Cultivate A Taste For Thomas Cole

Of all the images of artwork over which I pored in darkened lecture rooms and slide libraries, Kindred Spirits is one of those at which I marveled the most. Its painter, Asher B. Durand, skillfully executed sparkling waterfalls, soaring birds, verdant leaves, moss-covered tree trunks and rocks, and two men surveying this lovely scene. An inscription on a tree that reads “Bryant/Cole” is a clue to the identity of these nature-loving friends who trekked through New York’s Catskill Mountains — poet William Cullen Bryant and painter Thomas Cole.Kindred Spirits, from Wikimedia Commons

Durand painted Kindred Spirits in 1849 as a tribute to Cole after his death in February 1848. Once housed at the New York Public Library and now part of the collection of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the painting is regarded as one of the great works of the Hudson River School, in which a handful of painters painstakingly captured the beauty and emotional appeal of nature.

Cole — the man in the hat, holding the red sketchbook, and here, in an 1838 portrait by Durand — assumed heroic proportions on my list of favorite artists. In 1818, 17-year-old Cole and his family emigrated from their native England to Steubenville, Ohio, where he designed patterns and engraved woodblocks used in his father’s wallpaper-making business. After an itinerant portrait painter taught him the basics of oil painting, he started painting landscapes, eventually studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Thomas Cole: The Artist as ArchitectA sketching trip up the Hudson River in 1825 inspired him to create several works that were displayed in a New York City shop window and noticed by three of the city’s most prominent artists, including Durand, who was working as an engraver. In the years that followed, Cole became known for painting landscapes and allegorical scenes like The Voyage of Life, the celebrated four-painting series that follows a voyager from infancy to old age as he sails through life, guided by an angel, now at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He was a frequent writer of poetry, journal entries, and periodical articles, like the “Essay on American Scenery” that he wrote for the January 1836 issue of American Monthly Magazine. But he is best known for founding the Hudson River School, a style of landscape painting that juxtaposes small details with luminous, picturesque views of the natural scenery bordering the river and the Catskill Mountains.

When I heard that an exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art would explore Cole’s interest in architecture — particularly as a designer of the Ohio Statehouse — I counted the days to its November 18 opening.

Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect, on view through February 1, 2017, is a collaboration between the museum and the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York. The site includes Cedar Grove, Cole’s home, and a studio he built there in 1846 that was reconstructed this year. In the exhibition, see views of Cedar Grove that were created by fellow Hudson River School painters Frederic Church and Jasper Cropsey, as well as a scale model of the studio that was modeled after an Italian villa. Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

The exhibition includes examples of elevations and floor plans for Cole’s projects, as well as some of his landscape paintings that include buildings and architectural ruins, such as View of Monte Video (1828) and The Van Rensselaer Manor House (1841).  Two pattern books from Cole’s personal library that illustrate building styles and decoration are also on view.Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

In 1829, Cole made his first trip to Europe, studying its great paintings, sketching architectural details and gaining inspiration in Italian ruins, such as those he captured in The Cascatelli, Tivoli, Looking Towards Rome. I nearly genuflected before the hinged mahogany paintbox that Cole took with him on subsequent travels to Italy.  The image on its interior cover depicts the ruins of the Temples of Zeus and Concordia in Girgenti, Sicily. Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

By the mid-1830s, Cole started expressing his interest in architecture, listing himself as an architect in the New York City Directory and sketching ideas for a national monument to George Washington. In 1838, he entered a competition to design the Ohio Statehouse, and won third place for his rendering of a horizontal building with a Doric colonnade, a recessed entrance and window bays, and a low windowed dome.
Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

Alexander Jackson Davis, an architect who authored Rural Residences, the first American pattern book for building houses, was hired to combine the best of all three drawings; however, Davis’s plan was too expensive to build, so Cole’s design was executed with some modifications. Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

The Architect’s Dream, which Cole painted in 1839-1840 and is now in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art, is another highlight of the exhibition. The painting portrays an architect lounging on a column, perched on books as he conjures images of fantastic architectural styles.Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

Perhaps the most poignant part of the exhibition is Cole’s study for The Cross and the World – The Pilgrim of the World on His Journey. Painted in 1846-47, the study was to be for a five-part series Cole planned about the opposing journeys of the “pilgrim of the cross,” who seeks spiritual truth, and the “pilgrim of the world,” who delights in material things, but he died before he completed it. Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

Cultivate a taste for scenery, Cole urged in his “Essay on American Scenery.”

