Article Summary: Ohio Landmarks
Ohio Landmarks. More Than Just Parks has 20 incredible must-see sites for you to visit.
There’s so much more to this exciting place than the Ohio State Buckeyes. In this article, we’ll familiarize you with the incredible landmarks located in the Buckeye State.
We’ve got incredible places, iconic memorials, fascinating museums, epic monuments and so much more.
We’re going to give you our list of the Top 20 Landmarks In Ohio.
So, What Is A Landmark?
Well, it’s a place of “a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of a city, state, or nation.”
Why visit these places? Because landmarks connect us to the past. Through visiting these wonderful places where history occurred we find our roots. It allows us to feel like we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
And, speaking of history, did I mention that I taught the subject? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind many of these amazing sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the fascinating stories of these places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Table Of Contents
Table of Contents: Ohio Landmarks
- Ohio Landmarks
- Some Fascinating Facts About Ohio
- Top 20 Ohio Landmarks
- Top 15 Ohio Landmarks
- Top 10 Ohio Landmarks
- Top 5 Historic Sites In Ohio
- Map Of Ohio Landmarks
- We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Some Fascinating Facts About Ohio
Here are some interesting facts about Ohio:
- Ohio is the 34th largest state in the United States, with a total area of 44,825 square miles.
- The capital city of Ohio is Columbus, which is also the largest city in the state.
- Ohio became the 17th state in the United States on March 1, 1803.
- The name Ohio comes from the Iroquois word “ohi-yo,” which means “great river.”
- The Ohio River forms the state’s southern border and is 981 miles long.
- Cleveland, Ohio, was the first city in the world to be lit by electric streetlights in 1879.
- The Wright Brothers, who are credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane, were born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.
- Akron, Ohio, is the rubber capital of the world, and is home to companies such as Goodyear, Firestone, and General Tire.
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Ohio is also known for producing many U.S. Presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.
At More Than Just Parks, we’re excited to share our list of the Top 20 Ohio Landmarks. And we’re kicking off our list at #20 with the Cincinnati Music Hall.
Top 20 Ohio Landmarks
20. Cincinnati Music Hall
The Cincinnati Music Hall was built in the late 19th century and has been a center for music and cultural events in the city ever since.
The idea for the Music Hall was first proposed in the mid-1870s by a group of local musicians and arts patrons who felt that Cincinnati needed a grand concert hall. The city government agreed to provide the land for the building, and a competition was held to select an architect.
The winning design was submitted by Samuel Hannaford, a local architect who also designed several other notable buildings in Cincinnati.
Construction on the Music Hall began in 1877 and was completed in 1878. The building was originally called the “Music Hall and Exposition Building,” as it was also used for trade shows and other events.
Cincinnati Music Hall | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
It Become A Focal Point For Cincinnati’s Cultural Life
The Music Hall quickly became a focal point for Cincinnati’s cultural life. The building was home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera, as well as a number of other musical and theatrical groups. Over the years, the Music Hall has hosted many famous performers, including: Enrico Caruso, Duke Ellington, and Yo-Yo Ma.
The Music Hall underwent several renovations and updates in the early 20th century to keep up with changing tastes and technologies. In the 1920s, the building was equipped with air conditioning and a new sound system.
In the 1950s, it underwent a major renovation that included the addition of new dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces, and administrative offices.
Today, the Cincinnati Music Hall is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and continues to be one of the city’s most important cultural institutions. It underwent a $143 million renovation that began in 2016 and was completed in 2017, restoring the building to its former glory while also incorporating modern amenities and accessibility features.
19. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Our next Ohio landmark is an amazing place where visitors will have a chance to experience the Garden’s state-of-the-art greenhouses, witness rare and endangered desert plants, and learn about the Garden’s conservation and research work that protects desert plants for future generations.
At #19 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and it is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the country.
The history of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens dates back to the late 19th century. In 1884, the City of Columbus purchased land for a new park on the east side of the city.
The park was named Franklin Park, in honor of Benjamin Franklin, and it quickly became a popular destination for residents of Columbus.
In 1895, the City of Columbus hired landscape architect William J. Burns to design a new conservatory for the park. Burns’ design called for a large, glass-enclosed building that would house exotic plants and flowers from around the world.
Construction on the conservatory began in 1895 and was completed in 1897. The building featured a series of greenhouses, each with a different climate and plant collection. The conservatory quickly became a popular attraction, drawing visitors from across the region.
Butterflies at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Over The Years, It Has Undergone Several Renovations & Updates
Over the years, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens underwent several renovations and updates. In the 1920s, a new wing was added to the building, and in the 1950s, a large palm house was constructed.
