Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

Made in the USA at American Whistle Corporation

If you want a whistle made in the United States, Columbus, Ohio is the place to find it. The American Whistle Corporation is the only factory in the US that makes brass whistles. Everything that goes into the making of the whistle is made in the US. It’s one place where people can really whistle as they work.

No one is certain how the whistle began but evidence of whistles carved out of bones, gourds, or branches have been around since the early humans. In prehistoric Egypt, small shells were used as whistles. The first recorded use of a whistle by a referee was in 1878 at an English Football Association soccer contest between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield.

They also make this popular Ohio State Buckeye whistle.

While sports teams seem an obvious place for their whistles, there are many others that use whistles frequently. These include lifeguards, hikers, hunters, teachers, and police. The piercing sound of a whistle is louder than a yell and carries much farther.

Brass whistle parts are assembled and soldered.

These quality American Whistles have been on the scene since 1956 when the company was Colsoff Manufacturing, and are used as safety tools for young and old alike. Brass, which is used in many musical instruments, is chosen for its resonance plus it never rusts. Some of these whistles with a particular decibel rating can be heard for over a mile.

Here’s a close-up of the nickel-plated whistle and the protective Safe-T-Tip.

In 2018, the present owners purchased the Whistle Factory and are making many additions that complement the brass whistle. Their line of whistle accessories includes lanyards in many different colors. They are also the only United States manufacturer of a rubber mouth protector, Safe-T-Tips, to guard the teeth and lips against damage as well as cold temperatures.

American Whistle Corp. shows their American spirit by displaying a large USA flag.

The process for making a whistle begins with coiled brass, 30–ton presses, state-of-the-art soldering tables, and continues on through polishing, specialized plating processes, and finally, putting a synthetic cork ball inside the whistle! One coil of brass produces 5,000 whistles. A special machine smooths, polishes, and cleans the whistle of everything until it is perfectly free of any burrs. As clean as a whistle!

Joyce, a 25 year employee, inserts the cork balls inside the whistle.

They will even place a logo on the whistle to give it a personal and professional touch. There are a variety of finishes to the brass whistles. While most are nickel-plated, many are finished with brass, bronze, and even 24-karat gold.

The American Spirit Whistle is made specifically for Walmart.

Experienced hands-on workers using high-tech procedures make over a million whistles a year. One of their largest orders goes to the New York City Police Department. They also proudly make the whistles in 24-karat gold for the Super Bowl referees each year with proper logos applied.

The most expensive whistle they ever made was for the retirement of a man who had been grand marshal of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade for many years. That whistle ended up costing over $500.

Personal Safety Whistles are used by the Columbus Police Department.

During the recent pandemic, business was slow since most of their products are made for the sports world where games were being canceled. At that point, they decided they would make an additional whistle, a Personal Safety Whistle, which might be of assistance to those staying at home. This is a durable plastic whistle designed to support the needs of individuals and families and alert others to signs of distress. No batteries required.

Plastic whistles are made in two pieces. Then after the ball is inserted into the whistle, they are placed in a machine where high-frequency sound waves actually melt the two pieces together.

Phil Clark serves as tour guide and spokesman for American Whistle.

If you would like to see how these whistles are made, take a 45-minute guided tour of the factory at 6540 Huntley Road, Columbus. You will hear fascinating information about whistles and their origin. Watch as whistles are being made on some very high-tech machines as well as some of those original machines used from their beginning.

Tours must be scheduled in advance with at least sixteen people in the group. However, if you wish to tour without a group, call to see when they can add you to a group already scheduled. They are very flexible!

This is a tour everyone from preschoolers to seniors will enjoy. They adapt the tour to the age group that is visiting. Everyone leaves with an “American Classic” whistle!

Their sign on the wall says it all!

American Whistle Corporation

The Best Whistles in the USA

American Whistle Corporation can be found at 6540 Huntley Road, Columbus, Ohio in the northwestern section of Columbus. Be sure to call ahead to make reservations at 614-846-2918.

“For the Birds” Creates Solid Birdseed Feeders

Retirement often leads to finding a hobby that makes life more fulfilling. When Marsha Stroud and Lee Marlatt retired, they found a recipe to make birdseed feeders and decided to try it. Now in their fourth year, they create the most unique birdfeeders imaginable for every season of the year. When they started this venture, they had no idea it would become so popular.

