On a Martha

Sorry … not Martha Stewart, Martha Graham, Martha White, or Martha Raye. Nope … not Martha Reeves, Martha Plimpton, Martha Quinn, Martha Raddatz, Martha from the Bible. Not even Martha in another language as Marta, Martina, Martine, Martella, Maruska, Marte, or even just simply Marti. I know some are guessing Martha Washington, wife of the first US President – na-baby-na … but this Martha is named the First Lady.

Martha literally means lady, so yes, the name fits. Martha has a royal significance in Scandinavia, so royalty is a suitable adjective, but this Martha isn’t Scandinavian and possibly never visited that beautiful part of the world.

There isn’t consensus on or where Martha was born, but there is no doubt about when and where she died .. nor her significance. This post is about Martha – Ectopistes migratorius – a passenger pigeon.

Living in enormous colonies, passenger pigeons were the most common bird found in the US. Their migratory flocks could darken a sky, causing famous bird painter James Audubon wrote in 1813,

I observed the Pigeons flying from north-east to south-west, in greater numbers than I thought I had ever seen them before, and feeling an inclination to count the flocks that might pass within the reach of my eye in one hour, I dismounted, seated myself on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable, as the birds pouted in   countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I travelled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse, the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers, and continued to do so for three days in succession.

Overhunting, habitat loss, and possibly diseases sharply decreased their population. By mid-1910, Martha was the only remain of her species – and living at the Cincinnati Zoo. At 1:00 pm on September 1, 1914, Martha died. Shortly thereafter, zoo workers packed her in a 300 pound (140 kg) block of ice for transportation to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

Enter my ties to Martha. Although, I’ve seen her memorials on numerous occasions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Cincinnati Museum Center, in 2014 I posted this image of a mural in downtown Cincinnati. The mural is a project by ArtWorks, a non-profit organization with one aspect being providing murals as public art. (For the interested, here’s a short video about ArtWorks)

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Later, I discovered that the mural is based on a painting by a famous wildlife artist, John Ruthven. His style is not only similar to John Audubon’s, Ruthven’s world has also traveled the globe and is found in numerous museums. Currently at the age of 91, he still resides in the Cincinnati area. In 2013, Ruthven completed an acrylic painting – Martha: The Last Passenger Pigeon.

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In the summer 2013, ArtsWork transformed Ruthven’s painting into a very large mural. Enjoy the time-lapse as Martha flies again.

 

On a Day at a Museum

In late December, my wife and I spent the afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC). The fabulous day included two Omnimax movies, an exhibition, the holiday train display, and sometime in the history portion of the CMC … so here’s your chance to explore what we saw.

The CMC occupies Union Terminal. With its Art Deco, rotunda, tile mosaics, and architectural structures, Union Terminal is quite the building. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed this wonderful structure by placing it #44 on the AIA’s favorites of American architecture. Learn more about Union Terminal here.

Jerusalem, a National Geographic movie, was fascinating! We’ve seen most of the Omnimax movies through the years, and this one ranks as one of the best. The trailer is below, but here is the list of locations the movie is currently playing throughout the world.

Mummies of the World is a travelling exhibit that is currently in Cincinnati. The exhibit trailer is below, and click here for the exhibit’s main website. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a schedule of future tour stops.

In the Omnimax theater, we also saw Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs. To me, the movie was OK and worth seeing, but doesn’t make my list of favorite films at the museum’s theater. Explore the trailer.

On our way to the holiday train display, the Cincinnati in Motion exhibit is a personal favorite. It’s a model of the city in the first half of the 20th Century. Life in cities during pre-suburbia and interstates fascinates me. The video below will give you a ride through the display, and you can see some images here.

On a Walktober Town Walk

Loveland Sign

Loveland Sign

As part of Robin’s Walktober, welcome to Loveland, the town where my wife and I reside. Instead of sharing our beauty fall colors, I’ve chosen to take you for a town walk of this northeastern Cincinnati suburb.