“It is a subject that to every American ought to be of surpassing interest; for, whether he beholds the Hudson mingling waters with the Atlantic–explores the central wilds of this vast continent, or stands on the margin of the distant Oregon, he is still in the midst of American scenery–it is his own land; its beauty, its magnificence, its sublimity–all are his; and how undeserving of such a birthright, if he can turn towards it an unobserving eye, an unaffected heart!,” Cole wrote. “…Nature has spread for us a rich and delightful banquet. Shall we turn from it? We are still in Eden; the wall that shuts us out of the garden is our own ignorance and folly.”

The same could be said for cultivating a taste for architectural scenery, including the buildings that Cole conceived.

For more, see Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect, the catalogue by Annette Blaugrund that accompanies the exhibition; Thomas Cole’s Poetry: The Collected Poems of America’s Foremost Painter of the Hudson River School; The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, by Linda S. Ferber; American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School, a publication of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Hudson River School: American Landscape Artists, by Bert D. Yaeger; Thomas Cole: Landscape Into History, edited by William H. Truettner and Alan Wallach; and a DVD titled The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers.

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Be Still, My Beating Heart, For The Healthy Sanctuary On Olentangy River Road

While I’ve “taken the waters” from the hot springs bubbling below Bath, England and West Virginia’s famous White Sulphur Springs, I derived just as many beneficial and healing properties from a much closer destination. Spending the better part of a day at the McConnell Heart Health Center is my close-to-home version of a spa experience.McConnell Heart Health Center

Located in Columbus next to OhioHealth’s Riverside Methodist Hospital, the center is the result of the philanthropy of John H. McConnell, founder of Worthington Industries, former majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets and author of Our Golden Rule, and his wife, Peggy. The McConnells championed the prevention and treatment of heart disease through improved lifestyle habits and rehabilitation.

The McConnell Center integrates health and fitness with preventing heart and musculoskeletal disease and improving the health of those being treated for those diseases. The facility includes cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, a half-court gymnasium, steam rooms and saunas, relaxation and meditation rooms, as well as an iMcConnell Heart Health Centerndoor track, a 25-meter lap pool and two warm-water pools. The experience is completed by a retail store, a café with a heart-healthy menu, and a health education resource center staffed by physical therapists, registered nurses and dieticians and exercise physiologists who design personal health improvement programs for members. Aquatic, spinning, fitness and education classes are all complimentary for members.

Imagine beginning the day by soaking up the benefits of a warm-water pool that’s reminiscent of a perfectly tempered bath. An hour-long Water Yoga session adapts basic yoga poses for execution in the water to strengthen, stretch, balance and relax. In honor of Thanksgiving, a “Yoga Birds” theme incorporated the Flamingo and Pigeon poses into the routine.

Dry off, change and head for the Mind-Body Studio for Basic Pilates, a class in which dozens of participants learn the proper breathing and form techniques needed to perform modern-day versions of the exercises developed by Joseph Pilates to stretch, strengthen and streamline the body.

Fill the break between classes with the “Workout of the Month,” a combination of moves with stability, BOSU and medicine balls that can be performed at two different levels. An exercise physiologist on the fitness floor can provide exercise modifications as needed.

Next, unroll your mat for Yoga Mix, a moderately-paced class that incorporates a range of standing, sitting, balancing and back-bending poses to connect the breath with movement.

McConnell Heart Health CenterFour hours of exercise calls for a satisfying lunch. Find it in the center’s Longaberger Café, which serves heart-healthy sandwiches and salads. A hot lunch special — like the tasty French dip sandwich with au jus and fresh fruit that I chose — is served Monday through Thursday; a breakfast special is available on Friday.

After lunch, join a half-hour educational session like the one a psychologist with a soothing voice led on “Relaxation Techniques,” describing the benefits of deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization and guided imagery.

