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(Links for the first four parts are at the end of this blog post.)

My grandson and I got an early start on Wednesday, July 13, and headed to get breakfast. By the way, did I mention that beginning the very first night we checked in to our hotel, we had flushing issues with the toilet? They left a plunger with us but it was still not flushing correctly so when we left the hotel to begin our day on Wednesday, I more or less gave the hotel an ultimatum – fix it or move us. (The maintenance man finally fixed it during the day while we were out!)

There were many things I had wanted to cram in to our day, and the first item on the agenda was finding and taking photos of the houses my ancestors had lived. Luckily, with a borrowed GPS, it made my job easier to find the homes. I had five addresses – one home looked pretty trashed (a lot of junk piled around outside) and another one had been torn down.

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This was the home my grandparents, Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore lived in during the 1930s and 40s. In fact my Uncle Bervil Amore’s son, Bill, was born upstairs.

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I believe the house above is the last home my grandfather, Lloyd, resided before his death in 1955. This is the house my sister remembers visiting him.

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This house was the home of my great-grandparents – James and Frances (Ogan) House – in the early 1900s. After Lloyd and Ella moved to the farm owned by her parents, James and Frances bought the new home in 1915 just prior to Frances’ death. The 1,228 square foot home has three bedrooms and one bath. The total lot size is 6,300 square feet (home details from Trulia.com). James and youngest son, Lester, continued to live in the home until James went to the Sandusky Soldier’s and Sailor’s home in the early 1920s – where he lived on and off until his death on October 1, 1924. This was the home where Lester’s second wife, Pearl Davidson, took her own life on the morning of April 5, 1945 via a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

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I took this photo of the Church of the Nazarene after I drove by and remembered my cousins telling me that my grandmother Ella had attended this church. I turned around and parked across the street to take this shot.

Following our morning criss-crossing Coshocton, we headed toward Historic Roscoe Village. We wanted to visit the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. The name comes from the union of Mary Susan Humrickhouse and Joseph Johnson. Their sons – John and David Johnson – collected many items and artifacts from their many trips around the world. They left all the items to the village of Roscoe. (Sources: Wikipedia: Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum and J-H Museum brochure)

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Outside the museum is the cut-out (shown above in photo) so I had to take a photo of it with my grandson! The other photos (above) were taken in the Historic Ohio gallery and consist of the village shoemakers tools (which I had to get a picture because my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather were both shoemakers and one was located in Roscoe Village!), furnishings from a log house, and 18th & 19th century firearms.

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The American Indian gallery exhibits included the Zuni Turquoise and Squash bracelet and necklace and Coral Squash necklace (top right), the Chippewa cradleboard (center right), Native American coiled baskets. and the Sioux Elk Hide Dress (left).

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Other items displayed included the early Ohio typewriter (top right), Italian accordian decorated with mother-of-pearl (center right), early Ohio spinning wheel (bottom right), a walrus tusk with Inuit Scrimshaw artwork (bottom left), and the Newark Holy Stones (top left). The stones were reported to be found in 1860 among the ancient Indian burial mounds in Newark, Ohio. For more information, you can read about the stones here.

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Along with the Newark Holy Stones exhibit on the second floor, is also the Golden Gallery. Items in the “Victorian Nook” include a 1930s silk wedding dress and 19th century men’s suit (left), a white lawn dress, and a studio camera.

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Sharing space in the Golden Gallery, are many printers tools and objects. A separate room on the second floor is used for Special Exhibits. During the time of our visit, the exhibit was “Grafted to the Past” – art that was inspired by objects in the museum to commemorate its 85th anniversary. The photo on the above left is Rounce mixed media artwork done by Curt Derby. Besides printers blocks, quoins, and tools on the right hand side above, there is a Washington press and a model of the Gutenberg press. These exhibits appealed to the graphic artist side of me! I absolutely adored them.

