Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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!

Saving History in Old Ohio Barns

Repairing or restoring an old barn that no longer serves its purpose has been taking place around Ohio with increased frequency. People feel these buildings instill that pioneer spirit and are worth saving.

Cowden Barn

Morrison-Cowden Barn (1869) Pigeon Gap Road

   In Guernsey County, Bill and Sue Cowden decided to renovate an old barn that carried fond memories for many of the neighbors and their children. This barn was originally on the 500 acre Morrison farm and used for horses for many years.

   The Morrison family came to Guernsey County from Ireland in 1855 and Sam purchased a farm on the east side of Pigeon Gap Road. His son, George acquired land on the other side which spanned Coshocton Road, now Route 209.

   It was George’s son, W.C., who is most remembered in the area. He grew record-setting crops of wheat, had an emergency airstrip on the farm, and entertained frequently. Morrison School received its name from W.C., who lived until 1953. Upon his death, his entire estate of 3.2 million dollars was left to Guernsey County charities.

Barn Cornerstone

The barn cornerstone clearly shows the date of construction of 1869.

   When you realize the Morrison barn was built originally in 1869 – only four years after the Civil War, you can understand the desire to put it back to some useful purpose. Bill realized the barn was either going to have to be repaired or torn down. “When the doors no longer open, latches no longer work, and the floor is unsafe because the roof leaks, you have to make a decision.”

Doorway to home

A workman repairs the doorway with the Cowdens’ home in the background.

Getting walls ready

The new walls were being prepared on the ground.

   Some things had to be changed. Big posts by the door had rotted so needed to be replaced. Sadly, the slate roof had so many pieces missing that it received a metal roof. New siding had been put on previously, but now they covered that with metal siding as well.

Barn framing

Inside framing using wooden pegs was still in great original condition.

   Outside the barn looks like a new barn, but inside you can still easily see its history pouring out through all that old timber framing. The amazing craftsmanship of our ancestors without all the tools of today makes it extra special. These barns were built by hand and often in six to eight months. Inside the barn looks pretty much as it did back in 1869. The hand construction used to build the barn can clearly be seen in the rafters. All the beams are wood pegged, no nails were used.

Lift again

A lift was used to atttach new siding to the barn.

   Today, Bill and Sue use this barn for hay and machinery storage. Over the years they have raised chickens and even pigs in the lower level. They are pleased to have been able to preserve this historic barn.

   Three other barns were found that have been treasured by their owners and repaired when needed.

Schumaker Old Barn

Schumaker Barn (1887) West Lafayette

   In nearby Newcomerstown, the Schumakers barn (1887) still has its original slate roof with the date written on it. Their farm has been in the family for over 200 years so Jim and Wendy Schumaker keep striving to make their farm a showplace for others to enjoy through their produce stand and a fall adventure of Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience to interest children in farming.

Wilson Wells Barn 2

Wilson – Wells Bar (1932) Mantua Road

   Another was built by Carl Wilson (1932) during the Depression. He had purchased the supplies for the barn, but the banks closed before construction began. The contractor asked if he could keep his men working with Carl’s promise to make payment when the banks opened again. Both men fulfilled their promises. Today that barn has been extensively repaired and is owned by Jim and Dot Wells.

Bennett Smith Barn

Bennett-Smith Barn (1960) Pigeon Gap Road

   Across the road from the Cowden farm is the Bennett dairy barn (1960) that was built on the farm of the father, Sam Morrison. Today that barn has been repaired by owners Pete and Martha Smith after a tornado damaged part of the barn heavily back in 1993.

   Many people tend to feel that when something no longer fulfills its original purpose that it should be forgotten because repair takes time, money, and energy. Sue doesn’t agree, “Then you lose a bit of history and the wonderful work that went into it long ago.”

   Enjoy a ride through the country and pay special attention to the barns. You’ll find many large modern barns, those ready to fall down, and some that have been saved as part of our agricultural heritage.

   If you have a wonderful old barn, house, or building on your property that can be repaired, perhaps you will consider preserving it for future generations.

If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future.

~Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

National Coal Company Located in Dogtown in 1906

Miners crossed this old wooden bridge to work at  Minnehaha Coal Mine.

Workers used this old wooden bridge to cross from Buckeyeville to work in the Minnehaha coal mine.

Minnehaha isn’t a name most of us associate with the coal mines of Guernsey County. But the truth of the matter is there was a mine by that name back in 1906 located near what is today called Buckeyeville, or more commonly Dogtown.

     National Coal Company from Cleveland had heard of the success of the Byesville coal mines. They decided to purchase hundreds of acres and lease even more west of Byesville in an area that had no name. Their first concern was the lack of a railroad to the area.

