Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Stockport Mill and Inn Gives Scenic View of Muskingum River

A retreat for all reasons – or no reason at all

Stockport Dam

Turbulent waters recently flowed past the Stockport Mill and Inn along the Muskingum River.

Escape crowds and noise. Listen to the sounds of the flowing river. Enjoy a delicious meal. All of these become part of the experience when visiting Stockport Mill and Inn on the Dam at the edge of Stockport, Ohio. Explore the history of the area while you “mill around”.

Stockport Locke

This hand-operated lock sets across the Muskingum River from the inn.

     Stockport Mill, located at the sixth in a series of locks and dams on the Muskingum River, had its beginning in 1842. The building today is the third mill on that site. It was built in 1906 by the Dover Brothers. By using a pair of 10-inch Leffel turbines, it not only provided power to run the mill but generated electricity for the town of  Stockport.

Stockport Mill Sign

This old mill sign hangs on the porch of the Stockport Inn on the Dam.

     Stockport Milling Company was known for making Gold Bond, Seal of Ohio and Pride of the Valley refined flours. Products were shipped on steam packet boats and on the Ohio & Little Kanawha Railroad, because good roads were not available at that time.

Stockport Corn Grinder

Some antique equipment, like the corn separator, can be found throughout the inn.

     That early mill supplied many different needs. Farmers could get feed and supplies for their animals, including halters and show supplies. Wives used the mill to purchase their garden seeds and plants. Even the children found a place to pick up a 4-H project in the form of baby chicks.

Stockport Slate in Entrance

Slate from the roof has been recycled into wall covering at the inn’s entrance.

     This was also the place where farmers met to share their news, until it ceased operation as a feed mill in 1997.  Three years later this beautiful old mill was restored and now functions as Stockport Mill Inn and Restaurant on the Dam. It is the only mill still remaining of many that dotted the busy river in the past.

     The owner, Dottie Singer, has attempted to preserve the original architecture and building materials. Inside you’ll find many unusual antiques, information about the history of the area, and great pictures and paintings throughout donated by local Morgan County residents.

Stockport Suite

Hudson Suite offers a view of the river and a jacuzzi for relaxation.

     There are fourteen guest rooms with private balconies, which all have scenic views of the Muskingum River. You might choose to stay in the Morgan Raider Suite, Valley Gem River View, or Captain Hook Suite.

Stockport Lounge

This meeting room contained workings of the mill as well as a place to visit.

     Suites come with a jacuzzi, while other rooms still have that old fashioned claw bath tub. Each of the four floors has a meeting room for relaxation as well as early morning taste treats. This is a great place for a reunion, wedding, business meeting, or just to get away.

Stockport Dining Room

Enjoy weekend meals at Stockport Restaurant on the Dam.

     Their dining area has a wrap around terrace so you can have a delicious meal while watching the river drift by. The restaurant is open weekends throughout most of the year, but closed in January. Friday and Saturday, their hours are 5PM-9 PM, while on Sunday, their delicious buffet, which brings memories of Sunday dinners on the farm, runs from noon-4PM.  Reservations are recommended.

Stockport Turbine

This was one of the original turbines that provided electricity to the mill and town of Stockport.

     While those early turbines that produced electricity for the town became corroded, new turbines have been installed that are similar Samson Leffel turbines. The only difference is these new ones have stainless steel parts instead of the early carbon steel, which rusted.

Stockport Tunnel

This is the exit tunnel for the water after it has run through the turbines.

     Water enters the turbines through a trash-rack, which keeps logs from interfering with turbine action. Then it goes in a tunnel under the mill, where it hits a runner, which turns and makes the power.

Stockport Wall 2

Guests are encouraged to visit the “Signing Wall” along the steps on their way to see the turbines in the basement area.

     The generator sets on top of the Speed Increaser at a level above the 100-year flood level. This Hydro Project produces around 800,000 kilowatt hours per year, using seventeen million gallons of water each day. After all their electric needs are met at the mill, any excess electricity is sold to the electric company. It’s no surprise that today this system is run by a computer!