Lt. Colonel Thomas Paxton may have first lived in a house like this …

Rich Cabin

Rich Cabin @ the Loveland Historical Museum

… but his daughter and husband built this home in 1840 …

White Pillars

White Pillars

… and all are buried in the family cemetery (both the home and cemetery are now part of a subdivision)

Paxton Cemetery

Paxton Family Cemetery

In the early days, Loveland thrived as a railroad community because two lines intersected here, thus served at least 14 trains a day … (and one railway still operates as I hear the train’s horn several times a day)

Loveland Station

Loveland Station

One of the railroad beds is now a very popular 70-mile bike trail, which also intersects with other trails in the state

Loveland straddles both sides the Little Miami River, which is a designated sceinic waterway at both the state and national level, thus is popular for canoeing … plus the bike trail follows the river

Between the bike trail and the river is a wonderful city park with picnic tables, an amphitheater, and access to the river bank

Old Town offers a some shops, eateries, and a movie theater that the local firefighters converted into a playhouse for the community theater company

Other sights include a studio for local artists, an old church that is now someone’s home (I’m told the owners call it their chouse), and even a mural for Resa

Loveland honors its veterans from all wars and area firefighters

The city’s motto is The Sweetheart of Ohio, besides, people love to send Valentine’s Day cards with the Loveland post office mark

A City Symbol

The Sweetheart of Ohio

From Loveland, Ohio, good day and good night … and don’t forget to vist

WalktoberRobin

On a Grand Hall

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With its face towering over a rejuvenated Washington Park in the historic Over the Rhine neighborhood just north of city center, Music Hall is a Cincinnati treasure. Recognized by the US Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark (December 1974),

Music Hall is a grand building with a central concert hall, a large ballroom that originally served as an exhibition center for automobile shows, garden shows, and even hosting sporting events. We love ballroom dance events in this venue. I introduced Music Hall in this June 2011 post.

From the first performance on May 14, 1878 (the opera, Alceste, and Beethoven’s Eroica symphony) to serving as the current home to the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, Cincinnati Ballet, May Festival, and more, Music Hall remains the city’s cultural heart. Besides being one of America’s grand concert halls, it also has known as place haunted with ghosts – but friendly ghosts.

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One can view its majestic nature from across Washington Park. Is there any doubt that Cincinnati Germans love for music? Nonetheless, its highest peak is quirky.
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The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), the fifth oldest orchestra in the America, used a new summer event to welcome its new (13th) conductor, Louis Langrée – who joins the list of CSO Musical Directors as Leopold Stokowski, Max Rudolf, Thomas Shippers, Walter Suskind, Jesús López-Cobos, and Paavo Järvi.

  • The event: LumenoCity 2013
  • The place: Washington Park
  • The background and screen: Music Hall

Enjoy the Fourth Movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 from LumenoCity 2013, an event using Music Hall’s exterior as a backdrop for a concert also delivering a visual feast that is worth 10 minutes for those who like this sort of thing. Additional information related to this post is below the video.

Additional Information
For all the LumenoCity videos
More about Music Hall
A recent article from the Huffington Post about Music Hall and LumenoCity 2013
My post about historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood

On OTR

 

From the Cincinnati Enquirer 05 Apr 2014

From the Cincinnati Enquirer 05 Apr 2014

Italianate: An architectural style familiar to Cincinnatians; to me, this word means history, it means culture and the effect of row after row of rooftops overlooking the city. – David Falk, Cincinnati restaurateur, Huffington Post  

Over-the-Rhine (“über dem Rhein.” in German) is a Cincinnati neighborhood that got its name from the Germans that transformed the area in the mid-1800s from farms and gardens to a vibrant community. Its name came from the fact that residents had to cross the Miami-Erie Canal that separated the neighborhood from downtown. (Today, the former canal is Central Parkway, a large thoroughfare.)

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It was this wave of working-class German immigrants that brought Italianate architecture to Cincinnati. This scale-down version of Italian palaces met their needs because there were affordable to build on narrow lots.

At one time, more than 45,000 people lived in Over-the-Rhine (OTR), of which 75% were first or second generation German-Americans. Given the German culture’s love for beer, Cincinnati’s historic brewery district was born, which also employed thousands. OTR also became home to Cincinnati landmarks as Music Hall, Findlay Market, historic churches, Washington Park, Memorial Hall, and more.

DSC02008Many left the neighborhood due to the anti-German sentiment of World War I. Coupled that with Prohibition, OTR changed. Although many Appalachians became residents, the neighborhood remained vibrant. The 1960s brought interstates to urban areas, and OTR became flanked by I-75 and I-71. Suburbia began to grow, and the neighborhood’s demographics continued to change – eventually leaving this neighborhood to the poor.

DSC02047By 2000, the once-proud neighborhood was the poster for urban blight – deteriorating buildings, walls separating, broken windows, unsanitary living quarters, drugs, shootings, and high crime. With an average median income of $10,000 per household, OTR was also the home for many social agencies.

