Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for August, 2019

Historic Roscoe Village – America’s Canal Town

We Bring History to Life

Roscoe Visitor Center

Roscoe Village Visitors Center is the perfect place to begin your tour.

Welcome to yesterday! Life 200 years ago was quite different from what we experience today. While we can’t turn the clocks back to that era, we can visit Roscoe Village in Coshocton to catch a glimpse of life on the Ohio and Erie Canal during that time.

Roscoe Oldest House

Weaver Daniel Boyd, his wife, and four children lived in the oldest house in the village from 1825-1835.

   Back in 1816, James Calder laid out the port town that was to become Roscoe. He followed a hunch that farmers would rather do business at Calder’s General Store along the Muskingum River than pay twenty-five cents to take the ferryboat to Coshocton.

   He named the town Caldersburgh, but it was later renamed Roscoe, in honor of William Roscoe, an English historian and leading abolitionist. Roscoe never visited America and probably never knew he had a town named after him.

Roscoe Ohio Erie Canal

Enjoy a smooth horse-drawn canal boat ride on the Ohio-Erie Canal.

   When the Ohio and Erie Canal was constructed in the 1820s, business in the village expanded and the golden age of Roscoe began. The first canal boat, the Monticello, landed at Roscoe on August 21, 1830. Roscoe was one of the largest wheat ports along the 350-mile canal that went from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

Roscoe weaver

Rami demonstrated weaving techniques on her 200- year-old American Barn Loom.

   Roscoe thrived until the 1860s when the canals gave way to railroads. The canal boats continued to operate on a smaller scale until the disastrous flood of 1913, which swept away the port of Roscoe.

Roscoe One Room School

Natalie, the schoolmarm, told about teaching in a one-room school.

   Today the restored Roscoe Village is a reminder of Ohio’s canal era thanks to the dedication of prominent Coshocton industrialist, Edward Montgomery and his wife, Frances. A painting, “Canal Days”, which depicts the Roscoe area and can still be seen in the Chase Bank building at 120 S. Fourth Street, captured the imagination of the Montgomerys.

Roscoe Toll House

The Toll House is the restored home of James Welsh, toll collector on the canal.

   Their role began back in 1961 when they purchased the 1840 Toll House and decided to create “a living museum” on the banks of the Muskingum River. They endeavored to revive, restore and reclaim the then-burgeoning port town to a time when the Ohio and Erie Canal bustled with boats and barges.

Roscoe Dr. Dee

Dr. Dee in Dr. Johnson’s Office explained the tonsil guillotine.

   When you visit Roscoe Village today, you can stroll through the gardens, visit their many historic buildings, and take a horse-drawn canal boat ride on a portion of that old Ohio and Erie Canal. You’ll feel like you’re living a chapter of American history.

Roscoe Hotel

The Roscoe Hotel was a canal era hotel used as a stagecoach stop.

   Begin your tour at the Visitors’ Center where you can view a film, “Ditches of Destiny”, which describes those early days on the Ohio and Erie Canal. Then take a self-guided tour of the village to see costumed interpreters in historic buildings describing what life was like in those old canal days. Stop at the restored 19th-century buildings, which house The Famous Shops of Roscoe Village. Most businesses are open seven days a week throughout the year.

Roscoe Johnson Humrickhouse Museum

Learn more local history at the Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum. Yes, that’s Bigfoot in the shadows.

   Don’t forget to visit the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum where you will learn interesting facts about Ohio history. Here displays tell you stories of the American Indians, Ohio artifacts, and Decorative Arts. There’s also a wonderful collection of East Asian artifacts that were collected by the owner.

Roscoe Blacksmith

Carl, the village smithy, made leaf hooks as a blacksmith demonstration.

   Stroll through the Gardens that Frances Montgomery lovingly left for visitors to enjoy. Meander down its paths to see the beautiful blossoms and herbs that have been popular for ages. Beauty blooms in the gardens every season of the year.

   A ride down the Ohio and Erie Canal is the smoothest ride you can imagine drawn by two strong horses on the towpath. You’ll hear stories of how people traveled the canal in those early days. Some are quite unusual and exciting.

Roscoe Doctor's house and office

Stroll the streets of this quiet village any time of the year.

   Stop by Roscoe Village this summer and join in their 45th Anniversary. We need to remember the history of our area and how those early settlers developed a foundation for the world we live in today.

   Perhaps Captain P. R. Nye, who operated a canal boat at Roscoe’s Lock Twenty-Seven, says it best: “The Silver Ribbon – the Ohio Canal – was the best of life a man ever had.”

