Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Gypsy Highway

Snyder's BluffWhile visiting Vicksburg, Mississippi to do some research for a Civil War Diary, my journey took me to Snyder’s Bluff, one of the places frequently mentioned in the diary. This is where my GPS took me that hot, southern day.

   Dust settled over my gypsy car while exploring a dirt road not far from that grand Mississippi River that divides our country. With temperatures near 100 degrees as the sun beat down, I felt fortunate that the Chevy’s air conditioning worked properly.

   Soon the road went through a narrow pass cut into the ground with sides ten feet high and trees extending their roots like tentacles reaching out to capture something or someone. Because of the desire to do research for the book, my curiosity led me forward. After a few miles, no end seemed to be in sight so when the road widened, giving an opportunity to turn around, I maneuvered the car back and forth until it was headed out.

   Returning through the pass, a loud sound reached my ears and there was more dust up ahead. Around a slight bend headed straight toward me rumbled a semi loaded with logs. Imagine they were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

   Somehow we passed with inches to spare between us and between the banks of the road with tree roots waiting to grasp. No walls came tumbling down!

   After that close call, it was necessary to stop for a few minutes. With my hand resting on my chest, I could feel the rapid heartbeat. The smell of dust filled the car.

   My lips felt like sandpaper from the dust and heat, and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Perhaps back on the main road, there would be someplace to buy a cold ice tea to wet my whistle.

   You never know what you might encounter when taking a Gypsy Highway. It made me wonder how Pvt. George Painter, the writer of the diary, handled the dangers in the area back in 1863 when he was a member of the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

Clark Gable Museum Celebrates Star’s Birthday

Clark PictureVisit the birthplace of the most popular figure on the Hollywood screen from 1936-1960. Clark Gable was born in Cadiz and grew up in Hopedale, Ohio. See his humble beginnings at the Clark Gable Museum in Cadiz…the only Clark Gable Museum in the world.

Clark Cadiz Sign   The museum came about after a deejay from Illinois called the Cadiz postoffice on February 1, 1983, and asked them if they knew whose birthday it was. The postman said he had no idea. The deejay told him Clark Gable and asked him what they were doing to celebrate his birthday. That was the last time “nothing” was the answer.

Clark childhood home

This postcard shows the house where Clark grew up in Hopedale.

   William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901, on 138 Charleston Street in Cadiz. His parents felt he was the apple of their eye. But unfortunately, his mother died when Clark was ten months old and his father then moved down the road to Hopedale, where their home is today a private residence.

Clark teen

Clark Gable poses as a teenager.

   His stepmother played piano and gave Clark lessons at home. He picked up brass instruments as a result and was the only boy in the Hopedale Men’s Band at the age of 13. Also, at this time he had a deep interest in literature and enjoyed Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Clark Family Picture

This family portrait shows Clark in the front and his father to the far left.

   His father insisted he engage in some more masculine activities so Clark became very adept at fixing cars. When they moved to Ravenna a few years later, his father wanted him to help on the farm. Clark went to work at Akron Tire and Rubber Company instead. But he seldom worked a full day as he would leave to go to the theater. Even if he went as an usher, at least he was where he loved to be.

   Clark worked his way west from Ohio by riding in boxcars and worked in the oil fields in Tulsa, Oklahoma along the way. He ended up in Oregon working as a salesman of ties in a department store.

Clark Poster

A lifesize poster of Clark hangs in the gift shop.

   But that was a good stop for him as he met his first wife there. Josephine Dillon, his wife and coach, saw that beneath his uncultured look there was the potential for a strikingly handsome man. So she had his bad teeth fixed and strengthened his undernourished body. His voice was rather high-pitched and she coached him how to lower it to a deeper resonance.

Clark Gift Shop Walls

Walls at the museum are covered with pictures of his many movies.

   Clark went on to Hollywood to begin his career there as an extra in silent movies. He eventually appeared in 67 talking movies and was called The King of Hollywood. Some of his movies include “It Happened One Night,” “Call of the Wild,” “San Francisco,” and the immortal “Gone With the Wind,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1939. 

