Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ohio - William Howard Taft NHS and Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP

On a random weekend in June 2015, my mother and I decided to hit a couple close national park sites (my parents live a little north of Cincinnati, OH).  First up, was a trip down into Cincinnati to visit William Howard Taft National Historic Site.  There's a small visitor's center next to the house (with a super tiny parking lot which is bad on busy days) with a few exhibits and a small bookstore.  Then there's a movie and a house tour. 

William Howard Taft NHS is located on Auburn Ave in Cincinnati, OH

Ohio Historical sign about Robert A Taft, William Howard Taft's son.

William Howard Taft NHS

The next day, we drove up to Dayton to visit several Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP sites (there's still a couple we haven't been to).

The main visitors center

The original Wright Cycle Co., next to the main visitors center
Next was Carillon Historical Park, which is super interesting and full of all sorts of fun things (trains, a canal lock, old buildings, etc).  It also houses the reconstructed original Wright Flyer III.

After a little while here, we headed out to Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, where they have some exhibits and a small bookstore, then it was over to Huffman Prairie itself.  Aka the first airport.  It was amazing to be in the same place where the Wright Brothers made their actual first flight and not just a glider.  (I'm an Ohioan, our state was first, not North Carolina!)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

After leaving Chattanooga, we headed over to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

I played in the stream.  I like water, it's hard for me to resist!
We went to the Sugarlands VC, drove through the park, including a drive back through Cade's Cove.  It was so pretty!  I'd love to go back and do some hiking.

On the way home, we found some more Civil War related sites while driving through Kentucky:

And my first national park trip was done.

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Next up on our 2014 trip through Tennessee was Chattanooga, including Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.  The park is made up of several sites: Chickamauga Battlefield, Lookout Mountain Battlefield, Missionary Ridge, Signal Point, Orchard Knob and Moccasin Bend National Archeological District.  We visited both battlefields, drove Missionary Ridge and stopped by Orchard Knob. Before we headed to the battlefield, we went to Chattanooga National Cemetery.  We also stayed in the coolest hotel -- it was an old train station and our room was in a converted train car!!

Ohio's Tribute to Andrews Raiders at Chattanooga National Cemetery.
 We also visited the downtown area and walked around some.  These are some signs we found:

These signs were at our hotel:

 On to the battlefields!  Our first stop was Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.  Point Park is actually one of my favorite places that I've visited and I'm planning to go back next year.  I want to go hiking on the mountain!

The entrance gate into Point Park is so amazing.

There's a reason they called it the "Battle Above the Clouds"

Next, was Chickamauga, which is the largest area of the park:

Brotherton House

Wilder's Brigade Monument.  There's a LOT of steps up that thing!  It overlooks the area where Wilder's "Lightning Brigade" fought.

My great great great grandfather was in the 17th Indiana, but according to his military records he was sick and not at the battle.  If I remember correctly, he had diphtheria.

Driving Missionary Ridge:  This was a twisty road along the top of a mountain but I thought it was fun (as a passenger lol).  It's a residential area so it's definitely park only in designated areas and stay off of private property while you're up here.

And visiting Orchard Knob:  After the Union took the Knob from the Confederates, it became Grant's forward observation post as the Union assaulted Missionary Ridge.  This is also in a neighborhood, a not very nice one if I remember correctly.

 Our last stop was the Tennessee Valley Railroad and Museum: