Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for January, 2016

A Stroll Through History Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals

Floodwall 7

Early life in Portsmouth can be seen in the Stagecoach Mural, Hanging Rock Iron Furnaces, and the Ohio and Erie Canal at its southernmost point.

2000 seems to be the magic number in Portsmouth. 2000 years of Scioto County History on 2000 feet of Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals.

Floodwall Flood

The disastrous Ohio River Flood of 1937 led to the construction of this floodwall.

In 1937, a disastrous flood caused the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a flood wall along the Ohio River to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

While the flood wall served its purpose, it wasn’t very pleasing to the eye. Dr. Louis Chaboudy  and his wife, Ava, had visited Steubenville, Ohio in 1992 and were pleased with the murals they saw there. They decided to begin the search for a person who might not only paint pictures of the history of Scioto County, but bring it to life so it would attract visitors to their city.

Floodwall Mounds

The Portsmouth Earthworks is a large mound complex constructed by the Ohio Hopewell Culture from 100 BCE to 500 CE.

Robert Dafford, an internationally known muralist, seemed the perfect person for that role and painting began on the largest mural, 20′ x 160′ in 1993. One artist created all 2000′ of the Flood Wall Murals by October of 2002. The remainder of the murals are 20′ x 40′. Whether you are an artist or have little appreciation for fine art, these murals will grab your attention and tell you the story of the changes that have taken place in Portsmouth over the years.

Floodwall 9

The Greyhound Bus Station was a popular place during WWII gas rationing. Or you could have joined local legend, Roy Rogers, riding Trigger.

The murals tell the story of the history of the area, and depict all the former factories, the great flood of 1937, sports history and much, much more. See detailed paintings of historical Portsmouth, which include local legends, such as Roy Rogers, Branch Rickey, and the Portsmouth Spartans NFL football team. The Spartans could not survive in the small town of Portsmouth during the depression, and in 1934 were sold to Detroit, where they became the Detroit Lions.

Floodwall 8

Sixteen churches established in the 1800s are featured in this stained glass motif. 

Some surprises appear along the way whether you are walking for the best view, or driving along in your vehicle. Discover that the shoe industry had six factories here in the early 1800s employing over 6,000 people. Look carefully at the mural of the Portsmouth Motorcycle Club and see if you can spot the reflection of the muralist, Robert Dafford, in one of the hubcaps.

After the initial 2000′ were painted, there have been four murals added. One of them depicts famous baseball players from the area, while another shows a bicycle tour from Columbus to Portsmouth.

Floodwall Ohio River

The Ohio River flows just outside the flood wall where the U.S. Grant Bridge crosses over to Kentucky. 

The great thing is…it’s FREE!  Take a leisurely stroll along the murals or view from them the sidewalk across the street for a different perspective. An amazing feature is that there are paintings on both sides of the wall so don’t forget to view the wall from the Ohio River side as well.

Portsmouth Outer Wall

The Ohio River side of the flood wall was begun before the mural side. You can drive along most of the outside of the wall along the Ohio River.

Here the flood wall has been designated at the Portsmouth Wall of Fame, where accomplishments of area natives are recognized. Their name is placed beneath a star with an autograph of the person being honored in many cases – Don Gullett, Al Oliver, Roy Rogers, Dan Quayle, Larry Hisle and Gene Tenace being a few of those recognized.

Floodwall Town Mural

Downtown Portsmouth in the 1900s is the cover of the Scioto County Visitors’ Guide. The Steel Industry played a major role in the town’s growth.

The Portsmouth Flood Wall serves as a great example of how something that serves a needed purpose doesn’t have to be dull or boring. With a little bit of talent, it can brighten up the world.

Portsmouth is located in the southern part of Ohio along back country roads. Your best bet for directions is using your GPS. 

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Fashion Shows Can Be Enjoyable

Vintage TeaA Dickens Victorian Village Tea and Fashion Show did not at first sound appealing to me, but it turned out to be quite an interesting and enjoyable event. The first surprise came upon entering the stunning Masonic Ballroom with its floor to ceiling windows, gleaming dance floor, and ornate tin ceiling.

The tea time treats were a pleasure for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Petite sandwiches, fragile pastries, Devonshire cream, and bite size fruit appeared on tiers, as the perfect companions for your favorite tea served in dainty, floral cups.

 

Vintage GuestsMany of those in attendance were dressed in Victorian style with beautiful, large hats and long skirts – a special part of the day. They felt part of a time long past as they enjoyed conversation with friends.

Then appeared Kit and her models from The Alley in Columbus, Ohio. Kit Matulich has enjoyed working with theatrical costumes for thirty years and “wouldn’t trade it for the world.” Some of the clothing she purchases, while other items are donated. The proceeds from those donated go 100% to Easter Seals, which provided equipment for their late daughter, at a time when it was needed.

The vintage clothing and accessories from The Alley Vintage & Costumes had the ladies attending the tea spellbound for over an hour. The Alley’s philosophy is:

You are never too old to play dress up!

The Alley Vintage & Costume

Then the parade of models began with Kit and Josef in charge. There’s no way to show you all the models or tell you all the stories about their clothing. So come along with me and view some of my special favorites.

