December 2012

Legal Arts Centre

Stephen Baytos was a visionary downtown Youngstown, Ohio developer who had earlier completed the modern Voyager Motor Inn in 1963 and proposed Plaza One a year later, a modernistic mid-rise with a Cinerama theater, shopping mall and apartment complex. While Plaza One was never completed, his third project, the Legal Arts Building, was completed in 1965 to house legal offices for the Mahoning County Courthouse across the street. Read More

New Boston Coke
New Boston Coke

New Boston Coke was once part of the Portsmouth Steel complex that employed nearly 5,000 during its height in the mid-20th century. Due to foreign competition and outdated technology, the integrated mill was closed in 1980 while the coke plant remained, becoming an independent operation before closing in 2002 due to massive pollution emission violations. Read More


The ruins of downtown Wheeling, West Virginia. Nearly an entire block of historic buildings – some of them very recently occupied, has been cleared for parking and grassy lots. Across the street, more historic building stock was cleared earlier in the summer for more open space. Read More

Charles Curry's Law Office
The Law Office of Charles Curry

Photographed earlier in November, this is a wide image of Charles Curry’s law office in the Legal Arts Building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. I stood at the doorway wondering what had happened. Papers were scattered about without care. Drawers were opened and ransacked. Family photos were laid haphazardly on the desk and tacked on the walls.

And there were two open – and empty bottles of alcohol on the desk. Read More

Chesapeake Western Railway

On a recent business excursion to Virginia, I discovered the oft-forgotten Chesapeake Western Railway which was once proposed from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, Ohio. Only a segment from Elkton, Virginia westward to Stokesville was ever completed in its original intention. Although some of the railroad has been dismantled, portions remain active for the Norfolk Southern and for a short line. Read More