Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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. 

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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!

 

 

Historical Kennedy Stone House at Salt Fork State Park

Kennedy Stone House 2

Kennedy Stone House is located at Salt Fork State Park.

Visits to Salt Fork State Park should include a stop at Kennedy Stone House Museum. Built in 1840, this sandstone house today overlooks the tranquil lake.

Kennedy Castle

This picture of  Culzean Castle shows the family’s background.

The Kennedy clan originated in Scotland, where they lived in beautiful Culzean Castle perched on the Ayrshire Cliffs. Benjamin Kennedy, the original owner of this house, was born right here in Ohio in Harrison County. He bought the land in 1837 where the Stone House stands today.

His grandfather, Samuel, was a well known doctor in New Jersey. It has often been said that Dr. Kennedy had the “Scottish gift of second sight”. There was a “panic” in 1837 and no one had much money. Some have wondered whether Benjamin got the money to purchase the land and build the house from his grandfather’s estate.

Kennedy Root Cellar

The root cellar kept Kennedy food cool in the summer and from freezing in the winter.

He hired an Irish family, who some say worked barefoot, to build him a four room stone house at a cost of $500. For another $60, he also built a root cellar to store their foods to keep them fresh. Benjamin, his wife and six children settled on their eighty acre farm along Sugar Creek where they made a living raising sheep.

At that time, you could reach their home on a dirt roadway by horseback or horse and buggy. In the early years of Salt Fork State Park, you would reach the Kennedy Stone House by taking a hiking trail through the woods or arriving over the water. Today you can still use those means or if you prefer, drive down a short country lane and park very near the house.

Kennedy View

Today the view from the Kennedy bedroom shows a peaceful lake.

Restoration on the old house began in 2000 by Friends of the Kennedy Stone House under the leadership of Pauli Cornish. While the basic structure remains the same, there are few original furnishings or items.

Kennedy Salt Fork Sign

Leftover sandstone blocks from the summer kitchen were used for this entrance sign.

Stones left over from the summer kitchen were used to create the entrance sign for Salt Fork State Park. Little did they dream at that time that the house would someday be restored.

Kennedy Fireplace

The oxen yoke used in building the stone house hangs above the summer kitchen fireplace.

Above the sandstone fireplace in the summer kitchen hangs an oxen yoke used by the oxen that hauled the sandstone to the site by the Irish masons, who built this beautiful house. All the blocks for the house came from their property. The summer kitchen was an important addition as it kept the main house cooler in summer.

Kennedy Chest

This trunk carried precious pines from Maine to plant at Vietta’s new home.

Upstairs is an ornate old chest used by Vietta, the wife of son Matthew, to bring two pine saplings from her home in Maine to be planted in front of the Kennedy home. Both have now been removed.

Kennedy Bed

Visitors demonstrate how to use that extra blanket on the rolling pin bed.

Upstairs you’ll find tools and information about those Merino sheep they raised. You are welcome to feel that soft wool. In the bedroom, you’ll find a unique rolling pin bed. The bottom of the bed looks like a large rolling pin. It has a blanket wrapped around it so if you get cold in the middle of the night, you can easily reach down and unroll an extra blanket.

Kennedy Sheep Display

A small section upstairs gives information regarding the sheep the family raised.

If you have the spirit of adventure, another path leads three quarters of a mile to McCleary Cemetery. There are over 200 graves there, most being local people. Benjamin, his father Moses, and many other Kennedys are buried in Irish Ridge Cemetery.

The first people buried there were McClearys, who owned a saw and grist mill in the area. Miss McCleary, a school teacher, lived in the Stone House for a time. Sometimes she rewarded an excellent student by letting them spend the night at the Stone House.

Kennedy Docents

Sisters, Elaine Lipps and Jane Ransom, greet visitors and tell the Kennedy history.

Now, volunteers man the Kennedy Stone House Museum from May through October. If you would enjoy dressing in period costume and telling the Kennedy story, there is a docent cabin available for volunteer use at no cost…just bring your own linens. You can then enjoy up to a week at the lake while helping at the Stone House during the day.

Kennedy Cornish Cabin

Volunteers get to stay in this lovely little cabin near the Stone House.

Presently they have forty-seven docents that come from Maryland, Virginia and all over Ohio. Their visitors have arrived from as far away as Russia and India. Recently Robert Cody Kennedy, a young descendant of the Kennedy family, heard about the house and stopped by to see the house his ancestors built. His father in Tennessee still receives an invitation each year for their family reunion in Scotland.

Kennedy Picnic Shelter

A picnic shelter by the Stone House was the perfect place for an art class to take a break.

Stop by the Kennedy Stone House Museum to get a glimpse of life in Guernsey County in the early 1800s. Sit on the porch steps and feel the footsteps of the past as you enjoy the present day view of the lake. Soak in that peaceful feeling.

