Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Aaron - Lynn Auto Theater

Watching a movie at a drive-in theater was always great fun.

   Few people would have seen more movies than Aaron Swank of Newcomerstown during the 1956-86 era. He was kept busy running the projector at some drive-in or movie theater every week. Since Aaron served as a relief operator, he worked in Newcomerstown, Newark, Coshocton, Mt. Vernon, and Cambridge for several different companies.

Aaron Projection Room

Operators of projectors could not leave the projection booth during the movie.

   When working, his job was to take care of all equipment at the theaters including projectors, wiring, and speakers at the drive-ins. Only members of the Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture Machine Operators were permitted operator responsibility. Knowing when and how to change the lens for different movies was very important.

Starlite Opening Night

Tickets were 44 cents for Opening Night at Starlite. Children under 12 were free!

   35 mm movie reels at that time were received in multiple canisters placed in one box. Since each roll was only 18 minutes long, there were usually five or six large rolls included for a movie. A two-minute warning was given the operator to change rolls so there would be no break in the movie. This consisted of a couple of circles in the upper right-hand corner. Sometimes today you can still see those in an old movie on television.

Aaron - Heath Opening Night

Heath Auto Theatre advertised “Don’t dress up.” “Smoke if you like.” “No Parking Worries.”

   After a reel was run, it then had to be rewound for showing the next evening or to be sent on to its next stop. Some were rewound by hand but later they used an automatic rewinder and then placed the reels in order in compartments for ease of using the following night. Once in a while his young daughter Betsy went to the movies with Dad and had the privilege of rewinding the films.

Aaron Cruise in

Cruise-In Drive in near Cambridge was a favorite of area youngsters.

   After seeing all those films, it seemed only natural to ask Aaron about his favorites. At the top of his list were Westerns, especially those starring John Wayne and Randolph Scott. The Shootist, the last film Wayne starred in was a favorite.

Aaron - Heath Auto Theatre

Heath Auto Theatre could hold 600 cars.

   Drive-ins were popular spots and the Heath Auto Theatre was a favorite of Aaron’s. The projection booth was on top of the concession stand with a 465′ screen and room for 600 cars. When working the drive-ins, dust was always a major factor as the projector and film had to be kept clean to run smoothly. 

Aaron - Starlite Theater

Starlite Drive-in near Newcomerstown was one place Aaron showed many movies.

   Another favorite place to operate the projector was at Starlite Drive-in near Newcomerstown, which opened on June 24, 1949. Their projection room with the popular Brenkert Enarc projector was partially underground. They had a wooden screen tower with a canvas screen and could park 300 cars. A tornado hit town in 1955 and did considerable damage to the screen so a new cement block tower was built.

   Here you could see a movie for 44 cents and children under 12 were free. They continued to operate until the end of the season in 1986 when the screen was demolished. Now it is a housing development with Star Lite Drive running down its center.

Aaron-speaker

Every car had its own speaker to put in the window.

   At the drive-in theaters, Betsy placed the speakers on the poles in the spring and helped take them off in the fall. Taking them off was a little dangerous as often wasps would make their nests in the speakers during the summer. Betsy said she undid the screw on the top with one hand and had a can of wasp spray in the other.

Aaron and Mary

Aaron was thankful to have Mary for a great supporting wife no matter what he attempted.

   Some evenings, his wife Mary, daughter Betsy and perhaps a friend would go along to the drive-in with him. They would bring along popcorn and kool-aid as they curled up on blankets in the back of their VW van.

Aaron - Teacher

Mr. Swank will be remembered for his years of teaching at Madison High School and Buckeye Vocational School.

   Many will remember Mr. Swank from his twenty-seven years of teaching history and political science at Madison High School and Buckeye Vocational School. Playing trombone in bands on the weekends gave him great pleasure also, especially the good times with the Rich Simcox Band.

Aaron Rich Simcox Band

Playing trombone in the Rich Simcox Band was one of his favorite weekend pasttimes.

   “I got to meet a lot of nice people I never would have met,” smiled Aaron. However, on his musical evenings, he had opportunity to meet Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagon. His students always enjoyed hearing of how Mr. Swank passed up by choice almost meeting two men who were to become president of the United States with a simple, “No.”

Aaron - Musical Night

Aaron played trombone in several different bands on weekends.

   As you can tell, operating the projector at one of these theaters was a busy occupation. You had to stay in the booth the entire time in case there would be a break in the film, a ghost shadow, or another problem. Of course, the best nights were those when everything ran smoothly…but those didn’t happen very often.

Aaron - cider press

A favorite fall hobby was making delicious apple cider in his own press.

You can still enjoy a drive-in movie close-by today at the Lynn Auto Theatre in Strasburg. They have two screens and great choices for your watching enjoyment. Come as you are in your family car!

Captain Bill at wheel

Captain Bill takes the wheel of the Lorena Sternwheeler.

