Broad downtown—surely no one could drive by the first time without at least wanting to stop and take a closer look! This is the only remaining Columbus station, the last jewel in a crown that once held three. Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Station, Columbus Designed by the well-regarded Columbus architecture firm of Yost & Packard (some of their buildings here), the T&OC was built in 1895 for the Toledo & Ohio Railroad. Though I know you are thinking “Asian design!” just as I did, the architects stated that it is actually based upon French and Swiss feudal architecture. Lantern Love at the Toledo & Ohio Central rail station Continue reading