A Case of a Most Unusual Flag

Ohio’s flag, adopted in 1902, is often known as the Ohio Burgee for its swallow tail design—which has most often been employed in the design of maritime signal flags. The Ohio Burgee is the only non-rectangular flag in the United States.

John Eisenmann, a Cleveland architect, was selected to design the Ohio State exhibition hall for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901. Eisenmann also designed what would become the Ohio Burgee only a year later, as a flag to represent the Ohio Pan-American Exposition Commission, not the entire state. But in 1902, after the Governor, George K. Nash, had visited the exposition and been presented with one of the flags, State Representative William McKinnon introduced House Bill 213 creating Eisenmann’s design the official state flag.

Eisenmann’s design was so literally so “outside the box”, not being of the standard state-seal-on-a-sheet design the press actually went overseas to find precedents for the design – the layout being compared to Cuba’s flag or the flag of the Philippines, while the red and white annulus was chastised for its easy comparison to the Japanese flag.

Though still sometimes considered unpopular and not often flown by Ohioans, the Burgee remains one of the most unique flags in the Union.

Treats and History on South Bass Island

South Bass Island, also known as Put-In-Bay, is home to a unique experience The Chocolate Café and Museum. This stop is for the choco-junkies and sweet teeth, but also for the historians. As the name suggests there is a small museum dedicated just to chocolate—which tracks the history of chocolate and its journey across the Earth.

Everyone will leave with some new expertise on the topic as well as some goodies.
It is also a true café in the sense that they serve coffee, they offer seating and display cases featuring traditional and usual chocolate treats.

Chocolate began its journey in South America as the cocoa plant and the first chocolate shop was supposedly opened in 1657 in London by a Frenchman. Since this time every major city has had a chocolate house and the treat is closely tied to many histories and cultures all over the world.

It is in this tradition that the Chocolate Café and Museum presents itself.

“The Winningest Team in Professional Football History”

Most of you have probably never heard of the Toledo Troopers, but in 1971 they began playing in the Women’s Professional Football League. During their tenure the Troopers became, according to some, the most successful team in professional football history with seven consecutive perfect seasons.

The Troopers played from 1971 to ’79 all under the coaching of Bill Stout. In total 82 different female athletes’ plaid on the team. Five months out of the year they practiced five days a week. For their work each player made $25. These players came from varied backgrounds off the field some were mothers, some students, some businesswomen. The Toledo Troopers advanced the cause for equality in sports long before Title IX legislation was in full effect.

Unsurprisingly the Troopers were met with skepticism and sometimes outright discrimination because they were women. However, once the Troopers began to play all that was laid aside. The Toledo Blade published a 1972 article in which two of their journalists describe their experience scrimmaging with the Troopers. Was noted as saying that if you want to experience pro football don’t play with the men, play the women.

Though successful and fairly popular financial troubles caused the Toledo Troopers to call it quits in 1979. One impact they left on the sports world was their stunning 61-4 lifetime record. And in 1983 the authority on all things football—The Pro Football Hall of Fame—named them the “winningest team in professional football history”.

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

Named after his father Lenny—who was also a boxer until WWII injuries ended his career—was the reason Ray Mancini picked up the gloves. In doing so he would become a legend both locally and nationally.

His rise to fame couldn’t have come at a better time—it gave his home, Youngstown, something to cheer for when the depressed industrial city was facing wide spread job loss in the beginning of the 1980’s.

Between ’82-’84 Mancini claimed the World Boxing Associations lightweight champion title. Mancini’s career ended with a 29-5 record, 23 of those wins were via KO. Mancini also came out of boxing with good health and financial standing.

In 2015 he was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Fans loved his aggressive attack style. As a personality he was modest and endeared himself to fans. People also loved his backstory, “local boy from burned out steel town gets into ring to honor his veteran father”.

Some have said that Boom Boom was one of the last great marquee names during the last great decade of the sport.

For many who know of Mancini, they will forever link him to a 1982 title fight in Las Vegas in which Mancini won by knock out. His opponent, Duk-Koo Kim, was rushed to the hospital, but ultimately died of a brain hemorrhage. Though it took some time, Mancini finally did make peace with the death of his opponent.

While history at large may remember him for this particular fight, Ohioans remember him for his courage, heart and humble personality that made up his thirteen-year career.
In 2014, Mancini moved back to Youngstown and formed the Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini Foundation. The foundation has sponsored events in benefit to other charities and local families and individuals in need.

Ohio History on Summer Vacation

Now is the time to visit some of Ohio’s historical sites. If you were asleep during Ohio History class or have moved from and another state, you might not know how interesting much of Ohio is. Here are a few suggestions for summer historical visits.

Campus Martius in Marietta it contains both the Rufus Putnam House, Rufus Putnam was an early Ohio settler and Revolutionary War veteran, as well as the Ohio Company Land Office. The latter was built in 1788 with the rest of the settlement and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Likewise, you can learn much about the original Ohioans—the indigenous people who lived here long before European settlers. One of the most exciting sites is the Hopewell Culture Earthworks. These seven mounds have been upgraded to the short list from inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list. There is also the Serpent Mound. This spectacular mound is 1,348 feet at its peak and is known to be the biggest existing effigy mound in the world. This special piece of Ohio is also on the short list to be entered onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Lastly, don’t forget that Ohio, though far north, has lots of interesting Civil War sites for amateur historians. In Cincinnati one can visit the home of author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. One could then visit the place that inspired the novel. It is about an hour away traveling along the Ohio River in Ripley, Ohio. There one will find the Rankin House, home of abolitionist John Rankin.

These are just a few highlights of all the historic places one can visit this summer in Ohio!