When you’ve been a captain for thirty-five years, navigating the waters is something you do with ease no matter the situation. William Page, called Captain Bill by those who know him best, has surrounded himself with life on or near the water for most of his life.

Captain - child

That’s Bill on the right with a diving helmet his dad found in a Pittsburgh River.

   Growing up in Zanesville, he lived close to the Muskingum River and had many daring adventures there as a child while picking up coal along the railroad tracks. Riding a log jam down the river while fishing was one escapade that got him in trouble. Often he and his cousins would climb up under the bridges to catch pigeons – they wanted a carrier pigeon.

Captain - Aquatics Unlimited

Aquatics Unlimited in Zanesville was one of his first business ventures.

   Bill worked for Anchor Hocking Glass for 25 years as an engineering draftsman and mold maker. But the water was calling him and he opened Aquatics Unlimited in Zanesville. Here he designed and built swimming pools and spas, and taught scuba diving.

Captain - Swimming Pool

This swimming pool in Nashville, Tennessee was the last pool he constructed.

   Because of his diving abilities, he was a reserve deputy sheriff in Perry and Muskingum Counties. There he was active doing search and recovery dive team training and rescue missions.

Captain Diving

Giving scuba diving lessons was something Bill truly enjoyed.

   Then he took a vacation and fell in love with the waters of Florida. Soon he moved there, where he owned Knox Bait House Marina. When Bill decides to tackle a project, his persistence has always paid off. Since he had been a commercial diver, he decided to open a scuba diving center where he gave lessons on the Crystal River.

Captain - Manatee

Swimming with the manatee was a favorite Florida pastime.

   He set up a manatee training program at Crystal River because of their abundance at that location. His training program received international recognition. He fell in love with the manatees and enjoyed teaching people how to interact with these large aquatic mammals, who are very friendly when properly treated.

Captain Silver Suit 2

He was honored to wear the Silver Suit of Jacques Cousteau.

   While managing the Port Paradise Dive Center, he was in charge of everything from boat and diving equipment rentals to training divers and giving tours. This is where he was lucky enough to wear one of the famous silver suits of Jacques Cousteau who said, “The best way to observe a fish is to become one.” Bill understood how to do that.

Captain - Video Recorder

Bill still has the underwater video recorder that he used quite often.

   While in Florida, Bill’s life was filled with excitement. He worked at Walt Disney World with the dolphins, was part of the support team for a simulator space capsule with NASA, and directed scuba diving programs at the University of Florida and Bay Point Dive Center.

  There’s a special experience of freedom while diving. The feeling of weightlessness in the water and in the space capsule were pure delights for Bill. One special pleasure was diving to view all the colorful fish, especially at night when some give off a fluorescent glow. “We dive not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”

Captain - Yacht

Sailing his charter yacht Challenge led to many exciting trips in the Caribbean.

   In Florida, he received his captain’s license and took people on cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean. For three years he captained The Challenge, a 52′ charter sailing yacht.

   An old friend from Zanesville, Dorothy Montgomery, pulled some strings and asked him if he would come back and temporarily captain the Lorena. He had never operated a sternwheeler before but decided to accept the challenge. That was fifteen years ago.

Captain and Becky

Bill and his wife, Becky, share a passion for the waterways.

   Since then Captain Bill and his wife “Admiral” Becky, social director on the Lorena, have enjoyed the Muskingum River and the people who ride along with them. They hope to be back on board by the end of May each year.

Lorena Paddlewheel

Today Bill is Captain of the Lorena on the Muskingum River.

   While steering the Lorena, he notices his environment. In the sky, he sees many different birds, eagles and an occasional seagull. In the water, herring and other fish make themselves known but he quipped, “I haven’t seen an alligator, but I’m looking.”

   In his spare time, Bill drives tour buses and school buses for West Muskingum. He fills every hour of the day. If he would have one bit of advice for young people, it would be, “Education. Get it all.”

   Everyone has dreams and Bill is no exception. One dive he would still like to make is off the coast of Australia in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

Captain - Queen of the Lake II

His next project is to direct the restoration of the Queen of the Lake III at Buckeye Lake.

   His next project is fairly close to home as he has been asked to be project manager at Buckeye Lake as they complete the final steps on the restoration of Queen of the Lake III.

Captain at home

The Captain’s home office is filled with nautical memorabilia.

   There’s no doubt that Bill and Becky enjoy life to the fullest these days. Bill enjoys playing keyboard, guitar and accordion but never took a lesson. He’s one of those true musicians that play by ear. Today he’s perfectly happy to just relax in their beautiful home near Zanesville.

   Bill has seen things under the water that most have never seen. Memories float to the surface when he speaks of his adventures.

   “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever.”

~Jacques Cousteau

 

Surrounded by music since childhood, Jake “Barefoot” McCoy of Newark, Ohio now provides musical entertainment all over Ohio and across the United States. His popular folk music developed step by step throughout his life.


Barefoot as a child

Even as a child, Jake attempted to play his dad’s musical instruments.

