Tag Archives: Museum Tour

America’s North Country Trip~Part 15

27 Dec

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 15 (Friday)

 

Before leaving Lincoln this morning, I swung by the Frank H. Woods Telephone Museum but it wasn’t open. So, I just headed northeast on US-6 for the short trip it took me to find and visit the Greenwood Railroad Museum located at the Greenwood Village Park in Greenwood, NE. It was early when I got there and found that this small museum was only open by appointment.

 

 

Not to be deterred, I continued northeast on US-6 another 10 miles or so to visit the SAC & Aerospace Museum located just to the east of Ashland, NE. This is a very impressive museum, consisting of two large hangers where more than 40 nicely restored historic aircraft, missiles and space vehicles are displayed.

 

 

Next I made a side-trip to the southeast to visit the Brownville Historical Railroad Depot Museum, located in Brownville, NE. This museum turned out to be a small preserved 1875 depot, with local railroad artifacts related to the railroad’s influence on the surrounding area and a caboose.

 

 

There was not a lot to see there, so I went up the street to take a peek in the Sage Memorial Museum. This was a very small store-front museum highlighting Native American activity in southeast Nebraska, along with local artifacts and other memorabilia.

 

 

It appears, from an historical marker at the edge of town, that Brownville was first settled soon after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which permitted settlement of the territories west to the Missouri River. The city flourished until the railroad passed it by in the late 1860’s, and was soon thereafter almost completely abandoned. According to the 2010 census, only about 132 people now live in Brownville.

 

 

Now I headed north on I-29 to visit the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center located just southwest of Nebraska City, NE. This interpretive center focuses mainly on the natural and scientific discoveries recorded by the Lewis & Clark expedition of 1804-1806, which included some 122 new animals & 178 new plants.

 

 

Next I made the short trip back into town to visit the Kregel Windmill Factory located in downtown Nebraska City, NE. This turned out to be one of the most fascinating museums I’ve come across. According to an historical marker out front, it is said to be the last intact historical windmill factory in the U.S. it consists of the original work shop, with all its equipment, where George Kregel built Eli-brand windmills from 1902 until 1941. The tour guide said that all of the equipment still worked, and there were even racks of stock still there ready to be made into the next windmill order.

 

 

Now I made my way back to I-29 and headed north to visit the RailsWest Railroad Museum located in Council Bluffs, IA. This museum is housed in the 1899 Rock Island Depot, which replaced the original 1869 depot that was destroyed by a rail car explosion in 1881. The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the eight railroads that have served the Council Bluffs area until the mid-1980’s. Outside the museum are the Union Pacific locomotive #813 and the Burlington & Quincy locomotive #915, along with other pieces of restored rolling stock.

 

 

Before leaving Council Bluffs for the last time, I tried the CAF Museum located at the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport again, just on the chance that someone might be at the museum. Of course they were closed, so I just wondered around the ramp looking at the private airplanes that were tied down there. I said, “HI” to a young man heading for one of the planes there on the ramp. He would get into his plane and fly off to who-knows-where, and wished I could join him. Oh well, I would just have to wait until tomorrow for my airplane ride back to Florida.

 

 

So, now I headed west across the Missouri River to find my motel for the night in Omaha, NE. After I got checked in, I went looking for someplace to eat dinner. I settled on the “Twisted Fork Grill & Saloon” located in the Old Market District of Omaha. This restaurant’s claim-to-fame is that they say they serve American comfort food with a “Cowboy Twist.” I can highly recommend them if you are ever in Omaha.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

America’s North Country Trip~Part 7

1 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 7 (Thursday)

 

As I continued west on I-90 next I visited the Crazy Mountain Museum located in Big Timber, MT. This was a small museum in a lovely wooded location, and included a main building which displayed a 1/16th scale model of the town of Big Timber as it looked in 1907. Outside there was a restored one-room schoolhouse, a replica of a Norwegian Stabbur (storage building), and a restored sheep herder’s wagon (these could have been the first RV’s back in the day).

