Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for January, 2014

Cambridge Ohio Union Depot – Then and Now

Early Cambridge Union Staton - 1907

Early Cambridge Union Staton – 1907

Long ago the railroad station at Cambridge, Ohio was a hub of activity. Originally, the Baltimore & Ohio Depot was located on the first floor of the Depot Hotel at 444 Wheeling Avenue. However, the most recent railroad station, Cambridge Union Station, was built by the B & O and Pennsylvania Railroads in 1907. According to local train historian, Dave Adair, this special railroad station had an identical twin built by B&O Railroad at Washington, Indiana. Today Cambridge Union Station remains along the tracks, but stops are no longer made there…only memories remain.

Deliveries of mail and goods were made at the train depot around the clock for fifty-four years. Mail was placed in a mail cart, then pulled by mule up the hill to the post office, which was then located where Pavlov’s Music is today. Orders placed at Sears or Montgomery Ward were usually delivered the next day, and often residents would eagerly wait by the tracks for their arrival. For those who could not meet the train, delivery services, like those run by Billy Singer, met the train daily for home deliveries.

Imagine the thrill of a memorable school field trip on the train. Such was the case with first grade students from Glass Plant School, who enjoyed riding the rails to New Concord. There they visited the home of their teacher, Miss Daniels, enjoying milk and cookies along with a view of her flower garden. Before the return trip to school, a walking tour of Muskingum College campus impressed the youngsters.

Memorial Plaque at Cambridge Union Depot

Memorial Plaque at Cambridge Union Depot

My family would drive to town in their pick-up truck to get cardboard cartons of baby chicks that arrived on the train. Mom always went along to stop at Thompson Feed Mill for feed for the chickens. She wanted to be sure to get feed sacks that would match the ones she was using to make some kitchen curtains or pillowcases.

Those were the days when people used the train instead of an automobile for trips to far off Zanesville and even Columbus. A friend recalled  the thrill of riding the rails to Zanesville to visit her eye doctor. Another remembered trips to Lazarus in Columbus via the train as a family adventure.

Dad often talked of hopping on the train to Chicago. Back in 1958, the cost of a one way ticket was $19.85, which included an overnight Pullman car. Have to wonder if in his younger days, Dad rode in the Pullman or perhaps in a boxcar?

While the tracks are still active today, no stops are made at the lonesome depot. Outside the depot stands a memorial placed there in 1926 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to remind visitors of the beginnings of Cambridge. In the earliest times, crossing of Wills Creek was made by ferry, the first real business in Cambridge. Nearby, Ezra Graham established Ferry Cabin, the first house built in Cambridge back in 1798.

Double Covered Bridge over Wills Creek

Postcard view of Double Covered Bridge over Wills Creek

Crossing Wills Creek near the station, was the original Double Covered Bridge that carried people and animals down the Old National Trail from 1828-1913. That early bridge was somewhat dangerous to cross as the timbers often were displaced by floods, causing the bridge to frequently lean. Cost to cross the bridge was twelve cents. Soon nearby, a tavern and hotel were built and Cambridge got its beginnings.

Cambridge Union Station - 2014

Cambridge Union Station – 2014

Union Station is still a great place to visit and feel the old memories that live there. Once in a while a train passes by so you might get a friendly wave from the engineer. As you stroll around the depot, notice the viaduct where that double covered bridge used to cross. Let your eyes wander to Wills Creek and imagine a steamboat going down those waters. Life then was certainly different than what we experience now.

Cambridge Union Station is located in Cambridge, Ohio just off Route 40, the Old National Road. It sets on the west side of the present viaduct near the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 4th Street. Since it is right along the railroad tracks, you can’t miss it!

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Aloha from Alluring Maui

Hawaiian hula dancers welcome visitors to Maui.

Hawaiian hula dancers welcome visitors to Maui.

Brrr! The weather in Ohio has been bitter cold this January, so thoughts drifted to Hawaii and sunny beaches. Perhaps you might enjoy a little tropical scenery as well. While this trip was taken several years ago, the memories are still alive through pictures and journals.

The second largest Hawaiian island, Maui, often boasts the name “The Valley Isle” due to its beautiful, never-ending, scenic views. According to legend, it received its name from Polynesian navigator, Hawai’iloa, who named the island for his son, Maui, who had in turn received his name from the demigod, Maui.

Coconut Trees close by

Coconut Trees were a special treat.

Volcanic activity is no secret in the Hawaiian Islands, and here on Maui stands one of the world’s tallest mountains. Maui’s youngest and tallest volcano, Haleakala, measures five miles from sea floor to summit. Never fear, the last eruption happened back in 1790…but, you never know, perhaps it will blow its top again sometime soon.

Three roads will take you around the island: Route 30, The Road to Hana, and Pilani Highway. Before you head off on an island adventure, be certain your gas tank is filled as gas stations are few and far between. At the lone station in Hana, gas prices are about a quarter higher per gallon than any other place on the island. At today’s prices, that would mean $4.26 and up per gallon.

Lava fields appeared around every corner; however, there was also a great deal of agricultural activity on the island. Workers could be seen placing drain pipes in fields to be planted with sugar cane. Pineapple fields extended from roadway to ocean and the plants were just beginning to produce that delectable fruit. Surprisingly, even large herds of cattle were seen on a ranch approaching the city of Hana.

The Road to Hana

The narrow Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of the most scenic highways in the United States. Locals will insist that you need them to drive you over this narrow, twisting highway. But they have never been on the roads of southeastern Ohio, so it wasn’t an impossible task for this gypsy. All that was needed was a slow speed for the hundreds of hair-pin turns, and patience with other drivers. Average speed for most drivers is 15 mph on The Road to Hana, even though the posted speed limit is 20 mph. One of the main problems stems from tourists wanting to stop, soak in the tropical scenery and take pictures. Traffic congestion sometimes results, as the road isn’t very wide!