   His family was homeschooled and piano instruction was part of the curriculum. At the age of five, he began classical piano lessons from a teacher who came to their house every week. A half-hour of practice was required daily.

   Jake feels lucky to have started his musical training at an early age. Music filled his heart and soul so by the time he was eight, he played as much by ear as by reading the music. It wasn’t until age 13 that Jake wrote his first songs using piano and guitar as accompaniment.

Barefoot at Apoxee Trail Florida

The Apoxee Trail in Florida is a great place to go hiking with your guitar.

   When attending Newark High School, Jake also participated in cross country and track. Running and being in nature got in his blood too, and he still gets pleasure from hiking today or taking long walks in the woods.

   Jake attended Asbury College in Kentucky for four years where he earned a degree in music and performance, with minors in accounting and agriculture. In that small town of Wilmore, locals met on the porches or in local clubs and enjoyed sharing music. That’s where he developed as a banjo player.

The same teddy bear is available in multiple, playful settings.

Historic Roscoe Village featured Jake at their grand piano for a Christmas concert.

   It was while enjoying music on those hot summer evenings along the Kentucky River that Jake began playing without wearing shoes. A couple of his friends, Rainwater, a Cherokee, and Gail Roe gave him the Indian name of “Barefoot” at that time and this unique name distinguishes him easily from other performers.

   While in Kentucky, he performed with many local bands from 2010 to 2014 and immersed himself in Appalachian culture, including readings of Thoreau and Wordsworth. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of his beliefs and values in the songs he writes.

Barefoot at South Florida Fair - West Palm Beach

Fairs are a popular venue. Here he performs at the South Florida State Fair in West Palm Beach.

   2015 created a memorable year for Barefoot as he went to California to visit a relative. He stayed the year playing every day as a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier. In the evenings he would play at local clubs and bars. While surrounded by all that music, he wrote over 100 songs that year.

   He began performing solo in 2015 and has since delighted crowds at over 1200 shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and California. His most recent festival took place in March at Dawsonville, Georgia.

Barefoot April

Jake Barefoot McCoy writes meaningful lyrics for his folk songs.

   A special relative that influenced his music tremendously was Doc Watson. His folk guitar playing inspired much of Barefoot’s technique today. During the American folk music revival in the 1960s, the award-winning Doc played acoustic guitar and banjo with a special picking style.

   A multi-talented young man, Barefoot is a singer, songwriter, and musician. A specialty he has mastered is putting poetic lyrics together that tell stories of yesterday and tomorrow. Barefoot is a truly great lyricist able to capture beauty, happiness, frustrations, and pure fun.

Barefoot at Keyboard

The keyboard is a central part of his performances.

   He varies his performances by playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. No matter what instrument he picks up, his skill and feelings come pouring through. Those bare feet keep him in close touch with his foot percussion, which is often his guitar case.

Barefoot at Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Nation in North Carolina has a festival that he thoroughly enjoys.

   While playing around on the piano at home, he often just happens across his next song. He loves telling a story through his music and usually is working on several new songs. Sometimes he might work on a song idea for years, but often it happens in just one day, maybe even ten minutes.

Barefoot Latest Album

His album “Back to Virginia” takes you on a musical adventure from valleys to mountaintops.

   His albums are Bye Bye Bluebird, Ballyhoo, American Lady, and Back to Virginia. At concerts, Take Me Away and Cali top the list of requests. Summer in My Soul is his latest hit.

I will not grow old

While my heart is full

The world outside is so cold

But it’s Summer in My Soul.

Tourism Barefoot McCoy

He was a featured entertainer at Ohio Tourism Day on the Ohio Statehouse steps.

   Some of his favorite concerts have occurred at the Cherokee Festival in Cherokee Nation, the Paul Bunyan Festival at Old Washington, and Apple Butter Festival in Coshocton. My first concert of Barefoot’s occurred on the Ohio State House Lawn at a State Tourism Show and later listened when he performed at the Guernsey County Senior Center Picnic.

Barefoot at Senior Diner

Guernsey County Senior Center asked him to play for their Senior Picnic in the park.

   Like all young men, he has his dreams. One of those would be to go on an international tour. He’d also enjoy playing with Tommy Emmanuel, who he admires for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. The talented Jake “Barefoot” McCoy certainly has a wonderful chance to fulfill his dreams.

Barefoot Tee

This Barefoot tee shirt could be a fun gift.

   Visit his website at www.barefootmccoy.com to hear some of his music. It’s an easy place to order an entertaining CD. Bluegrass fans might like to pick up a Barefoot Raglan Tee Shirt or Hoodie for themselves or a friend.

   Watch his schedule and plan to listen to his delightful musical creations sometime soon. Barefoot McCoy is a pure American Folk Music treasure.

Fort Laurens Entrance

Fort Laurens is in Bolivar Ohio just minutes off I-77.

