Those of you who have been following my 50 state countdown probably noticed there was a bit of a gap since the last one. The reason for that is this one is BIG. There’s so much history, sights, and activity in the Buckeye State I knew I would have to devote some serious time to do it justice. The state is the birthplace of 5 Presidents and one King. The state can make a valid claim as the birthplace of Aviation and Rock and Roll. It has six major American cities and is also one of the nation’s top agricultural states. It has a lot going for it so it’s going to take a big post to cover it all. So sit, down, grab a plate of world-famous Chili-Spaghetti and stick around as we go to the state that is Hi in the middle and round on the edges: O-HI-O


One of the most unusually named of the major American cities, Cincinnati takes its name from Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus who was a 5th-century Roman war hero. The story goes that Cincinnatus won a great victory for Rome. Instead of taking the laurel and all the rewards that went with it, he chose to retire to his farm and live a quiet life. The governor of the Northwest Territory, Arthur St. Clair thought the story of Cincinnatus represented a tale of courage and self-sacrifice and changed the name of the burgeoning city on the Ohio River from Losantiville to Cincinnati.

There was a time when Cincinnati represented the “Wild West” as it was the furthest reaches of the newly formed United States. The town wanted to project an air of sophistication as opposed to a frontier backwater. So the City Fathers gave the town the moniker of “The Queen City” a nickname that exists to this day.

Cincinnatus, Roman General, and city namesake. I always thought Cincinnati was a native American word.
Many people (myself included) associate Cincinnati with the television show of the 70s “WKRP in Cincinnati” If you remember the program you probably recognize Fountain Square as it was featured in the show’s opening.
If the Union Terminal Building looks familiar, it should. The building was the basis for “The Justice League” in DC comics. If you visit today, you won’t find Superman or Batman, but you can still enjoy some of Cincinnati’s finest museums.
Part Supermarket, part Disneyland, Jungle Jim’s is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Shoppers can see a bit of show and still get their half a pound of sugar.
Home of all things neon, The American Sign Museum takes nostalgic patrons on a journey through America’s commercial past.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center serves as a stark reminder of the nation’s darker days. As a free state during the slavery era Cincinnati was a crucial stop on the path to freedom for escaped African American Slaves.
Cincinnati is a great pedestrian city. There are two bridges open solely for walkers. You can cross the river and visit Kentucky without even needing a vehicle.


While most people know Dayton as the home of the Wright Brothers, the city, is also home to a slew of other inventions. The cash register, the hydraulic pump, code-breaking machines, and even the soda pop top all had their birth here. The city is also home to the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the war in Bosnia also took place at the nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

The National Museum of the Air Force is the world’s oldest and largest Aviation Museum. The is a must-see for anyone who has even a remote interest in Aeronautics.
A massive statue honoring The Wright Brother Airplane “The Wright Flyer” The brother’s plane flight is considered the world’s first. And sure it took place in North Carolina, but the plane was designed and created in Dayton.
The Wright Brother’s One is reading and the other is apparently doing Mime.


While many states feature at least major American cities and a few have two, Ohio is in a rare crowd of states to have three or more. But Columbus, the state capital is the largest of them all. The city is the heart of Ohio geographically and is home to just under a million people. The city feature’s one of the nation’s most famous zoos, the Scioto Mile which is a series of green parks and river walks, one of the nation’s best bookstores, and an authentically restored German village. Oh, and let’s not forget Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One of America’s most famous zoos The Columbus Zoo rose to prominence after the curator Jack Hanna began appearing on “The Tonight Show” He would bring in exotic animals to amuse and sometimes frighten host Johnny Carson.
The Scioto Mile is a series of Parks and walkways that surround the Scioto River. Many of the City’s Museums are also a short walk away as well.
A great swath of greenery isn’t just found along the River. Columbus also has a luscious topiary park and a world-class botanical garden.
I’ve been to a lot of state capitol buildings, but Ohio’s is most unusual. Many states have a building crowned with a gold or bronze dome. Here in Columbus, it looks like someone decapitated the capitol.
One might wonder why Ohio has a statue honoring Austrian-born and former California Governor Arnold Swarzenegger. But Arnold’s ties to Columbus run deep. He was crowned Mr. World here in 1970. just one of the many body-building competitions he has earned. He also started the Arnold Sports Festival in 1979 in Columbus to recognize young talented bodybuilders and athletes of many other sports.
In the German town neighborhood, there are many restored homes and businesses from the late 19th Century. German Village also contains The Book Loft one of the nation’s best privately owned bookstores. Here they have 36 rooms of books. If you can’t find it here it wasn’t printed.


The city used to be the butt of some of the cruelest civic shaming in America. Many a leisure suit-wearing nightclub hack would bash the city mercilessly. “The mistake on the Lake” they would call it. And in all fairness back in the 1970s, the city was the posterchild of ‘The rust belt’. Blight, Urban decay and the white flight to the suburbs (and more importantly the money they took with them) left Cleveland ragged. But those days are in the past. I have been to Cleveland a few times and had a great time each visit. Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, one of the nation’s best Art Museums, and is even has the house from the holiday favorite “A Christmas Story” among many other surprises. The city’s Renaissance is real and I concur with Clevelander Drew Carey that Yes, Cleveland does indeed rock.

The Globetrotting Grandpa himself poses in front of the Rock Hall. The Hall of Fame had been on my bucket list for several years.
John Lennon’s  ‘Sgt. Pepper’ uniform. The museum also has his driver’s license and original passport.
Located in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum of the Divine Statues gives restoration to religious art that has fallen into distress. Taken from defunct churches or decommissioned parishes that are being torn down. The museum saves and repairs stained glass, paintings, and iconic status and allows these works to be a renewed blessing in the hearts of the faithful. 
Located south of Downtown the “Christmas Story House” draws movie fans all year round. It even has the leg lamp in the window. After all, it is a ‘major award”
One of the finest museums of its kind to be found anywhere, to be found anywhere. The breadth of the collection is astonishing with over 61,000 pieces curated. The Museum garners an annual attendance of over half a million. The Gallery is located in the verdant Wade Park area just 5 minutes south of downtown,
Ohio is the home of 5 former US Presidents and ranks only behind Virginia in the number of native executive sons. But the distinction is bittersweet. Four of the five would die in office and two of those, James Garfield and William McKinley were assassinated. Perhaps that may have something to do with the bearing of their final resting place. Both have probably the grandest tombs of any US President. Garfield’s grave is the top picture while McKinley is the bottom.
I mentioned that Ohio produced 5 Presidents and one King. That would be Mr. Rhett Butler himself, Clark Gable who was born in Cadiz Ohio, and was known as the “King of Hollywood”
Another entertainer originally from Ohio is Dean Martin, His hometown of Steubenville honored him with a mural.
While Baseball makes the claim that it is the quintessential American Sport, I would make the case that Football Truly is. Baseball is popular in many places outside of the US. Latin America, The Caribbean, and even Japan have devoted fanbases and very successful teams. But Football is unique. It’s even called “American Football” to distinguish it from soccer, what most of the world calls Football. And the best place to honor those who have played the game with distinction would be the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Located on a narrow spit of land jutting into Lake Erie, Cedar Point Amusement Park near Sandusky is considered one of the world’s best. They have 17 roller coasters second-largest assortment in the entire world.

People often call Ohio a Mid-western State. As someone who was born in Kansas and spent most of his adult years in Missouri, I might dissent that claim. Ohio is more of a hybrid. Part eastern and part Midwest. It has the sensibilities of both. Cosmopolitan and rustic, full of urban centers surrounded by bucolic pastureland and farms Ohio is about American as America gets.

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