And a very big thank you to Uncle Eric and Aunt Allyson for their hospitality!
I had a wonderful time!
Downtown Sandusky. Sandusky is not actually in Sandusky county, but in Erie
county, named for the Great Lake (which itself is named for the local Indian
tribe, a contraction of erielhonan "long tail" [referring to wildcats],
who were eventually
conquered and assimilated into the Iroquois in the 17th century;
with a total volume of over 48,000 cubic metres), along the southern
shore of which US 6 will run for a fair distance. Erie county has Sandusky
as its seat and a population of 79,551 . This is the downtown fountain
and one of the municipal buildings, visible on the right as we enter downtown
on US 6 EB.
The area that is now Erie county came out of Huron county in 1838. Sandusky
already existed by then, having been platted in 1818 by designer Hector
Kilbourne, a Freemason who designed the street pattern to match the Masonic
symbol (explaining the city's odd diagonals). The original settlement that
predated Sandusky was variously called Ogontz Place after the chief of
the Ottawa tribe, but later took its name from the Indian phrase
lac-san-dou-ske "lake of cold water" (appropriate). The modern city
was incorporated in 1824 and today has a population of 27,844 .
The Great Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.
The old downtown, with the lake in the background.
Because most highways would otherwise continue into the lake, which is
advantageous for depleting population centres of stupid motorists but
generally considered poor form for highway continuity, US 6 in Ohio
is a frequent terminus. The main terminus in town is probably US 250, shown
here (along which I stayed in the otherwise forgettable Rodeway Inn), running
between Sandusky and Richmond, VA for a total of 514 miles.
Oh yeah, and there's these roller coasters in town, but no one ever comes to
those. I mean, Cedar Point? Who visits that? Having only the *second* tallest
and *second* fastest roller coaster in the world (Top Thrill Dragster), who
Outside of Sandusky, US 6 makes a very small freeway multiplex with OH 2 and
branches off into the little city of Huron, named for the tribe (as well as
and lake; the name comes from the French name for the Wyandot/Wendat tribal
huron meaning peasant and possibly referring to their farming practise;
the lake itself has 3,540,000 cubic metres of volume) and with a population
of 7,958 . Established in 1809 and converted into a river port in
the 1820s, Huron is going through a process of controversial revitalization,
starting in 1967 with the purchase and demolition of thirty-eight downtown
buildings to make way for a new hub marina. The marina has been successful,
but the expected influx of investment into surrounding areas has so far failed
Huron remains a significant port on the Huron River, however, which drains
into Lake Erie (not Lake Huron, interestingly).
This picture, at OH 13 passing through Huron, shows a still-extant cutout but
of the irregular state outline (!) for the Ohio Turnpike. Ohio's state marker
is a little bit problematic; people have complained that at a distance it
could be mistaken for a misshapen 3-digit US shield and I can certainly see
how they would.
Through Vermilion (note: one L), at the Erie county border. Vermilion takes
its name from the river that flows through it, itself named for the reddish
clay in the local soils. Settled in the early 19th century, it became the
site of the 34' Vermilion Lighthouse (sadly demolished in 1929 after it became
structurally unstable and replaced now by a small 16' model), and as
commercial traffic on the Vermilion River became too much for its small
capacity and moved elsewhere in the 1970s, gradually transformed into the
gentle resort community it is today. Its population is 10,927 .
This old truss bridge, built in 1928, still carries US 6 traffic today. A
plaque gives the original service date, as well as a 1978 dedication to
local police officer Francis Smolka who died in the line of duty on 29
October of that year.
Overlooking Lake Erie, from one of the many parks that border it. It was
pretty cloudy that day, which makes the pictures all the more ethereal.
Lest people forget, Lake Erie also has its fair share of industry. This is in
Avon Lake, a spinoff of Avon and likely inheriting its name from the River Avon
in Great Britain (a silly name since avon comes from the Welsh word for
"river" anyway). First built in 1926 for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating
Company as a coal-fired power plant, the plant was gradually expanded to nine
generators and is now operated by Reliant Energy. Today's Avon Lake has 18,145
 residents, having spun itself off from the mother city as a township in
As we approach Cleveland, US 6 splits into separate alignments, a shoreway
alignment that has turns too tight for trucks (shades of California's
Arroyo Seco Fwy), and a straighter but slower
ALTERNATE alignment which is well-signed. We will do them both.
