Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Zanesville’ Category

Coopermill Bronze Works Prepares Alan Cottrill Sculptures

Coopermill Hoppy and Alan

Alan Cottrill designed the bronze Hopalong Cassidy statue that stands at the Senior Center in Cambridge.

Seeing is believing. A trip to Coopermill Bronze Works explained more clearly how one of Alan Cottrill’s bronze statues becomes a reality. It’s not an easy task!

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Adam’s lifelong friend, Charles Leasure, is his partner at the Coopermill Bronze Works.

    The Bronze Works is located on the farm of Charles Leasure, a life-long friend of Alan, and there’s even a statue in Charlie’s field…a mushroom hunter, in bronze of course. This farm has been in his family for eight generations.

Bronze Mushroom Hunter   Charlie and Alan created Bronze Works back in 1996. Alan needed a handy place to complete his bronze creations so made his own bronze casting foundry. So far they have cast well over 500 of Alan’s statues and hundreds of other sculptor’s works.

Coopermill Bronze Works 2

Coopermill Bronze Works can be found high on a hill along a country road in Zanesville.

   You can tell Alan is a down-to-earth kind of guy in spite of his fantastic talent to sculpt just about anything. His Bronze Works is not a big, fancy building, but one that can do the job required.

   While Alan does the preliminary work of designing the perfect wax statue in the downtown Zanesville studio, the final touches are placed here at Bronze Works by highly skilled Ohio artisans.

Coopermill Gear Shift Knobs

These gear shift knobs were made as gifts for Vietnam veterans.

   You have to understand that the statue is not bronzed as a whole. It is separated into many, many pieces, which are individually prepared before the final assembly happens.

   The whole thing is quite complicated so if my explanation isn’t quite perfect, please excuse me.

Coopermill Josh Leasure details

Josh Leasure uses his magical tools to make certain every detail is perfect.

   Bronze Works is where every fingerprint is erased and every line made crystal clear. Each detail makes a difference in the final product. Some parts are definitely easier than others. The men found it much easier to do a five-foot pant leg rather than a five-inch head.

Coopermill Dana Erichson

Dana Erichsen holds the base for the beginning of a crane family of eight for the Cranes.

   It has to be perfect in its wax state, otherwise, when it is made into a mold, the bronze statue would carry any flaws, no matter how small. When asked how they correct tiny mistakes, Dana answered with a big smile, “I fix it with magic. My magic wand does the work.”

Coopermill Batter Dip

Each waxed part is dipped several times into a ceramic slurry.

   All those smaller pieces are then dipped in what looks like a batter and rolled in fine sand. The workers commented that it was somewhat like dipping a fish in batter and then rolling it in flour.

   They do this dipping several times until dip by dip, a thick ceramic mold is formed all around the wax piece. When this dries, they melt the wax inside and remove it, leaving an empty shell to fill with, you guessed it, bronze. The wax though can be used again and again.

Coopermill Bronze

Bronze ingots are melted at temperatures of 1900-2000 degrees F.

   They receive the bronze in large sticks, which are then melted and poured into the shell. The bronze should then fit down into the perfect lines that were earlier created on the wax figure.

Coopermill Woody Hayes parts

All the parts of the Woody Hayes statue hang waiting for the next steps.

   My purpose in going this particular day was to see the progress that was being made on the statue of Woody Hayes, Ohio State University football coach for many years. The Newcomerstown Historical Society has funded this project since Woody grew up in Newcomerstown while his dad was Superintendent of Schools there. Woody also coached in Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia before going to OSU.

Coopermill Woody Hayes Head

The wax head of Woody Hayes is ready to be detailed.

   During this visit, the head of Woody Hayes was hanging in the room, ready to be examined for any tiny imperfections. Then it would be dipped in the solution to make the mold on the outside.

Coopermill Swan and Wax removed

After the bronze has set, the ceramic mold is knocked off to reveal the perfect creation.

   After the mold is filled with bronze, it sets for a while before the cast is knocked off to reveal the actual piece that will be used in the statue. This is the end of a very long process. But now there will be a head, pieces of arms, legs, and body – all will be in bronze.

Coopermill Bronze Pieces to be Welded

All of these bronzed parts will be assembled into the donkey seen below.