Historic Roscoe Village is located at 600 N Whitewoman Street in Coshocton, Ohio. From I-77, take exit 65, which is US-36 W. Follow 35 West to Whitewoman Street approximately 18 miles. It will be on the right-hand side of the road.

Vintage Voices Ring Out in Licking County

VV Group

The Vintage Voices performed recently at Kendal in Granville.

When people join in song, their hearts and voices verify they love music. In Licking County, those who love to sing join together in a group called Vintage Voices. This mixed chorus of approximately 70 members has a special characteristic that makes them unique.

     To participate you have to have a ‘vintage voice’ – one that is at least 50 years old. They have a great sense of humor and all will tell you they are “older than dirt”. Voices from all over central Ohio join in song.

Teddy (2)

Teddy Westlake

   The group began twenty years ago in 1999 under the direction of Teddy Westlake, who loved music. Those in the group liked her methods as she let them use music so they didn’t have to memorize every song. Her plan was to sing a wide variety of types of music.

Helen Addis

An old friend from 4-H days, Helen Combs Addis, invited me to hear their chorus.

   At a recent performance at the retirement community of Kendal at Granville, the room was filled with an eager audience to listen to their rousing performance. Each season they do a concert at Kendal as well as SharonBrooke, and Chapel Grove. Teddy now lives at this retirement community, so she was an additional reason for their performance.

   When directing, Teddy said she always danced a little jig to keep time with the music. Today she is in her 90s and still danced in the audience when the group was singing. Her feet were moving as well as her body. The evening with old friends brought a smile to her face.

VV Rosemary

Rosemary Hoyt was warmly welcomed to return to the chorus for the evening.

   Another one of their members, Rosemary Hoyt, had a stroke two weeks ago and is staying at Kendal now also. It warmed my heart to see how caring they were to this member. One of the ladies took off her scarf and put it around Rosemary’s neck. Then they brought her upfront in her wheelchair at the edge of the group and let her be part of the choir for the evening. How special!

VV Chuck

Chuck makes the evening enjoyable for everyone from chorus members to the audience.

   Chuck Beck serves as their new director and knows how to make everyone feel welcome. It’s a special group where you can see the caring they have for each other. After twenty years together, they have become a second family.

VV Pianist Marcia

Marcia Brannon has been their accompanist from the beginning.

   Marcia Brannon, the pianist, has been with them from the beginning. Teddy said that Marcia plays so well that she could have been a concert pianist. Sometimes they add percussion, violinists, flutists, or whatever background music is needed.

   The evening’s program contained songs about our freedom – something we cherish. Rivers have always had a great impact on spiritual growth so the song “River of Freedom” was the perfect way to begin the evening.

   River songs continued with “Beautiful Ohio”, which fifty years ago became our state song. “Jordan River” symbolized life in this world moving on to a better place.

USA Flag

   Patriotic songs recognized all branches of the service that were present by having members stand.  The show concluded with “God Bless America”, a favorite of many.

   This evening was a celebration of their 20th Anniversary of entertaining and inspiring audiences all over Licking County. May they continue to bless others with their messages in song.

Vintage Voices is always looking for new members who love to sing in Central Ohio. No auditions are required, just a love of music and a willingness to practice weekly to attain the best vocal performance possible. For more information, contact Chuck Beck (cbeck83@columbus.rr.com).

Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival Celebrates 50 Years – August 9-11, 2019

50th LogoArtists, Entertainers, and lovers of the arts have been attending the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival for 50 years. It’s come a long way from that preliminary festival, which was held on the courthouse lawn.

Musical Group R

Entertainment at that first festival was provided by “The Group” with Mike McWilliams, front, Don Mercer, Mike Kennedy, Mike McVicker, and Dale Brenning.

   The one-day downtown Salt Fork Arts Festival was sponsored by the Greater Cambridge Arts Council with Dr. Milton Thompson the president and Don Mercer serving as coordinator. Its goal was to promote all the arts including acting, music, literature, and art. The Best of Show that year went to Nancy Lewis of New Concord for a still life. The evening was spent dancing in the First National Bank parking lot.

Sue Dodd R

Sue Dodd demonstrated her painting skills under a tree at the park at an early festival.

   August 14-17, 1969, the festival moved to the Cambridge City Park as a four-day event. It was advertised as the First Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. That year the newspaper stated there were four tents and 65 artists. Entertainment varied from YMCA Gymnasts and Bexley Puppet Theater to Cambridge Barbershoppers and Sweet Adelines.

