Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Gnadenhutten Ohio Celebrates 250 Years

Ohio’s Oldest Existing Settlement

A local lady designed this wooden flag to celebrate their 250th Anniversary.

Gnadenhutten is the oldest settlement in the state of Ohio and this year celebrates its 250th birthday. In 1772, Rev. David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary, and another young missionary, John Heckewelder, founded two villages along the Tuscarawas River in the state of Ohio with the help of Joshua, a Mohican chieftain.

Most are familiar with Schoenbrunn Village, which was Zeisberger’s first settlement for the American Indians – mostly Delawares. His second settlement that same year was Gnadenhutten and that town still exists today.

Children have many games to enjoy at the festival.

This October, Gnadenhutten will celebrate its 250th anniversary at their Homecoming Celebration on the 7, 8, and 9th. It all begins on Friday evening with food trucks downtown and apple butter being made at the museum. Saturday has activities planned all day long for all members of the family. Sunday, church services will be held in the Museum House in the Historical Park.

The stage is set for a musical Saturday afternoon and evening.

Streets downtown are blocked off for craft booths, Farmers’ Market, Corn-Hole Tournament, and music. While the kids are enjoying the Bounce House, Obstacle Course, Putt Putt, and Face Painting, adults might relax playing Bingo at the Fire House. Don’t forget to check out Custom Kemps Car Show in the afternoon.

Putnams System Rewind will provide music on Saturday evening.

Saturday will be filled with music. In the afternoon Wes Schryok and Mike Wykoff will be entertaining. Then that evening, Putnams System Rewind, a family band with a reputation for performing a great variety of music, will be on stage from 6 -9. Music will be followed by fireworks from the top of Stocker’s Hill.

An encampment in early 1800s style will greet visitors to the Historical Park.

Apple Butter Days happens on October 8 and 9 at the museum with apple peeling beginning on Friday night when they will show people how to make apple butter. The family of Samuel Shrock from Millersburg will be making the apple butter again this year. Enjoy visiting the encampment in the park where people will be dressed for the early 1800s.

A monument at the Historical Park remembers those who were slain.

A memorial was placed in the Historical Park at the spot of what is now called the Gnadenhutten Massacre. The plaque on the memorial states:

HERE

TRIUMPHED IN DEATH

NINETY

CHRISTIAN INDIANS

MARCH 8, 1782

Ten years after settlement, Captain David Williamson, an American Revolutionary War officer, and his militia suspected the peaceful Mohicans and Delawares in Gnadenhutten, who had been converted by the Moravian missionaries because they remained neutral during the war. Seeking revenge for other Indian raids, they tricked the Delaware into believing they were friends. The next day, March 8, 1782, they killed all the villagers except for two scalped boys who escaped and told of the incident. One Ohio historian called it “the wickedest deed in our history.” Story of this tragedy is told at the outdoor drama, Trumpet in the Land.

The museum contains a history of Gnadenhutten from its beginning.

A museum tells the story of those early settlers, who lived a peaceful life in their log cabins along the river. These Indians loved music and enjoyed working in their gardens. There is also a reconstructed church and log cabin like those that were on that site over 200 years ago. A burial mound contains the remains of those ninety Christian Delawares who were massacred that day.

John Heil, curator, visits at the museum with his two best friends, who never argue with him.

The mayor’s office and the museum have a small booklet “Massacre at Gnadenhutten” which is a copy of the history published by the Gnadenhutten Monument and Cemetery Organization back on October 7, 1843. It tells the entire story of what is called the blackest page in history of the Northwest Territory.

A special display tells the history of John Heckewelder, the founder of the village.

After the massacre, John Heckewelder returned to the village and again organized the town but this time with basically a white Moravian population. Today there is still a Moravian Church in Gnadenhutten called the John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church established in 1803. Due to his early persistence in establishing the village, Gnadenhutten still exists today.

The Moravian tradition lives on as John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church has been in the same spot for 220 years.

Mayor Rich Gosling hopes that in the future, “While we will never forget the tragic massacre that took place here, I would like for Gnadenhutten to, first of all, be remembered as the oldest settlement in Ohio.”

The Tuscarawas River flows at the edge of Gnadenhutten.

