Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Ted Lewis’ Grand Refrain – “Is Everybody Happy?”

Ted Lewis Museum

The Ted Lewis Museum was renovated last year for its 40th Anniversary.

For those interested in old entertainers and movies, Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, Ohio will arouse your curiosity. Ted’s first professional singing job happened in 1906 in between movies at the Circleville Electric Nickelodeon. His salary – $4 a week. But that was just the beginning.

Ted Theater with Joyce

Joyce Keller, president of the museum, stands in front of a replica of the first theater where Ted  performed.

Born Theodore Friedman in Circleville, Ohio, his younger years were spent helping his parents in Friedman’s Bazaar, an emporium which supplied women of Pickaway County with the latest fashions. Ted spent his time sweeping inside and outside the store, as well as making deliveries. It wasn’t something he enjoyed.

His earliest musical instrument experience came at the age of nine when he played piccolo in the Circleville Cadet Band. His fingers weren’t long enough yet to play the clarinet. But Ted mowed lawns during the summer to save money to buy an E-flat clarinet he knew he wanted to play.

However, Ted became fascinated with syncopation and began taking lessons after school with Cricket Smith, a black barber. Jazz ran in Ted’s blood, which had him dismissed from the Cadet Band. The band teacher later apologized when Ted became famous.

Ted Early Days

In 1911, Ted would return home from tours when he ran out of money, which was often.

As a teenager, he played his clarinet to help draw a crowd for Dr. Cooper’s Medicine Man Show and sold balloons and cotton candy. He’d carry circus banners in parades and even followed them out of town. This caused his parents much embarrassment and they tried to send him to business college in Columbus, but to no avail.

Ted Apartment 2

The books, bookcase and photos of life long friends, Ted and Sophie Tucker, are from his New York City apartment. Even the gold wallpaper has been replicated.

Ted kept busy following his dream of becoming an entertainer. He paired up with Jack Lewis under the billing Lewis and Friedman. One day in South Carolina, he saw the billing said Lewis & Lewis. The manager said that fit on the marquee better. After that he was always known as Ted Lewis, even though he never legally changed his name.

Ted Top Hat 2

His battered top hat, cane, and clarinet are on prominent display.

In 1916, at the age of 26, Ted formed his first band – Ted Lewis Nut Band. They were very popular in the New York City area and performed at Rector’s Restaurant, a high class venue. While there, he won an old top hat in a dice game from a cab driver called Mississippi. That top hat, his clarinet, cane and the question: “Is everybody happy?” were always part of his act.

Ted Lewis 001

Ted Lewis always wore his old battered hat at every performance.

Ted Phonograph

This old hand-crank Victrola played “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me”.

His theme song, “When My Baby Smiles at Me” and hits such as “Tiger Rag” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” earned him the title, “King of Jazz”. In 1926, his Columbia recording of “Tiger Rag” sold more than five million copies. He was their highest paid artist in the 1920s. This popular performer presented his act to nine United States Presidents and even did a command performance for King George V of England.

Ted Me and My Shadow

A video in a peanut cart plays “Me and My Shadow”.

During one performance, Ted noticed the doorman, Eddie Chester, mimicking him from the wings and asked him to join him on stage. Thus was born his signature routine, “Me and My Shadow”.

Ted Is Everybody Happy

Ted starred in a movie about his life. Beautiful women played a large part in his acts.

Ted Lewis Museum opened in 1977 across the street from where Ted was born. Here you’ll be able to see classic memorabilia and watch videos of Ted Lewis performing. He told his wife that when he died he wanted everything to come back to Circleville, “The Capital of the World”.

Ted 80th 2

Pictured at Ted’s 80th birthday party are Circleville Mayor Gordon, brother Milton Friedman, Ted, and Columbus Mayor Sensenbrenner.