Stockport Balcony

There’s always an exciting view of the Muskingum River from the balconies.

     For those who like to stay away from it all, Stockport Inn and Mill Restaurant on the Dam would be the perfect place. Guests often come back for the river view from their balcony, great food, and the rustic décor. Many have a favorite suite they use time after time.

Stockport Summer

In the summer, the river here is peaceful near Stockport, Ohio.

     Relax as you hear the sound of the river bubbling right past your balcony at this historic structure. Look for it on your next trip down the Muskingum River.

Stockport Mill and Inn on the Dam is located just off Route 60 along the Muskingum River about halfway between Zanesville and Marietta. Cross over the river at Ohio 266 W and the mill will be on the left hand side. Their address is 1995 Broadway Avenue, Stockport, Ohio.

 

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Make Your Memory a Tradition at Pearl Valley Cheese

PV storefront

Pearl Valley Cheese is today nestled in the valley along State Route 93 between Fresno and Baltic.

This has been a great year for us!  We won the 2017 Ohio Grand Champion Swiss Cheesemaker at the Ohio Swiss Festival.  What a testimony to our amazing farmers, employees and especially all our customers who continually support us year after year.”                              ~Pearl Valley Cheese

PV Original Factory

Their original business sat in the parking lot of today’s Pearl Valley Cheese.

Pearl Valley Cheese has been a family owned business since 1928. No wonder they have excelled at making the best cheese around. They credit their success with farmers bringing them high quality milk, employees who all seem like family, and wonderful customers from all over the area. It’s not surprising they have won many state, national and international awards.

PV Founders

Swiss immigrants, Ernest and Gertrude Stalder, started Pearl Valley Cheese in 1928.

Founded by Swiss immigrants, Ernest and Gertrude Stalder, area farmers brought them their fresh milk in cans by horse and wagon. They purchased the building, which was on today’s property, for $700.

PV Original Copper Kettle

This was the original copper kettle used for making cheese until WWII.

Ernest thought it needed a little improvement so began hauling wheelbarrow loads of bricks from a nearby source until he was satisfied with its appearance. In those early days of 1928, cheese sold for eleven cents a pound.

PV Tanker

A stainless steel tanker is unloading a morning load of milk after it had been tested.

All the milk they use today is of top quality and as safe as they can possibly buy. The milk comes from about 50 area farmers and two milk marketing co-ops. Dairy producers are very important because high quality milk makes high quality cheese. Each load is tested for antibiotics, and the whole load would be disposed of if any were found. This rarely happens.

PV milk silos

These cold wall silos hold the milk until ready for pasteurization.

Once the milk is received, they store it in cold wall silos until time for it to be pasteurized to make sure bacteria counts are minimized. Then the milk is cooked in Double Os, which look like ‘large stainless steel crock pots’, holding 4000 gallons each, until the curds are formed. Around 30,000 gallons of milk are used at Pearl Valley Cheese each day, resulting in 25-30,000 pounds of cheese daily.

PV Double Os

Four Double Os, ‘large stainless steel crock pots’, cook the milk until curds are formed.

The separated cream is sold to a butter factory in Wisconsin. Pearl Valley buys back truckloads of butter monthly to sell in their store and to their wholesalers. A pound of that delicious fresh butter came home with this gypsy.

They process the whey and send it to other companies, who dry it and use some of it in nutritional whey protein drinks, animal feeds and other food products. Some of the excess whey is stored at Pearl Valley in a waste water treatment plant, where it is refined into methane gas, then used to create electricity for their business. Pearl Valley has gone green.

PV draining table

The curds and why are separated on this draining table by churning arms.

Through a window to the left of the cheese store, you can watch cheese being made most weekday mornings. See giant vats of milk being turned into curds on their draining tables, and then packed into cheese rolls or wedges.

PV Cheese Tubes

After the curds and whey are separated, the curds are pressed into tubes and wedges.

Only two major cheeses are made here: Swiss and Cheddar, and four different kinds of each. At the end of the day, everything is cleaned and sanitized to maintain their high standards.

PV Swiss

Large blocks of Swiss cheese float in the brine to add a touch of salt to their taste.