The town has grown from those early days when travel was on trails by horseback and wagon or on the Tuscarawas River. Things changed in the early 1900s when the Ohio-Erie Canal traveled along the river, followed by the railroad and then today’s highways.

Enjoy a visit to Gnadenhutten, the oldest established town in Ohio, during their 250th Anniversary celebration. Then watch what changes happen over the next 50 years.

Take a Relaxing Visit to Historic Harmar Village

Old Fort Harmar was built near the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers.

At the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, Fort Harmar was the first military fort built in Ohio County. Built under the command of General Josiah Harmar, this 1785 fort was given his name.

This drawing was made by early pioneer, Judge Joseph Gilman.

Its purpose was to keep illegal settlers from squatting there but it proved the opposite as they came and settled because they felt safe from the American Indians with the protection of the fort. The fort was abandoned in 1790 and demolished in 1791. Its location is thought to be under the Ohio River as the river has widened over the years.

Take a trolley ride for interesting historical stories.

The Ohio Company planned out Harmar Village near the fort site across the Muskingum River from downtown Marietta. Today, a trolley tour of Historic Marietta and Harmar is a nice way to get an overview. Then you can go back and see the places that appeal to you. Once you get to the other side of the river, Harmar Village is filled with historical homes, a few unique shops, many dining experiences, museums, and restored train cars.

Historic Harmar Bridge provided a nice walk over the Muskingum River in past years.

Historic Harmar Railroad Bridge, strictly pedestrian in recent years, leads from Front Street in downtown Marietta to Harmar Village but is now closed. It was a scenic walk over the Muskingum River to explore the old restored village. The bridge, which was built in the 1860s is in disrepair and they have a campaign to save the bridge as it was the only working, hand-operated railroad bridge in America. They still operate it during the Harmar Festival for those who would like a ride. All proceeds, of course, go to Save the Bridge.

Putnam House is high on the hill overlooking the town and the rivers.

A beautiful Italianate home can be found high on the hill in Harmar. It was built in 1859 by Douglas Putnam, one of Marietta’s wealthiest men. Putnam was the leader of the abolitionists in the area where he was a major supporter of the Underground Railroad.

He built the home for his wife Eliza who fell in love with that style when traveling through New England. Eliza carefully chose everything that was to go into the house to make it their home. The cost at that time was $60,000.

The family named the house Putnam Place, although many called it Putnam’s Folly. The tower was probably his idea as he could easily see both rivers and the city as well as across the river to Virginia so he could keep a good eye on slave movement. At that time the Ohio River was rather shallow and you could easily ride a horse across it. Later the house was purchased by Harry Knox, a builder of steamboats, and renamed Anchorage.

In recent years, paranormal investigations and tours have also been held at Putnam Villa by the Washington County Historical Society, which hopes to restore it.

Henry Fearing House Museum gives a glimpse of life in the early 1800s.

Harmar seems to overflow with historical homes. The Henry Fearing House Museum gives you a taste of middle-class life during the Victorian era. Fearing invested in the area and had a steamboat enterprise. Built in 1847, today this house holds historical items from Marietta and Washington counties. In 1829, Levi Barber, who was a surveyor and U.S. Congressman, built The Barber House.

The Children’s Toy & Doll Museum has a vast collection of old toys.

The Children’s Toy & Doll Museum gives visitors a glimpse of what toys entertained children during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The house where this hidden treasure is located was built in 1889 by George Strecker, a local boilermaker. They have beautiful displays of dollhouses, circus wagons, dolls from around the world, and many new displays this year.

The Old Post Office has a train display beside it.

The Old Post Office is a center of attraction right beside their train display. Lydia Young served as postmaster here from 1864-1885 in what was also her notary shop. While there aren’t many places for shopping in Harmar, you’ll find several places for delicious food as all have crowds of people at lunchtime.

Busy Bee is a popular family restaurant for breakfast and lunch.

Busy Bee is right next door to the Post Office and has been serving fresh ingredients from local farms since 1944. Everything is made from scratch with breakfast their specialty. Larry loves the area and has plans for starting three new businesses there: a bakery, butcher shop, and distillery.

Harmar Tavern has a friendly bar, indoor dining, and a great patio.