“One of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country” would be added to a neighborhood that in 1983 received distinction of a historic district listed in the National Register of Historic Places that has significance to other historic neighborhoods as in Savannah (Georgia), Charleston (South Carolina), the French Quarter (New Orleans), and Greenwich Village (New York City).

DSC02043In 2003, Cincinnati Center City Development Corp (3CDC) formed to transform the area. After all, the 360 acres of historic distinction was home to 943 buildings of Italianate architecture from the 19th century. Besides, given the historic distinction, tearing down buildings is not an option – so change became the order.

With 3CDC leading the charge, millions have been spent to rehabilitate the historic neighborhood to restore buildings, renovate Washington Park, improve streetscape, add green space, and develop DSC02050commercial space. Yes – OTR is rapidly changing. Suburban friends of ours recently purchased a building to rehabilitate into their future home.

Last October, a friend and I decided to walk around Over-the-Rhine. Transformation is evident by site of active construction workers and buildings are various stages of restoration. Mixed within the new, social agencies remain to care for the many that remain needy – causing me to wonder where they will go. Nonetheless, vibrancy is returning to this historical, once-vibrant neighborhood. After all, a Graeter’s has also arrived in OTR.

You (Cincinnati) are no longer that embarrassing girlfriend I don’t tell my friends about, insecure and self-conscious. You are alive and breathing in gasps of energy, and I scream my love for you from the Italianate rooftops. David Falk, Cincinnati restaurateur, Huffington Post

On a beautiful day, we walked a lot, saw a lot, and always felt safe. Enjoy the pictures of this historic Cincinnati neighborhood. Any thoughts?

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Additional References

On a Corporate Downtown

Downtown Cincinnati from Devou Park (Covington, Kentucky)

Downtown Cincinnati from Devou Park (Covington, Kentucky)

That’s downtown Cincinnati from a park on top of a hill from the Kentucky side of the river.  My city is like other cities because each city has a distinctive skyline of corporate identities.

Cincinnati has the old and the new …

Old and the New

I’m not sure the identity of these two

… but there are some unexpected corporate headquarters that many may not identify with this small city along the Ohio River.

Macy’s is a very well-known department store. Although its flagship store is in New York City, corporate headquarters resides in Cincinnati.

Macy's HQ

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Procter & Gamble is an unquestionable global leader regarding consumer products. With brand names as Tide, Charmin, Gillette, Downey, Swiffer, DuraCell, Dawn, Ivory, Crest, Clairol, Bounty, Pampers, and many more, P&G’s Cincinnati roots go back to their origins making candles and soap. (Brands here). P&G also has research facilities throughout the city.

P&G image from University of Cincinnati

P&G image from University of Cincinnati

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Barney Kroger started a grocery store in 1883 from his savings of $372. Today, with 2,400 stores in 31 states, Kroger is the largest grocery retailer in the United States. Besides Kroger, other store brands include Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Dillon’s, Smiths, Fry’s, Smith’s, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, Scott’s, Gerbes, Baker’s, Owen’s, City Market, Jay C Pay Less, and QFC.

Kroger

Kroger HQ

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Powell Crosley was an inventor, industrialist, and entrepreneur. From Crosley automobiles to Crosley radios, which was the largest producer of radios in the world … from starting a powerful radio station to transitioning into television … from building household appliances to owning the local professional  baseball team … Crosley is a well-known name in Cincinnati. Below is the building known as Crosley Square, which at one time housed the Crosley radio and television stations.

Crosley Square

Crosley Square

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The Great American Insurance Company may not have the name recognition as the previous companies, but its name is not only associated with our baseball stadium (home of the Reds), it’s also responsible for the newest (and now tallest) building in the city, which is also topped with a tiara.

Great American Insurance Building

The Great American Tower

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Cincinnati has others, such below. With all the bank mergers in recent years, I’m not sure whose name is upon it now, but it’s still a prominent building in the skyline … but no longer a major HQ. Hope you enjoyed my brief tour of a few of Cincinnati’s corporate identities.

Old Central Trust Tower

 

On a Few Murals

You may recall two past posts (this one and that one) about attending this year’s Opening Day festivities in the city. As I walked many miles, certain sights reminded me of Resa – a Canadian photographer who uses her blog to share the graffiti art and murals she finds in cities. (If you visit her blog, tell her I sent you.)

Granted, on this day I wasn’t prowling Cincinnati’s city center looking for outdoor murals, but because I thought of Resa each time I stumbled across a mural, I knew a post was in the making. Enjoy some of the murals I captured on this day. Which is your favorite?

 

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