Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Hocking Valley Welcome

This railroad car welcomes you to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.

Take to the rails on Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, which boards at Nelsonville and heads toward Logan. After purchasing your ticket in the depot, there’s a small museum inside of train memorabilia. Almost everyone in the depot and on the train is a volunteer. They enjoy meeting and telling stories to all the passengers.

Hocking Depot

All train rides depart from the 1982 Nelsonville Depot based on a prototype once in Rising Sun.

   First, you will have to decide which type of car you want for your adventure today. There are actually three choices that can accommodate approximately 300 passengers. The three steps to the cars are steep, but there is a wheelchair lift available.

   One car is air-conditioned with soft seats and a quieter ride. Or you might select a car with windows that can be opened so you can see and hear the sights a little better. Some prefer the open cars with wooden benches and a roof overhead in case of rain.

Hocking Valley Train

Baldwin 4005 Switch Engine running on diesel and electric was previously used by the US Air Force.

   Riding in the car with open windows seemed a good choice as wanted to take some pictures along the way as well as hear the sound of the train more clearly. The powerful steam whistle blows and the wheels start to turn as the train begins its journey.

Hocking kiln

The train passed remains of an 1880 kiln used by Nelsonville Brick Co., who won first prize for bricks at the 1904 World’s Fair.

   During the comfortable, swaying ride through the countryside, a narrative over the loudspeaker gave information regarding the formation of the railway. In 1869, the Columbus and Hocking Railroad began as a fast, inexpensive way to deliver coal to the market. At one time there were forty coal mines being serviced by the railroad.

Hocking Baseball

Passed by the Crabtree Baseball Field, named for local hero Estel Crabtree, a former Cincinnati Reds outfielder. Seats for the stadium are made of stone from the old Hocking Canal.

   The railroad had numerous mergers over the years and finally merged into the Chesapeake & Ohio system. When they began selling off lines south of Columbus, the Hocking Scenic Railway purchased track in 1972 and began a renewal of the railroad. They have been operating the Scenic Railway since 1985.

Hocking River

Part of the route followed the Hocking River, which flows into the Ohio River.

Hocking Engine House

The Hocking Engine House is located near the Hocking College Campus.

   This two-hour journey takes a break during the return trip on the campus of Hocking College at Robbins Crossing, a pioneer log cabin village, organized and run by students of the college as well as community volunteers.

Robbins Crossing

The Pioneer Village at Robbins Crossing comes to life with costumed interpreters.

   Robbins Crossing is a collection of original log cabins built by settlers of the Valley in 1850. They were dismantled and carefully moved to the campus location where they were reassembled in a village format. The insides of the cabins are filled with authentic artifacts from the period.

Hocking Pioneer Artist

A pioneer artist relaxes while painting on the porch after a morning in the kitchen.

   Visit a blacksmith shop, general store, one-room school and more. Everyone is dressed in period costume to make the visit more authentic. This is a great chance to see how life was lived in Southeastern Ohio in the 1850s.

Hocking Feeding Chickens

Children enjoyed feeding the chickens at Robbins Crossing.

   This trip through the green woods of the Hocking Hill included sights of deer, geese, flowers and streams. Actually, part of the way we drove along the Hocking River.

Pioneer Village Cooking

This pioneer was preparing dinner on an old coal stove.

   During the ride, several families had brought along a picnic lunch to enjoy on the train. Children seemed fascinated to be taking a train ride and even when it was over, they wanted to get back on board.

Hocking Brick Homes

Many houses and buildings along the way were built of those famous Nelsonville bricks.

   The train runs its normal schedule every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day weekend until the last weekend in October. But their extra events sound like fun!

Hocking Cross

Overlooking Nelsonville is a cross that a church member had placed in memory of his wife, Betty.

   Special themed “family friendly” events are held throughout the year in conjunction with the train ride. Check their schedule at http://www.hvsry.com to find out when you might take a ride on the Robbery Train, Fall Foliage Train, Santa Train, or New Year’s Eve when you can have your choice of pizza and pop or wine and cheese.

   Experience the feeling of riding a train across the country in those early days. Sit back and relax to the clickety-clack of the train wheels on the Hocking Scenic Railway.

This adventure brought back wonderful memories of the Byesville Scenic Railway and their capable storytellers who made the journey so interesting.

The Hocking Valley Scenic Depot is located in Nelsonville, Ohio at 33 W. Canal Street, along US Route 33 in Athens county in Southeastern Ohio. Depending on your location, there are many ways to arrive at the depot.