   So it seemed strange that his birthplace of Cadiz, Ohio would not have a display of some kind to acknowledge this famous celebrity. For years, the only things existing on the location where he was born in an upstairs apartment were a garage and flower garden. The house had been demolished years before.

Clark Monument

This monument to Clark was the first move to honor him in his hometown.

   Once the town decided to honor Clark, the first thing to be erected was a monument at the place of his birth. Then in 1998, the house was reconstructed. It has been furnished in the style of the day and has several of the King’s belongings on display.

Clark Home Upstairs

This is the reconstructed house on the spot Clark was born.

   Carole Lombard, Clark’s wife, is honored with a large display that was provided by a fan of hers, Norm Lambert. When Carole died in a plane crash while returning from entertaining the troops during WWII, Clark decided he would enlist in the Army Air Force as a tribute to her.

Clark Air Force

He served in WWII as a cameraman and gunner.

   During WWII, Clark Gable served as an aerial cameraman and bomber gunner in Europe with the Army Air Force. He enlisted as a private in August 1942 and was relieved from active duty in June 1944 at his request since he was over-age for combat.

Clark Cadillac

His ’54 Cadillac can still be seen as part of the tour.

   Inside you will find Clark Gable collectibles as well as “Gone With the Wind” displays. Books and pictures are on display from his childhood to stardom. In the garage, you will even find one of his cars, a classic 1954 Cadillac de Ville.

Clark Nan Mattern

Nan Mattern, director of the museum, displays a picture from “Gone with the Wind.”

 

    Since it has been opened, over 150,000 people have stopped by to share their stories and see the treasures. They are made welcome by Nan Mattern, the director, and a dozen ambassadors who help with tours of the facility.

   A lady from Portland remembered seeing Clark in his first performance on stage in Oregon. A man recalled his dad telling him the story of riding in a boxcar with Clark Gable as he headed west. His dad had given Clark five dollars for food. Years later Clark came back to that town and wanted to repay him for what he had been given. Many heartwarming stories are shared.

   Clark Gable was always humble about his good fortune. He commented, “I’m just a lucky slob from Ohio who happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Clark Back Entrance

This is the back entranceway to the upstairs apartment where he was born.

   Clark Gable Museum is located at 128 Charleston Street in Cadiz. It is closed December through February, except for Clark’s birthday. The remainder of the year it is open Wednesday through Friday 10 – 4. But if you wish to stop down at a different time or have a group that would like to visit, contact them for an appointment. Call the museum at 740-942-4989 or Nan at 740-942-2505.

Clark Downtown

This mural in uptown Cadiz shows he is remembered as a hometown boy.

   Join the Clark Gable birthday celebration on Saturday, February 1 when the museum will be open from 10 -2 and serve light refreshments. Mark Statler from Jewett will provide entertainment. Clark Gable’s birthday will not be forgotten in Cadiz. 

   Clark Gable Museum is at 128 Charleston Street in Cadiz, Ohio. It is near the intersection of US 22 and US 250. Watch for signs directing you to the museum or follow your GPS. It’s not far from downtown Cadiz. 

 

Memories of Christmas Past at Arms Family Museum

Arms Entrance

The Arms Family Museum presents “Memories of Christmas Past.”

By the Fireside” brings to life the traditions and decorations used during Christmastime many years ago. Picture yourself sitting by a warm fire with stockings hung from the mantle ready for Christmas surprises. There’s so much to see in seven rooms filled with Christmas of old that you’re sure to find memories that have been tucked away in your mind from years in the past.

Arms Fireplace with cards

This brought back memories of hanging Christmas cards around a cardboard brick fireplace.

   The Arms Family Museum in Youngstown presents its 12th annual “Memories of Christmas Past” from November 23 through Sunday, January 5, 2020. This display has been designed each year by the mastermind of Anthony Worrellia, who explores the world for new ideas and rare Christmas decorations. Each year the rooms take on a different theme which gives them a special glow.

Arms Sitting Room with feather tree and wooden toys

Their cozy sitting room had a feather tree and wooden toys.

   Anthony searches all year for the perfect items to display. He borrows from friends and acquaintances all over the country. His connections through a group of international Christmas collectors, The Golden Glow of Christmas Past, help him in his search for new ideas. A team of volunteers and staff begin setting up the displays in late September.

