The story of the Stranahans, Champion Spark Plug and the preservation of a world class park

The story of the Stranahans, Champion Spark Plug and the preservation of a world class park

By Don Radebaugh — It’s the mother of all metroparks in northwest Ohio. While the area is well known for its beautiful parks and recreation, none can compare to Wildwood Preserve, and that’s because none has the heart and soul that Wildwood has…a bona fide heartbeat left behind by the family who called it home. A family that arguably did more for the citizens of Toledo and northwest Ohio than any other single family before, or after. At the center…

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Meet the real Tony Stewart; racing icon sharing a day with a dying man

Meet the real Tony Stewart; racing icon sharing a day with a dying man

By Don Radebaugh — I’m not sure if you can uncover more emotion from a human life in one afternoon, but the Nemire racing family got just about as close as you can get. Longtime ARCA/USAC competitor, winner, champion Jerry Nemire has been fighting cancer for the better part of 15 years. Monday morning didn’t start out all that good for him. He was weak and wasn’t feeling well. He also knew that Tony Stewart’s dad Nelson was on his…

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Lincoln’s early, impressionable years in Kentucky

Lincoln’s early, impressionable years in Kentucky

By Don Radebaugh — When I was 9 years old, I shut myself up in my room and cracked open a children’s biography on Abraham Lincoln. It was a fairly big book for a kid, and once I cleared the first chapter, I had no trouble at all staying with it. It intrigued me so much I didn’t come out of my room until I was finished. I never got over the experience, and I’ve been reading, studying Lincoln ever…

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Welcome to another island paradise…residents beware?

Welcome to another island paradise…residents beware?

JOHNSON’S ISLAND, Ohio — If you’re in the right age bracket, you would remember Gilligan’s Island. But regardless of how many years you have, I’d be willing to wager you’re not all too familiar with Johnson’s Island. To cut to the chase, one is fiction; unfortunately, the other is not. Folks from around the world have certainly seen Johnson’s Island without ever realizing it. Put it this way…if you’ve ever been atop one of the roller coasters at Sandusky, Ohio’s…

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Welcome to the Keeper’s House…

Welcome to the Keeper’s House…

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio — Every time I venture out on another historical adventure, I always discover something new outside the intended target. My original destination was Johnson’s Island, just off Marblehead, Ohio. And for good reason. A prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers once occupied space there during the Civil War, leaving behind only gravestones of Confederate soldiers who died at the camp, many of the stones unmarked. I’m looking forward to bringing you the story. But on the way…

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Lee surrenders at Appomattox

Lee surrenders at Appomattox

It must have been quite a moment when Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee shook hands inside the front parlor of the Wilmer McLean house (Appomattox Court House) on April 9, 1865. After four bloody years and 600,000-plus dead Americans, the Civil War was finally over. If I had the power to travel back in time, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox would be high on my list. To witness those indelible moments inside the parlor must have…

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Mark Twain…in and out with Halley’s Comet

Mark Twain…in and out with Halley’s Comet

By Don Radebaugh — Halley’s Comet is visible in the sky about every 75 years, the approximate duration of Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ amazing life. The fact that the famous Comet coincided with the coming and going of Clemens — AKA Mark Twain — seems to suggest he was worthy of some good old-fashioned divine intervention. In the first twist, Halley’s Comet would not have been in the sky at all had Twain been born on time;  but he was born…

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Have a seat in Lincoln’s chair…might as well…everyone else did

Have a seat in Lincoln’s chair…might as well…everyone else did

By Don Radebaugh — Good Friday turned out to be not all that good for Abraham Lincoln, unless being on the other side is better than living as we know it. Leading up to that fateful day, the stress of four years of Civil War…the price paid by three-quarter million mostly men who died…the strain was distinctly visible on Lincoln’s face on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. Despite the pain and suffering that came with his first term — including…

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Welcome to Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery…enter “at night” at your own risk…a self-guided ghost tour

Welcome to Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery…enter “at night” at your own risk…a self-guided ghost tour

By Don Radebaugh — Ghost walk tours have become big attractions at historical sites across the country, especially in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers fell during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863. When the armies on both sides began leaving Gettysburg, they simply packed up what they could and marched off, leaving behind dead soldiers where they fell. The unfathomable job of dealing with the dead and wounded fell upon the locals. Rather than…

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How the Emancipation Proclamation restored my faith in humankind

How the Emancipation Proclamation restored my faith in humankind

By Don Radebaugh — I had to act fast if I wanted to see Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. I knew it was a rare day indeed when it was somewhere other than the National Archives in Washington D.C. But a few years back, the original document went on a three-city tour of the United States. It started out east, stopped at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan for a day and concluded in Phoenix. As it turned out, The Henry…

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