Children - Main Street looking east

This group of children in Buckeyeville appears to be happy and they look neat and clean.

     So the company paid Pennsylvania Railroad to install a track from Byesville to the new mine. This included building three bridges to cross Chapman Run. National Coal Company felt that the Pennsylvania Railroad was charging them too much by increasing the number of crossties that were actually laid.

     They sent out a man to count the crossties. The man started the five-mile walk counting each crosstie but stumbled and lost count along the way. Not wanting to start over, he returned to National Coal Company telling them that Pennsylvania Railroad had actually laid more crossties than they were paid for. His secret was not known for sixty years.

     Once the railroad was completed, they began bringing all the new equipment into the site including a steel tipple, generators, a coal cutter, coal cars, and an electric locomotive. A wide slope opened down to the coal seam at Minnehaha.

Water tubs for 10 boilers. Need lots of water

These water tubs supplied ten boilers, which needed plenty of water to operate.

     When that mine opened in 1906, it was a very busy place. There were four boilers that made steam to turn two generators which created 250 watts of power. This was not to be used by the homes but to run the coal cutting machines and electric locomotives. The town nearby would not receive electricity until the 1930s long after the mine was closed.

rear of store in Buckeyeville

Children stand at the rear of the company store in Buckeyeville.

     Shortly after 1910, they began building houses in what is today Buckeyeville. By the time the mine closed, there were approximately forty houses in Buckeyeville as well as a company store, church, and school. There was no electricity or running water in the houses and rent was due the first of each month. The company store did have electricity!

Ad for Coal

This 1914 ad listed coal prices by the ton for retail rates. Check out their phone numbers!

     With a coal seam seven-foot deep in places, at its peak, 320 miners and 80 day workers worked the mine. During a good year, 500,000 tons of coal would be mined at Minnehaha in spite of the fact that in the summer months miners worked only a few days a week.

shop locomotive - ash and supplies to boiler room

This shop locomotive carried ash and supplies to the mine. Notice the electric wires.

     National Coal Company now had three mines in the area – Minnehaha, Little Kate Number Two, and Harryette. To provide electricity to all three mines they built the largest power plant in Guernsey County with ten boilers at Minnehaha.

     Eventually, there were nine mines open along the railroad to Byesville. These nine produced a daily output of 100 railroad cars of coal. These cars held between 50 and 75 tons each. Train crews said they were working “the Dogtown switch.” Why was it called Dogtown?

Kids parade on Main St. 19l17

These children of miners are having a parade in 1917.

     Beside the deep mines, there was a vein of coal that was not nearly as deep. Families sometimes dug into the hillsides in what was called a “scratch back mine” to get coal for their own use. Imagine working in the mine all day and then going home to dig your own coal out of the hillside.

     When they tried to pull this out of the hillside in small carts there wasn’t much room. It was found that dogs could do this task quite well so families raised dogs for work in the mines. Most of the time these dogs ran loose along the railroad tracks which is why the train crews named it Dogtown. Somehow the name stuck and many people still call it Dogtown today.

Union Hall Local #63 (1912) - Rev. Nathan Cramblett held church services

Rev. Nathan Cramblett held church services for miners in the Union Hall of Local #63.

     There was never a doctor in this area so injuries were not properly treated. Ten men died in Minnehaha. But that doesn’t account for the fact that many had injuries that maimed them for life. Fingers, hands, and feet were lost, broken bones ruined many miners’ backs, and black lung became a curse for most who labored in the mines. This was the most dangerous job in the world.

     Coal miners worked hard as they had to load all of the coal by hand using a pick and shovel. They had no vacations and were paid by the ton of clean coal that was loaded. Coal miners always worked on a buddy system for safety reasons. So that meant that when a ton of coal was loaded, that fifty cents had to be split between them. In reality, that meant twenty-five cents for each ton loaded. All of this for a two weeks pay of $15 or $16.

Blacksmith Shop

This blacksmith shop stood near the main road down to the mine.

     All of their supplies had to be purchased at the company store, which was one of the first things they built. Hard to realize that the miners had to purchase their own tools, props, and wedges.

     If you have heard stories of why this mine was called Minnehaha, please let me know. The name seems a bit of a mystery although it is a Dakota Indian name. Its Indian meaning translates as “rapid water” or “waterfall.” There was no rapid water or waterfall within thirty miles of the mine location.

1934 photo of Buckeyeville. Old wood bridge miners would use to go home from work.

This is a 1934 picture of Buckeyeville after the mine was closed. The bridge to work can still be seen.