Stop for a meal at Spagna’s Italian Restaurant right next door to Harmar Tavern. Spagna’s offers authentic southern Italian cuisine and an extensive wine list. Or go next door to the tavern, a neighborhood gathering place that almost never closes. They are known for their “Soon to be famous” Fried Bologna Sandwich.

The history of Harmar is told at the edge of town near where the original fort stood.

If you are planning to attend their Fourth of July Celebration or the Sternwheeler Festival, you might enjoy heading to Lookout Point on Harmar Hill. Here you can see many vistas of Marietta as well as the beautiful Ohio and Muskingum Rivers winding their way through the scene. It’s a great place to watch the fireworks! Harmar is a great place to visit any time of the year.

History of Coal in Harrison County

The Coal Mining Museum is in the basement of the Puskarich Public Library.

A Coal Mining Museum has been created to preserve the rich mining heritage of Harrison County Ohio. It can be found on the lower level of the Puskarich Public Library at 200 E. Market St. in Cadiz. Displays are many and detailed with informative signs to describe both the early day and modern mining found in Southeastern Ohio.

After the Puskarich family helped with the half-million-dollar campaign to build the new library in 1986, there was a large area on the lower level that remained empty. Since their family owned and operated the successful Cravat Coal Company, the Puskarichs spearheaded the plan for a Coal Mining Museum. Their family, along with other area coal mining families, presented items for display.

Watch fobs were often gifts from mining companies for advertisement purposes.

During the late 19th century, Harrison County was one of the top coal-producing counties in Ohio until its decline in the 1980s. Items and pictures from those mines plus miners’ tools are on display from various coal companies.

Walking into the museum, you will notice that the walls and ceilings are black, giving you the feeling of being in a dark coal mine.

This Ohio map shows the locations of coal fields at a glance.

Coal is sometimes called “buried sunshine” because it came from plants that originally absorbed energy from the sun. When coal is burned, we are using energy that was created millions of years ago. Along with oil and natural gas, coal is considered a fossil fuel since it traces its beginning to plants that were once alive. Often prints of fossils can be found in a piece of coal.

Jewelry made from coal is showcased in their lobby.

The Coal Mining Museum is a great place to learn how coal is formed, the tools used to mine it, and the heavy equipment used in strip mining. Historic photographs line the walls giving you a better understanding of mining and the size of equipment used.

Universal Newsreel photographer captures the moment when Ida Mae is allowed back in the mine.

One of those photos shows Ida Mae Stull, the first woman coal miner, dressed for the mines. Ida was one of 18 children and carried a lantern to the mines for her father when she was six. Ida enjoyed digging coal and mined six or seven cars a day by the age of 30. Her pay for the day was $2 but that paid the mortgage on her property and kept her off charity. Legal action then made it illegal for women to work in the mines but in one year she won her case and was back doing what she loved – digging coal. Ida lived to the age of 84.

The Watts Coal Car made in Barnesville was donated by the Cravat Coal Company.

A featured display shows an actual Watts Car loaded with coal and equipment in front of a large photo of the entrance of a deep mine. Watts Cars were made in nearby Barnesville and this car was donated by the Cravat Coal Company.

Bird cages were an early safety feature in the mines. If a bird died, the men had to leave quickly.

Another interesting display shows safety measures in the mine. A birdcage is displayed which was the earliest way of telling if the mine was safe for miners. If the bird died, they knew the miners had to leave as quickly as possible to escape the deadly gas in the mine. Later methods show rescue kits provided for the miners with oxygen tanks that would last up to an hour that would last up to one hour.

Mines paid in scrip which could only be used at their company store.

Of special interest were the various scrips used as payment to the coal miners. In this way, they had to buy everything from the company store. These people really did “Owe their soul to the company store.”

The miner’s dinner pail hung from a nail in the mine to keep the rats out.

Everyone went to work swinging their dinner pail. If they were lucky, they might have a West Virginia ham sandwich inside. By the way, that ham is what we call bologna. Miners always left something in their dinner pail in case there would happen to be a cave-in. If they had a lucky day, on the way home they would give their dinner pail to one of the children so they could have a snack.

The GEM of Egypt was a power shovel used for strip mining.

Pictures show some of the large machines that mined the coal on ground level. These included the GEM of Egypt (Giant Excavating Machine at Egypt Valley Mine) and the Mountaineer. In 1955, Mountaineer was the first of the super strippers to work in the coalfields around Cadiz.