Swiss cheese is often more expensive because it takes more time to make. Once blocks of Swiss are formed, they are then soaked in a salt brine to absorb a small amount of salt.

PV Swiss Cheese Crates

Sally Ellie, my guide on this trip, explained the crates of Swiss cheese in the warming room where they wait for the bubbles to burst.

After this they are placed in a warming room at 76* where the cheese is placed in wooden crates where it “creates the holes”. Those round holes are caused by carbon dioxide bubbles in the cheese, and take weeks to appear.

Ohio is the largest producer of Swiss cheese in the nation. While several local places make Swiss Cheese, the Stalder family feels Pearl Valley makes it better than anyone else. Their Mild Swiss Cheese is an area favorite.

Grace and Sally

Grace Stalder and her daughter, Sally Ellis, display a large piece of Swiss cheese, a customer favorite.

Four generations of that Swiss family are still working there today headed up by John and Grace Stalder and their extended family. Grace shared her story of joining the Stalder family 60 years ago when she married John, the son of Ernest and Gertrude. The next morning Ernest was at their door telling Grace she needed to total lines of figures that very day. She’s been working there ever since.

PV 2017 Ohio State Fair

Their awards include 2017 Ohio State Fair Grand Champion.

They feel with all their experience, they know how to make cheese the very best way. Even though they have a retail store, they want your experience to be more than a buying adventure. They want to educate you on how the cheese is made from farm to table.

PV Playground

There’s even a close-by playground for children to enjoy.

Customers enjoy their friendly service with plenty of free cheese samples so you can always get a taste before buying. Prices are extremely reasonable so people come back again and again. Everyone has their favorites from Baby Swiss to Extra Sharp Cheddar. Visit soon and try to decide your favorite from so many choices.

Make your visit a special memory that starts a tradition of visiting Pearl Valley Cheese with your family.

Pearl Valley Cheese is located on Ohio State Route 93 between Fresno and Baltic.

Button Designs by Frieda Warther

frieda-and-her-buttons.jpg

Frieda surrounded herself with buttons and more buttons.

Almost everyone keeps a container of buttons someplace in their home. At one time, many cut off the buttons on old clothes and kept them in a jar or can. You never knew when you might need an extra button.

Frieda Warther did much the same thing.

Frieda Button Strings

Buttons hung on strings around the walls of their dining room so she could reach them easily.

Living in Switzerland until the age of four, the family then came to the United States and settled in Dover, Ohio. Frieda was the oldest of thirteen children. It was a Swiss tradition that the oldest child would receive their mother’s box of buttons and sewing tools. Thus began Frieda’s love of buttons.

Frieda Button House

This Button House originally housed the Warther Museum to display Mooney’s trains.

Today those buttons have been used in some of the designs at the Warther Button House, which is just outside Warther’s Museum in Dover.

When Frieda first met Earnest Warther, called Mooney by his friends, their first date consisted of a field trip to hunt arrowheads. After marrying Mooney, Frieda became a wonderful mother to their five children and Mooney’s main support as he developed into a master woodcarver.

Her main relaxation came from tending the gardens outside their home and Mooney’s workshop. She designed them to remind her of her back yard in Switzerland. When the children were young, these gardens contained many vegetables as well. Today, those flower gardens provide a peaceful place to relax with many benches available.

Frieda Bank

During the depression, Mooney hid his money under the coal in this train. But Frieda knew!

Mooney frequently ‘borrowed’ items from his wife to use in his carving creations. When he needed a belt to run one of his model trains, he would borrow it from her sewing machine and replace it when he found one in his journeys. He often liked to use red and green sparkling gems on his trains as well. These he borrowed from Frieda’s brooches.

When visitors came to see all of Mooney’s carvings in those early days, they often spent the afternoon viewing trains brought from storage in the various rooms of their house and even the attic. Frieda decided in 1936, it was time for a museum, so they built the small museum, which is today her Button House.

Frieda House

Kristen, great-granddaughter of  Mooney and Frieda, stands on the porch of the Warther’s’ home.

