Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Coal Miners’ Exhausting Work at King’s Mine

Photos from David Adair collection

This double engine stops by the tipple for some coal in its feeders.

In 1895, Robin’s Mine just two miles from Lore City loaded train cars with coal mined there to take to the big cities, where much of it would be used in steel mills. However, one day something happened. The mine ran out of its vein of coal.

Two years earlier, Madison and Alexander Robins furnished financing for the opening of a 97-foot shaft that led to a vein of coal 5′ high. As the men worked the shaft, that vein kept getting smaller and smaller until it disappeared into a wall of stone called a “horseback.”

This 1895 picture shows a fairly new King’s Mine tipple with wooden coal cars waiting to be filled.

At that time the Robins brothers thought about abandoning the project but they had thousands of dollars invested. Up stepped Joe King, a local colored man who worked in the mine. He proposed that they blast through the horseback, without having any idea of its thickness,  to see what was on the other side.

Joe and a few friends took on that project and did indeed blast through the stone wall and find another vein of coal. This vein was even larger than the first one at 14′ high!

Joe King had a professional picture taken at a studio in Cambridge.

Imagine the excitement of the Robins brothers when they were shown this new discovery. Why they were so happy, they changed the name of the mine from Robin’s Mine to King’s Mine in honor of Joe King. A town near the mine was named Kingston. Joe became a bit of a celebrity in the coal mining town for a while.

A locomotive gets a load of #7 coal in its tender.

During their heyday, King’s Mine had as many as thirty trains a day stop to pick up coal to take to places like Akron or Cleveland. At the tipple, they would drop 35-40 tons of coal into each car plus 14 tons into the tender of the steam locomotive. Now, that’s a lot of coal.

This receipt shows coal being sold to Morton Tin Plate Co. in Cambridge in 1895.

Workers in the mine were a diverse group but most were uneducated in 1895. There were around 350 Hungarians, Slavs, Polish, and Negroes who found this a place where they could at least feed their families and have a roof over their head.

This young couple dressed in their best to meet at the tipple.

Housing was provided for the workers by the company. In those early days, the miners earned about $15 every two weeks and were paid in cash. Their rent was $12 a month, which they paid at the company store. Not much left for anything else. A mule was worth more to the company than a miner.

This photo of King’s Mine in 1926 shows the company store on the left with all the windows.

That old song “I owe my soul to the company store” was certainly true in King’s Mine and other towns in Guernsey County at that time. You must realize that in the summer there was no work at the mine because not as many needed coal in the summer. Then the miners had to put their rent and any food purchases on the tab at the company store to have part of their pay taken each payday in the future to help pay this debt.

Occupants of this little town would exchange milk, butter, eggs, and sometimes meat. If they needed sugar, flour, coffee, or supplies to work in the mine, they had to purchase those at the company store. Miners were never given equipment to work with. They had to purchase their own picks, shovels, carbine hats, and even dynamite. Life was not easy for these miners.

Students studied with their teacher at a one-room elementary school.

It was common practice for the miners to put a couple of lumps of coal in their dinner pail all year long either from the mine or on their walk home along the tracks. That way they could heat their house at no cost. The children most likely would also pick up a few lumps on their way home.

While the company had electricity in their company store and even at the coal mine to move the coal to the tipple, miners had no electricity in their homes. There was no running water and always outdoor toilets.

Ohio 265 sign shows a rough road in 1926 in front of the power house and tipple.

In 1908, a fire destroyed the tipple, all the buildings, and machinery. For seven years, this mine did not operate and became filled with water. At that time, it was leased to Akron Coal Company and the mine was rebuilt. From 1916 to 1936, the mine continued in full operation until all the coal was mined out.

This bronze statue made by Alan Cottrill to honor all miners stands at the old depot in Byesville, Ohio.

A bronze statue created by Alan Cottrill can be found at the old Byesville depot. In the early 1900s, Byesville was the coalmining capital of Ohio. It honors all those miners who worked in the dangerous underground mines with very little pay or benefits. Part of the plaque on that statue reads:

May our miners of those early days never be forgotten for all their dangerous work underground with little pay and no benefits.

Explore Nearby Remnants of Ohio-Erie Canal

Ground breaking for the Ohio-Erie Canal took place in Newark on July 4, 1825 with Governor DeWitt Clinton, a Master Mason of New York, taking the first shovelful.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson actually discussed the idea of a canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio River back in 1784. It wasn’t until July 4, 1825, that ground was broken for the Ohio-Erie Canal at Newark, Ohio to move goods more efficiently across Ohio.

This map shows major canal stops but not all of the branches.

Amazing as it seems these canals were hand-dug with shovel and wheelbarrow and sometimes mules pulling drag lines. The canal was about 40′ wide at water level and 26′ wide at the bottom with a depth of about 4′. Farmers and townspeople started digging the canal but were grateful for assistance from German and Irish immigrants.

Pay for canal workers was 30 cents a day plus room, board, and a daily ration of whiskey. The whiskey was to help fight off the Shakes, which happened due to the frequency of malaria on the mosquito infested waters.

Many have enjoyed a ride on the Monticello III at an old section of the canal in Roscoe Village.

Many of us are familiar with the gorgeous towpaths that encourage biking and hiking along the old canal. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have ridden on the Monticello III at Roscoe Village as the horses still pull it along the old canal. However, there are pieces still visible from that early canal that go unnoticed here in central Ohio. Here is a sampling of some of those canal remnants.