In 1989, a major renovation project was launched to restore the conservatory to its original splendor. The project included the restoration of many of the conservatory’s original features, as well as the construction of several new buildings and garden spaces.
Today, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a popular attraction for visitors to Columbus. The conservatory features a wide variety of plant collections, including tropical plants, orchids, and bonsai trees.
It also hosts a number of events and educational programs throughout the year, including art exhibits, gardening workshops, and children’s activities.
18. National Museum of the US Air Force
At our next Ohio landmark, visitors can view multiple galleries focusing on the various eras of military aviation and Air Force history, including the early years, World War I, World War II, Korea, Southeast Asia, the Cold War and the present.
At #18 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the National Museum of the US Air Force.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world, and it features a vast collection of aircraft and related artifacts from throughout the history of the United States Air Force.
The museum was founded in 1923 as the Army Air Corps Museum, and it was initially located at Langley Field in Virginia. The museum’s collection grew steadily over the years, and in 1954, it was relocated to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
The new museum was renamed the United States Air Force Museum, and it was housed in a series of temporary buildings on the base.
Memphis Belle Boeing B-17 at the National Museum of the US Air Force | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Plans Were Made For A Permanent Museum Building
In the early 1960s, plans were developed for a new, permanent museum building. Construction on the new building began in 1965, and the museum was officially dedicated in 1971. The new building was designed to be a modern, state-of-the-art facility, with a large central exhibit hall and a variety of smaller galleries.
Over the years, the museum’s collection continued to grow, with new aircraft and artifacts being added on a regular basis. The museum also underwent several renovations and updates, including the addition of a new Space Gallery in 2003.
Today, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ohio, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The museum’s collection includes more than 360 aircraft, as well as numerous missiles, spacecraft, and other artifacts.
The museum also features a variety of exhibits, including interactive displays, films, and hands-on activities. In addition, the museum hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including air shows and lectures by experts in aviation history.
17. The Ohio Statehouse
Our next Ohio landmark was built in the Greek Revival style, a type of design based on the buildings of ancient Greece and very popular in the U.S. during the early and mid 1800s. At #17 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is The Ohio Statehouse.
The Ohio Statehouse is the seat of government for the state of Ohio and is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, USA. The building is an important symbol of Ohio’s political history and has been a center of political activity in the state since its construction in the mid-19th century.
The Ohio Statehouse was designed by architect Nathan B. Kelly and construction began in 1839. The building was completed in 1861, but the Civil War delayed its formal dedication until 1869.
The Ohio Statehouse was constructed in a Greek Revival style and was built using local materials, including limestone and sandstone from nearby quarries.
Ohio Statehouse with Plaque | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
It Was The Site Of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Throughout its history, the Ohio Statehouse has been the site of many important political events. In 1856, the building was the site of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, in which Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated the issue of slavery. During the Civil War, the Ohio Statehouse was used as a barracks and a hospital for Union soldiers.
The Ohio Statehouse underwent several renovations and updates in the years that followed the war. In the 1880s, a new dome was added to the building, which became one of the most recognizable features of the Ohio Statehouse. In the early 20th century, the building underwent a major restoration, which included the addition of new wings and a new entrance.
Today, the Ohio Statehouse is open to the public and serves as a center of government activity in Ohio. Visitors can take guided tours of the building, which include visits to the governor’s office, the legislative chambers, and the rotunda.
The building also houses a number of important works of art and historical artifacts, including a statue of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States and former governor of Ohio.
16. Armstrong Air & Space Museum
We move from the seat of Ohio’s government to the incredible story of the first man to walk on the moon. At #16 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum which is located in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
This incredible place is dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Astronaut Neil Armstrong who was the first human to walk on the Moon. The museum also celebrates Ohio’s contributions to space exploration and aviation.
Exhibit of Neil Armstrong Spacewear | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
A Group Of Local Residents Wanted To Honor Armstrong’s Achievements
It was founded in 1972, shortly after Neil Armstrong’s historic Apollo 11 mission, by a group of local residents who wanted to honor Armstrong’s achievements and inspire future generations of space explorers. The museum was built in Wapakoneta, Armstrong’s hometown, and features exhibits and artifacts related to his life and career.
The Armstrong Air & Space Museum was expanded in 1985 to include additional exhibits on aviation and space exploration. The museum features a variety of interactive displays, including simulators, models, and educational exhibits designed to engage visitors of all ages.
The museum’s most notable exhibit is a replica of the Gemini VIII spacecraft, the mission in which Armstrong served as the command pilot. The museum also features a Lunar Module simulator that allows visitors to experience what it was like to land on the moon.
