September 1 – Still at the Anderson KOA Campground

We woke this morning to temperatures in the mid 50s, a full 20 degrees cooler than at any time over the past week.

Having made the decision to head home, we could have started today … but postponed our departure for another day to let the all of the rains and potentially heavy winds exit the Ohio-Pennsylvania corridor along which we’d be driving over the next few days.

The highlight of our day, if you can call it that, was a walk along the woodland hiking trail which borders the campground.  Off to our left was a river we didn’t know existed … and at one point we could cross.

There were some interesting wild flowers

and vegetation which had rooted itself in a decaying log.

Emerging from the woods we were able to look over the lake toward the area where we were parked.

All in all a quite and restful day.



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August 31 – Trine University – Phyllis & Jim Clark

Having made the decision to head home starting the day after tomorrow, we decided to take a day trip to Angola, IN and Trine University, one of the top two or three colleges on Taylor’s short list, and which we’d planned to see anyway.   This also gave us a chance to visit with some friends from our “winter home” at Sun N Fun in Sarasota who live in Fort Wayne.

Much of the drive heading north on I-69 was through more farm country.

Debbie also became fascinated with the variety of high tension wire towers which paralleled and crossed the highway

and spotted some community water towers.

Old Glory” was also omnipresent in fields and businesses.

As in other farming areas in many parts of the country, hunting blinds near the edges of the fields are increasingly common.

Arriving in

a small college town of 8,612 (2010 census) most notable for its Steuben County Monument in the city center’s roundabout which pays homage to the 1,278 soldiers who fought in the Civil War, and honors the 240 who never returned.

The figure at the top is Columbia, who represents peace. She weighs approximately 1,000 pounds and is 18 feet tall, from the base to the top of her flag pole. The entire monument weighs about 300,000 pounds. The monument is 70 feet tall and its base measures 19 feet 6 inches.

However, our main interest was to visit

Trine was founded in 1884 as Tri-State Normal College and retained the reference to the “tri-state” area for more than 120 years because of its location in Indiana and proximity to Michigan and Ohio.  In 2008, the school’s name was changed to the Trine University, in honor of Alumnus Ralph Trine and his wife Sheri.

The 450 acre main campus with an enrollment of 4,646 students has a very intimate feel.  With an emphasis on engineering (important for Taylor), the school has made more than $176 million in improvements since 2000.

Equally important to Taylor is its synchronized skating program; where she had an opportunity to skate with some of the team during her campus visit earlier this year.

Heading back to Anderson took us through Fort Wayne and gave a chance to spend some time with Phyllis and Jim Clark, friends we see in the winter in Florida.

As Jim had spent his career with the telephone company, he had seem many unique phones in his life, one of which is operational and mounted in his workshop.

He related a story about showing it to one of his grandchildren who couldn’t figure out how to use it … poking his fingers in the “holes”  hoping it would have the same effect as dialing a cell phone, having no idea it had to be dialed!

Interesting, although in Mike Pence country, we only saw a single 2020 presidential campaign sign.




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August 30 – Decision Day

Today, we needed to make a major decision as to whether to continue our trip or cut it short and return home.

We are concerned that we may have a major problem with our brakes, which could be a real safety issue, particularly as we had planned to be in mountainous areas beginning later next week.  There are also a couple of other minor maintenance items which we had thought were taken care of before we left, only to discover a problem with our steps which had supposedly just been “repaired”.

I have also been having some pain radiating from my lower back down though my right hip and into my right leg.  It becomes particularly uncomfortable after a long period of sitting … which driving our motorhome entails.

After a little on-line research, we think it may be a sciatica nerve problem.

Lastly, one of Debbie’s dearest friends passed away and if we were to get home we might  be able to make the funeral.

So, with very mixed emotions, we reluctantly have decided to cut our planned 10-week trip short and head home.  However, with the torrential remnants of Hurricane Ida working its way north, we also want to delay long enough until the severe weather has passed.  Thus, we plan to leave the Indianapolis area where we’ve spent the past few days on Thursday and hope to get home early Saturday afternoon.