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Two exhibits included in the Asian Gallery were the Japanese Samurai and Buddha. Located in the Historic Ohio Gallery was the Stock tray (center bottom) first made in Coshocton. The 1850s square grand piano at the top right was used in the first Roscoe Hotel during the Civil War. Below that is a photo of a page from a 1570 Bible. The Boston Parlor Organ was manufactured in Coshocton in the 19th century. Lastly, on the bottom right corner, is Lord Baltimore’s prayer book dated 1632.

I recommend a visit to this museum if you are ever in the Coshocton area. It won’t take up all of your day but it is well worth the small admission cost. There is also a gift shop on the first floor. I made a purchase of a book about Ohio’s Canals and my grandson – after seeing many, many arrowheads in the American Indian Gallery, bought some arrowheads!

After we left the museum, we headed to the Coshocton Public Library. I wanted to do some in-depth research in their genealogy room. Had I realized that most everything I thought I would be able to find was already digitized or my cousin had sent it to me, I would not have spent as many hours (6+) there. I also would have urged my grandson to find a nice cozy chair in the main part of the library – where there was an electrical outlet for his phone and hand held gaming system – so he wouldn’t have been as bored as he was. Lesson learned.

I pored over many books and items from the vertical files. Unfortunately, the very limited amount of microfilm readers were being used most of the time I was there – at least the one with the copier attached. Finally, the user left and I was able to delve in to the wills and probates microfilm. Bingo! I found my great-grandparents’ (James and Frances House) wills. That is something I need if I ever decide to apply for the Daughters of Union Veterans Lineage Society as it proves that my grandmother is James’ daughter.

Next – Historic Roscoe Village Tour

Links to the first few parts:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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This is a continuation of Part One so please go to that if you haven’t read it yet.

July 9 – I woke early in order to go to Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in New Carlisle, Ohio. I wanted to visit the graves of my mom, maternal grandparents, uncle and aunts. Before I did anything, I posted birthday greetings for my son on Facebook. As I looked at my list, I decided to go visit my dad’s grave one more time. The ground had been put back, and it appeared as if it hadn’t even been touched. The sun was out and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. I spent time talking to Dad before saying goodbye and heading east on Route 40 (National Road) toward Glen Haven.

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I was a bit disappointed that my grandfather, Glen R Johnson, did not have a flag placed at his grave but many others did. Since he is buried in the Veteran’s section, I would think there would be a high probability that his would not be overlooked. Only my mother’s grave had flowers as my sister and I make sure we order a silk arrangement every spring. It was a shame that the others did not have flowers. (Photo above: upper left clockwise – “J” – the Johnson plot, my uncle and aunt Glen R Johnson and Mary Van Tuyl Johnson, my mother Mary H Johnson Amore, my grandparents Glen R Johnson and Vesta Wilt Johnson, my aunt Lois Evelyn Johnson, and the four gravestones.) I spent quite a bit of time there talking to Mom and my grandparents. Then I took my leave and headed toward Fairborn in Greene County close to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. My grandparents raised their family in what used to be Fairfield until the town merged with neighbor Osborn to become present day Fairborn. I wanted to take a picture of the home where my mom spent her youth. Unfortunately, not only was the street torn up and barriers marked “No Thru Traffic” were in place (which I disregarded!) but the trees in the front yard of the house made it impossible to take a good photograph. With a police vehicle at one end of the street and too many cars in the driveway, I didn’t think it would be proper to stop the car, get out and try to get a good camera shot so I just turned around and left. This – below – is what the home looked like many years ago.

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After returning from my morning journey, my cousin and I hit the local supermarket. I wanted to purchase items that can only be found in the Dayton area – Mikesell’s potato chips, Esther Price candy, and also some Buckeye candy. Think I bought enough chips? (As of today, we’ve eaten all but two bags!)

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After our grocery run, my grandson and I bid goodbye to my cousin and went over to her mother’s (my first cousin) for the remainder of our Dayton visit. I enjoy our conversations. She and her late husband had been very sweet to me when I was a child, and I was flower girl for their wedding. The food she fixed for our supper was delicious.

