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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Was the decline in Liverpool’s historic population really that unusual?

A view of Liverpool from Birkenhead. Image: Getty.

It is often reported that Liverpool’s population halved after the 1930s. But is this true? Or is it a myth?

Often, it’s simply assumed that it’s true. The end. Indeed, proud Londoner Lord Adonis – a leading proponent of the Liverpool-bypassing High Speed 2 railway, current chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, and generally a very influential person – stood on the stairs in Liverpool Town Hall in 2011 and said:

“The population of Liverpool has nearly halved in the last 50 years.”

This raises two questions. Firstly, did the population of the City of Liverpool really nearly halve in the 50 year period to 2011? That’s easy to check using this University of Portsmouth website – so I did just that (even though I knew he was wrong anyway). In 2011, the population of the City of Liverpool was 466,415. Fifty years earlier, in 1961, it was 737,637, which equates to a 37 per cent drop. Oops!

In fact, the City of Liverpool’s peak population was recorded in the 1931 Census as 846,302. Its lowest subsequent figure was recorded in the 2001 Census as 439,428 – which represents a 48 per cent decline from the peak population, over a 70 year period.

Compare this to the population figures for the similarly sized City of Manchester. Its peak population also recorded in the 1931 Census as 748,729, and its lowest subsequent figure was also recorded in the 2001 Census, as 392,830. This also represents a 48 per cent decline from the peak population, over the same 70 year period.

So, as can be seen here, Liverpool is not a special case at all. Which makes me wonder why it is often singled out or portrayed as exceptional in this regard, in the media and, indeed, by some badly briefed politicians. Even London has a similar story to tell, and it is told rather well in this recent article by a Londoner, for the Museum of London. (Editor’s note: It’s one of mine.)

This leads me onto the second question: where have all those people gone: London? The Moon? Mars?

Well, it turns out that the answer is bit boring and obvious actually: after World War 2, lots of people moved to the suburbs. You know: cars, commuter trains, slum clearance, the Blitz, all that stuff. In other words, Liverpool is just like many other places: after the war, this country experienced a depopulation bonanza.


So what form did this movement to the suburbs take, as far as Liverpool was concerned? Well, people moved and were moved to the suburbs of Greater Liverpool, in what are now the outer boroughs of the city region: Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral. Others moved further, to Cheshire West & Chester, West Lancashire, Warrington, even nearby North Wales, as previously discussed here.

In common with many cities, indeed, Liverpool City Council actually built and owned large several ‘New Town’ council estates, to which they moved tens of thousands of people to from Liverpool’s inner districts: Winsford in Cheshire West (where comedian John Bishop grew up), Runcorn in Halton (where comedian John Bishop also grew up), Skelmersdale in West Lancashire, Kirkby in Knowsley. There is nothing unique or sinister here about Liverpool (apart from comedian John Bishop). This was common practice across the country – Indeed, it was central government policy – and resulted in about 160,000 people being ‘removed’ from the Liverpool local authority area.

Many other people also moved to the nearby suburbs of Greater Liverpool to private housing – another trend reflected across the country. It’s worth acknowledging, however, that cities across the world are subject to a level of ‘churn’ in population, whereby many people move out and many people move in, over time, too.

So how did those prominent images of derelict streets in the inner-city part of the City of Liverpool local authority area come about? For that, you have to blame the last Labour government’s over-zealous ‘Housing Market Renewal Initiative’ (HMRI) disaster – and the over enthusiastic participation of the then-Lib Dem controlled city council. On the promise of ‘free’ money from central government, the latter removed hundreds of people from their homes with a view to demolishing the Victorian terraces, and building new replacements. Many of these houses, in truth, were already fully modernised, owner-occupied houses within viable and longstanding communities, as can be seen here in Voelas Street, one of the famous Welsh Streets of Liverpool:

Voelas Street before HMRI implementation. Image: WelshStreets.co.uk.

The same picture after HMRI implementation Image: WelshStreets.co.uk. 

Nonetheless: the council bought the houses and ‘tinned them up’ ready for demolition. Then the coalition Conservative/Lib Dem government, elected in 2010, pulled the plug on the scheme. 

Fast forward to 2017 and many of the condemned houses have been renovated, in a process which is still ongoing. These are over-subscribed when they come to market, suggesting that the idea was never appropriate for Liverpool on that scale. 

At any rate, it turns out that the Liverpool metropolitan population is pretty much the same as it was at its peak in 1931 (depending where the local borough boundaries are arbitrarily drawn). It just begs the question: why are well educated and supposedly clever people misrepresenting the Liverpool metropolis, in particular, in this way so often? Surely they aren’t stupid are they?


And why are some people so determined to always isolate the City of Liverpool from its hinterland, while London is always described in terms of its whole urban area? It just confuses and undermines what would otherwise often be worthwhile comparisons and discussions. Or, to put it another way: “never, ever, compare apples with larger urban zones”.

In a recent Channel 4 documentary, for example, the well-known and respected journalist Michael Burke directly compared the forecast population growths, by 2039, of the City of Liverpool single local authority area against that of the combined 33 local authority areas of Greater London: 42,722 versus 2.187,708. I mean, what bizarre point is such an inappropriate comparison even trying to make? It is like comparing the projected growth of a normal sized-person’s head with the projected growth of the whole of an obese person, over a protracted period.

Having said all that, there is an important sensible conversation to be had as to why the populations of the Greater Liverpool metropolis and others haven’t grown as fast as maybe should have been the case, whilst, in recent times, the Greater London population has been burgeoning. But constantly pitching it as some sort of rare local apocalypse helps no one.

Dave Mail has declared himself CityMetric’s Liverpool City Region correspondent. He will be updating us on the brave new world of Liverpool City Region, mostly monthly, in ‘E-mail from Liverpool City Region’ and he is on twitter @davemail2017.