   Now comes the assembly. It’s like putting a big puzzle together! Each piece is carefully attached to the place where it belongs with bronze welding rods. The weld has to be sandblasted so the connection is no longer visible.

Coopermill Bronze donkey 2

This bronze donkey was having its recently attached parts smoothed.

   Even then, it’s not finished as there has to be a solution applied to the bronze to make it the correct shade required for that particular statue. Now you can see why it takes months to create a bronze statue from beginning to end.

Bronze Woody Hayes

New bronze status of Woody Hayes at Newcomerstown’s Olde Main Street Museum with Vane Scott, museum director.

   Alan Cottrill has designed statues all over the United States and the world. We’re lucky to have one in Cambridge of Hopalong Cassidy, and now one in Newcomerstown of Woody Hayes.

   Watching the artisans at Coopermill Bronze Works felt quite magical.

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Leonard Thomas – Born to Perform

Len Salt Fork Bash 2

When a piano’s not available, a keyboard will do.

When Leonard Thomas enters a room with a piano, you want to pull out the piano bench and have him tickle the ivories as he bursts into song.

While Len was born in Cambridge in 1927 and now lives there, he has traveled extensively using his musical talents not only at the piano or with his vibrant voice, but also in composing and directing. This man overflows with musical talent.

Len Note from Fred Waring

Fred Waring showed his appreciation to Len in this keepsake note.

He credits his success to the wonderful upbringing he received from his parents and siblings. Their support and encouragement make him feel lucky to have such a special family. He learned the importance of hard work from being a paperboy and soda jerk to conductor and performer.

The first time he sang in public happened at the First Christian Church when he was twenty-four months old. He entertained the crowd downstairs by singing “Bow Wow Blues” to the amazement of all. Len still calls this church home.

Len going places

Even as a youngster, Lenny had plans for going places.

When Lenny was only three years old, he went to visit with the family. A niece was just starting to take piano lessons and he asked her to show him what she was learning. She first  played the notes with her right hand, and Lenny played them back by ear. Next she played the left hand. Again Lenny played them back by ear. He asked her how you put them together and she said she had never done that yet. So Lenny said, “Do it like this.” and played them both.

By the time he was four, his parents thought he should have piano lessons, but they couldn’t afford it. Lenny went to see a lady across the street who gave piano lessons and told her he would like to take lessons but didn’t have any money to pay her.

She asked him if he would mow her yard for fifty cents a week. Lenny asked her how much the lessons would be. “Fifty cents a week.” It worked perfectly.

Len Fred, Ann and Len

Fred Waring and Len’s one-room school teacher, Anna Priaulx, visit with Len after a concert.

Lenny attended Rock Hill School, a one-room school near Center.  This provided a great learning atmosphere for him as he learned from all the classes. Everything fascinated him under the guidance of a very special teacher, Anna Priaulx.

By the age of ten, this young boy could play nearly all the classicals from great composers from memory.  He didn’t however forget the songs that were popular during that era.

Len Trio (2)

At Cambridge High School in 1947, Len played for this trio of  Carol, Barbara and Donna, who he said could harmonize as well as the Andrew Sisters.

At Cambridge High School, his musical talent has never been forgotten. His choice of a band instrument became a sousaphone, but he also sang in many groups as well as served as accompanist. No wonder he was voted the boy most likely to succeed as well as the most talented.

Len Muskingum Sr

Len graduated from Muskingum College and after retirement came back to assist with their music program.

Leonard graduated from Muskingum College with a B.S. in Music Education, but he never intended to use it. He wanted a career in performing so headed to Boston University, where he studied with great success.

But when he got home from Boston, his mother told him there was a letter waiting for him. It was his draft call from the Army. Len got lucky again as he was assigned to a base with a band. Now he could use his sousaphone experience from high school to participate in the Army band.

With this band, he headed to Germany, where they spent their time performing, participating in parades and singing at the chapel and in a barbershop quartet. Why he even had his own apartment and gave piano lessons.

Upon his return home, the hand of God guided him to the minister of the Central Presbyterian Church in Zanesville. There he had his first real job as choral director for five choirs among other assignment.

Along came someone from the court system and suggested that Len become a probation officer since he worked so well with young people. Now he had two jobs, so decided to buy his first car – a black ’57 Sunliner convertible.

Len with Steinbach

He still plays the piano he purchased in New York City in 1964, when he lived in a townhouse on the 19th floor.

