Friday, April 19, 2013

Onward To Findlay via US 127.

A week ago, my good friend Abby and I drove down to Findlay, Ohio to attend the Film Photography Project's (FPP) 2013 Photo walking workshop. We decided to go down via US 127 and hit some small towns along the way in NW Ohio.  This post is about the sights along the way, and a bit about FPP. I have yet to finish developing and scanning my film from the trip, so what you'll see here are some digi shots and Polaroids.
US 127 ends (or starts, depending on your point of view) just N of Higgins Lake in Michigan, where it merges with I-75, and terminates in Tennessee somewhere.  We took 127 S from US-12, and were able to visit Hudson, MI, which seems to have transformed itself.  I remember driving through there about 10 years ago, and the main street was filled with dilapidated old buildings with boarded up storefronts. This time, I saw that all of those places had been repainted, updated, and most had businesses of some sort in them.  That is a good thing to see.  With the prevalence of the internet, small towns can be attractive to artists and entrepreneurs, and those upstairs lofts can be used as apartments or art spaces, etc.  Anyhow, one thing in Hudson that captured my attention was the stone arch railroad bridge that crosses Bean Creek E of downtown.  That type of bridge is a rarity in Michigan, and it was used by the now long-defunct Lakeshore and Michigan Southern RR.  The tracks are long gone, but the stone arch remains. Built in 1871, it is a reminder of the amazing workmanship that built the rail infrastructure in this country.
After crossing into Ohio, our first stop  was the city of Bryan.  I am greatly impressed at how many of these small towns that are county seats feature beautiful late 1800s county courthouse, usually in a town square of some sort.  There is a very attractive downtown movie theater (the Bryan) that is still running, which I found pleasing. We didn't walk about a whole lot in Bryan, but the Four Seasons Diner caught our eyes, and we could not resist shooting their sign.  After a little discussion, we both realized we were ready for lunch, and the diner was calling to us.  The diner used to be called Lester's and it has a very photogenic sign with a coffee cup pouring coffee...with lights.  Unfortunately is was daylight, so it wasn't lit up.  That will have to wait for another trip in the dark, I suppose.  Lunch was more than I could eat, but it was very good.  I'm not calling out this particular restaurant, but it is a common theme -- portions are way too big.  I'd pay the same for half the amount of food.  

Quite satiated with lunch (I didn't even bother eating dinner that night), we drove S, and found the small town of Paulding.  There is a decaying old movie theater there, but no name could be seen.  Paulding had a nice mural on the side of an old building, which seems to be a common thing in Ohio.  It's certainly one way to add some color. The main street wasn't too bad, but there was some grunge to be seen (and photographed) on the side streets.
Brumback Library
Our next stop was in Van Wert, which has a beautiful Romanesque-style public library, the Brumback Library.  The interior is as wonderful as the exterior, and I could see how spending a few hours reading the paper and and so forth in there would be a nice weekly activity if I lived there.  The downtown has a lot of nice old buildings, we saw an excellent old coffee shop sign.  A classy old hotel downtown was also quite attractive. The weather was getting colder and nasty, so we continued onward to Celina, OH.  Apparently named after Salina, NY, Celina OH is another county seat, with a lovely courthouse with large columns -- unlike the other courthouses I have seen.
A Van Wert institution
Celina seems to have a strange conglomeration of architectural styles on the same block -- perhaps it was someone's idea to recreate an old-world look in a small amount of space?  Anyhow, they also have an extant movie theater (the Celina) which is a good sign.  The town also has a fire house with a rather phallic tower out front.  I didn't look inside to see if it has 3-story fire-pole to go with it.
By the time we were done in Celina, it was time to head to Findlay, so we got onto the highway and drove up I-75 to join our fellow photographers at the Film Photography Podcast workshop.  That will be the next post, so stay tuned.  I have many more shots of the towns, and of the FPP goings-on in my Flickr account, so take a peek there.
one of the many odd Celina buidings.

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