This showman never forgot his hometown. Ted and his wife, Adah, devoted themselves to making Circleville a better place to live. They supported Berger Hospital, the local schools, and even made possible a 13-acre Ted Lewis Park complete with playground equipment, ball fields, and a swimming pool at that time. Ted entertained the troops during WWII and was a leader in selling war bonds.

Ted and friends

Ted’s friends included Benny Goodman, Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, and Eddie Cantor.

The museum on Main Street only opens on Friday and Saturday from 1-5. After your visit you’ll be ready to put on some tap shoes while grabbing a top hat and cane.

Ted Lewis Museum is located at 133 W Main Street in Circleville, Ohio. Follow US 22 for a scenic ride.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Civil War Songs and the Stories They Tell” with Steve and Lisa Ball

Stee and Lisa Ball

Steve and Lisa Ball  perform Civil War songs at Crossroads Library.

Music plays an important role in the ranks of the military. They have used music to signal their troops for hundreds of years. Often music served as a boost to morale of the soldiers after a hard day of battle.

Be entertained by tales of the Civil War put to music as Steve and Lisa Ball present an entertaining and informative program “Civil War Songs and Stories They Tell”. This musical way of teaching history of the Civil War from 1861-65 is shared around the country about a hundred times each year. The songs come alive with their wonderful vocal and instrumental skills.

Steve Ball guitar

An 1855 Martin is one of Steve’s favorite guitars.

Martin guitars of the Civil War era, from Steve’s private collection, are used in their presentation. All the Martins are in their original coffin cases. Steve’s only the caretaker for these guitars as they will hopefully be passed on from generation to generation. He frequently calls Lisa ‘his band’ as she joins with her upright bass and voice.

Steve’s interest in the Civil War began as a teen, when he learned his Great-Great-Grandfather, William Tyler Butts, was a Union private from Athens, Ohio. He was part of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment out of Chillicothe. Steve is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and wears his SUV medal on his uniform.

He’s spent the last twenty years studying the music of the Civil War era and the development of the first American folk songs. A long list of accomplishments could follow his name. They also have a Stephen Foster program telling the history of many of those popular folk songs.

During their program, the variety is astounding. There are not only patriotic pieces, but also silly marches and songs of lost love. You’ll be drawn to their music and stories even if you aren’t a Civil War buff.

Lisa's cello

Lisa plays bass and vocalizes with Steve.

Their performances happen at reenactments, indoor presentations, Civil War roundtables, and even the Ohio Statehouse. Being a Civil War buff , he researches everything so it’s authentic. Steve is living his dream.

Learn more about the history of the Civil War and come away with a better understanding of life during that time as Steve and Lisa Ball tell the story through song.

Many of the songs have a unique history, such as “Darling Nellie Gray”, a song written by Benjamin Hanby, who operated an Underground Railroad in Rush, Ohio. It told about his girlfriend, Nellie Gray, who wanted to escape to Canada. You can learn more about this song by visiting the Hanby House in Westerville, Ohio.

Steve and Lisa

Steve and Lisa add much background information on songs to their performances.

Another song “Aura Lea”, was written by Willie Fosdick (lyrics) and George Poulton (music) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Willie’s wife was Aura Lee, the woman with the golden hair. In 1955, Elvis Presley used the tune of “Aura Lee” and added new lyrics to become his theme song, “Love Me Tender”.

A popular Southern song was “Goober Peas”. Burle Ives liked the folk song. The Balls  had everyone singing along.

Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating Goober peas

Goodness how delicious, eating Goober peas..

Steve Ball CD

Listen to Civil War songs anytime with their popular CDs.

Next time you hear that Steve and Lisa Ball are performing in your area, be certain to drop by and hear their story of the Civil War in song, or perhaps you’ll hear his story of the music and life of Stephen Foster. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy their stories and music.

 

Pro Football Hall of Fame: Legends Live Here

HOFWith pro football season leading up to Super Bowl LII on February 4, what better time than now to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Find your favorite gridiron heroes inside the football shaped rotunda, and learn interesting facts about their careers.