New Philadelphia- Lock 13

Lock 13 – New Philadelphia was open until the disastrous flood of 1913.

There were 15 locks in Tuscarawas County. Lock 13 can be found south of US-250 near New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia. Many have memories of using this spot for childhood adventures when it was filled with brush at Blake’s Mill. Now it is cleared and there is an Ohio Historical Maker in place.

The canal was responsible for bringing more commerce to Ohio. Then farmers, lumberjacks, and coal miners could get their products to the Ohio River or Lake Erie.

Tuscarawas – Upper Trenton Lock

Lock 15 – Upper Trenton Lock was replaced with concrete walls after a flood in 1907.

Lock 15 was built of sandstone block and named for the nearby town of Trenton, which is now Tuscarawas. There were several warehouses at Trenton where merchants would bring their goods for shipment to all parts of Ohio. Today, the area has been made into a relaxing historical spot with a footbridge built over the canal.

Just down the road a few hundred feet is Lock 16 , Lower Trenton Lock. The lock tender lived on this site and took care of both locks. Both locks are on the west side of SR-416 with the Tuscarawas River on the east side.

Lock Seventeen

This old mill, Wilson’s Feed Mill, still stands in the village of Lock Seventeen.

Lock 17 was destroyed years ago when US-36 was widened. A small village called Lock Seventeen can be found here today. There are several homes, and an old mill, Wilson’s Feed Mill, that was most likely used during the canal days.

Loren Lindon shared the history of Beersheba and guided me to the mill and cemetery as it is today.

Life-long resident, Loren Lindon, told about its previous history as Beersheba, a Moravian village. The Delaware and Cherokee Indians made Beersheba a regular stop and several are buried in the cemetery there.

Newcomerstown – Canal Ditch

This deep ditch behind the hardware store has been saved as a reminder of those early canal days.

On the corner of Canal Street and Goodrich Street, you can easily see the saved ditch that was once part of the canal. The little red house at the end is said to have a foundation actually built on a wall of the old canal.

During canal days, this building was Miskimen’s Feed and Grain Mill with the canal running just north of it.

Temperance Tavern remains in Newcomerstown as a museum today. During canal days, that tavern, which served no alcohol, was a great place for travelers to get a great meal and spend the night.

Roscoe Village – Triple Locks

Walhonding Triple Locks Feeder Canal is located near the Visitors Center at Roscoe Village.

Branch canals fed into the main channel. Near Roscoe Village are well-preserved triple locks from the old Walhonding feeder. After the flood of 1913, much of the canal had a difficult time with repairs.

Triple Locks found a new purpose. It furnished water to a hydro-electric plant in Roscoe until 1950. Today, REACT Memorial Park, formerly Triple Locks Park, provides a beautiful, relaxing place for a picnic. Steps into the locks give visitors a chance to walk on the canal bed and see the stonework.

The Ohio–Erie Canal covered 308 miles with 146 locks so was quite extensive. The canal boats, which were 70-80′ long and 14′ wide, were pulled by a team of horses or mules who walked along the towpath. Large loads of cargo might require six horses, while a passenger boat would only need two.

This mural on the Portsmouth Floodwall shows the canal near its ending at the Ohio River.

Take a trip back in history and drive along the canal route. View some of these sandstone pieces still in existence from Cleveland to Portsmouth.

The advent of the railroads put a halt to travel on the canal. The trains could go 55mph, 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s interesting to note that the first locomotive came to Coshocton County on a canal boat. Assembly required!

The Bloody Bible Displayed at Olde Main Street Museum

Harley Dakin, historian, provided information at Olde Main Street Museum.

One of the most famous legends of Tuscarawas Valley history involves the Bloody Bible, which today can be found at the Newcomerstown Olde Main Street Museum. However, it had a long journey and interesting story before arrival there for safekeeping.

The story centers around John Early, who grew up in Harrison County, lived a happy life, and enjoyed the music of the violin, which he played very well. After meeting a Methodist circuit rider, John Early was converted to Christianity and gave up his violin playing as “the devil was in it.” At that point, he moved just south of Newcomerstown in a beautiful log house.

Traveling Methodist preachers were welcome at his home and eventually, John donated land to have a Methodist Episcopal Church built on the boundary line of Tuscarawas and Guernsey County. There was also room for a church cemetery. In 1853, when Early died, he was one of the first people buried in the cemetery on the west side of the meeting house. His tombstone can still be found there today.

This church replaced Early’s log church where the story began.

The story of the Bloody Bible begins before the start of the Civil War and after the death of John Early. When members of Early’s Church came to the log meeting house in early May to attend their usual Sabbath School, prayer, and class services, what they found when they opened the door was forever impressed on their minds.

Stains can still be seen on the Bloody Bible at the Olde Main Street Museum.

Sometime since the previous Sabbath, a terrible deed had been done. Someone decided to mock God by offering a lamb as sacrifice upon the altar of the church. Then they sprinkled the pages of the Bible with the blood of the lamb causing blood to drip down the altar and cover the floor. The lamb was still there beside the Bible when they entered.

It was later discovered that the deed was done by three young men called “Sons of Belial” who met at Whiskey Springs. They liked to play tricks on neighbors and for some reason especially the Early family. His cornfield had been destroyed, a new plow wrecked, and horses tied to the edge of a cliff so they fell to their death. They later told people they had stolen the sacrificed lamb that was a pet of a young crippled boy in the Early family.

