Excursion 51 (A Caledonian Amuse-bouche)

One of my hobbies is roadside photography.  Another, much older hobby of mine is strategy board wargaming (complex strategy boardgames simulating historical conflicts throughout time).  Every October I go to a gaming convention in Cleveland to indulge my inner—and, let’s face it, outer—geek.  Since I began my foray into roadside photography in Ohio, I have tended to use the trips there and back between Columbus and Cleveland as opportunities to explore more hidden highways and byways of Ohio, taking long meandering routes instead of the speedy Interstate.

I did this in October 2015, heading northwards out of Columbus before eventually cutting east to get to Cleveland.  Along the way, I took some photographs, but not too many, and I present this modest collection of 11 photographs as tokens of my journey.

[Remember that you can click on each image below to see a larger, better image.  Also, the EXIF data for each image contains GPS coordinates that you can use to locate the exact place where the photograph was taken.]


Unfortunately, I forgot to turn my GPS unit on for quite a long time, so I have no geographical information for a number of photographs that I took, which is always frustrating.  My next camera is likely to have built-in GPS.  Or maybe I will hire a photography butler to drive around with me, take notes, and serve me tea.  This is a simple country farmhouse, quite old, but holding up reasonably well.  My recollection is that it was not being lived in. But the lawn is still mowed, of course.  Location:  well, somewhere north of Columbus and south of Mansfield.


The area of north central Ohio is mostly flat farmland, though you do get to hilly areas around Mansfield (and even, I recently learned to my amazement, a ski slope, though it can hardly be much of one). It is also one of the areas where one finds grains other than corn being grown (corn being the most common crop in Ohio).


It was a dreary, sometimes rainy October day as I drove northwards, which gives old houses and barns an even more forlorn look than they might have on a sunny day. This old house is badly in need of a paint job, save the right-hand portion, which looks as if it might have been a later addition.


The leaves just start to turn in northern Ohio in early October, but the real “fall foliage” period in northern Ohio is basically the middle-two weeks of Ohio ( a tad later in southern Ohio).  Unfortunately, because I take time off to go to my gaming convention, I often don’t have the time or, sometimes, energy, to go on a fall foliage excursion during the peak time, and I often miss it.  In this photograph, of a tiny abandoned house, the leaves have not yet really started to turn.


Finally, we have a photograph I can put a place, too.  This rather broad-looking intersection is in the tiny hamlet of Caledonia, Ohio (population 577, salute!), “famous” (if you are extraordinarily generous) as the “boyhood home of Warren G. Harding.”  Well, I guess he had to have been born somewhere.  Caledonia is in north central Ohio, about half-way between Columbus and Lake Erie.  It is a nice little community, but exceedingly small.  Here we see the local high school’s Class of 1955 leaving their mark on the place.


Caledonia also boasts a pizza place, Dougout Pizza, but it was not always a pizza place. The walls of this old building indicate that it used to house the local chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal lodge, from the days in which lodge life dominated small town America.  This was the home of the Deborah Rebekah Lodge #412 of the IOOF.  A lodge with that number still seems to exist today, but with a PO Box in Willoughby, Ohio, not  Caledonia.


Caledonia, as small as it is, also boasts several mystery buildings—hundred year old buildings that used to house businesses, but no longer seem to do.  Here is one example; two businesses clearly occupied the ground floor of this building at one point.  The one on the left—with an interesting front—is no more.  The flag on the right-hand building suggests it is still being used for something, but I wonder if it is now a residence of some sort.


Just next door is another, similar building.  However, there is a faded old sign next to the door that gives a hint of the building’s past.  It reads “___________’s Kleen-a-Kar,” and has a Triple-A sign underneath, so it must have done towing and detailing at least.  The number on the sign now is used by a car towing service based just outside of town, so perhaps that is somehow connected to this building?


This pasture and old shed is part of the Circle E Ranch, near the town of Bucyrus, Ohio.  It raises Texas Longhorn and buffalo.


A couple of miles to the east of Bucyrus is the village of Crestline, and half-mile or so north of Crestline I found this old car, which I believe is a 1950 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe.  It is just sitting outside by itself, exposed to the elements, and may have been for some time (it does appear on satellite imagery).  I discovered that this photograph of the car was more striking in black-and-white, as not only does it add to the sense of “back in time,” but the dreary day provided no real color to the image, while in black and white the textures and contrasts (especially with the rain-spatter) stand out nicely.  I really liked this photograph.


I’ll show one last image from this excursion, a solitary shot of a bicycle built for two in a store window in Shelby, Ohio (population 9,317, salute!). Shelby is worth a return visit from me, as I almost sped through it this time.  This bicycle is a tad mysterious, as it is not at all clear that there is actually a business in that location right now.  Shelby has a long history with bicycles and bicycle manufacturing and even now has a Bicycle Days event every year to commemorate that aspect of its history, so the presence of this bicycle might possibly have something to do with that.

After my gaming convention was through, I did another excursion on my way back from Cleveland, and that is what I’ll post next.

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