HOF Class of 2017

When arriving at the Hall of Fame, you are greeted by this wall-size picture of the Class of 2017.

The Hall of Fame is a tribute to those men who have made football America’s favorite sport. Many wonder why this Hall of Fame was located in Canton. Back in 1920 the American Professional Football Association, renamed National Football League, was founded in Canton.

HOF Pre NFL

Professional football hit Canton before the NFL was formed when the Canton Bulldogs and Massillon Tigers played at Myers Lake Park Grounds.

The Canton Bulldogs were one of the early pro football powers, even before the days of the NFL and had as their rivals the Massillon Tigers. Today, local high school teams are still called Canton Bulldogs and Massillon Tigers. And they remain rivals.

The Bulldogs won the championship of the NFL in 1922 and 1923. Jim Thrope played his first pro football with the Bulldogs, starting in 1915.

HOF Ernie Nevers

Ernie Nevers has the NFL’s longest standing record. Nevers was the ‘whole show’ in 1929, when he scored all 40 points for the Chicago Cardinals.

Sounds like there were plenty of reasons to build the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. It’s mission is to honor the heroes of the game, preserve its history, promote its values and celebrate excellence everywhere. Some call it the Sistine Chapel of Football.

HOF Jim Thorpe

A statue of the legendary Jim Thorpe stands at the center of the rotunda’s football history.

The circular football shaped rotunda shows progress of football from its beginning in the 1920s to 2010s. A statue of Jim Thorpe, “The Legend”, stands in the center. The walls are filled throughout with interesting football statistics.

HOF Busts 2

310 bronze busts fill the Hall of Fame Gallery beginning with the Classes of 1963 and 1964.

One special spot is the Hall of Fame Gallery, which features a bronze bust of each of the members of the Hall of Fame starting with that first class in 1963. As of 2017, there are 310 members in this prestigious display. Only 1% of the people who play professional football make it to the Hall of Fame Gallery.

Hall of Fame Stadium 001

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium hosts the annual Hall of Fame game as well as various high school and college football events.

A holographic theater presents A Game for Life. This presentation puts you in a Locker Room, which uses a hologram of Joe Namath to teach life lessons instead of the game of football. This high tech presentation teaches the importance of character, confidence and respect through advice given by football legends. As you leave through the game tunnel, a sign says, “YOUR Game of Life begins now”.

 

HOF Game for Life

After the Game for Life presentation, this encouraging sign hangs in the game tunnel.

The Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery is thus named because Hunt came up with the name “Super Bowl”. He also suggesting using Roman numerals to designate the years – a practice that has been maintained for 51 years. 2017 being Super Bowl LI.

 

From that first Super Bowl ring until last years, the diamonds have increased from 1 to 283, to signify the 28-3 deficit the Patriots overcame to win the Super Bowl.

In Super Bowl Theater, seating revolves to show you a progression of scenes from regular season to Super Bowl. The video shown was the 2017 game highlights between New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, often called the greatest comeback in the history of the Super Bowl. It was also the first overtime in Super Bowl history, which gave the Patriots an exciting victory.

HOF Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village plans to open for the 100th NFL season in 2019.

Expansion at the Hall of Fame location promises increased traffic in the Canton area. The new complex being developed at a cost of $700,000,000 is called Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, where everything is tied together in a network called a “smart city”. It includes a four star hotel, an inside water park and amusement center, training facilities, and a retirement center just to name a few highlights.

HOF - Exit

Perhaps you’d enjoy visiting “The Most Inspiring Place on Earth”.

Hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe trek to Canton annually to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was heartwarming to see many fathers sharing stories of football heroes with their sons. If you’re a football fan, this Hall of Fame is a place you would certainly enjoy visiting.

Then, get ready for the action of Super Bowl LII.

Castle Noel – A Family Christmas Experience

Castle Noel Buddy

Mark Klaus is ready to welcome you to Castle Noel and their newest movie set, “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas”, starring Buddy!