Tour buses came to see the Mountaineer, the largest mobile land machine ever produced.

A beautiful 99-seat theater shows films about the coal industry and its history. There is a video presentation produced by AEP telling of the conversion of coal to electricity. Students seeing the video realize how much happens before they can turn on their light switch at home.

A coal crew works at Short Creek mine in 1910.

A Coal Miners’ Reunion is being planned for May in conjunction with the annual Harrison Coal and Reclamation Park dinner auction. All miners past and present are invited to attend.

Coal was delivered by barge on the Ohio River.

The Puskarich Public Library and the History of Coal Museum are open Monday through Thursday from 9 am – 8 pm and Friday from 9am – 5pm. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. Check out their website at www.thecoalmuseum.com for more information.

If you enjoy history, you are sure to enjoy all that has been accumulated at the Coal Mining Museum in Cadiz.

General Custer Honored at Birthplace

A large outdoor sign points the way to New Rumley and the museum.

New Rumley, Ohio, the birthplace of General George H. Custer, honors him with an annual Custer Observance on the first Saturday of June. This year on June 4, 2022, the day begins with music by JT Thompson of Scio at 11 am by the monument. Members of the Jewett Veterans of Foreign Wars General George Armstrong Custer Post 3071 will raise the flag.

Infantry will demonstrate Civil War-style before Custer Observance Day.

Dr. Mandal Haas of Carrolton returns with his Civil War cannon along with artillery and infantry reenactors to explain the equipment and give demonstrations of their use. Kevin Haney will have his collection of muzzleloaders on display featuring Ager rifles.

Steve and Lisa Ball will sing Civil War songs that tell of life at that time.

After lunch at New Rumley United Methodist Church, Civil War music will be provided by Steve and Lisa Ball. Not only are their songs entertaining, but the stories they tell of their historic significance are always a crowd-pleaser.

The Custer Museum is inside this old church.

An auction of Civil War and Wild West-related items will follow in the sanctuary. The day’s events culminate with remarks from General Custer (aka Rick Williams). Take time to view the museum packed with memorabilia and the historic signs in the pavilion near the monument.

Their collection of Civil War swords is a favorite.

The General Custer Museum in New Rumley, Ohio has a collection of memorabilia from General Custer as well as general Civil War artifacts. One of the most impressive items there is the swords that were used during the Civil War.

Visitors enjoy exploring the museum.

Another impressive piece is a document with the signature of General George H. Custer from 1873 when he was stationed in Memphis, TN. On this particular document, it says that he inspected the horses for the cavalry.

Dave Rose, president, enjoys telling visitors about the museum.

Dave Rose, president of the Custer Museum in New Rumley, has a long-time interest in the Civil War after his great-great-grandfather gave him his Civil War jacket. Dave served in the U.S. Army Cavalry and said they didn’t ride horses but tanks. He spent twenty-four years in Germany serving our country.

When asked to describe General Custer, Dave said, “He was brave…a fighter and hunter.”

George Custer grew up in a family of several brothers and one sister. George had an attraction to a young lady, whose father was a judge. He didn’t like George’s drinking and forbid his daughter to see him. From that time on George never took another drink as he wanted to marry Elizabeth.

A nearby exhibit tells the story of Libbie, the General’s wife.

George attended West Point and taught school before finally marrying Libbie, who went with him wherever he was sent. George Custer served in the Civil War as Brigadier General and often Libbie stayed in a tent with the military or nearby in a fort. She was always by his side and his biggest cheerleader.

While some feel General Custer wanted to destroy the Indians, everyone does not feel that story to be true. Custer made many friends with the Indians when he was out west and often went hunting with them. General Grant did not like Custer’s affiliation with the Indians and wanted him to leave the Army. At that time many feel Grant sent Custer to Little Big Horn, knowing it would be his downfall. At that final Battle of Little Big Horn, five members of the Custer family died.

George W. Custer statue is a highlight of your visit.

In 1932, the town of New Rumley decided to honor their local hero with a statue. Elizabeth Custer then lived in New York and was unable to attend but through the amazing world of technology even at that early date, she gave a speech from New York that was heard at the dedication ceremony in New Rumley.

