1948 Crosley Station Wagon

In 1948 the Crosley Motors Company made a station wagon that got fifty miles to the gallon. One of those cars is pictured above. It’s part of an exhibit about the fifties that you can currently see at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

Crosley produced these cars in Camp Washington here in Ohio but many Ohioans have never seen one on the road because they only made about 84,000 cars. The company actually wasn’t known for their cars as much as their radios and for WLW, once called the “nation’s radio station.”

Crosley made some other cars, including a pre-war coupe that was quite popular, but the wagon was the most commercially successful. Yet it still wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat. They ceased production in 1952.

The museum has just one small sign about the car but I would love to see an entire exhibit about the Crosley Company. Despite the failed venture into automobiles, owner Powell Crosley was an incredibly smart business man who made radios and other appliances affordable for the common family.

When radio signals weren’t strong enough to reach customers in rural America, he built the most powerful transmitter anyone had seen and began broadcasting the best talent of the day including people like Red Skelton, the Mills Brothers and Rosemary Clooney.

I have a Crosley radio in my collection but they are hard to find and usually expensive.

The influence and reach of the Crosley radio alone should be enough to merit a museum so it makes me a little sad that such a thing doesn’t exist.

Meanwhile, you can go to Columbus and enjoy the station wagon. You also can think of Crosley each time you flip on the radio, and say thanks for all the company did to make this technology affordable and accessible, not just to the wealthy but to everyone.

Adventure Day Antiques and Vinyl

Yesterday was my first day of vacation and I spent it adventuring with a friend. We hit the Heritage Square Antique Mall, Tommy’s Diner and three (count ’em three) guitar stores in Columbus. Plus we still got out of dodge before rush hour.

Heritage Square is well worth your time if you enjoy antique malls. This one is over 50,000 square feet packed full of stuff. For under $30 I left with a like new red gingham Christmas tree skirt, a vintage Santa and two records, one of which I had never seen before in real life.

I also found this Crosley piece that I wish I had a reason to own. Original Crosleys in good condition are hard to find. This one still has the book and not a lot of wear.

Not buying this may turn out to be one of my life’s regrets.

Tommy’s is a nice little diner not far from downtown that has a u-shaped counter and lots of stuff to look at. It’s a popular place but their lunch service is pretty quick so they get you in and out. The food was typical diner meals and I won’t make a special trip to go back but would absolutely return if I’m in the neighborhood.

The guitar shops were kind of neat too because they’re filled with pretty guitars and it’s always fun to hear my friend play around with the thing he loves best. But don’t tell him that I didn’t hate it – he will take me to more next time!

We encountered some quirky people in these stores including a fellow who makes customs in his German Village Music Haus.

Check out this guitar that features an old comic strip. That’s all wood!

We also found some bargains at Apollo Records, my current favorite record store. Located in downtown Chillicothe, it’s packed full of potential treasures that are priced to move. I’ve never walked out of there without an armload.

The great controversy of the day is that I beat him to a stash of Flying Burrito Brothers albums that he insists I cheated him out of. I say that I found them fair and square!

If you’re near one of these small businesses, stop by and give them a little love. Supporting a small business means you’re supporting local jobs and businesses that fill storefronts and often support our communities in a host of ways. The online retailers we all love so much don’t even know where you live. They certainly won’t give money to your school band or pass out candy in your Christmas parade.

In all, it was a fun day and I’m glad for it. And seriously, if you enjoy antique malls and haven’t been, find your way to Heritage Square!

Light, Color and Chihuly

Did you read my account of the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Franklin Park Conservatory? I loved the light in this space and the pops of color.

Franklin Park is a beautiful place all by itself but the Chihuly adds something really special!

Work Is Easier When You Love Your Job

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It’s fun to watch people at work when they clearly love their job. This gentleman does blown glass demonstrations at the Franklin Park Conservatory and offers a wonderful  presentation. It seems that he makes something a little different for each demonstration and I was lucky enough to see him create a bowl.

I’ve witnessed blown glass demonstrations a few times but had never seen a bowl made so this was thrilling. He kept the audience interested and engaged, even eliciting some oohs and ahs as he played with color and shape while manipulating glass at temperatures upwards of one thousand degrees fahrenheit.

If you find yourself at this place, be sure to stop by the Hot Shop for a demonstration. And, if you’re so inclined, you can even purchase pieces made here at the gift shop inside!

The Outstanding Art Of Dale Chihuly

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My summer bucket list is about a mile long but the first thing on that list was to see the Dale Chihuly exhibition at Franklin Park Conservatory. Monday offered opportunity to make the trek up to the Columbus landmark for a stroll through the flowers and glass art.

We’ll talk about the Conservatory another day but I really wanted show you some pictures of Chihuly’s work. The Seattle based artist does outstanding things with glass, light and color. His style is unmistakable and easily recognizable.

I’m not an art critic but I do know what I like and Chihuly’s work makes me smile. His work is larger than life and something that you simply have to see in person to truly appreciate.

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With that said, I am not excited about the placement of most of his pieces at Franklin Park. In my humble opinion, his work is best appreciated when surrounded by elements of nature. It’s hard to view (or photograph) most pieces here without getting backgrounds of building, concrete and steel. But it’s still outstanding and I was impressed with how they incorporated pieces into the butterfly room, pictured above. This room is lush and green and Chihuly’s colorful orbs in the water feel like floating flowers while other pieces appear to be growing from the earth.

Another outstanding element here is the Persian ceiling. If it weren’t such a high traffic area, I would have been tempted to lie down on the floor and stare up at it!

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Have a look and see what you think. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Want to know more about Chihuly? See his website, visit the Franklin Park Conservatory or find his work in public spaces across the country.