The most amazing thing you’ve ever seen

is Castle Noel in ’17.”

That’s how Mark and Dana Klaus feels about Castle Noel, which captures the spirit of a family Christmas in several ways. The heart and soul of Castle Noel in Medina is Mark Klaus – with a name like that and a full beard, Christmas seemed a natural passion.

Sweet Shoppe Window

This Sweet Shoppe window display from Saks 5th Avenue is a favorite of visitors.

Growing up, Mark’s dad loved decorating for Christmas. Neighbors came from miles around to see his 16′ Christmas tree, as well as the reindeer and sleigh hanging from their ceiling. The Klaus house looked like a Christmas Wonderland.

Castle Noel Ornament

Mark’s sculpting skills create beautiful ornaments.

Mark, a world renowned master sculptor, displays many of his sculpted ornaments and angels in their gift shop. His miniature detail is accomplished through using dental tools and magnifying glasses. Angels are one of his favorite sculptures. Why?

Mark’s mother was killed in an automobile accident when he was sixteen. It happened on Christmas Eve. Mark said, “This all is a tribute to my mom.”

Castle Noel Church

This former Methodist church in Medina is now home to Castle Noel.

When Mark was searching for the perfect place to locate his enormous Christmas collection, he looked all over the United States but decided to come back to his home area. He found an abandoned Methodist Church built in 1891 in Medina that reminded him of a castle, thus the name, Castle Noel, which opened in 2013.

Castle Noel Lampoon Vacation

Mark drove the camper from Lampoon Vacation all the way from California to Ohio.

Usually Mark and his wife, Dana, work seven days a week and think about Castle Noel twenty four hours a day. Once in a while, they go on vacation. Walt Disney’s parks top the list as Mark’s favorite spots. But he doesn’t go there for the reasons most attend…Mark goes for inspiration for another idea to make Castle Noel even better.

Castle Noel Vortex

Walking through the Blizzard Vortex had everyone hanging onto the handrails.

Every year there’s something new to see at Castle Noel as Mark constantly makes improvements so it can continue to be “America’s Largest Indoor Year Round Christmas Entertainment Attraction”.

Castle Noel Santa Squeeze

Get the feeling of Santa going down the chimney in Santa Squeeze with 100,000 glass bulbs overhead for some extra Christmas cheer.

There seems to be something exciting around each corner, so only a few of the highlights are mentioned here.

 

Castle Noel Grinch set

This is an actual movie set from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

His fantastic collection of Christmas movie sets, props and costumes that are worn in the Hollywood movies is mind boggling. He authenticates everything before displaying it in Castle Noel.

Castle Noel Gummy Bears

Mark was given three hours to remove this gummy bear display from Bloomingdale’s.

As you continue your journey you travel to New York City at Christmas time and stroll through the Platinum award winning animated window displays from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Windows from our own Higbee’s in the 60s, Bloomingdale’s, plus Macy’s of Pittsburgh, New York and Washington state create a magical journey for all ages.

Caslte Noel Slide

Go up the stairs through the Enchanted Mountain, see Santa, and ride the slide down…just like Ralphie.

Last stop is Enchanted Mountain filled with animated animals. But it’s the slide back down that everyone enjoys. Seated on a burlap mat, all ages enjoy the thrill of sliding down the giant red slide like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”. A great way to end the tour!

Castle Noel Alien Golf

Have some extra excitement at Alien Vacation Mini Golf.

But wait, there’s more! Outside you’ll find the entrance to Alien Vacation Mini Golf. You enter a 3D wonderland with miles of fiber optics. It now has 19 holes since the landing of the Alien Spaceship. You’ll enjoy this 3D spot whether you decide to play mini-golf or not.

Castle Noel Mark Klaus

A working Mark Klaus has fun with visitors after the tour.

Castle Noel is the perfect place for folks of every generation to make lasting Christmas memories. As Mark and Dana would tell you, “We like having fun around here.”

