Thursday, October 30, 2008

US 20 In Ohio:Woodville, Lime Center of the World

As US Route 20 in western Ohio heads northwest towards Indiana, it goes through the small village of Woodville, Ohio, which is less than 20 miles southeast of Toledo, Ohio and a short distance from Lake Erie.

Odd that that city is called Woodville, because its claim to fame is that it is the lime center of the world. No, not the green citrus fruit that grows on trees, the lime that comes from limestone. A historical marker on US 20 – called East and West Main Street in Woodville – has the following inscription:

Woodville “The Lime Center of the World.”

Woodville and the surrounding area is situated in the center of a huge deposit of some of the purest dolomitic limestone in the world. The absence of cracks in the rock stratum and relatively level terrain in the area prevents the contamination of the limestone. In recent years, Ohio has ranked as high as first nationally in the production of lime, and fourth in the production of crushed stone. Demand for the lime and lime products as a building material led to the economic growth and development of Woodville.

Another historical marker in the area on US Route 20 designates the Maumee and Western Reserve Turnpike. The marker notes the following:

Maumee and Western Reserve Turnpike
The first road to traverse Sandusky County through the Black Swamp was little more than a muddy path connecting Lower Sandusky (Fremont) and Perrysburg with Woodville. The arduous task of clearing the 120-foot-wide road through the swampy forest was completed within four years. By 1842, the work of stoning the road and draining adjacent lands was completed. Tolls were collected to maintain the road, and it became known as the Maumee and Western Reserve Turnpike. After 1888 it became a toll-free road and today is U.S. Route 20.

But lime is key to the residents of Woodville, as the industry drives their economy and has helped the city to flourish. In fact, there is an annual Lime Festival in September that honors the stone.

According to the Toledo Blade, US Route 20 west of Woodville has been undergoing some extensive work to widen the roadway. The Blade stated back in July that “The 5 1/4-mile project is scheduled for completion by November, 2009. When it's finished, U.S. 20 will have at least four lanes from State Rt. 420 all the way to Fremont. The junction of U.S. 20 and State Rt. 420, which connects with I-280, was rebuilt into an interchange in an ODOT project that was completed last year.”

By the way, in case you were wondering, according to the Woodville web site, The Village of Woodville was named after Amos E. Wood, who, with George H. Price, platted it in 1836. Mr. Wood was later elected to Congress but died before his arrival in Washington.” So that's why it's called Woodville, and not "Limeville."

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

US 20 In Pennsylvania: Erie

US Route 20 doesn’t spend a lot of time in Pennsylvania, only running for about 50 miles through the top northwest corner of the state, between Ohio and New York states. US 20 hugs the shoreline of Lake Erie, just north of I-90, as it travels through Pennsylvania.

US 20 carries many names as it travels through the city of Erie. As it reaches the Erie city limits, it becomes West 26th Street, and after reaching the city center (at State Street), it becomes East 26th Street. With a brief northward turn at the Bayfront Connector, it is called Broad Street. With another eastward turn its name changes to Buffalo Road.

The city of Erie is named for Lake Erie and the Native American tribe that resided along its shore. As of the most recent census, it is Pennsylvania’s fourth largest city. Like many large “rust belt” cities close to Erie, (Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) it has an industrial past.

According to Wikipedia:.

The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and the Seneca Nation occupied the lands now known as Erie…The French built Fort Presque Isle near present day Erie in 1753, as part of their effort to garrison New France against the encroaching English. The French word "Presque-isle" means peninsula (literally "almost an island") and refers to that piece of land that juts into Lake Erie that is now called Presque Isle State Park. When the fort was abandoned by the French in 1760, it was their last post west of Niagara. The British occupied the fort at Presque Isle that same year, three years before the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763.

Present day Erie would have been situated in a disputed triangle of land that was claimed by the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut (as part of its Western Reserve), and Massachusetts. It officially became part of Pennsylvania on 3 March 1792, after Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York released their claims to the federal government, which in turn sold the land to Pennsylvania for $151.6 million in Continental certificates. The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy released the land to Pennsylvania in January 1789 for payments of $2,000 from Pennsylvania and $1,200 from the federal government. The Seneca Nation separately settled land claims against Pennsylvania in February 1791 for the sum of $800.

Erie may be best known for its massive lake effect snows which come in off Lake Erie. (Living east of Cleveland and west of Erie myself, I can confirm that lake effect snowfall is often measured in feet, not inches.) It is also well known for Presque Isle State Park , which receives millions of visitors each year.

Panorama photo of downtown Erie, 1912. Is US 20 in this picture? Can anyone confirm?

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

US 20 in Ohio: RTA Healthline on Euclid Avenue

Last July, I wrote here about the Euclid Corridor Project , which was a complete reworking of US Route 20 (Euclid Avenue) in Cleveland, Ohio, from the Terminal Tower east to University Circle.

The work is done, and an official “grand opening” of the new and improved Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland will be held on October 24-25, 2008. American Idol winner Jordan Sparks will perform on October 25th at a concert in downtown Cleveland as part of the grand opening.

The corridor will also be christened with its new name, the RTA HealthLine. No, it’s not a phone number to call for medical information. It gets its new name from a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, and of course, Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority.

The improvements to US route 20 include a special rapid transit vehicle (RTV) that will move passengers through 59 stops, beginning at Cleveland’s downtown Public Square and ending at University Circle. The vehicles will help make the ride a little “greener”, since they are powered with hybrid technology. All 59 stations are equipped with a fare vending machine, generous seating, and 24 hour lighting; 19 of the stations have an interactive kiosk to keep travelers informed and even entertained during their short wait. There were also 1,500 new trees planted on the route to beautify the area. Special bike lanes have also been added.

It’s interesting to note that the area where this new line runs is in the same area as where Cleveland’s Millionaire’s Row was once located. It was reported that the Euclid Corridor project itself cost $200 million for the 7.1-mile stretch of Euclid Avenue where the HealthLine will run.

For more information, check out the RTA HealthLine web site.

Here is an overview of the Euclid Corridor Project when it began.

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

US 20: More Route 20 in the Movies

There was so much press about Ang Lee’s movie “Taking Woodstock”. which recently did a lot of filming on US Route 20 in New Lebanon, NY that I thought I’d go back to see what other films may have been filmed on, or very close to, the country’s longest road.

One that seemed to jump out was the 2006 filming of “Spiderman 3” which had some scenes filmed in downtown Cleveland Ohio, which is only about 25 miles from my home. Route 20 (Euclid Avenue) acted as “stand in” for New York City for precision driving stunts, car crashes, smoke effects and other stunts. Someone was able to get some nice action shots of the filming, and you’ll find that video below.

One famous baseball movie was filmed near US 2o at a now famous location in Dyersville Iowa. That movie is “Field of Dreams” which starred Kevin Costner. The baseball field which was the movie site is still there and is open for tours. It’s very close to US 20 and just 25 miles west of Dubuque, Iowa.

The 1993 comedy “Housesitter” with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn has a scene filmed at the Grist Mill on the grounds of the Wayside Inn on US 20 In Sudbury Massachusetts. A more recent film, the 2008 release “The Women” also had a scene shot on US 20 in Sudbury at the Bosse Sports & Health Club.

Another movie with some scenes filmed near US 20 was the Sci-fi film “Starship Troopers” which did some filming at Hells Half Acre in Powder River, Wyoming.

I am sure there are probably more movies out there that have been filmed on US Route 20, but it seems that information on this topic is scarce. If anyone would like to add a movie to the list, please feel free to add it to the comments below.

Spiderman 3 Filming Starring US Route 20 (Euclid Avenue, Downtown Cleveland)

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.