Monthly Archives: November 2021

Cuyahoga National Park

The main purpose for our trip to Ohio was to explore Cuyahoga National Park south of Cleveland. It exceeded expectations. I read a 2020 article about it that raved about its diversity and we had to see it. It follows the course of the Cuyahoga River and being there reminded me about how this river literally combusted in 1969 as it flowed through Cleveland on its way to Lake Erie. It is much cleaner now, and the National Park was established in 1974 to honor the restoration effort.

Our goal on this luckily beautiful autumn day was to see the visitor center, walk across a covered bridge, access a waterfall and a wetland, ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, see the Cuyahoga River from several vantage points, and hike some trails. We accomplished most of these goals. The visitor center at Boston Mill was not one of the best, but this is offseason. The gift shop is separate and not near it. The covered bridge, the waterfall, and the wetland were our best experiences. We were disappointed not to ride the railroad, but it had been converted to a Christmas train, was making only one evening run per day, and was completely booked. The Cuyahoga flows through the entire park, and the trail along it goes all the way to Cleveland. This is quite a distance. We were on the trail to this industrial city but not for that long. This and other trails are the most used facilities in this national park.

We were lucky to meet a man named Ryan in a wonderful restaurant called Brubaker’s. Ryan was local, loved the park, and had hiked or biked most of its trails. He knew this park intimately but had never been to the visitor center or taken the trail all the way to Cleveland. Being a techie, he was able to articulate what he had experienced over time. Try Brubaker’s meatballs.

Ruth & I actually spent a lot of time talking to locals. Most of them were repeats to this park and were delighting in the fall weather. But when they heard that we were visiting from the state of Washington they wondered why we left such a gorgeous state to see this part of Ohio. We never felt this way.

Our best of the best were the quaint town of Peninsula, Brandywine Falls, Beaver Marsh where we saw lots of wildlife, and this park’s considerable access to the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath that reminded us of the Erie Canal we had experienced not all that long ago.


Towns Named Warsaw

Between 1820 and 1914, 2.2 million people of Polish descent came to the USA. Some say that as many as a quarter of a million Poles crossed the Atlantic to settle in cities like New York. Many had lived in its capital Warsaw, which is a must-visit city, and settled in small towns named Warsaw in many states. Many of the new USA immigrants from Poland settled in Texas, Michigan, and Illinois. They tended to favor the Northeast. Because Poles decided to live in cities like Chicago, which still has a large Polish population, there are few towns in this country named after their capital Warsaw. So the roughly 10,000,000 people of Polish descent now living in the USA do not live in towns named Warsaw.

The internet folks that track this kind of thing tell you that there are 17 towns named Warsaw, but most of them are unincorporated. The Warsaw in the state of Georgia has gone completely out of business. The Warsaw in Texas is now classified as unincorporated. Part of this is because the Poles who came to Texas lived in a community known as Panna Maria, which today is also said to be unincorporated. There has never been a major Warsaw in Michigan. The Warsaw in Illinois has declined to about 1,600 people southwest of Keokuk, Iowa. Its glory days when it opposed Mormons in nearby Nauvoo are long gone. Most former Poles in Illinois now live in Chicago.

Early on Poland produced notable Poles who seriously influenced US history. Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski became Revolutionary War heroes. The Warsaw in Indiana produced 2 writers, Ambrose Bierce and Theodore Dreiser, who developed national reputations. This Midwest Warsaw remains the largest Warsaw in this nation. It is a stand-alone community of about 13,500 people south of Elkhart and Goshen, IN and is known as the “orthopedic capital of the world”.

The other viable Warsaws in America are in places like Virginia, western Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Missouri. The Warsaw in New York State is a town near Buffalo with close to 5,000 people. Sleepy Warsaw, KY is a town of about 1,800 on the Ohio River not too far from Louisville. Ruth & I were close to Warsaw, OH when we visited Cuyahoga National Park last week. Many of the immigrant Poles who have left small Warsaws for large cities have left behind impressive churches and other cultural identifiers. They emigrated to our country in 3 waves for almost 100 years.

The main Warsaw in Poland is a city of close to 2 million. It has many fine tourist attractions worth seeing. Much of it had to be rebuilt after World War II.



Ruth & I had the opportunity to visit Cleveland, Ohio, and had time for 3 attractions. One of them was a grocery store with an interesting Cleveland history. I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Cleveland for many years. Of their 3 children, one of them still lives in this Ohio city. A train trip to visit them gave me a desire for more travel.

Heinen’s opened their first supermarket in Shaker Heights where my relatives lived way back in 1933. This was Cleveland’s first supermarket and one of the first of its kind in the USA. This chain is now a 3rd generation project run by Jeff and Tom Heinmen. These just happen to be the first names of my 2 male cousins who grew up in Shaker Heights. Tom is the one who still lives in Cleveland. Jeff lives in the middle of Wyoming.