Castle Noel is located at 260 S Court Street, Medina, Ohio. From I-77 take exit 122B for US-224 W. Take exit 7 for OH-57 into the town of Medina. 

Cruisin’ Down the Muskingum River on a Sunny Afternoon

River boats

Camping, boating and fishing are popular along the beautiful Muskingum.

While the Muskingum River begins at Coshocton, between Zanesville and Marietta it holds many points of interest. This river is the only river navigable by larger boats within the state of Ohio. That’s all because of its system of eleven dams and locks, still in working order, that extends for 112 miles.

River Ferry 1900 001 (2)

The Coal Run Ferry delivered a load of railroad crossties on horse-drawn wagons across the Muskingum before bridges were built.

The river received its name from the Native Americans, who called it Moos-kin-gung – meaning “Elk Eye River”. That name happened due to the large herds of elk that once roamed this valley. In those early days, the cargo on the river consisted of essentials such as salt, flour, pork and apples. A round trip took three to five weeks to go from Zanesville to Pittsburgh and back via the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Steamer at Lock #3 001 (2)

The steamer approaches Lock #3 at Lowell in the early 1900s.

When steamboats became popular, navigation was rough on the rugged Muskingum River so they designed a system of dams and locks to lift the boats when the elevation changed abruptly. After a boat is secured within the lock, the lock tender closes the gate and opens the valves required to raise or lower the pool level. When the water in the lock chamber has reached the required level, the lock tender opens the through gate just like they did in 1841.

Steamer Marietta stuck on dam at Lock # 1 001 (2)

Steamer Marietta got stuck on the dam when not using the locks.

Sometimes the boats would attempt to go over those rugged spots without using the locks. Once in a while they succeeded, but often they ended up stuck in the river.

River Lorena

The Lorena takes passengers on a pleasure trip down the Muskingum River.

This trip began with a stop at the Lorena Sternwheeler at Zane’s Landing Park in the city of Zanesville. While the original Lorena visited Zanesville in the late 1800s, the present one arrived in 1976 for Zane’s Trace Commemoration. A ride on the sternwheeler gives you a chance to feel the river, as the paddles create a merry sound. Memories of the 1800s ride along with the Lorena.

River Lock 9

Lock #9 at Philo provides a great view of the dam and locks.

Soon Lock 9 at Philo appears with the original lock tender’s house.The falls at the lock sparkle in the sunshine as people stand in the shallow river to fish.

River Ohio Power Plant 1923 001 (2)

The Philo Ohio Power Plant was the first electric plant built along the Muskingum.

In 1923, Philo Ohio Power Company, one of the largest electric plants of that time, was located on an island in the river.

River Hand Powered Locks 001 (2)

The lock tender hand operates the lock at Rokeby Lock #8.

Lock 8, Rokeby Lock at Eagleport, is a special stop along this system of locks, the only hand operated locks still being used in the United States today. In fact, it is believed there is only one other system like this in the world, and that is in China. It was near this lock that General John Hunt Morgan and several hundred cavalry forded the Muskingum River on his raid across Ohio.

River Stockport Inn

Stockport Mill Inn would be a pleasant place to spend an evening.

Beside Lock 6 stands the beautiful Stockport Inn. Today’s Inn was built in 1906 by the Dover brothers; however, there were two mills previously at this site dating back to 1842. This mill was known for its refined flours: Gold Bond, Seal of Ohio, and Pride of the Valley. It’s a perfect place to spend a night as each room has a balcony that overlooks the river. On the weekends, enjoy a tasty meal at Restaurant on the Dam.

River Fishing

Fishermen wade into the river in hopes of a great catch.

During the drive down the river, it is lined with cabins and campers for those that enjoy being near the water. Most have boats at their docks and many slides end in the river. Frequently fishermen are either on the shore or wading nearby waiting for a nibble on their line, and perhaps fish to cook over a campfire in the evening

River Ohio

Imagine early travelers’ surprise upon seeing that the Muskingum River empties into the wide Ohio River at Marietta.