     Minnehaha was shut down in 1928 after much of the coal was removed. The company found that they could find cheaper labor in Kentucky or West Virginia so when their lease was up, they moved to another coal mining area. While miners here were receiving fifty cents a ton for coal at that time, the miners in the other states were willing to work for about half that amount.

Dogtown Today

Today, Buckeyeville still exists as a small, friendly, unincorporated village.

     Never again would trains remove coal from a town that we now know as Buckeyeville or “Dogtown.”

Thanks to Dave Adair for providing information and pictures for this article.

Impressive Flag Show By Vane Scott in Sarasota, Florida

Vane at Patriot Plaza

Vane Scott had an attentive crowd at Patriot Plaza in Sarasota, Florida.

This concert was presented before the recent social distancing was put in place.

     The 2,800-seat outdoor amphitheater at Patriot Plaza in Sarasota, Florida was recently filled to capacity for Vane Scott’s presentation of “The Many Faces of Old Glory.” The event was sponsored by the Sarasota Military Officers Foundation so American patriots could learn more about the history of the flag of the United States.

Vane - The Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota (2)

The Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota provided background music.

     This was a repeat performance for Vane Scott as he had previously performed there in 2015 with the backing of the Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota, who again provided background music for this year’s flag show. When someone is asked back for a repeat performance, it’s obvious that the show has been appreciated.

vanes-dad-with-flags

Surrounded by the many flags used in the performance, Vane’s dad started this flag show.

     Vane credits his dad with starting the flag show back in 1975. Of course, Vane went along to many of those shows and his passion for the story grew. His dad encouraged Vane to learn the story of the flag and they even practiced at the kitchen table when his father became ill.

    Soon afterward, he decided to carry on the family tradition.“I needed to tell Dad’s story.” Vane would tell you today, “Dad’s with me every time I do his show. It’s been nine years since he passed away. I miss him terribly.”

Vane Show Crowd

A capacity crowd filled the stadium to hear the history of our flag.

     When he was introduced, he told the crowd, “I’m from Newcomerstown, Ohio along with a couple of famous people you might remember. The baseball pitcher, Cy Young, grew up in our area and Ohio State’s football coach, Woody Hayes went to school there.”

     He then delighted the crowd of Floridians, many with Ohio roots, by raising his arms and saying, “O-H”. To which nearly 2000 voices responded, “I-O.” The evening was off to a great start!

Vane - Many Faces of Old Glory

Vane tells the story as he shares the Bennington Flag from the American Revolution.

     “The Many Faces of Old Glory” contains the story of the many steps taken before we arrived at the United States flag we know today. Vane has over twenty different flags that help him tell the story. Some are odd, strange and downright crazy looking so there is humor laced with the history to make the show entertaining as well as informative.

Vane and Miss Tampa

Miss Tampa Lauren Nielsen provided patriotic vocal selections.

     Vane was honored and pleased to have Miss Tampa Lauren Nielsen as his backup singer. She sang “The Star Spangled Banner” as well as “God Bless America.” Vane remarked, “She has an amazing voice and range. She hit those high notes perfectly.”

     He still uses the same flags his father left folded up nine years ago. His goal is to help others understand the country’s rich heritage and give us a reason for being proud of our country.

Vane Scott

Vane is always ready to tell “The Many Faces of Old Glory”.

     While Vane is back home now, he’s always willing to present his flag show when the opportunity presents itself. Perhaps when things settle down in our country, your group might like to contact Vane Scott for a performance of “The Many Faces of Old Glory.”

    Contact Vane at 740-498-8803 or email him at vanescott@yahoo.com. Visit his website at www.ManyFacesofOldGlory.com

      Vane always reminds the crowd, “We may be born in America, but to be an American is quite another thing.”

National Road S-Bridges Preserved

Middlebourne Bridge 1903

Salt Fork Creek S-Bridge 1903

     Follow the trail those early pioneers took from the Ohio River to beyond New Concord and visit four S-Bridges and two stone bridges along Route 40. While you can no longer drive on any of these S-Bridges, you can walk on their bricks and think back to the difficult times those early pioneers must have faced as they headed to Ohio and westward.

S Brick Road and Stone Walls

Brick road and stone walls at Peter’s Creek

     “The Main Street of America” began as a dirt road. Next, they tried logs and many called it a Corduroy Road, but it was very rough. Crushed stone was added called macadam and finally, much of it was paved with bricks.

S Bridge diorama in Zane Grey Museum

National Road bridge diorama at National Road/Zane Grey Museum 

      The National Road was one of the first paved roads across the state of Ohio. While it began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1817, it wasn’t until 1825 that the road was built across Ohio until it reached Vandalia, Illinois in 1838. Stagecoaches and Conestoga wagons were the two most common ways of travel, but many rode horseback or walked.