   Add a little history to your summer fun by visiting Fort Laurens near Bolivar. A Revolutionary War fort was built in Ohio back in 1778 by General Lachlan McIntosh on the banks of the Tuscarawas River. Fort Laurens was the only Revolutionary War fort built in the Ohio Country by the Continental Congress.

Fort Laurens Original Fort

This drawing captures the design of the original fort.

   Fort Laurens was named after Henry Laurens, the fifth president of the Continental Congress. The Americans built Fort Laurens with three purposes in mind.

Fort Laurens rifleman

Riflemen dressed in linen shirt and overalls helped build Fort Laurens.

   First, they hoped to use it as a base to attack the British garrison at Detroit Second, they hoped it would keep the American Indians, who were loyal to the British, from conducting raids against American settlers in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Finally, by offering protection to the neutral Christian Delawares, the Americans might convince them to forsake their neutrality and join the patriots’ cause.

Fort Laurens Men suffering in winter

That cold winter, men suffered at Fort Laurens in cold huts with little food.

   However, conditions were so cold during that first winter that most of the men were moved to Fort Pitt. Learning of the terrible conditions inside the fort, the British and a couple of hundred Indian warriors laid siege to the fort. The men inside the fort were reportedly reduced to making a soup broth of boiled moccasins. Two men snuck out and returned with a deer carcass. It is said that the men were so hungry they ate it raw.

   General Brodhead reported to General George Washington that the fort was too far from Detroit to stage an attack and not close enough to the Delaware Indians to offer protection. General Washington ordered the fort abandoned in August 1779.

Fort Laurens Picnic Shelters

Picnic shelters provide a great place for family gatherings.

   In July of 1887, Christian L Baatz visited the fort and became interested in preserving its history. Baazt with his friends Ed Pease and William Lowe became acquainted with landowner David Gibler. David and his brother had leveled the fort in 1853 for farming. 

   After much promotion on their part, in 1908 Ohio Archaeologists and Historical Society indicated they would like to purchase the land and create a state park. DAR and SAR also wanted to preserve the location for historical purposes.

Fort Laurens School Group

School groups participate in demonstrations to learn more about the history of our country.

   When nothing had been done for several years by these three organizations, Baazt, Pease, and Lowe drew up a petition to gather signatures to present to the Ohio State Legislature to create a proper memorial on the site. In 1915, legislation was passed to preserve the Fort Laurens site.

   It had only served as a fort for one year before it was abandoned in 1779. Part of the fort was destroyed during the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal. None of the original fort remains above ground, but the outline of the fort is still highly visible. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, an 80-mile long recreational trail, goes through the site today.

Fort Laurens Museum

The outline of the original fort can be seen in the vicinity of the museum.

   A museum tells the story of soldiers on the frontier. There is an informative video that you won’t want to miss telling the fort’s history. A display of archaeological items discovered during excavation is displayed in the museum.

Fort Laurens soldiers guarding tomb

Uniformed soldiers were present at the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Patriot.

   There is a Tomb of the Unknown Patriot of the American Revolution paying tribute to the unknown defenders of the fort. In 1976, the year of the bicentennial of the American Revolution, a special military ceremony was held to bury the remains of the first soldier excavated in 1973. Twenty-one men lost their lives there in the year it served as a fort and the remains of some of those men are in a crypt in the museum wall. 

Fort Laurens crypt

This crypt in the museum wall contains the remains of some of the men who lost their lives here.

   Events are held here throughout the year from February through December. Check their website for up-to-date events at www.fortlaurens.org . Almost every month they have an interesting speaker. In July, they will be talking about “Women of the Revolution” presented by Sharon Snowden of Ohio First Ladies Museum.

Fort Laurens Reenactment

Reenactments bring to life the conflict of Revolutionary War days.

   Revolution on the Tuscarawas: Revolutionary War Encampment and Reenactment takes place on July 18-19. Explore British and Continental camps to meet soldiers from both sides of the conflict. Children can enjoy musket drills, colonial America games and crafts throughout the day. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time for this event.

Fort Laurens Towpath Trail

This shady Towpath Trailhead leads to the Ohio & Erie Canal after a walk through an enclosed walkway over the interstate.

   Today Fort Laurens is managed by the Zoar Community Association and remains a special memorial to those who died during the Revolutionary War. While there, bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing walk on The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The trail goes through a shady woods before crossing the interstate on an enclosed walkway. On the other side is part of that original Ohio and Erie Canal. You can walk the three miles to Zoar Village on the towpath trail if you have the time and energy.

   Add history to your summer adventures!

Fort Laurens is easy to reach off I-77 in Ohio. Take exit 93 for OH-212 W, then turn left on Mulberry Steet. Fort Laurens is on the left hand side. There is no admission fee to the grounds but a small fee for the museum.

Flags- Sign on Door

This sign appears on all doorways at Annin Flagmakers.

Annin Flagmakers have been making the flag of our country since 1847. The sixth generation of this family now owns and operates the business. Here workers make over three and a half million 4’x6′ flags each year in addition to many other sizes, including stick flags.

