Monday, March 16, 2009

Put-in-Bay, Ohio: Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

Tourists have to take a ferry in order to see a National Parks Service attraction in very few places across the country.

This is one of them.

The Perry's Memorial is located in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in the Lake Erie Islands near Sandusky. It's a tribute to Commodore Oliver Perry's stirring win over a British fleet in Lake Erie during the War of 1812. If the battle had gone the other way, part of Ohio and Michigan might now be part of Canada. Perry sent a famous message, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

It's odd to have a peace memorial on such a spot, but the idea is to mark the way the United States and Canada settled their differences and now live in peace, side-by-side.

In 2007, a person was standing near the memorial when she saw a 500-pound boulder fall from the observation desk. The NPS quickly closed the deck, and engineers have been working on what went wrong. Supposedly, it's a spectacular view that can extend to Ontario.

Put-in-Bay is a cute little town on a small island, usually accessed by tourists by rented golf carts. It feels right and is a great way to explore the place.

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