Ohio Travel Stops: Dublin and Wilmington – Museums and Murals

Dave's Way
Dave’s Way

In May, I had occasion to take my wife to Kirtland, Ohio for a conference and spent time myself in my birthplace of Little Italy and Cleveland. I’ve covered most of this in some previous blogs (Little Italy post   Cleveland post   Kirtland/Novelty post), but wanted to touch on a couple of other places that we passed on our way to Kirtland and on our way back home to Kentucky.

Visiting Dublin, Ohio

Welcome to Dublin, OH, Home of Wendy's
Welcome to Dublin, OH, Home of Wendy’s

On the way up, we had a friend to visit in Dublin, Ohio and so made our way there. While my wife was tied up at her friend’s house for an hour or so, I made a drive over to Wendy’s headquarters. Dave Thomas got his start here in Dublin with the first Wendy’s in the company which has become an international Burger Company second or third only to McDonald’s and possibly Burger King. I actually have a daughter that is worked for Wendy’s for nearly 16 years, more than half of her life, so it has had an impact on my family in a sense.

Dave Thomas Blvd. in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas Blvd. in Dublin, OH
Wendy's International Headquarters
Wendy’s International Headquarters
Wendy's 1st Restaurant in 1969
Wendy’s 1st Restaurant in 1969

DSC_3548Although the original Wendy’s restaurant is no longer around, just down the road from their headquarters building they have built a Flagship restaurant that includes a Wendy’s museum, a nice statue of David Thomas holding a bag of burgers and a frosty, and a number of other unique little trinkets including a $105,000 Crystal Wendy’s Classic Single.

The Wendy's Original $150,000 Crystal Cheeseburger created by Waterford Crystal
The Wendy’s Original $105,000 Crystal Classic Single Burger created by Waterford Crystal
"Where's the Beef?" memorabilia from the famed advertising campaign
“Where’s the Beef?” memorabilia from the famed advertising campaign

There is a “where’s the beef?” Section where you can see some of the memorabilia from that particular campaign for Wendy’s a few years back.

The little museum is also filled with a variety of Wendy’s and Dave Thomas memorabilia.  Many of them are fun to take some time and look at .

One of many Dave Thomas cartoons that were created after he passed away
One of many Dave Thomas cartoons that were created after he passed away
Large Dave Thomas Wall
Large Dave Thomas Wall
Olympic Torch from the
Olympic Torch from the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay
A photo of Dave Thomas with famed boxer Muhammad Ali
A photo of Dave Thomas with famed boxer Muhammad Ali
Sumoflam with Dave Thomas statue in Dublin, OH
Sumoflam with Dave Thomas statue in Dublin, OH

Finally, you can’t miss the great statue of Dave Thomas that welcomes visitors from the parking lot into the store.  He holds the recognizable Wendy’s bag and a Frosty in the other hand.

Honestly, the little Dave Thomas/Wendy’s museum at this Dublin Wendy’s is well worth a visit.  It is free (though you can also walk through with a Frosty and peruse all of the displays.  Lots to see!

Dave Thomas waits to greet visitors at a Wendy's in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas waits to greet visitors at a Wendy’s in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas statue at Wendy's in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas statue at Wendy’s in Dublin, OH
Welcome to Dublin, OH
Welcome to Dublin, OH

While in Dublin, I drove through the little downtown area of the town. I have been to Dublin before, but never to the downtown area which has some good old rustic buildings and historic places. They also have a corner with honorary street names for Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

It is the home of the Ohio native Jack Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village Golf Club which was dedicated in 1974.  This is home to the prestigious Memorial Tournament, which recently named golf hall of famer Johnny Miller as its 2016 Honoree. The Tournament, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus, is conducted each year with three goals in mind: to honor the memory of individuals living and deceased who have distinguished themselves in the game of golf; to showcase the world’s best golfers competing on one of the most challenging venues in the world for the enjoyment of spectators; and to benefit many Greater Columbus Charities in alliance with the Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and numerous other local organizations.

The honorary corner of Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller (on East Bridge St. in Dublin, OH)
The honorary corner of Jack Nicklaus Dr. and Johnny Miller Way (on East Bridge St. in Dublin, OH)
At the "Filed of Corn" - Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park in Dublin, OH
At the “Filed of Corn” – Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park in Dublin, OH

Another point of interest in Dublin which I did not visit on this trip but which I have been to on a couple of occasions is the unique and fun Cement Corn Cob park. I’ve written about this park in the past in the past but, I figured I would just include a shot about it here as well.