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carol-jones Muskingum UniversityEnthusiasm spreads from Carol Wilcox-Jones to everyone she meets. It’s contagious! Carol is the spark that gets things going, whether at her summer music camps or at the Salt Fork Festival. She does it all with a song in her heart.

   Growing up in Kansas, the Wilcox family sang even while doing housework. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing,” Carol recalls with a sparkle in her eyes. Her dad played guitar at square dances and sang on the radio, while her mom did the Charleston and even clogged. Family always ranked high in importance to Carol.

Carol - Dad 001

At age five, she sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with her dad at a square dance.

   Even though Carol sang with her dad on stage at the age of five, it was in high school that the singing bug really bit her. She sang the leading role of Laurie in Oklahoma, followed by many more leading roles. By the time she was a senior, she was invited to enter the Miss Kansas City pageant, which she won singing “Love Is Where You Find It” and “Clap Your Hands”.

   While studying at the University of Kansas she performed leading roles such as Maria in West Side Story, and Marion in The Music Man. She heard her first opera there when the Metropolitan Opera Touring Company came to perform. Carol smiled, “I fell in love with their thrilling singing.” Shortly thereafter, she had a chance to perform as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, still her favorite Mozart opera.

Carol Captain Jinks

Carol performed as Aurelia in the opera, Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.

   During college summers, Carol apprenticed herself at Central City, Co. and Santa Fe Opera companies. Upon graduation, she decided she would try a career in the opera and where better to do that than The Big Apple. While working toward her master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, she was invited to audition for the Metropolitan Opera. She was offered an artist contract and was soon busy learning new operatic roles.

Carol Barber of Seville

In the comic opera, Barber of Seville, Carol appeared as Rosina.

   Her list of performances is quite extensive and can’t possibly be listed here. In addition to her roles with the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, she has sung leading roles throughout the US and Canada, including the Washington Opera at Kennedy Center, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston Grand Opera, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and many others.

Carol Opera 001

Carol sang in Perichole at the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

   She has performed and enjoyed music theatre roles with St. Louis MUNY Theatre, KC Starlight, Blossom Festival, Caramoor Festival, and others. Carol has appeared on Broadway, sung over 100 recitals, and recorded for RCA and CRI, and has been a featured soloist with many symphonies.

   “It’s not just the beautiful voice, but her overall performance that projects feelings and words,” explained a conductor at the Lyric Opera. “I’ve never known Miss Wilcox to give a bad performance.”

Carol - dalmations

Carol and her family’s dalmatians appeared on the cover of Star in 1975 when she appeared at the Lyric Opera in Kansas City.

   One summer, when Carol was performing at the Lyric Opera Co. in Kansas City, there was also a young man, Robert Jones, under contract. Robert spotted the lovely lady with the beautiful voice and became her biggest fan. A year later, they were married.

Carol and Robert 001

Robert Owen Jones and Carol Wilcox-Jones perform here in  “Die Fledermaus”, an operetta by Johann Strass II.

   Robert was that old-fashioned guy she admired, and family had always been important to her. After their marriage and the birth of their son, Chris, they moved to New Concord where Robert taught music as Director of Vocal Activities at Muskingum College. The couple also happily welcomed their second child, Jennie, to their family.

Carol's Family

Carol, Bob, Jennie and Chris enjoy singing together as The Jones Family.

   Carol was soon invited to join the music faculty at Muskingum as Artist-in-Residence and taught voice, as well as helped develop the Music Theatre minor now offered at Muskingum University. Carol also holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy Degree from the Ohio State University and continues to Direct of the Summer High School Music Theatre CAMP, a program she created in 2006. Her reason for being involved is simply: “I support young people and through music, I open as many windows as I can for them.”

Carol Summer Music Camp

The High School Summer Music Theatre CAMP at Muskingum University has been directed by Carol since 2006.

   Carol’s musical background contains many degrees, extensive performing and teaching experience, but it’s her application of all this knowledge that makes Carol such a valuable asset to the groups she works with.

   Robert and Carol had been fans of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival for years. When Robert retired, he volunteered to schedule the musical portion of the Festival, and it followed that Carol assisted him before she became also involved with fundraising.

   Last year, Carol became Director of the Festival. Even though she didn’t feel experienced, the festival turned out to be wonderful and was indeed a happy place to spend the weekend for both artists and visitors.

