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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Where did London’s parakeets come from?

Parakeets in the skies above Wormwood Scrubs, west London. Image: Getty.

Visitors to London’s many green spaces would have to be stubbornly looking at their feet to not see one of the UK’s most exotic birds.  Dubbed “posh pigeons” by unimaginative Londoners, these brilliant green parakeets stand out among the fauna of Northern Europe’s mostly grey cities.

‘Parakeets’ is actually an umbrella term referring to the multiple species, which can now be found in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and various German cities. By far the most common is the Indian ring-necked parakeet, easily recognisable by the stylish red ring around their neck, a matching red beak and, of course, the loud squawking.

In the last 50 years these migrants from South Asia have arrived and thrived, settling into their own ecological niche. In the UK, London is a particular stronghold, but although they may have originally settled in the leafy streets of Twickenham, the birds can now be found in cities as far north as Glasgow.

The story of how they ended up in London is a matter of some discussion and plenty of myth. One often reported theory is that the capitals’ current population are the descendants of birds that escaped from Shepperton Studios during filming of The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Others would tell you that they escaped from Syon Park in the early 1970s, when a piece of debris from a passing plane damaged the aviary and allowed them to escape. This chimes with their original concentration in South West London.
My favourite story by far is that they were released by Jimi Hendrix on Carnaby Street in the late 60s. Bored of London’s grey skyline, he set the little fellas free to liven up the place.

However they got here, from 1970 onwards their numbers boomed. In 1992, 700 birds were recorded in London Bird Report. By 1998, 2,845 were seen in the London Area, and by 2006 the ring-neck parakeet was 15th most sighted bird in London.


Darwin would be proud at how well they adapted to the new environment. Toughened up by the hard Himalayan climate, they handle the cold northern European winters better than most locals. Global warming is often brought up in discussions of the parakeets, but it is certainly only part of the story.
It helps, too, that the birds have a 35 year lifespan and few local predators, enabling them to breed freely.

As with any new species, the debate has raged about whether they are harmful to the ecosystem. Strangely reminiscent of the debate over human migrants, often the birds have often been accused of stealing the homes of the natives. The parakeets do nest in tree cavities also used by jackdaws, owls and woodpeckers – but there is little evidence that native species are being muscled out. 

The also provide a food source for Britain's embattled birds of prey. Owls and peregrine falcons have been know to eat them. Charlie and Tom, two city dwelling falcons monitored by Nathalie Mahieu, often bring back parakeets as food.
Of more concern is the new arrivals’ effect on plants and trees. By 2009 their numbers in the UK had grown so much that they were added to the “general licence” of species, which can be killed without individual permission if they are causing damage.

And Parrotnet, am EU funded research project studying the development of parakeet populations across Europe, has warned of the risk they pose to agriculture. In their native India, the parakeets are known to cause widespread damage to crops. As agriculture develops in the UK in line with warmer climates, crops such as maize, grapes and sunflower will become more popular. In India the birds have been documented as reducing maize crops by 81 per cent.

So the parakeets remain divisive. Environmentalist Tony Juniper has disparagingly described them as “the grey squirrel of the skies”. By contrast, the University of York biologist Chris D. Thomas has argued that the parakeets should be left free to move and breed. He sees those wary of the parakeet boom of “irrational persecution” of the bird.

For good or ill the parakeets are here to stay. As so often with migrants of all kinds, there has been some unease about the impact they have had – but the birds, popular amongst Londoners, certainly add colour to the city. Thriving in the urban environment thousands of miles from their natural habitat, they are a metropolitan bird for Europe’s metropolitan cities. 

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