Waikani Falls

Waikani Falls

But who can resist stopping to observe the surrounding beauties of Maui? On the inland side, it’s only natural to stop at the many waterfalls along the way. Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls, is the tallest falls on Maui. Here 400′ of water slide over sheer lava rock walls to present a shimmering image.

The cascading waterfalls leading to Seven Sacred Pools were definitely a favorite spot to relax. It’s proper name is Ohe’o Gulch, one of the most popular stops on the Road to Hana. Climbing here was a cautious affair, but worth the challenge in order to swim in the pools.

Falls at Seven Sacred Pools

Falls at Seven Sacred Pools

Seven Sacred Pools lead to the Black Sand Beach

Seven Sacred Pools lead to the Black Sand Beach

While along the coast, the Black Sand Beach entices visitors to take off their shoes and attempt to walk on the tiny black lava pebbles, which are actually volcanic rock pulverized by the ocean waves.  But near Hana, you will also find the secluded Red Sand Beach made from a collapsed volcanic cinder cone. Here you will want to wear some sturdy shoes as the red cinders are rough to the touch.

Visiting Maui brings lots of pleasure. Before leaving, pack up your pictures and memories so your thoughts can return again and again. You might even bring home a tee shirt that says “I Survived the Road to Hana”. Aloha!

Travel between islands on Hawaii usually involves a small plane or boat. Once on the islands you can rent a car to travel at your leisure. If your stay is a short one, perhaps you would rather take a shuttle, tour bus, taxi, or public transportation. Any way of travel is sure to bring an enjoyable experience.

The Train to Nowhere

The Train to Nowhere

The Train to Nowhere

A beautiful diesel-electric locomotive awaits on the tracks in the small town of Byesville, Ohio. At this point in time, it is called “The Train to Nowhere”, as it remains in place unable to move down the Byesville Scenic Railway due to circumstances beyond their control. But that doesn’t mean the spirit of the railroad isn’t alive here! It continues with a program called “The Coal Miners’ Story.”

Bronze Coal Miner Statue

Bronze Ohio Coal Miner Statue

As soon as you pull into the parking lot, the bronze coal miner statue catches your eye. The Ohio Coal Miner was sculpted by Alan Cottrill at Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery in Zanesville, Ohio, and dedicated in September of 2012. This statue is a tribute to miners and their families in Ohio, as well as across the entire nation. The miner’s brass tag reads 382, the number of coal miners who lost their lives in the deep mines of Guernsey County over the mines’ sixty active years. During the past few years, all contributions given to the Byesville Scenic Railway during their train rides were dedicated to building this memorial statue, which actually cost nearly $40,000 to reach completion.

A portion of the plaque in front of the statue states: May your personal sufferings, sacrifices and the hardships endured by your families, never be forgotten nor taken for granted.

Sadly, the train is not able to chug down the track these days due to some issues over insurance and track ownership, but the volunteers at Byesville Scenic Railway are still sharing a unique presentation of life during the days when coal mines were booming in the early 1900’s. At that time, Byesville had 77 mines, and was considered to be “The Coal Mining Capital of Southeastern Ohio”.

Visitors are invited to take a seat on “The Train to Nowhere”, where they are given information regarding the 1917 train cars and the diesel locomotive. Back in the coal mining heyday, the train ran from Cleveland to Marietta delivering coal from Guernsey County mines. The Byesville Scenic Railway volunteers are optomistic that the train will be running again a few years down the track.

Dave Adair tells coal miners' stories.

Dave Adair tells coal miners’ stories.

In their “old greasy mechanic garage” – sometimes used as a movie theater room, the volunteers have constructed a makeshift mine of black plastic walls. It is here in Entry 7 South that a living history of a local coal miner is portrayed by volunteer, Dave Adair. He describes the harsh life of a miner as well as the poor home conditions. Beans and cabbage were two frequent items on their supper menu, with meat seldom being a part of their food supply. According to Miner Dave, “All were poor but no one realized it because all were the same.”

"I owe my soul to the Company Store."

“I owe my soul to the Company Store.”

Miners were very superstitious and often carried lucky pieces in their pockets. Over the entrance to the mine, a horseshoe was often placed. It had to be placed with the open side up so the luck wouldn’t run out with 100,000 ton of rock above their heads.

Treasures for families of coal miners and train enthusiasts can be found in the Company Store. A variety of gifts for young and old alike range from engineer hats and handkerchiefs to mugs and wine glasses. You won’t want to go home without a memory of those hard working miners.

Steve Stolarik explains Mineres Museum.

Steve Stolarik explains Miners’ Museum.

The Miners’ Museum has been developed in more recent years for the education of the general public. It contains a collection of original coal mining equipment used in the local mines. On the wall are displayed the various bits used to drill into the coal face to insert a stick of dynamite, which the miners had to buy themselves from the company store. Steve Stolarik was on hand to explain how the bits and lanterns functioned when the miners were deep in the mines. Included for display are numerous pictures of the old Guernsey County Coal Mines.

Keep your eye on the track to see when the “Train to Nowhere” will again be on the move. In the meantime, visit the website of Byesville Scenic Railway to see their scheduled events. Local train enthusiasts are singing hopefully, “I hear that train a comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend.” 

Byesville Scenic Railway is located in Byesville, Ohio just off I-77 (Exit 41) south of Cambridge. Turn toward Main Street of Byesville, then left at the traffic light.  The train depot is one block on the right. Free parking is available along Second Street and Seneca Avenue. 

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