Jack Taylor saying thanks R

Jack Taylor says thanks to Bob Amos, Lois Craig and Art Marr who had major roles in that first Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Arthur Marr served as chairman of that first official festival with assistance from Bob and Hannah Amos and Mrs. Lois Craig. Mrs. Claude Nickerson and her committee were in charge of the artists while Bill Coffey handled the performing arts. The Cambridge CB React Club took charge of parking and patrolling. Pavlov Music provided background organ and piano music and Scott Funeral Home provided seating. It was a real community effort.

SFF Fences

In the early years, paintings were displayed on snow fences.

   The Cambridge National Honor Society and members of the Key Club helped by setting up chairs, tables and snow fences. In those early festival days, pictures by artists and student artists were hung on snow fences for display. Young artists have always been a popular and important feature of the festival.

SFF Laura and Rodgers

Pictured at a reception at the Lekorenos home are Shannon Rodgers, Laura Bates (wearing a Rodgers/Silverman dress creation) and Jerry Silverman. Photo by George Lekorenos.

   It was in 1969 that Newcomerstown native, Shannon Rodgers, renowned dress designer for Hollywood stars, gave a donation to the festival and in 1971 began sponsoring the Shannon Rodgers Award. This award was open to all artists at the festival and was voted on by the public. When this endowment ended, the award became the People’s Choice Award.

Mary Beam

Mary Beam painted a picture of the courthouse from her front porch.

   Craftsmen demonstrating their crafts at those early festivals included basket weavers, blacksmiths, ceramic artists, woodcarvers, ironworkers, gem cutters, leather workers and many more. This was to be only the beginning of many years of outstanding juried art at the festival with only hand-made pieces of art being accepted.

SFF Paula Burlingame, Sandy Carle and Bonnie Perkins - Children's Art Fair

Paula Burlingame, Sandy Carle, and Bonnie Perkins make plans for the Children’s Art Fair.

   Crafts were a popular addition at those early festivals as well. In 1971, classes in macrame, woodcarving, leaded glass and apple dolls were popular. Adults enjoyed making quilted potholders and stained glass hangings. Everyone felt a sense of accomplishment.

Lekorenos-4X5

Marie Lekorenos, local artist and passionate supporter, kept scrapbooks of those first festivals. Those scrapbooks supplied most of the information in this article.

   In those early years, the Pilot Club, an international service club of women, served as volunteers to give artisans a break while selling their wares. Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary provided refreshments on the midway selling hot dogs, ice cream, sno-cones, and cotton candy. Church groups, YMCA, and the hospital auxiliary had food stands available in the big pavilion for hungry visitors.

SFF Dick SImcox Big Band 1980

The Dick Simcox Big Band appeared several years at the festival.

   Entertainment included many musical groups as well as a performing arts group from Salt Fork Barn Theatre performing excerpts from “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”. Cambridge Community Theater also did several children’s presentations. Even the Cleveland Opera Theater came several years and performed “Barber of Seville”.

SFF Frankie Yankovic America's Polka King

Frankie Yankovic, Polka King, drew one of the largest crowds ever.

   A performance that many remember was that of Frankie Yankovic, America’s Polka King. Frankie played the accordion and had two gold records – “Blue Skirt Waltz” and “Just Because”. The crowd for this performance was the largest ever remembered at the festival.

Carol and Bob R

Carol and Bob Jones were singing at the festival years ago. Carol is now Festival Director and Bob is Entertainment Coordinator.

   Back in 1986, Bob and Carol Jones presented a musical program at the festival. Today Carol is the Festival Director and Bob is Entertainment Coordinator. Their enthusiasm for the 50th Anniversary has led to a memorial “Pedestrian Gateway” being constructed at the park at a point where most visitors enter.

Briani Gray R

Brian Gray and his wooden toys have been an attraction over the years.

   While it has been great fun to look back at those early years of the festival, it’s also pleasing to know that it still has the same basic roots. The Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival continues to be a juried festival with several artists from those early days still displaying their art.

Russ and Virginia (2)

Russ Shaffer and Virginia Price have displayed at the festival since its early years and will be there this year. Virginia just celebrated her 99th birthday.

   Entertainment continues every hour in the Performing Arts Tent or the Big Pavilion. Craft classes for students and adults are held in the small pavilion throughout the weekend. Admission and parking are still free.

   Set aside some time to join the 50th Anniversary celebration this August 9 -11. Wander through the artist displays in beautiful Cambridge City Park. Have lunch or pick up a snack as you sit and listen to some fine entertainment provided by talented vocalists and bands. Don’t forget to find a special treasure to take home with you to remember this special anniversary.

   50 years is cause for celebration! Make plans to attend this memorable occasion.

The Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival is held annually the second weekend of August in the Cambridge City Park in Cambridge, Ohio. Cambridge is located at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77. There are several exits so watch for signs leading to the festival or the city park.

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