The trip ends at the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory – Marietta. Here the Muskingum River joins the Ohio River to flow eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.

River Lafayette

At the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers stands the Lafayette Hotel.

Some say this beautiful old Lafayette Hotel still holds spirits of many travelers from the past. One nighttime visitor is Mr. Hoag, former owner of the hotel, who appears in his brown derby hat. That’s something not seen by my eyes, but a story heard by my ears.

The locks are open weekends 9:30 – 6:00 from mid May until mid October. Please check their schedule and call ahead if you need to use the locks at another time so a lock tender can be available.

valley-gem-heads-out

While in Marietta, you might want to cruise on the Valley Gem.

Be sure to take time to sit along the Ohio River and enjoy reminiscing about those long ago riverboats that went from Pittsburgh to Zanesville along this route. They carried both passengers and freight. Barges still carry their loads of coal and steel up and down the river, and people enjoy taking a ride in their pleasure boats as well.

Some things have changed, but the Muskingum River has remained the same since the days of ancient visitors. Hope you can enjoy a trip down the Muskingum River sometime soon.

Victorian Elegance at Barnesville Mansion Museum

Barnesville Mansion

This eye-catching mansion showcases the luxurious Victorian era.

Feel the spirit of Victorian times in this elegant, historic mansion in Barnesville. The beauty of Barnesville Victorian Mansion Museum lasts year around, but comes alive at Christmas time when it is beautifully decorated in Victorian style.

Barnesville Owner

A portrait of John Bradford, the original owner appears upstairs.

Twenty-six rooms have been restored to the original style of its construction during 1888-1893 for John W. “Dias” Bradford, a well-known merchant and highly respected citizen of Barnesville. It took five years to build this fine Victorian home as a great architect worked with the finest craftsmen to finish everything to perfection. Not only did he build this fine house, but Bradford was also responsible for building the first bank in Barnesville.

Barnesville Griffin

A protective griffin in the fretwork greets visitors upon entering.

Arriving through the carriage entrance, you’re greeted by a carved oak fretwork, a design formed by intricate scrolling. A winged griffin was included in the carving, as it was believed a griffin would prevent misfortune.

Barnesville Door Hinges

Even the door hinges showed intricate designs.

Everything speaks of elegance with eleven fireplaces, which have decorative carved wooden mantles. Woodwork throughout is handcarved so even the spirals on the banister have an individual air. The floors show a beautiful parquet design from room to room. Even the hinges on the doors have an intricate design, which was then matched on the doorknobs and staircase. No cost was spared.

Barnesville Butler's Bell

A butler’s bell system was installed when the home was built with the telephone later added below it.

Even at this early time, the builder had the foresight to wire the house for electricity. Therefore, the lights could use either gas or electric.

Barnesville Child's Dress

This pretty yellow lace dress was found in a trunk in the attic.

Finding drinking water in those early days created a problem. Most places had a cistern, which caught rain water and drainage from other sources. This water made everyone sick so it was only used for cleaning and bathing. Their drinks consisted of beer, cider, whiskey and wine. Life expectancy was forty-six years.

Inglenook, a special courting room, set back into the wall. The man sat on one end and the girl on the other. In this special room, the acoustics were such that they could talk softly to one another, but no one else could hear them.

Barnesville Growlery

The Growlery provided a place for men to relax during the evening.

The Growlery was the place men often met after dinner to discuss business while smoking and playing games. Beautifully carved ivory and clay pipes rested on the game table as well as an ornate spittoon and snuff bottles. A stereoscope had viewing cards handy.

While the house had many fireplaces, the one in the Growlery had a special charm. Made with blue and white tile from Consolidated Pottery of Zanesville, it contained the image of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.

Barnesville Bed with Doll

A Shannon Doll from a West Virginia collection stands at the foot of an original bed.