Marsha and Lee enjoy talking to customers at Rise and Shine Farmers’ Market.

They named their business simply “For the Birds” since that’s the purpose of everything they make. Their handmade solid birdseed feeders are a popular item at craft shows, farmers’ markets, schools, and Facebook. There’s a great variety to choose from. These birdseed art pieces must of course be non-toxic to birds.

Choose from a selection of owls in all colors.

The feeders begin with a cake or cupcake mold in various shapes and sizes. Roy, Marsha’s husband, cuts away a narrow section of the mold so a wire or hemp can be used as a hanger. Then a wild birdseed mix or sunflower seeds that have been combined with gelatin, water, flour, and light corn syrup gets poured into the mold. After being dried, Marsha colors the pieces with a food coloring paste.

Flowers and butterflies are the most popular birdfeeders for summertime.

Some of the more popular shapes in the summer are flowers such as zinnias, daisies, or roses. During the winter, snowmen and snowflakes become popular. Hearts appear for Valentine’s Day and bunnies for Easter. Their original ideas give customers something different to look forward to each year.

A heart-shaped birdfeeder is welcome anytime of the year.

Designing the birdseed feeders requires hours of experimentation, often causing frustration and even sometimes failure. But in the end, they put their heart and soul into each creation making it unique. They hope that it will end up being a special moment in someone’s life, or in some bird’s life!

Birdwatchers will enjoy having a couple of these feeders outside their window. A large variety of birds will soon appear in your backyard with the addition of these solid birdseed feeders. Keep your bird book handy for easy identification.

Many place their feeders outside a window for easy birdwatching.

Give one as a great gift for someone in a nursing home. If a tree isn’t handy, get a shepherd’s hook and place it outside their window where you can hang one of these unique birdseed feeders. Often the birds hang off the birdfeeder while they get a good snack.

Marsha and Lee like to customize the feeders according to requests. A man asked them to design a birdfeeder in the shape and color of the OU paw for his mother’s 90th birthday as she was a big OU fan.

Snowflakes and snowmen are the best sellers during the winter months.

Another lady requested a wreath of sunflower seeds with cranberry accents as a special Christmas treat…for her chickens!

As you might imagine, they are always on the lookout for molds of various shapes for their creations. One mold that has escaped their grasp is that of a turtle, not a Ninja turtle, just a regular box turtle.

The ladies prepare for the next farmers’ market with new birdfeeders.

Marsha and Lee, with help from Roy, usually work in the Stroud’s basement three days a week. They use approximately 100 pounds of birdseed each week to make between 80-90 birdfeeders. Their largest mold takes ten cups of birdseed.

This shows a small section of their craft show display.

The local Rise & Shine Farmers’ Market in Cambridge is one of their favorites as all products there are either locally grown or handmade. It usually runs from May – September so add them to your calendar now.

The River City Market in Marietta is held every Saturday for special homemade treats.

In February, Marsha and Lee plan to be back at the “Handmade, Homemade, Homegrown” River City Market in Marietta. While this is an outdoor market, it is held throughout the year. Here, For the Birds has an enclosed tent with a heater for some extra warmth. They are there on Saturdays from 8-noon.

This OSU birdfeeder is a big hit with Buckeye fans.

While many feeders are purchased at craft shows, they can also be found on Facebook and have been shipped to North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania to name a few states. They will be carefully packed and shipped for your personal use or as a gift for someone else.

Rufus Bernard joins For the Birds in saying Happy New Year.

Marsha does take breaks from this hobby. One of her favorite escapes is to Florida where she enjoys spending time on the beach. A few years ago, a St. Bernard ended up on their doorstep and they adopted him. Now Rufus, a rather large but friendly dog, keeps them busy and entertained.

Feeding the birds in the winter months is especially important as there isn’t much natural food for them to maintain their body fat reserves for those cold winter nights. Once they discover you have food for them, they’ll return again and again.

Visit “For the Birds” on Facebook where you can find many pictures of their work. For the Birds is just a phone call away at 740-584-0691. They have gift certificates available and do accept credit cards. There’s a feeder for every season so choices are unlimited.

Feed the birds. Not all birds fly south!

Visit For the Birds at one of their farmers’ market sites or find them on Facebook where you can order direct. Call them at 740-584-0691.