The good news is that we have one more day here and plans to visit one of the colleges Taylor has on her short list and friends from our winters at Sun N Fun in Sarasota.




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August 29 – Anderson, IN – Daniel & Traci

We had a leisurely Sunday morning.

Debbie had her regular Zoom get-together with four of her friends .. sadly a group that a year ago was six.

I took a walk around the campground, perhaps the first we’ve stayed at with more acreage dedicated to green-space than RV sites.  It also has a private lake with a buoyed-off swimming area.

At one end of the campground I spotted some bright yellow flowers against a green foliage background.

Yellow Jewelweed

Lemon Queen Sunflower

in which I discovered a firefly.

I also discovered the “Tinkle Hut“.

Mid-afternoon we headed back to Fishers to see Daniel and Traci.  On the way we spotted the Nestle’s mascot.

They took us to one of their favorite restaurants, Four Day Ray

where we were encouraged to try some “Hoosier” specials … and they were spot-on.  Our meals were great.

Then before heading back to their home, there was a stop at their favorite handmade ice cream shop, Graeter’s.

While there were many choices, we fell back on our favorites … Coffee for Debbie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for me.

After satisfying our epicurean tastes, we played a new board game Daniel and Traci had been given.

After struggling a bit to figure out the rules we had a great time and by the end of the game we’d began to understand the strategies for winning.



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August 28 – Brookville, OH to Anderson, IN

Our trip to Anderson, IN was one of the shortest we had scheduled for our trip, just 84 miles … 60 miles of it on I-70.

Throughout the trip, nearly every flag was being flown at half-staff in honor of the 13 brave American servicemen who were killed in the ISIS-K attack in Kabul.

Needless to say, farms growing mostly corn but also large tracts of soy.

Behind one barn, a dark plume of smoke gave us pause to hope it was a controlled burn.

Soon, we were leaving


We were amazed at several large solar farms (property owners are becoming aware that the revenue from leasing their land can generate equal or better net returns by leasing their land than farming it).

Cool rebuilt hot rod,

As check-out time at our Brookville campground was at 11:00 AM and we could not check into the one in Anderson until after 1:00 PM we had time to kill and pulled into a Welcome Center in Indiana.

There we checked our phones … where I heard from the wife of one of my high school classmates that Paul had gone into Hospice and “had just days”.  Moments later Debbie read a voice mail message which had been left for her letting her know one of her dearest friends, Sharon Briggs, who had gone into Hospice just days earlier had passed away this morning after losing her courageous battle with Leukemia.  We’d had dinner with her and Tom back in June but sadly hadn’t had a chance to visit with them since.

While we recognize we and many of our friends have reached an age where loses are to be expected, each passing leaves a void in our lives.

To the north, some towering cumulus clouds were forming

and fortunately did not develop into thunderstorms as they had the past two days.

Back on the road, more corn country!


we eventually passed the Candle Store which had advertised on billboards for many miles that it now sold beer, wine and liquor

perhaps contributing to the mid-day number of cars in the parking lot.

However, we were perplexed with to whom this sign was addressed.

We arrived at

around 2:00 PM, got settled and then drove (Jeep only) to Fishers to visit with Daniel and Traci Bray,

close friends from our winters at Sun N Fun in Sarasota. … albeit while having to navigate more road construction work.




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August 27 – Miami of Ohio Campus

We’d originally planned on touring the Wright-Patterson Air Museum today but decided on taking the morning off and then taking a day-trip to Oxford, Ohio to drive through the University of Miami campus, on one of our granddaughter’s (Taylor)  short list of colleges in which she is really interested.

Exiting I-77, instead of taking a left toward Oxford, we decided to head north through what was billed on a sign as “Historic Downtown Lewisburg“.  How historic is subjective, but it was a pretty town and seemingly something of a throwback to earlier times.

As we’d seen in several Pennsylvania towns, the main street had banners honoring its local veterans,

two murals,

homes with “gingerbread” architectural trim

and a couple of other building or interest.

We then reversed direction and headed toward Oxford … along a series of narrow roads and through fields and fields of corn.