Mrs. Manson Castor, who attended the church, holds the Bible in 1946 at the age of 89.

When the young boys did this terrible deed, one young man shouted for John Early to rise from his grave. A pillar of fire arose in the door of the church and swept down the aisle. One of the boys was not able to see or speak, had to be carried to his home a mile away, and was in a stupor for much of his life. The others could barely stand to live with the guilt. But no charges were filed as the church people agreed, “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.”

The original story of the Bible appeared in The Cambridge Jeffersonian on April 20, 1899.

The story was first written by Solomon Mercer in the Cambridge Jeffersonian on April 20, 1899. He had a personal interest in the story as his father, James Mercer, lived in the northwestern part of Guernsey County in Wheeling Township. His neighbor was John Early.

Mercer remembered this tale well as he was there when it happened. Everyone was headed to Sunday School that morning in their best church dress. When they entered the church, the smell of the killed lamb was so strong that no services were held there that day. Mercer even remembers his father and another family member carrying the lamb between two sticks out the church door.

A plaque pays tribute to Jim Rogers and family who gave the museum the Bible.

For many years, Jim Rogers of Orrville kept the Bible in his home under glass in a special table he had built. He had received guardianship of the Bible from his wife’s aunt. At the age of 92, Jim wasn’t well and asked the Newcomerstown Museum if they would display the Bible there. It was added to their collection in June of 2020 after being gone from Newcomerstown for 150 years.

Chris Hart prepares himself to present the story of “The Bloody Bible.”

At the age of 10 in 1964, young Chris Hart saw the Bloody Bible on display in the window of Newcomerstown News on Main Street during their Sesquicentennial. As he looked at the Bible through the window, he thought, “That would make a great story.” Today he tells that story to organizations around the area as he portrays one of the young men who played havoc with the church that night.

The Bible’s story is featured in “Tales of the Buckeye Hills” by Lonzo Green.

The Bloody Bible was featured in the book, “Tales of the Buckeye Hills” by Lonzo Green, a retired Methodist minister, and that book is also on permanent display. He tells the story of Early’s Church and the circumstances of the Bloody Bible in the first chapter of his book. His story ends with this quote from the page that was opened in the blood-soaked Bible:

Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap.”

This tombstone in the cemetery near Early’s church bears the name of John Early.

Sometime in the near future, plan to visit Olde Main Street Museum at 213 W. Canal Street, Newcomerstown to see a replica of an early 1900s village. They built an entire village inside a building! While there be sure to see that popular legend in Tuscarawas Valley history…the Bloody Bible.

Olde Main Street Museum can easily be found from I-77 in Ohio by taking exit 65 for US 35 to the west. In two miles turn left on Pilling Street, then quickly turn right on East Canal Street. You will find the museum on the left hand side about a mile down Canal Street.

Early Television Museum Picture Perfect

TV adds so much to family happiness.

~Motorola

Early Television Museum is located in Hilliard.

RCA’s first television on the market, TRK-12, was Steve McVoy’s initial early television purchase. He found it on eBay in pieces. Collecting became a passion and soon his basement was filled with old television sets. His wife suggested he find another place to store them.

Once he discovered an available building, he founded the Early Television Foundation in 2000 at Hilliard, Ohio to preserve the history of television sets. At Early Television Museum, progress is shown from the early mechanical systems of the 1920s to the introduction of color television in the 1950s.

There is a large display of early television sets from outside the United States.

However, Steve developed a passion for televisions early in life. He fondly remembers that first set in his parents’ home. The 1953 model Admiral 21-inch set received only one channel in Gainesville, Florida where he grew up.

At the age of ten, the family has a picture of Steve pulling a little wagon with the words “TV Repair” written on the side. By seventh grade, he worked in a TV repair shop after school.

Steve’s first business, Freedom TV, was located in Gainesville, Florida.

That passion turned into a business as he opened Freedom TV, an antenna shop, which supplied apartment buildings and hotels. When antennas lost their popularity, it seemed a logical move to create Micanopy Cable TV to provide television service.

Steve McVoy, originator of the museum, takes visitors on a tour of the facility.

Since Steve enjoys starting new businesses and giving many people a place to work, he expanded his cable company to several states, including Ohio. In the 70s, he met his wife Suzi, who just happened to work at his Columbus, Ohio cable company. The move to Ohio happened at that time. He sold the cable company in 1999 before he opened the Early Television Museum.

Larry McIntyre has been with Steve since the very beginning. He has always been interested in the electronics side of the television industry as his grandfather was an electrical engineer.

Early sets were made in Columbus by Murry Mercier and his father in 1928.

At the museum, there is a self-guided tour where you can press a button to hear about the television sets and their programs. The sets are numbered to make it easy to follow the narrative. The facility is well arranged with easy transition from one era to the next.

A Felix the Cat statue was used by RCA/NBC to test early television equipment in 1928.
Television were introduced to the United States consumer market in 1939 at the World’s Fair.
This RCA TRK-12 was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair.

Starting with the 1920s, you find yourself on a fascinating journey through the early years of television beginning with early mechanical. RCA then developed the technology for sets using tubes, but it was the BBC that put it into operation in 1936. That first purchase of Steve’s, the RCA TRK-12, was introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. It cost $600 – more than the cost of a modest car at that time.

