A Bird’s Eye View

Page 5 from "Ohio State Institutions Aerial Picture Album," from the State Library of Ohio Rare Books Collection on Ohio Memory.
Page 5 from “Ohio State Institutions Aerial Picture Album,” from the State Library of Ohio Rare Books Collection on Ohio Memory.

 

The Oval and the ‘Shoe are there…but where are the rest of the buildings?
The Oval and the ‘Shoe are there…but where are the rest of the buildings?

In the mid-1930s, Lieutenant Clyde H. Butler of the photographic division of the Ohio National Guard took on a project for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and photographed forty-six separate institutions run by the state of Ohio.  The photographs were published in the Sunday edition of the Plain Dealer for six consecutive weeks and were of identical size so that interested readers could cut them out and paste them into a scrapbook.  Thanks to an enterprising reader – whose name is now lost to us – the State Library of Ohio holds in its collection one such scrapbook, now available for viewing in Ohio Memory.

Included in the forty-six photos are remarkable examples of architecture of all types, depicting buildings throughout the state.  Some buildings, such as the Ohio Penitentiary, are now lost to us.  Others, such as the Ohio Hartman Building (now the Hartman Lofts) and the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home (which you can read about here), have been repurposed for commercial use.  Still others, such as the Ohio State University campus, have grown tremendously… although the Oval and the Shoe will always be recognizable.

The Ohio State Reformatory: imposing both then and now.
The Ohio State Reformatory: imposing both then and now.

 

And then there are buildings like the Ohio Reformatory in Mansfield (seen at right), which are no longer in use but are famous worldwide…or, perhaps, infamous?

If you can’t visit these incredible structures in person, you can easily visit them virtually by checking out the Ohio State Institutions scrapbook in Ohio Memory.  And, if you’ve been to any of these places in person and have stories to share, please tell us about them in the comments!

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Thank you to Shannon Kupfer, Digital/Tangible Media Cataloger at the State Library of Ohio, for this week’s post!

Editor’s note: You can also see full-sized versions of many of these photographs (and others–a total of 128 photographic prints) as part of State Archives Series 6591 AV (Aerial Views of State Properties, 1930) at the Ohio Historical Society Library/Archives!

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