The “Field of Corn” is a publicly funded art installation in Dublin. The installation consists of 109 concrete ears of corn positioned in rows and standing upright in a grassy field.  Sculpted by Malcolm Cochran, a professor of sculpting at Ohio State University, the park was named the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, and was originally farmed by Sam Frantz, an inventor of several hybrid corn species.  This is not the only unique public art work in Dublin.  This is one of a few towns that has worked to bring in a plethora of unique, cool and sometimes quirky works of outdoor art. Check out the Dublin Arts Council’s website.

Granddaughter running through the cement corn cobs in Dublin, Ohio July 2011
Granddaughter running through the cement corn cobs in Dublin, Ohio July 2011
The Field of Corn in Dublin, OH has 109 ears of corn
The Field of Corn in Dublin, OH has 109 ears of corn

Visiting Wilmington, Ohio

Large Mural in Wilmington, OH
Large Mural in Wilmington, OH

On our return home, after a nice visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, my wife and I stopped along the way for some dinner. Not certain as to where we should go, we decided on taking a little side trip into the small town of Wilmington, Ohio, which is about 5 miles east of Interstate 71 on US Highway 22 and also US Highway 68, almost exactly halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati. I did not know what to expect when I got there, but I was pleasantly surprised that this small college town had a couple of wonderful murals on the sides of the buildings. Something fun to add to my collection!!

Farmers Market Mural in Wilmington, OH (painted by
Farmers Market Mural in Wilmington, OH (painted by Jason Morgan)

One of the murals depicts a farmers market and covers a few of the little archways in one building. This was done by artist Jason Morgan from Yellow Springs, Ohio, just north of Xenia.

http://jasonmorganportraits.com/JM_Portraits/GalleryMurals/Pages/Farmers_Market.html

Community Garden Mural in Wilmington, OH
Community Garden Mural in Wilmington, OH (painted by Jason Morgan)

Another of the nice murals is the Community Garden Mural on E. Locust St. This too was painted by Jason Morgan, one of four that he has done in the city.

The huge Heritage Harvesters mural in downtown Wilmington, OH
The huge Heritage Harvesters mural in downtown Wilmington, OH (painted by Jason  Morgan)

The last mural that we came across was the Heritage Harvesters Mural which is located on N. South St. This mural is huge and covers the entire side of  a three-story building. It represents some of the history of the farmers in this put on the farmland-centric community.

The historic Murphy Theatre in Wilmingotn, OH
The historic Murphy Theatre in Wilmingotn, OH
Old Ghost Ads on a wall in downtown Wilmingotn, OH
Old Ghost Ads on a wall in downtown Wilmingotn, OH

I also enjoyed the downtown area.  They have a wonderful old theater sign, which is shown below.  The Murphy Theatre is historic and is apparently as nice inside as it appears on the outside. It was originally built in 1918 by Charles Murphy. It was a movie theater from 1929 to the mid-1980s, but is now used as a venue for concerts and community events.

The shell of an old diner still sits in downtown Wilmington
The shell of an old diner still sits in downtown Wilmington

The Mexican restaurant (the El Dorado Restaurant) that we ate at was so-so, but it did fill us up enough for the remainder of our trip home. And thus we were back on the road returning back to Lexington after a good time in northern Ohio. If you did not see my other posts, please give them a visit (the links are at the top of this post).

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A to Z Challenge: The D Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique towns, some known for their names, other for unique sites in town. To see what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

D The D Towns

Douglas, Wyoming

Large Jackalope - Douglas, WY
Large Jackalope – Douglas, WY
Another Jackalope is spotted in Douglas
Another Jackalope is spotted in Douglas
Kissing the Jackalope goodbye
Kissing the Jackalope goodbye
My Official Jackalope Hunting License from Douglas, WY
My Official Jackalope Hunting License from Douglas, WY

As I travel across the US and Canada, I am always on the lookout for quirky things and big statues.  Well, Douglas, Wyoming provides plenty in that area.  Touted as the Jackalope Capital of the World, Douglas has jackalopes dotting the town, including a couple of big ones.  And “What is a jackalope?” you ask…  Check out my full posts on Douglas HERE and ALSO HERE.

DeForest, Wisconsin

Pink Elephant in DeForest, WI
Pinkie the Pink Elephant in DeForest, WI
Sissy the Cow in DeForest, WI. Playing a little "Chick-Fil-A" on Burger King!!
Sissy the Cow in DeForest, WI. Playing a little “Chick-Fil-A” on Burger King!!