Arms Asian Dining Room

This Asian dining room was inspired by a Christmas card collection.

   His ideas might come from something as simple as a collection of Christmas cards and postcards. That happened this year when the cards led Anthony to create a dining room setting with an Asian and European touch.

Arms Honeycomb Santa

Honeycomb Santas, candles, snowmen and other decorations were available in the 1920s.

   A display of those old-fashioned honeycomb decorations from the 1920s caught my eye. Large red plastic bells hung throughout the exhibit that used to hang in the classroom. A favorite in the library was a seven and a half foot crystal tree containing over 2,000 crystals which was wrapped with blue lights creating a magical feeling.

Arms Crystal Tree

2,000 crystals shimmer in a field of blue lights.

   A fun Scavenger Hunt along the way had you looking carefully for a list of things to be found. Included were 4 snow dogs, an owl with a Santa hat, a bonsai tree, and as many elves as you could find. It also caused guests to interact with each other creating an all-round friendly atmosphere.

   The setting is perfect as it showcases the Greystone house built by Wilford and Olive Arms in 1905. Upon her death in 1960, Olive left the Mahoning Valley Historical Society her home and its contents with the stipulation that it be developed as the Arms Museum.

Arms Guide Cassie Christmas Card collection

Guide Cassie tells of the vintage Christmas card collection on display.

   While the first floor has Christmas in every corner, the second floor shows the mansion as it was when the Arms lived there. Children prefer the basement, which resembles an old log cabin, as this is the place where they experience hands-on activities.

Arms Sleigh 2

Don costumes for a great photo opportunity.

   In the lower level at “Santa’s Village,” children and adults enjoy getting dressed in Christmas costumes of Santa, elf, or drummer boy. All of these costumes are locally made. Santa’s sleigh, made by another local gentleman, gives the perfect background for a photo opportunity. There are craft tables also where you can make bead or paint chip tree ornaments, holiday cards, or even a miniature Greystone mansion.

Arms Mantle Scene

This mantle scene shows four dogs pulling a girl on a sled. All of them have coats of real fur.

   Catch the Christmas spirit as you stroll through the three floors of Arms Family Museum. Volunteers throughout are very helpful and answer questions easily. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon – 4:00 from now until January 5, 2020, with their display of “Memories of Christmas Past.” In January, they will be rearranging and cleaning to be ready to open the traditional mansion in February.

Arms Gift Shop

Their gift shop contained many vintage items.

   Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children with toddlers under 3 being admitted at no charge. Active military, as well as military veterans, are always free. It’s quite a popular spot as over 8,000 people enjoyed the Christmas exhibit in 2018. Something new this year is permission to take pictures without a flash. Everyone enjoys photos of memorable places they visit.

  Arms Sign   Families have made “Memories of Christmas Past” a family tradition since there’s something new every year. Everyone will enjoy awakening memories and making new ones during a visit to the Arms Family Museum. The magic of Christmas never ends.

The Arms Family Museum is located in Youngstown, Ohio at 648 Wick Avenue. It is near the Youngstown State University campus so watch for their exit signs.

Founder of Piggly Wiggly Built Pink Palace

Piggly Wiggly pink palace

The Pink Palace was built in the 1920s by Clarence Saunders, founder of Piggly Wiggly.

   If you want to impress your friends and neighbors, building a pink marble palace might be one possibility. That is what Clarence Saunders decided to do back in the 1920s.

Piggly Wiggly trucks

Piggly Wiggly had their own delivery trucks.

   Clarence Saunders began working in Owen’s general store at the age of ten by cleaning, oiling, and trimming the kerosene lamps. When he was fourteen,  Owens hired him permanently at a salary of $4 per month plus room and board. A few years later, he received a job at another general store for $10 a month and worked there until he was 17.

Piggly Wiggly store

This is a replica of the interior of an original Piggly Wiggly.

   After working in the general store all those years, Saunders thought of ways to make it more customer-friendly. As a result, Saunders became the founder and sole owner of a new kind of general store. He wanted his store to be unique so named it Piggly Wiggly.