This early television by Dumont was the largest black and white set ever made.

After WWII, there was a burst in television production. During the war, they had learned much about how radar operates and applied this to the television world. Then sets could be purchased at a lower cost.

This Emerson Telejuke played records and television in New York City in 1947.

The Emerson Telejuke became popular in 1947 in New York City. Most people still did not have a television set in their homes so they could drop a quarter into the jukebox and either listen to some 78 rpm records or watch television for thirty minutes. Every bar, restaurant, and club had a jukebox.

In 1954, Westinghouse made the first color television which sold for $1295.

In the 1950s, color tv was introduced. Westinghouse made the first color set for sale in 1954 at a cost of $1295. Sixty New York department stores offered them for sale with not a single purchase that week. As color quality improved, prices came down, and sales increased. However, it wasn’t until 1970 that color sets outsold black and white.

Early camera equipment surrounds this production van from Newark WGSF 31.

School groups frequently tour the museum. When he tells them that in the 50s, you might get only two or three channels, they find it hard to believe. A fourth-grade group took it upon themselves to count the sets and came up with a total of nearly 200.

Recently they added a 6′ Nipper to their RCA showroom.

During 2020, the museum added 4 mechanical, 2 pre-war, and 18 early color sets to their database. They also acquired a video of French TV in 1935. They are always looking for something unusual to add to their collection.

Kuba Komet’s home entertainment center was developed in West Germany in 1957.

Regular hours for the museum are only on the weekends. Saturday they are open from 10-6 and Sunday noon-5. They open during the week by appointment. Set aside an hour or two for exploring this well-arranged display of older television sets from the United States as well as Europe. Visit their website for detailed information at www.earlytelevision.org.

Early Television Museum in Hilliard is a great place to see how technology has changed over the years. For many, it will bring back memories of sets they had early in life. You hear it, you see it, you’re right there with RCA Victor.

Early Television Museum is located about two miles off I-270 west of Columbus at 5396 Franklin Street, Hilliard, Ohio. Enjoy your visit!

Great Western Schoolhouse Keeps One-Room School Memories Alive

Reading ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic, the three Rs, were the basics taught in those early one-room schools that stretched across Ohio in the 1800s. Not many are still left standing today but those that are, hold special memories and can teach us lessons from another era.

Great Western School

On the campus of Ohio University-Eastern near St. Clairsville, Great Western Schoolhouse has been restored for just that purpose and still stands in its original place 150 years later. Back in 1870, this school was built by Clark Construction Company of bricks made from the clay found on the banks of a nearby farm pond. The walls are three bricks thick with roughly 30,000 bricks used. It was proudly named for the first steamship, “The Great Western” which crossed the Atlantic in 15 days.

During those early days, attendance was not required but encouraged nevertheless. Most of the time, there were eight grades in one room taught by one teacher. Classes were often held from October through April, a time when students were not needed as frequently for farm work.

Great Western School - 1940 when brick road ran below it
The brick Old National Trail ran below the schoolhouse in 1940.

Great Western School was continually used until 1952. It is one of the very few one-room schools still standing on the National Road. Ohio University-Eastern uses this school to help students and children understand the schools of pioneer times.

These students were the last class to attend Great Western School.

In 1975, Dr. Robert Bovenizer of Ohio University asked the National Trail #348 of International Questers to consider restoring the building. They receive donations from former students and area residents as well as the use of grant money to complete the restoration project. An open house was held in 1976 during our country’s bicentennial.

Great Western - Finished Repairs
Repairs on the brickwork of two sides of Great Western School have been completed.

Improvements continue to be made each year. Recently a new tin ceiling was installed in the school, and the interior walls were restored and painted along with some of the schoolhouse benches. This considerably brightened the classroom. Two sides of the exterior brickwork were restored last fall and look wonderful.

great-western-mrs.-skaggs
Mrs. Skaggs taught at Great Western for many years.

The school still has recitation benches, chalkboards, McGuffey Readers, the original schoolmaster’s desk, two outhouses, and a potbelly stove which was fired by the stronger male students. The wooden students’ desks were donated by another school.

Ann Rattine, schoolmarm, teaches students

When Ann Rattine began teaching in St. Clairsville in 1976, she visited the newly restored Great Western Schoolhouse. Ann recalled, “When I stepped over the threshold, I thought this would make a nice field trip.” At that point, she became an important supporter of the school’s development.

One-Room School Flag
Most one-room schools had a flag above the chalkboard as well as pictures of Presidents Washington and Lincoln.

When Ann retired, she accepted the role of schoolmarm in the restored school. Visiting groups spend most of the day at the school, beginning the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, and a Bible story – all things that were done in those early days.

Great Western - typical child
This young lady appears as a typical child at a one-room school.

Large groups of children visit here each spring to have spelling and arithmetic lessons on the old-fashioned slates. Last year nearly 500 students attended. Students are introduced to the ‘dunce hat’, which originally was used if a student didn’t know his lessons.

McGuffey Readers were used by students at all grade levels.

Old-fashioned games are also played. A Spelling Bee gives a break from traditional studies. Outside students might play Jacks, Tug of War, Drop the Handkerchief, or LeapFrog.

One-Room School Desks
The schoolmarm keeps the school in perfect order.

Ann Rattine gives new meaning to the word ‘dedication.’ Not only is she the schoolmarm, but she also does all the jobs that a schoolmarm did at the one-room school. She sweeps the floor, cleans the desks with Murphy Oil soap to have them shining, and puts the classroom in perfect order. Even the pot-bellied stove shines, although it is no longer in use.