Perhaps Wisconsin is the home of the most Big Things.  Throughout the state there are big cows (it is a cheesy state mind you) and big mice.  There is a big bulldog in Beloit (see here).  However, not much tops the big pink elephant at the Shell One Stop in DeForest, WI and the big cow named Sissy is also one of America’s biggest.  Read the bigger story and see more photos HERE.

Discovery Bay, Washington

Wood carved things in front of Fat Smitty's in Discovery Bay, WA
Wood carved things in front of Fat Smitty’s in Discovery Bay, WA
Dollar Bills plaster every inch of the walls and ceiling of Fat Smitty's
Dollar Bills plaster every inch of the walls and ceiling of Fat Smitty’s

The theme of quirky runs throughout the veins of this post.  I now move on to Discovery Bay, WA on US Highway 101 northwest of Seattle, (near Port Townsend, WA) home of the uniquely quirky Fat Smitty’s burger place.  Surrounded by a menagerie of interesting and colorful wood carvings on the outside and walls and ceilings plastered with dollar bills (and other denominations), this is a place to behold.  Oh, and yes, the burgers aren’t too bad either.  See my full post about my August 2015 visit to Fat Smitty’s HERE.

Dublin, Ohio and Dublin, Texas

At the "Filed of Corn" - Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park in Dublin, OH
At the “Field of Corn” – Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park in Dublin, OH
The Field of Corn in Dublin, OH has 109 ears of corn
The Field of Corn in Dublin, OH has 109 ears of corn
My son Solomon in Dublin, Texas home of the Dr. Pepper Plant in June 2007
My son Solomon in Dublin, Texas, former home of the Dr. Pepper Plant in June 2007

I have never been to Dublin, Ireland, but I have been to Dublin, Ohio and Dublin, Texas.  The two American towns named Dublin are distinctly different, but both offer some surprises.

In Dublin, OH you can play amongst ears of corn at the “Field of Corn” is a publicly funded art installation in the city of Dublin, Ohio. The installation consists of 109 concrete ears of corn positioned in rows and standing upright in a grassy field.  Sculpted by Malcolm Cochran, a professor of sculpting at Ohio State University, the park was named the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, and was originally farmed by Sam Frantz, an inventor of several hybrid corn species.  This is not the only unique public art work in Dublin.  This is one of a few towns that has worked to bring in a plethora of unique, cool and sometimes quirky works of outdoor art. Check out the Dublin Arts Council’s website.

In 2007 I took a trip with my son to Texas and Arkansas (I noted our visit to Booger Holler in my B Towns post of the #AtoZChallenge).  On that same trip we visited the town of Dublin, TX, near Waco, to visit what was, at that time, the only remaining Dr Pepper plant in the world that made Dr Pepper with pure cane sugar.  The plant has eventually converted and the museum was moved to Waco.  But I note it here because, back then, they changed the name of the town to Dr Pepper, Texas once a year (and set the population at 1024 — if you are a Dr Pepper fan, you’ll know what the 1024 means).

Dragoon, Arizona

An example of The Thing billboards that dot Arizona, New Mexico and California
An example of The Thing billboards that dot Arizona, New Mexico and California
A myriad of souvenirs available at Bowlin's The Thing resort in Dragoon, AZ
A myriad of souvenirs available at Bowlin’s The Thing resort in Dragoon, AZ
Bowlin Resort's The Thing resort in Dragoon, AZ
Bowlin Resort’s The Thing resort in Dragoon, AZ
The Thing's Outhouse -- Great Seats Available
The Thing’s Outhouse — Great Seats Available
AssKickin
Ass Kickin’ nuts…super spicy hot. Made in Goodyear, AZ and found at many tourist shops. Great for munching on long road trips (as long as you have some icy cold liquid to wash them down)

I mentioned Bowlin’s resorts in my post on Akela Flats in the A to Z Challenge last week.  Bowlin has another fun touristy place in Arizona called “The Thing.”  This is one of those places that has billboards hundreds of miles away promoting the unusual site (other’s that I recall seeing in diverse places include “Where the hell is Wall Drug?” (South Dakota), “Visit Little America” (Wyoming), “Rock City” (Tennessee).  I’ll actually hit these places in future posts. ).  As for an explanation of “The Thing”, you’ll have to make your way south of Tucson on Interstate 10, pay the fee and go see it for yourself.  Make sure you visit the famed Outhouse and get some of those amazing Ass Kickin’ Peanuts!  They are available at many fine tourist trap shops around the southwest.

