Topiary Garden, Old Deaf School Park, Columbus, Ohio

The Topiary Garden Park is located in downtown Columbus in the Discovery District and is built on the site where the Old Deaf School Park used to reside. Though it has become known by its new name the park dates back to the early 1800’s, when it was part of the campus of the adjacent Deaf School.

Today the Topiary Garden of Old Deaf School Park is one of kind—not only in the state or country, but in the world.  The garden is a living model of Georges Seurat’s post-Impressionist painting called “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte”.

It would be many years after the painting in 1989 when Columbus native and artist James T. Mason and artist Elaine Mason, James’ wife would conceive of and sculpt the 3D, living model of Seurat’s painting. The artificial pond (meant to be the river Seine) and the artificial hills were installed later in the year after the sculpting was complete.

In the years since its inception the garden has been the subject of numerous articles, books and documentaries. It has been covered by Life, The Wall Street Journal the BBC and National Geographic.

The recommended viewing season is April to November as this is when the garden is in full bloom.


Salt Cave Therapy in Columbus, OH

Unless you are on the cutting edge of spa technology you’ve probably not heard of salt caves and Halotherapy, but it is something you’ll probably just have to experience for yourself. And you won’t have to journey to the center of the earth to find it.

Salt caves are the unique new relaxation experience. The claimed benefits of Halotherapy range from anxiety to asthma. Columbus, OH is the home of a new salt cave, named Tranquility Salt Cave. Claims state that a 45-minute relaxation experience will calm your mind and rejuvenate your sinuses.

These caves are typically man-made. This cave is lined with Himalayan salt (yea, that pinkish orange kind that is so popular these days. The floors are made of packed, granulated salt of the same type.

Other conditions supposedly relieved by Halotherapy include coughs, congestion, Eczema and Dermatitis. It is claimed to improve lung functioning, sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, and depression.

This particular salt cave is also decorated with rock salt lamps and large boulders intended to enhance the salt experience.

The therapy includes cozying up with a blanket and deep breathing all while relaxing in a zero gravity chair.

Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor

Ohio was a center of manufacturing for the U.S. in the 19th and especially the 20th century because of our rich resources. You can learn about the steel industry that was such a part of our culture, especially in Youngstown, Ohio. Additionally, you can check out the so-called “last heats” or final batches of steel poured at each of the mills before their closings. Experience all this and more at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor.

One feature of the museum is its photography collection—the varied subject matter of the photographs detail the culture of labor, immigration and urban history. Artifacts include workers clothing and tools. Other photographs are life size and recreate scenes from urban life, such as a mill locker room, a company-built house and the work floor of a blooming mill. All of this is intended to help visitors understand the lives of steel workers and their profession.

The Historical Center also offers educational programs and there is access to the archives and library. The archives are a node in the Ohio Network of American History Research Centers and includes government records, manuscripts authored by workers, companies and labor organizations.

The historical center is managed by Youngstown State University.

Visit A Civil War Era Iron Furnace

At the Buckeye Furnace in southeastern Ohio you can see how pig iron was made during the Civil War era. The furnace is a recreated, charcoal fired blast furnace. This is just one of many that once operated in southeastern Ohio in the Hanging Rock Iron Region. Visitors will learn how these so-called iron making towns helped win the Civil War for the Union.
This 270-acre site contains lots of things to explore. The furnace is the main attraction. It was originally built in 1852 and went cold in 1894. There are other reconstructed buildings and a museum to visit. And if you’ve still got the energy the site has beautiful nature trails to explore.

After the down slide of salt0making in the area (from about 1795-1826) the local economy defaulted to agriculture. Despite the fact that natural resources were abundant in the area no one was taking advantage of them. Specifically, there were isolated parts of southeastern Ohio with iron deposits. This of course led to a limited production period of iron. Between the 1830s and 1840s a total of sixteen furnaces were built to take advantage of these resources.

While several of these original furnaces still stand, Buckeye’s is the only one that remains as it was during its operation.

The Squirrel Hunters

In the second year of the Civil War, September 1862 General Kirby Smith had captured Lexington Kentucky. Smith then sent General Henry Heth to capture Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio just across the river. This could have been the South’s first invasion into Ohio. On the side of the North, General Lewis Wallace was tasked to prepare both Covington and Cincinnati to defend themselves against Heth’s army.

Wallace immediately declared martial law upon arriving in Ohio as well as put out a call in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan for volunteer militia. Business owners were on order to close their businesses. Civilians were to report for duty in defense of Ohio’s border. Civilians helped build defensive structures like trenches.

David Tod, Ohio Governor, came to Cincinnati from the state capital. Wallace called for all available troops not currently guarding the border to repot to Cincinnati and for the Ohio quartermaster to send five thousand rifles to equip Cincinnati’s militia.

Some Ohio counties offered to send their able-bodied men to defend the southern border. Tod immediately accepted the offer for Wallace. Wallace instructed that only armed men come to their aid and that the railroads should provide their transport at no cost (Ohio later paid for the transport). 65 total counties sent over fifteen thousand men. This state militia would soon be known as the Squirrel Hunters.

Their name came from the weapons these volunteers brought with them, most of which were outdated and best suited for hunting small game rather than warfare.

Heth reported a force of seventy thousand men along the border and the South’s advance was soon dispelled—with no direct conflict or bloodshed. By September 13th word came that the enemy forces were withdrawing and Cincinnati was no longer in danger.