Piggly Wiggly Soup display

You could pick a can off the shelf all by yourself.

   This was the first true self-service grocery store. Previously, the clerk in the store retrieved the items for the buyer and brought them to the counter.  Now, the buyer entered through a turnstile and went down the aisles picking up the things they wanted and brought them to the counter to check out their total price.  By  1921, he had 615 grocery stores in forty states and many more franchises.

Piggly Wiggly Saunders

Clarence Saunders founded Piggly Wiggly.

   Saunders chose to use the fortune he had amassed through Wall Street stock to build a lovely home in Memphis, Tennessee. He purchased 155 acres across the street from the Memphis Country Club. He called his new home Cla-Le-Clare to honor his children Clay, Lee, and Amy Clare.  Since it was being built of pink Georgia marble, the Memphians called it the Pink Palace.

Pink Palace lobby

The Grand Lobby contains restored Burton Callicott murals.

   Sadly, his good fortune on Wall Street did not last. With only the exterior of the house finished, it was sold at public auction in 1925 and plans were to demolish it. However, the Garden Corporation stepped in and had the palace donated to the city with hopes of turning it into a museum.

Pink Palace star

Early controls for their planetarium are on display.

   A group of high school boys formed the Memphis Astronomical Society in 1953. They gathered weekly to look at the stars from the lawn. The city wanted to construct a planetarium and it was finally decided to put it in the Pink Palace. Due to a lack of funds, the high school boys ran the planetarium on the weekends for many years.

Pink Palace shows

Interesting films are shown on a large 3-D screen.

   The Mansion Theater has shows running throughout the day on a large 3-D screen. When visiting, the Dinosaur movie projected creatures flying into the audience and walking close by. Apollo II was to be shown later in the day.

Pink Palace General Store

Take a walk through an old general store where you were waited on personally.

   Explore an old general store like Clarence worked in as a boy. Then visit his first Piggly Wiggly store and see the improvements. His advertisement contained stories like these:

   A customer wants 5 pounds of granulated sugar put up in a cloth bag. She is in a hurry so she runs into Piggly Wiggly and helps herself. She pays the cashier and away she goes.

Piggly Wiggly circus

Enjoy a moving miniature circus in the Clyde Parke Circus Gallery.

   Upstairs the Clyde Parke Miniature Circus filled an entire room. This is a 3D model of a real circus done to 1:12 scale. Parke carved each of the figures from white pine he salvaged from packing crates. There are animals, clowns, a lady on a trapeze, and an audience of 1500 people. He donated the circus so people would remember “when the circus was the biggest show in town.”

Piggly Wiggly bear

This polar bear attracts plenty of attention.

   A large male polar bear from Alaska was donated to the museum forty years ago for educational purposes by Dr. Harold Misner. The bear has been a popular presence at many weddings in the Pink Palace. When the Memphis Grizzlies make the playoffs, he is lit with blue lights.

   The Pink Palace captures the history of not only Piggly Wiggly but that of early natural history in “A Walk Through Time” and the history of the early days of the South. Take time to visit their theater, have lunch at Metro Eats, and take home a memory from the Museum Store.

   “There’s Lively Learning for All at Pink Palace Museum.”

The Pink Palace is located at 3050 Central Avenue, Memphis TN. Your GPS should come in handy to find this location.

 

 

 

The Ark Encounter – Bigger Than Your Imagination

Ark Encounter

Visitors are in awe at the immense size of the Ark.

Awesome! That word was frequently used by visitors to describe their first impression of The Ark Encounter. Its size impresses everyone.

Ark Entrance Garden

Beautiful gardens appear throughout the grounds.

   The Ark Encounter fills the area. Noah’s Ark was much larger than most people realize. At 510 feet long, 51 feet high, and 85 feet wide, the numbers can’t really express the size of this immense biblical ship.

   Situated in Williamstown, Kentucky halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington, Ark Encounter is the largest timber-frame structure in the world. It was built in part by skilled Amish craftsmen from standing dead timber and opened in 2016. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of people have visited and up to 8000 in a day.

Ark Founder

Ken Ham is president and founder of the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum.