To arrive at Salt Fork State Park, take Exit 47 from I-77, which will be US Route 22 North.  It’s approximately six miles to the Salt Fork State Park entrance on the left hand side. Watch signs carefully for directions to the Stone House once you reach the Salt Fork Lake Region.

Dogwood Pass – The Old West Still Lives on in Ohio

Dogwood Pass SignHowdy, partner!

If you want the feeling of the Old West right close to home, head on down to Dogwood Pass in the hills of Southern Ohio. Many roads head that direction. All are scenic.

Dogwood Pass Frog and Sharlene 2 (2)

Twenty-five years ago, Sharlene and Frog were married under a tree on the land that is today Dogwood Pass.

This Western town developed rather recently in Beaver, Ohio as an idea of Mike “Frog” Montgomery. Now, Frog has always had a passion for the history and life of a cowboy. He grew up on the farm that today holds Dogwood Pass. Why, he and Sharlene even got married on this spot twenty-five years ago.

Dogwood Pass Barmaids Nikki and Zoe

Nikki and Zoe served as barmaids in Dogwood Saloon, where the strongest drink was ‘root beer’.

One thing Frog always wanted was his own saloon to hang out in after horseback riding or hunting. In 2009, he decided to build a saloon in his back yard. Just for a hobby! Even Mike admits that his hobby went wild…Wild, Wild West, that is.

Dogwood Pass Bank Robbery

Sit back on wooden benches to watch “The Bank Robbery at Dogwood Pass”.

Not only is there a growing village, but a couple times a day you can see a live Wild West Show, “Bank Robbery at Dogwood Pass”. There’s a whole lotta shootin’ and chasin’ goin’ on, including a jail escape.

Dogwood Pass Chldren

Children took part in a special show at Dogwood Pass.

A special children’s show lets children decide if they’d rather be an outlaw or a deputy. Most want to be outlaws! Everyone takes an active part in the show.

Every year the Montgomerys hold a cystic fibrosis event in honor of a dear friend who suffered with that illness. The Brad Schneider Memorial, very important to the Montgomerys, is a day when all proceeds go to someone currently fighting Cystic Fibrosis.

Dogwood Pass Roy Rogers

Frog is pleased to have a growing Roy Rogers Memory Museum.

Roy Rogers Memory Museum displays photos and movie posters along with some of Roy and Dale’s clothes and guns. Frog continues to search for Roy Rogers’ memorabilia to showcase at this western museum.

Dogwood Pass Owner Frog

“Frog” Montgomery leans on the saloon bar as he describes his dream.

That first building, the saloon, holds a nice gaming parlor and a beautiful bar.Their stage can accommodate bands or Djs. The strongest drink you can purchase there is “root beer”.

Dogwood Pass Sheriff

That bank robbery had the sheriff so confused he rode his horse backwards.

You’ll find Dr. Cochran’s office ready to help the injured right next door to the offices of Sheriff John Dillon. This sheriff can even ride his horse while sitting backwards in the saddle.

Dogwood Pass Entrance

Costumed volunteers greet visitors as they enter the gate.

This is a family venture, now aided by about 75 volunteers that help run Dogwood Pass. One thing Frog is adamant about – all voluteers must dress in authentic western costumes. Actually, Frog dresses that way all the time, so people are quite used to seeing him in town with guns in his holsters.

Volunteers find it so much fun they travel miles to get there on the weekends. They drive from Cincinnati, Columbus, Springfield, and even indiana.

Dogwood Pass Horseback Ride

Horseback rides are available for children throughout the day.

Two movies have been filmed here. “Western World” tells the story of a sherrif faced with more corruption and deceit than he thought possible. A second movie still in the process of being finished, “Brimstone Saint”, involves a preacher who became a gunslinger to stop witchcraft in his small town.

Every weekend they are open on Friday and Saturday, usually from 11 -6. Check out their special events on their Facebook page or on their webpage at www.dogwoodpass.com .

Dogwood Bathhouse

A cowboy would visit the bathhouse for a shave, haircut, and bath.

In October, they have a Haunted Trail, then in December, a Christmas tour. Since Mike and his wife live right outside the fence, he never turns anyone away that wants to visit his town.

Weekend visitors range from 300 – 1000, and tour buses frequently make stops there. That’s why Mike is planning to build an amphitheater to have even more extensive Wild West Shows.

Dogwood Mercantile

The mercantile held all the necessities for a cowboy. It was the perfect place to sit and watch a bank robbery.

If you don’t have the time to head out west, take a drive some weekend soon and visit the biggest Old West town west of the Mississippi. Mike’s a great country boy at heart and adds a personal touch by talking with everyone. You’ll feel welcome at Dogwood Pass.

Dogwood Pass is located in southern Ohio south of Chillicothe. The actual address for your GPS would be 722 Adams Road, Beaver, OH. It’s a back road trip anyway you look at it, but what would you expect going to the Old West.