   Alexander Annin had been making flags for merchant ships on the waterfront in New York City for several years before beginning Annin Flags in Lower Manhattan on what was called “Old Glory Corner”. Eventually, headquarters was moved to New Jersey with factories in Coshocton, Ohio and South Boston, Virginia.

Flags Headquarters

One branch of Annin Flagmakers remains in Coshocton.

   These flags are Made in America of the highest standards by experienced flag makers. They have learned what long-lasting domestically made fabrics to use and what inks hold their color the longest. Fabrics include everything from nylon and cotton to polyester, with nylon holding up best outside.

Flags - workplace

This view greets your eyes upon entering the work area.

   State, military, national and international flags are made by Annin. However, the Coshocton facility basically makes US flags with a specialty now and then. When visiting, they were also making golf pin flags.

   Local history shows that the Coshocton branch of Annin Flagmakers was started by a family from Newcomerstown in 1968. Vane and Barbara Scott had been in the business of decorating floats for parades all over the country but were ready to settle down back home.

Vane Scott First Flag

Eugene and Francis Waller with owners, Barb and Vane Scott, proudly display the first flag made by Colonial Flag Company in 1968.

   A man with a flagpole company suggested they bid on a contract for 10,000 American flags…and they won! They purchased six sewing machines and a strip cutter to cut the stripes. That was the beginning of Colonial Flag Co. By 1970, they had moved their business to a larger building in Coshocton.

   When the 1976 bicentennial rolled around, Colonial Flag Co. had difficulty keeping up with orders so decided to sell the company. There were two stipulations to the sale: keep the business in Coshocton and keep Vane and Barbara on as managers. Annin Flagmakers purchased the business at that time. The reason there is a flag company in Coshocton today is due to the determination of the Scott family to keep jobs locally.

   Vane and Barb served as plant managers of Annin Flagmakers in Coshocton until 1991. Then Vane III, or Bud as he is often called, served as manager until 2002 when he retired.

Flags- rolls of stick flags

These rolls of stick flags are ready to be processed.

   Over the years, Annin has made flags for many important national events including:

  • 1849 – Inauguration of Zachary Taylor as President
  • 1851 – Queen Victoria’s Great Exhibit in London
  • 1860 – All wartime flags for the Civil War
  • 1969 – NASA’s Apollo II mission to the moon.
flags-dave-manager.jpg

Dave Rogers, DIrector of Operations, is proud to be part of Annin Flagmakers.

   At Annin Flagmakers headquarters, I had a chance to talk with Dave Rogers, Director of Operations, and learn a little more about the way flags are made today. They employ 150 people full-time and also hire temporary workers during their busiest season. Everyone wants the flags to be in their stores for Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July.

Flags - Strips being cut

The digital fabric cutter is prepared to cut white stripes for the flag.

   One popular flag is a 3’x5′ sewn nylon flag. They make around 35,000 of them each week. One of the first tasks is to cut the large rolls of fabric into stripes and place them in rolls of various colors. They can cut up to six different sizes at one time on their digital fabric cutter.

Flags- cakes of color strips

The colored stripes are then placed into rolls before heading to the seamstress.

Flags- adding the field of blue

Janet, a 22-year employee, adds the field of blue to the stripes.

   The stripes are then sewn together with six long stripes and seven short stripes. Once they are together, the field of blue is added. Star Field prepares the embroidered star field where the polished white thread gives sparkle to the stars on the field of blue.

Flags- cutting the edges

A 25-year employee, Anita, makes the edges straight.

   These workers take pride in their product. Three of the ladies together had in 88 years at Annin so worked with speed and precision. Everything has to be perfectly straight and their quadruple-stitched fly hem makes them extra durable.

Flags - Memorial Wall

Their lobby displays flags that were brought back after foreign service.

   When a local young man or woman went off to the war in Iraq, Annin gave them two flags. They asked them to return one flag telling where they had taken it, and the other was for their personal use. A display in the lobby shows several of those flags that were returned to Annin.

Flags - Ohio Visitors Bureau

Get your flag locally at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau in Roscoe Village.

   You can find Annin Flags at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau in Roscoe Village, Walmart, Target, Krogers and many other places. The friendly staff at the Visitors Bureau will take special orders for you and show you the large selection available there.

Flags- Walmart display

This display of Annin Flags is ready to ship to Walmart.

   Show your pride in America by displaying its flag and honoring it with a flag made right here in the U.S.A.

Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

~Francis Scott Key The Star-Spangled Banner

Dad, Mom and Bev 001

Mom, Dad, and a shy gypsy enjoy Father’s Day long ago. 

Dad would truly “Walk a mile for a Camel.” He thoroughly enjoyed his Camel cigarettes. No other brand would do. Why at that time their advertisements stated, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” Purchases were made by the carton.

   Needless to say, Dad always knew how many packs of cigarettes he still had left. One day when Dad and Mom returned from town, he found some of his packs of cigarettes missing. Mom questioned him as to whether he had smoked more than he thought. “No, Kate, I didn’t smoke that many packs. Someone had to take some.”