On no less than three occasions, we ran into “Road Closed” signs and one spot for which no sign was necessary.

This resulted in us trying several options at intersections, one of which took us in a three mile loop … which as easily identifiable (it is challenging to tell the difference between rows and ears of corn) as we passed an underground home.

Looks like they actually have to mow their roof

Eventually, we “stumbled” on a state numbered route which took us to

a town large enough to support a Walmart.

Continuing our journey, we found ourselves back in farm country

although on wider and higher-speed roads.

A half hour drive after leaving Eaton, as we reached the outskirts of Oxford, Debbie spotted a covered bridge … which was accessible by a turn-off.

The Black (Pugh’s Mill) Covered Bridge is one of the few remaining covered bridges in southwestern Ohio and the only one in Butler County on its original site.

 It was built in 1868 to give access to a saw and grist mill owned by James B. Pugh on Four Mile (Talawanda) Creek.  Pugh’s Mill ceased to operate after two decades, and the name of the span gradually changed to Black Bridge, likely because there was a white covered bridge located downstream.  The Black Covered Bridge is recognized as one of the longest and most impressive of Ohio’s covered bridges. It is unique for its combination of two truss types – Childs and Long – within a single structure.

A couple of miles further on, we reached the picturesque downtown are of Oxford.

From there it was just a matter of following the signs …

to the university’s fairly large but self-contained campus of mostly brick buildings.

One building in particular we sought out was the Groggin Ice Center as one of Taylor’s “musts” is a school that not only has a robust bio-engineering program but one that also supports a synchronized skating program.

Next week, we plan to do a drive-thru of another of the colleges on her short list.


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August 26 – East Sparta to Brookville, OH

An early morning haze

gave way to generally clearing, but not overly bright, skies which was great for driving.

As this was a two Interstate day not much of interest other than many farms,

a truck hauling electrical transformer equipment,

a striking town hall tower in the distance,

a FedEx slow down

 apparently due to a bad tire

I’d hate to be the guy working underneath the truck with 70 mph traffic zooming by

a couple of water towers,

and endless fields of corn.

As refueling can be a challenge, we need to find stations where we can #1 get out of the station, #2 get into the pumps and only then worry about the price.  Along many major highways across the country, a significant number of Flying J stations

have “RV Lanes” which we try to take advantage of as, between our coach and towed Jeep, we’re just shy of 60-feet in length. Today, however, we were in for a surprise as the RV lanes were being serviced.

Fortunately, one of the end islands was free and we were able to gas-up with no problems.  Such luck does not occur very often.

Continuing along I-77, we passed under several YELLOW bridges … a color we’d never seen before,

and spotted some, what we gather must have been, controlled fires in a field to our north.

When we reached Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where we’d made reservations at their campground,

much to my chagrin, I discovered my 37-year old U.S. Navy identification card, which I was given when I retired from the reserves, was out-of-date in this post 9-11 era and we could not gain entrance. However, turning around at the gate was a challenge and one of the sentries had to remove the steel posts so we could turn around.

Fortunately, I was able find another campground not too far away.

Shortly after getting in to our site, the “heavens” opened up.

Funny how things work out … a little while later, I got a call form the Wright Patterson campground (who apparently didn’t know we couldn’t stay there) that the power was about to shut off for 12 hours … which we did not have to endure where we were staying.


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August 25 – First Ladies National Historic Site and Ira Saxton McKinley House

The First Ladies National Historic Site is located less than a mile from the McKinley Monument.

During her residency in Washington, D.C. Mary Regula, wife of Ohio congressman Ralph Regula, spoke regularly about the nation’s first ladies. Recognizing the paucity of research materials available she created a board to raise funds and for a historian to assemble a comprehensive bibliography on American first ladies. From these inspirations came a National First Ladies’ Library, established in 1996, and the First Ladies National Historic Site.

The site was established in 2000 to commemorate all the United States’ first ladies and comprises two buildings: the Education & Research Center and the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic House just a block away.

The purpose of First Ladies National Historic site is to preserve, interpret, and honor the role and history of  the 49 First Ladies for the benefit, inspiration, and education of the people of the United States, and to provide global public access to information about how the accomplishments of America’s First Ladies shaped our nation’s history.