 

 

Continuing west on I-90 next I visited the Livingston Railroad Depot located in Livingston, MT. This museum is in the restored 1902 Northern Pacific Railroad train station and contains a large assortment of local railroad memorabilia. The waiting platform has been converted into a very nice patio café for visitors and locals alike.

 

 

On the way to my next museum there in Livingston, I drove past a Custom Car Restoration garage and decided to pop in to see what was in the works. As it turned out the owner was very friendly and showed me around his shop and some of his projects. He had several classic cars and trucks that were in various stages of restoration.

 

 

While I was in Livingston I also visited the Federation of Fly Fishers Museum just to see what it was all about. This turned out to be a small two-story building where both floors were filled (floor to ceiling) with every conceivable type of fishing fly. The museum owner’s wife was very nice and showed me a lot more than I would ever have wanted to know about fly fishing, tackle and the making of flies. She also introduced me to their National Fly Fishing Hall of Fame gallery which included famous Fly Fishing inventers and celebrities from all over the country.

 

 

Next on the list was the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, also there in Livingston. This museum consisted of a large 3-story building (plus a basement) filled with local memorabilia from the early western Montana area. The museum’s collection included restored wagons, buggies, fire wagons, a shepherd’s wagon, and of course, as with most museums in these Plaines States, a stuffed buffalo. Outside there was a one-room schoolhouse and lots of restored early farm equipment

 

 

Now I continued west on I-90 to visit the Museum of the Rockies, located in Bozeman, MT. This is a very large museum, and as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is known for its paleontological collections. It also claims to have the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the U.S. I was impressed with the number and size of their complete dinosaur displays.

 

 

It was getting late in the day, so I headed west to try to get to the Headwaters Heritage Museum located at the corner of Main & Cedar Streets in Three Forks, MT before they closed. This was a small museum, in a two-story downtown building (I think it was originally a bank), consisting mostly in local early American memorabilia. I was impressed with their display of over 750 different types of “bobbed wire” that has been used over the years. I didn’t spend much time in this museum as I was eager to get down the road to my ultimate destination for the day.

 

 

Now it was on west to visit the Jefferson Valley Museum located in Whitehall, MT. This was another frontier village type museum that depicts the early history and heritage of the local area, including Native American tribes, fur trappers, miners and homesteaders who raised horses, cattle and produce for the area’s mining camps and railroad workers. I opted not to walk through this museum village, and instead headed for my motel there in Whitehall.

 

 

On the way to the motel I spotted a KFC restaurant, and decided to have dinner with the Colonel again tonight. I really do like his chicken. I had their 3-piece chicken dinner again. This time I got cold slaw, mashed potatoes & gravy and I always get one of their homemade biscuits with butter and honey for dessert. What a great way to end a long day on the road.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

America’s North Country Trip~Part 6

18 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 6 (Wednesday)

 

I headed southwest on I-94 this morning. I had been noticing, for the last couple of days as I traveled through the North Dakota and Montana plains country, that the round hay bales were everywhere I looked! They were all over the fields, in huge stacks (40-50’ high & 200-400’ long) and even in the right-of-ways along the Interstate. This was a very unusual site for me, as I was used to the right-of-ways in Florida mostly being swales full of water.

 

 

My first museum visit today was the Range Riders Museum located in Miles City, MT. This was one of the most amazing museums I have ever seen! There were some 20 separate galleries under one huge roof, with 8 additional buildings outside. Every inch of every wall was covered with Indian, Pioneer, Homesteader, Westerner and Rodeo artifacts. I was informed that every single item in this entire museum had been donated by someone over the years, including the large main building.   I couldn’t begin to explain all there is or to try and show you about this museum adequately. Just Google “Range Riders Museum” and click on “Exhibits” to get a slideshow for a better idea of just how much there is to see.