   This all became possible due to a dream of Ken Ham, a science teacher from Australia. His desire was to found a Creation Museum based on the book of Genesis. In 1987, he moved his family to the United States to proclaim the accuracy of the scriptures. He came to the Cincinnati area in 1997 because of its location to a large portion of the country’s population and purchased the land in 2000. He formed the group Answers in Genesis and opened the Creation Museum in 2007. In 2010, the decision was made to build the Ark Encounter.

Ark Bus

Bus transportation is provided between the parking lot and the Ark location.

   Friendly guides take people by bus from the entrance gate to the Answer Center. Here films about the Ark are shown throughout the day. “The Building of the Ark Encounter” provided an interesting view.

Ark Rainbow Gardens

The Rainbow Gardens are near the entrance to the zoo.

   Then walk through sidewalks lined with beautiful flower gardens to arrive at the actual entrance to the Ark. As you exit the ark, there are Rainbow Gardens, which make you feel like you’re visiting a tropical paradise.

Ark Kitchen

Meals were prepared in this possible kitchen area for Noah and his family.

Ark Garden

They grew vegetables on board and followed a vegan diet.

   Drift back in time to meet Noah in his 600th year and his seven family members, who lived on the Ark and cared for all the animals during the Flood. Visit all three decks to learn more about the story.

Ark Noah

Noah answers interesting questions from a select list.

Ark Blacksmith

A son took care of the blacksmith’s repair chores.

   Look in their living quarters on deck three and see what they probably looked like. Find out how they cooked their food, where they slept, how they gardened, and what they did for fun. Here you can press questions for Noah to answer about their life.

Ark water jugs and bags of grain

The first deck contained water jugs and bags of grain to feed the animals.

Ark Giraffe cages

Rows of cages contained the animals on the second deck of the Ark.

   Of course, you’ll want to meet the animals that were on the Ark to see what lived during that time. Learn what Noah and his sons fed the animals and how they fit them all on the Ark. Onboard the Ark, you’ll find exotic sculpted animals. When you exit, you’ll find live animals in their Ararat Ridge Zoo.

Ark Zoo Entrance

Enter these gates to view the Ararat Ridge Zoo.

   The petting zoo is a favorite of children and adults. A special kangaroo pen lets visitors have a close encounter with the roos. Make plans to see the Ararat Ridge Zoo earlier in the day as when 5:00 feeding time rolls around, the animals all disappear inside for their evening meal.

Ark Kangaroos

The kangaroo pen allowed visitors to come inside and pet the roos…if they were on the sidewalk.

Ark Emus

The emus paced their cage area and watched visitors.

   Visiting the entire establishment will take at least three or four hours. Some people come back for a second day as there is so much to see. Stop by Emzara’s Buffet for a relaxing full meal or get some snacks of ice cream, pizza, or funnel cakes in the Village Market. Parents can relax while children enjoy an exceptionally nice playground.

Ark Zip Line

Try the Screaming Eagle Zip Line for a fun adventure.

   They even have a Screaming Eagle Zip Line with speeds of 50 mph for the adventurous. Try a free fall jump or test your balance on the aerial adventure course. There’s something here for everyone.

Ark Bow

The visitors in this picture give a good size comparison to the bow of the Ark.

   Set on 800 acres in western Kentucky, they have a lot of room to grow. Plans are already underway for the Tower of Babel and a Giraffe Safari.

   The Ark Encounter is a great Biblical adventure for the entire family.

The Ark Encounter is located in Williamstown, Kentucky west of Exit 154 off I-75.  It is approximately 40 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

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s that lived during Noah’s lifetime animals we see today. 

Schumaker Farms Takes Pride in Their Heritage

Schumaker Produce Stand

Schumaker’s’ Produce Stand gets ready to open for another busy day.

Once a farmer, always a farmer

   Driving just outside of West Lafayette, a small produce stand catches your eye. At this time of year, pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks give you a feel of fall in the air. But there’s much more to the story of Schumaker Farms than just their produce stand. Let me tell you the rest of their story.

Schumaker Family

Today the farm is run by Chad, Leigha, Wendy, and Jim Schumaker.

