Excursion 6, Part 3 (Builders of Special Machinery)

In which our intrepid hero comes across a graveyard of industry…

It is my opinion that travel is infinitely better when you are in control of the travel.  I hate being a passenger, whether in a bus, tax, train or plane.  I don’t like not being able to make decisions, I don’t like not being able to choose my travel companions, I don’t like looking out the side of something, as opposed to looking out the front.  When I was a kid, I did not like long trips at all—and why should I have liked them, stuck in the back seat for hours.  But put me behind the wheel of a car and it is very different.  Then, even when I am still not the master of my fate it still seems as if I have a role to play.  Give me a traffic jam over a long runway wait any old day of the week.

[Remember that you can click on each image below to see a larger, better version]

That’s one of the things that makes my excursions so enjoyable—I, not some faceless other, am making the decisions.  I stop when I want to stop, I go when I want to go.  I probably would not enjoy them nearly as much if I were a passenger.

One stop I made resulted in this not very good picture.  I turned the corner on a back-country road and came across a whole flock of turkey vultures around an oil tank.  Before I could get my camera up, they had taken off, as they are wont to do, but one inquisitive fellow stayed just a couple of seconds longer than the others to give me a look.  I took a quick handheld shot here but he took off before I could put the camera on its vehicle mount.  I’ve been able to take some better turkey vulture pictures in later excursions.


This shot shows sheep and is a favorite photograph of mine.  What I like so much about it is how well it shows depth.  You can really point to at least five depth levels here.  There is the immediate foreground, as delineated by the fence, then the near foreground, which is the rocky area with the sheep.  The tractor occupies the center ground, then behind it is the scrub on the rising terrain.  lastly, more scrub and fenceposts mark the horizon.  That’s a lot of depth for a two dimensional picture.  If you look closely, you can see some birds on the ground in the center, eating worms or somesuch. exc6pt3-2

Here’s a wider shot of the same thing.  It is not as good.


I saw this old house as I was heading towards the town of Coshocton, Ohio.  It is a nice old building, but what I particularly liked about it was the scaffolding next to the building—offering the hope that someone was going to fix it up rather than let it decay further.


I soon arrived at Coshocton, Ohio.  Coshocton is a smallish town (population 11, 216, salute) in east central Ohio; originally, it was an Indian village, later it became a canal town and then a coal town.  Its population has been pretty steady for nearly a century (its peak population was 13,747 in 1970).  Manufacturing was once important in Coshocton, but as in a lot of Ohio towns, much of that has gone away.  That’s left some interesting old buildings, such as the below structure, which speaks to a day long gone by.  I was unable to determine what the original business was in this location, but for some time it has been used by a glove company (see second photo).

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With this building, however, the origins are much clearer, because they put them on the building itself.  This location was once prime railroad real estate and home to the Keagy & Lear Machine Company, “builders of special machinery.”  This company seems to have started as a machine shop and foundry in the 1890s and originally made axles for wagons and carriages and so forth.  It still existed in some form or other when it was incorporated in the 1970s but apparently died completely in the 1980s.exc6pt3-7

The railroads were, and are still, vitally important for manufacturing, but back then they were vitally important for transporting people as well.  Here is a shot of what once was Coshocton’s train station.  A hundred years ago, this would have been one of the most important places in town.  Now it is hardly a memory. exc6pt3-8

Coshocton also has many interesting residences, including this old (and quite pink) house.


It would hardly be an Ohio town if it didn’t have an ice cream shack in it, so here is Earl’s Drive-In, started by “Earl & Becky.”  As of 2011, the building had a penguin on its side, but that has been painted over.

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To my surprise, I came across an Amvets Post as well, which featured a Sherman tank.  Keep in mind that earlier that day I had come across an Amvets post in Columbus, which also had a Sherman tank on display, so I saw two Sherman tanks in one day, separated by nearly 80 miles!  This tank is identified (whether accurately or not, I don’t know) as having been part of the 37th Reconnaissance Troop, which was part of the 37th Infantry Division, a division formed largely from the Ohio National Guard which fought on New Georgia, Bougainville, and Luzon in World War II.  Recon troops typically had halftracks and light tanks, but perhaps by the time it was on Luzon in the Philippines in 1945 it had some Shermans (a medium tank) as well.



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