One-Room School slate and reader
A typical student’s desk would contain slate, chalk, eraser, and reader.

Former students are encouraged to reminisce about lessons learned, pranks played on teachers and other students, lunch boxes, and stories of how they got to school. Many remember the ‘hot school lunch’ provided by parents during the cold winter months. A large pot would be placed on the pot-bellied stove, and parents would contribute meat, potatoes, and vegetables. At lunchtime, students would fill their water cup with a dipper of warm stew.

Great Western School -Lentz Tavern front
Lentz Tavern, next to the school, provided a place to get water and also a place for teachers to get their room and board.

Drinking water had to be carried from the nearby tavern, where teachers often had their room and board. The water was poured into a large container at the rear of the class. Some students drank out of the same dipper, but most had their own cups to be used for water and stew. The boys often had collapsible cups in their pockets and would get a drink of water at recess from the pond.

Great Western 192 0
Students dressed their best for a 1920s class picture.

Christmas celebrations included the entire community, not just students and parents. This was always a grand occasion. Last Christmas, Great Western Schoolhouse took part in the Noon Rotary Tour of Homes in St. Clairsville to show community members how Christmas was celebrated in the one-room school. Decorations consisted simply of a Christmas tree and lanterns in the windows.

When folks traveled to school in their buggies, they would use a lantern to light the way. Once arriving at the school, those lanterns were set in the windows to give light to the Christmas celebration since there was no electricity. Decorations for the tree were made by the students and included strings of popcorn, homemade gingerbread men, and dried apple slices. 

Great Western School - Lesson Plans
The teacher’s lesson plan was divided into very short segments.

Perhaps you will want to pay the school a visit in 2020 when it celebrates its 150th Anniversary. If you have a group that would enjoy the experience of attending a one-room school at any time, please contact Ann at schoolmarm2009@gmail.com . You may also receive information by contacting Ohio University Eastern at 740-695-1720.

The modern schools are large and grand and beautiful to see,

But many love the country school treasured in memory.

~Helen E. Middleton

Great Western Schoolhouse can be found on the campus of Ohio University – Eastern just off I-70 at Exit 213 to Route 40. Turn left on US 40 West and the school will be on the right hand side.

Marbles Made in America at Marble King

Marlbe King bag of marbles    Many will remember going to school with your bag of marbles so you could join a game at recess. Someone drew a large circle on the playground, participants knuckled down, and the game began. Each player had their own special shooter marble which was usually their largest marble. Mine had a light blue swirl.

   The goal was to shoot a marble outside the circle. You then kept that marble for the rest of the game. Then students either played “for fair” in which marbles were all returned to their owner or “for keeps” – no explanation needed.

Marble King Berry

“Marble King” Berry Pink began selling marbles in the 1930s.

   Someone had to make those special marbles and this is their story. It all began in the 1930s when Berry Pink was selling marbles manufactured by Peltier Glass. By the 1940s, Pink was selling more marbles than Sellers Peltier could produce so they decided to combine their talents of manufacturing and salesmanship in a new company.

   Berry Pink gave away marbles as he traveled around the country hosting marble tournaments. He became known as the “The Marble King” to the children along the way. When the company was founded in 1949, Marble King seemed a fitting name for this new organization.

Marble King Building

The marble factory is located in Paden City, West Virginia.

   At that time the company was located in St. Mary’s, West Virginia. But in 1958, a fire destroyed the factory and the manager, Roger Howdyshell moved the plant to Paden City where it remains today.

Marble King Dad

When he was manager, Roger Howdyshell purchased Marble King in 1963 and his family still owns it today.

   Howdyshell left his mark on the marble industry in several ways. He led Marble King to the top of marble manufactures when he designed the first American made Cat’s Eye marbles. In 1983, Roger Howdyshell purchased Marble King and dedicated his life to making it a success. While Roger died in 1991, the Howdyshell family still operates Marble King and carries on that fine tradition set by Roger.

Marble Rollers

Hot glass is cut into small pieces and rolled into marbles.

   Today, Beri Fox presides over Marble King, the only factory in the United States that manufactures marbles. She was named for Berry Pink and worked at Marble King with her mom and dad all of her life. On summer vacations from college, Beri worked in the family business.

   At that time, most marbles were used in games and toys for companies like Mattel and Ideal. But when video games became popular, Marble King had to make the transition to other uses for their beautiful glass gems. Now, marbles are being used in floral designs, jewelry, architecture, and industrial applications.

Marble King Walt filling the furnace

Wal Lancaster fills the furnace with recycled glass.

   Beri explained, “You can be a broken piece of glass and we can transition you into something new again.” 90% of their marbles are made from cullet glass, which is scrap glass melted down for reuse from several area glass companies. They can make a million marbles a day when in full production.

Marble King Champions

National Marble King champions visit with Beri at the factory.

   This is a frequent stop for tour buses and school groups as they come to learn the history of marbles and have fun along the way. The gift shop includes a 12-foot ring like the one that is used at the National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, New Jersey. Marble King has been a proud tournament sponsor since 1968. Winners are presented with a $2,000 scholarship for post-secondary education. This year, a virtual tournament was held due to the coronavirus; next year, Marble King will sponsor the West Virginia Marble Festival in Paden City.