   Way back in 1806, now we’re talking over 200 years ago, the family of Francis McGuire from Hampshire County, Virginia settled here on 1500 acres. Their daughter, Magdalena, married George Miller, and that family tradition has continued to operate this farm for seven generations.

Schumaker Signs of Fall

Signs of fall at the produce stand include pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks.

   Jim and Wendy Schumaker are the present family members working on this farm. Now their farm is much smaller as when it was passed down, the land was split between heirs. But pride in their heritage continues. Jim’s great-grandfather was the original owner. Several family members are buried high on a farm hill in Miller-McGuire Cemetery where their spirits keep watch over the farm.

Schumaker Old Barn

The date of 1887 can still be faintly seen on the slate roof of this original barn.

   The buildings on the farm date back to 1887 as you can easily see from the printing on the barn’s slate roof. Jim has strived over the years to improve the farm. ”I want to make it a showplace to share the farm with other people.” He’s always looking for new things to include to promote the farm in agritourism.

Schumaker Jim

Jim proudly displays the Bicentennial Farm Award for 200 years of family farming.

   They sell their produce in the summer months from a building constructed by Jim’s father, Robert, following his service in WWII. It was first used as a commercial garage, then later as an auto shop, Ferguson tractor dealership and boat dealership.

   Their most popular item at this produce stand is sweet corn. With eight acres of corn, they pick it fresh every morning. They have raised sweet corn for 58 years and sell about a hundred dozen ears a day all summer long.

Schumaker Donna Addy Cookie Maker

Donna Addy frequently bakes delicious cookies in the morning.

   Wendy keeps busy with her catering business as well since 1995. Perhaps she picked up her love of cooking from her grandmother, who was a great cook. But most of all, Wendy enjoys working with the various people she meets.

Schumaker Banquet Facility

Their banquet pavilion is a popular place for receptions and fundraisers.

   Their catering service can be “at our place or yours”. Their place is a large pavilion on the farm where people frequently have wedding receptions, family reunions, and other special events. Wendy caters all around the area and was recently honored to cater the luncheon for the dedication of the Woody Hayes bronze statue during the “Gateway to Fall” celebration in Newcomerstown.

Schumaker Wendy at truck

Wendy holds a jar of their famous BBQ sauce beside her catering truck.

   People enjoy favorites such as cheesy potatoes, pulled pork, and meatballs. Schumaker Farms Sweet BBQ Sauce became so popular, they now have it bottled so you can take home that great taste.

thumbnail_Schumaker Chad and Leigha with scarred pumpkin

Chad and Leigha hold a pumpkin she scarred when it was green.

   Today their son Chad and his wife Leigha have taken over many of the day-to-day operations and plan to keep the farm going. Leigha has a special flair for decorating while Chad has loved farming since his youth. They are in charge of the seven-acre pumpkin patch.

   Fall is Fun Time at Schumaker Farms. On weekends you can hop on a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where you can pick the pumpkin of your choice.

Schumaker Hay Ride

Many schools take field trips to the farm and include a hayride.

   Bring the youngsters along to play in the corn bin, slide down their huge slide, and visit the petting zoo. Enjoy the corn maze and a barn straw maze while picking up fresh produce or a delicious snack. Admission is $5 a car and includes all activities.

Schumaker Corn Bin

Children enjoy playing in the corn bin.

   Field trips for school groups create a great learning experience with a retired teacher explaining how a pumpkin becomes a pumpkin as well as other insights into farming. The Schumakers explain, “Those roly-poly orange spheres with built-in handles on top are naturals to wear grins or sneers and destined to bring grins to all your students’ faces.”

   When they eventually “slow down” and take a break, a cruise to a warm climate is their top choice. This chance only happens in January or February when they have enjoyed the Caribbean and Panama Canal in the last few years.

   Stop by Schumaker Farms for their Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience this fall. There are lots of things to see and do. These hard-working people enjoy their lives. For them, work is fun!

Schumaker Farms is located along OH-751 just west of West Lafayette. From US 36 take OH-751 south and watch for the farm produce stand on the left side of the road.