Carol-Wilcox-Jones-Chamber Award 2

Carol received the Distinguished Service Award for her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival earned her the Distinguished Public Service Award. Her time and energy devoted to this project have been phenomenal. Connections with various groups and businesses in the community have made it possible to continue financing this popular three-day event.

Carol and Robert BASH

Robert and Carol entertained at the Salt Fork BASH, accompanied by Preservation Dixieland All-Star Band.

   One special event, the Festival BASH, became their signature fundraiser. The support of the community has been outstanding, seen through the participation and success of the BASH, which is an evening filled with visiting friends, delicious food, outstanding music, and many prizes and silent auctions.

   Carol does not take credit for all this herself. She has a very active board of trustees who also head up Festival Committees and work tirelessly to produce the Festival with the help of many volunteers. “I’m very proud of all those who have made it possible. The Festival leaders have kept this Festival going for nearly 50 years! That’s pretty incredible!”

50th Anniversary

Carol works with a great group of volunteers as they prepare for the 50th Anniversary.

   The next big project is working with a 50th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee for the 2019 festival. There are plans to begin building an enhanced entranceway to the park at Edgeworth Street that will be a permanent feature and reminder of the festival for future generations.

   Now, she’s looking forward to the 49th Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, August 10-12, 2018. Summing up her Festival feelings, she enthusiastically remarked, “The Festival experience – the creative arts, demonstrations, concerts, and activities- are offered free to the public. It’s an uplifting, community-building celebration with a great combination of quality visual and performing arts and delicious foods offered in the beautiful outdoor setting at Cambridge City Park. What’s not to love?”

Salt Fork Picnic by boat ramp

Salt Fork Lake is a great place for a picnic along the water’s edge.

When summer rolls around, everyone has thoughts of outdoor activities. Whether you want to spend the day or a week, Salt Fork State Park, the largest state park in Ohio, holds a wide variety of activities that are sure to please the entire family.

Salt Fork Picnic Shelters

     Many people in the area over the age of fifty will remember when this was farmland with Salt Fork Creek and many small streams running through it. In 1967, the earthen dam was completed and filling of the lake began.

Salt Fork Bicycling

Bicycling is popular at the lake on trails or even on the roads as speed limit keeps traffic moving slowly.

     There are many choices for staying at the 3,000-acre lake for a few days. You can camp, rent a cabin, or stay at the beautiful Salt Fork Lodge. No matter what your choice, you will be surrounded by rolling hills and views of the lake.

Salt Fork Cabin

Cabins along the lake make for a relaxing get-away.

     The campground sites all have electrical hook-ups with a heated shower house close by. A few sites even have water and sewer hook-up as well. However, if you would prefer a cabin along the lake, all are completely furnished with a screened-in porch, and even have kitchen utensils.

Salt Fork Lodge

Salt Fork Lodge provides a great place for meetings or to spend the weekend.

     Some prefer the comfort and convenience of the exquisite, stone Salt Fork Lodge, which is perfect for meetings or vacations. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools provide entertainment no matter the weather. Outside you’ll find a fantastic playground for the youngsters as well as tennis, volleyball, basketball and shuffleboard courts.

Special activities are scheduled throughout the summer months to keep youngsters busy with nature lessons, face painting, crafts, archery and guided hikes. There’s no reason to be bored here!

Salt Fork Golf Course

Golfers enjoy the beautiful 18th hole in the rolling hills of Salt Fork Golf Course.

     Just a half mile down the road from the Lodge is the entrance to their 18 hole championship golf course, which is a challenge in these southeastern Ohio hills. A golf cart is highly recommended! Deer frequent the course and have little fear of golfers playing their game. Rates are very reasonable.

Salt Fork Beach

Their expansive beach has a concession stand, putt-putt golf and Nature Center.

     No lake would be complete without a beach. Here the 2500 foot beach is one of the longest inland beaches in Ohio. When you want to take a break from swimming or playing in the water, take time to head to the concession stand, play miniature golf, or visit their Nature Center in the main bathhouse building.

Salt Fork Sugartree Marina 2

Sugartree Marina is one of two marinas where boats can be left for the season.

     Two marinas, Salt Fork and Sugartree, provide a place to dock your boat for the season. If you prefer to bring your boat with you, there are ten easy access boat ramps. At Sugartree Marina, you can rent kayaks, canoes, wave runners or pontoons. There are so many ways to enjoy a day on the lake.

