History

Family of artist who painted courthouse murals still treasures his private creations

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News The murals on the second floor of the Wood County Courthouse are public treasures. For Cheryl Windisch, of Bowling Green, they are family history. The murals that are undergoing preservation work were painted by her great-grandfather Isaac Moore Taylor.  Oil field mural Taylor, who was born 175 years ago on Feb. 5, 1844 in western New York close by the Pennsylvania oil fields, was an oil man drawn in middle age to Wood County, where he got involved in local politics, including a single term as mayor of Bowling Green. But his passion was painting.  “He loved doing that more than he enjoyed having real jobs,” his great-granddaughter said. “He was really kind of a wanderlust guy.” That wanderlust took him out west on oil business, before he settled in Bowling Green where he and his wife, Adella, raised their four daughters, including Windisch’s grandmother Mildred. His interest in art started when he was a child, and he studied with two master teachers in his youth. When he was 15 the Drake oil strike in Oil Creek, Pennsylvania, occurred, and that sparked his interest in the oil business. He became a leading authority who whose advice was sought nationwide, according to a biographical sketch written by the family. The first Ohio well he drilled was in what is now the middle of Findlay. Then he started to explore in the Sand Ridge area of Bowling Green. All the while, his great-granddaughter said, he continued painting. His family settled in town in a home at 249 S. Church St. The house is still standing. The place where he painted, an old barn in the rear, was torn down when the post office was expanded and the drive-through added. That “paint shop,” both Windsich and her brother Scott Cunningham, the family historian, recall, was mostly off-limits for children. Their mother was allowed in a few times. “Usually kids weren’t allowed to go in there because there was too much stuff for them to get into,” Windisch said. Taylor created art in a variety styles and for…

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Panel discussed the tangled, unsavory roots of the migration crisis

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The roots of the current immigration crisis run deep, and they extend to the seat of government in the United States. The complexity of that web were traced during Pushed Out: Root Causes of Migration from Mexico and Central America Wednesday at a discussion hosted by La Conexion at the Wood County Library. Four speakers addressed the historical background of immigration from Mexico and Central America as well as current reality. They spoke both from scholarship and personal experience. Valeria Grinberg Pla, a professor of Spanish American literature and culture, traced the violence that has sent so many Central Americans adrift. The U.S. had a pattern of interfering in the governments of Central American nations to promote the interest of American corporations, particularly those of the United Fruit Company. Any government that promoted land reform was likely to be overthrown. That happened in Guatemala in the 1950s, leading to 30 years of civil war, and in the 1970s in Nicaragua where the Reagan Administration backed a counter revolutionary force trying to overthrow the government, Pla said. These countries as well as El Salvador all suffered from extended period of civil strife with Honduras suffering collateral damage from the neighboring conflicts. And the aftermath of those wars has been devastating.  Many refugees from the war ended up in the United States. The adults had to deal with dislocation and the trauma of war, Pla said.Their children faced cultural dislocation. Some joined gangs here in the United States as a way to cope. When they returned to their home countries, they brought gang culture with them.  Those gangs took root in the post-war landscape, Pla said. These Central American countries now suffer from the highest rates of non-military violence of any place in the world. Those migrants, including those in the caravan on its way to the United are fleeing this violence, she said.  “They are not economic migrants. They are not seeking a better life. For them, it’s a matter of life or death.” The Rev. Herb Weber, of St. John XXIII Catholic Parish, first…


Mosaics to be removed later this month & returned by BGSU to Turkey

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Last May, Bowling Green State University announced that it had reached an agreement to return 12 pieces of ancient mosaics in the University’s art collection, on display in The Wolfe Center for the Arts, to the Republic of Turkey. They will be formally returned to a Turkish delegation next week, removed, and packed for shipping. The University invites the community to view the collection before its return. The mosaics are on display outside the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the BGSU Wolfe Center for the Arts. They may be viewed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on: Thursday, Nov. 15 Friday, Nov. 16 Monday, Nov. 19 Editor’s note: At the time of the announcement of the return, the Turkish  government said it would provide replicas to replace the originals. (See related story.)  


Composer Sam Adler experienced Kristallnact as child, commemorates it in cantata to be performed Sunday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In the early morning hours of Nov. 11, 1938 Samuel Adler’s family heard an explosion nearby their home in Mannheim, Germany. The 10-year-old later learned that it was the chapel at the Jewish Cemetery being bombed. This was the night that would come to be known as Kristallnacht — the night of broken glass, when the Nazis launched their full scale their persecution of Jews, moving beyond harassment to state violence. Adler’s father, Hugo Adler, a noted cantor, was caught up in the arrests, but released.  He tried to leave the country but couldn’t. A few days after Kristallnacht he and his son went to the central synagogue, which had been destroyed, where they climbed to the loft to collect and rescue as many of the music books, which contained the musical legacy of the congregation. Nazis moved around below where the two worked. Later the family was able to flee Germany “on the last train,” Adler remembers. “We were scared to death until we left for America.” A half century after those traumatic events, Adler, now an internationally renowned composer, commemorated Kristallnacht in “Stars in the Dust” with a libretto by the late Samuel Rosenbaum, one of the chief cantors in conservative Judaism. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “Stars in the Dust” will be performed Sunday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m., at Temple Shomer Emunim, 6453 Sylvania Ave, Sylvania. The performance will feature Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz, soloists Christopher Scholl, tenor, and Lance Ashmore, baritone, from Bowling Green State University as well as the university’s Collegiate Chorale, conducted by Richard Schnipke, and orchestra, conducted by Emily Freeman Brown, Adler’s wife. The award-winning actress and singer Michelle Azar, the composer’s niece, will narrate.  Adler, who is retired from the faculties of the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, now lives in Perrysburg. The libretto, Adler said, chronicles what happened drawing on contemporary accounts, including that  of a cantor who sang Kaddish, the traditional prayer of mourning, after seeing the damage wrought on his community. “It ends in conviction that it…