Role: The role of the First Lady (Ladies) changes to reflect the times in which she (they) serves.

  • Impact: The First Ladies of the United States of America have an impact across a broad spectrum of the political and social history of our nation.
  • Personal Life/Public Image: As women in an extraordinary situation, individual First Ladies rely on their personal interests, abilities, and experiences to define their presence in the public forum, while maintaining private lives.
  • First Families: The Saxton McKinley family home provides an opportunity to explore the public and private lives of the first family

Notably not all first ladies were the wives of presidents. Some presidents were unmarried, widowed, or married with wives that are not interested or able to do the job. In those situations, a sister or daughter would often fill in. The position of first lady comes with no official responsibilities. This has allowed many first ladies the freedom to attach themselves to a cause of their choosing.

The first floor is dedicated to displays of first ladies inaugural gowns

and insights from former first ladies on the “highs” and challenges of such a lofty and visible position.

On the lower level, the main attraction is a video which primarily focuses on the unquestionably most influential first lady in our nation’s history … Eleanor Roosevelt.

10 Major Accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt

#1 She worked with the Red Cross during the First World War

In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Eleanor Roosevelt worked with the American affiliate of the Red Cross, a humanitarian and disaster-relief organization. She staffed the Red Cross canteen, served food to soldiers departing from Washington’s Union Station and balanced its books. She volunteered at the Naval Hospital, visiting the wounded and coordinating families’ appeals for aid. Roosevelt was also active in the Navy League’s Comfort Committee, an organization in which volunteers knit sweaters, socks and other items for soldiers serving abroad.

Eleanor Roosevelt in 1908

#2 She was actively involved in the activities of WTUL and LWV

In the 1920s, Roosevelt worked with the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL). She raised funds to support the goals of WTUL, which were: a 48-hour work week, minimum wage, and the abolition of child labor. She was also a member of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the League of Women Voters (LWV), a civic organization founded to support the new women suffrage rights and help women take a larger role in public affairs. During this time, Eleanor became an influential leader in New York State Democratic Party and won the support of Democratic women for her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt.

#3 Eleanor established the Val-Kill Industries in 1927

In 1927, along with her friends Nancy Cook, Marion Dickerman and Caroline O’Day, Eleanor Roosevelt established the Val-Kill Industries. She and her business partners financed the construction of a small factory to provide supplemental income for local farming families who would make furniture, pewter and homespun cloth using traditional craft methods. To capitalize on the design movement of the time known as Colonial Revival, most Val-Kill products were modeled on 18th-century forms. Though Val-Kill Industries didn’t attain the heights Roosevelt expected it to, it did pave the way for larger New Deal initiatives during her husband’s presidency.

#4 Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the role of the First Lady

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt became President of U.S. He was re-elected in 1936 and in 1940, he ran for a third term against the convention of a maximum two terms. He won again and also won the 1944 election. The two term convention was made into a law after his presidency. Eleanor Roosevelt was thus the longest-serving First Lady of the United States from March 1933 till the death of FDR in April 1945. Before her, the role of the First Lady was traditionally restricted to domesticity and acting as a hostess. Eleanor transformed the role and was more active than any First Lady before her. She used her position as a platform for her social activism and continued with her business and speaking agenda. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941

#5 She was the first First Lady to write a daily newspaper column

As First Lady, Eleanor often traveled throughout U.S. to gauge the conditions in which the Americans lived during the Great Depression and aided her husband in coming up with solutions to the issues. From 1935 to 1962, she wrote, a six days a week newspaper column, titled My Day. In her column, she discussed issues such as race, women, and key events like Pearl Harbor, Prohibition etc. Eleanor was the first First Lady to write a daily newspaper column. She was also the first presidential spouse to write a monthly magazine column, to host a weekly radio show and to hold regular press conferences. In 1940, she also became the first First Lady to speak at a national party convention.

