Friday, July 16, 2010
Corn on the Cob and Flat Stanley, Dublin Ohio
This should start off your Friday with a laugh or at least a smile. Flat Stanley here next to 6 foot tall cement ears of corn. Don't rub your eyes you really are seeing lots and lots of these tall cement ears of corn. This is real, there are 109 such ears. I don't know why there are 109 to be exact. This "art"/joke can be seen at the corner of Frantz and Rings Roads in Dublin Ohio.
This is the first piece of public art The Dublin Arts Council paid for (with tax dollars mind you) and it got very mixed reviews. Many thought it was silly, some thought it was art, and to a few who knew why it was planted there it was historical. I've driven by the field of corn many times and wondered. I finally decided it was time to find out what the silly cement corn was all about. Sam Frantz used to farm here, (1935-1963) thus the name of the road. He was supposedly well known for his work with hybrid corns. I say supposedly, because living here some 50 years I've never heard this or run into anyone who knew this. Well known/famous I think perhaps only in very small circles of previous farmers? This location was a test field. The cement corn we see was made from 3 different molds by Malcolm Cochran in 1994 and is Corn Belt Dent Corn Hybrid.
Sam and his wife Eulalia donated this land after Sam retired from working with Ohio State University on hybridization projects. The Park is so named for them. I say park with tongue in cheek though, as I saw no sign indicating this was The Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, nor have I ever heard it referred to by that name. This 1/2 acre field does have a few benches and a row of Osage Orange Trees off to the very end of the corn art with plagues talking about hybridization; but I've never seen people using the area as a park. There's no parking lot, so it's not inviting to say take the family, play, and have a picnic. I left my car on the road that leads to lots of industrial business buildings.
The various information I found about the Corn Art indicated this was to remind people of the rich agriculture heritage of the area. I even found that a little odd, as Hilliard not Dublin has always and still is to some degree known for wonderful sweet corn. People would go driving in the country to buy fresh corn right off the farmers truck was common place up until a few years ago in Hilliard. In fact there are still stores that proudly display a big sign so locals will known when the fresh Hilliard Corn arrives. In all my years I've never seen a sign indicating there was fresh Dublin Corn. Dublin has become well known in the golf circles because of Jack Nicholas and The Muirfield Golf Tournment; but I always thought the corn field was misplaced when I drove by.
Going farther back in history, to times of Indians in the area though corn would indeed play a part, so perhaps those who spent public money on these giant ears of corn had the right idea after all. I ran into 2 young women on a road trip when I was there with Flat Stanley, they too left their car on the road as they took their photo's. They said they saw a funny picture and thought they'd come to check it out. Parking on the road ties up traffic, so it's hard to come and spend anytime exploring. Perhaps if you drive all the way to the back of the Industrial Parkway to leave your car and walk back to the field, you could spend time. I think kids and their furry friends might really enjoy running among the ears to burn up some energy. The plagues are flat to the ground and not really visible, and I only found them as I walked back to my car after the girls left. That too was probably because I was searching for a sign, it seemed odd to me there wasn't something posted to explain what the corn was all about; so I spent time to search it out; though I think it would and probably is easily missed the bulk of the time.
Ask the kids to make a list of all the things they can where corn comes into play. Draw corn, color corn (don't forget candy corn and Indian corn with the pretty colors). Measure the kids, cut string to represent their height and do the same for the 6 foot tall corn so they can see the relationship of size. Can they count to 109? For those that counting to 109 is easy for try having them count backwards. All of these fun activities help kids learn, and remember. Give them a calendar, have them mark on the calendar how many times in a given period of time you eat corn.
Until next week, Flat Stanley out.
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