Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for August, 2013

School Is In The Air

Hopewell One-Room School at Indian Camp

Hopewell One-Room School at Indian Camp

The cool morning air whispers Time for school. Memories flood back of days at a one-room school in Indian Camp. All eight grades were in one room so students helped each other climb the ladder of learning. Perhaps today is the perfect time to take a road trip leading back many years ago to Hopewell School. Chances are someone you know, or even you, yourself, have attended a similar school.

After driving the winding roller-coaster road of State Route 658 northwest of Cambridge, Ohio, the old school brings a smile. Those sturdy sandstone foundation blocks remain intact where so many students received building blocks for their lives from 1905-1955. Today the school is kept in repair while being used by the Indian Camp Grange, 4-H club, Hopewell Homemakers and once a year, the Hopewell One-Room-School Reunion.

Favorite Recess Tree

Favorite Recess Tree

The trees have grown noticeably larger in front of the school.  Their branches provided the perfect places to sit while watching others play on the large surrounding field, or sharing secrets with your friends. In the absence of playground equipment, students played hopscotch at the top of the drive, baseball behind the school, or Annie Annie Over across the roof.

Children from miles around arrived at Hopewell School by bus, horseback, bicycle or walking. On the first day of school they proudly carried their yellow Big Chief tablet and a pencil or two. If they were lucky, they might have a box of eight new Crayola Crayons and Elmer’s School Paste.  Those scents still stir up memories.

Teacher, Mrs. Mary Clark, uses the globe to explain geography.

Teacher, Mrs. Mary Clark, uses the globe to explain geography  during the 1950’s.

Inside the building, the pot bellied stove and the old desks are gone. The teacher or a student who lived close by came early in the morning to get the room warm for students. During the day, the boys took turns filling the coal bucket at the coal shed behind the school. Many boys volunteered for this chore and took their time, some even sneaking a smoke in the coal shed. But other things are still the same. An original blackboard still has initials carved in it, and the closets where coats and lunches were kept are exactly as they were years ago.

Lunches were brought in either a paper bag or a metal lunch box, which might last for several years. A personal favorite had a picture of Roy Rogers riding Trigger, and it even had a thermos. Lunch might include a bologna sandwich, boiled potato, dill pickle, and on special days, a thermos of homemade soup.

Since there was no water on the grounds, the boys carried water from a near-by house. After it was poured into a large keg at the back of the room, students would use a dipper to get a drink – everyone using the same dipper and no one getting sick!  No water also meant outdoor toilets with a rather unpleasant smell, flies, and even an occassional varmint.

Original Bell at Hopewell School

Original Bell at Hopewell School with picture of school “Whoso Desireth Education, Desireth Knowledge”.

In 1994, former students constructed a brick base with a picture of old Hopewell School engraved on a plague and words that expressed the aim of the school: “Whoso Desireth Education, Desireth Knowledge”.  At the top of the base sets the school bell that called students to school in the morning, and reminded them that it was time to return to the classroom after recess. Students didn’t always stay on the grounds during recess as some went to Gerty’s Store just down the road, or in winter time might be sledding on the neighboring hills of the Cowden family farm. This bell is a beautiful heritage to the people that have received their education here, and also to their children for generations to come.

In spite of all the old-fashioned ways, lessons were learned and life-long friendships were developed. The one-room school was the perfect place to be taught the 4 R’s – Reading, ‘Riting, “Rithmetic…and Respect.

If you would enjoy a trip to the country to see Hopewell School, follow State Route 209 west from Cambridge, Ohio through Browns Heights. After a couple of miles, turn right on State Route 658 and continue until you reach the town of Indian Camp. At the north end of Indian Camp make another right hand turn on Mt. Herman Road. You are there!  

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Ohio’s Scenic Seneca Lake Park Gem of the Appalachians

Seneca Lake under a cloud filled sky

Seneca Lake under a cloud filled sky

Drifting into a peaceful world is something everyone would hope to do. At beautiful Seneca Lake in the foothills of the Appalachians, this is not only a possibility, but a likelihood.

Senecabille State Fish Hatchery

Senecaville State Fish Hatchery

Created in 1937, Seneca Lake Park in southeastern Ohio is part of the Muskingum Water Conservatory. This dam was originally constructed to contain floods on the Seneca Branch of Wills Creek. Here over 3,550 acres of water are filled with fish, boats, swimmers and fishermen!  The main entrance to the park leads you past the dam and the fish hatchery, which has 37 one-acre ponds.

New water toy at the beachHeaded up over the hill and through the woods, you arrive at the entrance to the beach and picnic area. This is a spot where family reunions have been held for over seventy years  Picnic baskets always overflowed with fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, and homemade pie or cake during those long ago reunions. The shady picnic area made for an inviting place for moms and dads to visit while the children enjoyed the playground or swam at the nearby beach. An awesome water toy installed in 2013 provides a special place for the young ones to play

Many call this their summer home, as cabins are frequent along the shores. Boat docks are placed nearby home locations, since most campers want the pleasure of drifting on the waters for a relaxing get-away. There are a wide variety of homes in this rural area ranging from small cabins to elegant residences.