Bathrooms presented an interesting story as there were three inside, one downstairs – a powder room, and two upstairs. However, they were suspicious of going to an indoor toilet since they feared sewer gases could be dangerous. The servants’ rooms were located near the bathrooms.

Barnesville Child's Bedroom

This child’s bedroom contained everything a little girl would enjoy.

The powder room and one upstairs bath had 22K gold decorations. Two 540 gallon tanks located on the third floor supplied running water.

In that day, most people took one bath a week. Every month they washed their hair with a special rinse of eggs and vinegar to give it a lasting shine.

Barnesville Clock Room

A picture of Queen Victoria had been placed in their clock room.

Clocks held an importance far above just telling time. You could tell the quality of the home as well as their finances by the kinds of clocks they had on display. Taking care of the clocks was always the man’s duty, or sometimes the oldest son. The museum has a large clock collection on the third floor.

That third floor also held the ballroom, which was typical of Victorian mansions. Twelve couples could easily dance around the floor. An adjoining room held an old Victrola, organ and banjo.

Barnesville Bathrub

Emery Stewart drew flowers on this bathtub in 1966.

Excellent guides created an informative day. They all enjoyed sharing stories of the mansion. One of those guides, Emery Stewart, started working at the museum when he was a student at Barnesville High School in 1966. His first assignment was to paint flowers on the bathtub in the upstairs bathroom. He’s been a volunteer ever since and loves his hometown of Barnesville.

One amazing picture, a “hair” picture, had been made from pieces of family hair. This unusual picture formed a family tree with pieces of each person’s hair on their branch of the tree. Lovingly made step by step by an aunt or grandmother, the whole family story could be told from the “hair family tree”.

Barnesville Doll Collection

A large collection of Pete Ballard dolls can be found upstairs.

Barnesville sat along the railroad line and was a wealthy city in its heyday, having eleven hotels, seventeen saloons, and several mansions. The Board members were very pleased to receive a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to be used for television broadcasting so they could share the history of their mansion and hometown.

The Barnesville Victorian Mansion Museum at 532 N. Chestnut Street is open for tours May 1 through October 1, Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00-4:00 pm. Groups and buses can be scheduled at any time by contacting the museum.

Barnesville Volunteers on Porch

Volunteers Sherry McClellan, Emery Stewart, and Judy Jenewein help keep history alive.

Specials events take place at the mansion throughout the year. They’ve had wine tastings, graveyard tours, and their lovely Christmas tour. Here you can see a Victorian style Christmas from the weekend after Thanksgiving until the weekend before Christmas.

Keeping the spirit of their beginning alive will hopefully carry over from generation to generation.

The Barnesville Victorian Museum is located at 532 N Chestnut Street in Barnesville, Ohio. Take OH-800 S off I-70 into Barnesville. Make a left on Walton Avenue and the museum will be on the left.

 

 

Chris Hart Performs One-Man Shows That Receive Rousing Reviews

Chris Hart

Chris Hart delights audiences with his repertoire of stories.

One-man performances require much research and attention to detail. Chris Hart has this down to a science. Not only does Chris do extensive research, but he writes all of the programs himself. This makes it easier for him during performances, as he is the only one who knows if he strayed from the original script.

Christopher Hart, museum curator and living historian at Roscoe Village, hales from the country in Tuscarawas County these days, even though born in Cambridge. Living on Steubenville Avenue for the first few years of his life, Chris indicated that he was a “good kid”, always a bit shy.

That shyness continued through school at Newcomerstown High School, where Chris didn’t participate in high school performances. Yet he loved going to the theater and watching.

sherlock (2)

Involved in Sherlock Holmes performances, Chris often portrays Sherlock’s sidekick, John Watson.

So where did the idea for one-man shows first appear? A few years after he married his supporting wife, Suzie, they visited a restored village in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, a man dressed in full costume told a living history story of a Confederate soldier, who never went home. Chris told Suzie, “That would be the ideal job. Fun!” The seed was planted.