Three years later, Len again decided to further his education and headed back to Boston to pursue his doctorate. Since all the schools were closed for the summer, he contacted an Army buddy in New York City and moved there for a while to a Central Park Townhouse.

Enjoying city life, Len began looking for a teaching job in the area.  He found one in Brooklyn at McKinley Jr. High School. Here he directed their choirs and led them in performing outstanding concerts. For eleven and a half years, this was his life.

Len Pennsylvanians

An attractive program design highlights Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.

Well, except for summers!  Those last six summers he attended Fred Waring’s Workshops, where he learned more about performing. One of the students asked Len to play for their audition. It was Len that landed the job to play with the Pennsylvanians with his keyboard talent.

Len Young Pennsylvanians

Teaching young people is something he has always enjoyed. Here he is conductor for the Young Pennsylvanians.

For many years, Leonard performed with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. During the 40s and early 50s, Waring produced a string of hits, selling millions of records. Breezin’ Along with the Breeze was his signature tune. Waring’s often called The Man Who Taught America to Sing. Len Thomas was one of those he helped along the way.

Len and Fred at last performance

Pennsylvanians perform for the final time with Len and Fred Waring, only twelve days before Waring’ passed away.

When Fred Waring died in 1984, Len was asked to work as editor and arranger for Shawnee Press, which was founded by Fred Waring. Shawnee Press has been instrumental in providing quality musical arrangements to high schools, colleges, and orchestras.

Len Shawnee Press Business card

Len’s business card with Shawnee Press carried Waring’s logo at the top.

After working for Shawnee Press for seventeen years, it was sold and moved to another state. At the same time, Len had an offer to purchase his beautiful home in Pennsylvania. His heart and mind said it was time to return home.

Len Distinguished Service Award at Muskingum

Len received the Distinguished Service Award at Muskingum University.

When he returned, Muskingum College requested that he direct their concert choir. Frequently, he gave piano lessons, where he explained to students that playing the piano isn’t just done with the fingers, but with the wrists, arms and elbows. Your entire body feels the music.

Len at Salt Fork Festival Chorus

He still loves to perform and assists with many community musical events, such as the Salt Fork Festival Chorus.

The community feels lucky to have him return to the Cambridge area. Now he plays in the Muskingum Jazz Group, for numerous groups including the Cambridge Singers, and provides background music for many banquets, parties, funerals and weddings.  Let’s face it, Len loves to perform.

Preservation Dixieland All Stars

Preservation Dixieland All Stars will be performing at the Salt Fork Festival BASH. Members include: Jerry Weaver, Len Thomas, Don Kason, and Dave Jacobs.

Today at the age of 86, he has no problem remembering all those songs from years gone by. No matter what song is requested, Len’s fingers respond perfect. “The Lord’s been good to me,” smiled Len, as he’s fulfilled all his dreams.

His twilight years have been both enjoyable and fulfilling. Now it the time when he can give back to the community where he grew up. “When you spend time helping others, you find the happiness you seek.”

 

Kiyoe Howald – Frequently Featured Artist

Kiyoe Hope and Despair

Kiyoe’s painting, “Hope and Despair”, carries a story of life during WWII in Japan.

Light can vanquish darkness as long as you never lose hope.

Born in Japan during WWII, Kiyoe knew what it was like to live in despair on the island of Hokkaido. As a nine year old when the war ended, her family had neither food nor fuel. So Kiyoe and one of her seven siblings would pack up kimonos and dishes, then bundle up and take the train to the country. Putting these items on a sled, they would then trade for potatoes, radishes, and wood to keep their home warm. They traded until they had nothing left.

Years later, she would compose a picture depicting life as she remembered it then. The picture is called “Hope and Despair”. Kiyoe feels the picture perfectly describes the world she lived in during WWII. In her mind, “No child should ever have to feel that way.” Even in the midst of despair, Kiyoe’s collage tells people there is hope that things would get better.

Kiyoe Art Show

Kiyoe’s Art Show in Zanesville featured paintings showing her love of nature.

This popular painting, “Hope and Despair”, was part of an art show at the Zanesville Public Library recently. It attracted much attention as Kiyoe shared the story of her painting, which showed so much hurt being present. The light showed good things to come. All the people in the painting are shown leaving to go to Northern Europe. You can feel their pain through her art, and others are touched by the symbolism.