The porch of the Warther Home gave Mooney and Frieda the perfect place to watch trains go by on tracks just across the street. From here they could also watch their children playing in a large playground Mooney had created for them. It’s no surprise that there is a red caboose there also, since Mooney carved so many trains during his lifetime.

Inside the Warther Home, you’ll learn more about Frieda and the family. They lived in their original residence for sixty-three years.

Frieda Table 2

This table served as Frieda’s workplace for most of her button creations.

Life was busy for young Frieda, so it wasn’t until she turned sixty that she began working on her button designs at their dining room table. She began experimenting with various combinations and then attached them to a board with either wire or dental floss to make beautiful hanging designs.

Frieda Button Wall Favorite

Beautiful button designs fill the walls and ceiling of the Button House.

Mooney enjoyed her artistic endeavors by saying, “Sometimes while Frieda was working, she would drill too deep and hit our table. One look at her breathtaking designs and you will realize it was well worth all the holes.” Those holes can still easily be seen.

She also used buttons to make jewelry, a button tree, chess sets and many games. Strings of buttons hung in her kitchen just waiting to be used.

frieda-warther

This picture postcard show Frieda in her Button House.

Today many of those creations containing 73,000 buttons can be found on the walls and ceiling of the Button House. Here you will find buttons of many kinds of materials: hand-painted ceramic, pearl, metal and wooden. Amazing as it may sound, there are no duplicates in the displays.

Frieda Lincoln Button

This button design features a button in the center from Mrs. Lincoln’s inaugural dress.

One of her favorite designs has, as its centerpiece, a button from the Inaugural Dress of Abraham Lincoln’s wife. Lincoln was a favorite of the Warthers, and Mooney followed Lincoln’s philosophy of life.

Because the family loved children, Frieda made one design especially for them. It consists of Cracker Jack prizes, novelties, and what she called Goofy Buttons.

Frieda Arrowheads

Arrowhead displays by Frieda also hung in Mooney’s workshop.

If you look carefully, you can also spot her button designs in another spot – the ladies’ restroom inside the Warther Museum. Had to inquire from a gentleman visitor regarding what was on the wall in the men’s restroom. Here Frieda made a creative display of Mooney’s arrowheads he found on his trips to the country with their family. You never know where creative objects might be found.

Frieda back

The back of a button display was shown by Sheila, our guide and daughter of Mooney’s barber.

There are still unfinished patterns that Frieda had planned. Even when she was in her final days at the age of 98, she was still asking people for one of their buttons if she saw an unusual one.

Soon thousands of springtime tulips will be blooming in Frieda’s Swiss Flower Garden. Many of the spring flowers were originally planted by Freida. Stop by and relax on a bench and imagine what it would have been like to live at “Dumb Street” along the Calico Ditch.

Warthers Museum can be found easily off I-77 in Dover, Ohio. Take Exit 83 to the east and follow the well placed signs to Warthers.

Blessing the Orthodox Easter Basket

Veselenak family at Easter

The Veselenak family continues the Easter tradition followed by their grandparents and great-grandparents at St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Robins in the early 1900s.

Traditions often bring families closer together. An old Czech tradition being carried on at the Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Byesville involves an Easter Basket. This year, the Orthodox Easter falls on April 8.


When the blessing of Easter Baskets likely began back in the 1700s, people faced stark times without meats or fats in their diets for the 40 days of Lent. Being able to return these items to the table was a big part of the Easter celebration.

Most Orthodox celebrate Lent as a time to do without meat and cheese or something that they especially like. They want to make a sacrifice that is meaningful.

Slovak Inside Church

Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Byesville is filled with light during the Easter service.

On Holy Saturday evening before Easter Sunday, they gather at the Byesville church to create a service of resurrection. The darkened church becomes filled with light after circling the church three times to indicate the three days Jesus stayed in the tomb.

Slovak priest

Easter baskets are blessed by Orthodox priest, Father Benjamin Johnson.

After this service, early on Sunday morning, the priest then blesses all the Easter baskets that have been brought to the church hall. Then there is a bountiful feast, as they once again enjoy the taste of meat, cheese, and their favorite food that they haven’t had during the weeks of Lent.