In addition to its exhibits, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum hosts a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and summer camps.
Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) was the first person to walk on the moon. He was born in Ohio and had a passion for flying from a young age. After serving in the Korean War as a naval aviator, he became a test pilot and was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1962.
Armstrong first went to space in 1966 as the command pilot of the Gemini 8 mission, which completed the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit. However, he is most famous for his role as commander of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, which aimed to land humans on the moon.
On July 20, 1969, Armstrong, along with fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, became the first humans to walk on the moon. Armstrong famously said the words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he stepped onto the lunar surface.
After his career as an astronaut, Armstrong served as a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati and also as a member of the investigation into the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster. He was a highly respected figure in the space community and is remembered as a hero of space exploration.
Top 15 Ohio Landmarks
15. Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum
We’re on to the Top 15 Ohio Landmarks. And there’s so many incredible sites to see! We move from the story of the first man to walk on the Moon to the story of the man who illuminated our world.
At #15 is the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum in Milan, Ohio.
The Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum is a museum located in Milan, Ohio. The museum is housed in the home where Edison was born on February 11, 1847.
Thomas Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history and is best known for his contributions to the development of the electric light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera. Edison held over 1,000 patents for his inventions.
He began his career as a telegraph operator and later became interested in inventing. In 1877, he invented the phonograph, a device that could record and reproduce sound. The following year, he invented the incandescent light bulb, which revolutionized the way people lived and worked by providing a reliable source of artificial light.
Edison went on to invent many other devices, including the motion picture camera, the alkaline storage battery, and the carbon microphone. He also made important contributions to the development of the electric power industry and was a co-founder of General Electric.
Edison was a prolific inventor who was known for his relentless work ethic and determination. He once famously said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
His contributions to science and technology have had a lasting impact on the world.
Thomas Edison and the perfected-phonograph-group in 1888 | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The Edison Home Fell Into Disrepair
The Edison family lived in the home until 1854 when they moved to Port Huron, Michigan. The home fell into disrepair until 1906 when it was purchased by a group of local citizens who formed the Edison Birthplace Association to preserve the home as a museum.
The home was extensively restored and opened to the public in 1947 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Edison’s birth.
The museum features exhibits on Edison’s life and inventions, including telegraphs, phonographs, and light bulbs. It also includes a research library with a collection of books and documents related to Edison and his work.
Over the years, the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing number of visitors. In 1995, the museum added a visitor center and gift shop to enhance the visitor experience.
Today, the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum is an important attraction for visitors interested in learning about the life and work of Thomas Edison, one of the most influential inventors in history. The museum is open to the public and offers guided tours, educational programs, and events throughout the year.
14. National Museum Of The United States Air Force
At #14 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is a place which showcased the history and artifacts of one of the most important branches of the military. It’s the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The museum is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world.
The museum was established in 1923 as the Army Aeronautical Museum, located at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. The museum’s collection grew over the years, and in 1949, the museum was moved to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where it is still located today.
The museum was renamed the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 1961 and underwent a major expansion in 1971. The museum’s collection now includes more than 360 aircraft and missiles, as well as thousands of other historical artifacts, documents, and photographs related to the history of the Air Force.
The Museum Is Divided Into Several Galleries
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is divided into several galleries that cover different aspects of Air Force history, including: the early years of aviation, World War II, the Cold War, and space exploration. The museum also includes a Presidential Gallery, which displays aircraft that were used by U.S. presidents.
The museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs that are designed to educate and inspire visitors of all ages. Visitors can take guided tours, attend educational programs, and participate in hands-on activities. The museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including air shows, concerts, and special exhibits.
Today, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is an important attraction for aviation enthusiasts, military historians, and anyone interested in the history of the United States Air Force. The museum’s collection and exhibits continue to inspire visitors with the Air Force’s legacy of innovation, courage, and dedication.
National Museum of the United States Air Force | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
13. Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
We go from a place which celebrates the men and women who fly the skies to an historic trail which follows the route first taken by Lewis & Clark. At #13 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.
The expedition was led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and its goal was to explore the western portion of the Louisiana Territory, which had recently been acquired by the United States from France, and to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean.
During their journey, Lewis and Clark encountered various indigenous tribes, as well as stunning landscapes, and documented their findings in journals, maps, and sketches.
The trail covers approximately 4,900 miles, passing through 11 states, and offers a glimpse into the history of the American West, including the story of the first people who lived there and the natural beauty of the region.
It’s Part Of The National Trails System Act
The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail was officially established by Congress in 1978 as a part of the National Trails System Act.