Behind the McConnell Center, pass a pond, cross a bridge and find a 25-acre nature preserve. McConnell Heart Health Center

Walkers and runners can explore it along Peggy’s Path, which provides a choice of three loops that wind through the wooded grounds.
Peggy's Path

Come face-to-face with deer also enjoying the trail, read messages spelled in hedge apples, and spot birds making their homes in memorial nesting boxes. Or, experience nature by sitting quietly on one of the benches placed along the trail. Peggy's Path

Enter or exit the trail next to the Peggy McConnell Memorial Garden, an area enclosed by tall hedges and a large oak tree that was configured to resemble the letters “P” and “J,” for Peggy’s husband, John. Stone walls surrounding the gardens include motivational messages from Eleanor Roosevelt, Zelda Fitzgerald, Albert Camus and others to stay the course towards developing a stronger heart. “May you live every day of your life,” as Jonathan Swift said.Peggy McConnell Memorial Garden

Peggy’s Path also leads to Big Red’s Lodges, a complex of eight furnished guest lodges that were created in honor of Mr. McConnell, the redhead who was known to his friends as “Big Red.” Constructed in 2008, the lodges made Mr. McConnell’s vision for a health-focused retreat at the center a reality. Big Red's Lodges

Big Red's LodgesEach lodge features a living room, kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom. Amenities include a flat-screen television and fireplace, complimentary high-speed Internet, a king-size bed and a queen-size sleeper sofa, full access to the McConnell Center, a healthy continental breakfast at the Longaberger Café, and the option to schedule appointments with massage therapists, personal trainers and nutritionists. The lodges are reserved by out-of-town visitors or those wishing to stay close to a loved one being cared for at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Kobacker House or Bing Cancer Center.

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See An Atlantic Puffin And The Amalfi Coast Without Leaving Central Ohio

My mobile cuisine experiences may be limited to a Charlie Brown moment involving beignets and a longstanding intention to track down Alice’s Aebelskabels and try the traditional Danish pancake known as aebelskiver, but this strategist is well-versed in the continuing food truck trend. Initiatives like The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook and the Columbus Mobile Food Conference & Expo fuel public interest in these street-roaming ways for entrepreneurs and aspiring restaurateurs to test concepts for specialty eats with decreased overhead, start-up costs and risks.

But a yarn truck? Now that’s a brilliant concept!Yarnbyrds

Gahanna, Ohio resident Robin Richey put her undergraduate degree in business administration to good use when she decided to launch Yarnbyrds, the only yarn truck of its kind in Ohio and one of about 10 yarn trucks throughout the United States and Canada.

Richey converted a 20-by-8-foot white motor home into a paradise for yarn-lovers. Her husband, an electrical engineer, installed generator-powered color rendering index lighting — including a crystal chandelier — to show the yarns’ true colors. Custom-built cubbyholes are filled with yarn in a tantalizing array of colors and weights, including several hand-dyed lines that have been designed exclusively for Yarnbyrds.


From knitting tools to unique yarn-themed accessories and handmade project bags, Yarnbyrds offers something for every budget.Yarnbyrds

Richey hit the road this past July, and has been driving “Byrdie” to fiber festivals and farmers’ markets in Westerville, Grandview, Athens and Yellow Springs.

YarnbyrdsAt the Church of the Resurrection’s Fiber Fair in New Albany on October 29, my cousin and I indulged in skeins of Round Mountain Fibers’ hand-dyed yarn in colorways inspired by bird plumage. After debating between “Black Rosy Finch,” “Blue Jay,” “Dark Eyed Junco,” “Snowy Owl” and “Wood Duck,” I settled on “Green Heron,” a fingering-weight tribute to the striking bird with a velvety green back, chestnut-hued body and dark gray wings. She chose the worsted-weight “Atlantic Puffin,” a black-and-white skein with multicolored accents like its bill.

The next week, we saw Byrdie at the Friends of the Westerville Public Library’s Sit & Knit Day, during which fiber enthusiasts drop in to work on projects, share their work and demonstrate techniques. Yarnbyrds

She left with a map-themed zippered box pouch that Richey made; I gave in to “Amalfi Coast,” a fingering-weight wet kettle-dyed skein of merino, cashmere and nylon from Cleveland-based Destination Yarn that picks up the blues and greens from the water of this Italian destination, grays from the landscape, and corals from the buildings. “Farmer’s Market,” which captures the shades of kale, eggplant, tomato and carrots, and “Hocking Hills,” a combination of greens, earth tones and grey that capture the feeling of the well-known southern Ohio destination, will have to wait for another Yarnbyrds sighting.