   Two weeks later, the same thing happened. This time they noticed that someone had come in through the cellar door while they were gone as the door was still wide open.

   Then Dad decided to play detective. He sent Mom to town at the regular time with me, wearing his work hat and white shirt, driving their car. We headed down the road to Indian Camp as we didn’t plan on staying away too long just in case Dad needed help.

   Before long, Dad heard someone pushing open the cellar door. Now was his chance to see who had been taking his cigarettes. He patiently waited at the top of the steps as he heard what sounded like young laughter.

   When the door to the upstairs opened, there stood Dad to greet the intruders. They happened to be two neighbor boys who wanted something to smoke and of course, their parents would not permit that.

   How surprised they were! He told them to come on upstairs and sit down in the living room. “Well, boys, should I call your parents? Will they approve of what you have done? You both know that stealing is wrong.”

   “Oh, please, Rudy, don’t call them. We’ll be in big trouble. We promise never to take your cigarettes again if you don’t tell.”

   Then Dad surprised them both by saying, “It will be our secret. If you ever want to smoke a cigarette, come over and ask me for one.”

   When Mom and I came back to the house, Dad was sitting on the porch with a smile on his face. “I caught two young boys and taught them a lesson. I don’t think it will ever happen again.” He was hoping that might cure their desire to take things that didn’t belong to them…and it did!

Topiary - Old Deaf School Park

Topiary Park is located on the grounds of Old Deaf School Park in Columbus, Ohio.

Walk through the Topiary Garden on Town Street near downtown Columbus, Ohio as you let your imagination take you to “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” This painting inspired Columbus artists James T. Mason and his wife, Elaine to develop a living reinterpretation of that painting on the grounds of the Old Deaf School Park.

Topiary - Painting Print

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” inspired this Topiary Garden.

   Georges-Pierre Seurat was a French painter (1859-1891) and this painting on a ten-foot canvas is considered to be one of the most remarkable paintings of the 19th century. The painting took him two years to complete as he first focused on the park itself before painting people from every social class participating in park activities. No figure encroaches on another’s space. All coexist in peace.

Topiary - Relaxing under the tree

This topiary couple relaxes in the shade while reading a book.

   Topiary is the practice of clipping plants into shapes. James shaped the bronze frames and planted the greenery, while Elaine served as the original topiarist. This small garden was developed with the help of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. They pay attention year-round to keeping the plants trimmed and in excellent condition around their wire framework.

   This area actually dates back to 1829 when the Ohio School for the Deaf established educational and residential programs for school-age children who were deaf or hard of hearing. By 1953, the school had outgrown its downtown location and moved to a larger property on Morse Road. Today, the Topiary Garden on those old grounds is the only one of its kind in the world – a park based entirely on the interpretation of one painting.

Topiary - Rowboat on the water

There are eight topiary boats on the pond, which represents the River Seine.

   This was all originally built for the opening of the AmeriFlora exhibit that took place in Columbus in 1992. Special care has been used to create close representations of the painting by Georges Seurat in 1884. The pond represents the River Seine and was developed in the early stages of the garden in 1989. There are even artificial hills that help capture the scene.

Topiary Gift Shop

The gatehouse, resembling a French countryside home, holds their gift shop and information center.

   The gatehouse resembles a French country house to match the park’s theme. Here you will find an information center, museum and gift shop. It is located next to a library which has an outstanding art exhibit.

Topiary - Lady reading outside gift shop

Outside the gatehouse, this topiary lady sits reading a book.

   Highlighted are the sculpted topiaries, hedges trimmed into the shapes of men, women, children, boats, and animals. The frames that support the figures are made of 5/8-inch bronze and set in eighteen inches of concrete.

Topiary - Man with tophat

A man with a top hat is one of 54 topiary characters in the scene.

   There are actually 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a cat, and a monkey included in the carvings. The largest topiary is 12′ tall. You might see a man with a top hat or a lady with her parasol dressed in the fashion of the 1800s, watching the topiary boats on the pond.

Topiary Bronze

This bronze plaque is situated at the artist’s viewpoint, “As He Saw It.”

   Visit the spot called “As He Saw It” for the exact location of the scene Seurat saw as he was painting it. There is a bronze plaque at this spot so you can compare the topiary to the painting. It’s a quiet place in the middle of the city where you can leisurely wander through the garden and become part of the painting or sit and relax in its tranquil setting.

Topiary - View of painter

This view matches the actual Seurat painting completed in topiaries.

   This garden has been showcased around the world in magazines, periodicals, books, and documentaries. Articles have been found in Life, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal.

Topiary - Lady with Monkey and Umbrella

This lady with her monkey is very popular with the children.

   The Topiary Garden Park, situated on seven acres, is open daily from dawn till dusk, and admission is free! Metered parking is just outside the fence. While the Topiary Park is only a couple of acres, the remainder of the area has many scattered picnic tables and benches where families gather.

