Ed's Epistle......Ramblin's and Ruminations of a Disciple of Dino
"A Visit To The Land Of Dean" Part 2 in a series of 2
Down a few blocks from the empty green lot is an old Dino haunt, The Spot Bar. Local legend has it that Dean and his pals dealt cards and palmed silver dollars in the back room here. You can stop in there and enjoy a very affordable snack. The place should be a museum, a national landmark at least.
You can follow the footsteps Dean surely took around back towards the alley; he most likely took this as a shortcut home. Look up and down the streets and alleys and see the exact old buildings and landscape he saw. I’m sure some are gone, but the skeleton is still there. Sidewalks as old as Dino himself crumble underfoot. He’s still there. It feels as he’s living through you. You’re the medium, and he’s soaking it all in. He’s seeing it all over again. He wants you to walk him around the place. Seeing how little the place has changed. You’re seeing it as he did. Walk over a couple blocks to Ft. Steuben. This place had to be the coolest place for teens to hang.
Growing up in a similar town, I know and understand the importance of alleys. Shortcuts, quiet places, hiding places. You know he knew these alleys more than he did the streets. Adults use sidewalks, kids use alleys. It’s their rite. If you go to Steu’ville, pay close attention to them. My male instincts tell me those areas are pure Dino.
I’m very intrigued with respect to know if Irma is still alive. I believe she was back in ’94. She’d be old in 2008, but man would that be cool to have her peaking out her back door to see what punk is snooping’ around the alley, only to have that punk be yours truly, or even cooler for you, you!
The downtown is a well kept and clean somewhat empty street. There are some small businesses located here. Pay special attention to ceilings and such. Many times these places don’t mess with ceilings. They leave hints of what the building used to look like. Vintage Steu’ville. Also a nice quaint touch is the murals. Badges of pride in otherwise quiet streets.
A must in Steubenville is the library. This place has this book full of Dino history. Clippings, articles and pictures that I’m sure you won’t find anywhere else. You want addresses and residencies of Dean in Steubenville, there you go! You can spend hours in the library soaking it in. Now I’m pretty sure Dino knew the place existed, and I’m not saying the library was his second home, but this place reeks of history. Nothing has changed. It’s a beauty!
The post office. They had at the time Dino postcards. Pretty cool to send a Dino post card to yourself with the Steubenville post office stamp on there. One of those rare cheap, free even, souvenirs.
The people of Steubenville are nothing shy of beautiful. Wonderful, happy, friendly people. They were all aware of Dino. They were also aware of the continuing decline of Steubenville, Ohio. It is sad to think that perhaps the entire part of town where Cool was born may be totally defunct within 10 years. I’m talking ghost town. It was mid day on a weekday and the population of Dino-ville couldn’t have been more than 1000 people. Maybe 500? Hard to say. The other side of Steubenville, the west side, looks more like Anytown USA. The Dino Mural is on a wall of grocery store. It’s a nice tribute, but the newness and the location is kind of a turnoff on account of the disconnectedness from Dino-ville.
More obvious points of interest are Dean Martin Blvd, and the Dean Martin historical Marker on the intersection of Dean Martin Blvd and Franklin Ave.. Jimmy the Greek is back in Steubenville, buried in a Steubenville cemetery.
Leaving Steubenville was pure downer. Knowing that as each year passes the inevitable death of Steubenville approaches closer. Not being a citizen, I fear that Steubenville is only a few elections away from having some town official fire up the bulldozers to raze what is left of Dino-ville. Will the upturn of the economy light the fire of real estate investors to buy up Dino-town only to tear down and turn it into the newest Anytown USA on the river front? Or will the economy continue to erode away Dino-town to the point where it because a full blown ghost town? I’m not sure. If I had a vote, I’d vote death by natural causes. Let the old girl fade away into the night. Her soul would slide into the Ohio River and drift away.
Let future archeologist find the place 100 or so years from now. There won’t be any signs or banners. Uninhabited for decades, overcrowded with trees, weeds, roots and moss. Crumbled buildings, murals chipped away. Steubenville is now Steubenville Forest. They will have their COOL Meters ticking away in search of the Holy Grail in small clearing near what used to be South 6th Street. The meter will peg to the right. The ticking has turning into a siren. The light is pulsing out of control. Here it is they gasp. We found it! This is it! This is where is started! We found where COOL was born! It wasn’t a fable, it did exist. He was here!