Joyce Weida, a local designer of knitting patterns named after Columbus icons like Pearl Alley, Antrim Lake and the Southern Theatre, gave Sit & Knit Day attendees a complimentary pattern for “Seed,” an asymmetrical triangular wrap knit in seed stitch with three colors of worsted-weight yarn. Yarnbyrds carries some of Weida’s designs; you can also find them here on Ravelry, an online community where knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers can keep track of their yarn, patterns and projects.

Byrdie plans to nest at Camelot Cellars on November 23 and the Granville Winter Farmer’s Market on December 3, among other places. Click here for more information, or follow Yarnbyrds on Facebook, Instagram and Ravelry.

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Poseidon Still Looks Good At 17

If you grew up in Columbus between 1964 and 1999, what comes to mind when you think about COSI? Dozens of rolled-up sleeping bags for camp-ins at the museum? The coal mine? The Street of Yesteryear, with its mock storefronts of businesses at various stages of Columbus history? The electrostatic generator that made your hair stand on end? Or the constantly swaying Foucault pendulum, knocking down tiny blue and red pegs as it tracked the earth’s rotation?

These are some of the cherished childhood favorites from visits to the Center of Science and Industry, a dynamic place to discover science, technology and engineering.

First housed in Franklin County’s old Memorial Hall building at 280 E. Broad St.,


COSI moved to its current location at 333 W. Broad St. in 1999. Attending its November 6 opening that year was the last time I had visited COSI, so it was high time for me to get reacquainted with this eye-catching landmark on the west bank of the Scioto River.COSI

The former home of Central High School, which closed in 1982 and provided the setting for the movie “Teachers,” is recalled in a display of memorabilia from the school.COSI

The historic building was incorporated into a sleek, modern structure with a 960-foot-long hallway connecting a planetarium with exhibits on space, energy, manufacturing, gadgets and more.COSI

Several classic COSI exhibits are still here, like the pendulum, the echo-free room in “Life,” and the country’s only highwire unicycle, which relies on the force of gravity as brave riders make a trip across COSI’s Atrium.


The Street of Yesteryear was transformed into “Progress.” One street depicts how storefronts would have appeared in 1898…COSI

while an adjacent street shows how those same storefronts would have changed by 1962, filled with classic period details like a Volkswagen Beetle and Princess telephones.COSI

Some exhibits have become contemporary classics. In “Ocean,” Poseidon reigns over a playground exploring eroding sand, balls that balancing on water jets, and sonic fountains.  A research habitat based on real ocean exploration technology includes submersibles, sonar and remote operated vehicles. In the next room, meet boa constrictors and admire mussels at Lily Pad, where lab stations lead to exploration about what happens in a watershed and the living creatures it supports.

On the second Tuesday of each month, COSI invites those 55 and older to participate in “Synapse: Inspiring Curiosity At Every Age,” a special event in which attendees explore exhibits and attend special presentations while the center is closed to the public. During this month’s program, Mansel Blackford, professor emeritus of history at The Ohio State University, presented “A Black Sailor in a White Navy: The World War II Experiences of James A. Dunn,” about a football-playing Central High School graduate who served a signalman on the destroyer escort USS Mason during World War II. Blackford, whose father was the ship’s captain during the war, transcribed and edited the diary that Dunn kept aboard the ship; On Board the USS Mason: The World War II Diary of James A. Dunn is a publication of The Ohio State University Press.

Attendees could also view D-Day: Normandy 1944, a film showing in the National Geographic Giant Screen theater through November 13. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, the film employs cinematographic techniques like animation, computer-generated imagery and live-action images as it explores the history, military strategy, and human stories behind this significant World War II event.

Posted in Columbus, History, Museums | 1 Comment

“Watch This Cap” For The Mariners Who Will Spend A Cold, Damp Christmas At Sea

“Knit a Monmouth Cap,” the headline of an article in the Christmas 2016 issue of Early American Life, hints.