The exhibit pavilion near the statue tells the story of General Custer.

Today they have added information boards in a pavilion that tell the history of the general with many pictures included that can be seen throughout the year. It is on the same ground where his birthplace was located and the outline of the bricks shows where the actual house stood.

New Rumley isn’t the only place that holds memories of General George Custer. Monroe, Michigan has a large statue of him on horseback while nearby Cadiz has his signed calling cards and a lock of his hair and Scio has a collection of books and pictures.

This early picture of George Custer shows him as a West Point cadet.

Visit the Custer Museum in New Rumley on the last Sunday of each month from now until September. The museum will be open on the first Saturday in June from 10 – 5 during the Custer Observance. Enjoy a day learning more about the Civil War and General Custer.

Dickens Victorian Village Bus Tours

Buses have coned places for parking in front of the Welcome Center.

Step back in time at Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio during the months of November and December. The friendly small-town atmosphere will have you feeling like you’ve arrived in jolly old London during the late 1800s. Bus groups get special treatment during their visits and we usually have nearly fifty groups a year during that season.

While this article is basically for the tour groups, you will find many things here that make it a great place for a family weekend adventure.

As soon as a tour group arrives in Cambridge,  you will get that Victorian feeling. A costumed guide will step on your bus at the edge of town and stay with you throughout the day as they tell how Dickens Victorian Village began sixteen years ago.

Our mayor welcomes you to Cambridge along with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

Tour venues are very flexible as each group has particular interests. Most groups begin the day with a slow bus tour of six blocks of downtown Cambridge. During November and December, there is a Victorian scene under every lamppost in those six blocks. In 2021, there were 168 life-size mannequins in 96 different scenes.

A touch of snow adds to the holiday cheer on one of the Victorian scenes.

The scenes are based on Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and also scenes from London during Dickens’ time. Each scene has a brass plaque attached, which explains its connection to that time in history.

Everyone enjoys a tasty treat from Kennedy’s Bakery.

Along the way, almost every bus group stops at Kennedy’s Bakery, a hometown favorite that has been in business since 1925. Three generations of the Kennedy family have created the same tasty pastries year after year. Bus groups stop back again and again.

Mosser Glass still produces glass at their factory with a beautiful Gift Shop included.

If you arrive in the morning, Mosser Glass provides an interesting stop as they are still making glass on site. Watch them create some beautiful glass pieces. Cher purchases turkey candy dishes here each year for her guests at Thanksgiving dinner. They have even provided beautiful glass Easter eggs to the White House. Their showroom is outstanding.

Volunteers at the Welcome Center are dressed in Victorian garb to welcome guests.

Down the street, the bus will have a coned off place to park near our Dickens Welcome Center. Here Father Christmas will greet the bus. Volunteers at the Welcome Center will talk about how the figures are made and encourage you to dress in Victorian clothes at Imagination Station. Have your picture taken for a fond memory with a beautiful Christmas tree or the figure of Charles Dickens himself.

Several unique shops help make this stop a pleasure for those who enjoy shopping.  Find a unique gift for yourself or a friend from several shops which include locally made articles.

Francis Family Restaurant has a large banquet room for buffets.
Mr. Lee’s Family Restaurant provides great meals and service
Theo’s Restaurant has delicious buffets and serve their homemade pies.

Of course, lunch is always an important stop of the day. Three local restaurants have delicious buffets that are only prepared for bus tours. Take your choice of Francis Family Restaurant, Lee’s, or Theo’s for a buffet that will leave you satisfied.

The Queen’s Tea takes place at the beautiful Cambridge Country Club.

Some wish to have an upscale lunch or dinner and choose to have dinner with Queen Victoria at the Cambridge Country Club where she tells about her life growing up in London from childhood to adult.

Victorian ladies greet you at the Cambridge Glass Museum.

Several museums give a great place to spend a couple of hours. Cambridge Glass Museum greets you with ladies dressed in Victorian costumes and tells you of Christmas at the Glasshouse. They will give you many hands-on activities to keep your group smiling.

Coal Miner Dave tells the story of those early coal mines in the area.

Another possibility is the Guernsey County Museum where you can meet Coal Miner Dave, who tells of those early years in the county.  At the same place, you will discover a one-room classroom and a teacher who will give you a lesson and perhaps even a test. Those are highlights of a museum packed with historic pieces.