 

 

On down the road a ways I saw a sign advertising the Brinton Museum Store located in Hysham, MT and decided to run up U.S. 10 a couple of miles to check it out. This turned out to be a one-room museum store consisting of a beautifully restored antique soda fountain and some local historical artifacts. The museum was closed but I was able to get a photo thru the front window.

 

 

Next I took a small side-trip, south on SR-47, to visit the Big Horn County Historical Museum located in Hardin, MT near the Crow Agency Trading Post. This museum is another frontier type museum with 24 relocated and restored buildings arranged to represent a 1850s Montana frontier village, with artifacts depicting those of that era in each building.

 

 

Another few miles down the road I visited the Battle of the Little Big Horn Monument, commonly known as the location of Custer’s Last Stand. This monument was packed to overflowing with visitors. At the battlefield there is a monument commemorating the 1876 engagement between the U.S. Army and the combined forces of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian tribes. There are headstones positioned on the hill where the 7th Cavalry solders died and were originally buried. There is also a new section set aside as a National Cemetery.

 

 

I was interested to learn that several relatives of General Custer were among those who died with him during this battle. There was Captain Thomas Ward Custer his younger brother, Boston Custer his second brother, 1st Lt. James Calhoun his brother-in-law, and Henry Armstrong Reed his 18-year old nephew. History seems to indicate that most of the Custer relatives (including General Custer) looked upon this trip as an opportunity to experience the west in all its grandeur and beauty. I think they got a lot more than they expected!

 

 

Now I headed northwest on I-90 to visit the Moss Mansion Historic Museum located in Billings, MT. I thought this was going to be a museum I could just walk thru, but no, it was a one-hour guided tour and I didn’t think my knees would be able to handle all those stairs. So I just took a couple photos and went to find the next place on my list.

 

 

That turned out to try to find the Boot Hill Cemetery there in Billings. When researching this trip I had discovered this location was going to be a little difficult to find, but I thought Greta (my Garmin) could handle it. However, now that I was relying on her to get me to the exact location, she was confused and was leading me in circles. I finally found it, using my trusty paper map, and was not impressed. I’ve seen much better Boot Hill cemeteries on other trips.

 

 

I tried to find the Rimrocks there in Billings, but here again Greta was unable to locate a specific address. I thought it was a city or county park, but as it turned out it was an area of high cliffs cut into the mountain side by the Yellowstone River that borders the east side of Billings.   I finally found the right road and enjoyed the natural beauty as I followed the road from the river level to the top of the high plateau.

 

 

By now it was time to head for the motel there in Billings, get checked in and relax while I enjoy my leftover CC’s Ground Beef Steak dinner which included green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy with Apple Crisp for dessert. Yummm!!

—–To Be Continued—–

 

America’s North Country Trip~Part 5

11 Oct

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

 

 

 

Day 5 (Tuesday)

This morning I headed west again on I-94 a short distance, to visit the Fort Lincoln Trolley Co. located in Mandan, ND. This is an attraction that utilizes 1890s open-air trolleys that travel from the old Third Street Station in downtown Mandan to the Fort Lincoln State Park and back. Since they weren’t open and I didn’t have the time to wait for the next trolley (1:00pm), I saved that ride for another trip.

 

 

While I was there in Mandan, I decided to check out the North Dakota State Railroad Museum. This turned out to be another small museum which was also closed. Their website indicates the museum displays mostly local railroad memorabilia; however, they do have several nicely restored items of rolling stock outside.

 

 

On the way to my next museum, I saw a sign for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and decided to stop in and see what it was all about. The park is located in western North Dakota where the Great Plains meet the rugged Badlands. There wasn’t much to see from the Visitor’s Center, and I didn’t want to take the time to drive around the “Loop” which would have passed the Maltese Cross Cabin where President Roosevelt once lived.

 


After using the restroom there at the Visitor’s Center, I continued west for a visit at the Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum located in Medora, ND. This museum tells the story of the northwest plains horse and cattle culture which is a unique way of life in western America, and includes the Native Americans of the area, Western Ranching and Rodeo history.