Today, the trail is managed by the National Park Service and is designated as a National Historic Trail, which means that it is protected as a cultural and historical resource for future generations to enjoy.
It offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, boating, and camping, as well as educational programs and events that allow visitors to learn about the rich history of the region.
What Can I See In Ohio That’s Connected To Lewis & Clark
Places of interest to visit in Ohio include:
- Campus Martius Museum-Founded in 1788 by Rufus Putnam, Marietta, Ohio, was the first settlement established in the Northwest Territory. The stockade was known as Campus Martius, so named because it put settlers and soldiers alike in mind of the Fields of Mars, a training ground once used by ancient Roman legions.
- Eulett Center-The Eulett Center takes its name from Charles A. Eulett, a teacher and naturalist from Adams County who advocated for the protection of local prairies and grasslands in the 1960s and 70s. The nature preserve protects 20,000 acres of pristine forestlands, prairies, ravines, and slopes.
- Historic Fort Steuben-It’s a reconstructed military fort located in Steubenville, Ohio, along the Ohio River. The Reconstruction of Fort Steuben began shortly after 1986, 200 years after the fort’s initial creation, and was led by the Old Fort Steuben Project. (Source: NPS)
12. Hopewell Culture National Historic Park
At #12 we have an amazing place which preserves and interprets the archaeological remains of the Hopewell culture, a pre-Columbian indigenous culture that flourished in the area from about 200 BCE to 500 CE. It’s the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park located in Ross County, Ohio.
The park is centered around the Mound City Group, a group of 23 earthen mounds and earthworks that were built by the Hopewell people. Visitors can explore the mounds and earthworks on foot, and there is also a visitor center with exhibits that provide information about the Hopewell culture and its history.
The Hopewell people lived in the Ohio River Valley between 100 BCE and 500 CE and are known for their impressive earthworks, sophisticated trade networks, and complex social systems.
Some Of The Largest & Most Impressive Earthworks Built By The Hopewell People
The Hopewell Culture National Historic Park is home to some of the largest and most impressive earthworks built by the Hopewell people, including the Great Circle, which is a large circular earthwork that measures more than 1,000 feet in diameter.
The park also includes several burial mounds, geometric earthworks, and a visitor center with exhibits and educational programs.
The park’s exhibits and educational programs explore the Hopewell culture’s social and economic systems, their artistic and religious practices, and their relationship with the natural world. Visitors can take guided tours of the earthworks and participate in educational programs that offer hands-on learning opportunities.
Today, the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park is an important attraction for visitors interested in learning about the ancient cultures that once inhabited the Ohio River Valley. The park’s earthworks and artifacts continue to inspire visitors with their beauty, complexity, and historical significance.
11. National Veterans Memorial and Museum
Our next Ohio landmark shares numerous stories that are told of the sacrifices of servicemen and women and their families, presenting military history in a dynamic, participatory experience through photos, letters and personal effects, multimedia presentations and interactive exhibits.
At #11 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) is located in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the first museum in the United States dedicated to honoring all veterans and their families.
The idea for the museum was initially proposed in 2012 by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who wanted to create a space that would celebrate the contributions of all veterans and provide a place for healing and reflection.
Construction Began In 2015
Construction of the museum began in 2015, and the building was designed by architect Allied Works. The museum was officially opened to the public on October 27, 2018. The museum’s design is meant to reflect the experiences of veterans and their families, with a circular shape meant to represent unity and the circular nature of military service.
The exhibits inside the museum cover a wide range of topics related to the experiences of veterans, including their training, service, and return home. The museum also features a “Remembrance Gallery,” where visitors can leave messages and mementos honoring veterans.
The NVMM has been recognized for its innovative design and approach to honoring veterans. In 2019, it received the Project of the Year award from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America, and in 2020, it was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Places in the World.
Overall, the NVMM has quickly become an important part of the veteran community, both in Ohio and across the country, as a place for education, healing, and reflection on the sacrifices and contributions of those who have served in the armed forces.
Top 10 Ohio Landmarks
10. James A. Garfield National Historic Site
We’re on to the Top 10 Best Ohio Landmarks. Did you know that more of our country’s presidents come from Ohio than from any other state? Eight of 45 American presidents were elected from the Buckeye State, earning Ohio the nickname “the Mother of Presidents.”
It’s therefore fitting that, at #10 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks, is the James A. Garfield National Historic Site.
James A. Garfield
James A. Garfield served as Brigadier General in the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln, however, felt that Garfield could be of greater use to the Union cause in Congress.
So, being a good soldier, Garfield resigned his commission in 1862 to serve eighteen years in Congress. He became the leading Republican in the House of Representations.