At an early age, Kiyoe’s teacher in Japan noticed her artistic ability. She did art work in middle school but put art on the back burner to help care for her family in Japan. Years later she moved to Tokyo to find a better job as a tour bus guide so she could send money to her mom.

Kiyoe Christmas Card 001

A Christmas card?  No this is a hand painted cake, which won first prize.

It was here this beautiful Japanese lady met her husband, Senior Master Sergeant Larry Howald, while he was serving in the Air Force in Japan after the war. They enjoyed hiking and running together. Before he went back to the States, he asked her to make Japanese shawls for his mother and grandmother.

On Valentines Day, Kiyoe received a card from Larry saying, “Come to the States and marry me.” Since then, Larry has been a great supporter of Kiyoe’s artwork.

Kiyoe Birthday Cakes 001

Birthday cakes were one of Kiyoe’s ways of sharing her art years ago.

Her daughter, Miki, and son, Arn, remember the beautiful cakes their mom decorated with pictures that looked like paintings. She has won several cake decorating contests. Her art was being kept alive in a different way at this time of her life.

Kiyoe Pottery Vase

Kiyoe’s hand painted vase was part of a community art project in Zanesville.

After retirement from Larry Wade, where she was a seamstress, Kiyoe began taking classes and workshops about watercolors. Bill Koch’s watercolor class was a big influence on her revived interest in art. She has won first prize with many of her paintings around the area and even at the State Fair. Kiyoe’s work is always in demand.

Mannequin dressing

Making hats for the mannequins at Dickens Victorian Village gave her creativity a boost.

Volunteering for Dickens Victorian Village took many hours of her days for years. She began by making skirts and capes for the Imagination Station at the Visitors Center. Making hats became a new fun venture.

Kiyoe Howard

Recently she created mannequin heads resembling John and Annie Glenn.

Later, she made several of the mannequin heads that line the main street of Cambridge during the holiday season. In her mind, “Working at Dickens made me more creative.” Kiyoe’s current project for Dickens involves creating a new head for Father Christmas as his head has severe water damage.

Rock Garden

Her rock garden represents tranquility in a busy world.

“There’s always something new to learn.” Those words from Kiyoe are no surprise as she constantly explores new artistic endeavors. Currently, she is taking a Carving Class in Parkersburg, where she is learning the beginning steps of wood carving. Her goal is to someday carve a Buddha.

Kiyoe Alaska

On a recent trip to Alaska, nature again caught her eye.

She also teaches acrylic and watercolor classes in Zanesville. Origami classes have also been taught by Kiyoe as she enjoys making these meaningful objects, a Japanese tradition.

Since she doesn’t look her age, it makes one wonder how she stays so young. Every week she attends a Tai Chi class and a Yoga class. She never runs, but does walk three miles at least once a week.

Kiyoe Waterfall Series

In her Falling Water Series, her subjects are waterfalls that exist in peaceful, hidden canyons.

In the spring, Kiyoe will have an art show at First Friday in Zanesville. This event is sponsored by Zanesville Appalachian Arts Project. She finds associating with other artists quite rewarding. Even though she is a bit on the shy side, it’s a real pleasure for her to participate in artistic endeavors.

One thing she has yet to try is brush writing. When she finds someone to teach her some basics, this will be her next artistic challenge.

Kiyoe Name 001

This card created by Kiyoe has her name written in Japanese.

Kiyoe takes great pride in her work and enjoys having others appreciate it. Her beautiful smile and humble manner make everyone comfortable in her presence. Like Kiyoe, may we always be searching for new things to learn.

 

Rich Simcox: A Life of Musical Adventures

Rich Choir Director

Rich SImcox considers music his vocation and avocation.

I fell into a lot of lucky spots.” That’s how Rich Simcox describes his musical career. “ It’s not always what you know, but who you know that matters most.” But his great musical talent certainly enabled those connections.

Rich Pickin' 001 (2)

The “pickers and grinners” met  in the summer on Uncle Joe’s porch. They entertained the entire neighborhood.

Rich grew up surrounded by music. His mother’s family were “pickers and grinners”, while his father’s family reached out to classical and Dixieland. Rich wanted to emulate his dad.