Ladies enjoy wearing hats and shawls as they enjoy tea and sweets.

You might prefer having afternoon tea at one of our local churches. They will provide a short program of music and information before serving tea, scones, and cookies.

Finish off the evening with the Courthouse Holiday Light Show.

We always end the day with the Holiday Courthouse Light Show, which has over 65,000 lights synchronized to holiday music. An entire hour is different! The show starts every evening from Nov. 1 – Dec. 31 from 5:30 – 9:00. You can even watch it from the coach.

These are just a few ideas you might include in your trip to Dickens Victorian Village. If you would like to learn more please contact me at DickensGroupTours@gmail.com for additional places to visit.

Visit The Works in Newark for Science Exploration

School groups and families enjoy exploring The Works in Newark.

Let your imagination soar at The Works in Newark. Everyone from children to adults will find something they enjoy either in the world of science or the history of Newark. Winter is the perfect time to visit this indoor facility filled with experiments and fun.

The Works began in the early 1990s when Howard LeFevre and a group of local citizens were searching for a way to preserve Licking County’s rich industrial heritage. He wanted to use history to provide the foundation for educational programs.

Earliest exhibits were in the Scheidler Machine Works, an 1800s business.

The first exhibits were located in The Scheidler Machine Works, a business from 1882. However, it wasn’t long before several additions were necessary and before you know it The Works Complex filled 6 acres and 11 buildings – an entire city block – very close to the courthouse in downtown Newark.

Youngsters learn about electricity in the Zap Lab.

Today the complex is filled with fun and education. On the first floor, there are simulated cars to drive and Legos to build and race, A multitude of craft supplies help kids use their imaginations to make a piece of art they can take home with them. It’s a great place if your child enjoys science with many special labs for hands-on activities for learning and fun.

A glass-blowing exhibit amazes young and old.

A glassblowing exhibit is a favorite of many. A well-supplied room with all the tools needed for blowing glass has adults and children oohing and aahing. Pre-register on certain dates to complete a glass project while visiting. In January and February make a glass heart!

Become a flight simulator in a replica of the Spirit of Columbus.

The second floor overflows with history of the area. Learn about glassmakers Heisey Glass and Corning Owens. See old telephones and typewriters as you explore replicas of local shops that were in the area over a century ago. Some were previously at COSI’s old home. Hear the story of Newark native, Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. There’s an excellent display of canal history as well.

Don’t forget the Art Gallery featuring national and local artists in a variety of mediums. Gallery exhibits change quarterly to keep artwork fresh and exciting.

Workers assemble a Mastodon skeleton when digging a pond in Heath.

An amazing exhibit displays parts of a mastodon skeleton discovery in 1989 near Buckeye Lake when they were digging for a new pond on Burning Tree Golf Course in Heath. It’s called the Burning Tree Mastodon, the most complete mastodon skeleton ever found, and is estimated to be 13,300 years old. The original sold in 1993 for $600,000 and now resides in Japan.

Step into an original interurban car outside the building.

There are places to explore both inside and out. Outside there is an original interurban rail car open for touring or even a birthday party! If you enjoy music, try your hand at the outdoor Pipe Organ where you can perhaps create a tune of your own. The Works’ mission is to enrich people’s lives by providing interactive opportunities that inspire creativity and learning.

SciDome is a planetarium featuring space-based learning for all ages.

SciDome planetarium is a combined effort between The Works and Ohio State University. A visit is included with your admission so you can enjoy a trip through the nighttime sky, a visit to the solar system, or a journey to Mars. This 30-ft., 4K Projection planetarium includes live planetarium shows as well as full-dome SciDome films. Programs vary so check their schedule before visiting.

They have a traveling program that goes to over fourteen different counties and they provide professional training for area teachers. There is a heavy emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) as it is found in everyday life from measuring ingredients while cooking to launching rockets.

Go Lab encourages building your own vehicle and then racing them.

It’s a great place for a school field trip to learn more about the history of the area as well as experience many hands-on science activities.

See a historical horse-drawn fire hose wagon.

Children especially enjoy the downstairs section, while adults prefer the history on the second floor. Everyone enjoys having a lunch break at the deli, which is connected to the museum by a walkway.