Monmouth caps — named for the city in southeast Wales located between a thriving area raising Ryeland sheep and a busy port — were all the rage in the 17th century, topping the heads of commoners and noblemen alike. Even Captain John Smith included one in his 1608 list of necessities for those who would emigrate to the New World.

Why not knit an adaptation of this easy-to-knit, utilitarian cap for the Seamen’s Church Institute’s “Christmas at Sea” program, the article concluded. Why not, indeed, I thought.

Headquartered in Port Newark, New Jersey, the Seamen’s Church Institute is North America’s largest mariners’ service agency. Since 1834, it has supported these people who work hard on vessels that travel the world’s waterways to transport the goods that are so important to our lives. Professional chaplains offer friendship and pastoral care to these modern-day mariners, helping them stay in touch with their families, providing them with educational opportunities and advocating for their welfare.

During the Spanish-American War, in 1898, Seamen’s Church Institute volunteers began knitting warm clothing and sending useful items to mariners far away from home during the holidays. The “Christmas at Sea” tradition continues today. Donations of hand-knitted apparel and new utilitarian items like unscented hand lotion and lip balm, toothbrushes, sealed packages of candy, crossword puzzles, playing cards and chewing gum arrive at SCI throughout the year; after Labor Day, they start being packed for holiday delivery.

Christmas at SeaDiving into Christmas at Sea couldn’t be easier. The Seamen’s Church Institute offers several patterns for knitting and crocheting scarves, caps, socks, slippers and even a vest, all available for downloading at no cost. These stylish seafaring items were especially designed for mariners working on the water in extreme conditions, keeping in mind the need to conform to safety standards of their unique work environment. Purchase machine-washable yarn for your project at local yarn stores; some have been designated as SCI Knit Spots that stock the Christmas at Sea patterns and have designated the appropriate yarn for the projects. Jimmy Beans Wool, an online stockist, offers yarn for Christmas at Sea projects at a discount.

Watch This CapTo raise awareness not only of how mariners contribute to our daily comforts, but also of the Christmas at Sea project, the Seamen’s Church Institute developed Watch This Cap, a miniature knitted version of a traditional seafarer’s watchcap. A tag explaining the project is attached to the tiny hat and placed in a conspicuous location between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

For more information on the Christmas at Sea project, links to patterns and directions for sending finished garments, click here.   For more on the Watch This Cap initiative, including details of how the program began at local Starbucks stores in 2012, click hereE-mail the Seamen’s Church Institute at for a free informational tag to attach to the miniature mariners’ watchcap; click here to download the free pattern.

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Start Exploring Franklinton On The West Bank Of The Scioto River

“Go west, young lady,” I thought, as a warm, windy walk took me toward the Scioto River.

Horace Greeley might have been thinking about America’s westward expansion, but my Manifest Destiny involves exploring the home of Phillip’s Original Coney Island, the original Burger Boy Food-O-Rama and the headquarters of General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812, all waiting for me west of the Scioto.

But with only an hour to explore and return, I settled on two previews of coming attractions in Genoa Park, a recently revamped greenspace between Rich and Broad Streets in downtown Columbus.

With my Franklinton Art Walk map in hand, I passed Boomer bikers, Downtown worker walkers and homeless nappers in search of Locations 340 and 351.dscn5396

Perennial construction rendered the sidewalk on the north side of West Broad Street unwalkable, so my route took me down to the walking path along the west bank of the river, past three strange “Scioto Lounge Deer Sculptures.” Billed as “whimsical,” these humanized deer recall how the Scioto River takes its name from the Shawnee Indian word for “hairy water,” when the migrating Shawnee found deer hair floating in the river.

Still shuddering, I finally sighted Location 351, the statue that local artist Michael Foley created in 2000 to honor Lucas Sullivant, who surveyed and purchased several acres of land near the Scioto River in 1796. The following year, he mapped out and founded a town, naming it Franklinton in honor of Benjamin Franklin, and the first settlers began arriving that Fall. Franklinton was the first settlement in the Scioto Valley north of Chillicothe, and is the oldest neighborhood in Columbus.Lucas Sullivant

Standing tall and heroic, Sullivant looks westward, surveying the bend in the Scioto River, just as he did when he first arrived here in 1795.

