Monday, September 19, 2011

A visit to Ohio State University and the Thompson Library – part one



Recently we stayed in Ohio for 10 days to visit family. Arriving at the Columbus Airport we knew we were in the right airport as so many people were wearing tee-shirts saying “Ohio State” or “OSU” or “Buckeyes.” For the benefit of my blogging friends from overseas I’ll explain that Columbus is the capital of the state of Ohio (located in the Midwest of the country.) The original and main campus of Ohio State University (OSU) is located in the center of town. Yesterday I went to a postcard show and found some vintage postcards on Columbus and OSU. Here are two views of Columbus. The postcard from High Street is circa 1909 and the other one circa late 1930s.




Ohio State University or OSU was founded in 1873. I read that it is now the 3rd largest university in the USA. It is ranked in the top 20 public universities in the country and the top 130 universities in the world. In 1878 six men were the first to graduate from OSU and in 1879 the first woman. Below is a picture of University Hall in 1899.




This university has certainly grown since those early days. Now there are 55,000 students enrolled in the 14 different colleges on the Columbus campus which is on 1,700 acres (688 hectares) with 457 buildings. Here is a 1940 era postcard showing four of the buildings.




There are close to half million living alumni from OSU (which is why OSU tee shirts can be seen on people in many other states – I saw one man wearing a red OSU shirt yesterday after the postcard show in Smyrna, Georgia. I also saw one in Paris last May.) My late father-in-law was an alumnus. My husband as well as our nephew attended and graduated from OSU. Below is a postcard showing the campus circa 1960.




My sister-in-law who also graduated from OSU became a professor there for decades and my daughter and son-in-law completed their medical internships and residencies at the OSU Medical Center. Here is a postcard of the Medical Center circa 1950 – It may look quite different now, or may not….




The name of the state, Ohio, comes from the Iroquois Indian word ohi-yo’ which means great river. It is known at the “Buckeye State” because of the Ohio buckeye tree. Ohioans are known as “Buckeyes.”


Old print of Ohio Buck eye [Ohio Buckeye or American Horse Chesnut.] (1841-1849)

Growing up in Paris I don’t remember colleges having football teams, but it may have changed now. Here college football is big business. I am talking about American "football" which is played mostly in the USA and Canada. The US calls “soccer” what 200 other countries call football (a game played by 250 million players worldwide.) The first OSU football team was formed in 1890 – they later were called the “Buckeyes.” Below is a photograph of OSU stadium in 1920.




If you are in Columbus during a game you will see an innumerable amount of people wearing red tee-shirts or other clothing saying “OSU” or “Buckeye” as red and grey are the football team colors. Every seat in every game is sold out!




Babies, youths and adults wear these colors – they are also on cars, bags and a multitude of items.




I think that most people living in Ohio are fans of the Buckeyes but the team is also known nationwide. I read that in 2006 the OSU versus University of Michigan game was watched on TV by 22 million people. The University of Michigan is known as the archrival of OSU in football. The first OSU-Michigan football game was played in 1897 (Michigan won.) Below is OSU first football team, in 1890.




During a football game intermission the Ohio State University Marching Band executes a march that forms the name Ohio in script. It is well known. What is not so well known is the fact that the music they use was originally a French military march called “Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse.” I wrote a post on it last year. If you would like to see videos of the French march and the Script Ohio march click here. Below is a photograph of the first “Script Ohio” in March 1936.




During this visit to Columbus my sister-in-law suggested that we visit the new Thompson Library on campus – this is the main library there. So, the morning after we arrived, my husband and I accompanied my sister-in-law and a friend (who is a retired OSU administrative Dean) to the OSU campus. I had been to Columbus numerous times before and driven by all the different college buildings but never walked on campus. I enjoyed walking under the large old trees. They must look gorgeous in their autumn golden colors.


Click on picture to enlarge

I don’t think that classes were in session as only a few students were around walking, or bicycling.




We saw University Hall from a distance. This is the replica of the old University Hall which I showed in an 1895 photo above. The old building was torn down 40 years ago as it was considered a fire hazard. The new building, which was a replica on the outside, but modern inside, was opened in 1976.



Among the trees I could see a tower. I was told this is the bell tower of Orton Hall, the oldest building on campus.




I like that type of spooky looking building. It was built in 1893 in a Romanesque castle style. The 24 columns encircling the tower look like mean gargoyles but I could not distinguish them well. They used 40 different types of Ohio stone in this building.




The building was named for Edward Orton, who was the university’s first president from 1873 to 1881. It houses the Geology Department and a museum where Jeff, the campus dinosaur can be seen. I only saw Jeff from a distance as the museum was closed. But I liked the beautiful stain glass windows and ceiling.




There was a glass cabinet displaying old pictures on the history of the building. I tried to snap them with my camera but they did not come out too well. The picture below of Edward Orton is from OSU Archives (as well as the other old photographs.) It is said that he haunts the building. In the last years of his life he spent many hours reading by lamp light in the top of the bell tower. Some visitors have said that they have seen the light of his flickering lamp through the slats around the tower…. eery.




It certainly was a lot more cheerful outside near some pretty flowers.




Leading the way, my sister-in-law was entering her old building, Medenhall Laboratory, where she taught English Literature and Writing for many years . She taught in other buildings too, some quite far away. The walk was good exercise but not too much fun in the snow.




Entering the lobby I admired the “fossil like” design on the floor and was impressed by one wall covered with various sized stones, giving it an interesting texture.




From habit, my sister-in-law went behind the lectern in her old classroom. I don’t think the two “students” in attendance were teachable though…




The view from the class windows was quite nice. I wonder how many students looked outside searching for the best word to use or right sentence in their exam papers.




Next we were going to visit the library. But this post is getting long, so it will be in part 2.