Slovak Basket

These beautifully filled baskets contain everything expected and even more.

Each item in the large Easter basket holds special meaning:

  • Bread symbolizes Jesus, the Bread of Life.

  • Easter eggs represent our new life in Christ.

  • Salt reminds Christians they are to “season” the Earth.

  • Meat stand for Joy and Abundance.

  • Candles signify Christ as the Light of the World.

  • Ribbons symbolize Joy and Celebration.

Other items they might add are chocolates and desserts.

Slovak Bread

Bread has various designs on the top with this using the symbol of the cross.

The Pascha Easter bread is a sweet, rich bread filled with eggs. milk and butter…the foods that were not eaten during Lent. The bread is often braided to represent Christ’s crown of thorns.

Slovak Easter eggs

Every basket is certain to contain intricately decorated Easter eggs.

A red egg plays an important role in the Orthodox Easter. Legend says that when Mary Magdalene told the emperor about the empty tomb, she held an egg as a symbol of it. The emperor said the empty tomb was just about as likely as the egg in her hand turning red. The egg did turn red and has ever since been part of the Easter tradition.

Slovak Basket cover

A traditional embroidered cover is placed over the basket.

Some of the men make smoked kielbasa for this special Easter Basket, while the women might prepare cirak, a special Slovak Easter Cheese. This homemade cheese is very mild and often served sliced with baked ham and beet horseradish. A great sandwich treat!

Traditions like this Easter Basket bring families together as they create and share the contents, while celebrating the meaning of this Holy Easter Season. Their church bulletin states: “May God reward your good deeds and preserve the spirit of devotion to Him every day of the year.”

Photos were provided by Nicole Veselenak Caslow. She is the daughter of Rick and Chris Veselenak. I’m proud to say the pictured, dedicated men – Mike, Rick and Gary – are my cousins. Our grandparents, George and Mary Veselenak (Dede and Baba to us) attended the St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Robins in the early 1900s.

Wheeling Jamboree Celebrates 85th Anniversary – The Country Music Show with Tradition Like No Other

 

Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling, WV will host the 85th Wheeling Jamboree Anniversary.

Wheeling Jamboree lives on! The Historic 85th Anniversary of the Wheeling Jamboree will be held on April 7, 2018 at The Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling. Many of the stars will be familiar, and some new, but the country atmosphere will still fill the theater.

The jamboree originated in 1933 on the first Wheeling radio station, a 50,000 watt clear channel station – WWVA. One of its early announcers was Howard Donahoe, who later came to Cambridge to start WILE in 1948.

Mel Tillis

The late Mel Tillis was beloved by country music fans everywhere.

The working people of the Ohio Valley and the Northeast US have their roots in country music so the words in the songs ring true to their lives. That’s why the Jamboree became a popular Saturday evening entertainment.

A unique diversity also appears in Wheeling. The Jamboree and the Wheeling Symphony both take place in Capitol Theatre. So no matter what your musical taste, it can easily be satisfied in Wheeling.

JohnnyCashOnStageatJamboree1968_Enhanced

Johnny Cash made an appearance at the Jamboree early in his career.

William Wallace”Bill” Jones and the Sparkling Four was the first hillbilly act on the radio. They took requests over the telephone. Jones received many requests for yodeling songs and you may have heard him called Silver Yodelin’ Bill Jones.

Due to the popularity of the Jamboree music shows, it was decided to add a live audience to the Jamboree on Saturday nights. The first stage performance of the World’s Original WWVA Jamboree took place at the Capitol Theatre later in 1933 with all local talent, in front of an audience of over 3,000 fans. Then for decades, they broadcast from a different spot each Saturday evening.

Dolly_Parton_Jamboree_3_1976

Dolly Parton performed at Wheeling Jamboree in 1976.

During WWII, the Jamboree returned to the studio due to the war effort, then began stage performances after the war at Wheeling’s Virginia Theater. One of the most popular Jamboree stars at that time was honky-tonk vocalist, Hawkshaw Hawkins. Add to that the Sunshine Boys and “Yodelin’ Ranger” Hank Snow and people began looking forward to another evening of the Jamboree. If you were a top artist, you did the Jamboree.