   A Sunday afternoon spent at Topiary Garden Park is just as relaxing as a visit to The Island of La Grande Jatte. Enjoy the beauty of nature in downtown Columbus.

Topiary Park is located at 480 E. Town Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. There are parking meters just outside the main gate,

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

Repairing or restoring an old barn that no longer serves its purpose has been taking place around Ohio with increased frequency. People feel these buildings instill that pioneer spirit and are worth saving.

Cowden Barn

Morrison-Cowden Barn (1869) Pigeon Gap Road

   In Guernsey County, Bill and Sue Cowden decided to renovate an old barn that carried fond memories for many of the neighbors and their children. This barn was originally on the 500 acre Morrison farm and used for horses for many years.

   The Morrison family came to Guernsey County from Ireland in 1855 and Sam purchased a farm on the east side of Pigeon Gap Road. His son, George acquired land on the other side which spanned Coshocton Road, now Route 209.

   It was George’s son, W.C., who is most remembered in the area. He grew record-setting crops of wheat, had an emergency airstrip on the farm, and entertained frequently. Morrison School received its name from W.C., who lived until 1953. Upon his death, his entire estate of 3.2 million dollars was left to Guernsey County charities.

Barn Cornerstone

The barn cornerstone clearly shows the date of construction of 1869.

   When you realize the Morrison barn was built originally in 1869 – only four years after the Civil War, you can understand the desire to put it back to some useful purpose. Bill realized the barn was either going to have to be repaired or torn down. “When the doors no longer open, latches no longer work, and the floor is unsafe because the roof leaks, you have to make a decision.”

Doorway to home

A workman repairs the doorway with the Cowdens’ home in the background.

Getting walls ready

The new walls were being prepared on the ground.

   Some things had to be changed. Big posts by the door had rotted so needed to be replaced. Sadly, the slate roof had so many pieces missing that it received a metal roof. New siding had been put on previously, but now they covered that with metal siding as well.

Barn framing

Inside framing using wooden pegs was still in great original condition.

   Outside the barn looks like a new barn, but inside you can still easily see its history pouring out through all that old timber framing. The amazing craftsmanship of our ancestors without all the tools of today makes it extra special. These barns were built by hand and often in six to eight months. Inside the barn looks pretty much as it did back in 1869. The hand construction used to build the barn can clearly be seen in the rafters. All the beams are wood pegged, no nails were used.

Lift again

A lift was used to atttach new siding to the barn.

   Today, Bill and Sue use this barn for hay and machinery storage. Over the years they have raised chickens and even pigs in the lower level. They are pleased to have been able to preserve this historic barn.

   Three other barns were found that have been treasured by their owners and repaired when needed.

Schumaker Old Barn

Schumaker Barn (1887) West Lafayette

   In nearby Newcomerstown, the Schumakers barn (1887) still has its original slate roof with the date written on it. Their farm has been in the family for over 200 years so Jim and Wendy Schumaker keep striving to make their farm a showplace for others to enjoy through their produce stand and a fall adventure of Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience to interest children in farming.

Wilson Wells Barn 2

Wilson – Wells Bar (1932) Mantua Road

   Another was built by Carl Wilson (1932) during the Depression. He had purchased the supplies for the barn, but the banks closed before construction began. The contractor asked if he could keep his men working with Carl’s promise to make payment when the banks opened again. Both men fulfilled their promises. Today that barn has been extensively repaired and is owned by Jim and Dot Wells.

Bennett Smith Barn

Bennett-Smith Barn (1960) Pigeon Gap Road

   Across the road from the Cowden farm is the Bennett dairy barn (1960) that was built on the farm of the father, Sam Morrison. Today that barn has been repaired by owners Pete and Martha Smith after a tornado damaged part of the barn heavily back in 1993.

   Many people tend to feel that when something no longer fulfills its original purpose that it should be forgotten because repair takes time, money, and energy. Sue doesn’t agree, “Then you lose a bit of history and the wonderful work that went into it long ago.”

   Enjoy a ride through the country and pay special attention to the barns. You’ll find many large modern barns, those ready to fall down, and some that have been saved as part of our agricultural heritage.

   If you have a wonderful old barn, house, or building on your property that can be repaired, perhaps you will consider preserving it for future generations.

If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future.

~Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Miners crossed this old wooden bridge to work at  Minnehaha Coal Mine.

Workers used this old wooden bridge to cross from Buckeyeville to work in the Minnehaha coal mine.

Minnehaha isn’t a name most of us associate with the coal mines of Guernsey County. But the truth of the matter is there was a mine by that name back in 1906 located near what is today called Buckeyeville, or more commonly Dogtown.

     National Coal Company from Cleveland had heard of the success of the Byesville coal mines. They decided to purchase hundreds of acres and lease even more west of Byesville in an area that had no name. Their first concern was the lack of a railroad to the area.

Children - Main Street looking east

This group of children in Buckeyeville appears to be happy and they look neat and clean.

