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.

The Spaghetti Warehouse

When choosing a restaurant for myself I tend to go for great atmosphere. If the food is decent, that’s just a bonus.

I retrieved a friend from the airport Friday and she was famished from her journey so I wanted to go somewhere fun with a good, filling meal. We went to the Spaghetti Warehouse in Columbus. This is a chain but the Columbus location is so unique and so established that people up there seem to think it’s local.

It’s in an old icehouse that was built in 1891 and has been there since 1975. When you approach from Broad Street you’re looking at the back of an imposing brick building complete with a loading dock. It appears to be abandoned. When I turned in, my friend’s reaction was priceless. “This is…. a restaurant…?”

From this angle, it does look like a great place to be killed by the mafia. However, if you drive around to the front of the building, you’ll find a full parking lot and charming entrance.

The centerpiece in the dining room is a trolley car where patrons can dine.

They have a couple of old confessionals from churches in New England that house tables as well. I overheard a server inform an elderly man he had to behave himself while sitting in the confessional.

Glorious woodwork, Tiffany lights and stunning stained glass are just a few of the elements found throughout the dining room.

I always look for mirror selfies.

Oh, and the food was divine too. We both had manicotti which came with salad and bread. Their desserts come from the Cheesecake Factory so we had little trouble talking each other into splitting something. She suggested the Godiva Double Chocolate Cheesecake was a little too much chocolate. I suggested she was nuts because there’s no such thing has too much chocolate.

If you get a chance, you should check it out. My food was divine, the service great and the atmosphere wonderful. It is rare that I get to say that!

His Master’s Voice

It’s a stained glass window. To be more specific, it’s one of four very large windows that were created in 1915 by D’Ascenzo Studios for a tower at the Victor Talking Machine Company headquarters in Camden, New Jersey.

The dog listening to a record is named Nipper and this image became the company’s trademark. He looks so real I almost expected him to bark as I walked by!

His Master’s Voice

It’s a stained glass window. To be more specific, it’s one of four very large windows that were created in 1915 by D’Ascenzo Studios for a tower at the Victor Talking Machine Company headquarters in Camden, New Jersey.

The dog listening to a record is named Nipper and this image became the company’s trademark. He looks so real I almost expected him to bark as I walked by!

This Is Why We Adventure

Walking down the street in Piqua, Ohio, I stumbled onto an old Episcopal Church made of stone and adorned with gorgeous stained glass. A pickup truck out front served as work space for two locals who had removed the church’s antique front doors for repair.

After stopping to ask if it was ok to go inside, I climbed the front steps and passed through the opening where large red doors with enormous ornate hardware should have been.

Natural light flooded through colorful stained glass in all directions, giving the sanctuary an almost other worldly feeling. That alone was worth the visit but I was greeted by another surprise, a man playing the piano with the confidence and grace of a trained concert pianist. I stayed for just a few minutes but he never stopped playing, agilely transitioning from one song into another without a break.

Normally I would say that churches are best enjoyed in solitude but having this space filled with extraordinary music made the experience so very special.

I chatted with one of the woodworkers on the way out and learned that the pianist is known around town, always scruffy, always carrying the nap sack I saw resting next to the piano, and possibly homeless. This possibility made me sad. The thought of anyone being homeless is horrible and it seems such a shame that a person with this kind of talent would be down on his luck.

It was a good reminder to not judge a person or place, especially when you don’t know the entire story. The woman I spoke with said that she sees him around town but was amazed when he showed up one day and began playing song after song.

This is why I wander small town side streets and backroads It is these peaks behind the curtain and the surprises around the corner that make it worthwhile. The glimpse inside the church and the powerful gift of song from someone that locals know as a street person made my day. It gives me cause to keep going, to keep looking for the secrets that our world holds and to keep looking around the next bend.

Basilica of Saint Mary

From Ohio’s smallest church to one of the state’s most ornate, I covered a lot of ground while exploring last Friday.

The centerpiece of my journey was the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Marietta. It is open during the day for self guided tours and I was fortunate to find myself completely alone in this spectacular place.

The first Mass in Marietta was celebrated at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers when there were few Catholics in the area. It was led by the chaplain to a French expedition from Quebec. In the 1830s, land was acquired for a parish and a building was erected. Unfortunately, it suffered devastating damage from flooding over a period of years.

Land for this baslica was acquired in 1900 and ground was broken in 1903. It was consecrated six years later. By then the parish had over 1000 souls. Construction cost about $129,000, a King’s ransom a century ago.

The stained glass windows were created in Munich, Germany and they are stunning – jaw droppingly gorgeous.

There are some signs of the times. For example, they have roped off rows of pews to encourage social distancing and safe worship. There are also security cameras and a collection box in the entryway.

You can see ropes here, a smart move if you ask me.

There are amazing details to appreciate in every nook and cranny both inside…..

and out……

I mentioned yesterday that most churches used to be open and available all the time. This one isn’t available all the time but you can access it outside Mass hours and I’m grateful that they welcome visitors. It felt like a great privilege to sit quietly, to meander and to admire the art and craftsmanship at leisure.

Interested in visiting? Start with their website for updated information on their hours.