Here are the six freak monuments and statues of Ohio

The late lamented King of Kings statue delighting a visitor. Image: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr/creative commons.

The Buckeye State: the home of many a famous white man and the state that made Trump president. Ohio is known for many things and has a rich bounty of cultural offerings for the rest of the United States.

The most underappreciated of all these offerings is the truly bizarre and diverse array of pointless, needless statues and monuments it has scattered across the state. From the Son of God to literally just fucking corn, here are some of its standout weirdos.

Field of Corn

Kicking off our list is Field of Corn, also known as Cornhenge, in Dublin, Ohio. Lying just outside the state’s capital, Cornhenge functions as the most redundant art installation on the face of this earth.

Image: Web2Jordan/Wikipedia Commons.

If you aren’t already aware, Ohio is effectively functions as a flat, heart-shaped cornfield. To fill an empty field with a series of statues of corn is the equivalent of finding a piece of land, building a carpark, then subsequently filling every space with an immovable stone car.

World’s Largest Gavel

You can’t get through a list of statues without coming across a “World’s Largest”, and Ohio’s statue roster is home to one of them: The World’s Largest Gavel. Not surprisingly this statue is located outside the Supreme Court of the state in Columbus, Ohio and stands at 30 feet long and 13 feet tall.

Image: Sam Howzit/Flickr/Creative commons.

A little research will show you how widely the statue is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, with glowing TripAdvisor reviews such as “great”, “cool landmark”, and “it’s a gavel”.

If you’re looking to see a worldwide number one, look no further than this justice-serving masterpiece.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Statue

In the capital of Ohio you’ll find a monument commemorating a man who is not from the state, has never lived in the state, nor has done anything of significance in the state.

That is, except for winning the 1970 Mr. World title at the Veterans Auditorium in Columbus. So in 2012, the Ohio government inexplicably decided to create and unveil a statue honouring The Austrian Oak’s feat from 42 years previous. (The photo is from its unveiling.)

Image: Aisupova/Wikimedia Commons.

This was all well in good until literally less than two years later when it was decided the Veterans Auditorium would be shut and brutally bulldozed, leaving Arnie to sit alone an a vacant lot for several months.

Now this statue – of a man who, remember, has absolutely no link to any part of the state of Ohio – has been relocated to a random part of downtown, to be revelled at in confusion.

Kings of Kings/Lux Mundi

If you’re going to visit southwestern Ohio without visiting the building-sized of Son of God, then have you really visited southwestern Ohio at all?

The true colossuses of freak Ohio monuments, these are the King of Kings and Lux Mundi statues in Monroe, Ohio, funded by and displayed in front of the Solid Rock chain megachurch.

 

Image: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr/creative commons.

In 2004, Solid Rock dropped a sweet $250,000 to build King of Kings (aka Touchdown Jesus, aka Big Butter Jesus), a massive bust of Jesus Christ outside of the church, built entirely out of the incredibly flammable Styrofoam and fibreglass. Six years later, the statue was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, down to itsnightmare-inducing metal skeleton:

A screenshot of the report on WCPO Cincinnati.

Rather than, you know, maybe scrapping the project entirely and donating that quarter of a million dollars to charity, the church decided to make a newer, stronger Jesus to watch over its pond. Now, today we have Lux Mundi, which has stood in King of King’s place since 2012.

Image: Traveler 100/Wikimedia commons.

Traders World Animal Statues

Also in Monroe, you can find the least holy statues in the entire state. Traders World, “the Midwest’s largest and most colorful market”, is a flea market, albeit one that generally functions as an abandoned field. It’s littered with statues, all of them incredibly detailed, realistic depictions of wild animals.

“Detailed animal statues,” I hear you ask, “What makes them so realistic?” The answer to that question is this: Each and every single statue at Traders World is fitted with an anatomically correct set of penis and testicles.

Image: Traders World.

What makes this site even more extraordinary is that you can find this gallery of ceramic horse penises directly next door to Lux Mundi and previously King of Kings. This glorious juxtaposition makes it a must-see.