Situated south of the Broad Street Bridge, near the east facade of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), housed in the former Central High School at 333 W. Broad St., the 12-foot-tall statue sits atop a five-foot, 11,500-pound base of Columbus limestone taken from the same vein near the original Sullivant stone quarry. Three commemorative plaques on the statue’s base depict three events in Franklinton’s history. First is the June 1813 meeting of Chief Tarhe the Crane and General William Henry Harrison, resulting in permanent peace with the Indians of Ohio. Second is the devastation of the 1913 flood, which left Franklinton in 15 to 20 feet of water. And third is a tribute to the early women of Franklinton, including Sarah Lewis, librarian of Franklinton’s first library, named in honor of Maggie Fager. Fager’s parents owned a grocery store at 969 W. Broad St., and her husband established a reading room there.

After emerging from a maze that only a pedestrian could conquer, I arrived at Location 340: Celebration of Life.Celebration of Life

Columbus sculptor Alfred Tibor created this nine-foot-tall bronze statue to honor the story of Arthur Boke, the first known black child born in Franklinton, and Sarah Sullivant, Lucas Sullivant’s wife. Arthur’s mother was a black servant and his father was a white surveyor who worked for Sullivant. When Arthur was abandoned, Sarah raised him as her own with her newborn son, William, in 1803. Arthur stayed with the Sullivants his entire life and was buried with them in the family plot in the Franklinton cemetery.

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Climb A Smokestack To See A Glass River

Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams” may have been deep, wide and hard to cross, but he might have finally found what he had been looking for in the shimmering “River of Glass” that I discovered in Mount Vernon.

Ariel Foundation ParkThe River of Glass is one of the distinctive features of Ariel Foundation Park, located on the former site of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Works No. 11, one of the largest window-glass manufacturing facilities in the world. Crushed glass and chunks of glass, or cullets, cascade down a hillside, reminiscent of how continuous sheets of glass were drawn vertically from tanks of molten glass. The process was invented at this former PPG plant and was known as the PennVernon process.

The park is a tribute to the site’s rich industrial heritage, first as the location of a steel-casting plant and then as the home for the PPG factory, which operated from 1908 to 1979.

Other examples of the site’s industrial history include steel trusses salvaged from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, a section of wall from the circa-1900 original building on the site, three elevator shaft towers…

Ariel Foundation Park

and a 280-foot reinforced concrete smokestack. Whether you climb the 224 steps of the steel spiral staircase constructed around it to an observation deck 140 feet above ground or stop whenever terror takes over, you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of Mount Vernon.

Ariel Foundation ParkViewing the smokestack from below can even inspire an impromptu lesson on perspective.Ariel Foundation Park

More picturesque views may be found on the spiral paths of The Terraces, inspired by the monumental works of landscape architect Charles Jencks.

Ariel Foundation Park

The PPG plant’s former carpenters’ shop, where wooden crates for transporting sheet glass were once made, is now the home of the Community Foundation Pavilion. The energy-efficient V-shaped roof of the circa-1945 structure continues to provide natural light and ventilation.Ariel Foundation Park

The Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railroad Depot, originally built in 1907, now serves as the park’s welcome center. The Ohio Erie Trail, running from Cleveland to Cincinnati on the old rail bed that once carried steam trains, passes nearby. A museum offers information about PPG that was provided through oral histories of former plant employees.

Three large lakes, former gravel quarries, are surrounded by seven perfect picnicking pavilions.

The historic Mill Road bowstring truss bridge spanning one of the lakes was built by the noted Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton in 1872 to cross a creek near the Knox County village of Bladensburg. The metal arches on each side of the bridge are made from four pieces of wrought iron riveted together to form a patented tubular column known as a “phoenix column.”Ariel Foundation Park

A cheerful red bridge and a narrow isthmus in one of the lakes lead to Mavis Island, dedicated to Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis, who was instrumental in developing the park.Ariel Foundation Park

A wooded area along the south side of the park’s lakes provides access to the Tree of Life Labyrinth, a 1,000-foot winding walkway that celebrates the virtues of faith, hope, charity and peace.

Concerts are held in the park’s event center throughout the summer season. The park is open until November 15.

For more, read Ariel Foundation Park, a book by Aaron J. Keirns that documents the creation of the park, the history of window-glass manufacturing and the history of PPG Works No. 11.

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