Vintage Models -Undergarments

The show began with a parade of undergarments worn by Victorian ladies. Their layers of petticoats seemed too numerous to count. Sometimes these items were washed in urine to cleanse, bleach and purify. Their corsets often had somewhat flexible whalebone to keep their waists very small. Small waists, with extra emphasis on larger hips and busts, were thought attractive.

Vintage Dress

A beautiful day dress would be fastened with hooks and eyes and even straight pins. All dresses at that time were hand-stitched with pleats, darts, and ruffles. Remember at that time everything had to be washed by hand.

 

Vintage Bridal 2

These three delicate gowns contained quality lace so had to be handled quite gently. Waist were very small, often 20″, as girls began wearing corsets at the age of eleven.

Vintage Dress passed

A Dickens volunteer lets the ladies have a close-up view of one of the dresses. Those in attendance could actually hold the items in order to appreciate the fine craftsmanship that went into the making of each piece.

Vintage Shown Dress

Kit showed the oldest wedding gown she has in her store. The fabric is too delicate for the models to wear these days. When a bride was married in Victorian times, she wore her wedding gown to every event they attended for the first year after their marriage.

Vintage Army Dress

This WWII uniform of the ambulance corp was made of wool. At this point, ladies removed their corsets and enjoyed the freedom of movement, so a new trend in styles took place.

Finale

The models paraded one last time and special honor was given to the lady, who helps with design and dressing. “Without her, we would be lost.”

The day became a memorable one from tea time to fashion show. No one rushed to leave, but felt relaxed from the slower pace of this day resembling a time long past.

So next time someone asks you to attend a fashion show, give it a whirl!

For more information on The Alley, visit their website at http://www.thealleystore.com. They are located in Columbus Ohio at 3502 W.Dublin Granville Road.

SMART Centre Features Dinosaurs, Space, and Ice Cream

SMART Centre

SMART Centre Market opened its doors in 2010 to encourage students’ interest in science.

A delightful Science Centre Market exists in downtown Wheeling, WV – right next door to their historic Centre Market District. This is no ordinary shop as it combines elements of hands-on experience, museum-like pieces, as well as a place to find some unusual gift ideas for those interested in science.

SMART owners 2

Libby and Robert Strong enjoy having fun as well as teaching.

Robert and Libby Strong, two former science teachers, created this special place several years ago. SMART stands for:

  • Science

  • Math

  • Art

  • Research

  • Technology

It seemed the natural thing to do for a physicist and a biologist!

SMART Fish Fossil

This cast shows the armored skeleton of a German fish with teeth sharp enough to bite through the shells of squid.

A fossil is a snapshot in time, so they feel it important to have original fossils throughout the center. Since originals are hard to come by, some of the larger displays are casts of original fossils, so children can see their size and detail. It is important to keep past science discoveries alive.

SMART singing coin

This wooden singing tree produced a beautiful song as a marble, made at near-by Marble King, dropped from leaf to leaf.

Around every bend, there’s a spot for hands-on discovery. Robert pointed out that there are two kinds of people who enjoy their place: little kids and tall kids. Even adults need to keep their curiosity alive, and learn something new each day.

SMART Gravity Machine

This Gravity Well lets children watch a coin go around at high speeds as the coins descend to the vortex tunnel.

This is the place to learn while you play. Children find interesting a line up of scales where they can discover their weight on earth, the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto. On Pluto, they would weigh the least, and on Jupiter the most – due to gravitational pull. A Gravity Well lets you watch different size coins make their way down the well at different speeds.

SMART books

Books on every scientific subject fill the shelves along with science kits to ignite their imagination.

Besides all the activities in the center, the Strongs hold field trips, camps, workshops, and have special open evenings for star gazing. Their main desire is to create a place where kids can have fun learning about science. Robert and Libby bubble over with enthusiasm.

SMART Wooly Willy

This 1955 game of Wooly Willy shows the magic of magnets as it creates “Magnetic Personalities”.

Everything in the center has an unusual quality. No matter where they sat or stood, the Strongs could point out unusual items such as dinosaur teeth, leaf fossils depicting global plate shifting, or pieces of k-t most likely from a million-year-old asteroid, which coincided with the extinction period of the dinosaurs. All this from one spot!

When Robert was asked about his favorite part of the center, he said, “When the door opens and people begin conversations about science, you are going to learn something.” Those people, who enter through the front door, teach him something from their questions and contributions. “It’s fabulous! It’s a perk being here – people and ice cream.”

 

Ice Cream Flavors

The day had to be finished with an ice cream cone, which Robert handed to me upside down…and it didn’t fall out!.That’s the first time a physicist ever made me an ice cream cone and it only cost a dollar. This ice cream comes from Kirke’s Homemade Ice Cream at near-by St. Clairsville.

With a visit to the SMART Centre Market, kids of any age can catch enthusiasm for the world of science. Robert and Libby are prepared to help you light the fire of exploration. Don’t forget the ice cream cone!

Hours for the SMART Centre are Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 – 6:00. Check out their special events at http://www.smartcentremarket.com

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