Explore Nearby Remnants of Ohio-Erie Canal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Philadelphia- Lock 13

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

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

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

Tuscarawas – Upper Trenton Lock

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

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

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

Lock Seventeen

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

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

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

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

Newcomerstown – Canal Ditch

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

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

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

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

Roscoe Village – Triple Locks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bloody Bible Displayed at Olde Main Street Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

that shall he also reap.”

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

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

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

Early Television Museum Picture Perfect

TV adds so much to family happiness.

~Motorola

Early Television Museum is located in Hilliard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheriff Investigates Still

I enjoy writing about real situations so when our writers’ group decided to do a book called “Ripped From the Headlines,” I wanted to write about something that could have happened. One of my interests in natural health and I know a lady who brewed a special tea to help many problems. So this story is about a  fictitious local man, who was working on a natural cure. 

Boden, Ohio 1933 An anonymous source recently informed the Signal about law enforcement conducting an investigation in the woods outside of town. It seems a man known only as Lightning has been carefully watched by the sheriff’s office because of suspicious behavior involving a still in the hillside behind his home.

Neighbors watched Lightning carry bag after bag of materials into a cave under a rock cliff. Several local men were also seen entering the cave. It is suspected that they were there to purchase the brew being made.

A freshwater spring comes out in that area and is vital for the making of good rum, which some have heard Lightning say was his favorite drink.

Sheriff Harry Totten and a couple deputies surrounded the entrance on a recent morning very early before Lightning even arrived at the still. They hid in the trees so they could watch his approach.

Lightning whistled a merry tune of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as he happily made his way to the hillside one sunny May morning.

Imagine his surprise when the sheriff and two deputies appeared from the woods with guns drawn. His whistling stopped as a puzzled look crossed his face.

“What’s the problem, sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”

With a smirk on his face, Sheriff Totten answered, “We’ll see about that when we check inside the hillside here. Seems something strange is going on in that cave and we’re here to check it out.”

“Oh, sir, I can’t let you see in there as I’m working on a secret and don’t want anyone to see it until it is perfected.”

“Yea, sure. Some secret brew to make your neighbor’s feel better?” By now the sheriff was getting a bit upset by Lightning’s conversation.

“How do you know what I’m working on? No one has been told anything about it. This hasn’t even been tested yet.”

Exasperated, a deputy ordered, “Let us in the hillside and see what is inside.”

“Please don’t come in. I’m not ready for people to know about this.” pleaded Lightning.

“Sorry, but we’re headed in this very minute so step aside.” With that, they entered the hillside to find the still they were sure was making rum.

Inside they discovered something that resembled a still but it didn’t smell like alcohol at all. On closer inspection, it didn’t taste like alcohol either. In fact, it rather tasted like dirt.

“Yuk! This is horrible. You’ll never find anyone to buy this if you were planning on selling it. Whatever is it for?”

Lightning chewed on his lip as he tried to think of a way to explain what he was making without giving away the secret completely. Everyone knew about his wife’s rheumatism so maybe that would satisfy the sheriff.

“Actually, I’m trying to make a tonic that will help my wife’s rheumatism. She really suffers from the pain and I keep trying different combinations to see if I can find something that helps. I work on it each morning for a little while before I go to work and let her try some each day.”

Has it helped your wife any?” smirked the sheriff. “I don’t think anything you brew up here is going to prove to help rheumatism.”

With that, Sheriff Totten and his deputies had a good laugh as they returned to their recently purchased 1932 Ford Model B. “I always thought Lightning was a little off his rocker.”

Now Lightning could relax as he continued his experiment with the old Indian recipe his elders had passed down for generations. No one had developed it in recent years and Lightning felt it was about time that someone put it to work to help many people.

Living near Big Indian Run, he could gather the needed herbs and roots easily from the hillsides close by his home. When he combined them with fresh spring water, it didn’t take long in the still for the purest tea to overflow.

Some say it tasted like dirt, but if it helped a person feel better that was what was important.

He had heard stories of people being cured of their illnesses after drinking this special tea day after day. His ancestors had carried down the stories for generations.

Now, his daughter, Crystal, was very ill, too, and nothing seemed to help her. That’s what made him decide that this was the right time to develop this special brew.

“Daddy,” he heard her call. “Come carry me to the spring so I can watch you work.”

Quickly he moved to the house to help his daughter who was so weak she could scarcely stand. Together they sat by the spring and felt the soft summer breeze.

