June 5, 2011
The first two photographs are from my walk to the Schoepfle Garden a week ago Saturday. Yesterday all the poppies were completely finished. The leaves in the second photograph were arranged by gravity and wind on a quarried sandstone slab lying on the ground. The slab matches the stones of the nearby abandoned railroad-bridge support. The wooden bridge itself was still in use at least until the early 1900s, when Birmingham, Ohio, residents could take a train to and from Oberlin, a distance of about 10 miles. When the late George Jones, a botany professor at Oberlin College, was a boy living in Birmingham around the turn of the last century, he and his father, Lynds Jones—professor of animal ecology at the college—took the train to and from work, where George assisted in his father’s lab. I don’t know how long the wooden bridge stood. Still standing, however, are the stone supports on both sides of the river. The third photo is one I took October 10, 2009. It shows a bit of the stone bridge support at the right. The slab in the second photo is to the left of the tree in that photograph, outside the picture. The quarried sandstones in the fourth photograph are not the bridge support but the ruins of the Birmingham Mills, which ground grain in the 1800s. This past fall the park service installed a sign nearby explaining the structure and showing photographs of the intact grist mill. The last photograph shows the path a bit past the mill ruins, muddy from the recent Ohio rains.