     So the company paid Pennsylvania Railroad to install a track from Byesville to the new mine. This included building three bridges to cross Chapman Run. National Coal Company felt that the Pennsylvania Railroad was charging them too much by increasing the number of crossties that were actually laid.

     They sent out a man to count the crossties. The man started the five-mile walk counting each crosstie but stumbled and lost count along the way. Not wanting to start over, he returned to National Coal Company telling them that Pennsylvania Railroad had actually laid more crossties than they were paid for. His secret was not known for sixty years.

     Once the railroad was completed, they began bringing all the new equipment into the site including a steel tipple, generators, a coal cutter, coal cars, and an electric locomotive. A wide slope opened down to the coal seam at Minnehaha.

Water tubs for 10 boilers. Need lots of water

These water tubs supplied ten boilers, which needed plenty of water to operate.

     When that mine opened in 1906, it was a very busy place. There were four boilers that made steam to turn two generators which created 250 watts of power. This was not to be used by the homes but to run the coal cutting machines and electric locomotives. The town nearby would not receive electricity until the 1930s long after the mine was closed.

rear of store in Buckeyeville

Children stand at the rear of the company store in Buckeyeville.

     Shortly after 1910, they began building houses in what is today Buckeyeville. By the time the mine closed, there were approximately forty houses in Buckeyeville as well as a company store, church, and school. There was no electricity or running water in the houses and rent was due the first of each month. The company store did have electricity!

Ad for Coal

This 1914 ad listed coal prices by the ton for retail rates. Check out their phone numbers!

     With a coal seam seven-foot deep in places, at its peak, 320 miners and 80 day workers worked the mine. During a good year, 500,000 tons of coal would be mined at Minnehaha in spite of the fact that in the summer months miners worked only a few days a week.

shop locomotive - ash and supplies to boiler room

This shop locomotive carried ash and supplies to the mine. Notice the electric wires.

     National Coal Company now had three mines in the area – Minnehaha, Little Kate Number Two, and Harryette. To provide electricity to all three mines they built the largest power plant in Guernsey County with ten boilers at Minnehaha.

     Eventually, there were nine mines open along the railroad to Byesville. These nine produced a daily output of 100 railroad cars of coal. These cars held between 50 and 75 tons each. Train crews said they were working “the Dogtown switch.” Why was it called Dogtown?

Kids parade on Main St. 19l17

These children of miners are having a parade in 1917.

     Beside the deep mines, there was a vein of coal that was not nearly as deep. Families sometimes dug into the hillsides in what was called a “scratch back mine” to get coal for their own use. Imagine working in the mine all day and then going home to dig your own coal out of the hillside.

     When they tried to pull this out of the hillside in small carts there wasn’t much room. It was found that dogs could do this task quite well so families raised dogs for work in the mines. Most of the time these dogs ran loose along the railroad tracks which is why the train crews named it Dogtown. Somehow the name stuck and many people still call it Dogtown today.

Union Hall Local #63 (1912) - Rev. Nathan Cramblett held church services

Rev. Nathan Cramblett held church services for miners in the Union Hall of Local #63.

     There was never a doctor in this area so injuries were not properly treated. Ten men died in Minnehaha. But that doesn’t account for the fact that many had injuries that maimed them for life. Fingers, hands, and feet were lost, broken bones ruined many miners’ backs, and black lung became a curse for most who labored in the mines. This was the most dangerous job in the world.

     Coal miners worked hard as they had to load all of the coal by hand using a pick and shovel. They had no vacations and were paid by the ton of clean coal that was loaded. Coal miners always worked on a buddy system for safety reasons. So that meant that when a ton of coal was loaded, that fifty cents had to be split between them. In reality, that meant twenty-five cents for each ton loaded. All of this for a two weeks pay of $15 or $16.

Blacksmith Shop

This blacksmith shop stood near the main road down to the mine.

     All of their supplies had to be purchased at the company store, which was one of the first things they built. Hard to realize that the miners had to purchase their own tools, props, and wedges.

     If you have heard stories of why this mine was called Minnehaha, please let me know. The name seems a bit of a mystery although it is a Dakota Indian name. Its Indian meaning translates as “rapid water” or “waterfall.” There was no rapid water or waterfall within thirty miles of the mine location.

1934 photo of Buckeyeville. Old wood bridge miners would use to go home from work.

This is a 1934 picture of Buckeyeville after the mine was closed. The bridge to work can still be seen.

     Minnehaha was shut down in 1928 after much of the coal was removed. The company found that they could find cheaper labor in Kentucky or West Virginia so when their lease was up, they moved to another coal mining area. While miners here were receiving fifty cents a ton for coal at that time, the miners in the other states were willing to work for about half that amount.

Dogtown Today

Today, Buckeyeville still exists as a small, friendly, unincorporated village.

     Never again would trains remove coal from a town that we now know as Buckeyeville or “Dogtown.”

Thanks to Dave Adair for providing information and pictures for this article.

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