Features

The Ohio Department of Transportation uses drones to inspect bridges and highway systems (photo by Bruce Hull/courtesy of Ohio UAS Center).

Eyes in the sky

At the beginning of the 20th century, two brothers from Ohio launched a revolution in air technology at Huffman Prairie, a cow pasture located just outside of Dayton.

The Ohio Department of Transportation uses drones from the UAS Center to help with a variety of projects. In 2021, the center’s drone flight team logged over 2,200 flights for ODOT, including bridge inspections, construction assessments, facility inspections, mapping, and traffic and roadway monitoring. 

A working air conditioning unit made from Legos.

Brick by brick

Like many kids, Conrad Brown loved Legos. He knew his dad shared that love, too.

The building’s main hallway features life-sized Larry Byrd and Kobe Bryant figures, among others. A prone man made of red Legos appears contemplative inside a case; nearby, a Lego dragon sits at a Lego campfire, roasting a Lego marshmallow. 

Tall ships festivals are scheduled at two Lake Erie ports this summer: Cleveland in July and Erie, Pennsylvania, in August.

Tall ships

On Sept. 10, 1813, a few miles northwest of the Bass Islands on Lake Erie, a David-versus-Goliath confrontation pitted the fledgling United States Navy against a fleet of mighty British warships during the War of 1812.

Shortly after the cannon smoke cleared, Perry scrawled what has since become a famous note on the back of an envelope to send to his commanding officer, Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison (who would, of course, go on to become the ninth president of the United States):  

Dear General: We have met the enemy and they are ours.

A rusting old Ferris wheel.

Ghost parks

Theme parks never really die.

Amusement parks in Ohio date as far back as the mid-1800s. In fact, Cedar Point originally opened as a public beach in 1870. Kings Island, while celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, traces its origins to nearby Coney Island, which also opened originally in 1870.

The Paxton Theatre in Bainbridge is a traditional halfway point for country stars traveling from Nashville to the East Coast — one reason the theater’s Paint Valley Jamboree has been going strong for 55 years.

Country home

A small village in southern Ohio may seem like an unlikely country music hot spot, but Bainbridge, population 3,000, boasts a tradition rivaled only by the country music capital of the world.

Today, the jamboree continues to draw from a reservoir of talent to play alongside its house band, the Original Jam Band.

Still, as musical tastes change, Koehl and his team have a tricky balancing act: trying to preserve the history, traditions, and nostalgia of the jamboree, while also trying to bring in a younger audience.

Bob Hope chats with Indians players during his time as co-owner of the team (photo courtesy of the Cleveland Guardians).

Rise of the Guardians

When the Cleveland Indians changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians last year, the rebrand was more than a tribute to the stalwart, Art Deco-style statues — known as the “Guardians of Traffic” — that grace the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field.

Born Leslie Townes Hope in a London suburb in 1903, Bob Hope was the fifth of the seven sons of English stonecutter William Henry “Harry” Hope and his wife, Avis. Harry brought his family to Cleveland in 1908, and in the early 1930s, he helped create the “Guardians of Traffic” for the city’s Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. After extensive repairs were completed in 1983, it was rechristened the Hope Memorial Bridge because of Harry’s work on the now-iconic “Guardians.”  

Clifton Mill

Chasing waterfalls

There’s nothing quite like a waterfall, where a stream plunges over a precipice with a roar and a sense of seemingly eternal beauty that’s sought after by generation after generation.

Clifton Mill

75 Water Street, Clifton

Two waterfalls on the Little Miami River have powered Clifton Mill, which sits on the gorge, for more than 220 years. The mill is the largest of the 47 remaining gristmills in the nation. The best view of the mill and falls is from a covered bridge spanning the river. It’s an easy trek and a popular tourist attraction in addition to the restaurant and gift shop housed in the mill (see photo background in the above gallery).

Clifton Gorge 

State Nature Preserve

The home of President Grant in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

Union Saver

Ohio is known for producing more United States presidents than any other state in the Union — eight in all, including several who were veterans of the Civil War. First among the veterans, and perhaps appropriately so, was General Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant descended on his father’s side from a family long-established in America, dating to the Massachusetts Bay Colony circa 1630. His great-grandfather served the British in the French and Indian War, and his grandfather aided the colonists’ cause at the famed American victory at Bunker Hill in the American Revolution. Perhaps, then, it was no surprise that the 5-foot, 2-inch 17-year-old Grant would accept an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1839. 

Libby Greenbaum, Union County’s first female Eagle Scout, renovated the entrance to Marysville’s America Legion Post for her Eagle project.

Scouts who soar

Head to most parks around the state — from small-town playgrounds to urban greenspace to metroparks — and you’ll often see something that’s been added or improved as the result of an Eagle Scout project.

The path to Eagle Scout includes a rigorous set of requirements that must all be completed before the Scout turns 18: positions of troop leadership, a selection of required and optional learning on a wide variety of subjects (merit badges), and, most famously, completion of a project that benefits the community. 

On his wedding day, Jerry Swank wore three replicas of the legendary Colt .45 single-action Army revolver that helped tame the American West.

Rootin’, tootin’ & shootin’

When Jerry Swank married his wife, Carolyn, in 2003, he wore a rancher-style felt hat, boots with spurs, and three replicas of the legendary Colt .45 single-action Army revolver that helped tame the American West. 

Swank and his wife are South Central Power Company members who reside on 81 acres of farmland in the Hocking Hills. His interest in guns began when he was growing up in the Middletown area. He was introduced to shooting sports as a member of the Boy Scouts and while hunting with his father, and learned Western riding because his parents and grandparents kept horses. 

As an adult, he worked in sales, but he also parlayed his knack for riding and training horses into a carriage ride business in downtown Columbus.