“If only you felt better and life could stay like this,” he whispered.

Crystal so wanted to go to school but right now that wasn’t possible. She knew her dad was trying his best to find a solution to make her feel better so she tried not to complain.

Day after day, Crystal drank the special tea her dad had brewed and day by day, he noticed a little color returning to her face and a little strength coming back to her body.

Sometimes the best cures for our aches and pains have been given to us in the natural world around us if we just know how to use them.

Today, Crystal enjoys going to school and laughs when her dad tells the story about Sheriff Totten thinking he had a still to brew alcohol.

His wife’s rheumatism has improved remarkably as well. There has to be something to that old Indian recipe.

Lightning is seriously thinking about bottling his brew!

Would you be willing to try some? 

Robb Gable Features Dickens Victorian Village in “Christmastime in My Hometown”

Personal experiences become the basis of many songs that Robb Gable writes. A popular song at this time of year is one he wrote specifically about Dickens Victorian Village called “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

Robb entertained with his Christmas song at a Victorian tea.

Ever since the Courthouse Light Show began fourteen years ago, Robb and his wife, Robin, have attended every Opening Night. The whole family loves Christmas with its music, lights and manger scene. Excitement fills the air in downtown Cambridge during the Dickens Victorian Village season.

This scene provided the inspiration for “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

One evening while watching the Hallmark channel on television, Robb realized that his hometown was very much like a Hallmark movie. As he sat on the couch watching television, he wrote the words to “Christmastime in My Hometown” in ten minutes. The words just flowed as he remembered what happens downtown Cambridge in November and December.

Christmastime is here again.

And our little town is busier than it’s ever been.

And that old courthouse shines so bright

Music fills the air upon a cold December night.

Christmas Eve service has become a tradition at Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship.

Christmas has always been special with his family and every year on Christmas Eve the family gathers at Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship for a musical service that packs the building. Robb, his two sons, and his brother, Pastor Kirk look forward to this family tradition.

Saturday nights with his sons are special musical evenings.

Robb’s love of music drifted over to his two sons, Cole and Eli. Cole has varied talents which include producing classical to heavy metal sounds as well as being an author. Eli has drifted down to Nashville where he writes songs and performs on the drums and guitar.

There’s more to Robb’s musical ability than just Christmastime. He’s a singer, songwriter, and producer of musical entertainment and especially enjoys Christian country music. During the recent pandemic, Robb shared a series of YouTubes, “Alive from the Couch.”

Robb began playing piano and guitar at an early age.

You can find out a lot about Robb just by listening to the words of the songs that he has written, as most of them are from events that have happened in his life. He grew up on a little dirt road on College Hill just a few miles out of town. This led to him writing a song “Dirt Road.”

Many can relate to Robb’s life experiences easily when he puts them to music. Take his “Trailer” song that tells about a few years when he and his family lived in a trailer. It was the first place his family could afford to call their home. His songs all have meaning that touches on real life.

His older brother, Kirk, actually gave Robb the desire to be a musician as Kirk always played music around the house. At the age of seven, Robb began taking piano lessons and when he was eleven, began playing guitar.

This Gable Brothers album cover features the two brothers, Kirk and Robb.

Kirk and Robb performed as the Gable Brothers for several years beginning in 2000. Their songs were heard world-wide and several of their songs charted in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

Their dog, Scout, likes to hang out in Scout Dog Studio.

Today, Scout Dog Studio is where Robb’s music all begins and where he spends most of his time. The studio is named for their dog, Scout, who seems to enjoy hanging out in the studio as well. Robb has two studio rooms. One is devoted to drums, which he feels are the foundation of music. He loves drums and also plays keyboard along with the guitar.

Robb’s collection of Fender Telecasters keeps growing as each one has a different voice.

Robb has quite a collection of guitars but he says that each one has its own voice and purpose. Fender Telecasters have become a favorite and his collection of them has expanded to over 30, according to his wife. She knows Robb well as they’ve been married for 27 years.

A guitar kit was the perfect birthday present for Robb.

Robb loves anything about music. He especially enjoys the process of production. Usually he writes the words first and they come quickly. His songs begin with a recording of the drum, which often is done by his son, Eli. Then Robb adds the rest himself piece by piece…a guitar or guitars, keyboard, and last of all the vocals.