#6 Eleanor played a key role in the formation of National Youth Administration

During the Great Depression, American youth faced many problems including those of unemployment and not being able to afford education. Roosevelt recognized the need for government interference and acted as the primary catalyst for change. She worked with the American Youth Congress (AYC) and was instrumental in the formation of National Youth Administration (NYA), an agency which focused on providing work and education for Americans between the ages of 16 and 25. NYA, which operated from 1935 to 1943, helped over 4.5 million American youths find jobs, receive vocational training and afford higher standards of education. It played a key role in enabling American youth to contribute to the war effort and stimulate the American war economy.

#7 She was a leading activist for the rights of women and African Americans

Eleanor Roosevelt was vocal in her support of the African-American civil rights movement. She broke with precedent by inviting hundreds of African-American guests to the White House. She was one of the only voices in the White House that insisted that benefits be equally extended to Americans of all races. Eleanor also worked tirelessly for the rights of women. Among other things, she encouraged her husband to appoint more women to federal positions, helped working women receive better wages and held numerous press conferences for female reporters only, at a time when women were barred from White House press conferences.Eleanor Roosevelt with an African-American child in Detroit in 1935


#8 She played an active role during World War II including chairing the OCD

After the advent of the Second World War in 1941, Eleanor co-chaired the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) till February 1942. OCD was responsible for coordinating measures for protection of civilians like special fire protection and carrying out war service functions such as child care and health. She visited troops on a morale-building tour, encouraged volunteerism on the home front and advocated increased roles for women and African-Americans in the war effort. Roosevelt also supported the immigration of European refugees. Although her efforts in this regard were mostly in vain, she did successfully secure political refugee status for 83 Jewish refugees from the S.S. Quanza in August 1940.Eleanor Roosevelt, on a tour of the South Pacific during World War II, visiting a wounded U.S. Marine in 1943

#9 Eleanor oversaw the drafting and passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

After Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed Eleanor a delegate to the United Nations (UN). In April 1946, she became the first chairperson of the preliminary UN Commission on Human Rights. The commission established a special Universal Declaration of Human Rights Drafting Committee which was chaired by Roosevelt. The Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. Even though it is not legally binding, the Declaration has been adopted in or has influenced most national constitutions since 1948. It has also served as the foundation for international laws and treaties. It is considered one of the most prominent achievements of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Mexican version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

#10 She is ranked among the most influential people of the twentieth century

Roosevelt served as the first U.S. Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1946 to 1953. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to chair the Commission on the Status of Women and she continued in that capacity till shortly before her death in November 1962. The UN posthumously awarded Roosevelt with one of its first Human Rights Prizes in 1968 in recognition of her work. In 1999, she was ranked ninth in the top ten of Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. The same year, Eleanor Roosevelt was also included in TIME magazine’s compilation of the 100 most influential people of the twentieth century.

Comparisons are also made with Mary Todd Lincoln and the trials and tragedies she faced while in the White House, Hillary Clinton who was intimately involved in domestic policy and Michelle Obama and her challenges raising two daughters in the public bubble of Washington and their father’s presidency.

There was one unique photo … six living first ladies assembled together … a scene which might never happen again.

(front row)  Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynnn Carter and Pat Nixon

(back row)  Laura Bush and Barbara Bush

A block away, is located the Victorian ancestral home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley and, later, President William McKinley.

The Saxton-McKinley house is a two and three story brick building of irregular massing. It was constructed in two segments, in 1841, and circa 1865. The earliest portion is at the rear of the structure and was a two-story gable roofed building. This is significant as the only residence with direct historical ties to President William McKinley remaining in his hometown of Canton. It was the family home of McKinley’s wife, Ida, and he and his wife lived in the house between 1878-1891 during the period he served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The front entry and stairwell


is one of Fisher’s favorites.  The wallpaper, a dense fruit, flower and foliage design, was recreated from a pattern popularized a century ago by the English Designer William Morris.  The freestanding rug for the hallway was woven on the same looms that milled William Morris’ rugs 120 years ago.  Freestanding rugs were just becoming popular in the foyer when the McKinley house was decorated.

The spiral staircase reconstructed from black walnut winds from the stair hall to the second and third floors of the house. On the exterior, the massive wrap-around porch was recreated through the use of early photographs of the house.