Marble King Beri with children

Beri enjoys visiting with children as they play with marble games in the gift shop.

   Kids have a chance to play Ringer in the gift shop. This is one of the traditional marble games where 13 marbles are placed in an X inside a circle. The challenge is to see who can be the first one to knock out seven marbles. “The opportunity to work in an industry that involves kids is what is truly important,” stated Beri. She always enjoys a chance to play Ringer with the kids when they stop by.

Marble King demonstration

   Most people think of marbles being used in toys and games. However, there are many other uses for marbles. Some are used as decorations for weddings, jewelry, fish tanks, and infiltration systems. When you shake a can of spray paint, that rattle you hear is an industrial use of a marble. Special marbles are even used in making wine and beer. They have even been used by NASA for testing in their space balloons. The list of uses is amazing.

Marble King Marble Tower

Towers filled with Marble King marbles create a great conversation piece.

   Their marbles have even made the movies! “Goonies”, “Hook”, and “Home Alone” have featured Marble King marbles as props. Robin Williams used Marble King marbles when he recaptured his youth as Peter Pan.

Marble King marbles

   Marble King marbles are made using recycled glass in the U.S.A. seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. Marbles have been shipped all over the world to over 17 countries, including Australia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. In 2000, Marble King won the Governor’s Award for Excellent in Exporting.

Marble King at Grave Creek Mound

Grave Creek Mound Museum in Moundsville, West Virginia, uses Marble King marbles to create their logo in a large mural.

   In Moundsville, West Virginia at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex an entire wall displays their beauty in a fantastic, colorful design. Here 47,523 marbles replicate the logo of Marble King.

Marble King Altard States

Altar’d State uses Marble King marbles with a lighted background in every store.

   Altar’d State stores use a clear glass panel filled with Marble King marbles as the backdrop in each store. Lighted from behind, this creates a very beautiful and glowing welcome.

Marble King Marbles 2    Visit their interactive museum and gift shop in Paden City to discover why Marble King is known for quality, tradition, and history all over the world. It’s extra special because today they are the only marble company still producing Made in America marbles.

Made in America parade

Marble King was recognized as an American Made Hero and served, along with others, as the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston.

   After 70 years in business, Marble King marbles have earned the right to be called the world’s best-known, and best-loved marbles.

    Marble King is located in Paden City, WV. From Marietta take US-2 North and from Wheeling take US -2 South.  Turn on Park Street and then 1st Avenue. The Gift Shop will be at 401 S 1st Avenue.

Fort Laurens – Only Revolutionary War Fort in Ohio Country

Fort Laurens Entrance

Fort Laurens is in Bolivar Ohio just minutes off I-77.

   Add a little history to your summer fun by visiting Fort Laurens near Bolivar. A Revolutionary War fort was built in Ohio back in 1778 by General Lachlan McIntosh on the banks of the Tuscarawas River. Fort Laurens was the only Revolutionary War fort built in the Ohio Country by the Continental Congress.

Fort Laurens Original Fort

This drawing captures the design of the original fort.

   Fort Laurens was named after Henry Laurens, the fifth president of the Continental Congress. The Americans built Fort Laurens with three purposes in mind.

Fort Laurens rifleman

Riflemen dressed in linen shirt and overalls helped build Fort Laurens.

   First, they hoped to use it as a base to attack the British garrison at Detroit Second, they hoped it would keep the American Indians, who were loyal to the British, from conducting raids against American settlers in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Finally, by offering protection to the neutral Christian Delawares, the Americans might convince them to forsake their neutrality and join the patriots’ cause.

Fort Laurens Men suffering in winter

That cold winter, men suffered at Fort Laurens in cold huts with little food.

   However, conditions were so cold during that first winter that most of the men were moved to Fort Pitt. Learning of the terrible conditions inside the fort, the British and a couple of hundred Indian warriors laid siege to the fort. The men inside the fort were reportedly reduced to making a soup broth of boiled moccasins. Two men snuck out and returned with a deer carcass. It is said that the men were so hungry they ate it raw.

   General Brodhead reported to General George Washington that the fort was too far from Detroit to stage an attack and not close enough to the Delaware Indians to offer protection. General Washington ordered the fort abandoned in August 1779.

Fort Laurens Picnic Shelters

Picnic shelters provide a great place for family gatherings.

   In July of 1887, Christian L Baatz visited the fort and became interested in preserving its history. Baazt with his friends Ed Pease and William Lowe became acquainted with landowner David Gibler. David and his brother had leveled the fort in 1853 for farming. 

   After much promotion on their part, in 1908 Ohio Archaeologists and Historical Society indicated they would like to purchase the land and create a state park. DAR and SAR also wanted to preserve the location for historical purposes.

Fort Laurens School Group

School groups participate in demonstrations to learn more about the history of our country.

   When nothing had been done for several years by these three organizations, Baazt, Pease, and Lowe drew up a petition to gather signatures to present to the Ohio State Legislature to create a proper memorial on the site. In 1915, legislation was passed to preserve the Fort Laurens site.

   It had only served as a fort for one year before it was abandoned in 1779. Part of the fort was destroyed during the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal. None of the original fort remains above ground, but the outline of the fort is still highly visible. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, an 80-mile long recreational trail, goes through the site today.

Fort Laurens Museum

The outline of the original fort can be seen in the vicinity of the museum.