Salt Fork Fishing

Fishing can be a wonderful time for families to relax together.

     Fishing is a popular item at Salt Fork Lake. It’s a place you see families with their children as they teach them to enjoy being out in nature. Sitting on the bank or going out on a boat both give fishing enjoyment. Fresh fish over a campfire always become a great memory and a tasty meal.


Salt Fork Hosak's Cave

Walk carefully when exploring Hosak’s Cave. Bigfoot has been spotted here.

     Many people enjoy hiking one of their fourteen hiking trails from easy to moderate. One popular trail leads to Hosak’s Cave complete with waterfalls and wildflowers. Bigfoot is said to have been spotted in this area.

Salt Fork Horse Trailer

Many bring their horses to the park to ride the peaceful trails.

     Others actually bring their horses to the park and camp for the weekend so they can ride twenty miles of horse trails. It’s a quiet place to ride through the woods on well-marked trails. Many ride bicycles and motorcycles through the paved roads of the park. It’s quite safe with a maximum speed limit of 35 mph in most places.

Salt Fork Kennedy Stone House - Root Cellar

Explore the historic Kennedy Stone House and root cellar while at the State Park.

     Another longer trail leads to Kennedy Stone House built in 1837. Stones used were quarried from the hills nearby and crafted in a manner that has stood the test of time. Original cost of the home at that time was $600. Recently, a road has been constructed to the house so you can hike, drive, or even arrive by boat.

My Inspiration Point

This overlook near the dam is my Inspiration Point, where many stories are written.

     The view from the dam in Morning Glory Area provides a great place to relax also. This is my Inspiration Point as often stories nearly write themselves while watching the waves hit the shore and seeing the boats bounce over the water.

Salt Fork Sand Castles

Building sand castles at the beach entertains youngsters between swims.

     Salt Fork State Park provides a great place for family vacations as there are so many varied activities to keep all ages busy and happy. If you are lucky enough to live in the area, enjoy a day at the beach or a ride on the lake anytime. Pack a picnic and use one of their many shelters or picnic tables, or spread your blanket on the ground.

     It’s also the perfect place to relax and do absolutely nothing. Visit Salt Fork State Park to enjoy being surrounded by the beauties of nature.

Salt Fork State Park is located about five miles north of Cambridge off US-22. The main entrance is on the left-hand side. Wooden signs throughout will guide you to the place you want to explore.

Buckeye Lake 1950s

This is an overview of Buckeye Lake Amusement Park as it appeared in the 1950s.

Trips to Buckeye Lake Amusement Park can be remembered by many adults today. As children, they would head there with their parents or neighbors for a full day of rides along the lake. Almost everyone took along a picnic lunch.

Buckeye Lake First Cabin

The first cabin built at Buckeye Lake has been restored next to the Buckeye Lake Museum.

   Today the Amusement Park is gone but the memories still remain at the Buckeye Lake Museum in Buckeye Lake. The museum opened its doors in 1998 and is located about a mile west of the original entrance to the amusement park.

Buckeye Lake 1918 Chevy

This 1918 Chevrolet 490 Touring Car brought visitors to the Cranberry Marsh Bass Club.

   Construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal gave a reason for Buckeye Lake to be created in 1826. This original swamp land had been left behind by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago. Buffalo Swamp was dug and dammed to create a source of water for the canal.

Buckeye Lake Swimming Pool

The Crystal Swimming Pool was a gathering place for the entire family.

   When the canal became inactive after the railroads gave a better and faster means of transportation, the state developed Buckeye Lake as a popular resort. With over 3800 acres of water, 35 miles of shoreline and twenty islands, people began flocking to the area. Twenty-one hotels sprang up along the shoreline.

Buckeye Lake Entrance 2

Cars came bumper to bumper through this entrance gate to the park.

   The Ku Klux Klan had rallies at Buckeye Lake in 1923 when 75,000 people attended. Then in 1925, it is said that 500,000 KKK members attended since the Grand Dragon of the five-state area lived in Newark.

Buckeye Lake Dip and Beach

The Dips Roller Coaster, which went over the lake, could be seen from the beach.

   After a few years, the lake seemed like a great place to add an Amusement Park. In 1931, “The Dips” Roller Coaster was built. This was a huge attraction as the roller coaster took passengers out over the lake. The roller coaster lasted until 1958 when a serious accident injured several passengers. It never ran again.