     There are many reasons people say they built the S shape. Some claim it was to stop runaway horses, to go around trees or even that the builders were inebriated. The reason was simply an engineering decision.

   

S Bridge sign at Middlebourne

1938 sign on Salt Fork Creek Bridge: In memory of the pioneer who built this “S” bridge.

    Where the road crossed a creek at an angle, a stone arch bridge was built at right angles to the streamflow. “S” shaped walls of cut stone were then built to direct traffic around the jog and back into line with the road on the other side. It also made work easier for the workers as they worked from each side of the creek. The brick roadway made the bridge extra durable.

     Here is a short description of the location of each of those S-Bridges and stone bridges along the National Road in the order of their appearance from east to west.

S Blaine Hill and Viaduct

Blaine Hill S-Bridge and Viaduct

     Blaine Hill S-Bridge – Crossing Wheeling Creek near Blaine, Ohio, its three stone arches span approximately 345 feet, the longest crossing of any bridge at that time with a 6.3% grade. This eased the climb out of the valley and was a marvel of engineering. All the original precisely cut stones are there today.

S Salt Fork

Salt Fork Creek S-Bridge

     Salt Fork S-Bridge – Just east of Old Washington, you can find a well-preserved S-Bridge, which was near the town of Easton. The bridge is built of randomly laid stone giving it a road width of 26 feet. It was closed as recently as 2013.

S Bridge Cooks Run

Cooks Run Stone Bridge

     Cooks Run Stone Bridge – Only remnants remain of this abandoned stone bridge. When a new bridge was built over Cooks Run, the remains of the old bridge were left underneath. It can be seen about 500 feet off Route 40 about 2 miles east of Cambridge on the north side of the road.

Crooked Creek Stone Bridge

Crooked Creek Stone Bridge

     Crooked Creek Stone Bridge – On Manila Road, you can still drive over this Crooked Creek bridge. This is south of Route 40 on the other side of the railroad tracks across from the patrol barracks. While the entrance to the bridge has a large curve, the bridge itself is not s-shaped.

S Peters Creek

Peter’s Creek S-Bridge

      Peter’s Creek S-Bridge- This is one of those bridges that many of us pass quite often on the north side of Route 40 near Pike School at Peter’s Creek Road. There is a small park area to have a picnic or just relax.

S New Concord

Fox Run S-Bridge

     Fox Run S-Bridge – On the west side of New Concord, this bridge has been restored and a small area made into a parking and picnic area. My sons fondly remember going here with their grandfather to enjoy an ice cream treat from the New Concord ice cream stand.

DSC04532

Historic signs can be found at the S-Bridges.

     Four of these bridges have been found worthy of restoration to preserve the history of our ancestors while others have disappeared. This road was the only link between the east coast and the western frontier during the 19th century. There were four tollhouses in Guernsey County to help with the great expense of building this highway. Congress spent almost $7 million building this 620-mile road.

     In 1832 a sample of tolls was listed as:

Score of sheep or hogs……$.05

Score of cattle……………….$.10

Horse and rider………………$.04

Sulky drawn by one horse.$.08

Chariot or coach…………….$ .12 1/2

S Wheeling Creek

Blaine S-Bridge over Wheeling Creek

     Take a historic ride along Route 40 in Ohio starting at Blaine, where you can see the history of the developing highway that Abraham Lincoln traveled on trips from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Beside the Blaine S-Bridge is the BlaineViaduct which was built when the S-Bridge could no longer handle all the auto traffic. Just a short distance to the south you will find today’s I-70. From the S-Bridge, you can clearly see the three generations of our national highway system.

     Move on to Old Washington and end east of New Concord to view the route of those early pioneers. Imagine the wagons loaded with goods and crops as they traveled the Old National Trail. Perhaps you would have enjoyed being on the road at that time or maybe you would prefer the comfort of today’s travel.

Gypsy Highway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clark Gable Museum Celebrates Star’s Birthday

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

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

Clark childhood home

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

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

Clark teen

Clark Gable poses as a teenager.

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

Clark Family Picture

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

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

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

Clark Poster

A lifesize poster of Clark hangs in the gift shop.

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

Clark Gift Shop Walls

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

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

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

Clark Monument

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

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

Clark Home Upstairs

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

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

Clark Air Force

He served in WWII as a cameraman and gunner.

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

Clark Cadillac

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

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

Clark Nan Mattern

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

 

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

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

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

Clark Back Entrance

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

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

Clark Downtown

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

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

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

 

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