Cleveland is not Ohio's largest city (Columbus is), but it does have the
most populous county surrounding it (Cuyahoga), of which it is the seat.
Cuyahoga county is named for the great and disgustingly polluted
Cuyahoga river, which has been befouled to the point where it infamously
caught fire (in 1936 and most notoriously in 1969).
The name comes from the Algonquin term cuyahoga
for "crooked river" and the county today boasts 1,393,978 .
Cleveland itself was named in 1796 after surveyors from the Connecticut
Land Company in what was then the state's "Western Reserve" picked a site
and named it in honour of their leader General Moses Cleaveland [sic].
Cleaveland planned the city's public square, but he never actually lived in
it and the village was not incorporated until 1814. The modern spelling came
in 1831 when a CLEVE-r (ha ha ha!) newspaper editor dropped the 'a' to fit
it into a headline, and the intentional error stuck. Its harsh winters and
unfriendly marshes were unattractive initially, but river traffic and the
Ohio-Erie Canal in 1832 made it a key link between the Ohio River and
the Great Lakes and over the next several decades its
population exploded, annexing nearby Ohio City and
becoming a major steel centre (adding to the Cuyahoga's environmental burden)
by the 1930s.
Unfortunately, rapid growth often begets spectacular failure when the rate is
no longer sustainable and Cleveland proved this rule when its industries
faltered and civic unrest consumed it during the 1960s, culminating in its
financial default and insolvency in 1978. Struggling to escape the moniker
"mistake on the lake" ever since, Cleveland has cautiously restored many of
its areas and attempted a slow, just-enough-aggressive downtown redevelopment
with modest success. And yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland,
though sadly not on US 6. Today's city bears 478,403 .
First, mainline US 6, which is mostly multiplexed with US 20 and OH 2 (in a
non-freeway alignment at present), here at the Cleveland city limits.
This first stretch mostly goes through a relatively blase residential area
along Clifton Blvd.
US 6 then transforms into the Shoreway along OH 2. This is probably where the
NO TRUCKS designation comes from, as some of the turns are quite sharp. US
2 and US 20 then branch off to the left and tag US 42 as it comes up from the
Alternate US 6 may be slower, but I think it's the more interesting of the
two routes (and is also the older of the alignments as well). Although its
speed is limited to 25mph in most spots, US 6A is very well signed (an
example of the ALT US 6 shown here) throughout Lakewood into Cleveland and
a more cosmopolitan drive.
The two then unite at the US 42 junction and cross the Cuyahoga on
the Veterans Memorial
Bridge, formerly the Detroit-Superior Viaduct (named for the two streets
it connects, Detroit Ave [carrying mostly ALT US 6] and Superior [carrying
US 6] on the other side), along with US 20 and US 42. Note the single external
split lane, a product of a 2004 redesign (originally there was a split in
both directions from a preceding redesign in the 1990s). A two level bridge,
only the top level carries traffic now. The 591' span was first built in 1918.
Only a portion of the Old Superior Viaduct, which it replaced, remains today
to the north.
Curse Cleveland's public works department as construction over a long area of
the street obliterated parking areas and made it impossible to capture the
several termini along it. For reference, US 42 finally ends here in the
downtown section (a true useless multiplex, it could have simply just ended
when US 6/US 20 joined), a total of 355 miles from Louisville, KY; as well as
US 322, coming in from Atlantic City, NJ for a total of 494.
And now, some pictures from tooling around Columbus, just for a change of
(Great-)Aunt Jane, our matriarch at 87. Get well soon, Aunt Jane! She is
flanked by Gary and Sophie, who are wonderful people.
From Aunt Jane's archives,
a young married couple and their dog. I can't identify them. I think the
dog is Duncan?
I have some other articles of blackmail Aunt Jane provided ...
And one for the roadgeeks: a US 33 cutout shield in downtown Columbus on the
WB side, just east of the OH 315 junction.
That's it, we're all caught up!