Buckeye Lake Rocket Ride

This was the popular Rocket ride.

   Rides like The Whip, Big Slide, Dodge ’em Cars, Octopus, Wild Mouse and Rocket brought crowds to the lake. Folks enjoyed the taste of their Caramel Corn and Salt Water Taffy, which were shipped all over the country.

Buckeye Lake Rides

Rides were part of the attraction for a visit to the amusement park.

   No wonder it was known as The Playground of Ohio with often 50,000 people in a single day. You could hardly get through the crowds, but still, people patiently waited bumper to bumper and shoulder to shoulder.

Buckeye Lake Skee Ball and Wild Mouse drawing

A popular skee ball game can still be played at the Buckeye Lake Museum.

   Many companies held their annual picnics at Buckeye Lake Amusement Park. Guernsey County residents will recall RCA having picnics at the lake. Admission to the park was free during most of its operation, and later $2 a car. Every Thursday was Family Day when the cost of each ride was five cents for children and eight cents for adults.

Buckeye Lake Taffy

This was the machine that made their famous salt water taffy.

   Their Crystal Ballroom brought quality entertainment to the area. The “Buckeye Lake Waltz” was a popular dance tune. Louie Armstrong, Bob Hope, Sammy Kaye, Guy Lombardo, and Glenn Miller were among the names who appeared at their ballrooms. This was a happening place!

   Big bands also performed at Skateland, which had a 50,000 sq.ft. round floor. It was not unusual to have 2000 skaters there in an evening.

Buckeye Lake Mastodon

A skeleton of a mastodon was found nearby. A cast of its head can be found at the museum.

   The park finally closed in 1970 after an attempt to revive it as a Country Western Theme Park.

  Just four miles down the road, when they were digging to build a golf course, they found the large skeleton of a  mastodon, called the Burning Tree Mastodon, that is the most complete skeleton ever found. It’s estimated to be nearly 12,000 years old. A cast of the head can be found at the museum.

Buckeye Lake today

Today, Buckeye Lake is still a great place for a boat ride, walk or picnic.

   Rides on the lake aboard a sternwheeler were popular even after the amusement park closed. But due to problems with the dam, the water level was not deep enough for the sternwheeler to operate.

Buckeye Lake Queen of the Lake III

Queen of the Lake III sternwheeler is being refurbished for cruises on Buckeye Lake.

   In 2015, a new Queen of the Lake III was donated to the museum by Dr. Ronald and Cindy Downing of Zanesville. This sternwheeler can operate in less than two feet of water so the low level of the water in the lake will not affect it. Right now they are working on refurbishing The Queen of the Lake III into a dinner boat to help raise funds for the museum. Their dream is to have it on the water by late summer.

Buckeye Lake Covered Fountain

This covered fountain in the construction zone is the only piece of the original amusement park that remains.

   The only piece of the amusement park that remains is the fountain, which still stands in the original park’s location at Alexander’s Landing. Perhaps you’ll want to visit there and let your mind wander back to those days of fun and excitement at the Buckeye Lake Amusement Park. You can still take a picnic with you!

Buckeye Lake Museum is located off I-70 at Exit 129. Take OH 79 South aout two and a half miles to 4729 Walnut Road. The museum will be on the left hand side of the road.

Robinson farm 001

The Robinson Family Farm is located in Noble County.

Farming requires hard work and dedication as there’s no time clock to punch. Farmers work until the job is finished. Having lived on a farm all my life, it seems important to me to share stories of our local farmers from time to time.

   One special farm family comes from the Noble County area. For over a hundred years, the Robinson Farm has been in their family. Today Jerry Robinson lives there and keeps the family working together. He recalls many stories of the farm over the years.

Jerry and family 001

Jerry is surrounded by his family. Front row: Mom and Dad; Row 2: Jerry and his late wife, Julia; Row 3: his three sons, Dinty, David, and Jerry II.

   Back in 1909, Perley and Rachel Robinson decided to purchase eighty acres in Noble County for $400. They had been renting a farm and wanted a place of their own. Nothing but brush grew on the land and only enough grass for two cows and two horses.

   Three small coal mines were dug into the banks to provide heating for their home and perhaps they sold a little to help with expenses. These small mines even had tracks and coal cars.

   This great-grandfather built a sturdy home there of oak 2x4s. That home still stands today and provided a place for the second generation, Ralph’s family, to live.