The Works is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., which gives them access to many exhibits and resources not otherwise available. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 – 5 and on Sundays January through March from noon -5 at 55 South First Street in downtown Newark. Admission is very reasonable at $8 for children 3- 17, $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors 55+. There is free and convenient parking in their visitors’ lot very near the front door.

During these winter months, The Works would make a great family outing where there is something everyone would enjoy. Check their calendar of events on their website – http://www.attheworks.org . It’s the perfect place to spark your children’s imagination.

Tour Historic Fort Steuben

Fort Steuben captures the spirit of America and represents the opening of the West after the Revolutionary War when settlers could finally afford to purchase land. The first seven ranges of the Northwest Territory along the Ohio River needed to be surveyed into sections before being sold to those settlers.

This original Fort Steuben cornerstone, erected in 1786, has been preserved.

In 1787, Fort Steuben was constructed to protect the surveyors from the Indians as well as prevent squatters from coming across the Ohio River from Virginia. The Federal Government wanted to sell this land so made it illegal for those early pioneers to cross the river and settle without purchase.

Here’s an overview of some of the buildings inside the fort.

Major John Hamtramck was responsible for getting the fort built. It was named for Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a drillmaster who served under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. It’s easy to see how Steubenville, Ohio received its name. It was the perfect place for a defense with the Ohio River to the east, a bank of hills on the west, and a nice plateau on which to build. Its location was mid-way between Pittsburgh and Wheeling.

One hundred fifty soldiers guarded this fort. There was a lookout station where they could easily watch the Ohio River. However, after one year, the fort was abandoned and never used again.

The University of Steubenville holds an annual archaeological dig here.

Some say that in 1790, the fort burned but archaeological digs have shown no evidence of ashes or burnt objects. Others think that perhaps settlers dismantled the buildings and moved them to a place where they were going to live.

Some items found in the dig are displayed inside the Welcome Center.

Every year since 1978, the University of Steubenville has conducted a summer session on the grounds of the former fort. Their archaeological dig has discovered many discarded items from that time and some are on display at the Fort Steuben Visitors Center while others can be found at the University of Steubenville.

The hospital included a surgeon and a shelf filled with medical supplies.

Several times over the years, people had been interested in reconstructing the fort, but it wasn’t until 1986 that two ladies became enthusiastic about the project after attending a lecture by the archaeologists. Their enthusiasm led to the community becoming involved in the project. It began in 1989 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the fort was completed.

Nutcracker Village happens each year during November and December.

Fort Steuben Park has become a central part of community activities as this is where they hold the Dean Martin Celebration, Nutcracker Village, Farmers’ Market, 4th of July Fireworks, and weekly concerts in Berkman Amphitheater during the summer months. The fort is a private effort funded by local supporters and is staffed with a director and many helpful volunteers.

The table in the Officers’ Quarters was used for dining and as a place to spread out maps of the surveyors.

Taking a self-guided tour or touring the fort with a trained interpreter in this reconstructed village gives you a glimpse of what life was like over 230 years ago. There are seven buildings in the complex where you will find posted stories of the trials and tribulations suffered without today’s modern conveniences. Step inside the Officer’s Quarters, Hospital, Commissary, or Guard House to learn their stories.

The original Federal Land Office, where plots of land were sold, was moved close to the fort.

A special feature is the Federal Land Office, the first one built in the United States in 1800. The original building has been moved near the fort. There seemed to be a natural connection as this Land Office was where people came to buy the land after it had been surveyed. The agent and his family lived in the Land Office cabin.

The agent and his family lived inside the Land Office.

The land was measured off in plots of one square mile, which would be 640 acres. A settler could purchase a square mile for $1 an acre but had to buy 640 acres. Later, those plots were divided and settlers could purchase 320 acres for $2 an acre. Some consider this Ohio’s Ellis Island as it was at the Land Office that people started new lives.

Berkman Amphitheater has weekly concerts during the summer months.

The outstanding Visitors’ Center is open all year long while Fort Steuben is open from May through October. Hours for both are from 10 am – 4 pm. Admission to the fort is $10 for adults and $7 for students 6-12. Those under six are admitted free.

If you enjoy history, you’re sure to enjoy visiting the Welcome Center and Fort Steuben.

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!

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.

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