The last song he wrote was for Robin on their anniversary. He took a little more time to write that song – fifteen minutes since it was special! No matter what happens around him, he is happy when he sees her smile.

Recently, he has gone back to his renovation business as he likes working on his own schedule. Gable Renovation specializes in interior remodeling as Robb is a carpenter by trade. He offers trustworthy service, fair pricing, and quality results. He wants to exceed your expectations.

Robb leads the band at Trinity Baptist Church in Cambridge.

In his spare time, he is very active in his church and leads the band at Trinity Baptist. Spreading the Christian message through song gives him great pleasure.

Cole, Robin, Scout, Robin, and Eli enjoy a Gable family vacation.

The Gable family has enjoyed many wonderful family vacations over the years. Sometimes they take their guitars along and they always stop at a music store. Robin recalls one year when they didn’t take a guitar with them. About a week into the vacation, they bought a guitar at a local music store and passed it around like candy that evening. The Gable boys all love their music.

Join Robb and Robin downtown at the Courthouse Light Show.

Catch that hometown Christmas spirit at Dickens Victorian Village in downtown Cambridge during November and December. You’ll understand why it inspired Robb to write “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

And people come from all around

To see the sights and hear the sounds

Of Christmastime! Christmastime in my hometown.

Make Memories at WonderLights Christmas in Ohio Drive-Thru

Believe in the magic of Christmas!

The night sky sparkles as over a million LED lights burst into action at WonderLights Christmas in Ohio Drive-Thru in Hebron at the National Trail Raceway. It’s the perfect family event during this pandemic season as you never have to leave your car.

A lighted manger scene greets you just inside the gate.

WonderLights is a family affair with Dad running the operation overall while his daughter Grace and her husband Hunter Owens keep things operating smoothly at the Hebron site. Another sister, Emily and her husband are busy in WonderLights St. Louis. They’ve been doing this for over ten years now.

A patriotic section displays our American flag.

They also arrange and maintain other light shows all east of the Mississippi from Indianapolis to Cincinnati. They take great pleasure in bringing a little happiness, especially to children, with their exciting shows.

Trees of all sizes can be found twinkling throughout the display.

When they discovered the National Trail Raceway, it seemed the perfect open space to have room for people to drive on winding trails throughout the exhibits. This is their second season at the raceway.

Snowmen keep an eye on this tunnel of flickering ornaments.

They have outlined over two miles of trails with red lights on both sides to keep you on track. Cars are asked to turn off their headlights since the lights are so bright, but it’s better if you can leave your parking lights on so the other cars can see you.

Toy soldiers watch over families and bring good luck.

All the dancing lights are synchronized to holiday music which you can listen to on your radio at 88.3 FM. They are powered by over 50,000 computer channels. The constant movement of colorful lights definitely puts you in the holiday spirit.

Drive thru blinking tunnels of lights as you listen to the Christmas music.

As you drive through several tunnels of lights, you’re bound to start singing along with the Christmas songs you know so well. Watch for the shooting stars, dancing candy canes and lollipops, and giant Christmas trees along the way. Don’t be in a hurry. Drive slowly so your family can enjoy all the dazzling features of this spectacular light show.

Trees magically appear as you drive thru the display.

Traffic on the weekends can be at a near standstill as families eagerly await taking their children to see the lights. Emily recommends that you arrive either early before the show begins or come on a week night when things aren’t quite so crowded. Monday and Tuesday are usually the nights with the least amount of traffic.

Snowflakes dance to the holiday music.

One of their real pleasures is talking to guest families while the owners ride golf carts through the exhibit to make sure everything is working well. Emily said, “I get tears in my eyes when I think of those children looking at the exhibit through the sunroof of their car and singing along with the Christmas carols. You know the family is making memories that will last a lifetime.”

Gingerbread men are always a special treat during the holidays.

WonderLights at Hebron can be enjoyed every evening from November 13 through January 3, 2021, and that includes holidays. The weather does not stop the light show from happening. In fact, they say, “Rain makes it glow.” Rain or snow makes the lights have a mirror effect so it looks like twice as many lights. Snow always adds to the spirit of a holiday event.

Constant movement of lights gives excitement on every bend.

Tickets are $7 a person or $30 for a carload of up to seven passengers. Kids three and under are free. Hours run from dusk to 10:00 each evening, but they normally don’t stop until the last car is through.