Jerry and brothers 001

Jerry, in the middle, and his brothers gather with their dad on the porch of their farmhouse.

   Ralph and his wife, Bonnie, had six children, four boys and two girls. All four boys, Jerry included, were born at home while the two girls came later in life and were born at Caldwell Hospital. One of the boys was placed in the oven of a wood burner to keep him warm.

Jerry's first dog

Jerry’s friendly dog, Tippy, followed him wherever he went.

   When Jerry was four years old, he had an accident while trying to wire something to his wagon. The wire flew into his eye and he’s been blind in his right eye ever since. But that’s no excuse for not working!

   From the beginning, the Robinsons chose to raise Hereford cattle, and still do today. They rented 1500 acres of pasture from the coal company, and more from neighbors for pasture and hay.

Jerry's Dad 001

Perley Robinson with his favorite Ford tractor.

   Jerry still remembers that when he was five years old they had two horses, Doc and Bell, that pulled their farm equipment before their first tractor, which was purchased in 1949. Like most farmers, tractors are special to Jerry and he even has an extensive Ford and New Holland model tractor collection.

Jerry on first tractor

Jerry still has his first tractor – a 1962 Ford diesel.

   He’s lived on this same farm all his life and helped his dad with farm-work in the evenings after school. This never seemed a chore, as it was just something he liked doing.

   Being on his tractor and tending his beef cattle give him enjoyment. Night calls to the barn to help bring a new calf into the world are nothing new to him. Over the years, he worked for the highway department, but farming has always been in his blood.

Robinson's new calf

Welcoming a new calf at the barn is a family affair with Jerry, his son and grandsons.

   Jerry’s son, Dinty, loves the farm as much as his dad. The grandsons, that fifth generation, are great workers and eager helpers. Most days, someone is working from 6-6, and often later during haying season. They might work until three in the morning if rain is predicted and hay needs to be brought in.

Robinson horse show 002

Grandsons: Lane, Colin and Dolan take great pride in showing their horses.

   His grandsons play an important role on the farm. Dolan, Colin and Lane spend hours each day practicing their sport, which is riding horses. Dolan got his first horse at the age of six and was in a horse show that same day.

   These rare young men would rather be outside riding, hunting, and trapping instead of watching television or playing video games. Whatever they do in the future, these modern cowboys won’t sit behind a desk.

   Lane keeps track of all cattle birth dates, and even names each calf. An unusual happening, on the farm recently, involved a heifer that was having trouble delivering her calf. She was taken to OSU by trailer and they performed a C-section there. Mother and calf are doing fine. Lane named this new calf Lucky.

Motorcycle

In the summer, you might find Jerry and his wife, Ellen, delivering sweet corn to friends and family on their Can-Am Spyder.

   Once in a while Jerry and his wife vacation and as you might imagine, especially enjoy being in the open country. Jerry likes the open space of the west and has been to Alaska, parts of Canada, and Hawaii. This summer, Nova Scotia was their destination for several weeks of summer exploration.

   There have been many changes Jerry remembers from those early years on the farm. The equipment is bigger and easier to use. Now the tractor has a cab with heat, AC and even music. Coyotes and bobcats are new to the scene, so newborn calves are kept in the barn for a few days.

Jerry's New Holland

Jerry treated himself to a 2017 New Holland tractor last year.

   Squirrel hunting is the only kind of hunting Jerry likes to do. He doesn’t want to kill something unless it can be eaten. An ideal dinner would be fried squirrel with sweet potatoes and squirrel gravy.

   Bush-hogging keeps him busy in the summer months as he likes to have things looking neat at Robinson Farm. Many say, “It’s the cleanest farm in Noble County.”

Jorgensen Greenhouse

Since they raise most of their own food, their greenhouse was the first thing Maggi and Gene wished to discuss.

Teamwork best describes the lifestyle of Gene and Maggi Jorgensen, the artistic couple from Painters Hollow near Salt Fork State Park. Working together, they have accomplished more than the average couple because they love what they do. “If we can’t have fun, we’re not going to do it.”

Farming runs in Gene’s blood as his dad farmed in New York and white-washed barns to help with expenses. For many years Gene worked as a sheet metal worker, which led him on varied adventures all over the United States and beyond. Once he even climbed a mountain in Peru.

Jorgensen Maggi

Maggi wears the first necklace Gene made using five quarters and trimmed in brass.