More to come later...

28 comments:

kyh said...

i thought that spooky castle is a church! what a grand edifice though. the fossil-floor tiles look so interesting and colourful! :)

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Dear Vagabonde-- Another informative and entirely delightful post from you. I have never been to Ohio but thoroughly enjoyed today's visit of the Ohio State University campus with you. The old buildings reminded me of my old college in Atlanta, GA (Oglethorpe University.) I had a wonderful year there as an exchange student in the mid-80s. Interesting that their school band still uses a French military song during games! Looking forward to reading part 2 in a few days. A bientot. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Friko said...

You use the word 'old' quite a lot, how very young this University is when compared to European ones. And we still have our old buildings, fire hazard or not.

I have no real idea of the importance of American Universities. Harvard and Yale and maybe a few other names spring to mind but US State Universities are, on the whole, unknown quantities in Europe.

BJM said...

Greetings! Nice to hear from you. All well at this end. B,

Nance said...

I believe it takes your "outsider's" eyes to see and reveal the beauty and the special qualities of places in America that we so often take for granted. It never would have occurred to me that I wanted to know more about Ohio, but I am enriched by your interest in it.

Vicki Lane said...

I don't think I've ever been to Ohio -- a most interesting post.

Pondside said...

When I was a girl, watching old movies set on university campuses, the sets always looked like OSU. I SO wanted to go to such a place and was terrible disappointed in the 70's to attend an ordinary Canadian university with no lovely old buildings or traditions. I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

Thérèse said...

What a fun way to learn about the Ohio State that I only know for it's Cincinnati's airport!

DJan said...

You are a born researcher. I now know more about OSU (and Ohio) than I could have imagined. Very interesting indeed.

Tim said...

Sometimes visiting universities and colleges can be an impressive adventure in many different ways.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a lovely post with great pictures and lots of info. I love old post cards and these are gorgeous. As for football in Paris, I cannot answer that either as I am not a football fan, rugby yes LOL Diane

Mary said...

So much of interest here.........even for me who doesn't even like football!!!

Your pics are great and thanks for taking so much time to enlighten me about the great state of Ohio. I've been to Cincinnati - but many, many years ago.

Mary

Ann said...

a wonderfully interesting and informative post!! I sfeel smarter already from having visited the University with you!!!
photos were fabulous!!!
thanks so much for sharing!!!

Kay Dennison said...

Looks like you enjoyed your trip to my State. You, of course are Buckeye by marriage and I hope you have at least a T-shirt in your wardrobe! I look forward to part 2!!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Such a Beautiful Campus, with so much wonderful History....Such great looking buildings, too!
I know Ohioans(?) Are very much into Football and "The Buckeys"....They have always had a HUGE Following....
I look forward to seeing Part 2, my dear....!

Elaine said...

Lovely tour of a very beautiful campus. Great old postcards too. I'm sure you found more for your collection at the postcard show. I look forward to seeing them in future posts.

L'Aussie said...

This is a wonderful tour of Ohio. We get a bit over here when there's all that hoo ha at election Primaries time. The 'corn state' they always say. I hope you enjoyed your trip. Looks like you did.

Just letting you know I've posted up some epic pics of our trip to Morocco.

Denise

http://laussiestravelblog.blogspot.co

Pat said...

I have a soft spot for Ohio. The first literary agent to sign me up originated from there. My book has yet to be published however.

Jeanie said...

Fascinating! A dear friend of mine was formerly an assistant dean in the med school and they live in Worthington, outside of Columbus. I have been to OSU, but only on a drive-through tour, so seeing all this is extremely interesting! Thanks again for another informative post!

kenju said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed seeing your photos!

Jenn Jilks said...

Interesting. My late father went there in the 70s for a series of courses. Always wondered what it looked like! Today I post of trees. Trees - our four sisters .
Cheers from Perth!

Riet said...

You must have had a wonderful time. I love how you study what you want to show us and then tell so much about it . Your photo's are lovely and I love the old postcards. Thank you for sharing.

Olga said...

What interesting places you visit! You observe it well, and give us the opportunity to visit them virtually. We can still feel the energy of those places through your photos.

this is Belgium said...

Very interesting and informative post. Of course I knew about Ohio, its airport :-), its university, its football but I agree with one commentator that it takes your French born eyes and spirit to see your subject matter in a special way and relay it to others as such. Bonne journée, bon weekend!

Frances said...

Vagabonde, I think that OSU would do well to include your post in some of their info for prospective students and their families. Your words and photos give such a good view of the now and then of this campus.

(I love those vintage postcards!)

Best wishes.

Vagabonde said...

Kyh, French Girl in Seattle, Friko, BJM, Nance, Vicki Lane, Pondside, Therese, DJan, Tim, Food Fun and Life in the Charente, Mary, Ann, Kay Dennison, Old Lady of Hills, Elaine, l’Aussie, Pat, Jeanie, Kenju, Jenn Jilks, Riet, Olga, This is Belgium and Frances – Thanks for visiting Ohio State University with me. It was an enjoyable visit as well as reading your comments about it. Thanks for stopping by.

Ginnie said...

HA! I knew you had done this post but it's taken me forever to read it. My arch rival, indeed. The only good thing I can say about this post is that MICHIGAN beat them our first football game. HA! Just kidding. I've learned more about OSU from this post than in all my years since first starting MICHIGAN in 1963.

BTW, my ex-husband was from Ohio and should have gone to OSU. But the application for entrance to UofM was free, so that's where he applied and was accepted...and where I met him in 1964. :)

Ruth said...

Smiling at Ginnie.

I am a Michigan State alum, and it is also my employer. We are archrivals to the University of Michigan. Until they play Ohio State.

:-)

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