Dick Simcox, Rich’s dad, directed school music programs in Bucyrus during Rich’s youth. In fourth grade, Rich started playing the trumpet, which remains his favorite instrument.

His dad knew teaching music to be a vocation of long hours and short vacations. He told his two sons and daughter, “I don’t care what you do, as long as you don’t go into music.” They all chose music.

Dick Simcox 001 (2)

His dad, Dick Simcox, gave him musical inspiration.

The Simcox family history shows their deep Cambridge roots. Rich was born there, his dad grew up there. Grandpa Simcox performed vaudeville at the Strand and Liberty theaters. Great-grandpa Simcox had a harness shop by the courthouse. It seemed only natural for Rich to drift back this direction.

He admits to being a gypsy at heart so he has been on many musical adventures. That all started when he became a member of the Air Force Band, one of his favorite musical journeys. Most of the time they worked out of Scott Air Force Base in Missouri. The 45 piece band played for parades, school concerts, community events, and military funerals.

Muskingum College Jazz Group

When attending Muskingum College, he played in many campus bands.

In the 70s, his dad moved to Tri-Valley High School and in his spare time formed “The Dick Simcox Big Band”. Rich at the time was attending Muskingum College so became part of his dad’s band. When his dad passed in 1979, Rich decided he would keep the band performing as long as possible. One thing he wanted to do was always keep his dad’s name as the name of the band.

While his biggest inspiration remained with his dad, he also listened carefully to Al Hirt and Doc Severinsen. Rich said he always hoped to emulate the tunefulness and tone quality of Bobby Hackett, coronet player.

Rich Simcox Jazz Band 001 (2)

The Dick Simcox Big Band provided music around the Tri-State area.

Locally, Rich taught music at several high schools as well as Muskingum College. Many remember him coming to their homes for private lessons. He has led many musical groups in the area over the years, including: Barbershop Chorus, Sweet Adelines, and Land ‘O Lakes Chorus.

His involvement with music in the area extends to many organizations and listing them all would take an entire page. To name a few, he has played trumpet or french horn in Cambridge City Band, Coshocton Lake Park Band, Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra and Zanesville City Band. He’s directed musicals at Living Word and Cambridge Performing Arts Center.

Rich Dick Simcox Band 001

Here the band plays at the Cambridge Concert Association at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. That’s Rick sitting in the wheel chair.

While directing has been one of his strong points, participating as an actor gave him great pleasure at CPAC. He played lead roles in popular musicals such as “The Music Man”, “Carousel” and “The Flower Drum Song”. His talent in so many varied musical arenas led him to say, “Music is my vocation and avocation.”

This outstanding musician played trumpet on cruise ships and has kept the “Dick Simcox Big Band” alive with performances throughout the area. Rich reflects, “I’ve done more than I ever thought I would.”

Rich in Church Choir

Singing in the church choir has given Rich pleasure for nearly forty years.

Directing the choir at First Christian Church in Cambridge since 1978 still gives him great pleasure. The church music lifts his soul as they make a joyful noise to the Lord. In his spare time, he also enjoys camping and fishing.

Rich Church Choir

He frequently directs the choir with some challenging music.

It’s a tragedy to Rich that schools are doing away with music programs. There’s a big correlation between participation in musical activities and excellence in other areas of study. He feels that the reason this area has so many talented musicians today comes from great music teachers, such as Howdy Max, John Matheny, Max Trier, Diane Box, and Todd Bates.

Rich perhaps gave the best description of his role in music. He’s a musical engineer, who organizes whatever needs done or put together. But admitted he couldn’t do it without networking with all his connections.

According to those who know him well, Rich’s specialty is motivation. “He can get more out of most people than they think they can produce.” Music has been a lifelong adventure for Rich.

Secluded Mission Oaks Gardens

A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious

with a feeling of serenity and joy.

~Luis Barragan

mission-oaks

The entrance at Mission Oaks leads you down a path of tranquility surrounded by blossoms.

“The Secret Garden” describes this hidden-away place of relaxation in the midst of an older  residential area of Zanesville. Mission Oaks Gardens has over seven acres to keep you in the arms of Mother Nature.

Pink Tulips

Beds of colorful pink tulips brighten the pathway in the spring.

The setting acquired its name because the home had the appearance of a mission-house surrounded by oaks. Today that name acquires a double meaning as they definitely have a mission: to provide and protect a little piece of nature for all to enjoy.