 

 

 

 

In the Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees area I saw several photos mentioning the “North Dakota Six Pack” of Rodeo champions spanning the 1850s-1960s, when North Dakota rodeo riders ruled the National Rodeo Circuit. When I asked the curator where I could find additional information about these men, she directed me to the “Cowboy Café down the street, where the wife of one of the sons of a “Six pack” was the owner.

 

 

 

So I walked down to the Cowboy Café and ordered one of their special Buffalo Burgers. I asked the waitress if the owner was there, and she said she would get her from the kitchen. It turned out that she was the daughter of Thomas J. Tescher, who was one of the “North Dakota Six Pack” champions. His family had been cattle ranchers there in North Dakota for generations. She was very nice and gave me a quick run-down of the family history and their involvement in the National Rodeo Circuit. Her father, Tom, one of 15 Tescher children, entered his first rodeo at age 17 and went on to be ranked in the top 10 saddle bronc riders from 1955 to 1958, and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959.

 

 

Note: “The North Dakota Six Pack” was a group of North Dakota rodeo competitors who dominated the national rodeo scene during the 1950s and 1960s. They included (L to R Below) Tom Tescher, Duane Howard, Dean Armstrong, Joe Chase, Jim Tescher, and Alvin Nelson.

 

 

With a full tummy, I now headed west again, crossing the border into Montana, to visit the Wibaux Railroad Museum located in the little town of Wibaux, MT. This museum turned out to be one train car (the museum) one caboose, and a monument sign telling about Pierre Wibaux, the founder of the town of Wibaux.

 

 

Heading west again, I next visited the Frontier Gateway Museum located in Glendive, MT. This was a small museum that was a mix of displays including fossils recovered from the local area, Native American artifacts, homesteader’s items, settler’s tools, cattlemen’s paraphernalia, and Northern Pacific railroad information.

 

 

Located just down the street was the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum. This museum has more than 23 full-sized dinosaur and fossil exhibits. It claims to be the largest dinosaur and fossil museum in the United States to present its fossils in the context of biblical history. This unique museum also sponsors “Dig-for-a-day” fossil digs in the badlands close to Glendive, which gives participants an opportunity to experience paleontology first hand as they learn how to identify, collect and interpret fossils from a Biblical creationist’s perspective.

 

 

While I was in Glendive, I stopped by to check out the Makoshika State Park. The word Makoshika (Ma-ko-shi-ka) is a variant spelling of the Lakota phrase meaning “bad land” or “bad spirits.” The park was closed and from the map at the visitor’s center, there didn’t seem to be much to see. So I headed for the motel, to get checked-in and look for a place to eat.

 

 

The motel clerk recommended CC’s Family Café down the road, so I headed that way and enjoyed their delicious Ground Beef Steak dinner which included green beans, mashed potatoes & gravey with Apple Crisp for dessert. Very satisfying!

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

America’s North Country~Trip Part 1

6 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Prolog:

 

Growing up in the Southwest (New Mexico), I have always been interested in the development of the western United States. I have visited all of the southwestern states many times, but have never ventured north. I had always wanted to visit the Western Plaines states or America’s North Country/ (as I call them), so I decided to take this opportunity to checkout this part of our beautiful country. During my research for this trip I quickly discovered that this area of our country is still pretty much wide-open and the trip was going to be much different from many of my recent trips. Whereas, I was accustomed to having multiple airplane, auto, railroad and maritime museums to choose from, I now found very few of these type museums. What seemed most prevalent in these states (Nebraska, North & South Dakota, Montana, Idaho & Wyoming) were Frontier type museums. This consisted of Historic Site & Town restorations, Pioneer Villages, Lewis & Clark Historic Sites, Territorial Prisons and Dinosaur museums. There would be a few airplane, car and railroad museums scattered along the way, but very few. What did I expect?