Sailing along on Seneca Lake

Sailing along on Seneca Lake

But perhaps you would rather rough it a little and stay in your camper or even your tent. There are 513 campsites available if you prefer getting back to nature. Some of those tent sites are located near the beach. If you are wanting a vacation from cooking as well, The Dockside Restaurant at the entrance to the campground provides delicious food with the choice of dining inside, or perhaps on the deck overlooking the lake..

The Bar where friends meet

The Bar where friends meet

If you are going out for the day, you might want to rent a canoe or kayak at Ray’s for a reasonable daily rate. Then you can guide yourself into the many coves, or float around the island where many  stop for a picnic or party. There is a second swimming area called “The Bar”, where boats are anchored while children and adults jump overboard and enjoy cooling off in the fresh water lake.

Water skiing is another popular summer time activity. One young man didn’t quite make the attempted turn and landed in the lake. When he climbed back on the boat, he was alarmed to find a blue gill in his swimming trunks. His friends won’t let him forget that story.

Seneca Lake, the third largest inland lake in Ohio, is definitely a Gem in the Appalchian area.

Seneca Lake Park is located approximately thirteen miles south of Cambridge off I-70. Take exit  #37 to Buffalo and Senecaville and proceed straight ahead at the four way stop in Senecaville. The main entrance to the park it just a few miles down the road on the right hand side. Watch for signs!

The Old Mansion House Museum at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park

The Mansion House at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant, WV

The Mansion House at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant, WV

A promise of “I will build you a mansion” resulted in the construction of this Mansion House at Point Pleasant, WV at the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. Back in1796,  Walter Newman built this log-hewn house – the first in the Kanawha Valley – so his wife would have a beautiful Mansion House when she arrived in Virginia.

While he waited for the arrival of his wife, the house was used as a tavern and also had rooms for weary travelers.  The cost for a room per night was fifty cents, which most considered highway robbery.

As you enter through the back door of the house, the gift shop and information center are right inside the door. There are helpful people inside to tell you information regarding the house and the people who used to live there.

Square Grant Piano

Square Grant Piano

Don’t let the appearance of the house fool you. Inside there are more floors and rooms than you might imagine. Four levels in all are present in this old house: basement, first floor, second floor, and attic. The side of the house where the gift shop is located was the original tavern.   As you go up a few stairs and down a few more, you arrive at the side where the family lived. This has been restored to its original nature with colonial and early American furnishings. Included in the parlor is a square baby grand piano, which was one of the cherished treasures early Americans brought over the Alleghenies. It seems likely that Walter Newman thought this was a necessity for his wife’s mansion.

Parlor where Daughters of American Revolution meet today

Parlor where Daughters of American Revolution meet today

Their former sitting room is today the place where the regular meetings of the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are held. Colonel Charles Lewis and his brother,General Andrew Lewis, were both heroes of that long ago battle of Point Pleasant. In 1901 a branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution restored the house to its original style with the assistance of the citizens of Point Pleasant. Their goal was to preserve the way of life that was prevalent in the 1790’s on the Ohio and Grand Kanawha Rivers.  Today this Old Mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Basement kitchen at The Mansion House

Basement kitchen at The Mansion House

Heading to the basement, you discover the kitchen! In high-status families, food was often prepared in the lowly kitchen, often located in the basement of the house. The fireplace for the kitchen located at this low level, most likely kept the rest of the house warm during the winter. A handmade braided rug rests in front of the fireplace with kitchen pans and tools hung nearby. The wooden rocking chair was placed near enough to gather warmth from the fire, and would have been used by visitors or the man of the house, as the women didn’t have much time to sit and rock. Then the food would be carried up to the first floor to be served in a more dignified room.

Four-poster bed over 150 years old

Four-poster bed over 150 years old

On the second floor were several bedrooms, probably those earlier used as the rooms rented to travelers, and later used by the family.  Here were small rooms for the children as well as a beautiful four poster bed, which is over 150 years old. An old-fashioned spinning wheel is displayed near the window.

Still going upward on even narrower steps now, you arrive at the attic where there is a large display of Indian artifacts, books and clothes from that era, plus other interesting objects. It is definitely worth the climb!

Today the Mansion House remains along the Ohio River as part of the Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. Daughters of the American Revolution are frequently on hand in colonial dress to give informative tours.

Mothman Hug

Mothman Hug

While in Point Pleasant, don’t forget to visit some of the area’s other interesting places. This is the place of the famous Silver Bridge Collapse in 1967. You will find a monument marking the spot of the original bridge as you walk the artistic Riverwalk with floodwalls painted with scenes of Point Pleasant history. Don’t forget to visit the Mothman statue and the Mothman Museum to learn more of the unusual and unexplained happenings in this town years ago.  You might even get a hug from the Mothman himself.