Men would bring their cow bells with them as each bell had a unique sound. That way their family back home would know they were in attendance. Today, you’ll still hear the sound of cow bells over the radio on Jamboree nights on WBPS in Cambridge and WWOV in Wheeling.

JamboreeVirginiaTheater1946Color

The cast of the 1945 Wheeling Jamboree gathered on stage.

During the late 1940s, my parents took me on perhaps my first gypsy road trip to Virginia Theater to see the Wheeling Jamboree. Two names stick in my mind from that long ago show – Hawkshaw Hawkins with Dog House Boogie, and Grandpa Jones, who later starred in Hee Haw. At the time, this was quite the adventure from the hills of Indian Camp.

When the Virginia Theater was demolished after 16 years of hosting the Jamboree, their new home became the Rex Theater for four years. Then it was moved to Wheeling Island Exhibition Hall in 1966.

Brad young (259x194)

Brad Paisley began playing at the Jamboree when he was ten years old.

Over the years, the Jamboree provided the perfect place for young local talent to get their start. Brad Paisley, from nearby Glen Dale, sang on the Jamboree at the age of 10 and played with their band weekly for eight years before moving on to Nashville.

Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap will be one of the performers at the 85th Anniversary.

The 85th Anniversary will be celebrated with well known country stars including Country Music Hall of Fame Members Ronnie Milsap and Charley McCoy. Add to that Wheeling native Tim O’Brien along with Darnell Milller, Rachel Whitcomb and more surprises. Emcee for the evening will be long-time country music personality, Keith Bilbrey.

Craig Wayne Boyd Jamboree

Craig Wayne Boyd was a winner on The Voice, but appeared at the Jamboree long before winning.

Today the Wheeling Jamboree broadcasts on WWOV to the air waves of the greater Wheeling area. Dave Heath, president of Wheeling Jamboree, Inc. and WWOV, has been instrumental in keeping this musical program alive.

Capitol Interior Post Renovation

The interior of the Capitol Theatre has recently had a grand renovation.

Whether you know the Jamboree as the Original WWVA Jamboree, Jamboree USA or The Wheeling Jamboree it remains the 2nd oldest Country Music Radio Broadcast Stage Show in history, behind the Grand Old Opry. Celebrate their 85th Anniversary on April 7 at 7:00 at the Capitol Theatre.

Ticket prices range from $20-$65 and can be purchased online at www.capitoltheatrewheeling.com .You’ve got me thinkin’ that a trip to the Jamboree would be the perfect way to spend an evening.

Capitol Theatre in Wheeling, WV can easily be reached off I-70 at Exit 1A. Take Route 40 straight downtown. The Theatre is on the right hand side at 1015 Main Street.

Malabar Farm, Home of Louis Bromfield

Malabar The Big House

The “Big House” served as home to Louis Bromfield, his wife and three daughters.

Enter Pleasant Valley to find Malabar Farm, the dream of Louis Bromfield. Tour his “Big House”, visit animals in his barn, or follow the self-driven auto tour of Shawshank Redemption film sites. Spend a day or a weekend.

Malabar Smokehouse

Bricks for this smokehouse came from the Mansfield home of Henry Wallace, vice-president of the United States under Franklin Roosevelt.

Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize winning author, was born in Mansfield. After a variety of experiences, he returned to that area for what he considered the perfect place to live. Two things he loved all his live were the farm and words.

Malabar Desk

Often Bromfield wrote at this desk while looking out the window at his farm.

It seemed he had trouble early in life finding that magical work that would please him. He went to agriculture college, studied journalism, served in the Army as an ambulance driver, journeyed through France and eventually came back to the United States to work at writing for several newspapers.

Malabar Gift Shop Books

The gift shop had a fantastic selection of Bromfield’s novels.

Following those experiences, Bromfield began writing novels, which won him high acclaim. His first book, Green Bay Tree, was a big success. His novels were always based on the people and places he knew well. He used a quilt pattern by taking one piece from here and another from there and fitting them all together. He turned his life into stories. All thirty novels were best sellers and several became motion pictures.