The Saxton McKinley House in Canton celebrated its national debut as the home of the National First Ladies’ Library with a dedication ceremony and Victorian Gala in June, l998 with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.  Known as the Grand Lady of Market Avenue, the Saxton McKinley House breathes new life as the first ever facility dedicated to documenting the lives and accomplishments of America’s 47 first ladies and other important American women in history. Original Saxton family piano

William McKinley’s original legal desk, a gift from his mother which traveled to every he lived in from Canton to the White House

The public rooms of the house have been restored to their original splendor, complete with ornate historical wallpaper and period furniture. Great care has been taken to ensure that all design elements, including patterns of wallpaper, carpets and area rugs, are authentic.

The tiara Ida s wearing in the above photograph was lost for many decades … and incredibly turned up during a filming of the television show Pawn Stars!

The renovated ballroom is, and always has been, located on the third floor of the house. Many parties were held in this ballroom, since the Saxtons were among the most prominent families in Canton. In President McKinley’s study, all of the wallpapers were custom-made by historic merchants to replicate wallpaper depicted in an early photograph of the study taken during his official residence. The photo revealed a wallpaper that resembles an intricate quilt of Oriental scenes. This kind of paper spoke of being well-traveled and well-read, according to Fisher. Fisher traced the wallpaper pattern to Bradbury & Bradbury of California who recreated the hand blocks used to print a similar pattern.

The formal parlor is decorated in the more opulent Italianate style that became popular after the Civil War. In this area there are 23 different wallpaper patterns in subtle shades of tan, grayish green, rose and warm beige. The flow of color and pattern creates an ambiance Fisher describes as “feminine but understated and elegant.” Lace curtains, authentically reproduced from an 1876 pattern, are thrown over rods and pinned in place — just as the Victorians did it. This pattern was seen in a Victorian mansion of the 1870’s in Connecticut. The chrysanthemum pattern of Wilton Carpet was loomed in the same mill that First Lady Dolley Madison ordered some of the carpet for the White House. The antique light fixtures are made of alabaster

On the second floor is Ida Saxton McKinley’s sitting room and adjacent bedroom. The wallpaper for these rooms was hand-screened by Scalamandre to historically represent the wall coverings in favorite rooms at Ida Saxton McKinley’s North Market Avenue residence, according to two original photos of those rooms.

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August 25 – William McKinley Monument and Presidential Library

Our first destination was the William McKinley Monument whose dome is clearly visible from I-77 which runs through the heart of Canton.

After reviewing more than one hundred proposals, Harold Van Buren Magonigle’s design  was selected for the construction of a Monument and final resting place for martyred President, William McKinley.  His vision was for a large monument at the center of a large cross.

It was begin in 1905 and completed in 1907.

The blade of the sword, symbolizing the president’s war service (the last president to have served in the Civil War), was formed by what was called the “Long Water”, a 575-foot lagoon made up of five levels, each 20 inches lower than the one before it.  The water cascaded down the levels and ended in a reflecting pool.  The water lagoon was replaced with a grassy lawn in the 1950s due to poor drainage.

The McKinley Memorial that contains the 25th president’s tomb stands on a grass-covered hill overlooking the city of Canton.  The circular, domed pink granite building rises 96 feet above ground and measures 79 feet in diameter.

The construction process was truly a national and international effort.  Nine states contributed material for the project, arriving in Canton by rail and then brought on horse-drawn wagons to the site.  Ohio supplied the concrete, all of the brick (hidden by the monument’s double wall separated by 15 inches of open space) and labor force.  Massachusetts provided the pink Milford granite for the exterior.  The interior marble walls, pedestals for the statue and part of the marble floor came from the Grey Eagle quarries in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Artisans made the original plain glass skylight, though the current skylight was produced in Canton.  All of the Bronze work, including the entrance doors, was cast in Rhode Island.

Workers for the project were from many nationalities and races.  There is even an account of African-Americans traveling from the southeastern region of the US to ask for employment because of their deep admiration for President McKinley.