Warm Glow Candle Factory

Right, full disclosure: this is not technically in Ohio. But anyone traveling from Ohio going west or to Ohio coming east will have come across this trailblazer in structural marketing.

Image courtesy of the Warm Glow Candle Factory Facebook page.

Behold: The Warm Glow Candle Factory, in Richmond, Indiana: home of some nice smelling wax and this massive fucking statue of a candle. It spins its USP as selling iconic “lumpy” candles, as can be seen in the statue replica. The statue’s colour has changed form year to year in a personal identity crisis of what colour beige fits it best.

Image courtesy of the Warm Glow Candle Factory Facebook page.

The beauty of the Warm Glow candle statue is that, as you’re saying goodbye to the Buckeye State, you can almost immediately say hello to the other freak monuments the rest of the Midwest has to offer. 

Sarah Manavis tweets as @SarahManavis.

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This app connects strangers in two cities across the world. But can it tackle urban loneliness?

New Delhi, in India, where many of Duet-App's users come from. Image: Ville Miettinen

“You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people”. Olivia Laing, The Lonely City

Our relationship to where we live and the spaces we inhabit define who we are and how we feel. But how often do we articulate the emotional impact of this relationship, whether this be loneliness, frustration or even civic pride?

“When I moved to a new city, started living alone, wanted to drink less, stay indoors more, and when I realised that I cannot make any more best friends.”

A new social network, a simple app that connects two individuals from the UK and India, aims to counter some of these issues.  Over the course of a year connected pairs receive one question a day through the app and their responses are exchanged with each other. A simple interaction that gradually builds a series of one-on-one relationships and invites users to imagine, over time, the other person living their life.

Distant geographies are an implicit part of the experience, therefore many of the questions nudge users to explore correlations between their physical and emotional landscapes. The data shows us that many of the Duet-App users are located in populous urban cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Manchester, Leeds and London, places that can just as often discourage feelings of belonging and place-making as much as they foster them.

“I had thought I'd never be able to live here again. but here I am living again at home after almost a decade living elsewhere. Living in Mumbai is a contact sport, and I can't do without it's chaos and infectious energy.”

Mumbai, India. Image: Deepak Gupta

In general cities are getting bigger and spreading wider at the same time as our communications are increasingly being conducted online and via digital gateways.

There is a sense that much of our online personas project an idealised version of ourselves; we increasingly document and express our daily lives through a filter and we are not always comfortable with a spontaneous expression of ourselves. Duet-App seeks to foster alternative digital relationships that through their anonymity allow us to be more honest and free.

“I feel a lot of people assume that I always have a lot going on for me and everything's always happy and amazing. I wish they could appreciate... how much of my own anxiety I swim in every single day. I appear and behave “normal” on the outside, calm and composed but there are always storms going on in my head.”

In exploring the responses to the questions so far, those that often garner the most replies relate directly to how we feel about our personal position in the world around us. Often these questions act as provocations not only to share responses but to reflect and articulate our thoughts around how we feel about what we are doing in the here and now.

Manchester, another popular city for Duet-App users. Image: Julius 

“Sometimes I feel sad about it [getting old] because I saw how easy it would be to feel lonely, and the fact that the world is set up for able-bodied young people is a bit of a travesty.”

Although many social media platforms allow for distant engagement and access into the lives of others we are in the main still curating and choosing our friendship circles. Through Duet-App this is randomised (and anonymised) with the intention of bypassing the traditional mechanics of how we broker online relationships. While directly exploring the digital space as a place for intimacy.


“Where do you go for peace?

“Well the internet, really. I do some mindless browsing, peek into the fandoms, listen to a few songs. Calms me down.”

Snapshots into the lives of someone existing and playing out their lives remotely can highlight shared concerns that break down preconceptions of how life is lived by others. Prompted by the reflections of a stranger exposed to our lives, digital relationships can encourage us to address the physical space we inhabit and the effects that the cities we live out our lives in have on our own well being. 

Catherine Baxendale is director of Invisible Flock.

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