Beauty and Rigamarole - April 2017

Beauty and Rigamarole - April 2017
Beauty and Rigamarole - April 2017

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Columbus, Ohio Capitol Volksmarch and German Village - Monday, Oct. 20, Part 1

What I did not expect when we started doing the state Capitol Volksmarches was how much we would learn about each city and state associated with the capital. For example, I never knew Columbus, Ohio, had a large population of German settlers until we did the German Village portion of the Volksmarch. We'll get to that shortly.

For us, 7:35 a.m. is pretty early to be starting a walk, especially when the temperature is about 36 degrees. We bundled up and off we went. The walk started in the Brewery District and then headed into downtown Columbus along the Scioto River.

No name on this flame tower
The city of Columbus is re-doing the river area as it flows through downtown, putting in a green space with a bike/walk path.

Scioto River green space construction
View of downtown Columbus, Ohio from the riverfront
Green space construction progress
As we walked, we passed the Supreme Court of Ohio building.

I'm really into the Art Deco period and the use of designs from that era on buildings. Here are some cool historic scenes on the Supreme Court of Ohio building done in art deco bas relief. The first and third photos below are near the top of the building with the quote on the outer wall and the bas relief art under the overhang.




As we turned east and headed downtown, we saw the City Hall.

Columbus City Hall
And skyline views...
Downtown Columbus, Ohio
The following building reminds me of the final scene of Ghostbusters. The top of the tower looks similar.
LeVeque Tower
Our walk takes us to the Ohio Capitol or Statehouse. [Information on the Statehouse in this blog comes from the self-guided tour brochure by the Capitol Square Foundation.]

Greek-Revival-style Ohio Statehouse
In 1803, Ohio became the 17th state to join the nation. Early Ohioans wanted their capital building to serve as a symbol of the democratic form of government and looked for inspiration to the architecture of ancient Greek city-states, the first democratic societies in the western world, and based the Ohio Statehouse on the design of ancient Greek temples.

Construction of the Statehouse began in 1839 but took over 20 years to complete because of political wrangling, cholera epidemics, and lack of funding. When the Statehouse was completed in 1861, it became one of our country's finest examples of Greek Revival architecture. 

We start our tour in the Crypt (basement). The block and mortar construction of the Crypt's arches and vaults are based on nature's strongest shape, the circle. The arches and vaults are not only elegant but functional, supporting the weight of the Rotunda above.

Bob in the Crypt

Dome in the Rotunda
Statehouse Museum in the Crypt (basement)
Stained glass Seal of Ohio in the Statehouse Museum
Wouldn't I make a cool governor in my Escapees RV Club sweatshirt? See photo below.

Governor poseur
Old elevator
Looking up to the dome
From the Grand Stair Hall looking overhead, you can see a stained-glass seal of Ohio. Its sheaf of wheat identifies agriculture as the primary industry of the state, while its 17 arrows symbolize Ohio as the 17th state to join the Union.


House Chamber
Below are two photos of the Grand Stair Hall. You can't help but notice the circles and curved lines of the floors. They're quite striking. This technique is known as guilloche, a repeating pattern of interlacing curved lines and circles. Circles are a symbol of eternity. The use of circles in the Rotunda, itself a circular room, and elsewhere in the building represent the expectation that both the building and the democratic philosophy it represents would last. 

Grand Stair Hall
Outside there is lots more to see. I will include only a couple of the statues.

The Great Seal of the State of Ohio
"These are My Jewels" by Levi Tucker Scofield
"These are My Jewels" is the oldest monument on the Statehouse grounds. It was designed and built of bronze, granite and limestone for the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. It was moved to the capital after the Exposition and erected on the grounds in 1894.

The female figure is the Roman mother Cornelia
The men portrayed under Cornelia ( the seven jewels) are: Secretary of War Stanton; Secretary of Treasury Chase; Presidents Garfield, Hayes and Grant; and Generals Sherman and Sheridan.

General Sherman and General Ulysses S. Grant
(according to plaques on sculptures)
"The Peace Monument" below was erected in 1923 by the Women's Relief Corps of Ohio to commemorate the men and women who served the country during the Civil War.

"The Peace Monument" by Bruce Wilder Saville
The real find of the day, one that had me in tears, were the two "Soldiers Wall of Letters" in front of the East State House entrance. Excerpts from soldiers' letters are engraved into the walls. Read on for some heartbreaking realities of war [KIA = killed in action]...