Malabar Pulitzer Book

His novel, Early Autumn, earned Bromfield the 1927 Pulitzer Prize.

His third novel, Early Autumn, won the 1927 Pulitzer Price for Novels. This financial success gave him opportunity to take his wife and three daughters to Paris for a few years and also visited India for a few months. How they all enjoyed life in Paris, but when threat of WWII was in the air, Bromfield brought his family back to the United States.

Malabar Portrait

This portrait of Bromfield and his wife, Mary, reminded them of their happy times in France.

In 1939, Bromfield settled back into his old hometown area of Pleasant Valley, where he purchased three farms, totaling one thousand acres. Since he enjoyed the Malabar coast of India, the farm was called Malabar, which means “gently rolling hills and valleys”.

Malabar Grand Piano

Bromfield’s daughter, Hope, played this piano for the wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Starting with the original farmhouse, he added several additions for a total of 32 rooms, including nine bedrooms and ten bathrooms. This “Big House” became the perfect place to entertain his guests from Hollywood. If you came to visit, Bromfield insisted you help with farm work. That’s how Shirley Temple learned how to milk cows and Jimmy Cagney to run a vegetable stand.

Malabar Wedding 001

This sketch by Tom Bachelder captured Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall cutting their wedding cake after being married at Malabar Farm in 1945.

A close friend was Humphrey Bogart, who asked Bromfield if he could get married at Malabar. Arrangements were made for Bogart and Lauren Bacall to have their ceremony there with 700 guests attending.

Malabar Bromfield at desk

This old photo shows Bromfield at one of his desks, where he did some of his writing.

Every room of their house contains shelves of books, nearly 4,000 total. Bromfield is said to have only slept two or three hours a night so that gave him extra time to read and write novels. His daytime hours were most likely spent pursuing his interest in agriculture.

Malabar Louis and Prince

The painting shows Bromfield with his favorite Boxer, Prince.

Over seventy dogs lived at Malabar during Bromfield’s life there and eighty percent of them were boxers. His favorite boxer was Prince. There’s even a picture of a ghost boxer dog still hanging around.

Malabar Guide, Alana and Jeep

Our guide, Alana, tells about the restored Jeep that Bromfield used around the farm.

His ideas as a conservationist changed the face of agriculture in Ohio. He needed to enrich the worn-out soil so planted soybeans and plowed them under to add nitrogen to the soil. Hillsides were planted around in strips to avoid erosion, and he promoted the idea of rotation of crops. His decision to use the spreading multifloral rose as a fence still angers farmers today.

Malabar sign

Malabar Maple Syrup Cabin

Over 650 maple trees are being tapped along the road to Maple Syrup Cabin.

In 1972, the state of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm and pledged to uphold its beauty and preserve the ecological value of the farm. Everything inside remains as it was when the Bromfields lived there. Then in 1976, Malabar Farm became an Ohio State Park.

Malabar Restaurant

Built in 1820 from bricks made on site, the Schrack Place has become Malabar Restaurant.

There’s no charge to enjoy the trails with rocks and caves, and the tour of “Big House” is only $5. Check out their calendar at www.malabarfarm.org for many exciting activities. Don’t forget the educational Welcome Center.

Malabar Shawshank Trail

Follow the self-guided auto tour of authentic Hollywood sites from the Shawshank Redemption movie, which was filmed in part on Malabar Farm.

If you enjoy a country drive on scenic back roads, Malabar Farm might be the perfect place for an adventure. Perhaps we’ll come back for a ghost tour in the future.

Malabar Farm is located in Richland County about seven miles southeast of Mansfield. Their address is 4050 Bromfield Road, Lucas, Ohio. Using your GPS would be a great idea as there are many country roads to travel.


Middlebourne – Half Way Between on the Old National Road

Middlebourne Entrance

Today Middlebourne is a small, quiet town but still has businesses at the edge of town.