Denton, Texas

Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square in Denton, TX
Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square in Denton, TX
The Great Texas Supper Mural at LSA Burger Co, in Denton, TX
The Great Texas Supper Mural at LSA Burger Co, in Denton, TX

A well kept secret of a place is Denton, Texas.  Just north of the excitement of the Dallas metroplex, Denton sits quietly with its grand architecture, ghost walks and a unique burger joint that features a wonderful, yet controversial mural call the The Great Texas Supper, a play on the Last Supper painting but instead has a number of dead Texas musicians.  The LSA Burger Company also features a tribute to Willie Nelson, a Texas shaped “Texas Instruments” sculpture and bars covered with old record albums.  See my full post HERE.

Durant, Oklahoma

Sumoflam with Durant's Giant Peanut
Sumoflam with Durant’s Giant Peanut
Scrap Metal Horses - Durant, Oklahoma
Scrap Metal Horses – Durant, Oklahoma
Painted Horses in Durant, OK
Painted Horses in Durant, OK

Durant, Oklahoma is one of those unique small towns that brings me so much enjoyment in travel.  Home of the “World’s Largest Peanut” statue, it is also decorated with dozens of painted horses. Durant is in the Choctaw Nation and is currently ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.   Though Durant lays claim to the “World’s Largest Peanut”, its a title it shares with two other monuments in Texas and Ashburn, Georgia. This monument is for the peanut growers in Bryan County and I found it on the front lawn of Durant’s city hall.  See more about my trip to Durant and other locales from back in 2013 HERE.

Danville, Illinois

Celebrities of Danville Wall Mural in downtown Danville, IL
Celebrities of Danville Wall Mural in downtown Danville, IL
Lindley Sign Post Forest in Danville, IL
Lindley Sign Post Forest in Danville, IL
Danville USA Brick Sculpture by Donna Dobberfuhl
Danville USA Brick Sculpture by Donna Dobberfuhl

I visited Danville, Illinois on a trip to Omaha in 2013.  This is one of those towns you can spend a good day in.  With dozens of wall murals depicting town history and town heroes, the art is great. But there are other unique pieces of art such as the Danville USA Brick Sculpture shown above.  But most interesting to me was the Lindley Sign Post Forest. The story is unique….Carl Lindley, one of the mural artists in Danville, has the same name as Carl Lindley (also originally from Danville, IL), the founder of the original sign post forest in Alaska (see here). This tradition started in 1942 by Carl K. Lindley, a U. S. Army Engineer, 341 company “D”. When building many signs in the area, he added a sign to a sign post which stated, “Danville, Illinois, 2835 miles”.  The Alaska version has over 47,000 signs.  I think the more mini version in Danville has about 200.  Read the bigger story and see photos in my 2013 post HERE.

Dallas, South Dakota (Honorable mention)

Welcome to Dallas, SD
Welcome to Dallas, SD
Water tower in Dallas -- in the middle of the road
Water tower in Dallas — in the middle of the road

In 2013 I trekked across the country to Idaho and, along the way, took a drive along the Oyate Trail in South Dakota, which covers US Highways 18 and 50. (See the full post HERE).  One of the unique little places I visited was Dallas, SD.  Unlike the huge metropolis of Dallas, Texas, this small community has no stop light but it DOES have a water tower right in the middle of the road!

Denver, North Carolina (Honorable mention)

Big Spider, Denver, North Carolina
Big Black Widow sculpture, Denver, North Carolina
Stacy's Restaurant, Denver, NC
Stacy’s Restaurant, Denver, NC

If I am going to include a Dallas, I might as well also include a Denver, this one in North Carolina.  Denver is a town of a little over 13,000 fine folk who enjoy the luxurious life on the west shore of Lake Norman, just off of NC Hwy 7.  I visited some friends there in March 2012.  We went downtown to dinner and lo and behold I saw a giant black widow!!  Creepy.  Sculpted by artist Dave Simpson, it apparently advertises a pest management company. The gleaming arachnid, with its eight-foot-long legs, perches on a boulder.  After that appetizing moment we had a wonderful dinner at Stacy’s Restaurant. It was a great local home cooked meal type of place.

Damon, Texas (Honorable mention)

I sent this to my friend Damon. The old clapboard style post office in Damon, TX
I sent this to my friend Damon. The old clapboard style post office in Damon, TX
There is Planet Hollywood and then there is Planet Damon...
There is Planet Hollywood and then there is Planet Damon…

Another town with a unique water tower and a fun post office is Damon, Texas.  A small place in southern Texas, it has one of the smallest water towers I ave seen and it boasts the name “Planet Damon.”  Fun fun.  See my full trip HERE.

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