Take your family to this magical event in Central Ohio where you can experience the joy of Christmas through lights and music from the safety of your own car. Memories we make with our family bring joy for years to come.

WonderLights is located just a few miles off I-70. Take exit 126 to OH-37 N. In about a mile turn left on US 40. You’ll arrive at WonderLights in about half a mile on the right hand side of the road. Watch for stopped traffic as this is a busy event.

Sophisticated Handcrafted Chocolates at Coblentz Candy Co.

Life happens. Chocolate helps!

Coblentz Chocolates is located in beautiful Amish country at Walnut Creek.

People come from miles around to see Coblentz Chocolate Company especially as the holiday season approaches. Located in the heart of beautiful Amish country on Route 515 in Walnut Creek, chocolate seems to be the favorite word here as everyone has a favorite chocolate treat.

Chocolate covered strawberries are one of their special occasion treats.

When you walk inside the shop, a heavenly smell surrounds you – the smell of chocolate. Then you are greeted with the friendliest workers who are eager to help you make your selections or answer your questions.

Dark chocolate coconut bonbons have been a favorite since opening.

Perhaps first, you would enjoy going back to the viewing area to actually watch them making the chocolate treat of the day. Watch through their special viewing gallery as it is made and hand-dipped. The gallery is closed during the pandemic.

Things have changed since those early years when Jason and Mary Coblentz and Jason’s brother Mark purchased a residence, which they still use today, and began making Coblentz Chocolates in 1987. Their main goal was to provide customers with quality caramels and chocolates. Those early creations are still favorites today.

If you like chocolate, you’re sure to like their fudge.

In the beginning, Coblentz had only two full-time and three part-time employees. They made 30 different kinds of candy. Then, Jason attended Pulakos Candy School for a three-week course in 1990 to perfect his chocolate-making skills. More additions were made to their selections.

Smooth and creamy Buckeyes are a popular item and in 2002, Coblentz made the world’s largest Buckeye, which weighed 277 pounds. Now that’s a lot of peanut butter and chocolate!

There’s plenty of parking right beside the store.

Finally, Mark decided to try a different business venture and sold his share of the company to Jason and Mary. Since that time, they have added a second story to the residence for additional candy manufacturing.

This showcase contains those early favorites of caramels and bonbons.

Some tempting treats include sea salt caramels and chocolate covered marshmallows, dark chocolate orange peels, chocolate covered cherries, and a large selection of sugar-free. All their cream centers are made from scratch. One lady told her friends, “If it’s from Coblentz, I know it will be good.”

Use these autumn treats on your holiday table.

It’s no surprise that Christmas is their busiest time of the year, but October is the busiest tourist month. Many tour buses stop on their way through Amish country to get a taste of this great tasting chocolate.

Coffee with a chocolate covered spoon makes a special gift.

Christmas Open House is usually held the middle of November. Get samples of their high-quality chocolate, sign up for door prizes, and sip their great coffee samples. There’s bound to be some great sales happening that weekend.

Mary and Jerry Coblentz traveled to Chili to see cocoa beans firsthand.

Jason and Mary can’t make candy all year long. Once in a while they take a break as both love to travel. Some of their favorite places include Florida, the Caribbean, England, and Ireland. My guess would be that they check out chocolate companies along the way.

Their caramel corn varieties will tickle different taste buds.

When asked about their future, Jason explained, “We want to maintain the quality of our candy so customers are getting what they expect.” You can’t go wrong with any chocolate that you buy here. You’ll have a hard time choosing just one.

Pick up a stuffed animal while you’re there. It’s more than a candy store!

If you can’t make a trip to the candy store right now, please visit Coblentz Candy at their website at www.coblentzchocolates.com . It’s the perfect place to find a gift for any occasion and they ship anywhere in the U.S.

Next time you visit Amish Country, plan a stop at Coblentz Chocolates at 4917 OH-5 15, Walnut Creek, Ohio. Parking is easy as there’s a large parking lot right beside the store. Treat yourself to the scrumptious taste of mouth-watering chocolate.

Great Western Schoolhouse Keeps One-Room School Memories Alive

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

Great Western School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ann Rattine, schoolmarm, teaches students

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

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

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

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

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

McGuffey Readers were used by students at all grade levels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But many love the country school treasured in memory.

~Helen E. Middleton

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

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