In 1880, Garfield was nominated for the presidency. He defeated his Democratic opponent, another former Civil War General named Winfield Scott Hancock, by a mere 10,000 votes.
Historians consider Garfield to have been a “brilliant maybe.” He was committed to political reform and hemispheric cooperation. Sadly, on July 2nd, 1881, he was struck by an assassin’s bullet.
Garfield spent two and a half months in a slow, agonizing decline before dying on September 19, 1881.
To learn more about this fascinating individual I recommend reading Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard.
Things To Do At The James A. Garfield National Historic Site
The site offers a variety of activities and attractions that are designed to educate and inspire visitors of all ages. Here are some of the things to do at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site:
- Take a guided tour of the Garfield home – Visitors can take a guided tour of the Garfield home, which has been restored to its 1880s appearance. The tour provides an intimate look at the home where President Garfield lived and worked before his assassination in 1881.
- Explore the grounds and gardens – The Garfield site features several acres of grounds and gardens that visitors can explore. The grounds include a carriage house, a barn, and a windmill, as well as several gardens that are maintained by the site’s staff.
- Visit the visitor center – The visitor center features exhibits that explore the life and legacy of President Garfield. Visitors can view artifacts from Garfield’s life and career, as well as interactive exhibits that offer a deeper understanding of his presidency and his impact on American history.
- Attend a special event – The Garfield site hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including living history programs, lectures, and musical performances. Visitors can check the site’s calendar of events to find out what’s happening during their visit.
- Explore the surrounding area – The Garfield site is located in the heart of Lake County, Ohio, which offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. From wineries and breweries to parks and beaches, Lake County has something for everyone.
9. Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
We move from one of the more celebrated sites in the state of Ohio to a site which celebrates one of the heroes of the War of 1812.
At #9 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The War Of 1812
The War of 1812 was a conflict between the United States and Great Britain that took place from 1812 to 1815. The war was primarily fought over issues related to trade, maritime rights, and territorial expansion. It was also influenced by tensions between the United States and Great Britain that had been simmering since the American Revolution.
One of the primary causes of the war was British interference with American trade. The British had been seizing American ships and impressing American sailors into service on British warships. The United States also had territorial ambitions, and many Americans believed that Canada would be easy to conquer.
Initially, the war did not go well for the United States, with American forces suffering several defeats on land and at sea. However, the tide of the war began to turn in 1813, when American forces won a series of naval battles on the Great Lakes and successfully defended the city of Baltimore against a British attack.
The war continued for several more years, with both sides suffering significant casualties and incurring significant economic costs. However, by 1814, both sides were eager to end the conflict. In December 1814, the two sides signed the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war and restored pre-war boundaries.
Although the war ended in a stalemate and did not result in any significant territorial gains for the United States, it did have several important consequences. The war cemented the United States’ independence from Great Britain and established the nation as a major world power.
See The Monument Which Honors Oliver Hazard Perry
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie, which took place during the War of 1812.
The monument was built to honor the victory of American naval forces, led by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, over the British in the battle, and to symbolize the lasting peace between the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.
The memorial consists of a 352-foot-tall Doric column, which is the third tallest stone column in the world, and offers panoramic views of Lake Erie and the surrounding islands. The monument also features a museum that showcases the history of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie, as well as the peace that followed.
Visitors to Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial can take a guided tour of the monument, learn about the battle and its significance through interactive exhibits and displays, and climb to the top of the column for breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
The memorial is also a popular spot for picnics, bird-watching, and hiking, and is a symbol of American patriotism and international peace.
8. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
In compiling our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks we were particularly impressed by some of history’s unsung heroes. One example is Oliver Hazard Perry. Another is Charles Young.
At #8 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument.
A Truly Extraordinary Life
Born as a slave during the American Civil War, Charles Young lived a truly extraordinary life. He was the first African American to graduate from a white high school in Ohio. In 1884, Young defied the odds winning an appointment to West Point though a competitive military examination.
After confronting the racism which was unfortunately typical of his era, he emerged as only the third African American to graduate from America’s most prestigious military academy.
As a former history teacher and a lifelong history buff, I love to include book recommendations for those of you who are interested in taking a deeper dive.
In the case of Charles Young, I heartily recommend Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young by Brian G. Shellum.
Captain Of An All Black Regiment
Young served as a cavalry officer. He then became the captain of an all-black regiment at San Francisco’s Presidio. Young’s career path would take an interesting turn when managing the national parks became the responsibility of the U.S. Army beginning in 1891.
This was before the creation of a unified system of national parks or the establishment of an elite cadre of park rangers.