The small town of Middlebourne, originally called Middletown, was relatively centrally located between Zanesville and Wheeling along the Old National Trail, today known as Route 40. When Benjamin Masters discovered that the National Trail was going to run right through his farm, he laid out a town believing that it would be a prosperous place.

That Old National Trail is often considered to be the road that helped build the nation. It was the nation’s first interstate highway crossing six states as it stretched from Maryland to Illinois.

Hays Tavern 001

In 1826, Hays Tavern was one of the best known hostelries on Turnpike Street in Middlebourne.

In 1828, William Hays established Hays Tavern, a hotel and barroom in Middlebourne. It was one of the best known hostelries on the National Trail, also called Turnpike Street, because of its bountiful meals, barroom, barns for wagoners, and lots for the drovers’ stock. Even Henry Clay stopped here occasionally on his way from Kentucky to Washington.

Bridgewater Bridge 001

The stone Bridgewater S Bridge, just west of town, was built in 1828.

A popular stop along the way just west of Middlebourne was the Bridgewater S Bridge built in 1828. When a bridge was needed to cross a stream at an angle, they built a stone arch at right angles to the stream. Then added a curve at each end to make the road meet smoothly. Thus, the S Bridge, which saved money and was a stronger structure.

Their first post office was established in 1829 and operated unto 1917. At this point, the name was officially changed from Middletown, which was also the name of a larger town in Ohio, to Middlebourne.

By 1850, their population was 267 and it grew for a while after that. The village had several stores, three or four churches, doctors, a lawyer, and even a brass band. But when the railroad was built six miles south of town, population seemed to wane. Eventually Route 40 and I-70 bypassed Middlebourne.

Middlebourne Methodist Church

The Middlebourne Methodist Church recently celebrated their 160th Anniversary. Standing in front are Edith Carter, Paul Carter, and Beverly Watson, all faithful members of the church.

The Middlebourne Methodist Church was founded in 1840, but the church was actually built in 1857. A unique feature of the church is its double doors in the front. At that time, women were to enter the church through the door on the right, while men entered through the door at the left. Inside their hand hewed pews had a divider between them to keep the women and men separate inside the sanctuary. The divider has been removed – in some of the pews.

At that time, preachers who delivered sermons in various towns were called circuit riders. Middlebourne services were conducted by circuit riders in the homes of various members until the church became a reality.

Middlebourne Prayer Bears

Edith Carter holds a Prayer Bear, a special project of their church today for the sick and injured who need a hug.

Many walked to church back then, while others drove their horse and buggy. The Old National Road, today’s Route 40, ran in front of the church, so often there might be a herd of cattle or sheep passing by along with a wagon train.

Paul Carter, who grew up in Middlebourne, is the oldest member of the Methodist Churh. When he was a youngster, there were about a hundred people in the congregation and six Sunday School classes scattered around the church sanctury. He remembers delivering the Daily Jeffersonian to his customers in Middlebourne for 18 cents a week back in 1947.

Middlebourne Sign 001Residents recall hearing stories about people getting stuck on the muddy National Road when rains poured down. Local farmers would then pull those early cars out of the mud with their horses for a fee. One local jokester would sometimes pour barrels of water on the road to make it muddy, so he could make money pulling cars out.

Charles Ellis Moore, a U.S. Representative from Ohio, was born near Middlebourne in 1884. Moore taught school in Oxford Township and graduated from Muskingum College and OSU School of Law. He also served as Prosecuting Attorney for Guernsey County before becoming representative from 1919-1933. Bob Secrest succeeded him.

Locust Lodge

In the 1930s when the automobile became more popular, Hays Tavern became Locus Lodge, a Home for Tourists.

Door of Penn Tavern 001

The doorway of Penn Tavern was said to be one of the most unique doorways on the National Road.

Middlebourne Church inside

The only original building is the Methodist Church.

The only original building left in town is the Middlebourne Methodist Church, which recently celebrated their 160th anniversary. While attendance has dwindled, they still love their little church. Small country churches always hold special memories.

Take a country ride and enjoy the small town atmosphere of Middlebourne. Folks are friendly there!

Middlebourne, Ohio is located just off I-70 at Exit 193 along the North side of the highway.

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