Two local men lost lives in worst U.S. Navy loss in WWI

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the world celebrated the 100 anniversary of the conclusion to the “war to end all wars,” local residents remembered two of the 70 Wood County men killed in World War I. The soldiers – one from Tontogany and one from Bloomdale – lost their lives to a German U-boat commander trying to improve his lackluster war record in the waning days of the war. The story of the local “boys” lost at sea was told Saturday by Wood County Historical Center Education Coordinator Michael McMaster during the annual brunch meeting of the historical society membership. The two local men were aboard the USS Ticonderoga, a steamship used to transport cargo by the U.S. Navy. The ship was built in Germany, but was seized by the U.S. in 1917, turned over to the Navy and converted to transport soldiers and horses to the war raging in Europe. Nearly half of the men on board were from Northwest Ohio, McMaster said. “They were chosen to take care of the horses,” he said. One of the men was Charles “Clint” Lybarger, of Washington Township. His name is memorialized in the name of the Lybarger-Grimm American Legion Post in Tontogany. The other is Milan Lee Long, of Bloomdale. Both men were on their way to replenish U.S. Army artillery troops in France in the early autumn of 1918. They were among more than 250 soldiers on the USS Ticonderoga as it joined part of an armed convoy of about 40 ships headed to Europe. Sometime during the night of Sept. 29, the Ticonderoga had engine trouble and fell behind the convoy. The ship commander, James Jonas Madison, blamed the problems on “bad coal.” The next morning, those on the Ticonderoga saw the German submarine U-152 running on the surface. For two hours, the Germans fired upon the U.S. transport ship. Nearly every person on the Ticonderoga was wounded, McMaster said. The USS Galveston, the protector of the convoy, reportedly had so many crew members sick with the Spanish flu, that the ship was unable to…


Historical museum revisits panic-inducing ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Eighty years ago the world was on the brink of global war, and the American people were spooked by a fictional invasion. Tuesday, Oct. 30, marks the 80th anniversary of the first broadcast of “The War of the Worlds,” Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of the H. G. Wells’ novel. The Wood County Historical Center will celebrate the anniversary by presenting a recreation of the broadcast at 8 p.m. that night. Tickets are $10. The cast and crew of the show doesn’t expect to induce panic the way the original reportedly did. How many people back in 1938 actually took the broadcast to be actual news is subject of debate. Jane Milbrodt, who provides the music, isn’t surprised if some people did. “It sounds like it’s really happening.” Kent and Janet McClary at the request of Historical Center Director Kelli Kling assembled a cast of local thespians. This is the fourth time the couple has been involved in a recreation of the broadcast. “It’s nostalgic,” Janet McClary said. “It’s a piece of history. People like to see it performed.” She will join Jim Barnes, who also participated in those earlier productions, in providing the sound effects. And they have enlisted a real radio personality Clint Corpe, of the WBGU-FM’s “Morning Show,” for a central role. Others involved include Tom Milbrodt doing sound and actors Lane Hakel, Jeremy Kohler, and Jim Toth. The show will be taped for possible future broadcast. Together they will bring to life the story of Martians landing in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and then running roughshod toward New York. Welles staged the story as a series of news bulletins interrupting an evening of musical entertainment. The urgency of those bulletins gave the script a vivid sense of reality. “It’s really a super adaptation,” Tom Milbrodt said. The next day newspapers reported of cases of people in panic because they thought the invasion was real. Some, Janet McClary said, may have tuned in late, missing Welles’ introduction. Some even thought it was Germans, not Martians attacking. While the Martians never conquered the…


Hess lecturer: Korean War was a pivot point in America’s war policy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When it comes to establishing the precedent of sending Americans to fight and die in war without the approval of Congress, the buck stops with Harry S. Truman. That was the conclusion of Mary Dudziak, who delivered the Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History Monday at Bowling Green State University. Dudziak, a historian and professor of law at Emory University, addressed “The War Powers Pivot: How Congress Lost its Power in Korea,” a chapter from her forthcoming book “Going to War: An American History.” “I had been a fan of Harry Truman,” Dudziak said. Her first book was on civil rights, and on that score Truman was a hero.  His stance was “courageous.” He was “a stronger president on civil rights than FDR and those before him.” On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army stormed across the 38th parallel and overwhelmed South Korean forces. “A monster is coming,” was the response of one Korean girl , Dudziak said. Truman was MIA. The 38th parallel had been the dividing line between the Communist north and the United States’ ally in the south. That division, the speaker said, was considered the “original sin” for what continues to be a festering international dilemma. Even as news of the invasion shot across the international dateline, Truman was in Missouri. Instead of rushing back to Washington, he took time to visit his farm and his brother. The president showed an “unusual amount of deference to the State Department.” The State Department’s response was to go to the then new United Nations to authorize a military response, and bypass Congress.  The Constitution gives the authority to declare war to Congress, though the president has some authority as president to use military force. “Korea was the first large scale military operation without a war declaration,” Dudziak said. It wasn’t even called a war at a time, prompting one mother to ask what she was supposed to put on her son’s tombstone. It set a precedent that presidents of both parties have used ever since most recently when President Trump ordered…