By 1903, the U.S. Military was providing protection at America’s parks. Young was assigned to take his troops to Sequoia and General Grant (what is now Sequoia National Park and a small portion of Kings Canyon National Park).
It was during the summer of 1903 that he made history by becoming the acting superintendent of the these two parks. He was the first African-American to hold such a position.
Things To Do At The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Young was sidelined from active duty during World War One due to health issues, but returned to command after the war. He would earn the rank of colonel. Young died unexpectedly, however, in 1922.
As the National Park Service notes, Charles Young overcame stifling inequality to become a leading figure in the years after the Civil War when the United States emerged as a world power.
His work ethic, academic leadership, and devotion to duty provided a strong base for his achievements in the face of racism and oppression.
His long and distinguished career as a commissioned officer in the United States Army made him a popular figure of his time and a role model for generations of new leaders.
Visitors to the site can take a guided tour of the Charles Young Home. Here you can learn more about the incredible story of this remarkable man.
7. First Ladies National Historic Site
At #7 is a site which celebrates some of the most influential women in American history. It’s the First Ladies National Historic Site.
The site honors the contributions of America’s First Ladies and preserves the history of the role of the First Lady in American political and social life. It is the only site of its kind in the United States.
The site is located in the former home of William McKinley’s Ida Saxton McKinley, who served as First Lady during McKinley’s presidency from 1897 to 1901. The house has been restored to its late 19th-century appearance and features exhibits and displays that explore the lives and legacies of America’s First Ladies.
Visitors to the First Ladies National Historic Site can take a guided tour of the McKinley home and explore exhibits that highlight the accomplishments and contributions of the First Ladies.
Exhibits feature objects, photographs, and documents from the lives of the First Ladies, including their contributions to American society, their advocacy for important causes, and their personal stories.
America’s Most Influential First Lady
If you’re someone who follows sports then you’re likely familiar with rankings. As a long-time resident of Georgia, I assure you that I do follow sports especially college football.
In college football and almost everything else, most rankings tend to change over time. And yet the woman considered by many knowledgeable experts to be America’s Most Influential First Lady hasn’t changed over time.
After the scrutiny of three expert opinion surveys over twenty years, Eleanor Roosevelt is still ranked first among all other women who have served as America’s First Ladies, according to an expert opinion poll conducted by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI).
America’s Longest Serving First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt served as First Lady for over 12 years. She played an active role in advising her husband and was the first first lady to hold her own press conferences.
Mrs. Roosevelt also championed causes, such as Women’s Rights, and supported programs, such as the one which gave African Americans the opportunity to become fighter pilots during World War Two.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the first first lady to remain an influential political force after her husband’s death. She served as Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
If you’re interested in learning more about this remarkable First Lady then I recommend Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter for Justice: Her Impact on the Civil Rights Movement, the White House, and the World by Ilene Cooper.
6. The Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site
Our next Ohio landmark commemorates an 18th century battle. At #6 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is The Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site.
The Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site is located in Maumee, Ohio, and commemorates the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which took place on August 20, 1794. The battle was fought between the United States and a confederation of Native American tribes, led by the Shawnee chief Blue Jacket and the Miami chief Little Turtle.
The conflict between the United States and Native American tribes had been ongoing since the American Revolution, but tensions reached a boiling point in the early 1790s when the United States attempted to expand westward into Native American territory.
In response, the confederation of tribes formed an alliance and launched a series of attacks on American settlements in the Ohio River Valley.
Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
General Anthony Wayne Led American Forces Against The Native Tribes
In 1794, General Anthony Wayne led a force of American soldiers, known as the Legion of the United States, into the Ohio territory to confront the Native American tribes. The two sides met in battle on the banks of the Maumee River, near a stand of fallen trees, which became known as the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
The battle was a decisive victory for the United States, and it marked the end of the Native American resistance to American expansion in the Ohio territory. Following the battle, General Wayne ordered the construction of Fort Miamis near the site of the battle, to secure American control over the region.
Today, the Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site is operated by the National Park Service and includes a visitors center, museum, and hiking trails. The site is an important reminder of the complex history of the American West and the ongoing struggle between Native American tribes and the United States government over land and resources.
Top 5 Historic Sites In Ohio
5. William Howard Taft National Historic Site
We’re on to the Top 5. Since Ohio is home to more presidents than any other state we thought it fitting to include another presidential site on our list of the Best Historic Sites In Ohio. At #5 we have the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.
While he is not considered a great president, he’s most certainly considered a large one. Weighing in at upwards of 330 pounds, William Howard Taft was the largest man ever to hold the office.
Taft had studied law and served in several minor appointive offices until 1887, when he was named to fill the unfinished term of a judge of the superior court of Ohio.
