One Tank Trip: Ohio State House

This past Saturday in my twice-monthly column in the Plain Dealer we reported on the many unusual gifts that can be found on a trip to the State Capitol in Columbus as well as a tour of the Ohio State House, The Ohio Historical Society and a unique factory tour at the last maker of metal whistles in the United States.  In fact this small Columbus Plant is where the “Official” gold-plated whistles are made for the NFL Super Bowl Officials each year and if you have a whistle-blower in the family a copy of these whistles, in walnut presentation boxes can be purchased at the factory.

If you would like to read the whole story go to and type in my name in the search field.

By the way here are some of the photos we took on that trip that were not used by the PD with the story:


The Neil Zurcher Scholarship

Neil Zurcher presenting scholarship to Lynda Nemeth of WRTC who accepted for Jacob Fradotte
Neil Zurcher presenting scholarship to Lynda Nemeth of WRTC who accepted for Jacob Fradotte

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 I became an immortal.  I had a scholarship named for me.

Of course this is the first time and the only time that the scholarship was awarded.  And not one dollar came out of my pocket.

It all came about because the good folks at the Adventures in Northeast Ohio Tourist Council, made up of tourist organizations in sixteen counties in NE Ohio, wanted to give me their annual “Excellence Award” earlier this year to recognize my half-century in journalism.  As part of the annual award a one Thousand Dollar Scholarship  is also awarded to some deserving person in the name of the “Excellence Award” winner.

So today I traveled to the Oberlin Inn in Oberlin to take part in the Western Reserve Tourist Council’s annual Christmas Luncheon where I was to award the scholarship.  Problem was the recipient,  Jacob Fradette, a student at Lakeland Community College in Lake County, was not present to accept his One Thousand Dollar Scholarship.  He had apologetically explained to the AINEO that he had landed an interview for today with a firm that he hopes to intern with while in school and after being assured by the AINEO that he would still receive the scholarship even if he didn’t come to the luncheon, he kept his appointment for the job interview.

So today for the first, and probably the last time, I got to present the “Neil Zurcher Scholarship”, but there was no one there to accept it.

Another reason I was at the meeting today was to meet with all of these tourist professionals to seek ideas for upcoming stories that I will be writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Ohio Motorist Magazine as well as my books on Ohio Travel.

Among some of the suggestions was an interesting new museum in Carroll County in eastern Ohio where a Five and Dime Store from the 1930’s has been made into a museum and returned to it’s Depression-era appearance, complete with merchandise.  I hope to get down there to take a look at it soon.  I wonder if anyone out there has visited this new attraction?

Strange Tales from Ohio 2nd Edition . . .

book-3d-stfo2-rgb25300Now available!

An updated and revised edition of the popular book about Ohio’s offbeat history, by Neil Zurcher–the author of “Ohio Oddities” and “Ohio Road Trips.”

Learn why residents of Blueball, Ohio, erected a monument to a pig. Witness the birth of the Inflatoplane (an inflatable airplane, of course) in Akron, and revisit Ohio’s last public whipping, near Dayton. Read about the Funeral Home Museum . . . the Curse of Leatherlips . . . The world’s first recorded automobile accident . . . the oldest Revolutionary War veteran . . . cemetery rootbeer . . . the man who invented disposable diapers . . .

A treat for anyone who enjoys discovering the real wonders of the Buckeye State!

Buy a copy from

Ohio Oddities 2nd Edition . . .

book-3d-ohod2-rgb253003Now available!

An updated and revised edition of the very popular guide to Ohio’s strangest roadside attractions by Neil Zurcher–the veteran TV newsman who has driven more than a million miles in Ohio covering local travel.

Find out where you can visit the world’s largest cuckoo clock, Clark Gable’s birthplace, Napoleon’s horse, a vacuum cleaner museum, and more. Zurcher’s eye for unique and fun attractions can turn any road trip into a car ride through the Twilight Zone.

Buy a copy from