Saturday, December 13, 2014

History of The Pump House Art Gallery

It sits on the South Eastern side of Yoctangee Park in historical Chillicothe, Ohio. The Pump House Art Gallery.

I have mentioned it plenty of times before, and even did an interview with the founder, and world renowned artist, Ted W. Fickisen.

But today, I wanted to share with you the history of The Pump House Art Gallery in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Even in 1882 the people of Chillicothe enjoyed this part of the city. Citizens came to Yoctangee Park in their horse-drawn carriages and had picnics. The park was becoming an integral part of the city's cultural life. When it was deemed necessary to build a pumping station for the city of Chillicothe, it was decided to be built in Yoctangee Park, and it was also decided that the building be both, functional and an architectural addition to the park.

The Pump House and Water Works, built in 1882 by the Chillicothe Gas, Light and Water Works once housed large, powerful, brass pumps used to fight fires that periodically destroyed parts of the city during Chillicothe's early history.

Engaged through a deep well (25 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep), located next to the pump house, the water was pumped from the Teays Aquifer beneath Yoctangee Park and propelled through 16 feet cast iron pipes to a reservoir located on Carlisle Hill. When needed, the water was released through the pipes back down the hill to 100 fire hydrants placed throughout the city. The spring from the ancient Teays that fed the aquifer was so powerful that the engines could pump over six thousand gallons of water per minute. Today, these same cast iron water pipes still carry water through the city.

As the city grew, inside water taps became the norm and The Pumping Station was deemed insufficient for the growing population. For a number of years the building was used by the city service department. Road equipment was stored in the building, as was salt for use on icy roads. By the mid 1970's, the building was in a state of disrepair. At this point, the city government felt that the building should be torn down. In their eyes, it had out served its purpose.

Preservationists and the Jaycees of Chillicothe pleaded with the city to keep the building and not destroy it, citing its historical value to the community as a primary reason to leave it standing, and to restore it. The Jaycees even used the building as a haunted house during this time in an attempt to raise money for restoration costs.

In 1984, the building was condemned.

Then, a group of artists, led by Mr. Ted William Fickisen, preservationists, and local attorney, Jim Barrington, formed a coalition to restore and preserve the building. The old pump house was leased to a board of trustees in 1986 as a historic center for the arts. Then came the daunting task of turning an old pump house into an art gallery. The roof was so rotted that major portions had to be rebuilt. The limestone foundation had crumbled. All the windows and doors were bricked in and nailed shut. There was no permanent floor and no electricity or water.

 This founding group, along with other interested residents, established a Board of Trustees and they raised the $160,000.00 dollars needed for the restoration part of the project. A philanthropist and builder, Wilbur Poole, took on the incredible task of restoring the building as it is today. Coursework had to be replaced, bricks repaired, floors poured, electricity and water installed, and the walls rebuilt. Slowly, but surely, the rooms were transformed into a place where exhibits could be hung and viewed.

THE PUMP HOUSE is a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture. The building features a large central tower colorfully patterned with glazed ceramic tiles, eight Palladian windows, common-bond brick work on the interior that has piano key dentil design around the windows. The two cathedral galleries are ornately paneled in vaulted, dark, tongue and groove oak construction, similar to the treatment on a ship's interior.

In November 1979, the Pump House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Carroll's Journal: Already Spoken For

"Why are you not married?" The strange lady asked me. "You're not a bad looking fellow."

"Thank you." I replied. "But I am married." I glanced at the pen which was tucked inside my shirt pocket before looking back at the woman. "Not only that," I continued, "but we have hundreds and hundreds of children."

Her dazed and confused appearance was more than obvious on her face. I could tell she wanted to ask me another question, but she just couldn't seem to put a coherent sentence together to save her own life. Her feeble reaction to what I said left her a little speechless and so I spared her any further embarrassment. "You see," I went into full detail, "I am a writer. I'm married to my ink pen. When I 'make love' to it, it gives me a child in the form of a poem or a story, or a song. Believe me," I stipulated in the middle of her ironic gasp, "it's beautiful."

Our dialogue had concluded for all intent purposes, considering that she never again made it past her stumbling / mumbling behavior. I did hear her grumble something about me being crazy when she turned to make her way. Maybe she is right. Maybe I am nuts. I'm still not about to apologize to her, or to anybody, for my life choices. And no matter how you slice and dice it all, the end result will always remain the same.

I'm the father. The writer.
The pen is the mother. 
The story, poem or song is the child.

And I am happily married forever. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Season's Greetings

SEASON'S GREETINGS - Written by Carroll Bryant 

There's a noise in the air
It sounds like Santa Claus 
Rudolph leads the reindeer 
Waving to Jack Frost 
Christmas day is coming
The hour's growing near 
Another merry holiday and happy new year 

Frosty's playing in the snow 
With all his young hearted friends 
The Scrooge wants to be left alone
But we know how that ends 
Christmas is approaching 
Place you hand upon your ear
Have a merry holiday and happy new year 

And on that night, that silent night 
Peace will fall onto all again 
Tomorrow the kids will play withtheir toys
Sounds of laughter all day long
From all the girls and boys 

And the angels will sing 
Of Christ, our king 
After good old Saint Nicholas brings happiness and things 

There's a noise in the air
It sounds like Santa Claus 
Rudolph leads the reindeer 
Waving to Jack Frost 
Christmas day is coming
The hour's growing near 
Another merry holiday and happy new year

Merry Christmas to all and to all ....... a wonderful night