Maggi worked in the engineering department at NCR until its closing. Not wanting to transfer, she trained to become an RN. We’ll talk more about those necklaces she wore to work later.

Stopping by on a warm spring day, the first thing they’re eager to talk about is their garden, “We live out of our garden.” They even pick fresh lettuce from their basement all winter long.

Jorgensen Bales

Certain crops, like tomatoes and eggplant, grow best for them in bales of straw. The red ball rests on a decorative iron holder made by Gene.

Their small greenhouse provides the perfect place to start plants for transfer to their garden and straw bales, which produce a bumper crop of tomatoes and eggplant. Their newest experiment this year was starting strawberry plants from seed. It worked! Now they have a small strawberry patch as well.

Jorgensen Home

Their home is very important since they built it themselves with pine logs from their own woods.

The lumber for their home came out of their own woods. In 2000, they decided to build using square-cut, white pine logs with foam log tape in between to seal all cracks. This resulted in a beautiful home in the country.

Jorgensen Blacksmith

Gene’s dream of a blacksmith shop has become a reality.

Gene had always wanted a blacksmith shop. In 2005 when he bought a knife at the Salt Fork Festival, the gentleman told Gene about a blacksmith class being offered. Maggi thought it seemed like the perfect Christmas present. If someone took the class with Gene, they could do it for half price. The artistic Maggi took the class with him.

Jorgensen Library

Evidence for Gene’s skill at blacksmithing can be seen in the railings of their library.

Maggi made her first nail, a towel bar and towel rack in that class. Gene has metal creations all over the house inside and out. One of his favorites is making a cross out of a railroad tie. Now Gene has his own magnificent blacksmith shop containing a coal forge and filled with power tools such as: power hack saw, rod shear, punches, and stake plate.

This class has led them on an exciting new adventure. Gene had already been making jewelry for Maggi to wear to work. They were so popular that she sold almost everyone she wore.  Making copper jewelry became a favorite pastime with the blacksmith skills being used to make and repair needed tools.

Wishing to improve her natural creative talents, Maggi took watercolor and acrylic classes. They both want to make themselves the best they can be.

Jorgensen Necklaces

This is a sampling of the jewelry that will be on display at the Salt Fork Festival.

Their favorite metals for jewelry remains copper, which is always covered with a clear shellac. Recently, they’ve added sterling with brass and bronze for special touches.

Jorgensen Rings

Rings were a new item in 2017. Gene’s workbench shows the finished rings on the pliers’ handle.

In 2017, Gene began making rings. Five unique patterns come in various sizes. Watching Gene follow the steps for making a ring, it makes you realize how time consuming it is to get that perfect product. This work requires great patience.

Jorgensen Ice Box

Iceboxes are used for storage throughout the house. This one used for bathroom storagem originally served as icebox for Plainfield Store.

Their first show happened in 2011 at Octoberfest in downtown Cambridge. The following year they started sharing their products at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. Maggi enjoyed coming to the festivals for years, but never expected to be showing at one. Now Painters Hollow Products have become a popular exhibit. Visit them in August at the Salt Fork Festival.

Jorgensen Gene

Gene enjoys his workshop where he can shape metal however he wishes.

Gene and Maggi are perfectly content on their farm. For them, it’s a good life and they never want to leave. They don’t even want to travel, except to craft shows, and their idea of a perfect evening would be sitting on their porch with a glass of wine.

I’ve got a blacksmith shop and the best partner anyone could have,” explained Gene. As for Maggi, “Life here is fun: the jewelry, garden and everyday life.”

Imagine everyone would wish for that kind of contentment.

 

Castle

The castle, built in 1855, features many history-related events throughout the year.

Oozing Victorian charm, The Castle in Marietta, Ohio takes one back to a simpler time – from a wealthy point of view. Even though now situated in the center of town, back in 1855 when it was first built, the house was on one of the highest spots in the area and overlooked the then existing town of Marietta. One large tree still stands in the front yard where it was planted over a hundred and fifty years ago.

     Today The Castle is part of The Betsey Mills Corporation, a group of community-minded women, who wish to educate the public regarding Marietta history as well as life in Victorian times. Tours of The Castle are given by guides, who are very knowledgeable of its history and share many humorous stories that make the visit extra enjoyable. If you enjoy life in Victorian times, perhaps this glimpse inside will make you eager to visit there yourself.