The complete walls looked like this.
Downtown has lots of old architecture...

1887 Post Office
Franklin County Courthouse
 

Originally the "Great Southern," now a Westin property
1895 Schlee-Kemmler building
The next area we walked through is called "Historic German Village." Eight blocks from the State Capitol is the 233-acre German Village. In the 1800s, German Village was home to immigrant laborers and craftsmen. Now, with its preserved architecture and brick streets, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Speaking of those brick streets, they are very hard to walk on, as are the brick sidewalks. Over the years, shifting ground underneath the bricks, along with tree roots pushing the bricks, has caused the bricks to settle, twist, or bulge upward. Our feet and legs got very tired from the undulating walkways. You have to be on constant alert not to trip on anything! Walking these sidewalks/streets is very tricky.
Brick sidewalks, all different kinds of bricks.

German Village
German Village
Beautiful stained glass and doors

German Society plaques on homes and businesses
Without our Volksmarch instructions, we would probably miss lesser-known places in cities. For example, we got to enter Franklin Glass to say hello to Frank the cat. As we chatted with the lady who works there, it came out their work is mostly commissioned pieces for churches and larger art installations. She pointed around the corner and invited us to look at their showroom. Wow. The walls also had photos or drawings of their pieces. 


Showroom pieces
Stained glass showroom pieces
Photos of their work
A window in their workroom
Drawing of peacock stained-glass piece
We said "Hello" to friendly, talkative Frank the cat
In addition to Franklin Art Glass, other businesses in German Village are Juergens Bakery (closed the day we were there - boo), Schmidt's Sausage Haus, Schmidt's Fudge Haus, Haus Frau Haven, Olde Mohawk Grille, Max & Erma's, The Red Stable, and Katzinger's Deli. I'll tell you about another one when we get close to the end of the walk...it's quite a special place, not to be missed.

Schmidt's Sausage Haus
The Red Stable
Schmidt's Fudge Haus

Olde Mohawk (note light fixture on building)
After walking for what seemed an eternity on uneven brick sidewalks and streets, our feet were relieved to walk on concrete sidewalks around 23-acre Schiller Park which is bordered by grand old 19th-century houses.

"Umbrella Girl" in Schiller Park
19th-century home
19th-century home
Gorgeous sky today!
Schiller Park pathway
As we finished our Volkmarch exploration of Columbus, there was one more business that delighted us...Book Loft. Book Loft is a city-block long with a labyrinthine set of 32 rooms of new books discounted 5% or more. They also sell literary T-shirts, puzzles, posters, cards and small gifts. We enjoyed poking around in the nooks and crannies. Beware: there are lots of narrow stairs and small enclosed spaces.

The Book Loft
Literary T-shirts
New shipment of books just arrived.
Open many hours, seven days per week
At the end of the walk we were hungry and Panera Bread was just across the street from our finish point. We ordered sandwiches to go, hustled back to Alton RV Park, hitched up the 5th wheel, and headed for Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Our day is not yet complete, so I will finish this day with a Part 2 blog.

Travel Bug still ready to yap...but it's too late to finish this tonight.




9 comments:

  1. Your header picture is very pretty Susan!
    What a day you had...full of beautiful sights and interesting facts! Columbus, Ohio seems like a really great place to explore!

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    1. Thank you.

      Yes, Columbus was fun to explore. Stay tuned for Indianapolis, IN state Capitol. Bob said Columbus' Capitol looks like a warehouse compared to Indianapolis.

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  2. Looked like a full couple days to us. Frank is an adorable cat.

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    1. Frank is also a fat cat. LOL. He's very well taken care of.

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  3. I lived near Columbus many years ago. Seeing your pictures brought back many happy memories. We used to go to German Village for dinner as often as possible. Your photos are excellent and I can see how going on a Volksmarch has many benefits.

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    1. We do make a lot of memories in the places we live and visit. Happy to provide some good ones.

      If we had been there longer, we would have gone to more restaurants, but onward we must go.

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  4. What an interesting city - I wouldn't have guessed. I think the soldiers letter wall is incredible too what a great idea and I always love going through capitol buildings. Thanks for sharing these!

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    1. Every city we go to has Veteran's Memorials of one kind or another, usually multiple memorials for different wars and different branches of the service. But the Soldier's Letters Walls were unique and touched my heartstrings. Makes the realities of war come to life.

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  5. What a fun looking walk, always neat to find some unique art deco too.

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