Wandering again, through Ohio, I passed through the town of St. Mary’s. I usually go sailing by it on my way south, but this time I decided to stop and explore. St. Mary’s was one of the stops on the Miami-Erie Canal. The St. Mary’s River runs through the center of town and the canal runs right beside it. Both were used heavily in the 1800’s as trade routes.
The canal has locks in the center of the city and a lovely park has been created there with a history of the era.
Here’s how a canal boat looked with the mule pulling it via a long rope. I think you can go onto the boat, but the gate was closed when I was there.
The park also honors war veterans from the area. This bridge has names of vets and it crosses the river.
The canal itself is still in existence for miles through Ohio. Here’s the towpath along the canal where the mules walked. It’s now a scenic walking/biking trail.
Then I drove on down into New Bremen. Here I found a fantastic museum,. the Bicycle Museum of America. It has almost 100 bikes from the mid-1800’s to present day. The place is loaded with history and the man running it was extremely knowledgeable. Here are some highlights.
This is a precursor of today’s bicycle. Notice the horse head decoration. It has no pedals, you pushed it along with your feet and coasted.
Early bikes including high-wheelers. Apparently they were not as prevalent during the Victorian years as I thought, as they were very expensive.
This is a Minnie Mouse bike, with a comic strip on the wheels.
Look at the frame on this one.
This is one of the 7 actual bikes used in the movie “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”
A military bike used in WWII. Complete with gun and ammo.
This one was made in Dayton, Ohio, my hometown. Dayton was an important part of bicycle manufacturing because several companies were headquartered there including Huffy and Schwinn.
As I’ve said before, small towns are wonderful for discovering little known museums. It’s why I use Google maps so much. You can find all kinds of places to explore.