Castle - Harley

Harley Noland, board member, initiated the idea for their annual Tour of Homes, and helps at The Castle in many ways.

     Starting in the Carriage House, which now serves as the Visitors’ Center, a video explains a brief history of the people who have resided at The Castle over the years. The property was used by Nathaniel Clark, the potter, as early as 1808 when he made milk pans, jugs and jars. Remnants of their pottery still surface from time to time or are found on archaeological digs.

Castle - Oldest piece

This 1745 clock is the oldest piece of furniture in The Castle.

     In 1855 Melvin Clarke paid $2000 for two empty lots where the house was to be built. Ownership by five prominent and influential citizens began with the original owner/builder, who was an attorney and first city solicitor, and continuing with the person who established the Bank of Marietta, the owner of Marietta Gazette, and even an Ohio State Senator.

Castle - Margaret inside shutters

Margaret Fredericks, our tour guide, displayed the unique shutters inside the balcony.

     All furnishings in The Castle are either original Victorian items, which had actually been used in the home, or furnishings from other Marietta homes of that time. Wood trim and doors were made of red oak downstairs where guests would be entertained, but upstairs were made of pine, as only the family would be upstairs.

Castle- Lithograph

The entrance way contained an early lithograph of The Castle above an old pump organ.

     Victorian times were filled with music. A pump organ from Stevens Organ and Piano Company can be found inside the front door. Two more pianos are in the parlors, as well as an Edison music box from 1892, which played the cylinder records of hard black wax. The song, “Echo All Over the World”, was on display in its original case from Edison Gold Moulded Records.

Castle - Library

Captain William Holden had what they called ‘the first laptop’ on the desk in the library…a wooden box in which he could carry all of his important papers.

     The library showcased Captain William Holden’s box where he kept all his important papers and could close it like a briefcase to take them with him. Some called it the first lap-top. Adults would sit here and read while younger ladies were having gentlemen callers in the adjoining sitting room. Even though the chairs of ladies and gentlemen were separated by a table, someone had to watch and listen to ensure proper behavior was being observed.

     The chairs, themselves, were unique in that they sat very low to the floor. That way there could be no chance that the young ladies’ ankles would show, an act of disgrace during Victorian times.

Castle - hair art

This hair wreath was begun from family hair while Anna Marie Weinheimer had diphtheria in 1866.

     When you wanted to remember a special person, you could weave a lock of their hair into a special design. Men might braid their special lady’s hair into a watch chain to attach a pocket watch to their jacket. The ladies would make necklaces and broaches in intricate designs.

Castle - Chest

This chest was built in Marietta to contain three drawers in which one eastern lady carried her belongings to her new home.

     A unique dresser can be found in an upstairs bedroom. When the lady moved here from the east coast, she only had room to bring three drawers full of her belongings. When they arrived in Marietta, a dresser was built to hold those three drawers. Women gave up a lot to be pioneers.

Castle - bed

Rope beds needed to be tightened frequently to ensure a good night’s sleep, thus the saying: Sleep tight!

     All the furnishings in The Castle were either original Victorian items, which had actually been used in the home, or furnishings from other Marietta homes of that era. Wood trim and doors were made of red oak downstairs where guest would be entertained; however, upstairs the doors were of pine as only the family would be upstairs.

Castle Nye cookstove

A castle cookstove was made in the late 1800s by Marietta’s Nye Foundry, which is still in operation today.

     One beautifully designed wall shelf had originally held a collection of Captain Holden’s, who they called the original Spiderman. He had collected 3,000 different spiders and kept them on display.

Castle - Nathaniel's house

This is part of the original home of Nathaniel Clark and displays some of his early 1800s pottery.

     A section attached to The Castle served as the original home of Nathaniel Clark and several of his pottery vases were on display there. Outside the door near the gazebo, the outline of the original kiln has been found and excavation of that area will take place as time permits. It’s a rather large area about fourteen feet long.

Castle - Gazebo

Near the Gazebo, it’s possible to see a new discovery – the edges of Clark’s original kiln.

     You’ll find a great variety of activities at The Castle throughout the year. Check their website at www.mariettacastle.org for the latest information. There are activities for every age level from workshops and teas to ghost tours and children’s programs. You’re sure to find something of interest!

The Castle is located in Marietta, Ohio at 418 4th Street. Take Exit 1 off I-77. Castle is open April through December. Hours for June, July and August are 10-4 most days, except closed on Wednesday. Sunday hours are 1-4.

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