   A museum tells the story of soldiers on the frontier. There is an informative video that you won’t want to miss telling the fort’s history. A display of archaeological items discovered during excavation is displayed in the museum.

Fort Laurens soldiers guarding tomb

Uniformed soldiers were present at the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Patriot.

   There is a Tomb of the Unknown Patriot of the American Revolution paying tribute to the unknown defenders of the fort. In 1976, the year of the bicentennial of the American Revolution, a special military ceremony was held to bury the remains of the first soldier excavated in 1973. Twenty-one men lost their lives there in the year it served as a fort and the remains of some of those men are in a crypt in the museum wall. 

Fort Laurens crypt

This crypt in the museum wall contains the remains of some of the men who lost their lives here.

   Events are held here throughout the year from February through December. Check their website for up-to-date events at www.fortlaurens.org . Almost every month they have an interesting speaker. In July, they will be talking about “Women of the Revolution” presented by Sharon Snowden of Ohio First Ladies Museum.

Fort Laurens Reenactment

Reenactments bring to life the conflict of Revolutionary War days.

   Revolution on the Tuscarawas: Revolutionary War Encampment and Reenactment takes place on July 18-19. Explore British and Continental camps to meet soldiers from both sides of the conflict. Children can enjoy musket drills, colonial America games and crafts throughout the day. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time for this event.

Fort Laurens Towpath Trail

This shady Towpath Trailhead leads to the Ohio & Erie Canal after a walk through an enclosed walkway over the interstate.

   Today Fort Laurens is managed by the Zoar Community Association and remains a special memorial to those who died during the Revolutionary War. While there, bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing walk on The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The trail goes through a shady woods before crossing the interstate on an enclosed walkway. On the other side is part of that original Ohio and Erie Canal. You can walk the three miles to Zoar Village on the towpath trail if you have the time and energy.

   Add history to your summer adventures!

Fort Laurens is easy to reach off I-77 in Ohio. Take exit 93 for OH-212 W, then turn left on Mulberry Steet. Fort Laurens is on the left hand side. There is no admission fee to the grounds but a small fee for the museum.

Flag Day is Every Day at Annin Flagmakers in Coshocton

Flags- Sign on Door

This sign appears on all doorways at Annin Flagmakers.

Annin Flagmakers have been making the flag of our country since 1847. The sixth generation of this family now owns and operates the business. Here workers make over three and a half million 4’x6′ flags each year in addition to many other sizes, including stick flags.

   Alexander Annin had been making flags for merchant ships on the waterfront in New York City for several years before beginning Annin Flags in Lower Manhattan on what was called “Old Glory Corner”. Eventually, headquarters was moved to New Jersey with factories in Coshocton, Ohio and South Boston, Virginia.

Flags Headquarters

One branch of Annin Flagmakers remains in Coshocton.

   These flags are Made in America of the highest standards by experienced flag makers. They have learned what long-lasting domestically made fabrics to use and what inks hold their color the longest. Fabrics include everything from nylon and cotton to polyester, with nylon holding up best outside.

Flags - workplace

This view greets your eyes upon entering the work area.

   State, military, national and international flags are made by Annin. However, the Coshocton facility basically makes US flags with a specialty now and then. When visiting, they were also making golf pin flags.

   Local history shows that the Coshocton branch of Annin Flagmakers was started by a family from Newcomerstown in 1968. Vane and Barbara Scott had been in the business of decorating floats for parades all over the country but were ready to settle down back home.

Vane Scott First Flag

Eugene and Francis Waller with owners, Barb and Vane Scott, proudly display the first flag made by Colonial Flag Company in 1968.

   A man with a flagpole company suggested they bid on a contract for 10,000 American flags…and they won! They purchased six sewing machines and a strip cutter to cut the stripes. That was the beginning of Colonial Flag Co. By 1970, they had moved their business to a larger building in Coshocton.

   When the 1976 bicentennial rolled around, Colonial Flag Co. had difficulty keeping up with orders so decided to sell the company. There were two stipulations to the sale: keep the business in Coshocton and keep Vane and Barbara on as managers. Annin Flagmakers purchased the business at that time. The reason there is a flag company in Coshocton today is due to the determination of the Scott family to keep jobs locally.

   Vane and Barb served as plant managers of Annin Flagmakers in Coshocton until 1991. Then Vane III, or Bud as he is often called, served as manager until 2002 when he retired.

Flags- rolls of stick flags

These rolls of stick flags are ready to be processed.

   Over the years, Annin has made flags for many important national events including:

  • 1849 – Inauguration of Zachary Taylor as President
  • 1851 – Queen Victoria’s Great Exhibit in London
  • 1860 – All wartime flags for the Civil War
  • 1969 – NASA’s Apollo II mission to the moon.

flags-dave-manager.jpg

Dave Rogers, DIrector of Operations, is proud to be part of Annin Flagmakers.

   At Annin Flagmakers headquarters, I had a chance to talk with Dave Rogers, Director of Operations, and learn a little more about the way flags are made today. They employ 150 people full-time and also hire temporary workers during their busiest season. Everyone wants the flags to be in their stores for Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July.

Flags - Strips being cut

The digital fabric cutter is prepared to cut white stripes for the flag.

   One popular flag is a 3’x5′ sewn nylon flag. They make around 35,000 of them each week. One of the first tasks is to cut the large rolls of fabric into stripes and place them in rolls of various colors. They can cut up to six different sizes at one time on their digital fabric cutter.