Tiger Lilies

Tiger Lilies brighten the pathway in this peaceful garden.

Here you will find everything from waterfalls to conifer forests at no cost to you or your friends. Seven days a week from dawn until dusk, you are invited to relax surrounded by flowers, or explore these seven peaceful acres for free.

pathway-to-beauty

This beautiful stone pathway always has flowers along its edge.

From springtime until fall, flowers of the season flow along the stone path…from tulips to mums. The porch makes a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the aroma of the fragrant blossoms.

mission-oaks-home-surrounded-by-flowers

The Hendley’s home is surrounded by flowers from spring through fall.

Established in 1925, legend has it this charming mission style home was built by a local businessman for his mistress, a party dress designer during the roaring 20s. But for the last twenty-five years, the home has been owned by Albert “Bert” and Susan Hendley.

When Bert first saw the abandoned mansion in 1988, he told his wife, “You’ve got to be crazy. This place is a dump.” Now, Bert’s developed a masterpiece of beauty and he takes great pleasure in finding unique and rare plants for visitors to view.

Flowers around every corner

Flowers appeared throughout the property.

The Perennial Garden surrounds the charming home. From early spring until fall, you’ll find something blooming from hyacinths and peonies to chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Relax in the gazebo being surrounded by the sight and scent of nature. New blossoms open every week.

Woods

Flower strewn paths meander through the forest setting.

After you have had a leisurely walk through the upper gardens, then it’s time to explore the rest of the acreage. Head down a steep flight of stairs, or enter the garden from the rear entrance, which is marked with stone pillars.  The sight before you, right in the middle of Zanesville, will amaze you.

rustic-gazebo-in-the-middle-of-the-woods

This rustic gazebo in the middle of the woods provides a respite from the cares of the day.

Once into the forested section of the garden, the paths go two separate directions. One path leads to the Woodland Garden, while the other descends to the Conifer Garden.

Paths meander throughout the wooded areas with surprises around every bend. While no overall plan was ever made for the gardens, unusual rare trees and flowers greet you at surprising places along the pathways.

Waterfall

Relax while watching the smooth flow of the waterfall.

The wooded section includes two small waterfalls, which flow over rocky hillsides into a small pond at one end, and a small stream on the other. At the small pond, elegant water lilies and lotuses bloom along the water’s edge. Comfortable wooden benches provide a great spot to relax while soaking up the ambiance of the scenic view.

small-lake-in-conifer-forest

This small lake in Conifer Forest offers calm waters to soothe the soul.

Over 300 trees give plenty of shade to the home and wooded areas. This includes original white oaks as well as many unusual trees Bert has discovered in his travels. In addition there are nearly 200 conifers, making Mission Oaks acknowledged for having one of the most renowned conifer gardens in Ohio.

Spring in bloom

Azaleas burst into bloom to welcome springtime.

Mission Oaks provides the perfect place to avoid the maddening crowds, relax in meditation, take a walk with Mother Nature, or just run away from home for the day. Many find it the perfect place for wedding or prom pictures.

All this is kept beautiful by the Muskingum Valley Park Department with assistance of Mission Oaks Foundation staff and many volunteers. Be sure to stop in Zanesville at 1864 Euclid Avenue – not far from Maple Avenue – and visit this hidden gem…if you can find it!

 

Good Potato Chips Taste Like Conn’s

conns-trailer

Conn’s transport their chips to warehouses in Newark and Columbus.

Everyone has a favorite food. Mine just happens to be potato chips. A road trip to Conn’s Potato Chip Company in Zanesville brightened my day since Conn’s has always been my favorite chip.

Back in 1935, Mrs. Ida Conn perfected the potato chip. She used the best potatoes, pure vegetable shortening and salt to create this taste treat which has delighted customers for over 80 years.

conns-flag-2

The U.S. flag proudly flies at the entrance of Conn’s Potato Chip Company.

Those first potato chips were made in her garage and delivered in a market basket to neighbors by Ida herself. While selling her chips on Putnam Avenue, Ida became acquainted with Dick Downey, who with Dave McGee, purchased the Conn Potato Chip Company from Ida in the 1940s.

