Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for August, 2015

Happy Trails Lead to Roy Rogers Festival

Every August western fans hit the trail to Portsmouth, Ohio to honor an old favorite, Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, and his wife, Dale Evans, Queen of the West. 2015 made the 32nd year the Roy Rogers Festival has been held there.

Roy and Dale's youngest daughter, Dodie, and her husband, John Patterson.

Roy and Dale’s youngest daughter, Dodie, and her husband, Jon Patterson.

Meeting Dodie Rogers Patterson, the daughter of Roy Rogers, had to be a highlight of the day for many. Her husband, Jon, provided entertainment as well. Dodie is the youngest of Roy and Dale’s nine multi-cultural children. She is of the Choctaw tribe, which also ran in Roy’s blood.

It was a pleasant surprise to find hometown dealer, Dave Scott, with Roy Rogers memorabilia.

It was a pleasant surprise to find hometown dealer, Dave Scott, with Roy memorabilia.

Activities centered around the dealers’ room where items could be viewed and purchased from many sellers. In the afternoon, there was a question and answer session with the stars that provided an inside look at their lives and what they had overcome. Being a star is not always as glamorous as it may seem.

Steve Connors, son o Chuck Connors from the Rifleman, certainly had the image of his father.

Steve Connors, son o Chuck Connors from the Rifleman, certainly had the image of his father.

Many stars were in attendance, and several of them had also been at a recent Hopalong Cassidy Festival. Fuzzy took a fall but came back stronger than he was before.  Steve Connors, son of Chuck Connors, who was The Rifleman and Johnny Crawford, who also starred in that show as a young lad, both had a great sense of humor.

Roy Rogers home on Duck Creek near Portsmouth.

Roy Rogers home on Duck Creek near Portsmouth.

The boyhood home of Roy Rogers was located at Duck Creek about twelve miles from Portsmouth. There is an Ohio Historical Marker at his home as well as a marble marker. Roy lived here until he was a teenager at which time they moved to California.

Roy Rogers painting on the Portsmouth Flood Wall.

Roy Rogers painting on the Portsmouth Flood Wall.

The Portsmouth Floodwall by Robert Dafford  contains 2,200 feet of artwork, the largest by any single artist. This mural along the Ohio River displays a 160′ section called “King of the Cowboys”, dedicated to Roy Rogers, a legend in his time.

Roy and Dale were the most loved western couple of all time and were proud of the US flag and our country. As Roy and Dale would sing, “Happy trails to you, ’til we meet again.”

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Newark Earthworks Connection to Ancient Civilizations

An eight foot wall and 5 foot deep ditch created the Great Circle.

An eight foot wall and 5 foot deep ditch surround the Great Circle.

“Walk with me. We lived here long ago. Large ceremonies with many people were held here.” This was the feeling that permeated the atmosphere while walking over and around the large mounds called Newark Earthworks built by the Hopewell culture at Newark, Ohio. There are three sections to these earthworks: The Great Circle, The Octagon, and The Wright Earthworks, which were not visited on this road trip.

Surrounded by fields of wild strawberries and gigantic trees, these mounds take your mind and spirit back many years to somewhere between 100 BC and 500 AD. The Great Circle, representing the circle of life, is located in Heath and has eight foot high walls, which surround a five feet deep moat. In the center of the Great Circle are some smaller mounds, one called the Eagle Mound, which covers the remains of an old ceremonial longhouse of the Hopewells.

The only known artifact could have been the form of a shaman.

An ancient artifact from these mounds could have been the form of a shaman.

An ancient artifact that is known to have come from these mounds is a small stone sculpture. No one is certain whether it is a person, who was a hero in one of their stories, or perhaps a spiritual being. Some even think it could be a shaman wearing bear regalia. Many, however, also believe the Holy Stones were truly from the mound as well, while some feel they are not authentic. These Holy Stones can be viewed in Coshocton at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.

During the 1850s, the Great Circle provided a home for the Licking County Fairgrounds. Later use varied from horse racing track to military drill field. The Ohio National Guard has held encampments at this location.

Mound opening leads to the informative Welcome Center.

Mound opening leads to the informative Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center contains an excellent interactive video that takes you on an exploration of the largest geometric earthworks in the world from the comfort of an air-conditioned area. Guides there provide answers to most of your questions as they are very well informed.

