July 2010 Issue
By Chuck Bowen
As iconic as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, as stately as the Terminal Tower, Cleveland’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument is a stalwart symbol in the city’s skyline.
Designed by architect Levi Scofield and dedicated on July 4, 1894, the 125-foot-high landmark towers over Public Square, serving as a tribute to Civil War bravery. Each year, approximately 10,000 tourists from as far away as Turkey and Russia visit the structure.
They marvel at the larger-than-life bronze representations of the navy, artillery, infantry and cavalry in battle, as well as at panels depicting emancipation, key points in the conflict and the creation of the Sanitary Commission, the Soldiers’ Aid Society and the Hospital Service, staffed by women who were the precursors of today’s American Red Cross. Marble tablets serve as somber remembrance of the 9,000 Cuyahoga County residents who served in the War Between the States — 1,800 of whom died.
For Tim Daley, the monument’s executive director, the structure remains as relevant as when it first opened to the public.
“The freeing of those that were in bondage, together with the preservation of the union, made us the country we are today,” he says proudly.
This summer, thanks to a $2 million restoration project that took 16 months to complete, the 116-year-old landmark has reopened to its original luster:
The Tiffany-styled stained-glass windows have been cleaned, repaired and releaded, and the marble retinted to Victorian colors of rose and yellow, reflecting the age in which it was built. The memorial gardens surrounding the exterior have been spruced up with 17,000 annuals.
But the history lessons aren’t finished: Daley and his team are in the process of authenticating the names of 300 African-American soldiers to determine their eligibility for inclusion on the monument’s walls.
“The past,” he muses, “never dies.”
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is located at 3 Public Square. Tours take place Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 216/621-3710 or visit soldiersandsailors.com. — Linda Feagler
“The heart of it all.” To Becky Wildman, this famous state slogan is more than just a motto. For 14 years, the Columbus resident has served as manager of the Ohio Statehouse Museum Shop, located on the ground floor of the capitol. And in that role, she’s surrounded by all things Buckeye — and loves every minute of it.
“My favorite part of the job is finding new treasures to offer here,” Wildman says with a grin. “I’m especially proud of the fact that so many of our products are made by people and companies right here in the state.”
The emporium is truly all things Ohio. There’s something for everyone — from sterling silver ice buckets emblazoned with the state seal to marble paperweights made from chunks of the statehouse that were salvaged during the 1996 restoration. Amish craftsmen from Holmes County have created pens made of deer antlers and buckeye trees. Ohio wines, candles and state-shaped notepads are also best-sellers. History buffs come in search of the vintage antique postcards and political campaign buttons the shop is known for.
And Wildman and her staff enjoy taking requests from shoppers who purchase state flags: For a small fee, they can be flown over the Statehouse, then returned to the owners.
At this time of year, sunglasses that spell Ohio are hot items, as are bottles of the official statehouse root beer.
And the hands-down perennial favorite? Chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes. Wildman estimates she sells 7,000 pieces of the sweet confection every year.
“It is so satisfying,” Wildman says, “to work in a place that promotes something that I so dearly believe in.”
And, while you’re there, take time to tour the Greek Revival structure, dating back to 1861 and one of the oldest working statehouses in the country. Every corner is replete with history: The sweeping grand staircase in the Senate building was modeled after the Paris Opera House, and the marble bust of Lincoln is the only one the 16th president posed for. During the Civil War, soldiers frequently camped on the grounds. Call 614/728-2695 to learn more.
For information about the gift shop, visit statehouseshop.com. — Linda Feagler
To a T
What do the country’s economic stimulus package and T-shirts have in common? The answer: An Oxford designer named Chris Glass.
Three years ago, Glass founded the design firm Wire & Twine, with pals Tom and Wendy Duvall. The three southwestern Ohio natives work in distinct media — Glass and Wendy Duvall create digital images, while Tom Duvall works in screen printing.
“I was an avid T-shirt collector, still am,” the 38-year-old Glass explains. “They are a really fun canvas [for our designs].”
The patterns are uncomplicated, yet exude a strong message of optimism: Two simply proclaim “Enjoy this beautiful day” and “I’m here to make friends.” Infants of ecologically responsible parents can proudly proclaim they’ve been “diapered with a conscience.” The children’s line sports logos of robots, trains and dinosaurs.
“[Many other] T-shirts have an element of snark to them,” says Glass, explaining that when it comes to the trio’s designs,
“somebody’s going to say they like it, thanks for wearing it.”
And, he adds, “along the lines of my aesthetic, there’s this element of timelessness. It’s not really tied to a specific pop culture reference.”
But Glass is more than just a T-shirt guy. On the advice of a fellow blogger, he submitted his idea for an iconic symbol for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and it was accepted. Glass’ circular logo — which, he says, represents jobs, education, health care and green energy — now appears on highway signs, loan applications and grant proposals around the country.
“It’s heartwarming,” he says, “and still surreal.”
Next up: expansion into crafting paper goods and offering workshops on screen printing, photography and knitting.
“We appreciate the handmade element of what we do,” Glass says. “We don’t have any robots. We’re pushing all the ink through the screen by hand with pressure from our fingers.”
For more information, call 513/523-2108 or visit wireandtwine.com. — Chuck Bowen