 

 

Day 1 (Friday)

The only city in any of the six states I was going to visit, into which I could get a non-stop flight on Southwest Airlines, was Omaha, NE. I was amazed to find the curbside check-in stand at the Orlando Airport with less than a dozen people in line to check their bags. The security check line was also minimal, and I was at the gate before I knew it.

 

 

My 2-hour, 10-minute Southwest non-stop flight from Orlando to Omaha, NE was smooth and comfortable. The Honey-Roasted peanuts were fresh and went well with two glasses of apple juice. I had brought along a couple of Roasted Almond Crunch bars to supplement the peanuts, so was not too hungry by the time we landed in Omaha.

 

 

At the rental car desk, the agent asked me where I would be traveling to, and I just picked Fargo, ND off the top of my head. I was informed that the rate I had been quoted by my travel agent would not allow me to take the car out of any state that did not border Nebraska. What kind of scam was this? What could I do? The agent said she could give me a “Commercial Rate” which would allow me to travel in any state I wished, for only $250 more! I said, “No Thanks” and went to another rental car desk. There I was able to rent a top-of-the-line car that I could travel anywhere in, for only about $40 more than my originally quoted price. That car had more “Bells & Whistles” than I knew what to do with.

 

 

With that task finally settled, and since I had gained an hour during my flight, I still had some time left to visit a few museums before they closed for the day. I headed across the Missouri River to visit my first museum. It was only about 3½ miles to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, IA. This museum, located in the old, beautifully restored, Council Bluffs Carnegie Library, has several exhibits covering the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the years after the Pacific Railway Act was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, and the ultimate growth of the Union Pacific Railroad system.

 

 

I had chosen to go to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum first because it closed early, so now I headed back across the Missouri River, to visit the Lewis & Clark Historic Trail Headquarters in Omaha, NE. I found it very interesting that this area, on the west bank of the Missouri River, was originally obtained by the U.S. Government in 1854 from the U-mo’n-Ho’n (Omaha Indians) or “upriver people.” I really had never related the word “Omaha” with an Indian tribe before. Doesn’t say much for my American History knowledge does it?

 

 

History seems to suggest that the wandering Omaha Indians established their first permanent village west of the Missouri River around 1734. I was impressed to learn that the Lewis & Clark Expedition Trail extends over 3700 miles, thru 11 states, from the St. Lewis area to Fort Clatsop in Oregon Country on the Pacific coast. As part of the Historic Trail, it is said that the Lewis & Clark Expedition traveled, camped, hunted and fished around this area. They also met and traded with the Omaha Indians, and held council with many of the Indian Chiefs in the middle Missouri River area. My travels on this trip would follow much of the northwestern portion of the original historic Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.

 

 

Next it was just a short drive to where I visited the Durham Museum located in downtown Omaha. This museum is housed in the beautifully restored former Union Pacific Railway station, and has several displays depicting the early days of the Union Pacific Railway system during the growth of the city of Omaha. The museum also has a nice selection of restored rolling stock outside.

 

 

Next I visited the Omaha Memorial Park, located another few miles west of the Missouri River. This memorial park was dedicated in 1958 to honor all of the men and women from Douglas County, Nebraska who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

 

Then I drove a couple more miles to visit the Lewis & Clark Landing, located on the west bank of the Missouri River, also near downtown Omaha. The landing represents the original 1804 landing site, in the Omaha area, of the Lewis & Clark Expedition as they explored some of the vast lands (828,000 sq. miles) which made up part of the Louisiana Purchase for the U.S. Government.

 

 

As an interesting side note, there was a “labor” sculpture adjacent to the landing to honor the many men who had been a part of the lead refining industry that operated in this area, by one name or another, from 1871 to 1997.

Note: See the man with the hammer raised over his head in the photo below? When I Googled this sculpture, I came across a photo of this same sculpture during the Great Flood of 2011, showing the water level so high that only his hand and the hammer were above the water, when the Missouri River crested between 30-35 feet above normal.