From 1892 to 1900 he served as a judge of the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. So far, nothing he did brought him any special distinction, but that was about to change.
Governor OF The Philippines & Secretary Of War
In 1901, Taft became the first civilian governor of the Philippines under President William McKinley. His administration of the Philippines was considered a success.
In 1904, Taft returned to Washington to serve as Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of war. Four years later, Roosevelt endorsed him for the presidency. He was elected in 1908.
During his tenure in office, William Howard Taft signed the first tariff revision since 1897; established a postal savings system; formed the Interstate Commerce Commission; and prosecuted over 75 antitrust violations, far more than pursued by the famed “trust- buster” Theodore Roosevelt.
10th Chief Justice Of The Supreme Court
Did you know that William Howard Taft was the only president to also serve on the Supreme Court? He was the 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Visitors will take a trip back in time as the home is decorated in Victorian-era style, which it was during the years that William Howard Taft lived in the house.
Things To Do At The William Howard Taft National Historic Site
I recommend beginning at the Taft Education Center. It’s the park’s only visitor center. There you can see the film, William Howard Taft, Public Servant.
It’s approximately 15 minutes and covers the life and legacy of Taft and his career as a judge and a politician from the local level through the federal ranks.
There’s also a gift shop with souvenirs and an assortment of Taft and presidential-related books.
From there you can take a ranger-guided tour of the birthplace and home to the nation’s 27th President.
4. Pro Football Hall Of Fame
We haven’t forgotten about those of you who love sports. Did you know that the 2023 edition of the Super Bowl, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs emerge victorious against the Philadelphia Eagles was watched by 113 million viewers in the United States.
In Ohio you can visit the place which celebrates professional football. At #4 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame honors the greatest players, coaches, and contributors to the sport of American football. It is considered the premier institution for preserving and showcasing the history of the game, and attracts visitors from around the world.
Some of the things to see and do at the Pro Football Hall of Fame include:
- Hall of Fame Gallery: Visitors can view the bronze busts of all the inducted members of the Hall of Fame, as well as learn about their careers and achievements.
- Interactive Exhibits: The museum features interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience what it’s like to play professional football, including simulations, virtual reality experiences, and more.
- Artifacts and Memorabilia: The Hall of Fame has a large collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the sport, including game-worn jerseys, historic photographs, and more.
- Enshrinement Ceremony: The Hall of Fame hosts an annual Enshrinement Ceremony, where new inductees are honored and their busts are unveiled.
- Events and Programs: The museum offers various events and programs throughout the year, including educational programs, youth camps, and more.
3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Just because we’re More Than Just Parks that doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten about parks. At #3 on our list of the Best Historic Sites In Ohio is Ohio’s only national park – Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
You may have driven, fished, hiked, rode horseback, skied or swam in a national park, but did you ever travel through it by train? All Aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad!
Visitors to this national park can experience its natural wonders onboard a train as it winds its way through the Cuyahoga Valley and along the Cuyahoga River.
The trip by train provides passengers the opportunity to possibly spot eagles, deer, beavers, and herons in their natural habitat. It’s a great way to travel!
Hiking At Cuyahoga
Of course you don’t have to travel by train. There are over 125 miles of hiking trails available too. These trails range from nearly-level to more challenging, and pass through various habitats including woodlands, wetlands, and old fields.
If you’re looking to do some serious hiking then I would recommend picking up a copy of the Trail Guide Handbook: Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. It’s an excellent resource which will enable you to make the most of your hiking experiences while at Cuyahoga.
Other Things To Do At Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Popular attractions and activities include:
- Beaver Marsh where you will enjoy exceptional scenery and wildlife. It’s one of the park’s most popular destinations.
- Brandywine Falls which is a magnificent 60-foot waterfall that’s accessed by boardwalk.
- The Ritchie Ledges are a geologic wonder. The trail around The Ledges is 2.2 miles and connects to a larger network of trails in the Virginia Kendall Area.
- Blue Hen Falls is a 15-foot waterfall. To get there you will hike 1.5 miles (one way) from Boston Mill Visitor Center.
- The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is accessible by biking, walking or even wheelchair.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park also offers boating, fishing and horseback riding trails too.
2. Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
We’ve gone from pro football to presidents, first ladies and so much more. But are you ready to shake, rattle and roll? Our runner-up at #2 on our list of the Best Ohio Landmarks is the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame & Museum.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a museum and cultural institution located in Cleveland, Ohio, that honors and celebrates the history of rock and roll music. The idea for the museum was first proposed in the early 1980s by Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, and a group of music industry executives.