108 granite steps lead up the hill to the mausoleum.

Midway up the steps is a large, 9-foot bronze statue by Charles Henry Niehaus of President McKinley delivering his last speech in Buffalo.  The chair behind him is draped with a 45-star American flag.

The double bronze doors of the entrance were the largest in the nation at the time of installation..

Colored marble laid in a cross pattern forms the floor of the mausoleum.

Above the entry doors is a bronze lunette representing  Victories of Peace.  The seated female figure is the Republic protecting her domain with her cloak.  On her right, War lays his sword and  shield at her feet.  On her left another youth offers the products of industry.  In the back a laurel tree spreads its leaves, expressing the flowering and fruition of Peace.

The interior lunette represents the power of the President in both Peace and War.  The circular President seal sits above a sword, obscuring its blade.  There are stylized faces on each side, symbolic of supreme authority and power.  On the far right and left are cornucopia which stand for the abundance of Peace.

In the center of the monument is the double sarcophagus carved from dark green granite from Vermont.  It is carved from a single block but designed to appear as a two-in-one.  It rests on a base of “Black Berlin” granite from Wisconsin.  Lion’s heads carved into each of the four corners “guard” the President.  Around the double top of the sarcophagus is a gold band of gilded laurel symbolizing the triumph of love over death.

The bodies of McKinley and his wife lie side by side in two polished, dark-green, granite sarcophagi, resting atop a ten-foot-square of polished dark maroon granite in the center of the space.

Their two young daughters who died, Katherine at the age of four

and Ida who was born prematurely dying at just four months

are also laid to rest in the rear wall.

At the top of the inner dome is a magnificent red, white and blue skylight

It contains 45 stars representing the number of states in the union during McKinley’s presidency.

A short distance away is the Presidential Library & Museum.


The William McKinley Library and Museum is the presidential library of the 25th president of the United States.  The museum contains the McKinley Gallery, containing the largest collection of McKinley artifacts in the world and chronicles the life and career of the 25th president, from his birth to his death at the hands of an assassin.

William and Ida McKinley

 Recreation of their home in Canton

McKinley always wore or kept a red carnation on his desk … which is now the state flower of Ohio

A photograph of their daughter Katherine who died at age four.

Various artifacts from McKinley’s life and death

An exact duplicate of the gun Leon Czolgosz used to shoot McKinely twice in the abdomen

A telegram sent two days after McKinley being shot … and six days before he succumbed to his wounds.

As with other presidential libraries, its Ramsayer Research Library is a repository for documents related to McKinley’s life in general and his presidency in particular and open for research by academics and historians.

However, unlike any other presidential museum building, McKinely’s houses artifacts from Stark County and the City of Canton.

Streets of Shops – provides a feel for life was it was in the 1800s.  The recreated shops include a pioneer-era cabin, general store, gas station, hotel lobby, doctor’s office, dental office, saloon and many more.

Stark County Story – chronicling 200 years of Stark County industrial, military and leisure life.

1921 Holmes Automobile manufactured by the Forest City Motor Car Company

Ribbon worn by local resident S.S. Gaskill at the funerals of Presidents Lincoln (1865), Garfield (1881) and McKinley (1901) – Interestingly, one person, Lincoln’s son Robert, was present at all three assassinations

E. Howard Clock Tower Movement No. 2 (Made in Boston, Massachusetts – Circa 1886)

There is an extensive model train layout depicting historic sites of the Pennsylvania Railroad as it once traveled through Stark County.


Further, it also serves as a science center with some wildlife and fossils in the Discover Center and hosts the Hoover-Price Planetarium.














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August 24 (Afternoon) – A Christmas Story Home

Leaving the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame we spotted Great Lakes freighter moored at a quay nearby the Hall of Fame

and then a plaque honoring a survivor of the December 7, 1941 attach on Pearl Harbor,

located in front of the local U.S. Coast Guard station.

Back to our car, we decided to eat out “picnic” lunch (which we always pack while on the road or sightseeing).  Suddenly, Debbie spotted

just down the street from where we were parked.  The quarter-mile trip took us by a lake-side airport where two F4 jets were on display.