July 10 – my grandson and I left before 10 a.m. to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force just off of Springfield Street in Dayton. The museum is very special to me as the Caquot Balloon hanging in the Early Years Gallery is similar to the balloon my grandfather worked with in the Signal Corps during WWI. He and several other balloonists and those of the Royal Air Force helped to locate the balloon for display in the museum. He had also donated some artifacts. Another family history fact: when the museum moved from the Base located off of Broad Street in Fairborn to its present day location, my dad was in charge of the logistics of moving all of the equipment/aircraft/etc. Fun fact: I’ve visited the museum more since I moved away from Ohio than I ever did as a kid!

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Following our full day at the Air Force museum, we traveled back toward my hometown and stopped one last time at Ritter’s for frozen custard before heading over to my other cousin’s house for a visit. The evening back at our hostess’ home was spent catching up on laundry and more conversation. We tried to cram in as much as we could in our chat. For all too soon, it would be time to hit the road in the morning for the next leg of our trip – one I was very much looking forward to be headed!

Next – my dad’s hometown!

(All photos – digital scans and originals in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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(My grandson next to the Mickey statue at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum)

Where did Walt Disney get his idea for Main Street USA in Disneyland? Perhaps from the small, rural town in Missouri where he lived for several years during his impressionable childhood. My grandson and I had the opportunity to visit Marceline, Missouri during our vacation. Marceline is about 17 miles away from my father-in-law’s farm and driving down the main drag, conjurs up all sorts of ideas and thoughts about what many small towns in rural America are like. There’s a corner café where the food is out of this world and owned by a local resident. If you arrive during regular meal time hours, you might find Ma Vic’s standing room only – but don’t leave – a table will soon be available!  Down on the corner is Zurcher’s. Close to the old train depot is Ripley Park.  The park includes a Santa Fe railroad caboose and a steam locomotive as well as a gazebo.

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Near there is the Walt Disney Hometown Museum where I took my grandson during one of our excursions while on vacation recently. The museum is open April through October and is only $5 for admission. It is well worth that! The tour begins in the first room where a guide provides a very rich and detailed history of not only the Disney family, but the Santa Fe Railroad and the city of Marceline. She was eloquent, personable, and very knowledgeable. Very large panoramic photos are displayed in chronological order around the room and at one side is Walt’s original school desk from Park elementary which he rescued on one of his visits to Marceline before the school was torn down. During the summer the desk is on loan to the museum from Walt Disney Elementary school and if you go, make sure to notice the large WD that Walt carved into the desk (which is how he knew that it was his)! There is a sign outside the museum which restricts the use of photos or videos, however, we were informed that photos are allowed because so many people are posting them to Facebook and of course, free advertising doesn’t hurt!

Most of the artifacts, especially in the several rooms on the first floor, were donated by the family of Walt’s younger sister, Ruth Disney Beecher. There were letters, photographs, objects – even the TV that Walt made sure Ruth had in order to watch the opening ceremonies of Disneyland because she didn’t like to be in big crowds. On that television set was the original special broadcast of those ceremonies which you can stand and watch. In another room was information, posters, records, videotapes, DVDs, and news clippings about the 1956 Disney movie, “The Great Locomotive Chase” with Fess Parker and Jeffrey Hunter. The movie is playing on a screen and anyone is welcome to pull up a chair to watch it.  Another room is the “Train” room and has many displays of Walt’s trains. There are cases filled with letters among the Disney family members, a phonograph (which is playing on a recording) of Walt interviewing his parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. In another room is a large screen and several chairs where a visitor can watch The Man behind the Myth hosted by Dick Van Dyke. My grandson and I watched about ten minutes of the documentary, and I wished we had more time to watch all of it.  My grandson also enjoyed the ten minutes of “The Great Locomotive Chase” so I will be on a mission to see if our local library has a copy to borrow. Upstairs, is a large room dedicated to a scale model (not complete) of Disneyland. Since I had visited the theme park as a very young child (see my series of Travel Thursday posts: Over the Rainbow Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5), I pointed out to my grandson the areas I fondly remember. There were several local news articles about Disney and artifacts elsewhere on the second floor. Downstairs, adjoining the large front room where we began the tour, was a room dedicated to the only ride that operated outside of Disneyland – the Midget Autopia. There is a car on display from that ride. Since there are 70 trains that run through town each day – the museum is located in the former train depot – we were able to look right out the window to watch them go by – another highlight for my grandson!

