Rapid City Memories

Plans are underway for my 2022 Western Adventure so I have been thinking a lot about past western trips. Of all the places I’ve been, Rapid City, South Dakota is one of the most visually pleasing small cities and one I wouldn’t mind revisiting someday.

It is packed with things to to do, cute shops, amazing restaurants and public art galore.

We had some terrific meals, including dinner at Firehouse Brewing Company which is located in a 1915 era firehouse. Today it has the distinction of being the city’s first brew pub and it exists because a group of investors saw an opportunity, formed a partnership and went for it.

There are great old buildings and terrific vintage signage still in use today.

Plus, there’s an alley where local artists can apply for permits to practice their graffiti art. Some of the work is fun or cute while others deliver a message.

When it comes to public art, the city is actually best known for its trail of life sized bronze statues that represent each of our nation’s former presidents. There’s a reason why their nickname is “City of Presidents” and it isn’t just because Mount Rushmore is down the road.

Most of these statues are impressive and some are surprisingly moving like this one of John F. Kennedy with his toddler son.

They are all privately funded and it’s a non-partisan project all the way around.

Rapid City is close to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Badlands and a host of other regional attractions. That area is well worth your time whether you stop on your way somewhere else or are spending a chunk of time.

If you’re interested, type South Dakota into the search box here and you’ll find several pieces from my visit a few years ago!

Rescued Art: Ohio Seal On Display

As you enter the museum at the Ohio Statehouse, there is one breathtaking item that will draw your eye right in. It’s this gorgeous piece of stained glass that’s backlit and positively glowing.

This Seal of Ohio hung in the Rotunda dome from the 1920s until it was taken down in sixties. When it was decided to renovate the Ohio Statehouse in 1989, it was found stored in a closet inside a men’s room in the Senate Building.

Thankfully, someone saw value in it and had it restored. It became part of the Statehouse Museum in 1996.

This piece is huge and the colors are vibrant. I’m so grateful someone prioritized it’s restoration for a new generation to enjoy. I’m also glad they decided to use it in the museum rather than back in the dome, where it would be too high to appreciate. To give you some perspective, the center of the dome is where this once hung. It’s 120 feet high. I zoomed in a good bit for this picture.

Here’s one more view.

Brave Little Brave And A Tru-Test

Yesterday took me to a meeting in Canal Winchester, Ohio. I took a moment to swing into a parking lot for a closer look at this mural in their Old Town District.

It’s called “Brave Little Brave” and was created by Crystal Salyer. It was installed by the Canal Winchester Art Guild in 2018.

From this vantage point I noticed something down an adjacent alley. Check out this great vintage Tru-Test paint ad!

It was a great surprise and a fun end to the day. Canal has a number of nice murals but it’s the off the beaten path and unexpected stuff I like best!

Denver Mural

Denver has a vibrant arts scene and is teeming with murals. Some are elaborate, amazing works of art that are easily viewed from afar while others are tucked away in alleys and other right spaces. I mostly just enjoyed them from the car window but snapped a few pictures.

Here’s one I especially liked.

The colors really popped against the glass and steel buildings and the grey morning sky.

Public art, especially the well done kind, is one of my favorite things to look for when I travel.


DC’s Chinatown is vibrant and colorful. This mural is larger than life and stopped me in my tracks. Can you imagine having such talent?

It’s the unexpected stuff, the things that you’ll never find in a travel book that make exploring this big world of ours truly grand.

What was the last thing you saw that really made you stop in admiration? I would love to hear about it.