Archaeological surveys report that the Newark Earthworks were connected to the Hopewell Culture Historical National Park in Chillicothe, Ohio by a hand built road. The road was sixty miles long and ten feet wide and paved with crushed shells. Called the Great Hopewell Road, today hiking groups still walk that pathway every year.

Moundbuilders Country Club leases the Octagon Mound.

Moundbuilders Country Club leases the Octagon Mound.

On to the Octagon Earthworks! Something seems amiss here as these are located on a golf course, or a golf course is located on them. Yes, signs guide you to the Moundbuilders Country Club, where visitors are not permitted on the mounds as they might interrupt someone’s golf game. There is an observation platform so you can see the general outline of the mounds, but walking must follow a strict schedule around golf events. The Country Club keeps the Octagon beautifully maintained and provides time each year, for those interested, to actually walk where the ancients walked.

These are by no means small formations as the Great Circle contains 40 acres, while the Octagon surrounds 80. The video at the Welcome Center proclaimed the Newark Mounds as the largest geometric complex in the world…four square miles total.

Octagon Mound can be seen from the Observation Deck.

Octagon Mound. part of the golf course, can be seen from the Observation Deck.

However, just standing at their edge gave a feeling of connection to those ancient people. Researchers believe the earthworks were used for ancient burial places, ceremonies and astronomical viewings, especially the lunar solstices.

Many of the mounds at this complex have been destroyed as it lies within the cities of Newark and Heath. Over the years farming, construction of roads, and development of the city, have changed the face of the earth. But parts of the original complex are being preserved by the Ohio Historical Society with help from Moundbuilders Country Club.

There are usually about three or four days a year that you can freely walk these historic mounds without playing a round of golf. Make plans to visit during the Octagon Mound’s next Open House, which is October 11, 2015. You will enjoy the connection!

Newark Mound Earthworks can be found just off I-70 east of Columbus, Ohio at Exit 129. Take Route 79 to Health to stop first at the Welcome Center at 455 Hebron Road, Heath.

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Beautiful Flower Gardens Found in Lore City, Ohio

A  beautiful flower garden reflects the caring of its owners.

A beautiful flower garden reflects the caring of its owners.

Sometimes we overlook the beauty in our small towns. On a recent walk through Lore City, the beauty of their flowers caught my eye. Several people throughout the town must spend the entire summer in their beds…flower beds, that is.

Recent rains have made a lush covering of flowers this year, but that makes weeding more difficult and time consuming as well. These flower beds were cared for out of pure love for flowers.

People still enjoy gardens for fresh vegetables.

People still enjoy gardens for fresh vegetables.

During a time when many people have given up gardening, this is not the case in Lore City. Here gardens thrive and townfolk are quite proud of their fresh vegetables. Gardens brimming with vegetables and flowers provide a popular mix throughout the town.

Beautiful flowers brighten this country home.

Beautiful flowers brighten this country home.

On a back country lane, one home stands out above the rest. This land previously was home to the now abandoned coalmining town of Goodyear. Back in its heyday, twenty-seven homes stood along this now rutted lane with grass growing down the middle. On a bank above the home is the place where the railroad track previously took coal from the coal mine.

This old hand pump was used when Goodyear was an active coal mining town.

This old hand pump was used when Goodyear was an active coal mining town.

Along the way, you even find a remaining handle pump that was used during the time that Goodyear prospered. One water pump would be used for two homes. It still works today!

Flowers line the steps to the old coal mining road.

Flowers line the steps to the old coal mining road.

When the flowers get overcrowded in their beds, rather than destroy them, some folks have attempted to plant them on the hillsides. A clump of day lilies or coneflowers give added color to the slopes.

Sunflowers were beginning to bloom.

Ten foot tall Sunflowers were beginning to bloom.

Even the backyards are filled with flowers. One last stop for the day led to discovery of beautiful sunflowers over ten feet high. Now, over the years sunflower seeds have been planted at my house, but no plants have ever grown. Oh, to have beautiful sunflowers like these.

Beautiful flowers and stones surround a small pond in a neighbor's yard.

Beautiful flowers and stones surround a small koi pond in a neighbor’s yard.

Then, as I drove out of town, a lady was working in her beautiful flower garden with a small koi pond. The care these people give their gardens is amazing. As they pull weeds and pinch blossoms, their mind is filled with nature and the problems of the world are temporarily forgotten.

Every small town has its beauty, if we have eyes to see.

Lore City is located in southeastern Guernsey County on OH-285 about ten minutes from Cambridge in the rolling hills of beautiful Ohio.

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