The museum officially opened in 1995, after years of planning and fundraising. The building, designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, is located on the shores of Lake Erie and features a striking geometric design that has become an iconic symbol of the city of Cleveland.
The Museum Features A Vast Collection Of Artifacts
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors and celebrates the history and cultural significance of rock and roll music through a variety of exhibits, displays, and interactive experiences. The museum features a vast collection of artifacts, including musical instruments, stage costumes, and handwritten lyrics, that tell the stories of the most influential and iconic figures in rock and roll history.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame also honors the artists who have made significant contributions to the genre through induction into the Hall of Fame. Induction into the Hall of Fame is considered one of the highest honors in the music industry and is determined by a committee of music industry professionals and historians.
Since its opening, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cleveland, attracting millions of visitors from around the world each year. The museum has also played an important role in promoting and preserving the history of rock and roll music and continues to inspire and influence new generations of musicians and fans.
1. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
We’ve featured the first man to walk on the Moon as well as the United States Air Force, but our #1 Ohio Landmark celebrates the two men which first made manned-flight possible. More Than Just Parks #1 Ohio Landmark Is The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
Growing up you were probably taught that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” But did you know that “two Wrights could make one fabulous airplane?”
All joking aside, on a cold, windy morning on December 17, 1903, history was made. It was at the sandy dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, that two Ohio brothers changed the world.
These two intrepid brothers, named Orville and Wilbur Wright, built and successfully tested the first airplane, the Wright Flyer 1. They were early pioneers of flight who faced tremendous obstacles.
The Wrights were ridiculed as cranks and fools. As award-winning author and historian David McCullough notes:
I don’t think they were ever happier in their lives than they were living in the extreme hardships of Kitty Hawk. The attacks of mosquitos, the winds, the struggle they had against the elements. But they loved it.”
They Had The Wright Stuff
Before experimenting with airplanes, the Wright brothers ran a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. In 1900, the brothers traveled from Ohio to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to begin a series of flight experiments which would rewrite the history of aviation.
While their historic flight lasted only 12 seconds it was nevertheless the first flight in history in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without reduction of speed, and had finally landed at a point as high as that from which it started.
One book I would definitely recommend is The Wright Brothers by Pulitzer Prize Winning Author David McCullough.
Things To Do At The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is one of two visitor centers operated by the park in Dayton, Ohio. It’s located just west of downtown Dayton. Visitors can go there and learn the amazing story of Orville and Wilbur Wright.
The Center also celebrates the achievements of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, to parents who had been enslaved in Kentucky before the American Civil War.
Dunbar went on to become one of the first influential African-American poets in American literature.
You can purchase this gifted writer’s complete works. The Life And Works Of Paul Laurence Dunbar: Containing His Complete Poetical Works, His Best Short Stories, Numerous Anecdotes And A Complete Biography Of The Famous Poet is a great way to learn more about this amazing man while experiencing his incredibly body of work.
Visit The Site Where Aviation History Began
There is a second interpretative center. It’s the Huffman Prairie Interpretive Center. It’s located northeast of downtown Dayton, next to the Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the National Museum of the Air Force.
While you’re there you’ll have the opportunity to visit the site where aviation history began.
At Huffman Prairie Flying Field you can explore the area and view a replica hangar that is very similar to the one which the Wrights used to house their airplanes.
You can also tour a replica of the bike shop that the Wright Brothers operated. It’s part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
Visitors can step back in time and tour the bike shop where the Wrights fixed bicycles and refined their mechanical ingenuity to develop the world’s first practical airplane.
And there’s Carillon Historical Park. It’s a 65-acre open-air history museum you can learn about the history of Dayton, Ohio. There you can view the world’s first practical airplane, the 1905 Wright Flyer III.
Map Of Ohio Landmarks
List Of Ohio Landmarks
- Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
- Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Pro Football Hall Of Fame
- William Howard Taft National Historic Site
- The Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site
- First Ladies National Historic Site
- Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
- Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
- James A. Garfield National Historic Site
- National Veterans Memorial and Museum
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
- National Museum Of The United States Air Force
- Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum
- Armstrong Air & Space Museum
- The Ohio Statehouse
- National Museum of the US Air Force
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- Cincinnati Music Hall
Why Trust Us About Ohio Landmarks?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We’ve spent our entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, U.S. Forest Service, and more for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
And, in 2018, our father – having spent a lifetime teaching history – joined us so that he could help us to tell the stories behind these amazing places.
Meet The Parks Brothers
We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then sign up below!
To learn more about the difference between the various National Park Service designations check out our article that explains everything!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Facts: 10 FASCINATING Facts About Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Ohio National Parks: 10 EPIC Ohio National Parks Worth Visiting