Ohio Northern had become his college of choice to study in their pharamaceutical department. For many years, Chris played the real life role of pharmacist all over Tuscarawas County, but has since retired.

Now he had extra time. One day he noticed an ad for a person to portray a village doctor in Roscoe Village. Four people applied and took turns being doctor throughout the season. This was the first real person he had even done, but that was only the beginning.

Chris Hart

Captain Reynolds tells tales of life of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

A Canal Boat Captain on the Ohio-Erie Canal, which ran close to Roscoe Village, was the first character he fully developed himself. He became Captain Reynolds, who in his travels meets a photographer, snake charmer and even a witch.

While Chris began his one-man, first-person performance days at Roscoe Village, it didn’t take long for listeners to know they had a talented storyteller on their hands. He doesn’t just tell a story, he becomes the character in dress, voice, and emotion.

Queen Victoria and Chris Hart

During Dickens Victorian Village season, Chris performed “Audience with the Queen” with Queen Victoria.

His characters usually are drawn from famous historic events, but he doesn’t portray the main character. He finds it much more interesting to portray someone in the background of the event as he sees it through their eyes. Plus, everyone knows what Charles Dickens looked like, but nobody knows much about his close friend, James Fields.

The only famous person he has done is Neil Armstrong giving a press release twenty years after his walk on the moon. So far he has developed nearly forty different characters, and the list continues to grow.

Main Street Bar

Chris greets visitors to Olde Main Street at the original walnut bar from Sam Douglass Saloon in Newcomerstown.

He jokingly says his ideas come from the committee in his head. He takes ideas he personally likes and finds a character to fulfill that role, or he does a request for an organization. It usually takes about two to three months to research and write one of his performances. His best writing time happens at 5:00 in the morning.

Every story has three basic elements to reach the audience. It needs a little humor, the listener needs to feel a tug of emotion, and there’s usually a twist of some kind that makes the story surprising.

Titanic 001

This is a copy of the original boarding pass used for the Titanic.

His most popular show right now features “The Survivor of the Titanic”, where he portrays Peter Daley a first class passenger on the ship. Peter remembers that fateful day when the Titanic went down and how he survived.

Another favorite, “Shepherd’s Journey”, came to him while he was driving his car. A shepherd at the Nativity moves with Jesus through several major events in his life, culminating at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is a popular religious performance from Christmas through Easter.

Prof. Chris Hart

Chris prepares for another pharmaceutical lecture at Belmont Tech.

Even though Chris enjoys his work on stage, he now also teaches pharmaceutical classes at seven different colleges. His favorite class is at the University of Findlay, where he teaches the History of Pharmacy. As you might imagine his classes are fun as well as educational, since he often appears in costume to make the lesson real.

After seeing his schedule, it’s obvious that Chris makes good use of his time with little to spare. When he does have extra time, reading and hiking at Salt Fork provide relaxation. Mt. Everest tops the list of places Chris would like to visit. It’s the tallest mountain in the world with many stories to tell.

Chris a Salt Fork Festival.

At the Salt Fork Festival, Chris told the story, “Paws for the Cause”, about a Civil War soldier and his dog.

Throughout the year, Chris can be found throughout the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee entertaining audiences with his tales of years gone by. His most recent addition tells the story of a 9/11 survivor, “I’m Not a Hero”. Be sure to catch one or more of his one-man shows sometime soon. You’ll be a fan.

This season, 2017, he will be doing a new story for Friends of the Library during Dickens Victorian Village season. This time he takes on the role of Peter Cratchit, Scrooge’s office clerk, in a performance called “My, How Christmas Has Changed”.

When this fantastic storyteller stops to ponder, it’s not uncommon to hear him say, “That reminds me of another story.” Chris Hart brings history to life!

If you would like to contact Chris for a show at your event, phone him at 740–408-4608. You might find him at Olde Main Street in Newcomerstown or follow him on Facebook at Christopher Hart: History Comes to Life. Schedule ahead!

 

 

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