Dick became a favorite customer of mine in a local downtown business about twenty years ago. Of course, he knew my love for potato chips and one day asked what my favorites might be.

Sometimes there are those special chips with a bubble in them. Those are my favorites.

A few days later, Dick brought an entire bag of potato chips with bubbles for my enjoyment. What a kind gentleman.

conns-mike

Mike has been delivering Conn’s locally for ten years.

But Dick was very strict about the way his employees handled bags of chips. He realized that few like crumbled potato chips so he told them to handle a bag of potato chips like you were holding a baby. After all, they were his babies.

conns-tammy

Tammy, our guide, stands before crates of potatoes that will all be used in one day.

When visiting the plant, the first thing you’ll notice is that gentle aroma of potato chips. Tammy, our guide, said her daughter told her, “Mom, you smell like a french fry.” The fragrance hangs in the air.

conns-shrinkwrap

Employees enjoy their jobs as they box chips for shipment.

This was a happy workplace and everyone had smiles and waves as we visited the manufacturing facility where all they make is potato chips. It didn’t seem to matter what their job was, these pleasant employees enjoyed it from cutting, sorting, bagging to shrink-wrapping stacks of boxes. Or perhaps they were smiling because of the mandatory hairnets we were wearing.

Here in Zanesville is the only place that Conn’s potato chips are made. They do have warehouses in Newark and Columbus.

conns-potato-slicer

After potatoes are washed and skinned, they head through the potato slicer.

Every week approximately 100,000 pounds of potatoes are brought into the factory to be made into fresh chips. Now these aren’t ordinary potatoes you might buy in the store. They are ‘chipping’ potatoes, a special variety that has less starch and sugar.

First, they are washed with high pressure to remove all dirt. After that the skin is brushed off with many mechanical brushes. Everything is done by machine with employee supervision at each process.

conns-chips-to-fryer

Layer of sliced potatoes heads to the fryer on a conveyor belt.

The potato cutter then slices the potatoes into potato chip size. Blades are changed once a week to make wavy potato chips, the most popular party chip for dips. Sometimes when the chips fly out of the cutter, it looks like it’s raining potato chips.

They are then sent through the deep fat fryer on a conveyor belt. Recently, some noticed a slight change in the taste, as Conn’s was forced to remove the hydrogenated fat from the soybean oil that is used. This change is due to a recent federal regulation to improve our health.

conns-fresh-chips

Fresh Conn’s Potato Chips leave the fryer to be sprayed with salt.

At the other end, a very find salt is sprayed on, so it’s easily absorbed by the warm chips. Now an inspector watches carefully for chips that are too well done or imperfect and removes them before they fall into buckets that look like seats on a ferris wheel to be sent to the bagging room.

conns-bagger

In the packing room, overhead tumblers mix the flavors before bags are filled below.

Here the chips are directed to various tumblers for packing. This is where the flavors are added. Green Onion, their most popular flavor, BBQ and Salt and Vinegar were being packed while watching. They bag in various sizes from 1 oz. to 1 pound.

conns-refill

This gentleman brought in his Conn’s Anniversary tin for an economical refill.

If you want an 80th Anniversary Tin filled, they will fill it right off the conveyor belt for $5. That’s quite a savings for two and a half pounds of potato chips. Refills are only $3. If you travel that direction, and you love potato chips, it would pay to buy a tin.

conns-montie-and-grandson

President Montie works at his desk with a picture above of his newborn grandson already pictured with a Conn’s tin.

Current owners, Montie Hunter and the George brothers – Tom and Jon, invested in Conn’s future by moving to a 100,000 square foot facility on Richards Road in Zanesville. Their new state of the art equipment still provides the same quality chips that have been favorites for generations.

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Co-owner, Jon, enjoyed sharing the Conn’s story, while his brother, Tom, was taste testing.

Montie worked as a route salesman for Dick so was very familiar with Conn’s. They had to make two promises when they purchased the company. 1) The name could not be changed. 2) Keep all the employees.

Tours of the factory are frequent for schools, seniors and even tour buses. Everyone comes away with the chance to have a few hot chips right off the conveyor belt. Good potato chips taste like Conn’s.

Conn’s Potato Chips is located in Kemper Court at the east side of Zanesville. Take Richard Road off Route 40 and about two miles back on the right hand side you will find Kemper Court and Conn’s Potato Chips. Take a tour sometime!

