The Buckeye State. Mother of Modern Presidents. The Yankee State. The Heart of It All. Birthplace of Aviation.
My first memory of Ohio is from grade school. We were learning the names of the 50 states and their capitals, and our teacher gave us the mnemonic, “What did Columbus say when he saw the new world? ‘Oh. Hi, oh.'”
To my adult mind, the most unfortunate part about the joke is that so few people realize there’s more to Ohio than being ’round on both ends and tall in the middle.’ For example: John Glenn, the first American ever to orbit the earth (on February 20, 1962), was born in Cambridge, Ohio. He served as a Senator for the State of Ohio from January 3, 1987 to January 3, 1995, and in October of 1998 – at the age of 77! – he returned to the space program and became the oldest person to fly in space as well as the only astronaut to fly in both the Mercury and the Space Shuttle programs when he flew the shuttle Discovery. Another famous member of the space program, Neil Armstrong, was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio; Wapakoneta now hosts the Armstrong Air and Space Museum.
Other Ohio fun facts? The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first openly-salaried team, back in 1869, and are therefore the first professional baseball team. Both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame are located in Ohio. Seven U.S. presidents were born in Ohio; Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft, and Warren G. Harding. Other notables born in this state: Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Annie Oakley, Arsenio Hall and Clark Gable. According to The Ambulance by Katherine T. Barkley (1990), Exposition Press, the first known hospital-based ambulance service was out of Commercial Hospital (now Cincinnati General), Cincinnati, Ohio in 1865; and Cleveland boasts the nation’s first traffic light, first lit on August 5, 1914.
Places to go
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force – Dayton
Cincinnati Art Museum – Cincinnati
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Stuff to see
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Things to do
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** denotes places and events I have no personal experience with – YET!