 

 

Another interesting area in downtown Omaha was the Pioneer Courage Park. This park represents the many struggles and hardships the early pioneers faces on their trip west thru this area. The picture of these stalwart pioneers is beautifully rendered in several bronze action sculptures, one of which is shown below.

 

 

On my way to visit the CAF Museum in Council Bluffs, IA I happened to spot sign for the River City Star. I stopped to see what it was all about and discovered that the “Star” is a passenger excursion riverboat that sails on the Missouri River and is docked at the Miller’s Landing & Yacht Club. The Yacht Club was closed, but a group had chartered the “Star” for a party and people were going aboard.

 

 

Since I was not invited to the party, I headed back across the Missouri River to check out the CAF Museum located at the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport. Unfortunately the museum was closed by the time I got there, so I just headed for my motel located there in Council Bluffs. However, before I got to the motel, I spotted a KFC restaurant and decided to have dinner with the Colonel. Yummm! I do like his chicken. The 3-piece chicken dinner came with green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy and one of their homemade biscuits with butter and honey for dessert. I had a very happy tummy after that delicious meal.

 

 

 

 

—– To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip Part 6

8 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Cross Plane

 

 

Day 6 (Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016)
I headed west, out of Dayton this morning, on my way to visit the first museum on my list for today. The Wayne County Historical Museum is located just across the border, in Richmond, Indiana. This was one of the most interesting historical museums I have ever visited. Created by Julia Meek Gaar (at age 71) in 1930, she selected the 1865 Hicksite Quaker Meeting House for her museum. She filled the museum with many of the items she had purchased, over the years, during several of her worldwide trips.

 

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The Lindemuth collection was added to the museum in 1954. There were also automobiles and an airplane, included as part of the museum’s collection. Many of these items represented the early industrial years in and around the Richmond, Indiana area.

 

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Just around the corner, there in Richmond, I visited the Model “T” Museum. This small museum displays 14 Model “T” Fords spanning the early years (1908 to 1927). This history of the Model “T” production industry provided me with many new and interesting details about the early manufacturing processes, and body style variations, of Henry Ford’s Model “T” automobiles.

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Next on the list today, was a visit to the Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum in Hagerstown, Indiana. Born in 1867 Wilbur said, later in life, that he and Orville were initially drawn to an early interest in aviation by a toy helicopter (based on an invention by French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Penaud), that their father gave them as a gift when he was 11 years old.

 

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Wilbur and Orville of course, went on to improve on the design as their interest in aerodynamics grew, and their creativity turned out to be endless. I was also interested to learn that Wilbur Wright’s father was a traveling minister in the Ohio region during the middle to late 1800s. As it happens, my grandfather was also a traveling minister, in Louisana, about that same time period.

 

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Just a few miles north I visited the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana. Even though the National Model Aviation Association headquarters is located on a 1000+ acre site, I was surprised to see how small the headquarters and museum buildings were. I was however, impressed with the museum’s collection of model aircraft and model aircraft engines, dating from the early 1900s.

 

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Next on the list was a visit to the Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum located in Kokomo, Indiana. This was a very impressive museum that displayed 300+ beautifully restored automobiles, from many different manufactures, dating from the early 1900s to approximately 1970.

 

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The Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company was located just down the street from the Kokomo Automotive Museum there in Kokomo. This glass company prides itself in the creation of beautiful original stain glass windows, decorative art pieces, and blown glass creations. I was unable to get a tour of the factory while normal working operations were going on, but I did talk to one of the stain glass workers at length, about how the glass company created custom orders and speculation pieces.

 

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Dinner tonight was a great meal, at the local Kokomo Cracker Barrel restaurant, where I had their grilled catfish, green beans, sweet corn, and one of their famous biscuits with honey for dessert. Yummy! There was plenty left over for a repeat tomorrow evening. Double yummy!