Explore Constantly Changing Zanesville Museum of Art

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The sculpture, “Outlook”, attracts attention to the Zanesville Museum of Art

“Outlook”, a large scale sculpture, greets visitors on the front lawn of the Zanesville Museum of Art. This eye-catching, bright red metal sculpture was created by David Black, professor at Ohio State for 30 years.

His connection to Zanesville happened long ago when his creative side focused on ceramics. He’d drive from Columbus to Roseville for the perfect clay he needed. His awards for ceramics and sculptures create an extensive list.

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Three floors containing over 7000 creative works of art can be found at the museum.

Inside the Zanesville Museum of Art, you’ll find a wide variety of treasures that span 5,000 years. Around every corner and in every room, different special displays pull you along. And they are changing constantly! Their mission is to ignite human imagination and understanding through the visual arts.

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This bronze bust of Raymond Thomas, who contributed his pottery collection to the museum, was made by local sculptor, Alan Cottrill.

This project began back in 1936 when it was called Zanesville Art Institute being located in downtown Zanesville. Established by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ayers, their personal collections of paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics became the foundation for the museum.

In 1975, more room was needed and it moved to its present location on Military Road. There are over 7,000 objects in 18 varied galleries on three floors with items you would only expect to see in a much larger city. They are quite proud of their museum and rightfully so.

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This Roseville Pottery display is one of many pottery exhibits throughout the museum.

The museum is well-known for its pottery collections as Zanesville was once the pottery capital of the world. So it follows that this would be the perfect place for pottery display by local companies including: Owens, Roseville and Weller. Displays show the progression of their works in an excellent timeline. Many consider pottery to be the heart of the museum.

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The Madame Alexander Doll Collection contains over 600 dolls.

The Madame Alexander Doll Company has a magnificent Americana Collection of dolls being shown at the Zanesville Museum of Art. Here you’ll find everything from dolls depicting nursery rhymes to those wearing dresses of the first ladies. Over 600 dolls make it a spot young ladies like to spend time.

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This colorful ceramic “Tree of Life” Candelabrum celebrates a Mexican religious holiday.

Two special art displays are being featured through January 7, 2017. The Carl E. Eriksson Collection features original paintings and sketches by The Eight. This group of eight artists drew people from all walks of life. They made a difference in the world of art by moving from traditional to realistic scenes featuring scenes of every day life.

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“Every Family Has a Black Shell” by Marilyn Stocker won the Award of Distinction.

The second is a juried exhibition by Southeastern Ohio Watermedia Society. The art work is outstanding here and many local artists are featured. There is also a section for displaying student art, featuring different schools each month.

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An Italian Votive “Sculpture of a Foot” dates back to 400 – 200 B.C.

The oldest items can be found in two places. In the Sculpture Gallery, two Roman sculptures date before 200 B.C. The Greek sculptures contain a votive, which looks like a foot, that also dates before 200 B.C.

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Original furnishings from a 1690s home in England are the setting for the Old Masters Gallery.

But the favorite spot is the Ayers Collection in the English Panel Room. You step back in time to a dining room from 1690 in Hatton Garden, the home of Sir Christopher Hatton, Chancellor under Queen Elizabeth I. Even the wood paneling is original. In this room, you’ll find displayed in the Old Masters Gallery their finest works of art  by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and more. All this at the Zanesville Museum of Art!

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Pottery and glass are featured collections from many local companies in the past and present.

The art museum is a great place for all ages to explore. Art Classes are scheduled twice a month for adults and children. These change monthly for chances to use various mediums of art. Check their schedule for the latest information at Zanesville Museum of Art .

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Zanesville displays beautifully decorated seven foot vases throughout the city.

ZMA Concert Series presents live entertainment in the museum galleries each month at no charge to the public. Sounds like the Zanesville Museum of Art has something for everyone that has an interest in the arts.

Every artist will be drawn to this impressive museum time after time as exhibits change six times each year. That makes it easier to have something everyone enjoys.

The world is but a canvas to our imagination. ~Henry David Thoreau

The Zanesville Museum of Art is located at 620 Military Road in Zanesville, Ohio. Take Exit 153 off I-70 north to Maple Avenue. In about two miles turn right on Military Road. The museum will be on the right hand side. Watch for the large red sculpture.

 

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