Flags- cakes of color strips

The colored stripes are then placed into rolls before heading to the seamstress.

Flags- adding the field of blue

Janet, a 22-year employee, adds the field of blue to the stripes.

   The stripes are then sewn together with six long stripes and seven short stripes. Once they are together, the field of blue is added. Star Field prepares the embroidered star field where the polished white thread gives sparkle to the stars on the field of blue.

Flags- cutting the edges

A 25-year employee, Anita, makes the edges straight.

   These workers take pride in their product. Three of the ladies together had in 88 years at Annin so worked with speed and precision. Everything has to be perfectly straight and their quadruple-stitched fly hem makes them extra durable.

Flags - Memorial Wall

Their lobby displays flags that were brought back after foreign service.

   When a local young man or woman went off to the war in Iraq, Annin gave them two flags. They asked them to return one flag telling where they had taken it, and the other was for their personal use. A display in the lobby shows several of those flags that were returned to Annin.

Flags - Ohio Visitors Bureau

Get your flag locally at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau in Roscoe Village.

   You can find Annin Flags at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau in Roscoe Village, Walmart, Target, Krogers and many other places. The friendly staff at the Visitors Bureau will take special orders for you and show you the large selection available there.

Flags- Walmart display

This display of Annin Flags is ready to ship to Walmart.

   Show your pride in America by displaying its flag and honoring it with a flag made right here in the U.S.A.

Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

~Francis Scott Key The Star-Spangled Banner

Topiary Garden Inspired by Painting

Topiary - Old Deaf School Park

Topiary Park is located on the grounds of Old Deaf School Park in Columbus, Ohio.

Walk through the Topiary Garden on Town Street near downtown Columbus, Ohio as you let your imagination take you to “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” This painting inspired Columbus artists James T. Mason and his wife, Elaine to develop a living reinterpretation of that painting on the grounds of the Old Deaf School Park.

Topiary - Painting Print

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” inspired this Topiary Garden.

   Georges-Pierre Seurat was a French painter (1859-1891) and this painting on a ten-foot canvas is considered to be one of the most remarkable paintings of the 19th century. The painting took him two years to complete as he first focused on the park itself before painting people from every social class participating in park activities. No figure encroaches on another’s space. All coexist in peace.

Topiary - Relaxing under the tree

This topiary couple relaxes in the shade while reading a book.

   Topiary is the practice of clipping plants into shapes. James shaped the bronze frames and planted the greenery, while Elaine served as the original topiarist. This small garden was developed with the help of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. They pay attention year-round to keeping the plants trimmed and in excellent condition around their wire framework.

   This area actually dates back to 1829 when the Ohio School for the Deaf established educational and residential programs for school-age children who were deaf or hard of hearing. By 1953, the school had outgrown its downtown location and moved to a larger property on Morse Road. Today, the Topiary Garden on those old grounds is the only one of its kind in the world – a park based entirely on the interpretation of one painting.

Topiary - Rowboat on the water

There are eight topiary boats on the pond, which represents the River Seine.

   This was all originally built for the opening of the AmeriFlora exhibit that took place in Columbus in 1992. Special care has been used to create close representations of the painting by Georges Seurat in 1884. The pond represents the River Seine and was developed in the early stages of the garden in 1989. There are even artificial hills that help capture the scene.

Topiary Gift Shop

The gatehouse, resembling a French countryside home, holds their gift shop and information center.

   The gatehouse resembles a French country house to match the park’s theme. Here you will find an information center, museum and gift shop. It is located next to a library which has an outstanding art exhibit.

Topiary - Lady reading outside gift shop

Outside the gatehouse, this topiary lady sits reading a book.

   Highlighted are the sculpted topiaries, hedges trimmed into the shapes of men, women, children, boats, and animals. The frames that support the figures are made of 5/8-inch bronze and set in eighteen inches of concrete.

Topiary - Man with tophat

A man with a top hat is one of 54 topiary characters in the scene.

   There are actually 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a cat, and a monkey included in the carvings. The largest topiary is 12′ tall. You might see a man with a top hat or a lady with her parasol dressed in the fashion of the 1800s, watching the topiary boats on the pond.

Topiary Bronze

This bronze plaque is situated at the artist’s viewpoint, “As He Saw It.”

   Visit the spot called “As He Saw It” for the exact location of the scene Seurat saw as he was painting it. There is a bronze plaque at this spot so you can compare the topiary to the painting. It’s a quiet place in the middle of the city where you can leisurely wander through the garden and become part of the painting or sit and relax in its tranquil setting.

Topiary - View of painter

This view matches the actual Seurat painting completed in topiaries.

   This garden has been showcased around the world in magazines, periodicals, books, and documentaries. Articles have been found in Life, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal.

Topiary - Lady with Monkey and Umbrella

This lady with her monkey is very popular with the children.

   The Topiary Garden Park, situated on seven acres, is open daily from dawn till dusk, and admission is free! Metered parking is just outside the fence. While the Topiary Park is only a couple of acres, the remainder of the area has many scattered picnic tables and benches where families gather.

   A Sunday afternoon spent at Topiary Garden Park is just as relaxing as a visit to The Island of La Grande Jatte. Enjoy the beauty of nature in downtown Columbus.

Topiary Park is located at 480 E. Town Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. There are parking meters just outside the main gate,

Ohio Sunday Springtime Drive

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

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