2011 Presidents, Patriots, & Caverns travel blog

Mural at the Wilmington Farm Market

General Denver Hotel

Vince and Sue at the entrance

General Denver Lobby

General Denver Bar and Restaurant

Beer and Nachos to cool off

Murphy Theater

Nancy's Little Giant Diner

Barn Quilts

We took today to go into Wilmington to walk and drive around to see what's there. Being from Delaware, we were interested in how the city got its name and some of its history. The news paper in Wilmington is the News-Journal, the same as Delaware, and there is also a Wilmington College like Delaware. According to the local history most of the early settlers were from Wilmington, NC and not Delaware. Wilmington, NC and Wilmington, DE were both charted by King George II in 1739 and presumably were named after the Prime Minister, Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington.

It was so hot downtown that we didn't do much walking and spent most of the time in Visitors Center and the General Denver Hotel. The hotel was built in 1928 and is English Tudor style. The hotel was best as we cooled off with a beer and some nachos.

While driving around town, we came across a small building that caught my interest. I asked a young kid who was walking by what it was and he told me that he was an architect and was using it as a studio/office. It used to be a diner, Nancy's Little Giant. What was more interesting was that it was one of several thousand built in the 40's and 50's by Valentine Manufacturing of Wichita, KS. They were designed to seat about 8-10 people at stools around a counter and allow all work to be done by one or two people. According to the Kansas Historical Society (http://www.kshs.org/p/find-valentine-diners-in-other-states/10508), Valentine diners were in some 27 states and quite a few still exist. White Castle used the Valentine diner in Philadelphia and Camden. I can remember eating bags of White Castles from a Valentine diner located at 20th and Olney in north Philly in the late 60's.

After driving around town a little, we went back to the General Denver for dinner. We were surprised the restaurant was crowded. The food was pretty good. It was interesting to talk to some of the people in the Hotel to get their opinion on the effect that Glenn Beck's visit and Christmas show in the Murphy Theater had on business. Most indicated that it was positive and even after the flood of visitors from around Christmas has subsided, they have been getting lots of visitors from all over the world. The downtown area still looks kind of empty and is probably still suffering the effects of DHL closing, but shopping area at strip malls outside of town seemed to be reasonably busy.

After dinner we spent a little time looking for Barn Quilts that were made and hung on barns to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Clinton County. There are some 200 around the county.

We found an interesting map when we visited the Clinton County Visitors Center. It was a map entitled "Hidden Ohio Map and Guide". It provides the locations of ancient American sites, haunted locations, sightings of strange creatures, unexplained mysteries, and UFO encounters. According to the map, the stretch of US 23 that we traveled has about a half a dozen Native American burial mounds, 3 sightings of strange creatures (Big Foot?), and at least 3 reported close encounters of the first or second kind with UFO's. I think the map may help explain the sign I described in yesterdays posting. Stay tuned for the end of the story.

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