Twin City Opera House Alive with Music, Films, and Spirits

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio

Everything looks very similar in this historical picture – except the cars.

   Walking into Twin City Opera House is like walking back in history. On May 28, 1892, the formal opening was held for the performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado” by the Arion Opera Company. All 800 seats were sold!

   Railroad excursion trains brought people from neighboring towns. While many were not patrons of the opera, all were curious to see this newly proclaimed “light of the day” as it was one of the first buildings in the county to be lit by electric light. The opening was not as grand as expected due to failure at the local generating plant, which caused the theater to be plunged into darkness.

Opera House - entrance

The entranceway still has an owl above the doorway.

   Building the Town Hall and Opera House was a politically charged issue in McConnelsville at that time. Before the GOP adopted the elephant as its symbol in the twentieth century, the party had sometimes used the owl of its ancestral “Whig” party as its mascot. That owl still adorns the keystone in the archway over the Opera House entrance.

Opera House - Marvin and Deana

Marvin and Deana Clark currently manage Ohio Valley Opry.

   Today, The Ohio Valley Opry founded by Marvin and Deana Clark in 2000 provides monthly entertainment at the old Opera House. They toured the United States for nearly twenty years as the Marvin & Deana Clark Family then returned to the area where Marvin grew up in southeastern Ohio.

Opera House- Ohio Valley Opry clear

The Clark Family Band provides great variety in their performances.

During this time on the road, they played at churches, fairs, and festivals with their four daughters. Most of the time they have played Country, Country Gospel, and Bluegrass. Marvin actually writes most of the songs that the family sings. They provide music and laughter throughout their performances.

Opera House - packed

Ohio Valley Opry frequently fills the auditorium with fans.

Opera House Sign

The husband and wife team of Birch and Sperry entertained with magic and the xylophone in the 1940s. This poster hangs in the lobby.

   A large variety of performers and celebrities have appeared at the Opera House over the years. Evangelist Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, and Senator Albert Beveridge spoke there. The most spectacular of all were the traveling shows that would arrive by train and provide lavish productions. The tradition continues today with local, regional, and national artists now performing.

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio   Back in 1913, a system for showing silent films was installed. The best seats in the house were those in the “Parquet Circle,” which would be the front rows of the center section on the ground floor. Those premium seats could coast as much as twenty cents, while those in the “peanut gallery” were a nickel.

Opera House - stairs to balcony

Climb this beautiful stairway to the balcony.

   The first sound pictures using a “Vitaphone” system arrived at the Opera House in 1930. True “talkies” arrived in 1936. The theater still continues to screen recently released films, as it has done nearly every week since 1936. Price for viewing all films is a reasonable $4 per person.

Travel Channel Paranormal Show

The Travel Channel included them in their Paranormal show.

   No building this old would be without some resident spirits. Ghost stories have been around at the Opera House for over forty years with paranormal investigators spending many nights there with their special equipment. Often it is listed as one of the most haunted buildings in Ohio.

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio

United Paranormal is one of many groups that explore the resident spirits in the underground tunnels.

   Some say that Everett Miller, an usher there for thirty years, watches over the Opera House and has been contacted by the investigators. Or you might see ten-year-old Elizabeth peeking from the catwalk. Deep in the basement, Dark Shadow Masses have been observed by many. Spirits seem to thrive here. Come for a ghost hunt to find out more.

   It’s a beautiful drive down the Muskingum River to McConnelsville any season of the year. Check out their schedule at www.operahouseinc.com for dates and times of musical performances, film screenings, and ghost tours.

Opera House - Time capsule

Josie points to a time capsule that her dad helped develop to be opened in 2090.

   On September 21st, there will be two shows featuring country music legend, Doug Stone. Movies change each week so check out the schedule before heading to McConnelsville. The next scheduled public Ghost Hunt is December 7 and pre-registration is required.

Opera House - with statue

The Twin City Opera House can be found in the center of town near the Civil War monument.

   As you can see, the Twin City Opera House adds excitement to the McConnelsville area in many different ways. Make your choice – music, films or ghosts – and join in the fun.

Twin City Opera House is located in downtown McConnelsville along the scenic Muskingum River on Ohio Route 60-S.

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