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 5

1 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 5 (Monday, Oct. 3, 2016)
Since I had attended the 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow, and seen the many existing and new aircraft additions at the Museum of the United States Air Force (my two main reasons for this trip), I was a little ahead of my planned schedule for today. So, I decided to visit several local Wright Brothers affiliated locations there in Dayton. First on the list, was to check out the Huffman Prairie Interpretive Center located just down the road a short drive from the USAF Museum. The Center’s exhibits and films focus on the early achievements of the Wright Brothers, that took place at the nearby Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

 

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Next I drove over to the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, to see the actual field where Orville and Wilber performed about 150 flights during 1904 & 1905. This effort is what led to the development of the 1905 Wright Flyer III, which they considered to be the first practical airplane (the original 1905 Flyer III is now housed at the Wright Brothers Aviation Center).

 

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Now I made my way a few miles south, to visit the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.  This Park commemorates three of the important aviation historical figures; the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and how their lives came together.

 

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The center also exhibits re-creations of the Wright Brothers engineering office, work shop, and one of the Wright Brothers bicycle shops across the walkway.

 

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A short distance west across I-75 I visited the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, located in the Carillon Historical Park. This is where the original 1905 Flyer III is housed, along with many other Wright Brothers artifacts.

 

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The beautifully restored 65 acre Carillon Historical Park is home to many historic buildings and exhibits, associated with the history of technology that has taken place in and around the Dayton area. It also honors the contributions of the many Dayton residents who have been part of that history, dating from 1796 to the present.

 

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After leaving Carillon Park, I swung around a few blocks to check out the historic Patterson Homestead. This beautifully restored mansion was built by Robert Patterson on part of the 2038 acre Rubicon farm, where three generations of Patterson’s lived. As it turned out, Patterson’s grandsons, John and Frank Patterson , who also lived in the house as young children, would eventually go on to found the National Cash Register Company (now NCR Corporation) in 1884. I wasn’t interested in touring another mansion today, so I opted to head for the next museum on my list for today.

 

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Now it was back across I-75 a few blocks, to take a look at the Paul Laurence Dunbar house. This was the home, for a short while, of the famous African-American poet, that in 1890 wrote and edited The Tattler, Dayton’s first weekly African-American newspaper. As it happened, Dunbar’s newspaper was printed by his high-school acquaintances Orville and Wilbur Wright in their fledgling printing company.

 

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Next I stopped by the Veteran’s Memorial Park there in Dayton to take a photo of the Park. I was impressed with the mottos of the various U.S. Military Services. I had not remembered that each of the services was originally created in 1775 to fight the Revolutionary War.

Since things were going quickly, and I had run out of things to see in the Dayton area, I decided to head south to Cincinnati, Ohio. I had never been to Cincinnati, and since it was only about 40 miles south of my last stop, I thought I would drive down and have lunch there and see what things of interest I could come across.

 

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While I was having lunch I Googled “Things to Do in Cincinnati” and one of the first things to catch my eye was the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. But when I got there the center was closed.

 

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Another place of interest was the Cincinnati Union Terminal, which was listed as one of the Great American Stations. I have to admit the beautifully designed Art Deco terminal building was something to see. But as an active train station, it only had room to display a small amount of Cincinnati Union Station historical memorabilia.

 

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Next I tried the Cincinnati Fire Museum, not too far down the road, but like a lot of museums that stay open on Saturdays and Sundays, they were closed. This was a small building and I’m sure they would not have had room for a large display.

 

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Just a few miles away I checked out the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, but here again this was another “Closed on Mondays” museum. As a matter of fact, there didn’t seem to be much of anything going on in Cincinnati today.

 

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Well, my score for places to see in Cincinnati wasn’t going too well, and it was getting on in the afternoon, so I headed back to Dayton. Greta took me on some backroads on the way, and as I rounded one bend, I saw the strangest structure I believe I have ever seen adjacent to a farmhouse. I couldn’t begin to describe it. You will just have to guess what it is, like I did. Stretches your imagination doesn’t it?

 

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By now, it was time to head for the motel and warm up my wonderfully delicious repeat of the El Morro Special Mexican dinner from last night. Yummm!

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

 

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