The submarine was the USS Cod (SS-224), a World War II “boat”

Nearby was a

From there we headed for our next planned stop, only four miles away.  However, Debbie’s ever-sharp eye spotted the FirstEnergy Stadium where the Cleveland Brown play,

the Terminal Tower, a residential building and the second tallest structure in Cleveland,

examples of soeme interesting architecture,

a number of bridge and building murals,

and decorated electrical boxes controlling street and traffic lights.

We arrived at the house on Cleveland Street

which was used as a setting for Gene Shepard’s “A Christmas Story” … and a young boy’s dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas;

a story based to some degree on his own childhood.

Actually, the house was discovered by Shepard and his partner when they got lost looking for a steel mill.  Once they spotted the house, they knew it was perfect for their use.  Finding no one home, the retired to the local tavern across the street

to wait for the homeowner to return.  Luckily, when asking the bartender about who owned the house they were overheard by none other than the owner, himself.  After several rounds of drinks, the owner accepted an offer paying him three-times what he was earning at the steel mill where he worked for the rental of his home and immediately handed over the keys.

Once inside, however, Shepard discovered the interior was far smaller than he’d anticipated.  Nevertheless, by adding a dining room on and shooting some of the interior scenes in Toronto, the house worked well and, based on the movie’s enduring success, it has become an iconic location.

For those who have seen the movie, they will recall these settings.

The original car Ralphie’s father drove is in Canada, but a duplicate 1938 Oldsmobile is parked in a garage across the street.

Some trivia:

  •  The winter of 1983, the year the movie was made, there was NO SNOW in Cleveland.
  • The snow on Cleveland Street was created using a mixture of soap detergent, potato flakes and a chemical used in fire extinguishers.
  • If you look closely at that scene, there is a 3-4 second clip in which you will see a red house (center photo on bottom row) at the end of the street with no snow on it … as the owner wanted nothing to do with the movie.

  • The other winter scenes, including the fight, were shot in Toronto.
  • As the house had no dining room, one was added.
  • There were three original “leg” lamps.  Two were broken, one accidentally and one as part of the movie script.  The third was lost and years later discovered in pieces in a landfill.
  • The bowling ball was blue.  However, in the time period of the movie, all bowling balls were black.
  • If you look closely, when the box with the leg lamp is opened it has no electrical cord.

  • There were six Red Ryder rifles purchased for the movie.  The original was kept as a “real” Christmas present by the then young Peter Billingsby  (Ralphie).  One was damaged and discarded, three are missing   The sixth is in the museum across the street from the house.  It was never used as the stock is warped.

  • When  Ralphies’s  father is sitting in the chair reading the funnies (before the dogs ruin the turkey), there is a small gold lampshade sitting on the table next to him. In the first shot, there is a Christmas bow on it. In the following shot, the bow has disappeared.
  • Towards the beginning of the movie when Ralphie’s dad is in the basement fixing the furnace and the entire family is staring at the door, you need to keep an eye on the left side of the screen.  There is a crewmember in the family room, who is on the screen by mistake.  You don’t see the person right away, but it is in that sequence when you see the mom in the shot, then you can see the leg of the person very quickly in the background.
  • The flag pole was a piece of PVC pipe painted silver and Ralphie’s tongue was held to the pole because there was a vacuum attached to the base creating the suction to keep the tongue attached.
  • In the playground scene when Ralphie first sticks his tongue to the flagpole, the street in the background has been snowplowed. The kids all go back in to the classroom without Flick. When the teacher asks “Where’s Ralphie?”, and looks out the window and sees him at the pole, the same street in the back ground has not been plowed.
  • The first “take” of the flag pole scene, there was a delay before the bell rang and the kids returned to their classroom required a retake.  During the retake, the bell rang immediately and the kids ran back to class … but no one turned the vacuum off so Ralphie was truly “stuck” on the pole.
  • When Ralphie’s mother breaks the lamp, it is broken into many pieces, but when his father is gluing it back together it is now in much fewer and bigger broken pieces. Obviously different broken lamps were used.
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