The Mansion House is located at Tu-Endie-Wie State Park in Point Pleasant, WV at the end of Main Street where the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers meet. The Mansion House Museum is opened May through October. Hours are Mon-Sat. 10:00-4:30, and Sun. 1:00-4:30. There is no cost, but donations are accepted.

Mammoth Mound Mysteries Grave Creek Mound Complex

Mammoth Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, WV

Mammoth Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, WV

Step back in time, way back in time, to 200 BC.  Buried beneath the surface of this gigantic mound in Moundsville, West Virginia are ancient treasures from two thousand years ago.

Driving past this 62′ high mound, many people possibly see it merely as a big pile of dirt. But when you explore inside the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex located beside it, you discover surprises regarding this unusual structure in Moundsville near the Ohio River. For many it will get their mental wheels turning as they want to search for more information.

To get a better picture of the area in your mind, Grave Creek Mound, the largest conical mound in the United States, is 62′ high with a base of 240′ and was surrounded with a moat, which has since been filled in. There was only one way across the moat – an earthen path. This was part of a much larger ceremonial area, which seemed to begin at the Ohio River.

The mound was built over a period of 200 years with burial vaults at different layers.

The mound was built over a period of 200 years with burial vaults at different layers.

This Adena burial mound required a lot of work to move 60,000 Tons of earth to form this mound over a period of years.  Included are multiple burials at different levels from 250 – 150 BC. It appears to have been build in stages with most of the burials being by cremation.

Since it seems that people arrived on the Ohio River, there was what many called a Sacred Way leading from the river to The Mound. But the Way didn’t stop there, as it turned at right angles to an octagon shape, which is no longer in existence. This Sacred Way was actually paved back 2000 years ago…with mussel shells. How do we know this? When ground was moved for building the homes and stores in Moundsville, layers of mussel shells several inches thick were found along The Sacred Way. Hopefully, you are beginning to form a picture of what could have been.

Display at Grave Creek Mound of objects found during an early dig at the mound.

Display at Grave Creek Mound of objects found during an early dig at the mound.

Back in 1838, some curious amateurs decided to do a little exploring of their own and began digging into The Mound with gusto through two shafts, one horizontal and one vertical. Their discoveries were surprising, but they had little idea of how much historic information they had really pulled from the ground. A burial vault made of logs and smooth stones from the river was found in the center near ground level. It contained two skeletons with tools, beads, pipes and ornaments indicating these were important people in their culture.

A most amazing skeleton, which they named Tasach for reasons to be given later, appeared at the bottom layer of the earthen mound.  The items found either on his body or with his body were quite astonishing. Around its 7’2″ frame were pieces of sea shells- some scattered and others formed into beads. On the wrist were seven copper bracelets and around the waist was a band of small mica squares. What do all of these pieces mean?

Replica of Grave Creek Tablet

Replica of Grave Creek Tablet

To add to the mystery, near the second, smaller skeleton was a small, flat sandstone tablet with three lines of symbols indicating a form of communication during that long ago time. This has become known as the Grave Creek Tablet and one of many interpretations, but the one that seems likely in my mind reads:

“The mound raised on high for Tasach. This tile his queen caused to be made.”

My first thought was that perhaps Tasach was a leader of an ancient tribe.  Since copper and mica both resonate with healing qualities, perhaps he was considered a shaman. He may have appeared at the octagon shaped structure and greeted visitors, who came by boat on the Ohio River then walked the Sacred Way through the Mound and to the octagon.  It would seem this was perhaps a spiritual ceremony of some nature by people over 2000 years ago.  Remarkable! But that was just my interpretation. Wonder what ideas you might have?

Shortly after that early  excavation, in 1843 local enthusiasts decided to use the two excavation shafts into The Mound as a museum. In the horizontal bricked shaft was an underground exhibit of the skeleton discovered with his buried treasures as well as an early gift shop. Inside the vertical shaft, a spiral staircase was built to allow visitors a way to the top of the mound where a three-story observatory was constructed. The museum was short-lived as the walls came tumbling inward, but a second stone museum was built on the south side of the mound in 1941 with many of the items available for sale having been made by the prisoners at the penitentiary across the street.

Replica of Pre-Indian skull found in 1838 excavation

Replica of Pre-Indian skull found in 1838 excavation

Today’s modern museum is housed in the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex, which shares many of the mysteries of The Mound with visitors through exhibits and video presentations. It opens the mind to exploring the wonders of time before the Native American Indians. These early visitors on our lands had far reaching commerce as items were from all over the country and the world. Their architectural skills were amazing and nearly all of their structures were perfectly aligned mathematically with the sun , the moon, and the stars.

Where did these people come from?  Where did they go? The mysteries continue.

The Mound is located in Moundsville, West Virginia. Just ten miles south of Wheeling along the east bank of the beautiful Ohio River. From Wheeling, follow Route 2 into Moundsville. Turn left on 8th Street and after two blocks turn right onto Jefferson Ave. The mound is too large to miss!

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