Exiting the museum through the same door that Walt would enter when he rode the train into town (Amtrak only stops in Marceline for groups of twenty or more with special arrangements), there is a smaller building toward the back that is the Railroad museum. That was very interesting as well. Even though the ladies who run the tour explained that if we wanted to leave for lunch and come back – our ticket would be valid all day – our time was very limited. Perhaps on another visit, we would be able to do just that and spend more time. In particular, I think I would have found the correspondence between the family members pretty interesting. We were told that on the north side of town, we should visit the “Dreaming Tree”, a cottonwood tree that grew on the Disney farm and where Walt and his baby sister, Ruth, would sit under while Walt would daydream. The Tree of Life at Walt Disney World represents Walt’s tree from Marceline. There are other spots around town that were pointed out as places to visit – Walt Disney Elementary School, the park with the flagpole that Walt gifted the city with during one of his trips back, the barn that used to sit on the Disney property, and even the Disney home (which is now a private residence, but people do drive by to look at it). Though the main drag of Marceline is on Kansas Street, the street sign downtown reads “Main Street USA” and resembles the famous mouse ears that Walt made famous!

I recommend that if you are within a 50-75 mile radius of Marceline that you drop in during the times the Museum is open – especially if you or your family are fans of anything Disney – or trains!

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This past week I shared this photo of the Caquot Observation Balloon that is on exhibit in the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.  I’ve taken many pictures of this balloon over the years.  Rarely do I visit this exhibit and not just stand gazing at it for a long time.  Why?  It’s a connection to my grandfather, Col. Glen R. Johnson. 

When my grandfather enlisted in the Army Signal Corps on February 5, 1918, he was sent to Fort Omaha, Nebraska for training on Caquot Balloons.  I wrote about his service in this post. Taken from his obituary is the following, “In the 1950s and ’60s, he was active as national commander and newspaper editor of the National Association of Balloon Corps Veterans (NABCV) (WWI), and had contributed many artifacts to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.” 

The official website of the Air Force Museum says of the balloon on display: Manufactured in 1944, the balloon displayed at the museum is believed to be the only survivor. The British used it for parachute testing and noncombat aerial observation and photography until 1960. The British Ministry of Defense, Royal Aircraft Establishment, presented the Caquot to the museum after it was located with the aid of American and British WWI balloon veterans in 1975. Assisted by the Goodyear Aerospace Corp. of Akron, Ohio, which had produced these balloons during WWI, museum personnel mended and sealed the balloon fabric and prepared it for inflation. It was placed on display in May 1979.

My grandfather was one of the American WWI balloon veterans who helped locate this balloon.  I remember his excitement especially when it was finally ready for display.  He also contributed many other artifacts to the museum including this:

Piece of WW I balloon fabric manufactured in the U.S.
Donated by Col. Glen R. Johnson, USAF (Ret) Dayton, Ohio

U.S. Insignia removed from the last observation balloon
flown by American Forces in Europe.  The balloon was
assigned to the 14th Balloon Company during occupation
duty in Germany, 1919.
  (This was donated by Evert Wolff, N.Y.)
(Grandson in front)

Ft. Omaha Squadron 2 Flag (donor unknown)

So the next time (or the first time) you visit the Air Force museum, take a look at the Balloon that dwarfs one of the areas and take the time to check out the displays that talk about the Balloon years.  I guarantee that you will learn something that you probably didn’t know before your visit.

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