Jeff and Tom’s company has grown to 23 stores. Several of them are in Ohio, but they have expanded to the Chicago area and now have stores in Barrington and Glenview. They even have come into my territory and have a store on Bainbridge Island in the Seattle area. There are now 4 Heinen stores in the Chicago suburban area. Heinen stores employ 3,500 people.

The Heinen’s in downtown Cleveland has become a tourist attraction. Trip Advisor has become a big fan of it. This store that is a good example of urban renewal has offbeat products like the aloe vera above. In 2013 the Heinen’s got an opportunity to open a store at 900 Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland. This is the one and only Heinen’s Ruth & I have been in. It’s in a fascinating landmark building called the Ameritrust Tower and Swetland Building. The market mostly occupies the space next to it, but shoppers have access to the historic dome and decorations in the adjoining building. They are worth seeing.

The Heinen stores specialize in homemade pies, but Ruth and I bought their homemade trail mix loaded with oatmeal and enjoyed it for the next several days on the road. It was both unique and delicious. We also sampled and loved big, juicy Ohio Gala apples that we bought at Heinen’s and elsewhere in this part of the country.

Heinen’s stores get excellent ratings and we were lucky to visit their flagship store in downtown Cleveland.



Jeanne Gang Does It Again

Jeanne Gang is said to be the world’s best living female architect. When in Chicago this time, Ruth & I saw her newest design at 363 East Wacker Drive. It is sensational!

I am a big fan of Chicago’s Aqua, which Jeanne Gang also designed. The Saint Regis Chicago is almost directly in front of it. I wrote about Aqua way back in 2016 on April 30. I also saw her completed building across the street from Forest Park in St. Louis and wrote about it under the title “100 Kingshighway”. That was on February 28, 2020.

Jeanne Gang continues to move forward innovatively. The St. Regis on Chicago’s Lakefront was completed in 2020. It is 1,198 feet tall, cost a billion dollars, is already Chicago’s 3rd tallest building, and is, so far, the tallest building in the world designed by a woman. Its 3 towers of different heights are called stems. It overlooks the Chicago River very near its entrance to Lake Michigan. This 101 story building is pure architectural elegance.

So far Chicago’s St. Regis is only residential suites handled by Magellan Realty. Call 312 493 8200 for more information. This chain of deluxe resorts and hotels now contains 53 locations that are part of Mariott International. Jeanne Gang’s design already offers residential suites up to the 97th floor, and a hotel will be added in April or May of 2022.


Towns Named Irving

There are several towns named Irving in America. At one time there were many more of them. A surprising number of Irvings were named after a writer named Washington Irving. His most famous stories were “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and Rip Van Winkle”. A sometimes traveler, Washington Irving toured the prairie states in 1832 including Oklahoma before it became a state, and he published a book about his experiences. There was once an Irving town in Oklahoma. It was named after this writer. There was also an Irving in Kansas where The Wizard of Oz was based. It’s possible that the main character in this famous tale by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Gale, was named for someone who lived in Irving, Kansas. We will never know for sure because Irving has become a ghost town in the land of grasshoppers and tornadoes. Its demise is attributed to something called the “Big Dam Foolishness”.

The largest Irving, the city now part of Dallas, Texas, with a population nearing a quarter of a million people, was probably named for Washington Irving too. This town’s 2 founders surely named it after this writer because one of them was a member of the Washington Irving Literary Society and was said to be partial to the name Irving. Irving, Texas, is now a Dallas ring community and thought to be one of the most racially diverse communities in the United States.

There were at one tine probably 19 communities named Irving in the US. Like the writer, many of them have gone out of existence like the Irving in California that was once in Marin County and is not to be confused with the thriving town of Irvine California. This former settlement in Marin was on maps as late as 1914. There is an Irving in the state of Wisconsin. It’s a very small town of less than 800 people in the west central part of the state. The Irving in nearby Michigan is 106 miles from Lake Michigan and has about 3,400 people living in it. The Irving in Iowa was clearly named for this once famous writer. The Irving in Oregon is now part of the city of Eugene. The Irving in Minnesota is about the size of the one in Wisconsin, is near Green Lake in a state with 10,000 of these, and was named for Washington Irving.

The Irving in Illinois, a town of about 400 residents, is not too far from St. Louis. A musician by the name of Buddy Cole was born there. Buddy went to California, made several recordings, and worked with celebrities like Bing Crosby and Henry Mancini. There is a fairly large Irving in the state of New York, Washington Irving’s home state. Irving, New York, is near the town of Hanover. The Irving in South Dakota is said to have a population of 10. There are now or once were Irvings in Nevada, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

There are a number of towns named Irvington too. Some of them began life as Washington Irving namesakes also.