Velvet Ice Cream – A True Original Since 1914

All Ice Cream is Good…

Some is Just Better Than Others.

~Joe and Mike Dager

Velvet Mill

This old mill is now home to Velvet Ice Cream Shoppe where you can find the history of ice cream as well as a restaurant and gift shop.

Velvety smooth ice cream has been produced in Utica for over a hundred years. That’s why more than 150,000 people visit Velvet Ice Cream each year and July is a special month with free samples.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan recognized ice cream as a delicious treat enjoyed by almost everyone and nutritious besides. So he declared July to be National Ice Cream Month.

Velvet First Home

This was the original home of Velvet Ice Cream in the basement of the Utica Ice Company.

Joseph Dager came to the United States in 1903 unable to speak any English. That didn’t stop him from following the American dream of having his own business. His dream became a reality in the basement of a confectionery in Utica in 1914.  That first ice cream was made the old-fashioned way by hand cranking. At that time, there were only three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

They outgrew their basement  home quickly and built a factory behind the confectionery. Then in 1960 they discovered an old gristmill, built in 1817, at the edge of town and thought it the perfect place to build a new factory. The mill was powered by an overshot water wheel, which is 18 feet in diameter and weighs 2000 pounds.

Velvet Operation

Watching Velvet Ice Cream being made shows their high standards of cleanliness.

Since 1914 the same family has been making ice cream for four generations in Utica, Ohio. They make the world a happier place one small batch at a time. Even today they make their ice cream in small batches using local cream and the finest ingredients.

Velvet Favorite Flavor

Their number one selling ice cream is Buckeye Classic, with Southern Butter Pecan running a close second.

Watching the seven steps of ice cream being made on their Factory Tour is not only free, but during July, Monday thru Friday you’ll get a free sample of ice cream as part of that tour. Only natural ingredients are used to make this smooth and creamy ice cream. It immediately goes to a freezer where the temperature is 108-110 degrees to lock in freshness.

Velvet Cow

This Jersey cow, named Velvet of course, signifies their ice cream is all made from local Jersey milk.

Here they produce over five million gallons of ice cream each year. They are the largest producer of ice cream in Ohio. It all begins with milk, cream, sugar and water in just the right proportions. Mixing in air as it freezes is essential as nearly half of the volume of ice cream is air. That’s why you have to crank homemade ice cream so long.

On this visiting day they were making Raspberry Fudge Cordial, Summertime Peach, and Moose Tracks. All delicious!

Velvet Cleaning

After each flavor is finished, the bins must be thoroughly cleaned.

Keeping everything perfectly clean is a top priority. Their employees all change to white uniforms when they enter the factory area. Employees throughout the grounds seemed perfectly happy to be working at Velvet.

After each flavor is finished, the machines must be cleaned. What remains in the machines is placed in red buckets to be picked up later by local hog farmers. Pigs like everything except the mints in mint chocolate chip. They leave those in the bottom of the trough.

Velvet Mill Museum

To honor the old mill, there is a Mill Museum, which displays tools used there years ago.

Visit the Milling Museum to view the reconstructed Ye Old Mill, which began running in 1817. When fire destroyed the old mill in 1986, the family rebuilt it. However, the actual mill wheel is still the original.

Velvet Ice Cream Shoppe

Happy employees patiently give out samples of ice cream until you find your favorite.

Before you leave, you’ll want to stop at Ye Old Mill, where you’ll find their ice cream parlor. Perhaps you’ll want to have a sandwich followed by the freshest ice cream you’ve ever tasted. No matter what their age, everyone enjoys ice cream.

Their largest sundae carries the name “The Feed Bin” and should serve 4-6 hungry people. It contains 14 scoops of ice cream covered with four sauces, bananas, crushed nuts and cherries. Come hungry for that one.

Velvet Trail and Playground

Children enjoy the playground, while nearby walking trails give you a chance to walk off some of that delicious ice cream.

Velvet Pond

The pond offers fishing with their Buckeye Tree Grove on the left side.

Afterwards, perhaps you might want to take a short walk on their Nature Trail that follows an old canal. It’s a chance to walk off some of that delicious ice cream. Or relax by the side of the catch-and-release fishing pond, where you’ll find ducks to feed. There’s enough activity here for an afternoon of fun for kids of any age..

Velvet truck

Eye catching semis deliver gallons of ice cream to Ohio and surrounding states.

Visit Velvet Ice Cream during July to get a free sample right off the line Monday – Friday, 11 – 3.  Spend a yummy day discovering your favorite Velvet Ice Cream flavor.

Velvet Ice Cream is located off I-70 at Exit 132. Take Ohio 13 through Newark to Utica. Their address is 11324 Mt. Vernon Road, Utica, Ohio. It is right along Route 13 so quite easy to find. 

 

 

 

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